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Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"

Oligarchic "Quiet Coup" in the USA, "Greed is good" slogan and loss of trust in neoliberal governments

News Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Recommended Links Quiet coup The Deep State National Security State / Surveillance State In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Two Party System as polyarchy The Iron Law of Oligarchy The Pareto Law Media-Military-Industrial Complex Groupthink Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Corporatism Inverted Totalitarism US and British media are servants of security apparatus Casino Capitalism Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corruption of Regulators
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment The importance of controlling the narrative New American Caste System The Essential Rules for Dominating Population What's the Matter with Kansas Big Uncle is Watching You
Nation under attack meme American Exceptionalism Neo-fascism Bureaucracies Military Bureaucracy Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Toxic Managers The psychopath in the corner office Female Sociopaths Office Stockholm Syndrome Quotes about Psychopaths Humor Etc


Introduction


There is an 'audacious oligarchy' of self-defined rulers who move freely between private industry and government, whose primary objective is preserving and furthering their own power and self-interest.

Jesse's Café American, Audacious Oligarchy

Audacious behaviour is often connected with the weakened self-preservation instinct, typical for sociopaths. So their audacity take the form of Chutzpah (shameless audacity; impudence, unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall). It's inherently connected with the lack of empathy, which is a defining feature of sociopaths. The key question here is: to what extent the US elite became infected with substantial or even dominant number of sociopaths? Including female sociopaths as we saw recently in the reaction of behaviour of a wife of former president on killing Gaddafy (Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died ) ?

In fact this process of self-selection of sociopaths into neoliberal elite reached dangerous level was noted be many, including famous remark of Robert Johnson at Culture Project's IMPART 2012 Festival that essentially defined the term ("Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must."):

Oligarchy now is audacious. They don't really care if they are legitimate.

"Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must."

Robert Johnson serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York. Previously, Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. Prior to working at Soros Fund Management, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund.

Johnson served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin) and of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico). Johnson received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Princeton University and a B.S. in both Electrical Engineering and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As you can see this idea "Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must." does not differ much with the modus operandi of three-letter agencies, so the terms "audacious oligarchy" and "deep state" are closely related: deep state can be viewed as a social system in this audacious oligarchy rules the population.

We can also think about the term "audacious oligarchy" as the term related to the rise of neo-fascism, (be it neoliberal fascism or Inverted Totalitarism). For some details National Security State / Surveillance State: Review of Literature and a very interesting discussion of Robert Johnson remarks on financial oligarchy at “They’re All Standing on the Deck of the Titanic Looking in Each Other’s Eyes” (naked capitalism, April 21, 2013). That means the key elements of fascist ideology are preserved, with the replacement of Arian Nation for financial oligarchy, but without ruthless physical suppression of opposition which are replaced by financial instruments, blacklisting, economic sanctions and color revolutions in "deviant" countries. Like in Third Reich dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. there is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

One interesting side effect of the dominance of financial oligarchy is loss of trusts in experts, especially economic expects, professors who now are nothing more then a prostitutes at the service of financial capital Ian Klaus in "Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance gives the following definition:

Trust, to be simple with our definition, is an expectation of behavior built upon norms and cultural habits. It is often dependent upon a shared set of ethics or values. It is also a process orchestrated through communities and institutions. In this sense, it is a cultural event and thus a historical phenomenon.

As Robert Johnson noted:

"People don't trust experts. If you saw 'Inside Job', you know why. People do not trust the private markets, and they don't trust government."

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

In the case of neoliberal transformation of the USA the state to a large extent seized to defend the population. Instead the state became a predictor, defender of international corporations, as hostile to the US people as Bolshevik rule was to Russians and other nationalities of the USSR. In other word the USA population became hostages of the system much like population of the USSR was. In a way nothing is new in human history.

The most important side effect of neoliberal transformation of the US society is the destruction (or more correctly emasculation) of legal system, which effectively lead to the situation when like in monarchy, some people are above the law. And we can suspect, judging from recent the USSR nomenklatura experience that such a caste might quickly degrades. As Long Aston said "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". If you willfully and recklessly tear down the laws in the name of some misbegotten ideology the benefit to "chosen" few, blowback might come sooner or later. even if you successfully hide this in a smokescreen of sophisticated scam ideology (neoliberalism in case of current crony or casino capitalism, which replaced the New Deal "live and giver other chance to live" motto) the blowback eventually might knock the particular country down. In such system nobody trust anybody and the whole society gradually disintegrates becoming just extended version of a mafia clan. With typical for such clans deadly internal fights for power. Mexican drug cartels saying - plomo y plobo ('silver or lead'): either you accept our bribes or accept our bullets is perfectly applicable in this situation. And that's how "audacious oligarchy really operates at least of international scène. But the law of the jungle has one important difference with the regular law system: any more powerful group of states can became both a judge and executioner for less powerful, or competing group of states.

When you take some self-serving fairy tale and take it an extreme by sticking an 'ism' on the end of it, like is the case with neoliberalism, at the beginning everything is fine and population is carries by this lie with ease. But as soon as people discover this despite all the power of propaganda their standard of living is going down, some trouble appear on the horizon and there is no other way then to concert the state into national security state, as proponent of communism have found in the USSR. And under neoliberalism, the essence of which is redistribution of wealth in favor of the top 0.01% of the world population, this disillusionment in inevitable, unless we experience a new technological revolution, similar to computer revolution. it can't be hidden with fairly tales about "undemocratic nature" of poor state or corruption. People can only be suppressed by brute force. and the lead to overextension of the neoliberal empire.

When the financial oligarchy is completely exempt from the law and in this particular area regulation is burned to the ground to serve the interests of financial oligarchy, strange things start to happen. The first glimpse on which we already saw in 2008. There was a demonstration of an immanent feature of neoliberal regimes which might be called financial sector induced systemic instability of economy. The latter which lead to periodic booms and busts with unpredictable timing, severity and consequences for the society at large, but so far all of those crisis work also as mechanism of redistribution of the society wealth toward the top . this time the US oligarchy managed to swipe the dirt under the rug.

This instability happens automatically and does not depend on the presence of "bad apples" in the system, because the financial sector under neoliberalism functions not as the nerve system of the economy of the particular country, but more like an autoimmune disease. In other words financial sector destabilizes the "immune system" of the country by introducing positive feedback look into economic (and not only economic, look at the USA foreign policy since 1991) activities.

What exactly is neoliberal oligarchy ?

When we say audacious oligarchy we essentially mean neoliberal oligarchy, and first of all financial oligarchy. Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by wealth, family ties, commercial, government and/or military positions. The actual literal translation from the Greek is the "rule of the few". The word oligarchy is derived from the Greek words "ὀλίγος" (olígos), "a few"[2] and the verb "ἄρχω" (archo), "to rule, to govern, to command".

Throughout history, most oligarchies have been tyrannical, relying on public servitude to exist, although some have been relatively benign. Plato pioneered the use of the term in Chapter Four, Book Eight of "The Republic" as a society in which wealth is the criterion of merit and the wealthy are in control.

However oligarchy is not always a rule according to the size of the wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be distinguished from plebs by iether personal wealth or bloodlines as in a monarchy. Although often those two types of distinction are present too. For example, in the USSR the oligarchy was represented by special class of government and party servants (nomenklatura). The same is by-and-large true for Communist China. Those types of oligarchy has a lot of features in common with neoliberal oligarchy, although they are national in character. First of all in both system oligarchs are "working oligarchs". They actively participate in the their business or government activities. The second thing is that neoliberal oligarchy has very interesting connection with the idea of Communist International, and can be viewed as an interesting perversion of this concept ("Capitalism International") with some flavor of Trotskyism -- as it strives for and adopts Trotskyism central idea of permanent revolution as the method of reaching of the world dominance (see, neocons and color revolutions)

At the same time starting from 80th in the USA oligarchy by-and-large started to correspond to European aristocracy as vertical mobility became very limited and suppressed in the USA (actually more then in European countries, despite all the hype about the American dream).

The USA oligarchy by-and-large corresponds to European aristocracy, with substantial number of its members being children of oligarchic families. Vertical mobility, despite hype, is very limited and suppressed (actually more then in European countries). In no way the USA con be considered "the county of opportunities" anymore.

Russian oligarchy is very atypical in this sense, and is a pretty interesting case of a very high vertical mobility. As a country Russia is unique that in its history it several times wiped out its entrenched oligarchy. Two last "rotations" happened in 1917 then large part of old oligarchy lost their power and after neoliberal revolution of 1991 which brought into power the corrupt government of Boris Yeltsin. The drunkard, who imitated French proclaiming "enrich yourself" and launches (with gentle support from USA in a form of Harvard mafia) the most corrupt privatization of state wealth in human history.

But most members of the new, Post-Soviet Russian oligarchy did demonstrated tremendous level of upward mobility. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union on 31 December 1991, many directors and sometimes middle managers of state owned Russia-based corporations, especially producers of petroleum, natural gas, and metals managed to privatize their holdings and have become oligarchs. Criminal privatization under Yeltsin regime allowed them to amass phenomenal wealth and power almost overnight. In May 2004, the Russian edition of Forbes identified 36 of these oligarchs as being worth at least US$1 billion. And not of all them came from Nomenklatura. Many members of nomenklatura (even on the level of Politburo) did not fit in the new economic system and stopped being oligarchs.

All modern democracies should be viewed as oligarchies

Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the iron law of oligarchy. According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered to be oligarchies. this is what his "iron law of oligarchy" is about. In other word when we speak the word democracy about such regimes as current exist in the USA or Western Europe, it is most self-deception.

That gives a pretty sinister meaning to the "promotion of democracy" and "support of democracy" activities, as in reality it is installation of more favorable to the promoter oligarchic group in power, often via coup d'état (with a specific neoliberal variant, which use developed by Gene Sharp political technology, called Color revolution), as recently happened in Libya and Ukraine.

In "modern democracies", the actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is always only one political party, the party of oligarchy.

This is especially true for winner takes all election systems, which create two party environment, with both party being a factions of the same elite. See Two Party System as Polyarchy

Quiet coup

The term "Quiet coup" which means the hijacking of the political power in the USA by financial oligarchy was introduced by Simon H. Johnson (born January 16, 1963). Simon Johnson is a British-American economist, who currently is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, he was Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund.

The term was introduced in Simon Johnson article in Atlantic magazine, published in May 2009(The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic). Which opens with a revealing paragraph:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

The wealth of financial sector gave it unprecedented opportunities of simply buying the political power:

Becoming a Banana Republic

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Several other factors helped fuel the financial industry’s ascent. Paul Volcker’s monetary policy in the 1980s, and the increased volatility in interest rates that accompanied it, made bond trading much more lucrative. The invention of securitization, interest-rate swaps, and credit-default swaps greatly increased the volume of transactions that bankers could make money on. And an aging and increasingly wealthy population invested more and more money in securities, helped by the invention of the IRA and the 401(k) plan. Together, these developments vastly increased the profit opportunities in financial services.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street ran with these opportunities. From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.

The great wealth that the financial sector created and concentrated gave bankers enormous political weight — a weight not seen in the U.S. since the era of J.P. Morgan (the man). In that period, the banking panic of 1907 could be stopped only by coordination among private-sector bankers: no government entity was able to offer an effective response. But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.

He further researched this theme in his book 2010 book 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (ISBN 978-0307379054), coauthored with James Kwak. They also founded and regularly contributes to the economics blog The Baseline Scenario.

Financial oligarchy as an key part of modern neoliberal elite

Corporate oligarchy is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative. Monopolies are sometimes granted to state-controlled entities, such as the Royal Charter granted to the East India Company. In this regime people move freely from government posts to private industry and back.

In the USA the most rapidly rising part of national oligarchy is financial oligarchy. As Senator Dick Durbin noted referring to the US Congress Banks Frankly Own The Place. Moreover in many cases it is unclear who owns whom, for example whether Goldman Sachs owns NY FED or NY FED Goldman Sachs ( The Fed Under Goldman's Thumb - Bloomberg )

Senators questioned Dudley, 61, on issues ranging from whether some banks are too big to regulate to the Fed’s role in overseeing their commodities businesses.

Some of the criticism was pointed. Warren, a frequent critic of financial regulators, asked Dudley if he was “holding a mirror to your own behavior.”

Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, complained that bank employees involved in misdeeds haven’t been prosecuted and are “too big to jail.”

Dudley repeatedly disagreed with assertions that the New York Fed wasn’t doing enough to regulate banks and said lenders have become stronger and safer in the past few years.

... ... ...

Today’s Senate hearing follows reports that Goldman Sachs fired two bankers after one of them allegedly shared confidential documents from the New York Fed within the firm.

A junior banker, who had joined the company in July from the New York Fed, was dismissed a week after the discovery in late September, along with another employee who failed to escalate the issue, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Goldman Sachs confirmed the memo’s contents.

As Adair Turner noted in The Consequences of Money Manager Capitalism

In the wake of World War II, much of the western world, particularly the United States, adopted a new form of capitalism called “managerial welfare-state capitalism.”

The system by design constrained financial institutions with significant social welfare reforms and large oligopolistic corporations that financed investment primarily out of retained earnings. Private sector debt was small, but government debt left over from financing the War was large, providing safe assets for households, firms, and banks. The structure of this system was financially robust and unlikely to generate a deep recession. However, the constraints within the system didn’t hold.

The relative stability of the first few decades after WWII encouraged ever-greater risk-taking, and over time the financial system was transformed into our modern overly financialized economy. Today, the dominant financial players are “managed money” — lightly regulated “shadow banks” like pension funds, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, and university endowments—with huge pools of capital in search of the highest returns. In turn, innovations by financial engineers have encouraged the growth of private debt relative to income and the increased reliance on volatile short-term finance and massive uses of leverage.

What are the implications of this financialization on the modern global economy? According to Adair Lord Turner, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a former head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority, it means that finance has become central to the daily operations of the economic system. More precisely, the private nonfinancial sectors of the economy have become more dependent on the smooth functioning of the financial sector in order to maintain the liquidity and solvency of their balance sheets and to improve and maintain their economic welfare. For example, households have increased their use of debt to fund education, healthcare, housing, transportation, and leisure. And at the same time, they have become more dependent on interest, dividends, and capital gains as a means to maintain and improve their standard of living.

Another major consequence of financialized economies is that they typically generate repeated financial bubbles and major debt overhangs, the aftermath of which tends to exacerbate inequality and retard economic growth. Booms turn to busts, distressed sellers sell their assets to the beneficiaries of the previous bubble, and income inequality expands.

In the view of Lord Turner, currently there is no countervailing power (in John Kenneth Galbraith terms) able to deal with the consequences of neoliberalism, as he calls it "money manager capitalism.” The net result likely will be years more of economic stagnation and deteriorating living standards for many people around the world.

Finance is a form of modern warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and “the miracle of compound interest” that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May’s 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative article, on the collusion between the US’ “financial oligarchy” and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don’t want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund’s senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs “go off track” (a euphemism) precisely because the government can’t stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program “goes back on track” once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern—and thus win or lose—under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital—a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup’s executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson’s predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists—at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy’s favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks’ hands—indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical—since we’ll want to sell the banks quickly—they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the “efficiency costs” of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail—a financial weapon of mass self-destruction—explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine”.

The predatory nature of financial oligarchy

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government’s capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, corrupt collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in its most modern form -- neoliberalism.

Second probably is that institutions are more powerful them individuals and replacement or even jailing of corrupt current officials while a quite welcome move, can't by itself lead to drastic changes. You need to reinstall the whole system of government controls dismantled by Clinton-Bush regime. Otherwise one set of players will be simply replaced by the other, no less corrupt, hungry and unprincipled. As Daron Acemoglu pointed out recently, we are in a situation that attempt to fix the financial system will have to involve those same bankers (albeit in lower positions at the time of the crisis) that created the mess in the first place. To push the analogy a bit strongly, even in Germany post 1945 and Iraq post 2003 new governments still needed to work with some civil servants in the judicial and educational system from the previous regime as well as with tainted industrialists.

In theory, the best way to diminish the power of financiers is to limit the size (limiting the damage) and let them fail and crash badly. Also introduction of a tax of transactions (Tobin tax) can help to cool the frenzy of derivative trading. But there is nobody in power who can push those changes. That means the "silent coup" in which financial oligarchy got control of the state is complete.

Loss of trust led to conversion of the country into national security state

Paranoya of financial oligarchy after 2008 when most of the country wished them what was reflected in the slogan of the corner of Wallstreet (see the picture), led to speed up of creation of comprehensive network of spying over the citizens.

According to UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.

Even if we assume that data collection is passive and never used it is like a ticking bomb or "skeleton in the closet" it is a powerful method of control of population, not the different from what was used by KGB in the USSR or STASI in East Germany.

So it does not really matter much what the data are collected for and what if official justification of such a collection. The mere fact of collection changes the situation to the worse, making opposition to the system practically impossible. The net result is what is matter. And the net result definitely resembles a move in the direction of a tyranny. US Senator Frank Church said in 1975:

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.".

Today his words sound even more true then in 1975 when computers were still in their infancy and mainframes dominated the computer landscape. With the proliferation of cheap electronic devices such as PCs and laptops, tablets and cell phones this really became "the abyss from which there is no return".

So the real, the key goal is not what is officially declared. Convenience of access to information has a side effect that it makes collection of information about you trivial and at the same time comprehensive. It is to keep the elite safe from common folks, not all those lies about national security. It is all about the security of the elite.

In other words 1984 dystopia materialized in slightly different, slightly more gentle form. The elite as a whole is not interesting in dismantling the tool that serve its interests so well even if it has some side effects on the elite members themselves. This is another confirmation of The Iron Law of Oligarchy

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism in the USA. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of Stasi in all those activities. As countries of the USSR camp got into similar trap before, nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted

"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."

There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships. The key goal in both cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.

Phone hacking and police corruption represent neoliberalism attempt to cling to life even entering in 2008 a zombie status. And we do not know if the change is possible (The zombie of neoliberalism can be beaten)

Poor growth figures put a "new" financial collapse back on the cards. The response from politicians, bankers and business leaders is more of the same – more of the same neoliberal policies that got us into this situation in the first place.

Neoliberalism no longer "makes sense", but its logic keeps stumbling on, without conscious direction, like a zombie: ugly, persistent and dangerous. Such is the "unlife" of a zombie, a body stripped of its goals, unable to adjust itself to the future, unable to make plans. It can only act habitually as it pursues a monomaniacal hunger. Unless there is a dramatic recomposition of society, we face the prospect of decades of drift as the crises we face – economic, social, environmental – remain unresolved. But where will that recomposition come from when we are living in the world of zombie-liberalism?

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, however, requires more than the internal realignment of a national ruling class. Every semi-stable form of capitalism also needs some sort of settlement with the wider population, or at least a decisive section of it. While the postwar Keynesian settlement contained an explicit deal linking rising real wages to rising productivity, neoliberalism contained an implicit deal based on access to cheap credit. While real wages have stagnated since the late 1970s, the mechanisms of debt have maintained most people's living standards. An additional part of neoliberalism's tacit deal was the abandonment of any pretence to democratic, collective control over the conditions of life: politics has been reduced to technocratic rule. Instead, individuals accepted the promise that, through hard work, shrewd educational and other "life" choices, and a little luck, they – or their children – would reap the benefits of economic growth.

The financial crisis shattered the central component of this deal: access to cheap credit. Living standards can no longer be supported and, for the first time in a century, there is widespread fear that children will lead poorer lives than their parents.

Conclusions

After 2008 the irresponsibility of the financial elites, the power and proliferation of special interest groups that defend interests of oligarchy, the paralysis of Congress and executive power to deal with challenges the financial oligarchy created have created atmosphere of public cynicism.

This correlated with withdrawal from public activity and elections. voter participation in the 1996 Presidential election reached similar to 1924 figure of 49%, less then half of eligible population. And with electronic surveillance reaching it zenith after 9/11/2001, the country quietly slid in the darkness of Inverted Totalitarism

Disillusionment with government and large corporation is a noticeable feature of contemporary America. There is a the widespread sense that big companies and those who run them are immune from prosecution and can't be held accountable by government for their crimes as that they are ... Too Big To Jail. Part of this leniency is connected with corruption of regulators. Which is an immanent part of neoliberal social order. There is also the issue off gaming the system. For very large and profitable multinationals paying some law firm or accounting firm a couple of million dollars to game the tax system in some sleazy way to park most of the income in tax havens represents a small fraction of their tax savings. So the big boys get away with this and middle market firms are the only ones who really pay corporate taxes.

The fact that no one has been imprisoned for the crime committed before 2008 is seen as outrageous by most Americans and large part of Main Street. At the same time, the multibillion-dollar fines and enforcement actions against financial institutions are providing large TBTF firms such as Goldman Sachs with wrong incentives. Paying with shareholders’ money as the price of protecting themselves is a very attractive trade-off. Punishment of individual executives who committed crimes or who failed in their managerial duty to monitor the behavior of their subordinates is short-changed because the principle that leaders should take responsibility for failure and resign contradicts neoliberal worldview.


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[May 04, 2018] Sic Semper Tyrannis The Skripals survived, but their cat and rodents ... not so much.

Notable quotes:
"... I am reading Taleb's recent book "Skin in the game" which has interesting material about the disconnection between risky behaviors and their consequences in modern USA. He also has a chapter about the mechanics involved in why minority viewpoints in our culture become dominant. It's an interesting read. ..."
"... Finally, the Police partially acknowledged their mistake and accused the Russians of not having been completely fair play. Indeed, these thuriferous bastards of Vlad the Impaler had put poison on the OUTDOOR handle of the front door of the house. It's infinitely subtle of these savages. The Brit Police did not suspect what strong part it had to make, the unexpected thwarting its learned calculations. Presumption, again and again. Nevertheless, the detectives are formal: the Russians did the trick well. The evidence is obvious. In this dramatic case, we are not going to make a comparison between insular and continental logic. The hour is too serious for these trifles. Lots of laughter. ..."
"... It's very difficult in any case to believe that such a notice could have been issued. Can't see why it would be needed. The scripting of the official story on such matters as this seems to be a joint enterprise between the media and the press officers. That's a time-honoured consensus so why would the media need bullying to stay in line? ..."
"... My personal view on all this is that the No. 10 press officers aren't that good at this new-fangled information stuff. They don't seem to have their hearts in it somehow. Time for them to go back to counting paperclips and for information campaigns to be handled by the experts. The BBC have a proven track record in this field and it's time that was officially recognised. ..."
May 03, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Sir Mark, bless him, has told an MP during a committee meeting, that the armed forces, MI-5, MI-6 and GCHQ do not know who or indeed what sickened the Skripals, pere et fille , in Salisbury. He doesn't seem to have mentioned the police. So, basically, pilgrims, Teresa May, the queen's first minister has insistently and incessantly accused the Russians of a crime of which our British cousins know precious little. In a closely related development, it is now revealed that the Britishers sealed up Skripal's house after the poisoning event leaving the black Persian shown above and two guinea pigs to die of thirst and hunger within. It would seem likely that they knew they were doing this since they would have searched the house first. No? Perhaps they thought that the cat might be a threat as a being of possible Iranian descent. This is impressive stuff. pl https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-05-01/uk-has-not-yet-identified-skripal-poisoning-suspects


Eric Newhill , 11 hours ago

These false flag ops are all so shabby in their execution. The lack of thoroughness and imagination on the part of the governments running them is really disappointing. For example, if I was running an investigation into the Skripal incident, I would have captured the cat and rodents and run pathology tests on them to see what bio/chem agents might be in their systems. Also, because they might escape and become a vector of further infection. That seems like it would be SOP. So I'd do it even if I knew the story was BS to create the appearance of reality. Then, I could always state that the pets should signs of Russian engineered bio/chem agents. Could even create a video of the pets dying some horrible death due to the agents. That's more better BS.
Threadzilla , 11 hours ago
And yet, this appears to be a lie as well. An earlier piece in the British news claims the pets were taken to Porton Down for examination and testing soon after the incident. Seems more likely they eliminated evidence and then came up with the cover story about how the animals were "forgotten about" and locked in the house for a month, implying totally unimportant for the investigation. http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/...
JohnA , 12 hours ago
I am truly dis-May-ed!

I hope she and Johnson pay the price for this folly. May it be steep! Very. very steep.

How these two suckered so many nations foolishly into sending diplomats home reflected respect for UK policy toward Russia. These nations will need to think long and hard about following any such UK lead in future.

This week, the US took down the Russian flag flying over Russian real estate in Seattle. Shameful!

Sid Finster -> JohnA , 9 hours ago
Sociopaths care nothing for law and everything for enforcement.
Jack , 4 hours ago
I don't know much about the dynamics of British politics but as a light observer of British news I wonder why Theresa May remains prime minister? She became prime minister after the historic Brexit vote. Promptly takes the country to an election and botches it for the Tories. Then bungles the Brexit negotiations. Runs a floundering government. Now comes up with accusations against the Russians in the Skripal affair with no evidence presented but looking more foolish as her story comes under scrutiny.
DH , 11 hours ago
Thirst, yes, hunger, not so much.
Tony , 11 hours ago
I am reading Taleb's recent book "Skin in the game" which has interesting material about the disconnection between risky behaviors and their consequences in modern USA. He also has a chapter about the mechanics involved in why minority viewpoints in our culture become dominant. It's an interesting read.
Sid Finster , 10 hours ago
http://www.theblogmire.com/...
France74 , 10 hours ago
A french view and laughter.

2 cats and 2 guinea pigs were locked up for 9 days in Skipal's house, in the hope of proving that the Russians are guilty.
When the police reopened the house, they found four bodies. the veterinary faculty is positive, both cats died of starvation. Guinea pigs, some say, began to be worked by hungry cats, accelerating their deaths. Unspeakable bloodshed. In this whole case, it's THE revolting detail, among many others. Poor beasts.

Finally, the Police partially acknowledged their mistake and accused the Russians of not having been completely fair play. Indeed, these thuriferous bastards of Vlad the Impaler had put poison on the OUTDOOR handle of the front door of the house. It's infinitely subtle of these savages. The Brit Police did not suspect what strong part it had to make, the unexpected thwarting its learned calculations. Presumption, again and again. Nevertheless, the detectives are formal: the Russians did the trick well. The evidence is obvious. In this dramatic case, we are not going to make a comparison between insular and continental logic. The hour is too serious for these trifles.
Lots of laughter.

kao_hsien_chih , 11 hours ago
Great. There was once a war for Jenkins' ear. I guess we should now have a nuclear war for Skripals' cat.
English Outsider -> kao_hsien_chih , 9 hours ago
Colonel,

There's talk of a D-Notice covering the Skripal affair. Seems unlikely. All concerned were being sat on quite satisfactorily anyway.

I Looked up D-notices on WIKI -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

Presumably there are bigger guns in the background if information that would really threaten national security or the lives of serving officers is in danger of being released. The D-Notice system itself seems to be a more or less voluntary affair -

https://www.theguardian.com...

It's very difficult in any case to believe that such a notice could have been issued. Can't see why it would be needed. The scripting of the official story on such matters as this seems to be a joint enterprise between the media and the press officers. That's a time-honoured consensus so why would the media need bullying to stay in line?

My personal view on all this is that the No. 10 press officers aren't that good at this new-fangled information stuff. They don't seem to have their hearts in it somehow. Time for them to go back to counting paperclips and for information campaigns to be handled by the experts. The BBC have a proven track record in this field and it's time that was officially recognised.

[May 04, 2018] Media Use Disinformation To Accuse Russia Of Spreading Such by b

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A McClatchy journalist investigated further and came to the same conclusion as I did. The 'leak' to the New York Times was disinformation. ..."
"... Russia has not pinned the Novichok to Sweden or the Czech Republic. It said, correctly, that several countries produced Novichok. Russia did not blame the UK for the 'nerve gas attack' in Syria. Russia says that there was no gas attack in Douma. ..."
"... The claims of Russian disinformation these authors make to not hold up to scrutiny. Meanwhile there pieces themselves are full of lies, distortions and, yes, disinformation. ..."
"... Wait for an outbreak of hostilities on the Ukraine-Donbass front shortly before the beginning of the World Cup competition which is as internationally important as the Olympic Games -- as they did in 2014 with Maidan and 2016 with the Sochi Winter Olympics drug uproar, the CIA will create chaos that will take the emphasis off any Russian success, since as to them, anything negative regarding Russia is a positive for them. ..."
"... No traces of chemical weapons have been found in Douma. This means that not only the US/UK/French airstrikes were illegal under international law but even their political justification was inherently flawed. Similarly, in the Salisbury affair, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented, while the two myths on which the British case was built (the Russian origin of the chemical substance used and the existence of proof of Russian responsibility) have been shattered. ..."
"... Given the lack of facts, the Tory leadership seems to be adopting a truly Orwellian logic: that the main proof of Russian responsibility are the Russian denials! It is hard to see how they will be able to sell this to their international partners. Self-respecting countries of G20 would not be willing to risk their reputation. ..."
"... The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote." ..."
"... Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?" ..."
"... Whataboutism seems to deny that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth. ..."
"... 1984, anyone? ..."
"... The absurd story that the OPCW says there was a 100gm/100mg who knows which on the door and other sites is just so stupid its painful. ..."
"... Presumably the Skripals touch the cutlery, plates and wine glasses in the restaurant, so why weren't the staff there infected as they must have had to pick up the plates etc after the meal. Even the door to the entrance of the restaurant should be affected as they would have to push it open, thus leaving the chemical for other people to touch. Nope, nothing in this stupid story adds up and the OPCW can't even get the amounts of the chemical right. ..."
"... Biggest problem with the world today is lazy insouciant citizens. ..."
"... One very important point Lavrov made was the anti-Russian group consists of a very small number of nations representing a small fraction of humanity; ..."
"... while they have some economic and military clout, it's possible for the rest of the world's nations to sideline them and get on with the important business of forming a genuine Multipolar World Order, which is what the UN and its Charter envisioned. ..."
"... Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation. ..."
"... Yes, exactly. The Western hegemony, i.e. the true "Axis of Evil" led by the US, and including the EU and non-Western allies, have invented the Perpetual Big Lie™. ..."
"... Witnesses? They're either confederates, dupes, or terrified by coercion. Evidence and/or technical analysis? All faked! A nominally reliable party, e.g. the president of the Czech Republic, makes statements that undermine the Big Lie Nexus? Again-- he's either been bought off or frightened into making such inconvenient claims. Or he's just a mischievous liar. ..."
"... And, as I seemingly never get tired of pointing out, the Perpetual Big Lie™ strategy arose, and succeeds, because the "natural enemies" of authoritarian government overreach have been coerced or co-opted to a fare-thee-well. So mass-media venues, and even supposedly independent technical and scientific organizations, are part of the Perpetual Big Lie™ apparatus. ..."
"... Putting Kudrin -- an opponent of de-dollarization and an upholder of the Washington Consensus -- in charge of Russia's international outreach would be equal to putting Bill Clinton in charge of a girls' school. ..."
"... In the Guardian I only read the comments, never the article. Here, I read both. That is the difference between propaganda and good reporting. ..."
May 04, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Grauniad is slipping deeper into the disinformation business: Revealed: UK's push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance is the headline of a page one piece which reveals exactly nothing. There is no secret lifted and no one was discomforted by a questioning journalist.

Like other such pieces it uses disinformation to accuse Russia of spreading such.

The main 'revelation' is stenographed from a British government official. Some quotes from the usual anti-Russian propagandists were added. Dubious or false 'western' government claims are held up as truth. That Russia does not endorse them is proof for Russian mischievousness and its 'disinformation'.

The opener:

The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin's aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria.
...
"The foreign secretary regards Russia's response to Douma and Salisbury as a turning point and thinks there is international support to do more," a Whitehall official said. "The areas the UK are most likely to pursue are countering Russian disinformation and finding a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons."

There is a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons. It is the Chemical Weapon Convention and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It was the British government which at first rejected the use of these instruments during the Skripal incident:

Early involvement of the OPCW, as demanded by Russia, was resisted by the British government. Only on March 14, ten days after the incident happened and two days after Prime Minister Theresa may had made accusations against Russia, did the British government invite the OPCW. Only on March 19, 15 days after the incident happen did the OPCW technical team arrive and took blood samples.

Now back to the Guardian disinformation:

In making its case to foreign ministries, the UK is arguing that Russian denials over Salisbury and Douma reveal a state uninterested in cooperating to reach a common understanding of the truth , but instead using both episodes to try systematically to divide western electorates and sow doubt.

A 'common understanding of the truth' is an interesting term. What is the truth? Whatever the British government claims? It accused Russia of the Skripal incident a mere eight days after it happened. Now, two month later, it admits that it does not know who poisoned the Skripals:

Police and intelligence agencies have failed so far to identify the individual or individuals who carried out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the UK's national security adviser has disclosed.

Do the Brits know where the alleged Novichok poison came from? Unless they produced it themselves they likely have no idea. The Czech Republic just admitted that it made small doses of a Novichok nerve agent for testing purposes. Others did too.

Back to the Guardian :

British politicians are not alone in claiming Russia's record of mendacity is not a personal trait of Putin's, but a government-wide strategy that makes traditional diplomacy ineffective.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, famously came off one lengthy phone call with Putin – she had more than 40 in a year – to say he lived in a different world.

No, Merkel never said that. An Obama administration flunky planted that in the New York Times :

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. "In another world," she said.

When that claim was made in March 2014 we were immediately suspicious of it:

This does not sound like typically Merkel but rather strange for her. I doubt that she said that the way the "people briefed on the call" told it to the Times stenographer. It is rather an attempt to discredit Merkel and to make it more difficult for her to find a solution with Russia outside of U.S. control.

A day later the German government denied (ger) that Merkel ever said such (my translation):

The chancellery is unhappy about the report in the New York Times. Merkel by no means meant to express that Putin behaved irrational. In fact she told Obama that Putin has a different perspective about the Crimea [than Obama has].

A McClatchy journalist investigated further and came to the same conclusion as I did. The 'leak' to the New York Times was disinformation.

That disinformation, spread by the Obama administration but immediately exposed as false, is now held up as proof by Patrick Wintour, the Diplomatic editor of the Guardian , that Russia uses disinformation and that Putin is a naughty man.

The British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson wants journalists to enter the UK reserve forces to help with the creation of propaganda:

He said army recruitment should be about "looking to different people who maybe think, as a journalist: 'What are my skills in terms of how are they relevant to the armed forces?'

Patrick Wintour seems to be a qualified candidate.

Or maybe he should join the NATO for Information Warfare the Atlantic Council wants to create to further disinform about those damned Russkies:

What we need now is a cross-border defense alliance against disinformation -- call it Communications NATO. Such an alliance is, in fact, nearly as important as its military counterpart.

Like the Guardian piece above writer of the NATO propaganda lobby Atlantic Council makes claims of Russian disinformation that do not hold up to the slightest test:

By pinning the Novichok nerve agent on Sweden or the Czech Republic, or blaming the UK for the nerve gas attack in Syria, the Kremlin sows confusion among our populations and makes us lose trust in our institutions.

Russia has not pinned the Novichok to Sweden or the Czech Republic. It said, correctly, that several countries produced Novichok. Russia did not blame the UK for the 'nerve gas attack' in Syria. Russia says that there was no gas attack in Douma.

The claims of Russian disinformation these authors make to not hold up to scrutiny. Meanwhile there pieces themselves are full of lies, distortions and, yes, disinformation.

The bigger aim behind all these activities, demanding a myriad of new organizations to propagandize against Russia, is to introduce a strict control over information within 'western' societies.

Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation.

That scheme will be used against anyone who deviates from the ordered norm. You dislike that pipeline in your backyard? You must be falling for Russian trolls or maybe you yourself are an agent of a foreign power. Social Security? The Russians like that. It is a disinformation thing. You better forget about it.


c1ue , May 4, 2018 2:27:27 PM | 1

Excellent article, in an ongoing run of great journalism.
I am curious - have you read this? https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/
It purports to be a book by an American military man intimately familiar with the covert ops portion of the US government. The internal Kafka-esque dynamics described certainly feel true.
Mike Maloney , May 4, 2018 2:44:12 PM | 3
One of the reasons newspapers are getting worse is the economics. They aren't really viable anymore. Their future is as some form of government sanctioned oligopoly. Two national papers -- a "left" and a "right" -- and then a handful of regional papers. All spouting the same neoliberal, neoconservative chicanery.
CD Waller , May 4, 2018 2:57:20 PM | 4
Genuine journalist Matt Taibbi warned of this sort of branding of disparate views as enemy a month ago. He was also correct. Evil and insidious. The enemy of a free society.
chet380 , May 4, 2018 2:58:22 PM | 5
Wait for an outbreak of hostilities on the Ukraine-Donbass front shortly before the beginning of the World Cup competition which is as internationally important as the Olympic Games -- as they did in 2014 with Maidan and 2016 with the Sochi Winter Olympics drug uproar, the CIA will create chaos that will take the emphasis off any Russian success, since as to them, anything negative regarding Russia is a positive for them.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:02:57 PM | 6
The later history of the 20th century will one day be read as the triumph and normalization of the Nazi state through liberal democratic capitalism.
Laguerre , May 4, 2018 3:07:19 PM | 7
I agree that it's difficult to see how the drive to renew the Cold War is going to be stopped. I presume that, with the exception of certain NeoCon circles, there isn't a desire for Hot War. Certainly not in the British sources you quote. Britain wouldn't want Hot War with Russia. It's all a question of going to the limit for internal consumption. Do a 1984, in order to keep the population in-line.
james , May 4, 2018 3:11:05 PM | 8
thanks b... i can't understand how any intelligent thinking person would read the guardian, let alone something like the huff post, and etc. etc... why? the propaganda money that pays for the white helmets, certainly goes to these outlets as well..

the uk have gone completely nuts! i guess it comes with reading the guardian, although, in fairness, all british media seems very skewed - sky news, bbc, and etc. etc.

it does appear as though Patrick Wintour is on Gavin Williamson's propaganda bandwagon/payroll already... in reading the comments and articles at craig murrays site, i have become more familiar with just how crazy things are in the uk.. his latest article freedom no more sums it up well... throw the uk msm in the trash can... it is for all intensive purposes, done..

mk , May 4, 2018 3:31:41 PM | 9
Meanwhile, OPCW chief Uzumcu seems to have been pranked again, this time by his own staff (this is how I interpret it):

He claimed that the amount of Novichok found was about 100 g and therefore more than research laboratories would produce, i.e. this was weaponized Novichok.

http://www.startribune.com/large-dose-of-nerve-agent-was-used-in-spy-s-poisoning-watchdog-says/481687061/

However, the story is being retracted right now because OPCW staff says it was only 100 mg .

Uzumcu looks like a fool.

b , May 4, 2018 3:49:03 PM | 10
The Russian embassy in the UK must be reading MoA. It just now tweeted this press release: Embassy press officer comments on the Guardian article concerning a new British anti-Russian strategy
Q: What is our reaction to the Guardian article on a "comprehensive strategy" to "deepen the alliance against Russia" to be pursued by the UK Government at international forums?

A: Judging by the publication, the main current challenge for Whitehall is to preserve the anti-Russian coalition that the Conservatives tried to build after the Salisbury incident. This task is challenging indeed. The "fusion doctrine" promoted by the national security apparatus has led to the Western bloc taking hasty decisions that, as life has shown, were not based on any facts.

No traces of chemical weapons have been found in Douma. This means that not only the US/UK/French airstrikes were illegal under international law but even their political justification was inherently flawed. Similarly, in the Salisbury affair, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented, while the two myths on which the British case was built (the Russian origin of the chemical substance used and the existence of proof of Russian responsibility) have been shattered.

Given the lack of facts, the Tory leadership seems to be adopting a truly Orwellian logic: that the main proof of Russian responsibility are the Russian denials! It is hard to see how they will be able to sell this to their international partners. Self-respecting countries of G20 would not be willing to risk their reputation.

karlof1 , May 4, 2018 3:52:31 PM | 11
Hmmm... My reply to c1ue went sideways it seems. Yes, The late Mr. Prouty's book's the real deal and the website hosting his very rare book is a rare gem itself. Click the JFK at page top left to be transported to that sites archive of writings about his murder. The very important essay by Prouty's there too.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:53:30 PM | 12
The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote."

This one detail tells us so much about how propaganda works, and about how it can be defeated. Successful propaganda both depends upon and seeks to accelerate the erasure of historical memory. This is because its truths are always changing to suit the immediate needs of the state. None of its truths can be understood historically. b makes the connection between the documented but forgotten past "truth" of Merkel's quote and its present reincarnation in the Guardian, and this is really all he *needs* to do. What b points out is something quite simple; yet the ability to do this very simple thing is becoming increasingly rare and its exercise increasingly difficult to achieve. It is for me the virtue that makes b's analysis uniquely indispensable.

Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?"

Whataboutism seems to deny that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth.

Jose Garcia , May 4, 2018 3:56:03 PM | 13
1984, anyone?
john wilson , May 4, 2018 4:03:04 PM | 14
The absurd story that the OPCW says there was a 100gm/100mg who knows which on the door and other sites is just so stupid its painful. This implies that the Skripals both closed the door together and then went off on their day spreading the stuff everywhere, yet no one else was contaminated (apart from the fantasy policeman).

Presumably the Skripals touch the cutlery, plates and wine glasses in the restaurant, so why weren't the staff there infected as they must have had to pick up the plates etc after the meal. Even the door to the entrance of the restaurant should be affected as they would have to push it open, thus leaving the chemical for other people to touch. Nope, nothing in this stupid story adds up and the OPCW can't even get the amounts of the chemical right.

ken , May 4, 2018 4:03:13 PM | 15
The problem is,,, most know it's all BS but find it 'easier' to believe or at most ignore, as then there is no responsibility to 'do something'. Biggest problem with the world today is lazy insouciant citizens. (Yes,,, I'm a PCR reader) :))
karlof1 , May 4, 2018 4:05:15 PM | 16
b @10--

Did you catch the Lavrov interview I linked to on previous Yemen thread? As you might imagine, the verbiage used is quite similar. One very important point Lavrov made was the anti-Russian group consists of a very small number of nations representing a small fraction of humanity; and that while they have some economic and military clout, it's possible for the rest of the world's nations to sideline them and get on with the important business of forming a genuine Multipolar World Order, which is what the UN and its Charter envisioned.

I won't omit linking to Craig Murray's conclusion :

"I cannot sufficiently express my outrage that Leeds City Council feels it is right to ban a meeting with very distinguished speakers, because it is questioning the government and establishment line on Syria. Freedom of speech really is dead."

Ort , May 4, 2018 4:22:35 PM | 17
Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation.
_______________________________________

Yes, exactly. The Western hegemony, i.e. the true "Axis of Evil" led by the US, and including the EU and non-Western allies, have invented the Perpetual Big Lie™.

This isn't a new insight, but it's worth repeating. It struck me anew while I was listening to a couple of UK "journalists" hectoring OPCW Representative Shulgin, and directing scurrilous and provocative innuendo disguised as "questions" to Mr. Shulgin and the Syrian witnesses testifying during his presentation.

It flashed upon me that there is no longer a reasonable expectation that the Perpetual Big Liars must eventually abandon, much less confess, their heinous mendacity. Just as B points out, there are no countervailing facts, evidence, rebuttals, theories, or explanations that can't be countered with further iterations of Big Lies, however offensively incredible and absurd.

Witnesses? They're either confederates, dupes, or terrified by coercion. Evidence and/or technical analysis? All faked! A nominally reliable party, e.g. the president of the Czech Republic, makes statements that undermine the Big Lie Nexus? Again-- he's either been bought off or frightened into making such inconvenient claims. Or he's just a mischievous liar.

And, as I seemingly never get tired of pointing out, the Perpetual Big Lie™ strategy arose, and succeeds, because the "natural enemies" of authoritarian government overreach have been coerced or co-opted to a fare-thee-well. So mass-media venues, and even supposedly independent technical and scientific organizations, are part of the Perpetual Big Lie™ apparatus.

Even as the Big Liars reach a point of diminishing returns, they respond with more of the same. I wish I were more confident that this reprehensible practice will eventually fail due to the excess of malignant hubris; I'm not holding my breath.

Passer by , May 4, 2018 4:24:44 PM | 18

Is Putin capitulating? Pro US Alexei Kudrin could join new government to negotiate "end of sanctions" with the West.

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin will be brought back to "mend fences with the West" in order to revive Russia's economy. Kudrin has repeatedly said that unless Russia makes her political system more democratic and ends its confrontation with Europe and the United States, she will not be able to achieve economic growth. Russia's fifth-columnists were exalted: "If Kudrin joined the administration or government, it would indicate that they have agreed on a certain agenda of change, including in foreign policy, because without change in foreign policy, reforms are simply impossible in Russia," said Yevgeny Gontmakher . . . who works with a civil society organization set up by Mr. Kudrin. "It would be a powerful message, because Kudrin is the only one in the top echelons with whom they will talk in the west and towards whom there is a certain trust."

Putting Kudrin -- an opponent of de-dollarization and an upholder of the Washington Consensus -- in charge of Russia's international outreach would be equal to putting Bill Clinton in charge of a girls' school.

It would mark Putin's de facto collapse as a leader. We shall know very soon. Either way, if anyone wondered what the approach to Russia would be from Bolton and Pompeo, we now know: they will play very hard ball with Putin, regardless of what he does (or doesn't do), and with carefree readiness to risk an eventual snap.

https://archive.is/1Ynms#selection-1641.0-1641.66

Formerly T-Bear , May 4, 2018 4:57:25 PM | 21
@ 20 Laguerre

Certainly looks like @ 18 is a fine example of what b is presenting.

A good way to extract one's self from the propaganda is to refuse using whatever meme the disinformation uses, e.g. that Sergei Skripal was a double agent -- that is not a known, only a convenient suggestion.

Military intelligence is far better described as military information needed for some project or mission. Not surreptitious cloak and dagger spying. This is not to say Sergei Scripal was a British spy for which he was convicted, stripped of rank and career and exiled through a spy swap. To continue using Sergei Scripal was a double agent only repeats and verifies the disinformation meme and all the framing that goes with it. Find some alternative to what MSM produces that does not embed truthiness to their efforts.

Peter Schmidt , May 4, 2018 5:08:52 PM | 23
In the Guardian I only read the comments, never the article. Here, I read both. That is the difference between propaganda and good reporting.
Emily Dickinson , May 4, 2018 5:09:00 PM | 24
@Michael Weddington 19

I realize it's from one of the biggest propaganda organs in the world... take this New York Times report of the OPCW's retraction with a 100 grams -- 100mg? -- of salt:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/world/europe/opcw-skripal-attack.html

karlof1 , May 4, 2018 5:12:57 PM | 25
Passer by @18--

This same narrative was put forth in 2016 and is just as false now as then. As I posted on Yemen thread earlier, Putin on 5 May is likely to announce the formation of a Stavka.

Kudrin is a neoliberal and as such is an enemy of humanity and will never again be allowed to hold a position of power within Russia's government. Let him emigrate to the West like his fellow parasites and teach junk economics at some likeminded university.

jalp , May 4, 2018 5:30:35 PM | 26
Anyone seen this reported elsewhere? https://www.rt.com/news/425810-white-helmets-us-funding-freeze/

[Apr 26, 2018] Drones, Baby, Drones! The Rise of Americas High-Tech Assassins

Apr 03, 2015 | Alternet
...President Barack Obama, who had run a quasi-antiwar liberal campaign for the White House, had embraced the assassination program and had decreed, "the CIA gets what it wants." Intelligence budgets were maintaining the steep upward curve that had started in 2001, and while all agencies were benefiting, none had done as well as the CIA At just under $15 billion, the agency's budget had climbed by 56 percent just since 2004.

Decades earlier, Richard Helms, the CIA director for whom the event was named, would customarily refer to the defense contractors who pressured him to spend his budget on their wares as "those bastards." Such disdain for commerce in the world of spooks was now long gone, as demonstrated by the corporate sponsorship of the tables jammed into the Grand Ballroom that evening. The executives, many of whom had passed through the revolving door from government service, were there to rub shoulders with old friends and current partners. "It was totally garish," one attendee told me afterward. "It seemed like every arms manufacturer in the country had taken a table. Everyone was doing business, right and left."

In the decade since 9/11, the CIA had been regularly blighted by scandal-revelations of torture, renditions, secret "black site" prisons, bogus intelligence justifying the invasion of Iraq, ignored signs of the impending 9/11 attacks-but such unwholesome realities found no echo in this comradely gathering. Even George Tenet, the CIA director who had presided over all of the aforementioned scandals, was greeted with heartfelt affection by erstwhile colleagues as he, along with almost every other living former CIA director, stood to be introduced by Master of Ceremonies John McLaughlin, a former deputy director himself deeply complicit in the Iraq fiasco. Each, with the exception of Stansfield Turner (still bitterly resented for downsizing the agency post-Vietnam), received ringing applause, but none more than the night's honoree, former CIA director and then-current secretary of defense Robert M. Gates.

Although Gates had left the CIA eighteen years before, he was very much the father figure of the institution and a mentor to the intelligence chieftains, active and retired, who cheered him so fervently that night at the Ritz-Carlton. He had climbed through the ranks of the national security bureaucracy with a ruthless determination all too evident to those around him. Ray McGovern, his supervisor in his first agency post, as an analyst with the intelligence directorate's soviet foreign policy branch, recalls writing in an efficiency report that the young man's "evident and all-consuming ambition is a disruptive influence in the branch." There had come a brief check on his rise to power when his involvement in the Iran-Contra imbroglio cratered an initial attempt to win confirmation as CIA director, but success came a few years later, in 1991, despite vehement protests from former colleagues over his persistent willingness to sacrifice analytic objectivity to the political convenience of his masters.

Book cover of 'Kill Chain.'

Photo Credit:

Henry Holt

Click to enlarge.

Gates's successful 1991 confirmation as CIA chief owed much, so colleagues assessed, to diligent work behind the scenes on the part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's staff director, George Tenet. In 1993, Tenet moved on to be director for intelligence programs on the Clinton White House national security staff, in which capacity he came to know and esteem John Brennan, a midlevel and hitherto undistinguished CIA analyst assigned to brief White House staffers. Tenet liked Brennan so much that when he himself moved to the CIA as deputy director in 1995, he had the briefer appointed station chief in Riyadh, an important position normally reserved for someone with actual operational experience. In this sensitive post Brennan worked tirelessly to avoid irritating his Saudi hosts, showing reluctance, for example, to press them for Osama bin Laden's biographical details when asked to do so by the bin Laden unit back at headquarters.

Brennan returned to Washington in 1999 under Tenet's patronage, initially as his chief of staff and then as CIA executive director, and by 2003 he had transitioned to the burgeoning field of intelligence fusion bureaucracy. The notion that the way to avert miscommunication between intelligence bureaucracies was to create yet more layers of bureaucracy was popular in Washington in the aftermath of 9/11. One concrete expression of this trend was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center, known as T-TIC and then renamed the National Counter Terrorism Center a year later. Brennan was the first head of T-TIC, distinguishing himself in catering to the abiding paranoia of the times. On one occasion, notorious within the community, he circulated an urgent report that al-Qaeda was encrypting targeting information for terrorist attacks in the broadcasts of the al-Jazeera TV network, thereby generating an "orange" alert and the cancellation of dozens of international flights. The initiative was greeted with malicious amusement over at the CIA's own Counterterrorism Center, whose chief at the time, José Rodríguez, later opined that Brennan had been trying to build up his profile with higher authority. "Brennan was a major factor in keeping [the al-Jazeera/al-Qaeda story] alive. We thought it was ridiculous," he told a reporter. "My own view is he saw this, he took this, as a way to have relevance, to take something to the White House." Tellingly, an Obama White House spokesman later excused Brennan's behavior on the grounds that though he had circulated the report, he hadn't believed it himself.

Exiting government service in 2005, Brennan spent the next three years heading The Analysis Corporation, an obscure but profitable intelligence contractor engaged in preparing terrorist watch lists for the government, work for which he was paid $763,000 in 2008. Among the useful relationships he had cultivated over the years was well-connected Democrat Anthony Lake, a former national security adviser to Bill Clinton, who recommended him to presidential candidate Barack Obama. Meeting for the first time shortly after Obama's election victory, the pair bonded immediately, with Obama "finishing Brennan's sentences," by one account. Among their points of wholehearted agreement was the merit of a surgical approach to terrorist threats, the "need to target the metastasizing disease without destroying the surrounding tissue," as Brennan put it, for which drones and their Hellfire missiles seemed the ideal tools. Obama was initially balked in his desire to make Brennan CIA director because of the latter's all-too-close association with the agency's torture program, so instead the new president made him his assistant for counterterrorism and homeland security, with an office down the hall from the Oval Office. Two years into the administration, everyone in the Ritz-Carlton ballroom knew that the bulky Irishman was the most powerful man in U.S. intelligence as the custodian of the president's kill list, on which the chief executive and former constitutional law professor insisted on reserving the last word, making his final selections for execution at regularly scheduled Tuesday afternoon meetings. "You know, our president has his brutal side," a CIA source cognizant of Obama's involvement observed to me at the time.

Now, along with the other six hundred diners at the Helms dinner, Brennan listened attentively as Gates rose to accept the coveted award for "exemplary service to the nation and the Central Intelligence Agency." After paying due tribute to previous honorees as well as his pride in being part of the CIA "family," Gates spoke movingly of a recent and particularly tragic instance of CIA sacrifice, the seven men and women killed by a suicide bomber at an agency base, Forward Operating Base Chapman, in Khost, Afghanistan, in 2009. All present bowed their heads in silent tribute.

Gates then moved on to a more upbeat topic. When first he arrived at the Pentagon in 2007, he said, he had found deep-rooted resistance to "new technology" among "flyboys with silk scarves" still wedded to venerable traditions of fighter-plane combat. But all that, he informed his rapt audience, had changed. Factories were working "day and night, day and night," to turn out the vital weapons for the fight against terrorism. "So from now on," he concluded, his voice rising, "the watchword is: drones, baby, drones!"

The applause was long and loud.

Excerpted from Andrew Cockburn's new book, Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins Henry Holt, 2015). Reprinted here with permission from the author.

[Apr 24, 2018] Constant and persistent nudging generally results in an angry backlash. Somewhere around when a person realizes "This is not where I wanted to be." That's now very true for neoclassic economy courses. Many students understand the game and hate it

Notable quotes:
"... cognitive infiltration ..."
Apr 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith, April 21, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Nudge was the title of a book by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein on how to manipulate people in their supposed best interest, like in cafeteria lines, to put whole fruit before desserts made with sugar.

See here for more detail:

blennylips , April 21, 2018 at 1:49 pm

If you liked Nudge , you'll love " cognitive infiltration ":

Conspiracy Theories
Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-03

Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.
Keywords: conspiracy theories, social networks, informational cascades, group polarization
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585

Is not this what discerning MIC's all do these days, via FBI FB?

Synoia , April 21, 2018 at 11:25 am

A nudge too far?

Constant and persistent nudging generally results in an angry backlash. Somewhere around when a person realizes "This is not where I wanted to be."

JTMcPhee , April 21, 2018 at 12:40 pm

And of course we mopes have been "nudged" into pretty much that blind serfdom alluded to. Back in the Cave, with not much chance of dispelling the belief in and subjection to the shadows projected on the wall we are forced to face

oaf , April 21, 2018 at 1:52 pm

manipulation is the sowing of a Karmic garden

Tom_Doak , April 21, 2018 at 6:09 pm

The classic nudge example is opting you into a 401(k) unless you opt out.

That's supposedly better for you but it is DEFINITELY better for the brokerage handling your account.

none , April 21, 2018 at 10:01 pm

I had to look it up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_theory

I hadn't heard of it before.

Tyronius , April 22, 2018 at 12:21 am

I rather detest the notion of someone or entity 'nudging' me in the direction of some behavior, especially in a paternalistic mode where the assumption is that they know better than I what I 'should' be doing or thinking.

On one level, isn't that a working definition of advertising? On another, it smacks of authoritarianism. Don't we have enough of this kind of thing already? Worse, what's the first reaction one naturally has when they realize they're being manipulated? Seems to be a strategy fraught with risk of getting exactly the wrong response.

If I'm to be encouraged to behave in a given way, show me the respect of offering a conscious, intelligent argument to do so on the merits, or kindly go (family blog) yourself!

Anti-Schmoo , April 23, 2018 at 4:18 am

In economics, the single most important thing to understand is debt.
If you understand debt; you won't have any debt.
Debt and freedom are the antithisis of each other.
Without debt; nudges have no influence.

Anti-Schmoo , April 23, 2018 at 4:24 am

A follow up:
https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/money/a19181300/nassim-nicholas-taleb-money-advice/
A very frank discussion of debt and freedom.

[Apr 22, 2018] The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite

Highly recommended!
The quotes are from A Conversation on Race, by Paul Craig Roberts - The Unz Review
Notable quotes:
"... The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers. ..."
"... Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 2:43 am GMT

PCR's latest is really good. I love it when he gets to ripping, and doesn't stop for 2000+ words or so. It reads a lot better than Toynbee, fersher.

The working class, designated by Hillary Clinton as "the Trump deplorables," is now the victimizer, not the victim. Marxism has been stood on its head.

The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers.

The ruling elite favors a "conversation on race," because the ruling elite know it can only result in accusations that will further divide society. Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history.

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT

Just a bit more real truth from PCR. Carry on

All of America, indeed of the entire West, lives in The Matrix, a concocted [and false] reality. Western peoples are so propagandized, so brainwashed, that they have no understanding that their disunity was created in order to make them impotent in the face of a rapacious ruling class, a class whose arrogance and hubris has the world on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

History as it actually happened is disappearing as those who tell the truth are dismissed as misogynists, racists, homophobes, Putin agents, terrorist sympathizers, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists. Liberals who complained mightily of McCarthyism now practice it ten-fold.

The United States with its brainwashed and incompetent population -- indeed, the entirety of the Western populations are incompetent -- and with its absence of intelligent leadership has no chance against Russia and China, two massive countries arising from their overthrow of police states as the West descends into a gestapo state. The West is over and done with. Nothing remains of the West but the lies used to control the people. All hope is elsewhere.

[Apr 18, 2018] Obama vs Trump: That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 18, 2018 11:42:04 AM | 142

Don Bacon

Trump's actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also "caved" to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing "bipartisanship".

That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again

Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp

Obama: Deceiver: "Man of Peace" engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas

Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton's) - "Muslim socialist"!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by 'NeverTrump' Clinton loyalists) - Putin's bitch!

There's more but I won't belabor the point.

[Apr 11, 2018] It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

Apr 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [280] Disclaimer , April 10, 2018 at 5:33 am GMT

It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

This is worrying. Nobody is that stupid so it's more like they don't care about credibility going forward. Like it won't matter.

Kiza , April 10, 2018 at 5:40 am GMT
We have moved way beyond the Skripals case now. Simply put, if US shoots in Syria, Russia will shoot back this time, yes back at US. USS Donald Duck has been placed as a bait to be sent to the bottom of Mediterrenain sea by the Russians, similar to Arizona et al at Pearl Harbour.

Many dissenter websites are currently under attack by the cyber forces of the Western regimes and Israel, one of them being this one. Another site under attack is my favorite johnhelmer.com. In addition to saying that he is under attack, the current message from John is:
WHEN THE RULE OF LAW WAS DESTROYED IN SALISBURY, LONDON AND THE HAGUE, AND THE RULE OF FRAUD DECLARED IN WASHINGTON, THAT LEAVES ONLY THE RULE OF FORCE IN THE WORLD. THE STAVKA MET IN MOSCOW ON GOOD FRIDAY AND IS READY. THE FOREIGN MINISTRY ANNOUNCED ON SUNDAY "THE GRAVEST CONSEQUENCES". THIS MEANS ONE AMERICAN SHOT AT A RUSSIAN SOLDIER, THEN WE ARE AT WAR. NOT INFOWAR, NOT CYBERWAR, NOT ECONOMIC WAR, NOT PROXY WAR. WORLD WAR.

The West is utterly bankrupt, morally as well as financially and we are experiencing the Western remedial plan and actions – war!

annamaria , April 10, 2018 at 5:52 am GMT
"In 2016 an official British government inquiry determined that Bush and Blair had indeed together rushed to war. The Global Establishment has nevertheless rewarded Tony Blair for his loyalty with Clintonesque generosity. He has enjoyed a number of well-paid sinecures and is now worth in excess of $100 million."

– The character of Blair and the Establishment is well established: Blair is a major war criminal supported by the major war profiteers. His children and grandchildren are a progeny of a horrible criminal.

What is truly amazing is the complacency of the Roman Catholic Church that still has not excommunicated and anathematized the mass murderer. Blair should be haunted and hunted for his crimes against humanity.

With age, Blair's face has become expressively evil. His wife Theresa Cara "Cherie" Blair shows the same acute ugliness coming from her rotten soul of a war profiteer.

Blanco Watts , April 10, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
The UK is governed by the same Neo-liberal psychotic cabal that runs the US, Israel and France.
JR , April 10, 2018 at 7:06 am GMT
Keep in mind how long ago all this is:
Skripal was recruited around 1990 and arrested in 2004. Guess that the Russian attitude towards Skripal took the chaos of the 90′s as mitigating circumstances into account.
Skripal served his sentence of only 13 years till 2010 when he was pardoned and given the option to leave. Russia did not revoke Skripal's citizenship. The UK issued Skripal a passport too. On arrival in the UK Skripak was extensively debriefed by UK intelligence services. Skripal has lived for 8 years in the UK now.

And now out of the blue this incident nicely dovetailing with May ratcheted up anti Russia language only a few months before this false flag incident and the rapidly failing traction of the Steele/Orbis/MI6 instigated Russia collusion story on the basis of that fake Trump Dossier. By the way Orbis affiliated Steele and Miller have been among Skripal's handlers.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 10, 2018 at 8:43 am GMT
From the Steele dossier lies falling apart to the Skripal lies falling apart to the 'Assad did it' lies falling apart:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/08/open-letter-to-die-linke/

^

Paul Craig Roberts is correct when quoting The Saker:

"The Russian view is simple: the West is ruled by a gang of thugs supported by an infinitely lying and hypocritical media while the general public in the West has been hopelessly zombified." -- The Saker

I expect that makes the Russians right

[Apr 11, 2018] Unfortuntely, even among friends and aquaintances, the story about evil Assad killing Children is often readily believed

White Helmets was the greatest war propaganda invention since Goebbels "big lie"
The sheeple might realize that they were duped only when it's too late... It's all very darwinian: Elite is too nasty and common people are too stupid and too busy with surviving in economic uncertanty to decipher lies
Notable quotes:
"... "the West is ruled by a gang of thugs" ..."
"... It is depressing to see that there are very few people in the MSM speaking out for reason. One of the few ones is Tucker Carlson. ..."
"... The US, British etc. taxpayer funded propaganda arm of Islamists, the media trained "white helmets" are delivering videos that look almost as real as Hollywood products and most of the sheeple in the western world don't question their propaganda narrative. ..."
"... Well here you go Dutti. Both Glen Greenwald and Amy Goodman are out there in media land championing the 'truth' for good old Isramerika. ..."
Apr 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Stuck on Zero -> IridiumRebel Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:16 Permalink

No other nation will go to war with the U.S. They are too smart. All they have to do is wait till we burn ourselves out and fight amongst ourselves.

IridiumRebel -> Stuck on Zero Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:18 Permalink

This is my hope.....

beepbop -> IridiumRebel Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

"the West is ruled by a gang of thugs"

Those THUGS are Jewish Neocons/Zionists/Bolsheviks. They've got the USG in their pockets. They're the HIDDEN HAND .

Let's tell it like it is.

Dutti -> DownWithYogaPants Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:38 Permalink

It is depressing to see that there are very few people in the MSM speaking out for reason. One of the few ones is Tucker Carlson.

Unfortunately, even among friends and acquaintances, the story about "evil Assad killing Children" is often readily believed.

The US, British etc. taxpayer funded propaganda arm of Islamists, the media trained "white helmets" are delivering videos that look almost as real as Hollywood products and most of the sheeple in the western world don't question their propaganda narrative.

Very sad and disheartening.

FBaggins -> Dutti Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:45 Permalink

Well here you go Dutti. Both Glen Greenwald and Amy Goodman are out there in media land championing the 'truth' for good old Isramerika.

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=168513

[Apr 09, 2018] In my opinion, the forces that push for war know they are lying and don't care if a small percentage are on to them. They have the microphone and we do not.

Notable quotes:
"... Without sufficient domain knowledge, you have no immunity from MSM narratives. And, to acquire that knowledge you need to read non-MSM sources (or know people with first-hand experience). ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Babak Makkinejad -> Prince Monolulu , 4 hours ago

Reasonably intelligent people? Like this Iranian woman (in US) whose postings during the war for Aleppo was full of righteous indignation for the rebels. when I told her that the people whose fate she was bemoaning would do many evil things to her as a Shia Iranian woman; she would not hear of it.
ceasley7 -> Babak Makkinejad , 2 hours ago
Couldn't agree with you more Babak. My dad is a 78 year old Orthopedic physician here in the US. He would be considered intelligent by most people. And he is. Except when it comes to Geopolitics. He believes everything the MSM parrots and I gave up long ago in voicing my opinion to him. It's hopeless. And consider the vast majority of the citizens of my country are far less intelligent than him. In my opinion, the forces that push for war know they are lying and don't care if a small percentage are on to them. They have the microphone and we do not.
Prince Monolulu -> Babak Makkinejad , 4 hours ago
Yes, people like that. Without sufficient domain knowledge, you have no immunity from MSM narratives. And, to acquire that knowledge you need to read non-MSM sources (or know people with first-hand experience).

[Apr 09, 2018] Hi, I am from the government. I am here to lie to you

The Brits blinked and did not punish the criminal liar Blair. Since then, the war profiteering based on false flag operations has become a national British pastime.
Notable quotes:
"... The problem for governments using false flag operations like this is many more people are no longer trusting their own governments and quite rightly so. ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

are we there yet -> DuneCreature Sun, 04/08/2018 - 17:56 Permalink

Hi, I am from the government. I am here to lie to you. I have so many lies on top of other lies that sometimes they are true. Even the government has lost track. I am not sure if even MIC or Israel knows anymore.

GreatUncle Sun, 04/08/2018 - 10:51 Permalink

The problem for governments using false flag operations like this is many more people are no longer trusting their own governments and quite rightly so. Human minds are reinforcing the concept of untrustworthy governments that actually lasts far longer than the elected period of time of those who purport to represent the population we now know to be a deceit.

As example, take Blair ex-UK prime minister who concocted the whole Iraq dodgy dossier in the UK who most people I know now call him a war criminal but nobody will put on trial in the Hague. He has not been PM since 2007 but nobody forgets the criminal acts he instigated and supported and will be remembered for a long time for this. So how do you make Blair appear human again to the population?

You can apply this concept to so many elected criminals in the west ... join it up those that rule us are in fact criminals not ordinary people. The psychos rule over us and to them we are no more than dead meat.

[Apr 08, 2018] Do brighter minds incline to honesty by James Thompson

Apr 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Simon Gächter & Jonathan F. Schulz. Intrinsic honesty and the prevalence of rule violations across societies. Nature, Letter doi:10.1038/nature17160

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3c4TxciNeJZS0JfOGZQNnBhVkE/view?usp=sharing

The authors argued thus:

Good institutions that limit cheating and rule violations, such as corruption, tax evasion and political fraud are crucial for prosperity and development. Yet, even very strong institutions cannot control all situations that may allow for cheating. Well-functioning societies also require the intrinsic honesty of citizens. Cultural characteristics, such as whether people see themselves as independent or part of a larger collective, that is, how individualist or collectivist a society is, might also influence the prevalence of rule violations due to differences in the perceived scope of moral responsibilities, which is larger in more individualist cultures.

If cheating is pervasive in society and goes often unpunished, then people might view dishonesty in certain everyday affairs as justifiable without jeopardising their self-concept of being honest. Experiencing frequent unfairness, an inevitable by-product of cheating, can also increase dishonesty. Economic systems, institutions and business cultures shape people's ethical values, and can likewise impact individual honesty.

I described Gachter and Schultz's work in April 2016, and thought I could immediately see a problem with the interpretation that the authors placed on the results. Putting forward a different perspective took a few days. Getting that new approach published has taken 2 years. For how long will researchers put up with these absurd delays which impede the prompt assessment of arguments?

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/honestly

The authors of this very interesting study, having revealed the cheats, interpreted the national differences as being due to cultural factors, particularly whether there were institutions in each society which encouraged honesty. Of course, this leaves open why one society would have such institutions and another would not. Culture must come from somewhere. A reasonable hypothesis is that the institutions of a county are built by the people who live there. Here is our reply:

Honesty, rule violation and cognitive ability: A reply to Gächter and Schulz
Heiner Rindermann, David Becker, James Thompson.
Intelligence, Volume 68, May–June 2018, Pages 66–69.

https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1Wl5h_3fG8aUwo

Our argument is that both institutions and honesty are determined by the intelligence of people, and that bright people can see the long-term benefits of honesty and of institutions that support honest behaviour. Any institution with a code of conduct leads its members toward probity, and shows prospective applicants what standards are expected of them. However, those institution do not arise randomnly.

Gächter & Schulz assumed that institutional rules affect individual honesty.
We added cognitive ability as further factor explaining national differences.
Stronger effect of IQ (total 0.55) than of rule violation (total −0.34) on honesty.
Stronger effect of IQ (total −0.68) than of honesty (total −0.26) on rule violation.
________________________________________
Abstract
Gächter and Schulz (2016) assumed an effect of institutional rule violation on individual honesty within societies. In this reply we challenge this approach by including a nation's cognitive ability as a further factor for cross-national variations in the prevalence of rule violations and intrinsic honesty. Theoretical considerations, correlational and path analyses show that a nation's cognitive ability level (on average β = |.62|) better explains and predicts honesty and rule violation. While institutional and cultural factors are not unimportant, cognitive factors are more relevant.

The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others.

Cognitive ability seems to have the strongest causal effect on the honesty of a society:

The same pattern holds true if you assume that social levels of honesty intermediate individual levels of honesty as shown by rule violation.

Either way, it seems that intelligence explains whether some societies cheat at games and cheat in real life.


KA , March 23, 2018 at 2:15 pm GMT

Society rots from top and doesn't matter who is at the top. It still remains valid even when the so called least intellectually developed honest poor people get shafted for hundred of years by so called high IQ nations who bring cheating,dishonesty,and violations of existing laws and destruction of existing institutions without replacing them nationwide. Often these newly created institutions are nothing but vehicle to whitewash the corrupting and corrupted new system.

Public moral status has a lot to do with corruption at the top -both local and international in these days of neoliberalism and post -colonization. It sounds painful and hurtful though.

res , March 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
Interesting work! I am amazed academics have the patience to deal with such a long lag time for letting arguments play out.

Is there any chance of you publishing a scatter plot matrix of the variables you used and/or the data itself?

Do you have the correlation matrix for your variables? By any chance did you try single and multiple variable models to try to predict rule violation from the other variables? It would be interesting to see how much variance an assortment of those models explained.

Has anyone explored the idea of "cheater fraction" (analogous to smart fraction) to explain dishonesty in societies?

James Thompson , Website March 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT
@res

Cheater fraction sounds interesting. I assume that if it is higher than 16% then the society in question is worth avoiding, if at all possible.

Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:17 pm GMT
Honesty can be anything, it's look like obedience to authority instead true or pure honesty
Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:34 pm GMT
@Santoculto

I mean, based on proto-concept used.

Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:37 pm GMT
So ashekl jews [on very avg or not] are the exception in collective terms **
Miro23 , March 23, 2018 at 11:59 pm GMT
It's an interesting question. Some years ago The Economist did a "European Honest Test " leaving a wallet with a fair amount of cash in it (but also including clear contact details of the owner), in capital cities around Europe.

The test was to see how many wallets were returned – and they found that the Scandinavians returned almost all of them, and the Italians returned almost none – with a clear North/South gradient in the results.

By coincidence, at about the same time, I found a wallet beside some rubbish bins with € 400 in it and some credit cards (one from my own bank). So on my next visit, I told them about it and soon got a call from the owner ( a Spanish carpenter working in Germany). His reaction was 1) to check that the money was still in the wallet 2) say that not many people would return a wallet with € 400 in it 3) leave 2 bottles of wine at my front gate.

I checked this reaction with my secretary at the time, and asked her what she would have done, with the answer that it would be a "Regalo de Dios" (Gift of God), i.e. it was not going to be returned to the owner, so there seems to be some anecdotal evidence for the result.

Godfree Roberts , Website March 24, 2018 at 12:31 am GMT
China's position on the Intrinsic Honesty chart is puzzling both at the macro level (remarkably honest, competent policy-makers) and at the individual level (above average IQ).

The Edelman Corporation, which has a lock on international surveys of personal and institutional honesty has consistently found the Chinese to be among the most trusting people on earth, as have World Values Surveys in their own, independent polls of the Chinese.

The source of the discrepancy appears to be the source of the data: "a n indicator of political rights by Freedom House that measures the democratic quality of a country's political practices; the size of a country's shadow economy as a proxy for tax evasion; and corruption as measured by the World Bank's Control of Corruption Index (Supplementary Methods)".

Relying on George Soros' Freedom House for information about China is akin to relying on the neighborhood fox to keep an eye on your chickens while you go on vacation. Garbage in, garbage out

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSwBCAPkkvGYMGa-7qn79nTF-eX-EnPauQYK8a_NqIAxY7nO7gwjp-m4u9BpRpcOOGZXnkrfe65MOaz/pub .

James Thompson , Website March 24, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@Miro23

Regalado.

Anonymous [388] Disclaimer , March 24, 2018 at 10:30 am GMT
I would rate Japan pretty high for getting things returned, but this ethic has eroded over the past three or four decades.

Also, in the past you'd see adult males scolding unrelated misbehaving teens in public, who'd slink away with their tails between their legs. This you do not currently see: men are less masculine and assertive and some teens at least are more beligerant.

Dieter Kief , March 24, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
I think, David Perkins' findings about high IQ-people being also very tribal would make for a nice addendum here, to better understand how IQ and honesty are related.

I refer to Jonathan Haidt's argument, that he bases explicitly on Perkins' findings, that because of the tendency of high IQ-people to be even more tribal than the lower IQ ranks, ist is so crucial, to understand with J. S. Mill's On Liberty (and I add: with Kant and – – the Kantian Habermas' "Theory of Communicative Action"), that the core achievement of modernity is the institutionalization of disconformation in the democratic/liberal rational discourse and liberal public sphere (universities, the media, etc.).

Here's Jonathan Haidt, referring to Perkins and Mill to make clear, how important the institutionalization of disconformation actually is:

Ilya G Poimandres , March 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm GMT
Correlation≠causation. Maybe honesty leads to brighter minds. Is it your knowing the right answer that makes you follow it, or is it you looking at the situation, as it is, considering evidence and proof, and getting the right answer through correct deductive reasoning, which is then to be followed? You can't be honest and act ideologically, because by definition you follow your observations of the world, not your ideas of the world. An honest person is bound to direct observation, an intelligent person is not. Honesty is probably primary to an accurate understanding of the world.
Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@James Thompson

I think that 16 per cent is a bit arbitrary. In a class or caste dominated society you might, if of a class which can choose to avoid countries, decide that it really doesn't matter if your butler and housekeeper have to terrify the lower orders to stop them ripping you off (and the butler and housekeeper have enough relations they want to place in employment to keep them to the rules as to how much they cheat you).

Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 2:12 pm GMT
@Miro23

I recently lost my wallet for a short time in a supermarket-plus-other-shops complex as I wheeled my trolley to the car park. I thought my pocket had been picked so went to a nearby poluce station to see if they could accelerate access to CCTV. Mr Plod was useless and unhelpful. (Fortunately I didn't start cancelling credit cards immediately as he pretty well demanded). Back in the shopping centre I was directed to a caretaker's office where a 30 ish man of Pakistani origin had my wallet that had fallen out of my pocket as I went up a ramp. He had taken the trouble to count the cash and wrap it separately with a note on it that the amount was $915 or whatever. I never bothered to count it myself or even unwrap it for several days. What does that say about the standard of civilisation in one of Australia's biggest cities?

Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 2:41 pm GMT
As anyone who has seen how inadequate religion is today to form moral young people may have thought, the obvious starting point is to ask oneself how I bring up my children and what moral rules I rub in (preferably by example as well as preaching). One knows children are not going to be cunning ruthless sophisticates by nature – unless psychopaths – and will not benefit from being taught to think immediately how they can get away with some theft or lie. So you bring them up with rules which will help to make sure they are both trusted and trustworthy – seeing you return the small amount of change over paid for exsmple to rub in the message about rules they should still be obeying without thought when they have children. Morality is about the customs of the tribe, its mores, and children are rarely done any sort of favour by not being trained to be strictly moral (even if taught Christian forgiveness, especially for the "poor in spirit"). However ..

It occurs to me that the place of intelligence in this may extend to what hss been called Divergent Thinking (does this overlap with Lateral Thinking? Or imagination?)
A quick imaginative laterally thinking brain may think of several ways some dishonest subterfuge may go wrong almost st the moment temptation arises. So honesty for him he quickly concludes is the best policy. And so down the speculative path on which little evidence is to be found. After all what is one to make of the arrogant lawyer that one reads about in the big tax case who thought arrogantly he could get away with something and the Mr Plods of the tax office would never sus him out and prove his wrongdoing to a court?

James Thompson , Website March 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

I was guided by my recollection of the modelling of neighbourhood crime risk, but it is a sliding scale, I agree. I assumed, years ago, that at the 16-20% level one would begin to notice a difference from base rate. See, in this particular example, Fig 2 and Fig 3

http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/hood.htm

Miro23 , March 24, 2018 at 8:06 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

What does that say about the standard of civilization in one of Australia's biggest cities?

It doesn't really say anything. You need some standardized parameters and a reasonable sample size. Then you can draw some conclusions and assess the level of accuracy – like The Economist did with their wallet test – quite a good experiment.

However , at the individual level, a continuing positive outcome would be the wallet owner saying thank you, and being more inclined to return the favor one day.

Wizard of Oz , March 25, 2018 at 1:52 am GMT
Yep. Fair enough. (All of it).
Wizard of Oz , March 25, 2018 at 2:08 am GMT
@James Thompson

It occurs to me that 5 per cent might be a horrible worrying prospect if you, as a lawyer or doctor, thought it applied to the five or ten thousand you might come across as fellow professionals in your city or state. But then it could be that you rarely gossip about others and only regard as liars and cheats those who have done it to you (apart from the few who have been busted for insurance fraud). Maybe 16 per cent sometimes fudge or fiddle something but you don't know so you remain happily (and honestly) complacent, and proud of your profession.

Jonathan Mason , March 25, 2018 at 3:24 am GMT
More intelligent people may be more adept at calculating the possible negative consequences of personal dishonesty and they are likely to have more to lose. However, put them in a corporate situation and no doubt they will be as gung-ho as anyone to figure out ways to rip off customers.
Drapetomaniac , March 25, 2018 at 4:13 am GMT
@Miro23

I only look at the lost wallet in one light: it's not my property.

One of the factors I consider when looking at whether a person is a member of mankind or humankind – property.

szopen , March 25, 2018 at 8:57 am GMT
@Miro23

I've lost a wallet once and then I was visited home by shop owner, who carefuly tracked where I could live by using data from the wallet. She wanted nothing in exchange.

On university, I also was also given back a wallet once; I got back also a cellphone (which was quite expansive at the time) I left somewhere few years ago.

OTOH once I left a wallet with cash at university and it was not returned.

So, here you are my anecdotal evidence from Poland: three wallets and one cellphone, one time not returned, two plus one times returned.

szopen , March 25, 2018 at 9:07 am GMT
@James Thompson

"my recollection", " _I_ assumed, years ago" ??? Does that mean La Griffe du Lion is you?!?

Svigor , March 25, 2018 at 9:28 am GMT

More intelligent people may be more adept at calculating the possible negative consequences of personal dishonesty and they are likely to have more to lose. However, put them in a corporate situation and no doubt they will be as gung-ho as anyone to figure out ways to rip off customers.

The purpose of the institution in question is to "figure out ways to rip off customers." It's neither dishonesty nor cheating. The trick is not to have a culture that puts corporate/employer concerns first.

Obviously smarter people are going to tend to be more moral; you need to know what the fuck morality and ethics even are, and assess the circumstances, before you can make your decisions. Retards can't even get to the point of making a decision. Stupid people are great at missing the moral implications of their behavior. Smart people are the ones who need to come up with rationalizations.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 9:54 am GMT
All "honesty" begins with the self. Lying to your self, about your self is the basis of delusion and
in-authenticity. How can you know reality when reality is constantly reinterpreted to fit the needs of a run-away ego ?
The general point, that intelligence is linked to long term thinking seems sound to me. Dishonestly is often about immediate gratification: a question of gaining or avoiding immediate pleasure/displeasure. Honesty is a strategy that "pays off" over the long term.
Honesty, or truth telling (in so far as one can) is also a factor in an Honour culture. The liar is a "base" person, a person who has no sense (or no care about) their own social (self conscious) standing. Honesty also has a close correlation with such things as "loyalty", "promising" etc.
animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:02 am GMT
@Jonathan Mason

Oh yes !
That's the joy of the corporate structure: no one is responsible. EVERYONE acts because they "owe" obligations to another. (Executives to higher executives; Higher executives to the Board; the Board to Shareholders) Personal, moral responsibility becomes entirely lost in this deliberately confected ethical melange. The Large organisation is the perfect environment for crafting crimes safe from individual consequence.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:06 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz

It says you are damn lucky. If I had $ 915 in my wallet I'd super-glue the damn thing to my chest. Rather lose a couple layers of skin than that kind of dosh.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:25 am GMT
@Ilya G Poimandres

Self honesty is a long tortuous process.
Ideology is a relief: it removes the constant anxiety of needing to "question".
Science is -- should be -- the strictest form of public honesty.
Its frightening how many reports we so often get now about the systemic "dishonesty" in the scientific realm. (Dishonesty driven usually (not exclusively) by the demands of corporate profits)

m___ , March 25, 2018 at 10:46 am GMT
Sublime opportunism, entwined inside collective incentives, converges into supreme ethics, moral behaviour.
Sadly, the convergence is beyond the gradients of our elites.
The why of hard-wired human elites as are, cannot transcend to long term survival strategies, and society resembles a chicken coop.

To add another factor randomly, embedded into the above, it does not matter, how intelligence plays out between individuals, because individual opportunity feeds back into a pool of extended family, group, tribe, waves of culture and ad-hocs, lastingly and durably not encased in cognitive ambition, itself a consequence of cognitive genetic effort. Colleges and universities worldwide are a better example of petty games.

The "truth" and other concepts of "honesty" are a psychological, relative variant, depending on context. The agnostic concept of real and it's pursuit is unknown to our archaic, analogue brain without the preposition of a limited context, opportune in the now.

EliteCommInc. , March 25, 2018 at 1:35 pm GMT
I would be interested in how honesty was explicated. And the valuation of cross cultural rules that note the value of said rule equally across cultures. Now perhaps, these are fully layed out in the study, but I was unable to access the sight provided.

I would also be interested how the study rated honesty as a national value. Thus far the model looks to be applied by survey data. As I was reading I kept thinking of the multiple national scandals in which dishonesty played a central role. Once one figures out the definition and meaning of what constitutes honesty among individuals and or societal groups as agreed upon by those groups, then a model of measuring said honesty is built. This is essential because the article indicates that the difference in variable is largely cultural. So I have to conclude that a standard was established that recognizes what honesty is across cultures.

Because even withing culture, honesty varies. If intelligence is the key demarcation than one would expect those groupings with supposedly higher intelligence to have a higher degree of honesty. But again, even withing culture an agreed upon understanding of honesty is required.
Assuming intelligence matters to some set post of morality, in this case honesty -- could the model replicate supposed intelligence to honesty withing a given system in which the rules are more readily identifiable and agreed upon. Assuming that the students at the US military academies rank higher in intelligence than say the students at any comparable sized university would the students among the military academies rank higher or lower as to the being or practicing honesty. Considering the value placed on meritocratic institutions such as Harvard when measuring that intelligence grouping demonstrate a higher degree of honesty than a comparable public university.

Assuming we agree what the rules are,

"The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others"

it could be interesting whether said tested data is measuring awareness verses adherence.

Here are a bare list of some developed nation's honesty issues regarding rule adherence.

http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Scientific-misconduct

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheating (rare use of Wikipedia)

https://phys.org/news/2014-11-business-culture-banking-industry-favors.html

Again assuming that the players agree on what the rules are across countries or cultures a comparison of honesty across varying fields as to scandals and or practices might tell us something regarding the impact of intelligence to honesty across said cultures.

Found the article interesting and just expressed to thoughts on the read.

James Thompson , Website March 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@szopen

No, someone else.

ThreeCranes , March 26, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
Well, I'll speak (honestly) from the other perspective.

I used to ride my bike of a Sunday morning on a scenic route that boasted a few first class restaurants. Twice I found wallets lying on the pavement just downstream from these establishments. Apparently, the owners, a little tipsy, had set their wallets on top of their cars while they fumbled for their keys and then drove off.

The first I took to the local police station. The second I took home and called the owner (who lived in Canada) using their credit card number to pay for the call and left a message reassuring her that her wallet (and money) was safe and sound, not to worry (because I knew she would, having lost it outside her home country). I didn't want to take it to the police because I figured they'd begin to suspect me of stealing the wallets if I kept showing up with them.

She and her husband drove down to a prearranged place to meet me for the return. She was very grateful.

The owner of the first lost wallet called me and asked if they could donate $100 in my name to my favorite charity.

Another time I found a perfectly nice fleece-lined, leather aviation jacket lying in the road just outside a golf course. Luckily there was a receipt from his fee for 18 holes in the pocket. I called him and arranged to return the coat. We met. He treated me as though I had stolen the jacket from his car. Not so much as a thank you.

I don't know if I'm inclined to honesty because I'm bright, it's just that I've lost my wallet in the past and it's such a pain in the butt that I feel sorry for anyone who shares that fate. Credit cards, ID etc. the money is the least of it.

Mishra , March 26, 2018 at 7:14 am GMT
Honesty and trust are just two more archaic notions to be discarded along the way toward our new third-world future.
The Alarmist , March 26, 2018 at 11:08 am GMT

"Good institutions that limit cheating and rule violations, such as corruption, tax evasion and political fraud are crucial for prosperity and development."

I'd argue that these institutions derive from a well-functioning, high-trust society and are rarely a catalyst for more honesty in other societies.

As for the connection to intelligence, look at India and China to test your hypothesis.

JackOH , March 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

"Another time I found a perfectly nice fleece-lined, leather aviation jacket lying in the road just outside a golf course. Luckily there was a receipt from his fee for 18 holes in the pocket. I called him and arranged to return the coat. We met. He treated me as though I had stolen the jacket from his car. Not so much as a thank you."

TC, yep. I found a wallet stuffed with cash and credit cards on the campus of our local state university. A campus policeman was nearby so I turned the wallet over to him. He cautioned me that people who recover lost or abandoned property are sometimes blamed by the owners of that property for any real or imagined loss, damage, or inconvenience to the owners.

My rough rule of thumb is that if the property can be readily linked to an owner, I return it. If not, and the property has trivial value, say under USD $100, it's a judgment call. Found a few bottles of liquor, seals unbroken, in a trash can. Kept them. Found an untagged but well-kept dog once, which I judged to have strong sentimental value to its owner, so I placed an ad in a local newspaper, got a response, and returned the dog. His children were very grateful.

Santoculto , March 26, 2018 at 10:53 pm GMT
@Mishra

Most of corruption in third world countries came back from the top of social hierarchy, i mean, higher IQ.

dux.ie , March 27, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
The Gachter experiment on rule violation is based on die throwing in sterile experimental conditions where the financial incentives are trivial and more seriously there are no competition between the participants and there are no mechanism to identify specific individual cheating and no resulting blemish to ones' reputation. So how much of that are relevant to real life situations?

Real life cheating data where there are great advantage to be gained and also with consequences that might affect ones future are more appropriate to be studied. One aspect of the OECD TALIS project dealt with real life cheating in 8645 schools and over 100K? teachers globally,

"TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning – © OECD 2014″

http://www.oecd.org/education/talis/

Table 2.20.Web. School climate – Frequency of student-related factors (cheating)
Percentage of lower secondary education teachers whose school principal reports that the following student behaviours occurred 1 Never, 2 Rarely, 3 Monthly, 4 Weekly, 5 Daily in their schools.

Answers 3, 4 and 5 are considered to be serious indicator of cheating in schools. With the intention to mash the TALIS data with the PISA 2012 data, the primary school data were excluded.

Many popular pre-conceived ideas about cheating in schools were not proven by the data. In fact considerable efforts were needed to find any significant statistical trend. For example at the national levels cheating were not correlated to the average PISA scores, fraction of top or bottom PISA scores, teachers' practice of spliting the class to teach and to test part of the class differently, etc.

The factor that show statistical significance is the proxy factor for competition or meritocracy. Countries have adopted various shades of "no child left behind" policy and that is reflected in the age profile of the class. In country that practice strict "no child left behind", the students are automatically promoted to the next grade in the next academic year regardless of the ability of the students with the results that the student will be exclusive of the same 'academic age'. When meritocracy is practiced, poorly performing students might have to repeat the same grade one or more times resulting in 'academic age' distribution in class. Since the PISA project has data of percentage of 15 yo for that grade, the idea can be tested. To be polite, the marked datapoints are not labelled. Two countries separated by a narrow channel can have drastically different cheating levels.

Q32CheatRpt = -0.404*PctGrade +56.76; #n=32; Rsq=0.1891; p=0.01287 *

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=axb52h&s=9

The school cheating levels is statistically significant to be linearly dependent on the percent of the 15 yo in class. The levels of cheating is dependent on the level of meritocracy practiced. With automatic promotion to the next academic grade there is little need for the students to cheat. The governments are doing the cheating instead. The out-criers of cheating in other countries do not realized that they are in countries with lesser meritocracy.

Peter Frost , Website March 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT
The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others.

This is what Jean Piaget concluded from his studies of Swiss children. He believed that empathy was an integral part of a child's intellectual development. It doesn't follow, however, that there is some kind of genetic linkage between intellectual capacity and the capacity for empathy. These are two different mental traits. It's more likely that the same selection pressure that favored an increase in intellectual capacity also favored an increase in the capacity for empathy.

It's impossible to build an advanced society unless most of its members have a high capacity for both intelligence and empathy. On an individual level, however, high intelligence can co-exist with low empathy. There have been many cases of ruthless sociopaths who are very intelligent and yet totally self-centered. Such people can be very successful as long as they aren't too numerous. Otherwise, they'll destroy the very society that makes their existence possible.

An advanced society requires a combination of high intelligence and high empathy, although this may come about in different ways. In northwest Europeans, a high intellectual capacity co-exists with high capacities for guilt proneness and affective empathy. In East Asians, a high intellectual capacity co-exists with high capacities for cognitive empathy and pro-social behavior. In other words, there is more emphasis in East Asian societies on learning correct moral rules.

J.Ross , Website March 27, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
@Peter Frost

I am not following the credit gift of empathy to East Asians, or the connection of morality and intelligence to the obeying of complex rules, because of the stolen oranges in the Book of Rites and the counterfeit antiques that impressed the Emperor. The Chinese literally explain how to lie in their moral teachings. "Lying" is right there among the morality-guaranteeing complex rules. There are examples in the Talmud I will not specify, or regard as unreasonable, but I will note that nobody saw the Talmud as less than a downright complex system of rules. Some African tribes have rules so stringent (eg, no wet dreams) that nobody could possibly obey them. If anything I would expect that systems of compelled obedience to complex rules guarantee dishonesty. The only alternative is Billy Budd getting the captain to take his side.
What I would start with is power. In China, even in periods of decay or civil war, power is always centralized to a degree only approached in Europe by a few temporarily competent monarchs, and with an effectiveness that has never been accomplished in Europe. I think this and not math scores or cheap shoes is the basis of the elite adoration of the Han. The man who observes that a cow is not a nightingale, or that two and two are four, when the opposite is being claimed by an officer of the government (be it communist, imperial, or partisan) is an idiot. He, and probably his family, maybe his hamlet, will be exterminated with efficiency the European Enlightened Despots could only dream of. Truth, insofar as it is objective, is the hair of Liberty. It cannot exist at all except in the empty space left by the rolling back of power. The trick here is embracing negativism instead of falling into the positivistic trap. We in the West accidentally stumbled across Liberty and Truth and Science, not because we are good, objectively not because we are smarter, but because we just couldn't get that mandate of heaven thing together, despite the unambiguous desires of numerous monarchs. I predict that this will be an unpopular answer but it will not go away.
(but the Japanese are massively more ethical than the Chinese. Yeah. And they are also all but European, especially in a lot of their political history. They dreamed of imitating Chinese centralization but never came close.)
Also, how soon can we expect an update to that graph, now plotting IQ (or PISA, or tetris scores, etc) against something like the Transparency Index? Apologies if this has already been done and I missed it.

James Thompson , Website March 28, 2018 at 9:27 am GMT
@dux.ie

thanks for this interesting additional measure of cheating.

Steve Sailer , Website March 30, 2018 at 6:27 am GMT
Personally, I have a hard time understanding scams. I would make a terrible white collar criminal.
Wally , March 30, 2018 at 7:03 am GMT
@Jonathan Mason

Got examples?

Biff , March 30, 2018 at 7:31 am GMT
Those studies are bunk because everybody lies:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/09/everybody-lies-how-google-reveals-darkest-secrets-seth-stephens-davidowitz

What can we learn about ourselves from the things we ask online? US data scientist Seth Stephens‑Davidowitz analysed anonymous Google search results, uncovering disturbing truths about our desires, beliefs and prejudices

Tbbh , March 30, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@Santoculto

I almost thought I had found a thread on unz where somebody didn't mention joos. Thanks for not disappointing me.

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT
Have no idea where the data come from, but scandals with Dutch politicians seem to increase all the time, most with Rutte's VVD.

Condemned politicians for fraud etc., a novelty.
But until now just one behind bars.

But about honesty, our prime minister Rutte is nicknamed Pinocchio for his lies.
The VVD quickly rid itself of the chairman Keiser, who manipulated himself into possession of the crematoria of the organisation he advised.
The Dutch tax authority presented him with a claim of € 12 million, our FIOD, the authority for fiscal crimes is investigating him.

Condemned business men for fraud, more than we like.
Even the former Philips CEO Boonstra was condemned for trade with foreknowledge.
Solicitors also are not above suspicion any more.

At the recent municipality elections measures were applied to prevent criminals being elected.

Unreliable policemen, also a novelty, the first serious conviction was a short time ago, he sold information from police data bases to criminals.
How he was not discovered earlier, unbelievable, police salaries are insufficient for driving Porsches.

Wizard of Oz , March 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm GMT
Your last paragraph is ill timed and at best insensitive in the opinion of this Australian who once got some pleasure from the game of cricket
anarchyst , March 30, 2018 at 12:48 pm GMT
Catholic bishop Fulton J. Sheen said it best: "It is much easier for an educated person to rationalize evil".
All one has to do is look at abortion supporters who insist that abortion merely removes "a clump of cells", when they damn well know better, that it is HUMAN LIFE that they are destroying.
The old "ends justifies the means" excuse also comes into play, which is used by communist societies to purge millions of those who oppose them, not unlike the purges in the old Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other communist "paradises".
I would state that it is easier for an educated person to rationalize evil–this including dishonesty
ANON [436] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Do I detect a matter of class? The golfer seems not to have been a gentleman belonging to a golf club where proper behaviour was de rigeur, very likely passed from father, uncle and club pro to son. The sort of chap who pays green fees could be a wannabe upwardly mobile agent for subdivided swamp land

ANON [436] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

PS I gave up golf after my father died 20+ years ago. Not so much that I couldn't match his ethical standards but that after two heart attacks and hip replacements he was still a scratch golfer and all I could do was occasionally outdrive him if my slice or pull allowed.

TG , March 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm GMT
Interesting post. Some additional thoughts.

1. Perhaps smart people are just better at not getting caught?

2. Overall, there is one major factor in the honesty of a society, and that is poverty. When an overpopulated third-world society is crushed into misery, when people cannot earn a half-way decent living – or indeed, any living – through honest effort, eventually they come to cheat. This has been demonstrated in all cultures and all races.

Does integrity promote prosperity? Surely. But the reverse is if anything more powerful: poverty promotes corruption and nepotism. For people to behave honorably, yes there must be a culture of this, but it must also be the case that behaving honorably is not cutting your own throat. Because few people are saints.

Cindy , March 30, 2018 at 2:37 pm GMT
@JackOH

"Found a few bottles of liquor, seals unbroken, in a trash can. "

Dumpster-diving is a different thing than keeping lost goods. I think you're *morally* in the clear, there, even if sorely lacking in judgement. This doesn't seem very wise. Did it not occur to you that they were probably in the TRASH for a reason? Probably not poisonous or anything, since the seals were on. Probably some alcoholic decided to quit drinking. But do you want to take the chance that this wasn't a bootleg batch full of lead? Obviously the answer was yes. Your butt, I reckon

Anonymous [739] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm GMT
We have been flooded here at the University of Chicago by Mainland/Communist Chinese students. There are lots of accusations that the Chinese Communist government assists these students by cheating, getting other English language proficient students to take the English part of the SAT tests.

There appear to be lots and lots of Mainland Chinese/Communist China students here who supposedly aced the English SAT test but can't seem to speak English.

Twodees Partain , March 30, 2018 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Miro23

"like The Economist did with their wallet test – quite a good experiment."

But, The Economist is hardly a bastion of truth. I would tend to dismiss their entire story of the wallet experiment as a fabrication, having caught their writers in so many lies.

Willem , March 30, 2018 at 4:06 pm GMT
I interpreted the Simon Gächter graph as follows: the more money a country has, the more honest the citizens are.

Perhaps one should do an experiment and make countries like Tanzania as rich as e.g. The Netherlands, and then do the comparisons.

Same applies to IQ.

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 5:05 pm GMT

Do Brighter Minds Incline to Honesty?

Possibly.

But certainly that accounts for the fact that politicians are dull, ignorant, dissemblers at best.

In many governments the candidates for the highest stations are above the law; and, if they can attain the object of their ambition, they have no fear of being called to account for the means by which they acquired it. They often endeavour, therefore, not only by fraud and falsehood, the ordinary and vulgar arts of intrigue and cabal; but sometimes by the perpetration of the most enormous crimes, by murder and assassination, by rebellion and civil war, to supplant and destroy those who oppose or stand in the way of their greatness.

Adam Smith, Essays Pt I, Sec III, Chap III. ed. Joseph Black and James Hutton (London: Alex. Murray & Son, 1869). 3/30/2018. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2721#Smith_Essays1649_206

denk , March 30, 2018 at 5:36 pm GMT
Uk, the perpetrator of Iraq WMD and the current Russiagate, a more 'ethical' country than China ?

What a joke !

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm GMT
@Willem

Honesty to me seems a cultural phenomenon.
Once people get away with dishonesty, others think 'why not me ?'.

The Dutch erosion, in my recollection, already began in the seventies, with leftist people, at the time social democrats.
It was said then 'thinking left, filling pockets at the right'.
People as my father, life long socialists, left the party in great numbers.
It took a long time for THE socialist party, PvdA, to disappear, until the last parliamentary elections.
The self destruction had much to do with EU support, socialism is at odds with globalisation, even within the EU.

Few in the USA will have followed all the French scandals before the last presidential elections.
Even Macron was accused of not declaring all his possessions.
And indeed, I also cannot understand how he spent or lost the millions he got while working for the Rothschild bank.

Another well known politician, presidential candidate, cannot now remember the name, disappeared after gifts for suits for some € 50.000 were published, there was also a very expensive watch, the job his wife had, what she in fact did, nobody understands, and the temporary jobs for his children.
When one sees the small castle where the family lives one understands that he could not buy his suits himself.

Now at last there seems to be sufficient proof against Sarkozy.

Now many French presidents were persecuted after their immunity ended, when they no longer were president.
But the frauds etc. they seem to have perpetrated seem worse and worse, in the Sarko case, intimidating a judge, among other things.
When Hollande will be persecuted, I wonder.
He had a reputation for sacking editors in chief.

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 5:53 pm GMT
@denk

Ask Ghandi, alas he does not live, when Britain was an ethical country.
Just a few years ago, in BBCW Hard Talk, I saw an Indian minister getting quite angry 'the British did not have to teach the Indians anything'.

JackOH , March 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Cindy

Cindy, both gut and butt survived my "rescue" hooch. I did some due diligence: examined the bottles, carefully tasted the contents, etc. My guess was a domestic quarrel in the parking garage over the high-end vodka and liqueurs, perhaps over someone's drinking problem, and the quarrel was settled by chucking the booze.

" . . . [S]orely lacking in judgment." Not really. My judgment turned out to be okay, because I was informed by the totality of the circumstances and then made my call. Had the booze been low-end stuff found in an unfamiliar location, etc., I might have judged differently.

BTW-I didn't dumpster-dive. The booze was clearly visible at the top of the trash can.

denk , March 30, 2018 at 6:19 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

How did they measure such 'honesty index' ?
Placing 100 wallets in a park and observe how many are returned to the owners ?

But when the anglos lie, they always lie big time !

Goebel famously oberved .

The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous

Waging wars by false pretexts surely is the highest form of duplicity ?
They dont call them perfidious albions for nuthin you know !

Another Realist , March 30, 2018 at 6:24 pm GMT
How does the author explain the link between the supposed highest IQ group – the Jews, and their reputation for utmost dishonesty, greed and lust throughout history? Same goes for the Chinese.

Propensity for Honesty is the biggest reason why we need to restrict immigration from low trust cultures, i.e. all 3rd world countries. It's why they're 3rd world, because they are low trust, everyone is dishonest from the top down, the few honest ones are called "stupid" and get ripped off left and right. The more we import from these cultures, the more dishonest our society will become, this includes all of Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Southern & Eastern Europe esp. Russia. The only truly honest people in the world are Northwestern Protestant Europeans, and maybe the Japanese. All other groups are dishonest.

Joe Wong , March 30, 2018 at 8:18 pm GMT
@res

Interesting work? This article is a pure misuse of statistics, a fabrication and a classic work of evil minded Eurocentrist attempting to give a new lease of life to their declining rotten Eurocentrism in facing of the rising progressive, peaceful, and pragmatic East.

Look at the graph, its racist Eurocentrism is glaring, all the Western nations are on the good side while rest of the world on the bad side. History has shown all those on the good side are liars, cheaters, murderers, bandits, and pirates, while those on the bad side are the victims of those perpetrators on the good side. The missing of the USA in the chart makes this article an unapologetic white supremacy lie.

To study the link between brightness and honesty, it should pull data from the same pool of population who are in the same environment, i.e. within a nation, then we even can study whether cognitive ability, intellectual development, moral awareness, culture factor, and institutions have any effect on honesty and their relationships.

Besides in spite of being bright, and having cognitive ability, intellectual development, moral awareness, culture factor and strong institutions, the West still bombs, kills and waterboards others on the fabricated phantom allegations as humanitarian intervention without showing remorse; and recently the West lied about the poisoning episode in UK, and brought the world to the edge of anther world war crisis, those evidences prove the Western societies are not honest despite the qualities they processed as prerequisite for honesty, it seems it proves the West is either hypocritical or innate psychopathic.

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 9:18 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

Ask Ghandi, alas he does not live, when Britain was an ethical country.

Exactly. What a pack of criminals. They were much worse and for a longer period of time, than what they accused the Nazis of doing.

Churchill refused to divert supplies away from already well-supplied British troops at the same time he allegedly blocked American and Canadian ships from delivering aid to India either. Nor would he allow the Indians to help themselves: the colonial government forbade the country from using its own ships or currency reserves to help the starving masses. Meanwhile, London pushed up the price of grain with hugely inflated purchases, making it unaffordable for the dying and destitute. Most-chillingly of all, when the government of Delhi telegrammed to tell him people were dying, Churchill allegedly only replied to ask why Gandhi hadn't died yet.

If all this is true -- and documents support it -- then Winston Churchill may well have starved to death as many innocent people as Stalin did in the Ukrainian genocide. Could the man who held out against Hitler really be capable of such an atrocity? Judging by the rest of this list, it wouldn't be surprising.

https://listverse.com/2014/02/04/10-evil-crimes-of-the-british-empire/

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm GMT
The honest and bright Brits are responsible for starvation in prison camps decades before the Nazis were supposed to have done their thing.:

Picture of Brit camp victim (Boer War) according to the article linked above.:

lavoisier , Website March 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm GMT
@ANON

I cannot play golf without committing a certain amount of larceny. In my mind a mulligan is a reasonable option to excuse a particularly poorly played shot. And I have been known to sweeten my lie on the not rare occasion, which, of course, is a form of lying.

I have often wondered if my ease at dishonesty on the links might suggest a propensity towards darker deeds?

And don't even ask me about gimme putts. That for sure must reflect a lower intelligence!

Joe Wong , March 30, 2018 at 10:33 pm GMT
@James Thompson

Who decides who cheats or being dishonesty? Is misleading advertising cheating? Is empty campaign promises cheating? Is abusing legal loopholes cheating? Is putting one's self-interest ahead of the ones they supposed to serve cheating? Is price fixing cheating? Are cartels of all kind cheating? Are selective reporting, wrongful labelling, and spreading ideology cheating? . . .

Mind you, the people involved in the above activities are all bright, well educated, intelligent, having strong institutions, within well-functioning societies, and a sense of moral responsibilities too, would they be more than 16% in the western societes?

Sollipsist , March 30, 2018 at 11:08 pm GMT
The assumptions behind this are so fragile and unsupportable.

Honesty, as with most of the Judeo-Christian values, largely serves to keep the compliant majority self-correcting while the predatory and parasitic top and bottom of society maintain a more productive relativistic approach – long term dishonesty for the elites, short term dishonesty for the undesirables. In-group honesty is always far more valued than universal honesty – whether you're talking about stockbrokers or Romani.

The most intelligent in any class or group are far more likely to utilize dishonesty when it best serves their needs. To do otherwise would be a clear sign of lack of intelligence.

The idea that intelligent people are more likely to see the purpose of honesty in the long term is not only an unsupportable assumption, it's also ignoring the countless undeniable historical instances of intelligent leaders deploying adaptive fictions to achieve positive social goals (anything from religion to the concept of inalienable rights).

Anyone who uses the phrase "speaking truth to power" can absolutely be counted upon to be utterly dishonest when that power comes knocking.

Art , March 30, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
As a boy I had the privilege to attend a Catholic grade school. Part of the education was to go to confession. Admitting to a third party your wrongs, is very powerful. Forgiving the past frees one. Being truthful builds character, and getting over the past is a blessing. It was a struggle to be totally truthful all the time. As a mid to late teen, I fell away from Catholicism.

In my early twenties I came back to believing that truthfulness is the best policy. I attribute that to the Catholic culture and the confessional. I would not say that it was my intelligence that led me.

Think Peace -- Art

Joe Wong , March 31, 2018 at 1:17 am GMT
@Art

Confession has nothing to do with honesty; it breeds psychopath, unrepentance, irresponsibility and repeat offending. The churches use confession to cleanse perpetrators' sins, so the perpetrators can repeat their crimes without moral burden; this is not hypothesis, history bear witness of such fact. This is the trait of the Western culture, it reflects in all aspects of the westerners' behaviour. Most common expression of such morally defunct mentality is that the western governments and officials have no trouble to apologize the wrongs they have done, but they keep on doing the same wrong over and over again after apologizing. The Native Americans are the most abused victim of such morally defunct practice.

The churches use confession to recruit and dominate its members (mentally colonized serfs), expand their domains. Confession is one of the most effective mechanisms that corrupt the basic decency of humanity.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@jacques sheete

Here's another ROFLLMAO,

China much more aggressive than UK ,
WTF !

How did they deduce that ,
Comparing how many people jump queue in UK and China ?

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Coming from those who hog the top 100 hoax of the century chart.

hehehhehe

utu , March 31, 2018 at 2:13 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Perhaps going to confession or a dose of Christianity would be good for Chinese.

Twodees Partain , March 31, 2018 at 2:20 am GMT
@jacques sheete

Adam Smith apparently had their number when he was alive. It seems that little has changed in the quality of politicians between the 19th and 21st centuries. If anything, today's politicians are even more dimwitted and venal. The average Congress member is a moron, and nearly inarticulate in unscripted speaking.

I really enjoyed reading Henry Mencken's observations on political campaigns of the early 20th century. He also seemed to enjoy making those observations as well. It comes through in the way he describes the candidates.

Twodees Partain , March 31, 2018 at 2:26 am GMT
@denk

The government of the UK seems completely unconcerned with ethics, in the same way the US government is. Most members of both governments seem, to me, to be morally retarded.

Malcolm Y , March 31, 2018 at 2:54 am GMT
Since this is statistics there are no counterexamples. But there is one giant "counterexample"
denk , March 31, 2018 at 3:27 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

which begs the question .

How did these two 'ethical' countries keep churning out world class psychopaths as leaders .since 1600 ?

dux.ie , March 31, 2018 at 5:45 am GMT
Flash! Flash! Flash! Stop the press. This is not yet 1st April.

Currently there are a lot of news about cheating in sports, e.g. cricket. Out of a whim the relationship of sports with academic cheating is tested. The OECD PISA project has data on the percentage of students who exercise before or after school PctExercise, and

PctCheatRpt=+1.044*PctExercise-46.25; #n=29; Rsq=0.234; p=0.007889 ** (V Sig)

It is very statistically significant that PctExercise is positively highly correlated to academic cheating. The effect is more than double that for the other percentage variables whether they are statistically significant or not. If students spend too much time on tracks and fields and little time at home studying the results can easily be inferred. Now you know those loud mouths screaming about cheating in another countries and that the students there spend too much time studying, they are on average themselves doing most of the academic cheatings and they might be trying to divert attention away from them.

To be fair, the situation for the nerds should also be checked. The OECD PISA has data on the percentage of students who have more than 4 hours per week of off-school maths tuition PctMathTuitGt4hr,

PctCheatRpt=-0.835*PctMathTuitGt4hr+31.81; #n=28; Rsq=0.0552; p=0.2287 (NotSig)

It is statisticaly not significant. What about those academically very competitive, the percentage who wanted to be the best PctWantBest,

PctCheatRpt=-0.445*PctWantBest+54.07; #n=29; Rsq=0.222; p=0.009944 ** (V Sig)

It is statistically very significant that PctWantBest negatively correlated with cheating, i.e, on average the more academically competitive they are the lesser they will cheat.

It is intuitively that most self-confident students will not cheat. The OECD data can be transformed and normalized into confident quotient CQ similar to the IQ scale where CQ ≥ 115 is considered to be over-confident. However,

PctCheatRpt = -0.362*ConfidantQuotient +61.62; #n=29; Rsq=0.1289; p=0.05581 (NotSig)

Two datapoints are far from the rest and are on opposite sides of the regression line, by excluding them,

PctCheatRpt = -0.473*ConfidentQuotient2 +73.25; #n=27; Rsq=0.1653; p=0.03535 * (SIg)

CQ is negatively correlated to cheating rate as expected.

The summary of the results,

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=10pvbyt&s=9

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 10:42 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Most common expression of such morally defunct mentality is that the western governments and officials have no trouble to apologize the wrongs they have done, but they keep on doing the same wrong over and over again after apologizing.

Amen!

What's even worse is the goofy idea that one is automatically "forgiven" if s/he's a "believer." It's the works vs faith idea. Some of those people feel free to break every rule in the book (even the 10 supposedly written in stone) with complete impunity.

Those people routinely engage in behavior that's as disgusting as those from the the tribe who think they're "chosen."

G-wd's special ones, goy and non-goy, are forgiven in advance I guess.

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 11:05 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

If anything, today's politicians are even more dimwitted and venal. The average Congress member is a moron, and nearly inarticulate in unscripted speaking.

True.

I think much the same could be said for all hierarchical systems and that includes religious as well as academic ones. I've always been as much amused as amazed at how dimwitted and venal priests and professors usually are.

Frauds-R-Us.

jilles dykstra , March 31, 2018 at 11:19 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Rereading this reaction comes to mind
Edward W. Said & Christopher Hitchens, ed., Blaming the Victims, Spurious scholarship and the Palestinian question', 1988, London

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
@JackOH

"[S]orely lacking in judgment." Not really. My judgment turned out to be okay"

No, it was a bad call regardless of how it turned out. The risk-reward ratio was off the chart.

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 11:30 am GMT
@denk

which begs the question .

How did these two 'ethical' countries keep churning out world class psychopaths as leaders .since 1600 ?

Beg no longer, fine sir! This dude may have an answer.

Henceforth, Britain will do the bidding of her real masters ; she has
become the tool of the schemers against all she holds dear, namely, her
faith, her patriotism, traditions, civilisation. She grants the " returned "
aliens equality of civil rights ; they may and do become mayors over
Christian population, and within a short time Britain is ruled by a
Jewish Prime Minister, Disraeli, first and foremost a Jew and the
flunkey of the powerful Rothschild financiers.

One of the consequences of this disastrous political mistake is the
transformation of the national attitude of Great Britain and her
colonies into that of the British Empire. Disraeli who inspired it
knew what he was scheming for, the British people did not. But with
him, Zionism is carried up to the very heights of the British Throne, a
Zionist World Empire is on the high road to realisation.

-Leslie Fry, "the Jews and the British Empire," 1935

https://archive.org/stream/FryLeslieTheJewsAndTheBritishEmpire/Fry_Leslie_-_The_jews_and_the_British_Empire_djvu.txt

He musta been a kunspirasee theerist er an antee-Semite er sumpin. Prolly lo IQ and jellis too.

Dieter Kief , March 31, 2018 at 11:37 am GMT
@Dieter Kief

In the light of what Jonathan Haidt in the above linked video says with regards to David Perkin's findings, I tend to say this question of yours

Do Brighter Minds Incline to Honesty?

has to be answered: "Yes. But ."

The But has to do with the the history of the term "honesty".

People might say wrong things, while being (and feeling!) honest, because honesty is not necessarily rooted in speaking the truth.

Honesty is a social category alltogether (with close ties to knighthood, chivalry and the like). It therefor is a category, which in it's very core hints at obedience and fellowship, and that's at times what keeps people away from speaking the truth – cf. David Perkins and Jonathan Haidt above (ok – full circle).

Joe Wong , March 31, 2018 at 12:42 pm GMT
@utu

Hit-and-run is common all over the world not just in China, it is a sign of moral decay, confusion, and irresponsibility. Those perpetrators must be denounced.

But if one follows the West or the unrepentant war criminal Japanese, it is easy to white wash those hit-and-run crimes by saying the percentage of such crime in China is way lower than in the US though the absolute number might be higher, so Chinese is more honest than average in the world.

On the other hand killing people with car faces less consequences in the West, most perpetrators in the West get slap on the wrist for such crime, such as suspension of driving license, insurance company paid compensation, short term imprisonment, or get way free by claiming medical conditions, but in China the perpetrators may have to pay their lives for their crimes. It seems the West does not have a balanced morality, harsh on the victims and lenient on the criminals.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

In the honesty index graph,
Germany is higher than China, OK, thats fair.

As for the five eyes lies , their rightful place is right at the bottom.

UK [half of fukus] the ethical country ?
hehehehhe

Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy
by Mark Curtis

In his explosive new book, Mark Curtis reveals a new picture of Britain's role in the world since 1945 and in the 'war against terrorism' by offering a comprehensive critique of the Blair government's foreign policy. Curtis argues that Britain is an 'outlaw state', often a violator of international law and ally of many repressive regimes. He reasons not only that Britain's foreign policies are generally unethical but that they are also making the world more dangerous and unequal.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1128541.Web_Of_Deceit

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:21 pm GMT
@utu

kid,

You believe in gawd ?
I pray to the all mighty every day to stop the great satan,
a fat lot of good it does tho !

so how ?

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

that utu kid oughtta go out more .

He spend all day in the basement and he thought he knows the world by watching some dubious youtube videos, forchrissake !

hehehhe

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 2:59 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

Interesting. Reverse Midas Touch can be a very real phenomenon, apparently.

So who chose them and what were they chosen for?

Anon [436] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT
@anarchyst

Why do you condemn over 100,000 years of homo sapiens behaviour. Destroying human lives has been continuously the most effective natural way to achieve important utilitarian ends tight up to today. And given the ancient Hebrew enthusiasm for genocide is it surprising that God's Ten Commandments not only said nothing about abortion but assumed that limiting killing was about the best that could be hoped for.

utu , March 31, 2018 at 6:16 pm GMT
@denk

Quality is also an aspect of honesty: both individual and institutional.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 6:54 pm GMT
Did I mention the top 100 hoaxes of the century chart, kid ?

Here's a partial list,

Iraq WMD
IRAQ babies incubators
Racak 'massacre'
RUSSIAGATE,
Chinagate,
Indo./China war 1962
Indon genocide 1965
GCHQ fake foto
Tibet fake foto,
Tibet genocide,
Libya
Syria
Sinking of the Maine,
Gulf of Tonkin,
911
War OF terror,
R2p[lunder]
TAM 'massacre'
Tibet 2008
Xinjiang 2009

100 reasons why fukus should be at the bottom of the 'honesty' chart !

utu , March 31, 2018 at 8:13 pm GMT
Chinese the most dishonest, Japanese and British the least, study finds

http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/1879850/chinese-most-dishonest-japanese-and-british-least-study-finds

Why do Chinese students think it's OK to cheat?

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1974986/why-do-chinese-students-think-its-ok-cheat

99% OF PUBG'S BANNED CHEATERS ARE FROM CHINA

http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/02/16/99-of-pubgs-banned-cheaters-are-from-china

utu , March 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

those hit-and-run crimes

These are not just hit and run. In China you do not run until you make sure the victim is dead. And if the victim is not dead you hit them second time to make sure he/she is dead and then you run. This is very pragmatic and congruent with all Chinese philosophical systems. That's why I suggested to your compatriot (denk) here that a bit of Christian mercy and compassion would do Chinese some good.

Philip Owen , March 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

As Amryata Sen has pointed out. The problem in Bengal was not a lack of food but the lack of purchasing power by the poorest peasants. Hoarding by merchants is a traditional driver of famine in India. The Punjab actually had a good harvest but Bengal ate rice. Churchill's nvolvement was ncidental. India was governed com India, often by Indians. Churchill was an outrageous racist but by no means representative of the British of the time. He lost the post war election.

Philip Owen , March 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

WYes. Grotesque incompetence rather than the intended result but morally wrong just the same.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@utu

I am surprised that you posted that first link. Its 1500 tested people (selected how?) from 15 countries simply reminded me that the "Climategate" emails also belonged to the University of East Anglia.

I didn't take the time to understand WTF PUBG was all about (third link).

As to the second link it is indeed interesting to learn of what appears to be a formal recognition by the Chinese Communist Party that part of what contributed to the earlier economic success of the West was trust and comparative honesty (as Amy Wax might point out).

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 1:58 am GMT
@utu

First of all Christians have no mercy, and they only have crusade and conversion. Christians are cult. The Christians have been committing crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes using evil and sadist inquisition methods for a very very long time. Their forte is racial and culture genocide. Before Columbus time they only did their carnage between themselves and Muslims within the European continent and ME. After Columbus they spread their plague all over the world.

The most unfortunate victims are the Americans (from North to South). Christian not only took the American's land, and killed them into nearly extinct, they also burnt all books of South Americans, so that there is no indigenous South American civilization left to tell their history and to refute what the Christian casted them as savages.

In China during the late Qing time, the Christians treated Chinese culture and traditions as witchcraft, backed by their governments' guns they used extraterritorial right to expand their control of people and land with organized violence and insidious crimes. Their unscrupulous activities forced Chinese to resist thru Boxer movement because Qing Court was incompetent. The West labelled Boxer as terrorists and crashed them with Eight Nations Alliance armed intervention, Christian was a major force that caused China Century Humiliation.

Since WWII all wars were led by the Christians, their false Christian mercy calls paved the way for the Western governments and war mongers to bomb, kill and waterboard on moral high ground just like their barbaric Christian forebears who have done to the native South Americans and rest of the world.

That kind of morally defunct drivers are not unique to China, they appeare in the West too. In some incidences the driver in the West made sure nobody survives in the other car by pushing the car over the road side, so they have better chance not to be convicted due to no witness.

While guys using assault rifles mowing down tens of school kids for no reasons and claim it is their constitution rights to do so, and tens of millions of killed, tortured and maimed by the NATO false flag wars, why don't you suggest your compatriots in the USA and other NATO nations that a bit of Christian mercy and compassion would do their souls some good? Is it because Christian mercy is myth, fantasy and snakeoil?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 2:37 am GMT
@utu

You are being racist, propagating the pink skin pigs' trashes in HK irresponsibly. You should know those noxious racist trolls in the SCMP are posted by the pink skin pigs and their mentally colonized wannabes in HK out of resentment and frustration, because they lost their colonial privileges in HK and they are being rejected as uneducated unscrupulous colonials back home. They fell from master caste to the bottom of the society and become worthless trash.

Japanese are unrepentant war criminals, their whole society are liars and they have been lying since WWII about their war crimes, their past, their present and their future, they even are lying about the massive toxic nuclear leaking in the Fukushima cripple nuclear power plants that are causing millions of people died of cancer and extinction of marine creatures. While the British is the mentor of the Japanese.

Britain was a ruthless global tyrant and liar, but you seem to believe that all the crimes against humanity and peace and war crimes British committed around the world can be forgiven and glossed over by claiming Britain a democracy; what a lie and morally defunct double think evil psychopathic expression. People said British imitates the Romans and the American is born out of the British, no wonder the American is adopting the same double think logic to white wash and gloss over the war crimes, crimes against humanity and peace they have been committing around the world.

Winston Churchill was a classic imperialist with no moral bearing, he believed for the empire everything goes. WWII is nothing but a dog-eat-dog play rough over the monopoly to plunder the rest of the world; they squandered all the wealth they obtained thru stealing, looting and murdering hundreds of millions of people all over the world in that scrabbling.

About cheating in the exams you must have never seen what the Greeks and Indian are capable of. PUBG is sour grape, they cannot beat the Chinese so they banned Chinese on the fabricated allegation, just like the Opium Wars, the British could not beat Chinese manufactured goods, so they used Opium and wars to steal and cheat Chinese wealth.

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 2:44 am GMT
@denk

Death should be knocking on Iran's door and wearing a Star of David effacing the American flag.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:50 am GMT
@denk

Why do you waste time displaying your prejudices without even acknowledging what question was asked? Your English is up to it – just – so you have no excuse.

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Your diatribe is a bit on the simplistic side.

All Utu was pointing out is that deliberately killing someone with a car to escape prosecution is pretty heinous behavior and does suggest something really wrong with the Chinese culture at a fundamental level.

And the treatment of animals in China is generally deplorable compared with Western standards with little concern for their well being. How does this obvious cruelty fit on the ethical plane?

Ethical behavior among human beings is probably more unusual than we would like to believe and we can all be better people. The Chinese are no exception to that rule. If Christian ethics or Buddhist ethics can advance that cause, I support this.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@jacques sheete

I was intrigued to find on the listverse.com site some readable and/or intriguing stuff, e.g. on Charles Darwin, but your particular, well debunked, choice of anachronistic and inaccurate story to believe and post suggests to me that anyone whose intellectual standards allow them to rely on one of those list (usually of 10) sites should not pollute UR. Are you aware that people are paid $100 (with possibility of bonuses) for those lists?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@utu

You are wrong, not everybody demands the same quality, and Chinese provides different quality for different needs in the market. Besides you get what you paid for, it is fundamental principle of capitalism if you don't count the first principle of capitalism which is monopoly which is charge as much as you can bear and cost is irrelevant, that is not only cheating and it is also blackmailing and looting.

The video just claims but shows no proof what the guy claims. Chinese machinery and parts are taking more markets around the world, this simply fact proves the video is made out of bad faith, and pure propaganda.

Coins can stand up on Chinese High Speed Rail running more than 300km/hr, no German, Japanese or any other nation can do that, it proves the bearing quality in China HSR is unprecedented, it further proves the guys in the video is a troll out of jealous, resentful and fear Chinese achievements.

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:33 am GMT
@utu

hey kiddie,

Spare me all those China videos' [1]

In case you still havent noticed,
Im not here to defend China.
I allow its position below Germany is quite fair.

But,
Can you give me one good reason why UK , that agent provocateur extraordinaire , is so high up that honesty chart ?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:41 am GMT
@utu

In China you do not run until you make sure the victim is dead.

cuz you watch some videos from youtube,
forchrissake !

Can you give me some credible statistics , the percentage of such alleged crimes in China ?

How does such alleged crimes stack up against fukus state terrorism like double tapping , sniping at women and chidlren, obliterating the whole neighborhood of a suspect hideout just to make sure, ?

And .
How does this elevate fukus from its rightful position at the bottom of that honesty chart,
thats all I wanna know ?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:44 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz

To think that I recently commended you for some improvement on your comprehension !
, now you go back to my bozo file,

Anonymous [216] Disclaimer , April 1, 2018 at 8:03 am GMT
@Joe Wong

It is propaganda. People tell me that the same stories were circulated when Japan was becoming a tech powerhouse. It will probably take another 5-10 years before it dissipates.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 10:01 am GMT
@denk

Don't avoid the issue. How do you justify your use of the word "aggressive"?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 11:42 am GMT
@lavoisier

I merely point out the misconception about Christians supported by historical facts. Indian treats animals even worse while China has humane protection laws, it seems you are as impartial as utu.

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 11:58 am GMT
@Anonymous

Chinese is not Japanese. Japanese only steals, their forte is made refinement on the stolen.

A lot of the American and British have been saying China will collapse 30 years already, you are one of them.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm GMT
Your first paragraph comes over as so silly that perhaps it shouldn't surprise that your second paragraph is, to say the least, extremely puzzling. Where did Anonymous [216] say or suggest that China eould collapse? The post you are replying to implies no such thing.
utu , April 1, 2018 at 3:32 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

After every of your visit by you at unz.com I keep wondering to what degree your primitive chauvinism is representative of China. How many millions primitive and hateful Joe Wongs are there? Then I wonder that perhaps you are not Chinese. That you are employed by enemies of China. That Chinese are too smart to show their cards that early in the game. If they really hate they would not show it because only fools show hate.

You, see I carry a positive stereotype of Chinese which is supported by my personal experience with them but you and your sidekick deng do everything possible to undermine it and change it into: Yes, Chinese can be really stupid and thus more dangerous than we thought. Watch, out for stupid and dangerous Chinese. Go to the Plan B: Poke NK and the Rocket Man more to the point that Japan get so paranoid that it starts arming itself with nukes. If there is to be a war let it start with the yellow races killing each other. They hate each other anyway. Ask Joe Wong if you have any doubts.

So what is it? Are you Chinese or an agent of revanchist militarist unreformed Chinese hating interests of Japanese imperialism? And then, if you are Chinese, how many more stupid ones like you are there?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMT
@utu

I carry a positive stereotype of Chinese which is supported by my personal experience

sic !

your sidekick deng

Ad hominem is the last resort of the scoundrel.

Why dont you try answering my questions kid ?

*How do you propose to get rid of that plague of the 21C ?

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/do-brighter-minds-incline-to-honesty/#comment-2267831

Why are you evading the issue but indulge in China bashing ?
Are you a diversion agent ?

*Do you agree that UK should be right at the bottom of that honesty chart ?

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 5:45 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

No. I am unimpressed with the morality of most humans and suspicious of attempts to paint ourselves as more virtuous than we are.

But there are certainly aspects of Christian morality that can serve as a framework to guide human behavior–wherever one lives or whoever you are.

Your diatribe blaming Christians for all the evil of the world is incredibly dishonest and naive.

Anonymous [442] Disclaimer , Website April 1, 2018 at 6:14 pm GMT
What is the difference in per capita income between southern europeans and scandinavians? I think this also plays a role.
Joe Wong , April 2, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
@lavoisier

It seems your only defense for the Christians is denying historical facts, and stating something that Christians are not.

Naïve? Are you saying the crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes committed by the Christians were carefully planned, deeply thought through, determined and maturely decided like holocaust?

Bible is zero-sum based narrative, the fundamental dogma of Christianity is "you are either with us or you are with the devil" therefore all Christians have a mission to convert everyone else into "one of us" on the moral high ground with whatever means necessary, Christians believe whatever the Christians do it is necessary with good intention, even bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated allegations is humanitarian intervention.

Christianity assumes humans are primitive and born evil, they need divine force to threaten (go to hell) them not to do harm, and it is tribal. While some other civilizations believe humans are sane, rational, intelligent and compassionate, humans do not need divine force to tell them how to behave properly in order to achieve peace, harmony, cooperation, development and mutual benefits, just logical explanation and some directions will be suffice.

If the past can be any reference, the crimes have been committed against humanity in the name of Christianity, it is doubtful that Christians have any morality, mind you it does not mean the Bible does not have good points in it, there are other way better ways and means to serve as a framework to guide human behaviour for the good.

Joe Wong , April 2, 2018 at 2:25 am GMT
@utu

Chauvinism is someone claims what he is not and based that false claim to demonize others what they are not on the moral high ground, this is what the West has been doing since 1492.

Stating facts does not involve emotion, so please refrain yourself from sensationalize any topic unnecessary that makes dialog on difficult issues impossible, Theresa May and Nikki Haley are not your role model to follow.

For over seventy years the US has dominated Asia, ravaging the continent with two major wars in Korea and Indo-China with millions of casualties, and multiple counter-insurgency interventions in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor, Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The strategic goal has been to expand its military and political power, exploit the economies and resources.

Before WWII, the American is just one of the Western imperialists ravaged and wreaked havoc of Asia with barbaric wars, illicit drugs like Opium, slavery, stealing, robbing, looting, plundering, murdering, torturing, exploiting, polluting, culture genocide, 'pious' fanaticism, unmatchable greed and extreme brutality. In fact it is hard to tell the difference between the American and the unrepentant war criminal Japanese who is more lethal and barbaric to Asians until the Pearl Harbour incident.

James Thompson , Website April 2, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
@utu

instructive comparison

lavoisier , Website April 2, 2018 at 3:57 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

If the past can be any reference, the crimes have been committed against humanity in the name of Christianity, it is doubtful that Christians have any morality

Do you really believe this???? No morality in any Christians?

You are even more locked into hate and racism than I thought possible.

Have you attended any of the lectures by the anti-racist Tim Wise??

You might get some talking points from him that can help you in your future postings.

And keep up the good work, you have a bright future in any number of our MSM outlets.

Daniel Chieh , April 2, 2018 at 4:23 pm GMT
@utu

And you have not even met the hardcore commies, who would like to explain that the only thing that Mao did wrong, terribly wrong was that he did not kill nearly enough people.

And the answer to your question is that there are idiots in every country and race, though in China they are mostly excluded from political positions(because insanity is not welcome), so they troll online message boards within and without China.

Like various other fanatics and crazies, they can be entertaining in the appropriate context. If you've been to Finland, he's the equivalent of the old drunk men yelling propositions at girls in some train stations of the small towns. Entertaining in small doses.

utu , April 2, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Daniel Chieh

Entertaining in small doses.

I think I reached my limit dose of Joe Wong and deng already.

denk , April 3, 2018 at 4:46 am GMT
@utu

So you couldnt even give one good reason why UK should be on top of that 'honesty chart' eh ?

well I can give you 100 why UK should be right at the bottom,

Perfidious albions
exhibit one

How to ethnic cleanse an entire island ?
Declare the residents as tresspassers !

'What the files also reveal is an imperious attitude of brutality. In August 1966, Sir Paul Gore-Booth, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office, wrote: "We must surely be very tough about this. The object of the exercise was to get some rocks that will remain ours.

There will be no indigenous population except seagulls." At the end of this is a handwritten note by DH Greenhill, later Baron Greenhill:

"Along with the Birds go some Tarzans or Men Fridays " Under the heading, "Maintaining the fiction", another official urges his colleagues to reclassify the islanders as "a floating population" and to "make up the rules as we go along".

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/oct/02/foreignpolicy.comment

Perfidious albions at its best !

heheheheheh

I think I reached my limit dose of Joe Wong and deng already.

yEAH,
Scurry away with tail between your legs and declare victory,

that'd be
perfidious albions exhibit 2

hehehhehe

Chris2345 , April 3, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT
@joe Wong You are a foolish, ignorant person. At least in regard to Christianity. The perpetrators of the holocaust and genocide are Christians? You absolutely have no clue about Christianity. Yes, they came from a Christian based culture but Nazis (and American war criminals) have nothing in common with Christianity. The best countries in the world are ones based on Protestant Christianity, meaning Christianity that is the closest to the Biblical teachings. I admire Chinese culture and history (especially the technology which benefited the West) but you need the ability to admit the faults of your culture which has some serious problems.
JackOH , April 4, 2018 at 9:53 am GMT
@Anonymous

Thanks for the concern, but the risk of harm to me was near zero. Numeracy and all that.

Vojkan , April 5, 2018 at 6:13 am GMT
Though I am convinced that honesty is more rational in the long term than lying, I definitely don't believe that people with high IQ are more honest than those more modestly gifted with intellectual talent. Smart people just know better to juggle with fallacies so they are more likely to get away with it than dummies, that's all.
Logic does say that truth is lower maintenance, as it exists per se and is always consistent, and lies so they are not exposed need to be cared of constantly, as they are always intrinsically inconsistent with reality, but people are people, driven by the seven sins, of which greed and vanity are possibly the worst, with the former being more evenly distributed while the latter tends to affect the bright rather than the dim.
Logic and ethics are different categories. Equating them is a sign of, well, vanity.
TT , April 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm GMT
@utu

Only a moron equate honesty = quality using ball bearing as example. There are countries may be very honest like Bhutan, yet they don't produce high quality product.

The US top elites are very intelligent, are producing lots of quality products like Boeing plane & precision weapons for murdering everywhere, yet their politicians & bankers are known habitual liars, with British & French close behind, and Germans reluctantly.

Japanese is producing high quality products, look how frequently their politicians are caught outright lying, corrupted & nepotism, and researchers are now caught recently in their published papers using fake data, with big corporates like Toshiba, Nissan, Steel factories caught cheating systematically for long period.

Its true Germany make top notch quality, undisputed, better than Japan imo.

But look at the chart, beside Germany, who else is producing better ball bearings than China, or precision tools that run aerospace, manned space craft, rockets, 5th gen J20, satellites, nuclear plants(light water pebble), nuclear sub, FSR, a long list to go yet they are rated more honest than China.

Fyi, only 2 countries are able to produce precision steel ball bearings for tiny ball point pen tip, Germany & Japan. So China is importing billion of them for its ball point pen production annually.

Why can't China factory produce it? There was some uproar in China media over this last year. Guess what? Within a mth, some factory is churning out perfect ball bearings, but in better material – ceramic that is cheaper & longer lasting. And the producer explained, its not economical worth the effort & machining to produce those bearings as they cost only $200K p. a. to import. But for national pride, they do it.

And i highly suspect you are either from HK or Taiwan with some bad memory of old China that you simply like to smear China without taking a fairer stand that, out of 1.4B Chinese how many % is doing those crimes, vs 400M murkans more serious crimes.

The new generation Chinese should not be continuously viewed through old communist color lens & West propaganda, they are not responsible for the history but the future. Pres Xi is a good example, he is leading China to their peaceful rise now. He suffered in culture revolution, do you want to blame him for those history?

TT , April 7, 2018 at 4:15 pm GMT
This chart simply look so questionable. Why not include US, France, Oz, Canada, Bhutan, India, Brazil, Agentina, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, HK, Japan, Korea, HK, Taiwan, to give a wider comparison. And how the author do his samplings to derive this graph is very much questionable.

And to say brighter mind = honesty, just look at how honest are most world politicians that are generally top intellectuals of their cohort. I would say more wise = more honesty.

To use wallets returning as a test of honesty is also overly simplified. When a country is poor, these are godsend present unless they are true perfect communist.

As a country get wealthier, their people generally get better education & well off, become indoctrine with social norm of what is so called good behavior(persuaded by praise & blame). They are more inclined to return a wallet found with money that aren't so attractive to them compare to poor. But that can never be equate to genuine honest, im sure most US Pres & UK PM will return wallets.

Take UK as the most glaring example, with its brightest in parliament are consistently been outright shameless liars, such as Blairs lies for Iraq WMD war, and now May's lies of Skripal case, which all getting near unanimous support from their parliament members speak great volumes.

There is a Unz article written on how UK has been the mecca of paedophiles, global capital in grooming children for sexual exploitation, with systematic covered up over decades by their politicians because they & those powerful elites were all involved.

http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/the-telford-child-sex-scandal-and-the-end-of-england/

Their police chief even suggested not to criminalize Britons watching/owned child porno as so high a proportion of their nation are doing will overwhelm their prisons & judicial system.

So what honesty are we talking about here, UK as over 60% honest? Even their moral value is highly questionable if you ask most UK white people.

And Malaysia getting 3rd highest honesty of near 80% is a great joke just shy from UK. Its one of well known highest crimes & corruption that the West themselves criticized much, even Spore ex-PM LKY openly condemn as violent crime infested. I never know violent criminal is honest, may be yes for the author country when compared to their politicians.

[Apr 07, 2018] Richest one percent will own two-thirds of all wealth by 2030 by Michael Savage

Neoliberalism as a social system is self-destructive -- similar to Trotskyism from which it was derived.
World leaders urged to act as anger over inequality reaches a 'tipping point'
Typical neoliberal mantra "need to rise productivity" is a typical neoliberal fake: look at Amazon for shining example here.
Notable quotes:
"... The real focus of our taxation system should be to tax wealth and recipients of silly amounts of annual income. ..."
"... Ur talking about something called "Reagan-nomics" or what was commonly and lovingly referred to as "trickle down economics". After the destruction of unionized labor, years of globalization, record profits for corporations & wall street and a high octane doze of Reagan / Thatcher Neoliberalism, "trickle down" has obviously been a complete failure. ..."
Apr 07, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

An alarming projection produced by the House of Commons library suggests that if trends seen since the 2008 financial crash were to continue, then the top 1% will hold 64% of the world's wealth by 2030. Even taking the financial crash into account, and measuring their assets over a longer period, they would still hold more than half of all wealth.

Since 2008, the wealth of the richest 1% has been growing at an average of 6% a year – much faster than the 3% growth in wealth of the remaining 99% of the world's population. Should that continue, the top 1% would hold wealth equating to $305tn (£216.5tn) – up from $140tn today.


BrianSand , 7 Apr 2018 14:53

The population of third world countries is skyrocketing. The population of developed countries, outside the importation of poor immigrants, is static. The top 1% of world population will continuously become comparatively richer as long as this is the case.
feliciafarrel -> apaliteno , 7 Apr 2018 14:50

but there's no way the UK has 10 million of the world's richest 75 million.

You need £550,000 to be in the top 1% in the world.

In the UK there are 27m households with an average of 1.94 adults per household.

25% of households have £550,000 or more.

That means 6.75m households are in the top 1% of the world, At 1.94 adults per household, that's 13,000,000 people.

However, assuming households are not 'legal people' but the adults within them are, then you'd have to divide household income by the number of adults (1.94) to get the wealth per person. So to reach £550,000 per person, a household would have to have net wealth of £1.067m, and only 10% of households have that wealth.

10% of 27m is 2.7m and that equates to only 5,240,000 people.

So in terms of households we easily reach 10m mark, but in terms of individual people, you are correct, it is 'only' 5.24m. Still and awful lot of people though.

Landlord52 -> Whattayagonnado huh , 7 Apr 2018 14:46
A single mother get £20k on benefits per years. Over 18 years that is £360,000. She has two kids, so that iwill cost £3,000 in education per years. 2 kids x 14 years x £3,500 per years = £98,000. We pay for child birth costs, free vaccinations, anti-natal care, free prescriptions, free eye care, free dental care, free school meals, we pay her countal tax bil. Plus if she is lucky, she get a free £450,000 council home.

Even if she works for a few years, it will never be enough to pay what she has received from the state. PLus we have to make provisions for her pension and her elderly care, meals on wheels, elderly health care etc...

That is easily £1m to £2million per single mother....

yeah... we are such a terrible society....

PotholeKid -> counttrumpage , 7 Apr 2018 14:45
The plebs are well on the way to figuring it out alright and so have the 1%. That's we now live under a militarized surveillance state which serves the elites.. Think again if voting will ever change this.. Bernie was doomed from the getgo.
hundredhander , 7 Apr 2018 14:42
I think the principle here is that the longer this goes on and the greater inequality becomes then the more extreme will be the countervailing force.

It is in everybody's interest that the world becomes fairer. That governments govern in the interests of as many people as possible. That public services like health and education are available to all regardless. That taxes are progressive and that governments have international treaties to deal with tax avoidance and evasion. That our democratic processes are as robust as possible and that all our organs of state are as transparent as possible and open to scrutiny to the public.

If the accumulation of wealth on this scale continues unabated it will end in tears... inevitably.

Furthermore I believe that there is a relationship between inequality - and all the things that go with it and follow from it - and environmental degradation.

Greater fairness between individuals and between countries is, in my opinion, one of the essential requirements for us to surmount the epic problems that we face in the world today.

DogsLivesMatter , 7 Apr 2018 14:41
I think most of us have are aware of what really happens at Davos. The wealthy and powerful are cooking up more schemes to screw the 99% over. Your Bono's and your Bill Gates are no friends to the working class or the working poor. Take Jeff Bezos for example. He has a mass of wealth totaling $112 Billion.

Jeff Bezos, or even Bill Gates could do that in an instant and still have Billions to spare. The super rich don't care about "regular" people, and never have.


Peter Rabbit ComfortablyPlumb 7 Apr 2018 14:25

This is the Osborne analogy regurgitated.

If you live in a £2.5 million house, you are wealthy, not average or poor. To be wealthy is not some form of human rights entitlement, especially if it is at the cost of the overwhelming majority. This concept is known as "greed" and "selfishness". Obviously your mantra is that of Gordon Gekko "greed is good".

The real focus of our taxation system should be to tax wealth and recipients of silly amounts of annual income.

All these arguments are dated and are applicable to the Thatcher era of the early 1980s which has long gone and is not going to return. The problem facing our society currently is run away social and economic inequality and the entrenchment of substantial wealth for a very small number of people which is fuelling generational social and inequality.


TakoradiMan BrotherLead 7 Apr 2018 14:24

I presume that most those living in the U.K. will fall within top 1% which the Guardianista loath so much.

I'm sorry but this post is utterly clueless.

To be in the top 1% you need to have a household income of well over £50k per annum (closer to £100k I suspect - no one here has yet given very authoritative figures); only a fraction of the UK population are that well off.

AnneK1 Landlord52 7 Apr 2018 14:24

Except that they don't and the charities have to come along and ask us for more money because the public sector haven't used tax revenue efficiently. I would say Britain's ineffective public sector are the greatest threat to Corbyn's chances of forming the government we need to rid us of these dangerous Tories.

PeterlooSunset 7 Apr 2018 14:24

The richest 1% own the corporate media (including the private equity firms keeping the Guardian afloat) that keep telling us we have to focus our attention on identity politics while they loot all the wealth.


prematureoptimsim -> Inthesticks 7 Apr 2018 14:23

Ur talking about something called "Reagan-nomics" or what was commonly and lovingly referred to as "trickle down economics". After the destruction of unionized labor, years of globalization, record profits for corporations & wall street and a high octane doze of Reagan / Thatcher Neoliberalism, "trickle down" has obviously been a complete failure.

U need proof ? Just examine recent history of presidential elections. . . .

  1. Barack Obama - ( Mr. Hope and Change )
  2. Donald Trump - ( Mr. Make America Great Again ).

And in the end it's the same as it ever was. The rich get richer and. . . . Well u know the rest. Good luck to u. Enjoy ur crumbs.

[Mar 29, 2018] High Ranking CIA Agent Blows Whistle On The Deep State And Shadow Government

I have fuzzy feeling is that "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4). Looks like Brennan machinations as a part of a larger trend.
So while those fears might look exaggerated, in no way they represent outlier in the spectrum of the opinion of the commentarial. There are also people like Kevin Shipp who might agree with me more then you do.
Moreover, the gradual shift toward some kind of "MIC leadership" was really noticeable in Trump administration just my the number of retired generals inhis administration. It might be just a beginning of the process of shifting the power, as military now are respected more then elected representatives. And CIA will be the key player is any such shift.
Existence of almost five million people with security clearance creates kind of "state within the state" situation. This is the point when quantity turns into quality.
Mar 29, 2018 | www.lewrockwell.com

Shipp expressed that the CIA was created through the Council on Foreign relations with no congressional approval, and historically the CFR is also tied into the mainstream media (MSM.) He elaborated that the CIA was the "central node" of the shadow government and controlled all of other 16 intelligence agencies despite the existence of the DNI. The agency also controls defense and intelligence contractors, can manipulate the president and political decisions, has the power to start wars, torture, initiate coups, and commit false flag attacks he said.

As Shipp stated, the CIA was created through executive order by then President Harry Truman by the signing of the National Security Act of 1947.

According to Shipp, the deep state is comprised of the military industrial complex, intelligence contractors, defense contractors, MIC lobbyist, Wall St (offshore accounts), Federal Reserve, IMF/World Bank, Treasury, Foreign lobbyists, and Central Banks.

In the shocking, explosive presentation, Shipp went on to express that there are "over 10,000 secret sites in the U.S." that formed after 9/11. There are "1,291 secret government agencies, 1,931 large private corporations and over 4,800,000 Americans that he knows of who have a secrecy clearance, and 854,000 who have Top Secret clearance, explaining they signed their lives away bound by an agreement.

[Mar 29, 2018] It's Not a Conspiracy Anymore; Public Belief in 'Deep State' Soars by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... The problem is CIA impunity. CIA uses it to make money -- and to make plutocrats and keep them in line. You don't like plutocrats? Good for you. Lock up some CIA scumbags, storm Langley and take the files, problem solved. ..."
Mar 29, 2018 | www.unz.com

CIA Imfrickinpunity , March 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT

This article is a tour de force of beating around the bush. It relates a campaign initiated and led by CIA DCI John Brennan, prosecuted with illegal secret government surveillance, coerced confessions, and suppressed investigation of the murder of Seth Rich. And it blames the Plutocrat Class.

How many divisions does the Plutocrat Class have? Does the Plutocrat Class have impunity for murder, torture, and denial of the rights of trial? Does the Plutocrat Class have anything like these get-out-jail-free cards?

The Central Intelligence Agency Act, which put CIA covert crime beyond the reach of any court. The Rogers-Houston MOU permitting the DCI to abort DoJ investigations with the magic words 'national security.'

The Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes the identity of CIA criminals a state secret. The operational files exemption to FOIA, which prohibits public scrutiny of evidence of CIA crime.

The 'political questions' judicial doctrine which stops judicial review of CIA crimes condoned, however vaguely or unwittingly, by Congress.

The article outlines criminal coup de main by domestic enemies, and sics us on cartoon Rich Uncle Pennybags.

Don't get wrapped around the axle overthinking some rock-paper-scissors transitivity relations of abstract political and economic power -- that's CIA-infiltrated Paris Review bullshit. Impunity beats money every time. To understand this, just watch what happens when a plutocrat gets in CIA's way. You see right away who's in charge. Plutocrat Ralph Nacchio learned his lesson, didn't he?

Plutocrat Elliot Spitzer learned his lesson. Dynastic plutocrats John and Bobby Kennedy didn't learn their lesson fast enough, but everybody else got the message.

The problem is CIA impunity. CIA uses it to make money -- and to make plutocrats and keep them in line. You don't like plutocrats? Good for you. Lock up some CIA scumbags, storm Langley and take the files, problem solved.

[Mar 28, 2018] Deep State and False Flag Attacks

Highly recommended!
Pretty interesting presentation; almost two hours long.
Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

wayfarer , March 24, 2018 at 4:05 am GMT

"Deep State – False Flag Attacks"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNA4f45F5II

[Mar 28, 2018] You are quite right, Power Elite is more accurate description, but now that the term Deep State has reached common parlance, is it useful to try to rebrand them?

Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

RobinG , March 28, 2018 at 4:38 pm GMT

@Bardon Kaldian

You are quite right, Power Elite is more accurate description, but now that the term Deep State has reached common parlance, is it useful to try to rebrand them?

Well, perhaps, because what we have now is a general misidentification (misdirection!) of defining the Deep State. Some single out the Intel agencies, others blame think-tanks, some even blame career civil servants (the 'bureaucrat' smear). Are these accusers really gatekeepers for the deep money interests?

All the same, how would you do it, and is it worthwhile? We've had the same chatter about the Fake News, i.e. MSM vs. Legacy News vs. Corporate News vs. Big News, etc. Some good work is coming out under Deep State -

Misunderstanding the Deep State

CIA Agent Whistleblower Risks All To Expose The Shadow Government

deschutes , March 28, 2018 at 4:40 pm GMT
The 'deep state' is not a 'conspiracy theory', it is a basic fact beyond debating. The deep state by definition means the USA's military industrial complex, i.e. all of the massive security agencies (Dept of Defense; CIA; State Dept; Pentagon; US Army; CentComm; Navy; Marines; NSA; NSC; etc) combined with their partners in the corporate sector who sell them the equipment: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, SAIC, Huntington Ingalls, etc. The 'revolving door' between these two sectors is a key aspect of the deep state: top ranking brass leave public service to take top positions at these defense corporations, or become lobbyists for them to continue their multi-billion dollar contracts at the government trough. The top officials at the security agencies often have careers spanning decades: these people are 'the deep state' personified. Presidents come and go, they are window dressing. The deep state calls the shots.
jilles dykstra , March 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm GMT
@deschutes

Maybe better to say 'Deep State shoots, and wants far more shooting'. Just this day a former member of the EU Commission, he did Foreign Affairs, retired, appeared on the leading German tv channel, with deep doubts about May's assertions, and deep concern where the anti Russia propaganda will lead to.

He had negotiated with Putin, who he described a very rational man. He still was quite emotional about the western lies that lead to the attack on Iraq.

BBC, or BBCW, did not watch it myself, broadcast the same interview, also, today. One cannot fool all people for all times.

ValmMond , March 28, 2018 at 5:57 pm GMT
@Bardon Kaldian

BS. The "power elite" in the US is associated with a clearly identifiable group, which doesn't even hide its own tribal interest and allegiances. A parasite lodged in a host. Its messianic DNA slowly unfolds and takes over the host's vital functions. Loss of identity and cognitive ability are only phases preceding total destruction. The complicit host is apparently fully and gleefully embracing its fate.

AnonFromTN , March 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm GMT
It takes a lot of effort to make the public believe the obvious. Deep state succeeded after so many years.
utu , March 28, 2018 at 6:59 pm GMT
@Thales the Milesian

Yeah. Distract them with the race issue. Kill extra couple of blacks. Provoke riots. Seen some money to BLM. And have the right and alt-right and all Sailers write about race , IQ until they dissipate all energy they got.

bluedog , March 28, 2018 at 7:08 pm GMT
@El Dato

If you don't you didn't live while he was president or don't read enough, probably both for you won't find it in the comic books

Art , March 28, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT

It's impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people.

How far-off it it to naming the Jews as the powerbrokers?

How far-off is the JQ – one year – two, three, four?

Think Peace -- - Do No Harm -- Art

bluedog , March 28, 2018 at 7:20 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Lol yep here we go again it must be Russia and Putin,I sure hope nothing happens to either, for if it did you would have nothing to live for,that grand place you live in would be awful lonesome with out either to whine about ,.

Herald , March 28, 2018 at 8:09 pm GMT
@Bobsyer

It seems you may have missed the main thrust of the article. It is that the Deep State is directing what Trump does or doesn't do. Trump may not like what he is doing but he has little choice but to eat crap and comfort himself with vacuous bluster on Twitter.

jacques sheete , March 28, 2018 at 8:28 pm GMT
Deep state? Sounds like what they called "corporate state" a century ago, especially since there's little hidden and nothing profound about it. Should be called "mafia state."
Jake , March 28, 2018 at 8:41 pm GMT
@ValmMond

The Deep State wielded preponderant power over this nation at least by the time Lincoln was buried, and its main actors then were virtually all pure WASPs (the non-Wasps were all Protestants of Continental Germanic ancestry, some of them Saxons, as was Martin Luther).

Jews didn't become the major power in the US Deep State until well after WW2. Probably after the assassination of JFK. Of course, you also need to face the many implications of the facts that Anglo-Saxon Puritanism was a Judaizing heresy and that archetypal Mr. WASP himself Oliver Cromwell made the alliance with Jews concrete.

WASP culture is doing what it always was meant to do.

jacques sheete , March 28, 2018 at 8:58 pm GMT
Deep state my tusch. Trump appointed Bolton because Republicans desperately need Adelson's money

http://mondoweiss.net/2018/03/appointed-republicans-desperately/

How "deep" izzat?

Realist , March 28, 2018 at 11:09 pm GMT
@Twodees Partain

Yes, I agree, and the biggest sham of all is that somehow the US is SUPPOSED to be a democracy.

The US is neither a Democracy or a Republic .it is an oligarchy.

renfro , March 28, 2018 at 11:14 pm GMT
The Deep State was called The Shadow Government in the 9o's.

And its the same thing it always was people and groups with ideologies or money interest or power interest or foreign interest ..all trying to direct the government to serve their interest.

And for the most part they have been successful in doing that.

[Mar 28, 2018] Power elite is, in most modern countries, comprised of big money (different sources in different lands), dominant media controllers of intellectual discourse through academia, military infrastructure plus professional politicians, various intelligence agencies etc.

Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

Bardon Kaldian , March 28, 2018 at 10:49 am GMT

I don't think that "deep state" is a correct term or that "unelected officials" are so crucial.

What you got here is typical of any country: power elite . This elite is, in most modern countries, comprised of big money (different sources in different lands), dominant media & controllers of intellectual discourse through academia, military infrastructure plus professional politicians, various intelligence agencies etc.

Only, the power elite is not eternally homogeneous & can be engaged in internal warfare, and sometimes collapse.

That's how world functions. What's new?

[Mar 28, 2018] It's Not a Conspiracy Anymore; Public Belief in 'Deep State' Soars by Mike Whitney

Notable quotes:
"... Monmouth University Poll ..."
"... It's impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people. These are pretty damning results and a clear indication of how corrupt the system really is. ..."
"... So, along with the fact, that most Americans think democracy is a pipe-dream, a clear majority also believe that the country has changed into a frightening, lock-down police state in which government agents gather all-manner of electronic communications on everyone without the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. ..."
"... There's no doubt in my mind that the relentless attacks on Donald Trump have reinforced the public's belief that the country is controlled by an invisible group of elites whose agents in the bureaucracy follow their diktats ..."
"... Brennan says "America will triumph over you." But whose America is he talking about? The American people elected Trump, he is the legitimate president of the United States. Many people may not like his policies, but they respect the system that put him in office. ..."
"... Brennan and his cadres of rogue agents have been at war with Trump since Day 1. Brennan does not accept the results of the election because it did not produce the outcome that he and his powerful constituents wanted. Brennan wants to destroy Trump. He even admits as much in his statement. ..."
"... And why do Brennan and his fatcat allies hate Trump so much? They don't. Because it's not really about Trump. It's about the presidency, the highest office in the land. The US Plutocrat Class honestly believe that they are entitled to govern the country that they physically own. It's theirs, they own it and they are taking it back. That's what this is all about ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | www.unz.com

On Monday, the Monmouth University Polling Institute released the results of a survey that found that "a large bipartisan majority feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a 'Deep State' of unelected government officials .. [1] Public Troubled By Deep State, Monmouth University Polling Institute

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 2 to 5, 2018 with 803 adults in the United States. The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/m...31918/

According to the survey:" 6-in-10 Americans (60%) feel that unelected or appointed government officials have too much influence in determining federal policy. Just 26% say the right balance of power exists between elected and unelected officials in determining policy. Democrats (59%), Republicans (59%) and independents (62%) agree that appointed officials hold too much sway in the federal government. ("Public Troubled by 'Deep State", Monmouth.edu)

The survey appears to confirm that democracy in the United States is largely a sham. Our elected representatives are not the agents of political change, but cogs in a vast bureaucratic machine that operates mainly in the interests of the behemoth corporations and banks. Surprisingly, most Americans have not been taken in by the media's promotional hoopla about elections and democracy. They have a fairly-decent grasp of how the system works and who ultimately benefits from it. Check it out:

" Few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term "Deep State ;" another 24% are somewhat familiar, while 63% say they are not familiar with this term. However, when the term is described as a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy, nearly 3-in-4 (74%) say they believe this type of apparatus exists in Washington. Only 1-in-5 say it does not exist." Belief in the probable existence of a Deep State comes from more than 7-in-10 Americans in each partisan group "

So while the cable news channels dismiss anyone who believes in the "Deep State" as a conspiracy theorist, it's clear that the majority of people think that's how the system really works, that is, "a group of unelected government and military officials secretly manipulate or direct national policy."

It's impossible to overstate the significance of the survey. The data suggest that representative democracy is a largely a fraud, that congressmen and senators are mostly sock-puppets who do the bidding of wealthy powerbrokers, and that the entire system is impervious to the will of the people. These are pretty damning results and a clear indication of how corrupt the system really is.

The Monmouth survey also found that "A majority of the American public believe that the U.S. government engages in widespread monitoring of its own citizens and worry that the U.S. government could be invading their own privacy." .

"Fully 8-in-10 believe that the U.S. government currently monitors or spies on the activities of American citizens, including a majority (53%)who say this activity is widespread Few Americans (18%) say government monitoring or spying on U.S. citizens is usually justified, with most (53%) saying it is only sometimes justified. Another 28% say this activity is rarely or never justified ." ("Public Troubled by 'Deep State", Monmouth.edu)

So, along with the fact, that most Americans think democracy is a pipe-dream, a clear majority also believe that the country has changed into a frightening, lock-down police state in which government agents gather all-manner of electronic communications on everyone without the slightest suspicion of wrongdoing. Once again, the data suggests that the American people know what is going on, know that the US has gone from a reasonably free country where civil liberties were protected under the law, to a state-of-the-art surveillance state ruled by invisible elites who see the American people as an obstacle to their global ambitions–but their awareness has not evolved into an organized movement for change. In any event, the public seems to understand that the USG is not as committed to human rights and civil liberties as the media would have one believe. That's a start.

There's no doubt in my mind that the relentless attacks on Donald Trump have reinforced the public's belief that the country is controlled by an invisible group of elites whose agents in the bureaucracy follow their diktats. From the time Trump became the GOP presidential nominee more than 18 months ago, a powerful faction of the Intelligence Community, law enforcement (FBI) and even elements form the Obama DOJ, have vigorously tried to sabotage his presidency, his credibility and his agenda. Without a scintilla of hard evidence to make their case, this same group and their dissembling allies in the media, have cast Trump as a disloyal collaborator who conspired to win the election by colluding with a foreign government. The magnitude of this fabrication is beyond anything we've seen before in American political history, and the absence of any verifiable proof makes it all the more alarming. As it happens, the Deep State is so powerful it can wage a full-blown assault on the highest elected office in the country without even showing probable cause. In other words, the president of the United States is not even accorded the same rights as a common crook. How does that happen?

Over the weekend, former CIA Director and "Russia-gate" ringleader John Brennan fired off an angry salvo at Trump on his Twitter account. Here's what he said:

"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America America will triumph over you."

Doesn't Brennan's statement help to reinforce the public's belief in the Deep State? How does a career bureaucrat who has never been elected to public office decide that it is appropriate to use the credibility of his former office to conduct a pitch-battle with the President of the United States?

Brennan says "America will triumph over you." But whose America is he talking about? The American people elected Trump, he is the legitimate president of the United States. Many people may not like his policies, but they respect the system that put him in office.

Not so, Brennan. Brennan and his cadres of rogue agents have been at war with Trump since Day 1. Brennan does not accept the results of the election because it did not produce the outcome that he and his powerful constituents wanted. Brennan wants to destroy Trump. He even admits as much in his statement.

And Brennan has been given a platform on the cable news channels so he can continue his assault on the presidency, not because he can prove that Trump is guilty of collusion or obstruction or whatever, but because the people who own the media have mobilized their deep state agents to carry out their vendetta to remove Trump from office by any means possible.

This is the "America" of which Brennan speaks. Not my America, but deep state America.

And why do Brennan and his fatcat allies hate Trump so much? They don't. Because it's not really about Trump. It's about the presidency, the highest office in the land. The US Plutocrat Class honestly believe that they are entitled to govern the country that they physically own. It's theirs, they own it and they are taking it back. That's what this is all about

... ... ...

[Mar 27, 2018] Integrity Has Vanished From The West by Paul Craig Roberts,

Mar 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored Among Western political leaders there is not an ounce of integrity or morality . The Western print and TV media is dishonest and corrupt beyond repair. Yet the Russian government persists in its fantasy of "working with Russia's Western partners." The only way Russia can work with crooks is to become a crook. Is that what the Russian government wants?

Finian Cunningham notes the absurdity in the political and media uproar over Trump (belatedly) telephoning Putin to congratulate him on his reelection with 77 percent of the vote, a show of public approval that no Western political leader could possibly attain. The crazed US senator from Arizona called the person with the largest majority vote of our time "a dictator." Yet a real blood-soaked dictator from Saudi Arabia is feted at the White House and fawned over by the president of the United States.

The Western politicians and presstitutes are morally outraged over an alleged poisoning, unsupported by any evidence, of a former spy of no consequence on orders by the president of Russia himself. These kind of insane insults thrown at the leader of the world's most powerful military nation -- and Russia is a nation, unlike the mongrel Western countries -- raise the chances of nuclear Armageddon beyond the risks during the 20th century's Cold War. The insane fools making these unsupported accusations show total disregard for all life on earth. Yet they regard themselves as the salt of the earth and as "exceptional, indispensable" people.

Think about the alleged poisoning of Skirpal by Russia. What can this be other than an orchestrated effort to demonize the president of Russia? How can the West be so outraged over the death of a former double-agent, that is, a deceptive person, and completely indifferent to the millions of peoples destroyed by the West in the 21st century alone. Where is the outrage among Western peoples over the massive deaths for which the West, acting through its Saudi agent, is responsible in Yemen? Where is the Western outrage among Western peoples over the deaths in Syria? The deaths in Libya, in Somalia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Afghanistan? Where is the outrage in the West over the constant Western interference in the internal affairs of other countries? How many times has Washington overthrown a democratically-elected government in Honduras and reinstalled a Washington puppet?

The corruption in the West extends beyond politicians, presstitutes, and an insouciant public to experts. When the ridiculous Condi Rice, national security adviser to president George W. Bush, spoke of Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction sending up a nuclear cloud over an American city, experts did not laugh her out of court. The chance of any such event was precisely zero and every expert knew it, but the corrupt experts held their tongues. If they spoke the truth, they knew that they would not get on TV, would not get a government grant, would be out of the running for a government appointment. So they accepted the absurd lie designed to justify an American invasion that destroyed a country.

This is the West. There is nothing but lies and indifference to the deaths of others. The only outrage is orchestrated and directed against a target: the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Iran, Assad, Russia and Putin, and against reformist leaders in Latin America. The targets for Western outrage are always those who act independently of Washington or who are no longer useful to Washington's purposes.

The quality of people in Western governments has collapsed to the very bottom of the barrel. The British actually have a person, Boris Johnson, as Foreign Secretary, who is so low-down that a former British ambassador has no compunction in calling him a categorical liar. The British lab Porton Down, contrary to Johnson's claim, has not identified the agent associated with the attack on Skirpal as a Russian novichok agent. Note also that if the British lab is able to identify a novichok agent, it also has the capability of producing it, a capability that many countries have as the formulas were published years ago in a book.

That the novichok poisoning of Skirpal is an orchestration is obvious. The minute the event occurred the story was ready. With no evidence in hand, the British government and presstitute media were screaming "the Russians did it." Not content with that, Boris Johnson screamed "Putin did it." In order to institutionalize fear and hatred of Russia into British consciousness, British school children are being taught that Putin is like Hitler.

Orchestrations this blatant demonstrate that Western governments have no respect for the intelligence of their peoples. That Western governments get away with these fantastic lies indicates that the governments are immune to accountability. Even if accountability were possible, there is no sign that Western peoples are capable of holding their governments accountable. As Washington drives the world to nuclear war, where are the protests? The only protest is brainwashed school children protesting the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment.

Western democracy is a hoax. Consider Catalonia. The people voted for independence and were denounced for doing so by European politicians. The Spanish government invaded Catalonia alleging that the popular referendum, in which people expressed their opinion about their own future, was illegal. Catalonian leaders are in prison awaiting trial, except for Carles Puigdemont who escaped to Belgium. Now Germany has captured him on his return to Belgium from Finland where he lectured at the University of Hesinki and is holding him in jail for a Spanish government that bears more resemblance to Francisco Franco than to democracy. The European Union itself is a conspiracy against democracy.

The success of Western propaganda in creating non-existent virtues for itself is the greatest public relations success in history. Tags Politics

[Mar 23, 2018] http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2018/4512_poisoning_brit_desperate.html

Notable quotes:
"... [ Print version of this article ] ..."
"... A short statement of the reasons why the British are now staging the Skripal provocation can be found in a March 14 London Daily Telegraph call to arms by Allister Heath, who rants: "We need a new world order to take on totalitarian capitalists in Russia and China. Such an alliance would dramatically shift the global balance of power, and allow the liberal democracies finally to fight back. It would endow the world with the sorts of robust institutions that are required to contain Russia and China. Britain needs a new role in the world; building such a network would be our perfect mission." Across the pond, as they say, a similar foundational statement was made by 68 former Obama Administration officials who have formed a group called National Security Action, aimed at securing Trump's impeachment and attacking Russia and China. ..."
"... China's "Belt and Road Initiative" now encompasses more than 140 nations in the largest infrastructure-building project ever undertaken in human history. This project is a true economic engine for the future. At the same time, the neo-liberal economies of the trans-Atlantic region continue to see their productive potentials sucked dry by the massive piles of debt they have created since the 2008 financial collapse. ..."
"... Just look at the events of February and March from this standpoint. It is no accident that Christopher Steele turns up, smack dab in the middle of the Skripal poisoning hoax. ..."
"... None of the true facts about the actual motive for, and sponsors of, the DOJ applications involving Carter Page were revealed to the FISA Court in the filings made by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Director James Comey, or current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. ..."
"... Since Steele has been discredited in the United States, a huge fawning publicity campaign has been undertaken on his behalf. The campaign involves journalists who have collaborated directly with Steele in his smear job against Trump. Books by Luke Harding and Michael Isikoff seek to rebuild Steele's reputation. ..."
"... A fawning piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, as implausible as it is long, has been foisted on the public for the same reason. ..."
"... Steele described his business to Luke Harding as primarily providing research and reports to competing and feuding Russian oligarchs, many of whom use London as a base of operations. This is obviously a perfect cover for intelligence operations. It is also a very violent theater of operations. The oligarchs intersect both Western intelligence operations and Russian organized crime. They engage in deadly gang warfare. ..."
"... Steele and his partners are mentored by Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 and a critical player in the infamous "sexing up" and fabrication of the claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, ..."
"... Steele had been tasked to claim that Russia was interfering in Western elections during the entire post-Ukraine coup time-frame, when this black propaganda line began to be circulated widely. ..."
"... The background to Porton Down's reluctance, is of course former Prime Minister Blair's phony dossier on Iraqi WMD, which Lyndon LaRouche fought, alongside the late British arms expert David Kelly, who exposed the "dodgy dossier," at the time. ..."
"... Thus, after being disclosed by a dissident Russian chemist living in the United States, novichoks have been widely copied by other countries, according to the press accounts. ..."
"... The insane McCarthyite reactions to Corbyn's simple statements of fact show that he hit the nail on the head. If you want to find Skripal's poisoners, then, like Edgar Allen Poe, you must take in the whole picture first. The field of play involves the British intelligence services and the anti-Putin Russian oligarchs, each of which services the other, acting on behalf of British strategic objectives. It is no accident that the coup against Donald Trump and the latest British intelligence fraud, putting the entire world in peril, absolutely intersect one another. ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.larouchepub.com

Skripal Poisoning a Desperate British Attempt To Resurrect Their American Coup

by Barbara Boyd

[ Print version of this article ]

March 18 -- In this report, we will explore the strategic significance of major events in the world starting in February 2018. Our goal is to precisely situate British Prime Minister Theresa May's March 12-14 mad effort to manufacture a new "weapons of mass destruction" hoax based on the alleged Skripal poisoning, using the same people (the MI6 intelligence grouping around Sir Richard Dearlove) and script (an intelligence fraud concerning weapons of mass destruction) which were used to draw the United States into the disastrous Iraq War.

The Skripal poisoning fraud also directly involves British agent Christopher Steele, the central figure in the ongoing coup against Donald Trump. This time the British information warfare operation is aimed at directly provoking Russia, while maintaining the targeting of the U.S. population and President Trump.

As the fevered, war-like media coverage and hysteria surrounding the case make clear, a certain section of the British elite seems prepared to risk everything on behalf of its dying imperial system. Despite the hype, economic warfare and sanctions appear to be the British weapons of choice -- Vladimir Putin, as we shall see, recently called the West's nuclear bluff. With the British "Russiagate" coup against Donald Trump fizzling, exposing British agent Christopher Steele and a slew of his American friends to criminal prosecution, a new tool was desperately needed to back the President of the United States into the British geopolitical corner shared by most of the American establishment. The tool they are using to do this is an intelligence hoax, a tried-and-true British product.

According to the British spy tale, a former Russian military intelligence colonel, Sergei Skripal, who spied for Great Britain in Russia from the early 1990s until 2004, was poisoned, along with his daughter, on March 4 in Salisbury, England, using a nerve agent "of a type developed by Russia." In 2010, Skripal had been exchanged in a spy swap between the United States and Russia. He had served six years in a Russian prison for spying for Britain. He had been living in the open in Britain for the last eight years. Skripal's MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller, listed himself as a consultant to Orbis Business Intelligence, Christopher Steele's British company, on his LinkedIn profile. When the London Daily Telegraph called attention to the Orbis reference, it was removed from the profile. Steele, who worked on the Trump dossier through his company Orbis, has denied that Miller worked directly on that dossier.

Theresa May and her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, insist there is only one person who could be responsible for the poisoning -- described as an act of war -- and that person is Vladimir Putin. No evidence has been offered to support this claim. No plausible motive has been provided as to why Putin would order such a provocative murder now, ahead of the World Cup, when the Russiagate coup in the United States has lost all momentum. Rather than following the protocols of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which require that evidence of the alleged agent be presented to Russia, the eccentric and unpopular May instead delivered an ultimatum to Russia, and whipped up war fever throughout the UK. She now seeks to pull Donald Trump and NATO into ever more aggressive moves against Russia.

Thus, as with Christopher Steele's dirty dossier against Donald Trump, the British claims against Putin are an evidence-free exercise of raw power. The Anglo-American establishment instructs us: "trust this, ignore the stinky factless content presented in this dossier -- just note that it is backed by very important intelligence agencies which could cook your goose if you object."

A short statement of the reasons why the British are now staging the Skripal provocation can be found in a March 14 London Daily Telegraph call to arms by Allister Heath, who rants: "We need a new world order to take on totalitarian capitalists in Russia and China. Such an alliance would dramatically shift the global balance of power, and allow the liberal democracies finally to fight back. It would endow the world with the sorts of robust institutions that are required to contain Russia and China. Britain needs a new role in the world; building such a network would be our perfect mission." Across the pond, as they say, a similar foundational statement was made by 68 former Obama Administration officials who have formed a group called National Security Action, aimed at securing Trump's impeachment and attacking Russia and China.

Russia and China have embarked on a massive infrastructure building project in Eurasia, the center of all British geopolitical fantasies since the time of Halford Mackinder. China's "Belt and Road Initiative" now encompasses more than 140 nations in the largest infrastructure-building project ever undertaken in human history. This project is a true economic engine for the future. At the same time, the neo-liberal economies of the trans-Atlantic region continue to see their productive potentials sucked dry by the massive piles of debt they have created since the 2008 financial collapse. This debt is now on a hair trigger for implosion. It is estimated by banking insiders that the City of London is sitting on a derivatives powderkeg of $700 trillion, with over-the-counter derivatives accounting for another $570 trillion. The City of London will bear the major impact of the coming derivatives collapse.

In this strategic geometry, President Trump's support for peaceful collaboration with Russia during the campaign, and his personal friendship with China's President Xi Jinping, have marked him for the relentless coup-drive waged by the British and their U.S. friends.

On top of that, President Putin delivered a mammoth strategic shock on March 1, showing new Russian weapons systems based on new physical principles, which render present U.S. ABM systems and much of current U.S. war-fighting doctrine obsolete, together with the vaunted first strike capacity with which NATO has surrounded Russia. Not only is the West sitting on a new financial collapse, its vaunted military superiority has just been flanked.

It is very clear that a strategic choice now confronts the human race. In 1984, Lyndon LaRouche wrote a very profound document, " Draft Memorandum of Agreement Between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. " In it, he developed the concrete basis for peace between the two superpowers at the moment when the United States had adopted the LaRouche/Reagan doctrine of strategic defense. Both Reagan and LaRouche had proposed that the Russians and the United States cooperate in building and developing strategic defense against offensive nuclear weapons, based on new physical principles, thereby eliminating the threat of nuclear annihilation.

According to the LaRouche Doctrine, "The political foundation for durable peace must be: a) the unconditional sovereignty of each and all nation states, and b) cooperation among sovereign states to the effect of promoting unlimited opportunities to participate in the benefits of technological progress, to the mutual benefit of each and all."

Both China, in President Xi's October Address to the Party Congress, and Russia, in Putin's March 1 address to the Federal Assembly, have set a course to produce technological progress capable of being shared in by all. They both outline major infrastructure projects and dedicating massive funding to exploring the frontiers of science, technology, and space exploration. Donald Trump, in both his campaign and his presidency, has embraced similar views. The British and their American friends, however, are devotees of a completely different and failing economic system, a system soundly rejected in Brexit, in the election of Donald Trump, and most recently in the Italian elections.

Just look at the events of February and March from this standpoint. It is no accident that Christopher Steele turns up, smack dab in the middle of the Skripal poisoning hoax.

Exposure of British as U.S. Election Meddlers Weakens Anti-Trump Coup

On Feb. 2, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a memo demonstrating that the Obama Justice Department and FBI committed an outright fraud on the FISA court in obtaining surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a volunteer for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The bogus warrant applications relied heavily on the dirty British dossier authored by MI6's "former" Russian intelligence chief, Christopher Steele, who had been paid by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee to paint Donald Trump as a Manchurian candidate -- as a pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the House Intelligence memo and other aspects of its investigation, Steele confided to Bruce Ohr, a high official in the DOJ, that he, Steele, hated Trump with a passion and would do "anything" to prevent Trump's election. Steele was using the fact of an FBI investigation of his allegations as part of a "full spectrum" British information warfare campaign conducted against candidate Trump with the full complicity of Obama's intelligence chiefs. (See Peter Van Buren, " Christopher Steele: The Real Foreign Influence in the 2016 U.S. Election? " The American Conservative, February 15, 2018.) None of the true facts about the actual motive for, and sponsors of, the DOJ applications involving Carter Page were revealed to the FISA Court in the filings made by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Director James Comey, or current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The House Intelligence Committee memo was quickly followed by a declassified letter on Feb. 5, in which Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham referred Christopher Steele to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for criminal prosecution, based on false statements he made to the FBI about his contacts with the news media. No doubt the criminal referral sent chills down the spines not only of Christopher Steele and his British colleagues, but also of those former Obama officials conspiring against Trump.

In the same week, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes announced that he would be conducting investigations into the role of the Obama State Department and intelligence chiefs in the circulation and use of Christopher Steele's dirty dossier. These investigations have been widely reported to focus on John Brennan and James Clapper -- Brennan for widely promoting the dirty British work product, and Clapper for leaks associated with BuzzFeed's publication and legitimization of the dirty British work product. Remind yourself every time you hear media explosions against Trump by either Clapper (congressional perjurer and proponent of the theory that the Russians are genetically predisposed to screw the United States) or Brennan (gopher for George Tenet's perpetual war and torture regime and Grand Inquisitor for Barack Obama's serial
assassinations by baseball card). They are next in the barrel, so to speak.

The January 11, 2017 BuzzFeed publication of the Steele dossier was meant to permanently poison Trump's incoming administration, and is the subject of libel suits both in Florida and London. In the London case, the British are ready to invoke the Official Secrets Act to protect Christopher Steele. In the Florida case, Steele has been ordered to sit for deposition despite numerous delays and stalling tactics.

The Congressional investigation of the State Department is focused on John Kerry, Kerry's aide Jonathan Winer, Victoria Nuland, and Clinton operative Cody Shearer. Nuland utilized Christopher Steele as a primary intelligence source while running the U.S. regime change operations in Ukraine in alliance with neo-Nazis. She greenlighted Steele's initial meetings with the FBI about Donald Trump. Winer deployed himself to vouch for Steele to various news publications collaborating with British agent Steele and his U.S. employer, Fusion GPS, in Steele's media warfare operations against Trump.

Horowitz's report on the Clinton investigations -- which have already unearthed the texts between former Russiagate lead case agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, proclaiming their hatred of Donald Trump and the need for an "insurance policy" against his election -- is expected to be released very soon. According to the House Intelligence Committee, the Strzok/Page texts also reveal that Strzok was a close friend of U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras. Contreras sits on the FISA court, took Michael Flynn's guilty plea, and then promptly recused himself from Michael Flynn's case for reasons which remain undisclosed.

Despite its exoneration of the President and thorough discrediting of the British Steele operation, the House Intelligence Committee dangerously accepts the myth that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the emails of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta, and then provided the hacked information to WikiLeaks for publication. Its final report states, however, that Putin's intervention was not in support of Donald Trump, as previously claimed by Obama's intelligence chiefs. The Senators seeking a new Special Counsel also salute this dangerous fraud.

As we have previously reported, the myth that Putin hacked the Democrats and provided the hacked emails to WikiLeaks, has been substantively refuted by the investigations of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). In summary, the evidence points to a leak rather than a hack in the case of the DNC. Further, the NSA would have the evidence of any such hack or hacks, according to former NSA technical director Bill Binney, and would have provided it, even if in a classified setting. It is clear that the NSA has no such evidence. It is also clear that the United States and the British have cyber warfare capabilities fully capable of creating "false flag" cyber war incidents.

North Korea Talks Planned, While Russia and China Continue to Create the Conditions for a New Human Renaissance

In addition to the fizzling of the coup, the Western elites suffered through February and March for additional reasons. To the shock of the entire, smug Davos crowd, Donald Trump, working with Russia, China, and South Korea, appears to have gotten Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table concerning denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Substantive talks have been scheduled for May. The breakthrough was announced by President Trump and South Korea on March 8.

On March 1, President Putin gave his historic two-hour address to the Russian Federal Assembly and the Russian people. Like President Xi's address to the Chinese Party Congress in October 2017, Putin focused on the goal of deeply reducing poverty in Russian society. Xi vowed in October to eliminate poverty from Chinese society altogether by 2020. In addition, Putin emphasized that Russia would undertake a huge city-building project across its vast rural frontiers and dramatically expand its modern infrastructure, including Russia's digital infrastructure. He put major emphasis on directing funds to basic scientific and technological progress. He emphasized that harnessing and stimulating the creative powers of individual human beings is the true driver of all economic progress.

China's Belt and Road Initiative also continued to advance. Great infrastructure projects are popping up throughout the world, including most specifically in Africa, which had been consigned to be a permanent, primitive looting-ground for Western interests. Among the recent breakthroughs is the great project to refill Lake Chad, a project known as "Transaqua," involving the Italian engineering firm Bonifica, the Chinese engineering and construction firm PowerChina, and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, which represents the African countries directly benefiting from the project. But the biggest strategic news of the last six weeks was contained in the last part of President Putin's speech. He showed various weapons, developed by Russian scientists in the wake of the U.S. abrogation of the ABM treaty and the Anglo-American campaign of color revolutions and NATO base-building in the former Soviet bloc. These weapons, based on new physical principles, render U.S. ABM defenses obsolete, together with many U.S. utopian war-fighting doctrines developed under the reigns of Obama and Bush. Putin emphasized that the economic and "defense" aspects of his speech were not separate. Rather, the scientific breakthroughs were based on an in-depth economic mobilization of the physical economy. He stressed that Russia's survival was dependent upon marshalling continuous creative breakthroughs in basic science and the high-technology spinoffs which result, and their propagation through the entire population. He stressed that such breakthroughs are the product of providing an actually human existence to the entire society.

Compare what Russia and China have set out to accomplish with respect to the physical economy of the Earth, with the second and third paragraphs of Lyndon LaRouche's prescription for a durable peace in the LaRouche Doctrine:

The most crucial feature of present implementation of such a policy of durable peace is a profound change in the monetary, economic, and political relations between dominant powers and those relatively subordinated nations often classed as "developing nations." Unless the inequities lingering in the aftermath of modern colonialism are progressively remedied, there can be no durable peace on this planet.

Insofar as the United States and the Soviet Union acknowledge the progress of the productive powers of labor throughout the planet to be in the vital strategic interests of each and both, the two powers are bound to that degree and in that way by a common interest. This is the kernel of the political and economic policies of practice indispensable to the fostering of a durable peace between those two powers.

This is the perspective which has the British terrified and acting-out, insanely. Were Trump, Putin, and Xi to enter into negotiations based on the LaRouche Doctrine, a breakthrough will have occurred for all of mankind, a breakthrough to a permanent and durable peace. No neo-liberal, post-industrial, unipolar order can match this, no matter how much Allister Heath, Ms. May, or Boris Johnson rant and rave about it.

Christopher Steele's British Playground

As is well known by now, Christopher Steele was a long-time MI6 agent before "retiring" to form his own extremely lucrative private intelligence firm. The firm is said to have earned $200 million since its formation. Steele was an MI6 agent in Moscow around the time Skripal was recruited. He also later ran the MI6 Russia desk and would have known everything there was to know about Skripal. Pablo Miller, who recruited Skripal, worked for Steele's firm according to Miller's LinkedIn profile, and lived in the same town as Skripal.

Since Steele has been discredited in the United States, a huge fawning publicity campaign has been undertaken on his behalf. The campaign involves journalists who have collaborated directly with Steele in his smear job against Trump. Books by Luke Harding and Michael Isikoff seek to rebuild Steele's reputation.

A fawning piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, as implausible as it is long, has been foisted on the public for the same reason.

There are some fascinating facts, however, in all this fawning prose:

Leaving aside Sergei Skripal's relationship with the central figure in the British-led coup against Donald Trump, it is clear that the May government's claim that he and his daughter were poisoned by a "novichok" nerve-agent, even if it is true, by no means makes a case that Putin's government was responsible. (It is of interest that as we were going to press on March 19, the foreign ministers of the European Union, after a briefing by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that indicted Putin as responsible, issued a statement which condemned the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, but pointedly failed to blame Putin or Russia.)

Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan who maintains contacts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote March 16 that Britain's chemical-warfare scientists at Porton Down, "are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation of a type developed by Russia, after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the novichok program, a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilizers. This substance is a novichok in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China."

The background to Porton Down's reluctance, is of course former Prime Minister Blair's phony dossier on Iraqi WMD, which Lyndon LaRouche fought, alongside the late British arms expert David Kelly, who exposed the "dodgy dossier," at the time.

"To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days," Murray continues. "The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation of a type developed by Russia was used by Theresa May in Parliament, used by the U.K. at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, 'of a type developed by Russia,' is the precise phrase used in the joint communique‚ issued by the U.K., U.S.A., France, and Germany yesterday."

The main account of the chemical weapons cited by Theresa May was written by a Soviet dissident chemist named Vil Mirzayanov who now lives in the United States and published a book about his work at the Soviets' Uzbekistan chemical-warfare laboratory. In his much-publicized book, Mirzayanov sets out the formulas for the claimed substances. According to the March 16 Wall Street Journal, that publicity led to the novichoks' chemical structure being leaked, making them readily available for reproduction elsewhere. Ralf Trapp, a France-based consultant and expert on the control of chemical and biological weapons, told the Journal, "The chemical formula has been publicized and we know from publications from then-Czechoslovakia that they had worked on similar agents for defense in the 1980s. I'm sure other countries with developed programs would have as well."

But it does not seem that those "other countries" include Russia. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the independent agency charged by treaty with investigating claims like those just made by the British government, certified in September 2017 that the Russian government had destroyed its entire chemical weapons program, inclusive of its nerve agent production capabilities. In addition to Trapp's account, Seamus Martin, writing in the March 14 Irish Times, posits, based on personal knowledge, that novichoks were widely expropriated by East Bloc oligarchs and criminal elements in the Russian economic chaos of the 1990s.

Thus, after being disclosed by a dissident Russian chemist living in the United States, novichoks have been widely copied by other countries, according to the press accounts.

Further trouble for May's attempted hoax is found in the condition of the Skripals and of a police officer who went to their home. All were made critically ill, although they are still alive. Yet the emergency personnel who treated the Skripals, allegedly the victims of a deadly and absolutely lethal nerve poison, suffered no ill effects whatsoever.

The Skripal poisoning is being compared in the British press to the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. The former KGB and FSB officer was granted asylum in London and worked for the infamous anti-Putin British-intelligence-directed oligarch Boris Berezovsky in information warfare and other attacks on the Russian state, inclusive of McCarthyite accusations against any European politician seeking sane relations with Putin.

Litvinenko's case officer was none other than Christopher Steele, and Christopher Steele conducted MI6's investigation of the case, which, of course, found Putin himself culpable. Berezovsky's use of the disgraced British PR firm Bell, Pottinger is also credited with a significant role in public acceptance of this result. Berezovsky was a prime suspect in organizing the murder of American journalist Paul Klebnikov. Many believe that Berezovsky arranged Litvinenko's demise. Berezovsky himself died in Britain in mysterious circumstances following the loss of a major court case to another Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich.

In the parliamentary debate in which Theresa May issued her provocation, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn cautioned against a rush to judgment and pointed to the bloody playing field of Russian oligarchs and Russian organized crime as alternative areas for investigation. Had Corbyn added to that mix, "Western intelligence agencies," he would have been entirely on the right track. Corbyn also pointed out that these oligarchs had contributed millions to May's Conservative Party. The reaction by the British media, May's Conservatives, and Tony Blair's faction of the Labour Party was to paint Corbyn as a Putin dupe, including photoshopped images of the Labour leader in a Russian winter hat in front of the Kremlin.

The insane McCarthyite reactions to Corbyn's simple statements of fact show that he hit the nail on the head. If you want to find Skripal's poisoners, then, like Edgar Allen Poe, you must take in the whole picture first. The field of play involves the British intelligence services and the anti-Putin Russian oligarchs, each of which services the other, acting on behalf of British strategic objectives. It is no accident that the coup against Donald Trump and the latest British intelligence fraud, putting the entire world in peril, absolutely intersect one another.

[Mar 22, 2018] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/12/the-world-s-top-economy-the-us-vs-china-in-five-charts/

Mar 22, 2018 | www.weforum.org

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/usa-china-income-inequality-economic-research/

"Before accounting for taxes and transfers, the U.S. ranked 10th in income inequality; among the countries with more unequal income distributions were France, the U.K. and Ireland. But after taking taxes and transfers into account, the U.S. had the second-highest level of inequality, behind only Chile. "

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/19/global-inequality-how-the-u-s-compares/

" The five countries with the worst income inequality -- Chile, Mexico, Turkey, the United States, and Israel -- also had the five highest poverty rates in the OECD. The relationship is not perfect, however. The United Kingdom fell just outside the five worst countries for income equality, but its poverty rate was 13th lowest among developed nations."

https://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/05/29/countries-with-the-widest-gap-between-the-rich-and-the-poor/

Trust:

Suggest flipping to slide 13:

https://www.edelman.com/research/2017-trust-barometer-global-results

https://thediplomat.com/2013/06/government-for-the-people-in-china/ Reply 21 March 2018 at 11:41 AM JamesT said in reply to Terry... Terry

I've been thinking about this as well. I went looking for a graph of median income in China and the US over the last 20 years ... and could not find one. What I would really like to see is a graph of median income increases over the last 20 years - I would argue this is more relevant than the easy to find graphs of GDP increases.

Median income in Russia increased something like 270% in inflation adjusted terms during the first 10 years that Putin was in power. The Economist claims this was solely due to the increase in oil prices. I went looking at countries that had comparable oil-production-per-person and found that Canada (whose oil production per person is essentially identical to Russia) saw its median income increase only 9% in the same period.

This isn't to say that Putin's leadership is necessarily good in the long term, but the western press are clearly ignoring important economic statistics regarding both China and Russia. Reply 21 March 2018 at 03:10 PM Fred said in reply to Terry... Terry,

"by some measures" If you torture the data long inenough it confesses. So the US is one of the five worst in income inequality? Maybe those Chineese imigrants should all stay in China to enjoy their "percentages". Of course they might first ask just what the 400% increase in Chineese income means. Oh, that's right, the 400% increase from almost nothing to 4 times almost nothing. The negative 1% reduction in bottom 50% of income distribuiton in the US over that 4 decades resulted in:

"Median individual income for all earners in the workforce was $37,610.00, and the breakpoint to be a one-percenter (99th percentile) was $300,800.00."

https://dqydj.com/united-states-income-brackets-percentiles/

So the 50% percentile in the US has a 37K icome. What is it for China, it certainly isn't 37K. That's right, acording to the link you provided it's 14,600 USD. In China, with the official exchange rate.


James T,

"but the western press are clearly ignoring important economic statistics regarding both China and Russia."

Yes indeed, they ignore the actual data and repeat out percentages with no idea of the underlying facts of how those percentages were created and not bothering to ask how they were calculated. Reply 21 March 2018 at 09:11 PM

[Mar 20, 2018] We read that Vladimir Putin's passport was found three days later at the Scripaal's poisoning scene.

Notable quotes:
"... Just like MH17, or the alleged (but fake) poison gas attacks in Syria, the policy has been to launch an initial barrage of accusations completely unsupported by the slightest shred of evidence – and then drop the matter abruptly, leaving the public with a strong impression of "Russian wickedness" although nothing has actually been proved. ..."
"... Skripal and daughter cheap, convenient, collateral damage for the warmongers. A person trained to handle organic nerve material introduces it into Skripal's car, they go for a morning drive and stop to have a pizza. After pizza, they begin to feel a little queasy. Go sit on a park bench. A passing citizen sees them, calls for medical assistance. Doctor says probably poisoned by toxic agent. Doctor knows it was not highly refined military grade. ..."
"... Car is lifted by straps so as not poison others and hauled to Potent Downs or whatever the Nerve Agent Factory is called. Now it can be doctored to fit the crime and I don't mean the Russians. How am I doing? Got a better tale? ..."
"... Now, I do understand that you – and most Brits – think that you are special. That there is one set of rules for you, and another for the ' others '. You have been conditioned by propaganda to assert this without any shame and to demonise Russia based on decades of half-witted stories (most taken out of context and exaggerated). Why would anyone take you seriously? ..."
"... People who walk around saying that they are exceptional, meaning they are 'Gods', or that they talk 'to God', are generally ignored or kept in an institution. Claiming that you are 'exceptional and special' is the same as claiming that you are divine – that's what it has meant historically. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

remo , Website Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 8:36 am GMT

"Sir, Further to your report ("Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment", TIMES Mar 14)' may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved."
Stephen Davies. Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Meanwhile, a doctor who was one of the first people at the scene has described how she found Ms Skripal..She said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying "there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripals face or body."

The woman, who asked not to be named, told the NNC she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway, as others tended to her father.

she said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripal's face or body.

The doctor said she had been worried she would be affected by the nerve agent, hut added that she "feels fine".

Some nerve agent. We read that Vladimir Putin's passport was found three days later at the scene.

Tom Welsh , Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 8:53 am GMT
One wonders how the Skripals are right now. Have they recovered completely, or partially? Are they still deathly ill? Has one or both of them died?

In any case, why have there been no public announcements of these important facts? It is useless to cite privacy, when the government hastened to trumpet the case – and its own dubious conclusions – as publicly as possible.

Just like MH17, or the alleged (but fake) poison gas attacks in Syria, the policy has been to launch an initial barrage of accusations completely unsupported by the slightest shred of evidence – and then drop the matter abruptly, leaving the public with a strong impression of "Russian wickedness" although nothing has actually been proved.

Incidentally, I wonder where the Skripals are and why. Apparently the Russian government applied for consular access to Yulia (who is a Russian citizen) but this was bluntly refused – against all norms of international law and civilized behaviour.

Ger , Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 6:17 pm GMT
Skripal and daughter cheap, convenient, collateral damage for the warmongers. A person trained to handle organic nerve material introduces it into Skripal's car, they go for a morning drive and stop to have a pizza. After pizza, they begin to feel a little queasy. Go sit on a park bench. A passing citizen sees them, calls for medical assistance. Doctor says probably poisoned by toxic agent. Doctor knows it was not highly refined military grade.

How does the doctor know this: He is just down the street from the British Nerve Agent Factory and has been trained to recognize and treat real exposures to potent nerve agents. A policeman ends up in same hospital as Skripal because he sees car parked overtime or illegally, opens door to check for ownership gets zapped by toxic agent. Car is lifted by straps so as not poison others and hauled to Potent Downs or whatever the Nerve Agent Factory is called. Now it can be doctored to fit the crime and I don't mean the Russians. How am I doing? Got a better tale?

Beckow , March 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT

We understand we are not being taken seriously

Good, understanding that you are a joke is the first step on the road to possible recovery.

Try for once to imagine a reverse scenario: an Englishman dies under suspicious circumstances in a provincial town in Russia. (Or 3-4 of them over 15-20 years.) He was considered a 'traitor' by UK for whatever reason. Immediately Russia declares that it was an ' unacceptable attack on Russia's sovereignty, that Britain did it, and that it is 'highly likely' that Teresa May ordered it herself' . Russian government also says that they will not disclose any details, show no evidence and will not even allow basis diplomatic protocol for UK embassy. Why? For reasons of ' state security '. Wouldn't any rational outsider consider that a joke?

Now, I do understand that you – and most Brits – think that you are special. That there is one set of rules for you, and another for the ' others '. You have been conditioned by propaganda to assert this without any shame and to demonise Russia based on decades of half-witted stories (most taken out of context and exaggerated). Why would anyone take you seriously?

People who walk around saying that they are exceptional, meaning they are 'Gods', or that they talk 'to God', are generally ignored or kept in an institution. Claiming that you are 'exceptional and special' is the same as claiming that you are divine – that's what it has meant historically.

This 'joke' is not that funny any more. Grow up.

[Mar 20, 2018] Only a hopeless moron can stage a provocation without inventing a coherent set of plausible lies beforehand.

Notable quotes:
"... Not to mention that we are currently on version #5 (poisoned in the car, where apparently a British cop and more than 30 other people rode with him, if we are to believe previous statements). Only a hopeless moron can stage a provocation without inventing a coherent set of plausible lies beforehand. He did it, right in the middle of Britain in Salisbury, next to the British chemical weapons facility. Credo quia absurdum. ..."
"... Actually, having no definite story, and constantly updating the narrative with ridiculous red herrings, is probably the best way to go with a fake terror attack. With a different herring to pursue each day, the truth seeking citizen soon becomes exhausted and relapses back into the normal pattern of going to work and feeding a family, but with a reinforced sense of their own lack of power to either control, or even understand the world in which they live. ..."
"... This is the end time of democracy. We are now entering an age of psycho-totalitarianism. People do what the elite require because their brainwashed friends, neighbors, and children otherwise turn against them. They are demonized and humiliated as racists, anti-Semites, dog whistlers and all the rest of the bullshit lexicon of political correctness not for their actions but merely for their thoughts. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

CanSpeccy , Website March 20, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT

@Anon

Anon from TN
Yes, this is the British version of Russiagate, no doubt: no evidence, numerous versions that contradict each other, lots of hot air and finger pointing. At the moment we do not know what Skripal was poisoned with or by whom, we can't even be sure that anyone was poisoned with anything. All we have is hot air, just like with Iraq WMD. From the same very "reliable" sources: British intelligence services and British PM. Neither ever lies, just ask Tony Blair. Not to mention that we are currently on version #5 (poisoned in the car, where apparently a British cop and more than 30 other people rode with him, if we are to believe previous statements). Only a hopeless moron can stage a provocation without inventing a coherent set of plausible lies beforehand. He did it, right in the middle of Britain in Salisbury, next to the British chemical weapons facility. Credo quia absurdum.

Actually, having no definite story, and constantly updating the narrative with ridiculous red herrings, is probably the best way to go with a fake terror attack. With a different herring to pursue each day, the truth seeking citizen soon becomes exhausted and relapses back into the normal pattern of going to work and feeding a family, but with a reinforced sense of their own lack of power to either control, or even understand the world in which they live.

This is the end time of democracy. We are now entering an age of psycho-totalitarianism. People do what the elite require because their brainwashed friends, neighbors, and children otherwise turn against them. They are demonized and humiliated as racists, anti-Semites, dog whistlers and all the rest of the bullshit lexicon of political correctness not for their actions but merely for their thoughts.

[Mar 17, 2018] "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life: In November 2017 British TV 6th session episode 5 of 'Strike Back" Novichok was used

Mar 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

Art , March 16, 2018 at 6:51 am GMT

George Orwell sure can write beautiful words.

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it ( ) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality"

Think Peace -- Art

Seraphim , March 16, 2018 at 7:18 am GMT
In an essay "The Decay of Lying" (1889), Oscar Wilde launched that famous sentence: "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life".

In November 2017 British TV presented the 6th session episode 5 of 'Strike Back", a British/American action-adventure/spy-drama television series based on a novel of the same name by novelist and former Special Air Service (SAS) soldier Chris Ryan. In it the Section 20 ("a secretive unit of British military intelligence, a team of special operations personnel conducting several high risk missions across the globe") foiled a terrorist attack with the gas Novichok made by Karim Markov, a Russian scientist who allegedly killed his colleagues who invented the gas. The team duly trace the labs where Markov continues to produce more Novichok, in Ukraine and Belarus. The cast is full with the assorted jihadis, Russian Mafia bosses with their cruel henchmen, Hungarian white supremacists and nasty Serbians.
You find summaries of the episodes @https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike_Back:_Retribution

Melotte22 , March 16, 2018 at 8:40 am GMT
Anyone heard of 'Strike Back', TV Drama:

"It is strange that a British-American intelligence TV drama Strike Back had several episodes featuring Novichok nerve agent and Evil Russkies last year. Someone orchestrating political theater in the UK watches a lot of TV, or is advised by its producers."

Check episodes 50&51

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike_Back:_Retribution

Seraphim , March 16, 2018 at 8:49 am GMT
Nobody will miss the fact that the countries which emitted the 'Joint statement' blaming Russia's aggression are the countries which repeatedly aggressed and invaded Russia or allied themselves with Russia's enemies. None of them were ever invaded by Russia but in pursuit of the repelled invaders. None of them were ever threatened by a Russian invasion.

[Mar 16, 2018] NATO to display common front in Skripal case

Highly recommended!
France previously stated that they do not react to British "Fantasy politics". French president Emmanuel Macron wants more evidence Vladimir Putin was involved and his spokesman accused Britain of "fantasy politics" -- Theresa May accused of punishing Russia too SOON by France who demand more evidence .
Later Macron was forced to change the tune
Notable quotes:
"... Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Curious fact. Although Russia stopped all its CW programmes in 1992, the UK & the US received specialists/defectors & documentation on these projects incl. so-called Novichok in mid-1990s, continued researching CW as evidenced by open sources ..."
"... .@RussiaUN: in 1992 Russia closed all Soviet chemical weapons programmes. Some of the scientists were flown to the West (incl UK) where they continued research. To identify a substance, formula and samples are needed – means UK has capacity to produce suspected nerve agent. ..."
"... Craig Murray's excellent essay's been heavily attacked, and he's written a stimulating and educational response that further bolsters the initial essay. Quite interesting the so-called journalists supporting May's propaganda. ..."
"... Oh dear, in sacred Europe!! How about the West using nerve agents on a grand scale against its enemy Iran in the Middle East (since the Second World War)? Twenty thousand Iranians were killed on the spot by nerve gas, according to reports, with thousands of people hospitalized. According to Iraqi documents, assistance in the development of chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. A report stated that Dutch, Australian, Italian, French and both West and East German companies were involved in the export of raw materials to Iraqi chemical weapons factories. ..."
"... This is the same sort of "highly likely" language that has worked so well with the false-flag attacks in Syria. It's obviously "highly likely" that there is no actual evidence. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:17:24 AM | 90

In joint statement, world leaders agree Russia behind nerve agent attack on former spy
This is the joint statement of the whirled leaders:
We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018. A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened. We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response.

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all.

The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia´s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behaviour. We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security. . . here

b , Mar 15, 2018 11:35:19 AM | 92
Russian Embassy, UK @RussianEmbassy
Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Russia destroyed all of its chemical weapons arsenals by 2017, a fact attested by @OPCW. No research, development or manufacturing of projects codenamed Novichok has ever been carried out in Russia, all CW programmes were stopped back in 1991-92

-

Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Curious fact. Although Russia stopped all its CW programmes in 1992, the UK & the US received specialists/defectors & documentation on these projects incl. so-called Novichok in mid-1990s, continued researching CW as evidenced by open sources

-

later:

-

.@RussiaUN: in 1992 Russia closed all Soviet chemical weapons programmes. Some of the scientists were flown to the West (incl UK) where they continued research. To identify a substance, formula and samples are needed – means UK has capacity to produce suspected nerve agent.

source:
karlof1 , Mar 15, 2018 11:44:05 AM | 94
Craig Murray's excellent essay's been heavily attacked, and he's written a stimulating and educational response that further bolsters the initial essay. Quite interesting the so-called journalists supporting May's propaganda.
Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:51:02 AM | 96
from the Joint Statement:
. . . the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War
Oh dear, in sacred Europe!! How about the West using nerve agents on a grand scale against its enemy Iran in the Middle East (since the Second World War)? Twenty thousand Iranians were killed on the spot by nerve gas, according to reports, with thousands of people hospitalized. According to Iraqi documents, assistance in the development of chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. A report stated that Dutch, Australian, Italian, French and both West and East German companies were involved in the export of raw materials to Iraqi chemical weapons factories.
Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:55:15 AM | 97
from the Joint Statement:
. . . it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack
This is the same sort of "highly likely" language that has worked so well with the false-flag attacks in Syria. It's obviously "highly likely" that there is no actual evidence.

[Mar 16, 2018] Does Western civilization now reject real, objective truth emulating the USSR

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Liza , March 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT

With "principles" such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all "for the greater glory of God" the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth

Excuse me? What about western civilization before the ten commandments? Was it better or worse in your eyes? What's so damn special about your ten commandments that their (forced) acceptance by westerners should mark some sort of magical beginning of the true western civilization? So we had no morality of any kind before this?

I can think of other civilizations that have nothing – and I mean nothing – to be proud of. They make us look like amateurs in the rejection of real, objective truth.

[Mar 16, 2018] The method attributed to poisoning of Skripal is the best indication of the false flag operation. Looks more and more like a recycled WMD hoax to justify attack on Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Ask this, "who is pathologically obsessed with execution by gas?" Who is spearheading the "Russia is Evil" propaganda campaign? ..."
"... If Russian leadership wanted KGB/FSB/GRU/SVR to kill him, they'd done it while the man was in Russia in their custody. He would have never left the Russian prison alive, and nobody would be wiser. ..."
"... He is just not that important, that is why he was let out in a swap after spending only a few years in jail. The orchestrated hysterics and the oversize overreaction by the NATO gang is clear tell that they are the one who did it. ..."
"... Do you remember the Wikileaks about CIA having hacking tools whereby they could spoof cyber attacks form their computers yet have the signature they came from Russia (or some other country)? ..."
"... There is nothing uniquely Russian about the poison. There are no unique poisons or nerve agents. Everybody has the same things. All is being said is that the nerve agent is military grade. And England is refusing to give samples to Russia for analysis, so we don't know what it is. ..."
"... why wouldn't FSB off him by simply clubbing him to death and making it look like a mugging gone wrong: why use a military grade nerve agent of all things. Ridiculous that _anyone_ believes Russians did it. ..."
"... Boris Johnson confirmed widespread suspicions that the attack on Skripal was part of a recycled WMD hoax to justify another U.S. war of aggression, this time in Syria instead of Iraq. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Stan d Mute , March 16, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT

@Mark James

Because of the poison involved, they (Rus/Putin) almost certainly did it. Just because something like this is stupid doesn't mean it should be written off. Stupid things happen.

As I constantly iterate, never attribute to complex conspiracy what can be easily explained by gross stupidity. Look at the Billion plus followers of the lunatic ramblings of a desert cave dwelling freak, or the State of Utah and Planet Kolob. But your Occam's Razor analysis also fails the smell test.

If I want to assassinate someone, using a gas, in public, is about the dumbest way to go about it. Russia may well have wanted to send a message "for the encouragement of others" not to betray mother Russia, but why a gas rather than oral or injected poison? Why not the old favorite of defenestration? Or a simple GSW using Russian manufactured firearm/ammo?

Ask this, "who is pathologically obsessed with execution by gas?" Who is spearheading the "Russia is Evil" propaganda campaign?

Avery , March 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Answer: none of the above.

If Russian leadership wanted KGB/FSB/GRU/SVR to kill him, they'd done it while the man was in Russia in their custody. He would have never left the Russian prison alive, and nobody would be wiser.

He is just not that important, that is why he was let out in a swap after spending only a few years in jail. The orchestrated hysterics and the oversize overreaction by the NATO gang is clear tell that they are the one who did it.

Avery , March 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm GMT
@Mark James

{Do I think Russia is involved with the Skripal hit? Of course.}

Based on what?

{Because of the poison involved, they (Rus/Putin) almost certainly did it.}

Really?

Do you remember the Wikileaks about CIA having hacking tools whereby they could spoof cyber attacks form their computers yet have the signature they came from Russia (or some other country)?

There is nothing uniquely Russian about the poison. There are no unique poisons or nerve agents. Everybody has the same things. All is being said is that the nerve agent is military grade. And England is refusing to give samples to Russia for analysis, so we don't know what it is.

{Just because something like this is stupid doesn't mean it should be written off. Stupid things happen}

Well, yeah: stupid things happen, and smart individuals sometimes do stupid things – but almost always for a reason, even if their actions are stupid. This should be written off, for a very simple reason: what is the Russian motivation? This guy was released in 2010. He was arrested in 2004: whatever damage he caused was very long ago. Why would Russian leadership risk almost certain exposure? for what?

And as poster [Meyer] posits above in #23, why wouldn't FSB off him by simply clubbing him to death and making it look like a mugging gone wrong: why use a military grade nerve agent of all things. Ridiculous that _anyone_ believes Russians did it.

alley cat , March 16, 2018 at 12:56 pm GMT
Speaking of "great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies," in an article in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Boris Johnson confirmed widespread suspicions that the attack on Skripal was part of a recycled WMD hoax to justify another U.S. war of aggression, this time in Syria instead of Iraq.

The fact that Prime Minister May has produced no evidence that Russia was behind the attack on Skripal, and that Secretary of Defense Mattis admits he has no evidence the Syrian government used sarin against its own people, doesn't deter Boris Johnson from blaming Russia for chemical attacks in both England and Syria.

From Johnson's article:

How much easier does it become for a state [Russia] to deploy chemical weapons when its government has already tolerated and sought to hide their use by others? I would draw a connection between Putin's indulgence of Assad's atrocities in Syria and the Russian state's evident willingness to employ a chemical weapon on British soil.

So a neocon-orchestrated Russiagate hoax merges with a neocon-orchestrated WMD hoax in Syria. It's all coming together.

The neocon strategy of "regime change by jihadi" in Syria has failed, and they're now forced to dust off the bogus WMD script that wreaked so much havoc on Iraq. Unfortunately for the neocons, Vladimir Putin has decided that Russia has nothing to lose, and probably much to gain, by taking a stand against imperialism now, in Syria, instead of later in Iran.

Now the world is both hostage and spectator to a game of nuclear chicken. If neither player swerves in time, planet Earth dies.

If Trump orders a climb down, the neocons will impeach him for losing Syria. But more appeasement by Putin would only embolden the neocons to further acts of aggression.

So Putin asks: "why do we need a world if Russia ceases to exist?" He is right to frame the showdown in Syria as a fight for Russia's existence, and Trump knows it.

Trump will have to take his chances with Mueller and the neocon crazies. Maybe the neocons will overplay their hand and bring about their own downfall, a happy outcome for all of humanity.

[Mar 16, 2018] George Orwell sure can write this quote

Notable quotes:
"... the fact that freedom of speech is under threat shows that the rise of mere emotive speech is still a long way from dominant. Facts and logic can still be heard and make a difference. This is why the political media elite cannot tolerate reasoned evidenced argument and is so concerned to censor dissenting voices. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Art , March 16, 2018 at 6:51 am GMT

George Orwell sure can write beautiful words.

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it ( )

To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality"

Think Peace -- Art

Steve Hayes , March 16, 2018 at 12:15 pm GMT
Whilst there is much to be said in favour of the argument, the fact that freedom of speech is under threat shows that the rise of mere emotive speech is still a long way from dominant. Facts and logic can still be heard and make a difference. This is why the political media elite cannot tolerate reasoned evidenced argument and is so concerned to censor dissenting voices.

http://viewsandstories.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/knowing-without-finding-out.html

[Mar 16, 2018] Up until now, I was in favor of Putin trying to keep cool demeanor and be reasonable. Time works in favor of Russia, so simply trying to wait the Western collapse out is not unreasonable strategy. But with the West starting to resort to something as extreme as poisoning its own lapdogs and blaming Russia for it without presenting a single shred of evidence, it might be a good time to reconsider and join the escalation train in earnest.

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

alec bell , March 15, 2018 at 11:46 pm GMT

Up until now, I was in favor of Putin trying to keep cool demeanor and be reasonable. Time works in favor of Russia, so simply trying to wait the Western collapse out is not unreasonable strategy. But with the West starting to resort to something as extreme as poisoning its own lapdogs and blaming Russia for it without presenting a single shred of evidence, it might be a good time to reconsider and join the escalation train in earnest.

If we are in the age of ultimatums, then Moscow may want to start issuing a few of its own. One would be to warn the West about its intention to abandon START framework within a year and ultimately rearm to Soviet levels – 20000 strategic warheads at a minimum. Another would be to ask Syrian government to outsource its air-defense to Russia, then issue blanket no-flight order to all aircraft not authorized by Damascus.

Third, start arming insurgencies around the world that struggle against NATO/US presence. Fourth, eliminate USD and GBP from its trade completely. Fifth, consider formalizing military alliance with Iran.

There are many more steps that Russia can undertake. But whatever it chooses to do, the somnolent posture it maintained until yesterday is no more feasible.

[Mar 16, 2018] Truth vs half-truth vs lie

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

VICB3 , March 15, 2018 at 5:55 pm GMT

@yurivku

Respectfully, I think what he means is something that I've learned to do in the last few years in a rather automatic fashion. Namely, it's to realise that, in the immediate aftermath of any event, it's best to just sit back and wait a bit before you come to any sort of conclusion about blame. In the very short term, the water, the stream is very muddy and clouded as anybody and everybody who has – or think that they have – an interest in the event du jour tries to spin it to their own advantage.

The truth will reveal itself inasmuch as the Internet is the World's best fact checker. The initial story will *always* be shown to have a good deal of exaggerations, contradictions, anomalies and omissions. But those revelations take a (usually relatively short) bit of time. So better to look at whatever the immediate story might be with a good deal of patient skepticism and not immediately fly off the rails in a fit of hand-waving, eye-rolling and pearl-clutching hysterics.

Do this consistently, and I think you'll discover that:

-The truth of the matter is usually gray, with plenty of blame to go around.

-And/or you're being fed a line of pandering BS by people who think that you're a naive and trusting idiot.

In short, act like an adult and not a dimwitted child. Use your brain and not your emotions.

Hope this helps.

Just a thought.

VicB3

P.S. A pithy thought from Mike Rivero:

If it doesn't affect you directly, then it's either advertising or propaganda.

Anders , March 15, 2018 at 8:38 pm GMT
Re: "Almost from day one, the early western civilization began by, shall we say, taking liberties with the truth, which it could bend, adapt, massage and repackage to serve the ideological agenda of the day. It was not quite the full-blown and unapologetic relativism of the 19th century yet, but it was an important first step. With "principles" such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all "for the greater glory of God" the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth, only the subjective perception or even representation each person might have thereof."
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
Saker is a good military analyst, but as a historian he is a laughable dilettante. He is a very self-righteous, touchy Orthodox Christian ideologue and moralist.

[Mar 16, 2018] Are We Living Under a Military Coup ?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I'd define coup in this case as a potentially "illegal seizure of power" in the form of a slowly unfolding, unresolved constitutional crisis that sticks over time. ..."
"... The 1933 coup plot was funded by Wall Street money in hopes of subverting the power of Franklin Roosevelt, a leader deemed by many wealthy men of the time to be a traitor to his blue-blood class. ..."
"... The Plot to Seize the White House ..."
"... "War is a racket. It always has been," is how Butler's booklet War Is a Racket opens. "A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many." The little book ends this way: "Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and ghastlier means of annihilating its foes wholesale. But victory will be determined by the skill and ingenuity of our scientists. If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more fiendish mechanical and explosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive job of building a greater prosperity for all peoples." ..."
"... The Wall Street cabal's coup plot was based on the idea of insinuating a disciplined military man into a White House operation deemed irresponsible and out of control. The plan was to install Butler into a newly created cabinet-level position called the Secretary for General Affairs. Negative press would be arranged to inform the American people that the President of the United States was a cripple. The "man on a white horse" was there to save a problematic administration from itself -- all for the good of the country. ..."
"... Today's politics are very different; the similarity is in the troublesome situation of a sitting president deemed a national security problem. In FDR's case, it was weakness due to sympathy for the downtrodden; while in Trump's case, it's unprecedented governmental inexperience linked with a volatile narcissism contributing to chaos in the highest reaches of the government. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

I'd define coup in this case as a potentially "illegal seizure of power" in the form of a slowly unfolding, unresolved constitutional crisis that sticks over time. Like the oft-cited frog being boiled to death in a pot of water rising in temperature very slowly. Center right Times columnist David Brooks had a column recently in which he compared Trump USA to Berlusconi Italy and how, once democracy has been sullied by a right-wing populist like Berlusconi (or Trump), getting democracy back within its previous (constitutional) lines is difficult to impossible.

Some like to call the 2000 election of George W. Bush a "coup" legitimized by a conservative Supreme Court. Whatever one calls the 2000 election, it did put a permanent stain on US democracy. I have no doubt in this age of "fake news" and sophisticated PR that an unresolved constitutional crisis cum coup in Washington D.C. would be spun by info wizards as a pro-American, patriotic event. All this, of course, has helped ratchet up political polarization to new heights.

Instead of seeing a military coup as restricted to melodramatic fiction like the film Seven Days In May, it might be instructive, beneficial and even patriotic to think of it as possible with at least one very real historical antecedent to consider.

The 1933 White House Plot

We don't hear much about the 1933 American "coup" -- here, put in quotes because it was always ambiguous and it was thwarted. The plot has effectively been deep-sixed into historical oblivion. Why might that be? Might it be because it amounted to just another example of the dirty little secret that hovers over everything in America: the power of money married to the power of violence? Just another day in the history of America. Maybe one has to be a left-leaning antiwar activist born under the sign of the National Security State to understand this. But, to me, the antiwar left is perennially at a loss in this equation: Not only is it oriented on peace versus war, but it's also unarmed in the sense of an NRA obsession with guns. Furthermore, the left tends to be crippled thanks to the Cold War that established left-leaning ideas as association with subversion and the enemy.

The 1933 coup plot was funded by Wall Street money in hopes of subverting the power of Franklin Roosevelt, a leader deemed by many wealthy men of the time to be a traitor to his blue-blood class. Had the whistle not been blown on the plot by a Marine general named Smedley Butler, it could have succeeded in politically crippling FDR and his New Deal government. Had it gone differently, it could have changed history. (The 1933 coup attempt is described by Jules Archer in a 1973 book titled The Plot to Seize the White House . Also, The History Channel produced a 41-minute documentary on the plot .)

As the depression set in, the nation watched the rise of fascism in Europe. FDR was opposed on the right by people like the popular hero Charles Lindbergh who cozied up with the Nazis. Much of this ugly, polarized political struggle has slipped from our popular history, in large part due to the unifying power of World War Two that helped end the depression and ended up consuming both sides of the right/left battle. The internal political struggles of the thirties shifted into a focus on military dominance. The US ended up top of the heap at the end of World War Two. It also ended up at odds with the other victor in the war, the Soviet Union. It was at this juncture that US leaders formulated The National Security Act of 1947, thus creating the National Security State we live under today.

MacArthur busting Bonus Marchers, Butler speaking to them and the Mussolini incident

Smedley Butler was raised a Hicksite Quaker in West Chester, Pennsylvania. One side of a major 19th century split, the Hicksites saw "the inner light" contained within each of us as the primary source of truth, while Orthodox Quakers were more like fundamentalist who saw The Bible as the primary source of truth. The young, idealistic Butler learned the US Marines was expanding and recruiting new officers. He lobbied his parents (his father was a US congressman) to let him join, and in 1898 at age sixteen, a fresh Second Lieutenant Butler was dropped off at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was first exposed to hostile fire. He went on to the Philippines. He fought in counter-insurgency wars in places like Nicaragua and Haiti. He undertook spy missions in Mexico. His career was unique. At one point, he took leave of the Marines and became police commissioner of Philadelphia, only to quit when he grasped the level of corruption in the city. He was awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor, and at the end of his career he was court martialed by Secretary of War Stimson for calling Benito Mussolini a bum in a speech. He, then, began speaking out in public, effectively undermining the charges. Today, amongst leftist, antiwar activists he's considered a hero thanks to a small book he wrote in 1935 called War Is a Racket. On the other hand, I mentioned him once to General Stanley McChrystal at a book signing and the respected Iraq "surge" leader cited him back at me as, in his mind, one of the great US military heroes. Both views paradoxically prevail. In 1939, he expressed opposition to war in Europe. But, then, he conveniently died in 1940. How he would have responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor remains an intriguing question.

Butler got involved in the 1933 coup when he was asked by the Wall Street cabal to be their "man on a white horse" to lead the plot. Due to his humility and his bravery, Butler was beloved by the common soldier -- even when he pushed them. In one story, a soldier has fallen out of a long march and General Butler, wearing no insignia of rank, gets the man back up and walking by carrying his pack. The plotters' modeled their efforts on the rising fascist states in Europe and the various colored-shirt thug organizations significantly made up of WWI veterans. Fatefully, Butler was a terrible choice; he supported FDR. Smelling a rat, he played along with the plotters' front-man, Gerald MacGuire, a fat, cigar-chomping stock broker paid to go to Europe and study the various colored-shirt groups. The idea was to install Butler as the commander of the American Legion, whose 500,000 members -- many disgruntled WWI vets -- had been used to smash union strikers with baseball bats. The Legion outnumbered the US military at the time. With the help of a reporter from the Philadelphia Record, Butler got the goods and went to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which held hearings and exposed the right-wing plot. (It's the very same HUAC that went on to notoriety as a prosecutor of the left.) Those named in the coup all denied they were plotting anything, and the story disappeared into obscurity. No charges were made.

Had the cabal, instead, set up General Douglas MacArthur as the "man on a white horse" -- who they had considered -- it might have turned out differently. MacArthur had an arrogant "fascist" character, but he was not loved by the common soldier. Butler and MacArthur had crossed paths in July 1932 during the Bonus March encampment in Washington DC. Butler was sympathetic and spoke to the encamped veterans seeking their promised bonus for WWI service. "They may be calling you tramps now, but in 1917 they didn't call you bums!" the cragey, diminutive general hollered at them. "You are the best-behaved group of men in the country today. I consider it an honor to be asked to speak to you." MacArthur, of course, led the troops who burned the Bonus Marchers out, killing one veteran and wounding 50.

"War is a racket. It always has been," is how Butler's booklet War Is a Racket opens. "A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many." The little book ends this way: "Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and ghastlier means of annihilating its foes wholesale. But victory will be determined by the skill and ingenuity of our scientists. If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more fiendish mechanical and explosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive job of building a greater prosperity for all peoples."

The Wall Street cabal's coup plot was based on the idea of insinuating a disciplined military man into a White House operation deemed irresponsible and out of control. The plan was to install Butler into a newly created cabinet-level position called the Secretary for General Affairs. Negative press would be arranged to inform the American people that the President of the United States was a cripple. The "man on a white horse" was there to save a problematic administration from itself -- all for the good of the country.

Today's politics are very different; the similarity is in the troublesome situation of a sitting president deemed a national security problem. In FDR's case, it was weakness due to sympathy for the downtrodden; while in Trump's case, it's unprecedented governmental inexperience linked with a volatile narcissism contributing to chaos in the highest reaches of the government. In both cases, the overarching issue is a very dangerous world and the need for experience and discipline. Is General Kelly today's "man on a white horse" insinuated into the White House to represent the interests of the National Security State?

There are no neat or absolute answers to these questions. We tend to associate the idea of a "coup" with coup d'etat in Third World nations. Our CIA and military have notoriously been up to their eyeballs in foreign coups; there's classics like Iran 1953 and Guatemala 1954. Venezuela 2002 and Honduras 2009 had the stink of US complicity, but they are more current and, thus, there was lots of plausible deniability and lots of fog. And fog and doubt only get worse in this internet age.

[Mar 16, 2018] The National Security Act of 1947 created the deep state. What we see now if just the result of intelligence agencies and Pentagon becoming more visible as the major political players who among other things influence Presidential election and co-determine (with Wall Street) the US foreign policy

Notable quotes:
"... The National Security Act of 1947 ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The National Security Act of 1947 codified the reality of the imperial American military for the baby-boom generation and beyond. The War Department became the Defense Department; the CIA we know today was formed from the Office of Strategic Services. The 1947 NSA document amounted to a formal re-arrangement of the country's priorities coming out of WWII -- when the victorious United States of America became the "leader of the free world." We forget that before World War Two changed everything, the US military was a shadow of what it was to become.

Over these 70 years, the executive in the White House has ping-ponged back-and-forth between the moderate left and the moderate right, between the Democratic and Republican Parties. (Trump may be the exception in being far right.) Every four years there's a national "conversation" of sorts about who's going to live in the White House and make executive decisions and who's going to legislate in Congress. You couldn't come up with a better example to illustrate the idea of a civilian political see-saw than January 20, 2016, the day Barack Obama handed the civilian reins over to Donald Trump. Meanwhile, over those same 70 years, the National Security State (as an institution led by the Pentagon) has existed as a steadily ascending through-line leading to today's post-9/11 world. Our imperial military has been, and remains, virtually untouchable through the electoral process that chooses civilian leadership. Just like assault weapons on a small scale, the National Security State thrives beyond the reach of American politics. In my mind, White House Chief of Staff and former four-star Marine General John Kelly resides in this protected zone as a power behind the civilian throne.

[Mar 15, 2018] The timing is once again highly suspicious with the fifa world cup around the corner

Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

DisappointeDinTRUMP

The timing is once again highly suspicious with the fifa world cup around the corner. The Empire does not want Russia on center stage with the whole world watching. Trust me, we can expect much more to come regarding this world cup. Boycotting, sanctions and more underhanded tactics happening are what the next month has in store for us.

I wonder just how much more Russia is able to take before it decides not to turn the other cheek. Eventually Russia will start saying that "hold on a second, we are being judged and punished continuously so why dont we start doing some things to at least warrant all this punishment?"

[Mar 15, 2018] This is just another entry in a long list of false flag events carefully crafted to turn Russia, and Putin in particular, into an international pariah

Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Bob In Portland

Also, the poison, Novichok, was stored by the Soviets in states on its borders, like Georgia and Ukraine, and Baltic states, so after those republics broke off from the USSR during its collapse the poison fell into the hands of anti-Russian countries. It is inconceivable that western intelligence at the collapse of the USSR would not have swooped in and grabbed what it could in those stockpiles. In fact, in 1999 American agents spent six million dollars in decommissioning a plant that produced Novichok in the Uzbek city of Nukus. If you don't think that they took a little for a false flag in the future you don't know our intelligence services.

Finally, the chemical formula is available here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/State-Secrets-Insiders-Chronicle-Chemical/dp/1432725661/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520920301&sr=8-1&keywords=vil+mirzayanov

Holmes , March 14, 2018 at 7:04 pm

100% False Flag.

andrew , March 14, 2018 at 8:14 pm

I believe the culprits are ukraine SBU.

This week poroshenko has been trying to convince the EU to designate Russia as the Aggressor nation and to attempt to end Minsk obligations.

Chumpsky , March 14, 2018 at 10:04 pm

The Russian presidential election is coming up on Sunday. A great opportunity now for the CIA / MI6 / Mossad backed candidate to make some noise over Putin's near-guaranteed, shoe-in victory by planting an illegitimate narrative.

The gassing, using Novichok (an open-source formula), is just another in a long list of false flag events carefully crafted to turn Russia, and Putin in particular, into an international pariah and bogeyman in particular. Such an event is an attempt to throw cold water on Trump's thawing of relations by discrediting him now that Steele has been exposed as a fraud.

Who's meddling in whose election now?

[Mar 15, 2018] All those elaborate deception schemes and false flags that we now know of are just another set of deceptive methods of Socializing The Costs, while Privatizing The Profits.

Notable quotes:
"... nd, on June 26, 2006, The Washington Post reported that "the CIA acknowledged that Curveball was a con artist who drove a taxi in Iraq and spun his engineering knowledge into a fantastic but plausible tale about secret bioweapons factories on wheels." ..."
Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

cmp , March 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Venal Visors. And the all too easy convenience of Socializing The Costs, while Privatizing The Profits.

Oliver North, while under oath during the IranContra Hearings: "..We didn't lose the Vietnam war over there, we lost that war, in this city."

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

On April 8, 2005, CIA Director Porter Goss ordered an internal review of the CIA in order to determine why doubts about Curveball's reliability were not forwarded to policy makers. Former CIA Director George Tenet and his former deputy, John E. McLaughlin, announced that they were not aware of doubts about Curveball's veracity before the war. However, Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA's European division, told the Los Angeles Times that "everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening." .. A nd, on June 26, 2006, The Washington Post reported that "the CIA acknowledged that Curveball was a con artist who drove a taxi in Iraq and spun his engineering knowledge into a fantastic but plausible tale about secret bioweapons factories on wheels."

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

While Mueller Was Head Of The FBI -- Hillary's email firm was run from a loft apartment in Denver with its servers in the bathroom, which of course, should raise some questions over security of sensitive messages (the public's property) that she held.

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

And, is there a softer side -- to actively engaging in war?? .. James Le Mesurier, the creator of the White Helmets, who just happens to be a British private security specialist and a former British military intelligence officer, he has said very recently, "who would you trust more than the fire brigade or a first response NGO?" And, as reported by Vanessa Beeley in a recent Corbett Report interview: "James Le Mesurier, he is now recruiting in Brazil. We know that the White Helmets have appeared in Malaysia and in Venezuela, and in the Philippines."

.. Too BIG to jail?

Venal Visors -- gone viral.. ..Socialize. ..Privatize. .. Feed the beast..

~ Rep. Luther Johnson (D.-Texas), in the debate that preceded the Radio Act of 1927
"American thought and American politics will be largely at the mercy of those who operate these stations, for publicity is the most powerful weapon that can be wielded in a republic. And when such a weapon is placed in the hands of one person, or a single selfish group is permitted to either tacitly or otherwise acquire ownership or dominate these broadcasting stations throughout the country, then woe be to those who dare to differ with them. It will be impossible to compete with them in reaching the ears of the American people."

[Mar 14, 2018] Washington policies as the result of a monumental unconscious group-think based on individual self interest

Individual are highly rewarded i f they "accept the party-line" that masquerades as US interests".
Rebels, individual thinkers tend to get fired, not promoted, snubbed
Notable quotes:
"... The individuals who work in our State Dept., CIA, DOD, corporate defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, media......these individuals appear to benefit on an indivdual level (promotions, high paying jobs, social acceptance, nice neighborhoods and schools for their kids) when they "accept the party-line" that masquerades as US interests". ..."
Mar 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

walter, March 2018 at 03:03 PM

Jack, in my opinion, there is no "US". The "US" doesn't have an interest.

There are individuals who behave in their own individual self interest.

The individuals who work in our State Dept., CIA, DOD, corporate defense contractors, lobbyists, politicians, media......these individuals appear to benefit on an indivdual level (promotions, high paying jobs, social acceptance, nice neighborhoods and schools for their kids) when they "accept the party-line" that masquerades as US interests".

Its a monumental unconscious group-think based on individual self interest.

This is my understanding of "the Borg" and "US interests", "US foreign policy goals"....they are actually individual interests shaped by what individuals who work in this realm believe they should believe and espouse to achieve their own goals. Rebels, individual thinkers tend to get fired, not promoted, snubbed

[Mar 14, 2018] Jefferson Morley on the CIA and Mossad Tradeoffs in the Formation of the US-Israel Strategic Relationship

Highly recommended!
Angleton was a founding father of the deep state.
Notable quotes:
"... Angleton embodied and shaped the CIA's operational ethos and its internal procedures, especially in the realm of counterintelligence. His theories of Soviet penetration dominated the thinking of Western intelligence agencies, and their legacy can even be seen in the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign and allegations of collusion with Russia. I want to emphasize that I only use the term deep state as a colloquial shorthand term for the array of US national security agencies that operate under the shroud of official secrecy. ..."
"... Angleton, I'm going to put to you, was a founding father of what we call the deep state. ..."
"... With the passage of the National Security Act in July 1947, Angleton went to work at the CIA. The CIA came into existence and Angleton became the chief of the foreign intelligence staff with responsibility for intelligence collection operations worldwide. ..."
"... Angleton became the CIA's exclusive liaison with the Mossad in 1951. ..."
"... He was introduced to Amos Manor, chief of counterespionage for Israel's domestic security service known as Shabak or Shin Bet. ..."
"... "I didn't know exactly what to do, but I had the idea of giving them material we had gathered a year earlier about the efforts of the Eastern Bloc to use Israel to bypass an American trade embargo. We edited the material and informed them that they should never ask us to identify our sources." From such arrangements, the CIA-Mossad relationship began to grow. Manor would be friends with Angleton for the rest of his life. ..."
"... Asher Ben-Natan, Angleton's source dating back to the OSS days, was playing a key procurement role in the secret Israeli program to obtain nuclear weapons. Teddy Kollek, one of Angleton's closest contacts and friends in Washington, later became the mayor of Jerusalem. Angleton's Israeli friends in short were really the architects, some of the architects of the Zionist state. ..."
"... As I came to learn his story from talking to CIA veterans and Israelis and reading a lot, a couple of things stood out to me. First of all, the Israeli recruitment of Angleton was extremely astute. In the early 1950s, Angleton was a rising star at this new agency, the CIA, but he was not a senior figure and not even particularly powerful. The Israelis recognized the latent qualities that would make him powerful. ..."
"... In 1954 Angleton became the chief of the CIA's counterintelligence staff, the first one. In 1956 Amos Manor passed him a copy of Nikita Khrushchev's secret speech to the Soviet Communist Party in which he criticized the cult of personality around the deceased dictator, Joseph Stalin. This intelligence coup made Angleton a legend within the CIA and the power within the agency as well, and it was very much made possible by the Israelis. ..."
"... Angleton's formative and sometimes decisive influence on US policy towards Israel can be seen in many areas – from the impotence of US nuclear nonproliferation policy in the region, to Israel's triumph in the 1967 Six-Day War, to the feeble US response to the attack on the Liberty, to the intelligence failure represented by the Yom Kippur War of 1973. ..."
"... The question, which was put to me by Grant but is right on point, was why didn't the CIA help the FBI investigate the diversion of US weapons-grade material from the United States to Israel in the 1960s and 1970s? The short answer is because Jim Angleton didn't want to. Angleton played a key role in enabling Israel to obtain nuclear weapons, and he did so in a subtle way that characteristically left few fingerprints. He was not a man to investigate himself. Many of these details are now known thanks to Grant Smith, Roger Mattson, John Hadden, Jr. and others. ..."
"... the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, otherwise known as NUMEC, started processing highly-enriched uranium in the United States in 1959. NUMEC had been created by David Lowenthal, a Zionist financier who financed the postwar boatlift from Europe to Palestine that was romanticized in the book and movie Exodus. He hired Zalman Shapiro, a brilliant young metallurgist to run the company. ..."
"... By October 1965, the AEC estimated that 178 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium had gone missing from the NUMEC facility, by March 1968, that figure was 267 kilograms. ..."
"... John Hadden was the CIA station chief in Israel from 1964 to 1967. He worked very closely with Angleton throughout this period. He would later concur with the near unanimous assessment of CIA's nuclear scientist that Israel had indeed stolen fissile material from NUMEC and used it to build their nuclear arsenal. ..."
"... With the fissile material diverted from NUMEC, Israel was able to construct its first nuclear weapon by 1967 and become a full-blown nuclear power by 1970 – the first and still the only nuclear power in the Middle East. Angleton, it is fair to say, thought collaboration with Israel was more important than US nonproliferation policy. ..."
"... When Angleton left government service 20 years later, Israel held twice as much territory as it had in 1948. The CIA and Mossad collaborated on a daily basis and the governments of the United States and Israel were strategic allies knit together by expansive intelligence sharing, multibillion-dollar arms contracts and coordinated diplomacy. ..."
"... Angleton's influence on U.S.-Israeli relations between 1951 and 1974 exceeded that of any Secretary of State with the possible exception of Henry Kissinger. His influence was largely unseen by Congress, the press, other democratic institutions, and much of the CIA itself. He was empowered by his own ingenuity and the clandestine arrangements rationalized by doctrines of national security and counterintelligence. The arc of his career breathes life into the concept of the deep state. ..."
"... Angleton, more than any other American, enabled the Americans to gain and hold this strategic high ground in the Middle East. He was, as his friend Meir Amit said, the biggest Zionist of the lot ..."
Mar 14, 2018 | www.antiwar.com
Angleton embodied and shaped the CIA's operational ethos and its internal procedures, especially in the realm of counterintelligence. His theories of Soviet penetration dominated the thinking of Western intelligence agencies, and their legacy can even be seen in the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign and allegations of collusion with Russia. I want to emphasize that I only use the term deep state as a colloquial shorthand term for the array of US national security agencies that operate under the shroud of official secrecy.

Let's not forget there are a dozen, at least a dozen such agencies based here in Washington. The CIA with its $15 billion a year budget is the largest. The NSA with a budget of about $10 billion is the second largest. The Defense Intelligence Agency is about $4 billion. Then along with some other obscure but still very large agencies like the NGIA. Never heard of the NGIA? I didn't think so. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is a $4.9 billion a year agency. Collectively, these agencies spend probably $50 billion to $60 billion a year, which make them a very small but powerful potent sector in the American scheme of power.

Want to know how the NGIA spent your $4.9 billion? Good luck. Want to see a line item budget of CIA activities in Africa last year? Move along. It's true that Congress nominally has oversight powers over these agencies. Our elected officials do have their security clearances that we don't have, so they can go in and look at selected operations. But the intelligence oversight system is very weak as even its defenders will admit. The intelligence committees polarized and politicized can't even agree on what kind of secret activities they're supposed to monitor. The FISA court system is supposed to protect Americans from surveillance by their government, but it largely functions as a rubberstamp of the secret agencies. A secret government is the norm in America in 2018 which is why the discourse of the deep state has such currency today.

Angleton, I'm going to put to you, was a founding father of what we call the deep state. So who was he? Born in December 1917, James Angleton grew up as the oldest son of James Hugh Angleton, a brash self-made American businessman who moved to Milan, Italy during the Depression and made a fortune during the time Benito Mussolini selling cash registers. Angleton attended private school in England. He went to Yale College, and then to Harvard Law school. He was a precocious good-looking young man with sophisticated manners and a literary frame of mind.

As an undergraduate, he befriended his fellow expatriate – Ezra Pound – in Italy. Pound was the modernist poet in the mad tribune of Mussolini's fascism. In their correspondence, which I found at Yale, Angleton sometimes ape the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Ezra Pound. For example, criticizing the Jewish book merchants who he thought overcharged for Pound's books.

In 1943, Angleton was recruited into the Office of Strategic Services, America's first foreign intelligence service stationed in Rome during and after World War II. He excelled at secret intelligence work. I tell a story in The Ghost of how he rescued a leading Nazi and a leading Italian fascist from postwar justice. Among other tasks, he reported on the flow of Jews escaping from Germany and heading for Palestine. The revelations of the Holocaust transformed his disdain for Jews into something of sympathy. He began to develop sources among the leaders of the Jewish and Zionist organizations – including Teddy Kollek who was a British intelligence agent, and a German operative named Arthur Pier who later became known as Asher Ben-Natan.

With the passage of the National Security Act in July 1947, Angleton went to work at the CIA. The CIA came into existence and Angleton became the chief of the foreign intelligence staff with responsibility for intelligence collection operations worldwide. In those days, the CIA was right here in the heart of Washington. It's hard for people to believe now, but the CIA was located in a series of temporary buildings located along the reflecting pool next to the Lincoln Memorial. The tempos, as they were called by CIA people, were drafty in the winter, hot in the summer, and devoid of charm year-round. But this is where Angleton worked, at what was known as the Office of Special Operations.

Angleton, while sympathetic to Jewish suffering, was still very wary of Israel when he started his career at the CIA. Before the 1948 war, the Jewish army had been largely armed by Czech arms manufacturers and communist Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union was the first country to recognize the state of Israel in 1948. Angleton initially feared that the Soviets would use Israel as a platform for injecting spies into the West. The Israelis, for their part, were looking to cultivate American friends. Stalin's anti-Semitic purges in 1948 showed that his allegiance to the Jewish state was superficial at best.

In 1950 a man named Reuven Shiloah, the founder of Israel's first intelligence organization, came to Washington. He visited the CIA and he came away very impressed with how it was organized. He went back to Israel and in April 1951, he created out of a very fractious collection of security forces what was known as the Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks – inevitably known as Mossad, Hebrew for institute.

In 1951 Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion came to the United States and brought Shiloah with him. Ben-Gurion met privately with President Truman, and Angleton arrange for Ben-Gurion to also have lunch with his friend Allen Dulles who would shortly become the director of the CIA. The purpose of this meeting, Efrain Halevy, a retired director of the Mossad and a longtime friend of Angleton's told me in an interview in Tel Aviv, the purpose was in Halevy's words to clarify in no uncertain terms that notwithstanding what had happened between Israel and United States 1948 and notwithstanding that Russia had been a key factor in Israel's survival, Israel considered itself part of the Western world and would maintain the relationship with the United States in this spirit.

Shiloah stayed on in Washington to work out the arrangements with Angleton. Shiloah, according to his biographer, soon developed a special relationship – quote/unquote – and Angleton became the CIA's exclusive liaison with the Mossad in 1951. Angleton return the favor by traveling to Israel often. He was introduced to Amos Manor, chief of counterespionage for Israel's domestic security service known as Shabak or Shin Bet.

Manor headed up Operation Balsam which was the Israeli's conduit to the Americans. "They told me I had to collect information about the Soviet bloc and transmit it to them," Manor recalled about the Americans. "I didn't know exactly what to do, but I had the idea of giving them material we had gathered a year earlier about the efforts of the Eastern Bloc to use Israel to bypass an American trade embargo. We edited the material and informed them that they should never ask us to identify our sources." From such arrangements, the CIA-Mossad relationship began to grow. Manor would be friends with Angleton for the rest of his life.

In 1963 a man named Isser Harel was succeeded as the chief of Mossad by a military intelligence officer named Meir Amit. Amit found Angleton to be a little eccentric, but he noted that his – quote – identification with Israel was a great asset for Israel. Asher Ben-Natan, Angleton's source dating back to the OSS days, was playing a key procurement role in the secret Israeli program to obtain nuclear weapons. Teddy Kollek, one of Angleton's closest contacts and friends in Washington, later became the mayor of Jerusalem. Angleton's Israeli friends in short were really the architects, some of the architects of the Zionist state.

As I came to learn his story from talking to CIA veterans and Israelis and reading a lot, a couple of things stood out to me. First of all, the Israeli recruitment of Angleton was extremely astute. In the early 1950s, Angleton was a rising star at this new agency, the CIA, but he was not a senior figure and not even particularly powerful. The Israelis recognized the latent qualities that would make him powerful.

Second, Angleton's creative intellect and his operational audacity inspired deep feelings of loyalty among the Israelis. While Angleton's counterintelligence vision would become very controversial within and bitterly divisive within the CIA, he was widely admired in Israel as a stalwart friend. He still is to this day.

In 1954 Angleton became the chief of the CIA's counterintelligence staff, the first one. In 1956 Amos Manor passed him a copy of Nikita Khrushchev's secret speech to the Soviet Communist Party in which he criticized the cult of personality around the deceased dictator, Joseph Stalin. This intelligence coup made Angleton a legend within the CIA and the power within the agency as well, and it was very much made possible by the Israelis.

Angleton's formative and sometimes decisive influence on US policy towards Israel can be seen in many areas – from the impotence of US nuclear nonproliferation policy in the region, to Israel's triumph in the 1967 Six-Day War, to the feeble US response to the attack on the Liberty, to the intelligence failure represented by the Yom Kippur War of 1973. I tell a lot of the story in The Ghost, but the story of Angleton in Israel is really so large and so profound that it probably deserves its own book. I could certainly not do justice to it in the 18 minutes that I have, so I'm going to confine myself to one narrow question about the tradeoffs that became implicit in this arrangement between the CIA and the Mossad and its implications for us.

The question, which was put to me by Grant but is right on point, was why didn't the CIA help the FBI investigate the diversion of US weapons-grade material from the United States to Israel in the 1960s and 1970s? The short answer is because Jim Angleton didn't want to. Angleton played a key role in enabling Israel to obtain nuclear weapons, and he did so in a subtle way that characteristically left few fingerprints. He was not a man to investigate himself. Many of these details are now known thanks to Grant Smith, Roger Mattson, John Hadden, Jr. and others.

I want to just give you a sense of how this transpired. So the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, otherwise known as NUMEC, started processing highly-enriched uranium in the United States in 1959. NUMEC had been created by David Lowenthal, a Zionist financier who financed the postwar boatlift from Europe to Palestine that was romanticized in the book and movie Exodus. He hired Zalman Shapiro, a brilliant young metallurgist to run the company.

At that time, the US government owned all of supplies of nuclear fuel which private companies, like NUMEC, were allowed to use but ultimately had to return to the government. Within a few years the Atomic Energy Commission noticed worrisome signs that the Apollo Plant – NUMEC had a plant in Apollo, Pennsylvania – that the plant's security and accounting were very deficient. Unexplained losses of nuclear material did happen at other companies, but NUMEC's losses were proportionately much larger. By October 1965, the AEC estimated that 178 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium had gone missing from the NUMEC facility, by March 1968, that figure was 267 kilograms.

John Hadden was the CIA station chief in Israel from 1964 to 1967. He worked very closely with Angleton throughout this period. He would later concur with the near unanimous assessment of CIA's nuclear scientist that Israel had indeed stolen fissile material from NUMEC and used it to build their nuclear arsenal. This story is now very well documented. In the spring of 1965, a technician working at the night shift at NUMEC went out on a loading dock for a breath of fresh air and saw an unusual sight. Zalman Shapiro was pacing on the dock while a foreman and truck driver loaded cylindrical storage containers, known as stovepipes, onto a flatbed truck.

The technician saw a clipboard saying that the material was destined for Israel. It was highly unusual to see Dr. Shapiro in the manufacturing section of the Apollo nuclear facility, the technician said. It was unusual to see Dr. Shapiro there at night, and it was very unusual to see Dr. Shapiro so nervous. The next day NUMEC's personnel manager visited the technician and threatened to fire him if he did not keep his mouth shut, that's a quote, concerning what he had seen. It would be 15 years before the employee told the story to the FBI.

What did Angleton know about NUMEC? Well, he knew that the AEC and the FBI were investigating starting in 1965. As the Israel desk officer of the CIA, he talked about the NUMEC case with liaison agent Sam Papich who was monitoring the investigation for the FBI. He also spoke about it with his colleague John Hadden.

On the crime scene particulars, Hadden defended his former boss. "Any suggestion that Angleton had help the Israelis with the NUMEC operation was totally without foundation," he told journalists Andrew and Leslie Cockburn. But Hadden didn't deny that Angleton had helped the Israeli nuclear program. Why would somebody whose whole life was dedicated to fighting communism have any interest in preventing a very anti-Communist nation for getting the means to defend itself, Hadden asked. The fact they stole it from us didn't worry him in the least, he went on. I suspect that in his inmost heart he would have given it to them if they had asked. Hadden knew better than to investigate any further. I never sent anything to Angleton on this – the nuclear program – because I knew he wasn't interested, Hadden later told his son, and I knew he'd try to stop it if I did.

With the fissile material diverted from NUMEC, Israel was able to construct its first nuclear weapon by 1967 and become a full-blown nuclear power by 1970 – the first and still the only nuclear power in the Middle East. Angleton, it is fair to say, thought collaboration with Israel was more important than US nonproliferation policy. He believed that the results proved his point. When he started as chief of the counterintelligence staff in 1954, the state of Israel and its leaders were regarded warily in Washington – especially at the State Department. When Angleton left government service 20 years later, Israel held twice as much territory as it had in 1948. The CIA and Mossad collaborated on a daily basis and the governments of the United States and Israel were strategic allies knit together by expansive intelligence sharing, multibillion-dollar arms contracts and coordinated diplomacy.

Angleton's influence on U.S.-Israeli relations between 1951 and 1974 exceeded that of any Secretary of State with the possible exception of Henry Kissinger. His influence was largely unseen by Congress, the press, other democratic institutions, and much of the CIA itself. He was empowered by his own ingenuity and the clandestine arrangements rationalized by doctrines of national security and counterintelligence. The arc of his career breathes life into the concept of the deep state.

I thought of this story when I visited one of the memorials to Angleton in Israel in 2016. The memorial is located on a winding road outside the city of Mevaseret Zion, which is now really a suburb of Jerusalem. Historically, control of this high ground has been seen as key to the control of Jerusalem and of Palestine itself. A nearby ruins of a castle built by 12th-century Christian crusaders for exactly that purpose stands in mute testimony to the importance of its strategic location.

The Angleton memorial consists of a pedestal of stones topped with a black plaque. To James Angleton, a friend it says. This plaque was dedicated in 1987, a few months after Angleton died, and it has been maintained by his Israeli friends ever since. It's still in perfect condition. The location is no accident. In the course of his extraordinary career, Angleton, more than any other American, enabled the Americans to gain and hold this strategic high ground in the Middle East. He was, as his friend Meir Amit said, the biggest Zionist of the lot . Thank you.

[Mar 12, 2018] There is no democracy without economic democracy by Jason Hirthler

Highly recommended!
Like many high demand cults neoliberalism is a trap, from which it is very difficult to escape...
Notable quotes:
"... A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism. ..."
"... Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged. ..."
"... The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy. ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

Part 3 - A False Promise

This 'Washington Consensus' is the false promise promoted by the West. The reality is quite different. The crux of neoliberalism is to eliminate democratic government by downsizing, privatizing, and deregulating it. Proponents of neoliberalism recognize that the state is the last bulwark of protection for the common people against the predations of capital. Remove the state and they'll be left defenseless .

Think about it. Deregulation eliminates the laws. Downsizing eliminates departments and their funding. Privatizing eliminates the very purpose of the state by having the private sector take over its traditional responsibilities.

Ultimately, nation-states would dissolve except perhaps for armies and tax systems. A large, open-border global free market would be left, not subject to popular control but managed by a globally dispersed, transnational one percent. And the whole process of making this happen would be camouflaged beneath the altruistic stylings of a benign humanitarianism.

Globalists, as neoliberal capitalists are often called, also understood that democracy, defined by a smattering of individual rights and a voting booth, was the ideal vehicle to usher neoliberalism into the emerging world. Namely because democracy, as commonly practiced, makes no demands in the economic sphere. Socialism does. Communism does. These models directly address ownership of the means of production. Not so democratic capitalism. This permits the globalists to continue to own the means of production while proclaiming human rights triumphant in nations where interventions are staged.

The enduring lie is that there is no democracy without economic democracy.

What matters to the one percent and the media conglomerates that disseminate their worldview is that the official definitions are accepted by the masses. The real effects need never be known. The neoliberal ideology (theory) thus conceals the neoliberal reality (practice). And for the masses to accept it, it must be mass produced. Then it becomes more or less invisible by virtue of its universality.

Source, links:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/02/colonizing-the-western-mind/
[ 1 ] [ 2 ]

[Mar 08, 2018] The Iron Law of Oligarchy and the Iron Law of Institutions.

Mar 02, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Sid Finster 02 March 2018 at 10:37 AM

The Iron Law of Oligarchy and the Iron Law of Institutions.

All institutions are corruptible and all institutions eventually will be corrupted, because institutions = power and power is to sociopaths what catnip is to cats.

Some corollaries of this are:

  1. The people who want power the most are the most inclined to abuse that power.
  2. The principal function of any institution is to keep sociopaths out of power as much as possible for as long as possible.
  3. There are no political or economic systems that work everywhere or at all times. Rather, a system works in a given time and place, to the extent that they further the above principles.

[Mar 08, 2018] One of their aims is to prevent countries of Africa, Latin America, Near and Middle East and Southern Asia from choosing their trade partners freely and from making use of their resources and industrialize

Notable quotes:
"... The US Power Elite ... would be rightfully called the „Deep State" of the USA ( http://tinyurl.com/ho2nz87 ). And this Deep State has become more and more ruthless over the time. ..."
"... In fact the US lead Western policy has established a „Ring of Fire" around Europe ( http://tinyurl.com/gp48dhw ) and European governments have been so stupid for a long time to lend a helping hand to „Big Brother" in doing so. In fact this ring of fire stretches from Libya throughout Africa ( http://tinyurl.com/le2hlpx ) over Near and Middle East, the Balkans up to the Ukraine. Actually one gets the impression that the fire burns into Europe with Terror ( http://tinyurl.com/zrwrk3k ) adding also together with the refugee crisis to the financial problems threatening to blow even the EU up. Is the US having a hand also in this dramatic development? Absurd? Weakening their allies/vassals? We have to have a look at further geo-political challenges the US Power Elite is facing. ..."
Mar 08, 2018 | wipokuli.wordpress.com

The US Power Elite ... would be rightfully called the „Deep State" of the USA ( http://tinyurl.com/ho2nz87 ). And this Deep State has become more and more ruthless over the time.

They have brought nightmares over the Southern Hemisphere by installing brutal dictatorships ( http://tinyurl.com/kkpvcf7 ) in their interest and waging bloody colonial wars, in the last one and a half decades especially with their „War on Terror" ( http://tinyurl.com/nrxxej5 ).

One of their aims is to prevent countries of Africa, Latin America, Near and Middle East and Southern Asia from choosing their trade partners freely and from making use of their resources and industrialize, since that would mean a division of resources and allowing them their part of „consuming ecologic Earth capacity".

... ... ...

In fact the US lead Western policy has established a „Ring of Fire" around Europe ( http://tinyurl.com/gp48dhw) and European governments have been so stupid for a long time to lend a helping hand to „Big Brother" in doing so. In fact this ring of fire stretches from Libya throughout Africa (http://tinyurl.com/le2hlpx) over Near and Middle East, the Balkans up to the Ukraine. Actually one gets the impression that the fire burns into Europe with Terror (http://tinyurl.com/zrwrk3k) adding also together with the refugee crisis to the financial problems threatening to blow even the EU up. Is the US having a hand also in this dramatic development? Absurd? Weakening their allies/vassals? We have to have a look at further geo-political challenges the US Power Elite is facing.

... ... ...

After all the „Deep State" within the USA ( http://tinyurl.com/ho2nz87) is famous for „False Flag attacks", often perpetrated by Operation Gladio. A famous blueprint is Operation Northwoods, a project from the early 60ties for terror attacks on US targets outside and inside the US to be blamed on Cuba as a pretext for a full scale invasion of the hated country. It was stopped by Kennedy, which he didn't survive long (http://tinyurl.com/ndzt8ho). After all the most famous False Flag is the event which the Genius James Corbett presented in five Minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgrunnLcG9Q

Maybe US politics takes a last measure to frighten especially France and Germany by Terror „to order". That´s why one should think into „all directions" when it comes to the tragic terror attacks and otherwise tragic or painful events hitting the two countries:

„Staged „prevented" Terror Attacks – Staged Terror?!" https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/staged-prevented-terror-attacks-staged-terror/

Truly Europe has to be on alert!

Andreas Schlüter

[Mar 01, 2018] T>his is why economic policy cannot not be decided by popular opinion. A typical US voter is ignorant about economics and government finance. A typical US voter doesn t want responsibility for these decisions anyway. He would rather let someone else (some authority figure) make these choices for him, no matter how disastrous and against his interest that can be

Notable quotes:
"... In fact not only do most Americans shy away from finding out about the truth in a country that has pushed division of labour to the maximum, they are trigger happy to be totally controlled by corporate media in a repetition of 'Iraq's weapons of mass destruction' to 'Russia and Putin the source of all evil'. ..."
Mar 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

Joe Levantine , February 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm GMT

@Felix Keverich

"And this is why economic policy cannot not be decided by popular opinion. A typical Russian is ignorant about economics and government finance. A typical Russian doesn't want responsibility for these decisions anyway. He would rather let someone else (some authority figure) make these choices for him. This is why real democracy cannot work in Russia."

If you had not specified the word 'Russian', I could have guessed you were talking about the USA.

In fact not only do most Americans shy away from finding out about the truth in a country that has pushed division of labour to the maximum, they are trigger happy to be totally controlled by corporate media in a repetition of 'Iraq's weapons of mass destruction' to 'Russia and Putin the source of all evil'.

Beyond some truly enlightened Americans whose opinions I am honoured and glad to read on this site, the black majority of the American public still go about their struggle for survival trusting the American politicians and American military are doing the right thing.

[Feb 26, 2018] State Department Troll Farm Receives Huge Cash Infusion

Notable quotes:
"... "This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. ..."
"... Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns. ..."
"... With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states). ..."
"... If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck. ..."
"... The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes." ..."
"... money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that... ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. State Department will increase its online trolling capabilities and up its support for meddling in other countries. The Hill reports :

The State Department is launching a $40 million initiative to crack down on foreign propaganda and disinformation amid widespread concerns about future Russian efforts to interfere in elections.

The department announced Monday that it signed a deal with the Pentagon to transfer $40 million from the Defense Department's coffers to bolster the Global Engagement Center, an office set up at State during the Obama years to expose and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.

The professed reason for the new funding is the alleged but unproven "Russian meddling" in the U.S. election campaign. U.S. Special Counsel Mueller indicted 13 Russians for what is claimed to be interference but which is likely mere commercial activity.

The announcement by the State Department explains that this new money will not only be used for measures against foreign trolling but to actively meddle in countries abroad:

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said the transfer of funds announced today reiterates the United States' commitment to the fight.

"This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. "

The mentioning of Silicon Valley is of interest. The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:

While the companies call it standard practice to work hand-in-hand with high-spending advertisers like political campaigns, the new research details how the staffers assigned to the 2016 candidates frequently acted more like political operatives, doing things like suggesting methods to target difficult-to-reach voters online, helping to tee up responses to likely lines of attack during debates, and scanning candidate calendars to recommend ad pushes around upcoming speeches.

In May 2016 the Hillary Clinton campaign even set up her own troll farm :

Hillary Clinton's well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet's worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton's campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.

In effect, the effort aims to spend a large sum of money to increase the amount of trolling that already exists online.

Clinton is quite experienced in such issues. In 2009, during protests in Iran, then Secretary of State Clinton pushed Twitter to defer maintenance of its system to "help" the protesters. In 2010 USAid, under the State Department set up a Twitter-like service to meddle in Cuba.

The foreign policy advisor of Hillery Clinton's campaign, Laura Rosenberger, initiated and runs the Hamilton68 project which falsely explains any mentioning of issues disliked by its neo-conservative backers as the result of nefarious "Russian meddling".

The State Department can build on that and other experience.

Since at least 2011 the U.S. military is manipulating social media via sock puppets and trolls:

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
...
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".

It was then wisely predicted that other countries would follow up:

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns.

With the new money the State Department will expand its Global Engagement Center (GEC) which is running "public diplomacy", aka propaganda, abroad:

The Fund will be a key part of the GEC's partnerships with local civil society organizations, NGOs, media providers, and content creators to counter propaganda and disinformation. The Fund will also drive the use of innovative messaging and data science techniques.

Separately, the GEC will initiate a series of pilot projects developed with the Department of Defense that are designed to counter propaganda and disinformation. Those projects will be supported by Department of Defense funding.

This money will be in addition to the large funds the CIA traditionally spends on manipulating foreign media:

"We've been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947," said Mr. Johnson, now at the University of Georgia. "We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners -- you name it. We've planted false information in foreign newspapers. We've used what the British call 'King George's cavalry': suitcases of cash."
...
C.I.A. officials told Mr. Johnson in the late 1980s that "insertions" of information into foreign news media, mostly accurate but sometimes false, were running at 70 to 80 a day.

Part of the new State Department money will be used to provide grants. If online trolling or sock puppetry is your thing, you may want to apply now.

Posted by b on February 26, 2018 at 02:02 PM | Permalink

Comments


nhs , Feb 26, 2018 2:34:39 PM | 1

The US propaganda machine has just confirmed what establishment's worst nightmare would be
Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 2:40:29 PM | 2
"to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner"

I call these social media watchers rather than trolls. Rather than simply trying to disrupt any and all social media threads they don't like, social media watchers look for comments or comment threads that are disparaging or damaging to their employer.

WorldBLee , Feb 26, 2018 2:49:32 PM | 3
#2 @Peter AU 1 - I would say the language "to find and CONFRONT" sounds pretty much like troll behavior.

With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states).

Don Bacon , Feb 26, 2018 2:51:50 PM | 4
That $40 million will probably be pissed away on a couple sweetheart contracts to Tillerson friends and nobody will see a difference. US State Department propaganda programs, labeled as "public diplomacy" and other monikers, have been around for a long time but haven't been executed very well.

From the State Dept. historian office, 2013: . .(excerpt):

Public Diplomacy Is Still in Its Adolescent Stage in the State Department , etc.

. . . The process of convergence has been evolutionary. Secretary Powell grasped the power of the information revolution, reallocated positions and resources from traditional diplomatic posting to new areas and recognized the power of satellite television to move publics and constrain governments even in authoritarian regimes. Secretary Rice forwarded this reconceptualization under the rubric of "Transformational Diplomacy," which sought to help people transform their own lives and the relationship between state and society. Secretary Clinton continued the theme under the concept of "Smart Power." "Person-to-person diplomacy in today's work is as important as what we do in official meetings in national capitals across the globe," Clinton said in 2010.The work done by PD officials in Arab Spring countries beginning in 2011 was as much about capacity-building as advocating U.S. policies or directly trying to explain American culture. . . here

notlurking , Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....
nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:18:15 PM | 6
Prior efforts were targeted more at traditional news outlets, this is just an expansion into social media along the lines of previous work, example A being the Rendon Group in Iraq, etc. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rendon_Group

If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck.

Tediousness, defined.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:19:30 PM | 7
WorldBLee 2

Media watchers target specific comments or comment threads, in the case stated by b, those disparaging or damaging to Clinton.

What I term trolls target blogs or social media accounts that are considered targets, no matter the content of a particular article or comment thread. Social media media watchers are a little more specialized than trolls and look for specific content.

nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:23:52 PM | 8
P.S. it's funny that you can find out what these clowns are up to by looking for job listings and salary reports:

The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist Salary | Glassdoor

Average [monthly] salaries for The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist: $2,520. The Rendon Group salary trends based on salaries posted anonymously by The Rendon Group employees.

Talk about a soul-destroying job. Right up there with Wikipedia page editor.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:27:48 PM | 9
nonsense factory 8. Money looks good. Plenty of people that dont give a shit about their soul will take it up.
la Cariatide , Feb 26, 2018 3:40:19 PM | 11
http://www.voltairenet.org/article194715.html
NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:08:38 PM | 12
@7 peter

I see what you are alluding to, but the only problem with it is that, irrespective of the differing definitions, at heart, these infiltrators are a disrupting force on the message boards, whether paid to be or not. Their medium is disruption and obfuscation. I tried to wade into the neoliberal viper's den at slate.com un the past to post "alt-right" stuff and was quickly attacked by multiple avatars.

In essence, one troll disrupts because he has a need for recognition, and the latter disrupts for money. Both are netgain for the troll and loss for the rest of us.

ben , Feb 26, 2018 4:09:30 PM | 13
The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes."

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

james , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:32 PM | 14
thanks b... troll farms looks like a good name for it... farming for the empire.. they could call it that too.. russia as trend setter, lol.. i don't think so!

speaking of troll farms, i see max Blumenthal came out with some 'about time' comments on the sad kettle of fish called 'democracy now'... here is his tweet - "If @democracynow is going to push the neocon project of regime change in Syria so relentlessly and without debate, it should drop the high minded literary NPR aesthetic and just host Nikki Haley for a friendly one-on-one #EstablishmentNow https://twitter.com/democracynow/status/967123918237655041
7:07 AM - Feb 25, 2018 "

money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that...

NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:33 PM | 15
The silver lining here is that the state dept. is in a sense admitting that there is nothing "in the pipe" relating to outright censorship whether through nefarious agreements between ISP providers and the IC via the repeal of net neutrality.

$40 mil is a lot for liberal college graduates however.

Jen , Feb 26, 2018 4:20:59 PM | 16
Nonsense Factory @ 8, Peter AU 1 @ 9: There are plenty of communities in rural Australia who'd be glad to have troll farms paying that sort of money (even as Australian dollars - 1 Australian dollar being worth about US$0.76 at this time of posting) a month. Real farmers could do trolling on the side during slow seasons of the year and make some money.
karlof1 , Feb 26, 2018 4:26:45 PM | 17
What we need are some Mole Trolls, or maybe that's Troll Moles--double agents if you will that work for 6-12 months recording 100% of all they do then reveal it all in an expose.
Ian , Feb 26, 2018 5:21:58 PM | 18
Getting ready for mid-terms. It's going to be interesting to see if the Democrats get wiped off the map. They should be able to hire quite a few people for $40 million. Don't be surprised if they deploy AI in the first wave, then follow up with a real person.

ben @13:

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

ROFL After wandering aimlessly in the mall with Her Majesty over the weekend, I'm not sure if that's even possible now.

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:23:20 PM | 19
Hillary Clinton sat on a wall,
Hillary Clinton had a great fall;
All the DNC stooges and all her trolls
Couldn't put her campaign again on the roll.

[department of lame rhymes]

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:29:18 PM | 20
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5

Foolish human, who needs the likes of you! Regards, Chief Bot

pantaraxia , Feb 26, 2018 6:42:36 PM | 21
"The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:"

It went much further than that . Google actually tweaked its algorithms to alter search recommendations in favor of the Clinton campaign. A comparative analysis of search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo showed that Google differed significantly from the other two in producing search recommendations relevant to Clinton.

Google Manipulates Search Results To Favor Hillary Clinton - Jimmy Dore
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MICXf6viakc

But , but, but...Russia!!!

Nothing to see her folks. Carry on.

che , Feb 26, 2018 6:47:53 PM | 22
The entire U.S. MSM is a F'ing troll farm, disinformation, Orwellian world on steroids. The U.S. public is fed a constant never ending stream of complete Bull sh**, self serving crap. How to stop it is the only question, to stop the impunity with which these criminals like Bush and Trump and Obama and Mattis et.al. lie with their pants on fire and .....they all suck .01% dick.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23
@8 Nonsense Factory

Ahmed Nafeez exposed The Rendon Group and the Pentagon's Highlands Forum a few years ago.

And then there's today's nonsense.

Are You a Russian Troll?

Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:44:21 PM | 24
It's surprising to see the NYT admit the US does it, too. The alt media has been all over this including Corbett's recent video with the Woolsey interview with Fox News where he laughs it off and then says it was for a good cause.
Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:47:09 PM | 25
Hillary's Troll Farm = Lipstick on a pig.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:51:55 PM | 26
From Nafeez Ahmed :
Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda , including an "imminent" invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron's Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:10 PM | 27
From Nafeez Ahmed :

The Highlands Forum has thus played a leading role in defining the Pentagon's entire conceptualization of the 'war on terror.' Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a retired IMB vice president who co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001, described his experience of one 2007 Forum meeting in telling terms:

"Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own."
Debsisdead , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:42 PM | 28
Posted by: Fec | Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23

Yeah well since the writer of the 'quiz' exposes themself as bein a troll of the worst sort there is nothing to be said. I'm currently attempting to ingest only those newstories where the publisher provides space for feedback from readers since if a story is truthful it should be able to withstand challenge. yeah riight cos that means there's bugger all out there anymore. The biggest 'win' populism has had this far is in driving all feedback off all sites with a readership of more than a few hundred. Many of those that do allow feedback only permit humans with credentialed facebook or google accounts to indulge and the comments are only visible to similarly logged in types. That tells us a lot about the lack of faith the corporate media actually have in the nonsense they publish.

Of course 'trolls' are the ones held to be the guilty for causing this but if you actually watch what happens in a feedback column such as the rare occasions when the graun still permits CIF comments it isn't the deliberately offensive arseholes spouting the usual cliches who get deleted, it is those who put forward a considered argument which details why the original writer has reached a faulty conclusion.

We all know this yet it seems as though none of us are prepared to confront it properly as the censorship it is.
IMO media outlets which continually lie or at least distort the truth to advance a particular agenda need to be called to account.
Massed pickets outside newsrooms would be a good way cos as much as media hate us loudmouths who won't swallow their bromides, they like their competition even less. A decently organised picket of NYT, WaPo or the Graun would be news in every other spineless, propagandising & slug-featured media entity.

Lozion , Feb 26, 2018 9:09:10 PM | 29
Cant wait to see the big new shiny gold GEC logo, AMC & GMC anyone? ;)
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:17:57 PM | 30
@ 28 Debsisdead

Said troll was published in Richmond and God only knows who else picked it up. I refuted it in the comments as best I could, also excerpting MOA. Regardless:

From Ahmed Nafeez :

Among Rendon's activities was the creation of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) on behalf of the CIA, a group of Iraqi exiles tasked with disseminating propaganda, including much of the false intelligence about WMD . That process had begun concertedly under the administration of George H W. Bush, then rumbled along under Clinton with little fanfare, before escalating after 9/11 under George W. Bush. Rendon thus played a large role in the manufacture of inaccurate and false news stories relating to Iraq under lucrative CIA and Pentagon contracts  --  and he did so in the period running up to the 2003 invasion as an advisor to Bush's National Security Council: the same NSC, of course, that planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved with input from Enron executives who were simultaneously engaging the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/why-google-made-the-nsa-2a80584c9c1
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:26:22 PM | 31
From Ahmed Nafeez :
Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:40:37 PM | 32
From Ahmed Nafeez :
In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the 'Neurobiology of Narrative Framing' project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman's emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy "empathetic influence," the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal "to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response," but in different ways across different cultures

This goes a long way toward explaining what is occurring in Hollywood and Nashville.

[Feb 25, 2018] Democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power

Highly recommended!
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

chris , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 10:57 pm GMT

So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power.

Your point brought this infamous picture to mind!

Jake , Next New Comment February 26, 2018 at 12:50 am GMT
"what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent."

ABSOLUTELY TRUE!

[Feb 25, 2018] Divide and Rule

Notable quotes:
"... "Liberals" stopped caring about those things after Clinton showed them the "third way," which was really just a way to be kinder, gentler conservatives. ..."
"... the best and most well-founded causations history I've come across directly relating to "Divide & Rule". ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Karl Kolchak, February 21, 2018 11:38 pm

" liberals are concerned about minorities and the poor."

What a joke. "Liberals" stopped caring about those things after Clinton showed them the "third way," which was really just a way to be kinder, gentler conservatives.

LEFTISTS still care about minorities and the poor, which is why liberals do everything in their power to keep them from ever getting elected and would rather throw an election to someone like Trump than let Bernie Sanders be president.

Longtooth , February 22, 2018 8:04 pm

Here's paper that economistsview just linked to today. It traces the events leading to Trump -- or shall I say leading to the recognition by those that have been economically disenfranchised which led to Trump.
http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6868.pdf

In it's composite as well as most (though not all) causes the paper describes, it is the best and most well-founded causations history I've come across directly relating to "Divide & Rule".

[Feb 23, 2018] On the Link between US Pay and Productivity

Notable quotes:
"... American Prospect ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | economistsview.typepad.com

On the link between US pay and productivity, by Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers, VoxEU :

Pay growth for middle class workers in the US has been abysmal over recent decades – in real terms, median hourly compensation rose only 11% between 1973 and 2016. 1 At the same time, hourly labour productivity has grown steadily, rising by 75%.

This divergence between productivity and the typical worker's pay is a relatively recent phenomenon. Using production/nonsupervisory compensation as a proxy for median compensation (since there are no data on the median before 1973), Bivens and Mishel (2015) show that typical compensation and productivity grew at the same rate over 1948-1973, and only began to diverge in 1973 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Labour productivity, average compensation, and production/nonsupervisory compensation 1948-2016

Stansbury20febfig1

Notes : Labour productivity: total economy real output per hour (constructed from BLS and BEA data). Average compensation: total economy compensation per hour (constructed from BLS data). Production/nonsupervisory compensation: real compensation per hour, production and nonsupervisory workers (Economic Policy Institute).

What does this stark divergence imply about the relationship between productivity and typical compensation? Since productivity growth has been so much faster than median pay growth, the question is how much does productivity growth benefit the typical worker? 2
A number of authors have raised these questions in recent years. Harold Meyerson, for example, wrote in American Prospect in 2014 that "for the vast majority of American workers, the link between their productivity and their compensation no longer exists", and the Economist wrote in 2013 that "unless you are rich, GDP growth isn't doing much to raise your income anymore". Bernstein (2015) raises the concern that "[f]aster productivity growth would be great. I'm just not at all sure we can count on it to lift middle-class incomes." Bivens and Mishel (2015) write "although boosting productivity growth is an important long-run goal, this will not lead to broad-based wage gains unless we pursue policies that reconnect productivity growth and the pay of the vast majority".
Has typical compensation delinked from productivity?
Figure 1 appears to suggest that a one-to-one relationship between productivity and typical compensation existed before 1973, and that this relationship broke down after 1973. On the other hand, just as two time series apparently growing in tandem does not mean that one causes the other, two series diverging may not mean that the causal link between the two has broken down. Rather, other factors may have come into play which appear to have severed the connection between productivity and typical compensation.
As such there is a spectrum of possibilities for the true underlying relationship between productivity and typical compensation. On one end of the spectrum – which we call 'strong delinkage' – it's possible that factors are blocking the transmission mechanism from productivity to typical compensation, such that increases in productivity don't feed through to pay. At the opposite end of the spectrum – which we call 'strong linkage' – it's possible that productivity growth translates fully into increases in typical workers' pay, but even as productivity growth has been acting to raise pay, other factors (orthogonal to productivity) have been acting to reduce it. Between these two ends of the spectrum is a range of possibilities where some degree of linkage or delinkage exists between productivity and typical compensation.
In a recent paper, we estimate which point on this linkage-delinkage spectrum best describes the productivity-typical compensation relationship (Stansbury and Summers 2017). Using medium-term fluctuations in productivity growth, we test the relationship between productivity growth and two key measures of typical compensation growth: median compensation, and average compensation for production and nonsupervisory workers.
Simply plotting the annual growth rates of productivity and our two measures of typical compensation (Figure 2) suggests support for quite substantial linkage – the series seem to move together, although typical compensation growth is almost always lower.

Figure 2 Change in log productivity and typical compensation, three-year moving average

Stansbury20febfig2

Notes : Data from BLS, BEA and Economic Policy Institute. Series are three-year backward-looking moving averages of change in log variable.

Making use of the high frequency changes in productivity growth over one- to five-year periods, we run a series of regressions to test this link more rigorously. We find that periods of higher productivity growth are associated with substantially higher growth in median and production/nonsupervisory worker compensation – even during the period since 1973, where productivity and typical compensation have diverged so much in levels. A one percentage point increase in the growth rate of productivity has been associated with between two-thirds and one percentage point higher growth in median worker compensation in the period since 1973, and with between 0.4 and 0.7 percentage points higher growth in production/nonsupervisory worker compensation. These results suggest that there is substantial linkage between productivity and median compensation (even the strong linkage view cannot be rejected), and that there is a significant degree of linkage between productivity and production/nonsupervisory worker compensation.
How is it possible to find this relationship when productivity has clearly grown so much faster than median workers' pay? Our findings imply that even as productivity growth has been acting to push workers' pay up , other factors not associated with productivity growth have acted to push workers' pay down . So while it may appear on first glance that productivity growth has not benefited typical workers much, our findings imply that if productivity growth had been lower, typical workers would have likely done substantially worse.
If the link between productivity and pay hasn't broken, what has happened?
The productivity-median compensation divergence can be broken down into two aspects of rising inequality: the rise in top-half income inequality (divergence between mean and median compensation) which began around 1973, and the fall in the labour share (divergence between productivity and mean compensation) which began around 2000.
For both of these phenomena, technological change is often invoked as the primary cause. Computerisation and automation have been put forward as causes of rising mean-median income inequality (e.g. Autor et al. 1998, Acemoglu and Restrepo 2017); and automation, falling prices of investment goods, and rapid labour-augmenting technological change have been put forward as causes of the fall in the labour share (e.g. Karabarbounis and Neiman 2014, Acemoglu and Restrepo 2016, Brynjolffson and McAfee 2014, Lawrence 2015).
At the same time, non-purely technological hypotheses for rising mean-median inequality include the race between education and technology (Goldin and Katz 2007), declining unionisation (Freeman et al. 2016), globalisation (Autor et al. 2013), immigration (Borjas 2003), and the 'superstar effect' (Rosen 1981, Gabaix et al. 2016). Non-technological hypotheses for the falling labour share include labour market institutions (Levy and Temin 2007, Mishel and Bivens 2015), market structure and monopoly power (Autor et al. 2017, Barkai 2017), capital accumulation (Piketty 2014, Piketty and Zucman 2014), and the productivity slowdown itself (Grossman et al. 2017).
While we do not analyse these theories in detail, a simple empirical test can help distinguish the relative importance of these two categories of explanation – purely technology-based or not – for rising mean-median inequality and the falling labour share. More rapid technological progress should cause faster productivity growth – so, if some aspect of faster technological progress has caused inequality, we should see periods of faster productivity growth come alongside more rapid growth in inequality.
We find very little evidence for this. Our regressions find no significant relationship between productivity growth and changes in mean-median inequality, and very little relationship between productivity growth and changes in the labour share. In addition, as Table 1 shows, the two periods of slower productivity growth (1973-1996 and 2003-2014) were associated with faster growth in inequality (an increasing mean/median ratio and a falling labour share).
Taken together, this evidence casts doubt on the idea that more rapid technological progress alone has been the primary driver of rising inequality over recent decades, and tends to lend support to more institutional and structural explanations.

Table 1 Average annual growth rates of productivity, the labour share and the mean/median ratio during the US' productivity booms and productivity slowdowns


mulp , February 20, 2018 at 12:08 PM

The 70s was when the ideology of free lunch economics was born and then rose to take over virtually the entirety of economics.

Even Krugman adopts a lot of free lunch economics.

In free lunch economics, costs are dependent on price, not price dependent on costs. And profits rising on maximum efficiency, maximum factor utilization, not profits going to zero when factor utilization and efficiency are maximized.

Free lunch economics is the opposite of Keynesian principles. Free lunch economists prescribe the opposite of what Keynes prescribed in similar circumstances.

Keynes called for maximizing aggregate labor costs. Free lunch economists call for minimizing aggregate labor costs.

As all real economic costs are labor costs, everything else being profits and rents, when Bernie bros call for lower costs, or oppose higher costs, they are arguing for lower labor costs, lower wages. Economics is zero sum.

Food costs are low because of government subsidies and government policies promoting low labor costs, low wages.

Progressives should be opposed to SNAP and food banks which are directly or indirectly government funded/subsidized. The solution is to ensure jobs are available than pay wages high enough to buy food that farmers sell at high prices which allow them to pay all their bills.

FDR and Congress set price floors for many goods, and paid workers living wages to do productive work. Conservatives fought these measures to increase costs. Note Hoover was very interested in building capital assets, but he wanted workers to be paid as little as possible, and as few as possible. He promoted working workers to death to cut costs, even when the assets built would certainly generate high returns over their useful lives.

Friedman created the intellectual free lunch theory to justify Hoover's business theory applied to government policy.

Friedman invented the free lunch welfare handout to make the free lunch economy work, because he knew economies are zero sum. Instead of SNAP which is restricted cash, he called for unrestricted cash so labor costs could be cut to increase profits, with government free lunch handouts given to workers to pay the high profits on the goods they were paid to produce.

Again, this is contrary to Keynes and FDR.

Yet Bernie progressives call for Friedman's free lunch economics subsidy of profits in consumer spending subsidies to enable low wages and high profits.

This research and paper merely provide evidence that Friedman's free lunch economics have driven public policy and private sector investment.

Milton Friedman's free lunch economics principles have successfully driven lower productivity growth as he intended, based on his Newsweek articles circa 1970, and based on other 70s era statements and lectures.

Christopher H. , February 20, 2018 at 04:13 PM
What does Summers propose to do to increase productivity? Work the workers harder?

The low hanging fruit is full employment which as Dean Baker and others have discussed will spur productivity growth.

We are seeing an experiment right now with low unemployment.

RGC , February 21, 2018 at 04:07 AM
Unions lost bargaining power since Reagan.

Illegal immigrant labor took menial jobs (meatpacking, landscaping, construction).

The government stopped prosecuting employers for hiring illegal immigrants.

Manufacturing jobs went overseas.

Foreign manufacturers located in right-to-work states.

US Manufacturers stopped competing with foreigners because it was too hard and the profit was too low (GE).

The potential drop in GDP was replaced by borrowing:

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

llisa2u2 , February 21, 2018 at 04:50 AM
OMG- how many understatements can be written, without acknowledging basic facts and truth.

A good place to start would be a similar, I mean really similar, and use CEO pay. Come on lets see a CEO pay VS productivity - the CEO's sure aren't doing the work, and neither are the midline managers. Come on lets see some real good charts on "divergence" factors starting in 1973. Quit the BS. The economy is presently increasing based on human predation. Ignore it, til it stares you in the face, upfront and personal.

llisa2u2 , February 21, 2018 at 05:06 AM
https://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/2018/02/15/five-decades-of-middle-class-wages-january-2017-update
RGC , February 21, 2018 at 05:10 AM
http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_united_states_of_debt/2016

I couldn't find one at FRED.

Maybe this:

Five Charts That Show Americans Families' Debt Crisis

U.S. households owe trillions in student loans, credit card loans, auto loans, and mortgages.

By Chris Kirk

http://www.slate.com/culture/2018/02/trevor-noah-has-some-terrible-ideas-for-addressing-school-shootings.html

llisa2u2 , February 21, 2018 at 05:11 AM
https://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/2017/09/19/u-s-household-incomes-a-50-year-perspective

Spinning, Spinning- yeah let's hear some more from left and right!

llisa2u2 , February 21, 2018 at 05:13 AM
Trickling down is NON-FACT.

SUCKING UP is "INDEED" the real fact of the economic dynamics over the last 50 years.

llisa2u2 , February 21, 2018 at 05:22 AM
In my effort to help counter the blatant irresponsibility of not only..... but also, practically every leading economist worldwide- here EV- start interviewing and publishing this man's works- https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521914001070
llisa2u2 , February 21, 2018 at 05:32 AM
From cited link- for those who want the reason why, I even posted a link on banking, when this article is on labor divergence etc. etc.

5.4.1. Implications for economic theory

The empirical evidence shows that of the three theories of banking, it is the one that today has the least influence and that is being belittled in the literature that is supported by the empirical evidence. Furthermore, it is the theory which was widely held at the end of the 19th century and in the first three decades of the twentieth. It is sobering to realise that since the 1930s, economists have moved further and further away from the truth, instead of coming closer to it. This happened first via the half-truth of the fractional reserve theory and then reached the completely false and misleading financial intermediation theory that today is so dominant. Thus this paper has found evidence that there has been no progress in scientific knowledge in economics, finance and banking in the 20th century concerning one of the most important and fundamental facts for these disciplines. Instead, there has been a regressive development. The known facts were unlearned and have become unknown. This phenomenon deserves further research. For now it can be mentioned that this process of unlearning the facts of banking could not possibly have taken place without the leading economists of the day having played a significant role in it. The most influential and famous of all 20th century economists, as we saw, was a sequential adherent of all three theories, which is a surprising phenomenon. Moreover, Keynes used his considerable clout to slow scientific analysis of the question whether banks could create money, as he instead engaged in ad hominem attacks on followers of the credit creation theory. Despite his enthusiastic early support for the credit creation theory (Keynes, 1924), only six years later he was condescending, if not dismissive, of this theory, referring to credit creation only in inverted commas. He was perhaps even more dismissive of supporters of the credit creation theory, who he referred to as being part of the "Army of Heretics and Cranks, whose numbers and enthusiasm are extraordinary", and who seem to believe in "magic" and some kind of "Utopia" (Keynes, 1930, vol. 2, p. 215).33

Needless to mention, such rhetoric is not conducive to scientific argument. But this technique was followed by other economists engaged in advancing the fractional reserve and later financial intermediation theories. US Federal Reserve staffer Alhadeff (1954) argued similarly during the era when economists worked on getting the fractional reserve theory established:
"One complication worth discussing concerns the alleged "creation" of money by bankers. It used to be claimed that bankers could create money by the simple device of opening deposit accounts for their business borrowers. It has since been amply demonstrated that under a fractional reserve system, only the totality of banks can expand deposits to the full reciprocal of the reserve ratio. [Original footnote: 'Chester A. Phillips, Bank Credit (New York: Macmillan, 1921), chapter 3, for the classical refutation of this claim.'] The individual bank can normally expand to an amount about equal to its primary deposits" (p. 7).


The creation of credit by banks had become, in the style of Keynes (1930), an "alleged 'creation'", whereby rhetorically it was suggested that such thinking was simplistic and hence could not possibly be true. Tobin used the rhetorical device of abductio ad absurdum to denigrate the credit creation theory by incorrectly suggesting it postulated a 'widow's cruse', a miraculous vessel producing unlimited amounts of valuable physical goods, and thus its followers were believers in miracles or utopias.

This same type of rhetorical denigration of and disengagement with the credit creation theory is also visible in the most recent era. For instance, the New Palgrave Money (Eatwell et al., 1989), is an influential 340-page reference work that claims to present a 'balanced perspective on each topic' (Eatwell et al., 1989, p. viii). Yet the financial intermediation theory is dominant, with a minor representation of the fractional reserve theory. The credit creation theory is not presented at all, even as a possibility. But the book does include a chapter entitled "Monetary cranks". In this brief chapter, Keynes' (1930) derogatory treatment of supporters of the credit creation theory is updated for use in the 1990s, with sharpened claws: Ridicule and insult is heaped on several fateful authors that have produced thoughtful analyses of the economy, the monetary system and the role of banks, such as Nobel laureate Sir Frederick Soddy (1934) and C.H. Douglas (1924). Even the seminal and influential work by Georg Friedrich Knapp (1905), still favourably cited by Keynes (1936), is identified as being created by a 'crank'. What these apparently wretched authors have in common, and what seems to be their main fault, punishable by being listed in this inauspicious chapter, is that they are adherents of the credit creation theory. But, revealingly, their contributions are belittled without it anywhere being stated what their key tenets are and that their analyses centre on the credit creation theory, which itself remains unnamed and is never spelled out. This is not a small feat, and leaves one pondering the possibility that the Eatwell et al. (1989) tome was purposely designed to ignore and distract from the rich literature supporting the credit creation theory. Nothing lost, according to the authors, who applaud the development that due to
"the increased emphasis given to monetary theory by academic economists in recent decades, the monetary cranks have largely disappeared from public debate " (p. 214).


And so has the credit creation theory. Since the tenets of this theory are never stated in Eatwell et al. (1989), the chapter on 'Cranks' ends up being a litany of ad hominem denigration, defamation and character assassination, liberally distributing labels such as 'cranks', 'phrase-mongers', 'agitators', 'populists', and even 'conspiracy theorists' that believe in 'miracles' and engage in wishful thinking, ultimately deceiving their readers by trying to "impress their peers with their apparent understanding of economics, even though they had no formal training in the discipline" (p. 214). All that we learn about their actual theories is that, somehow, these ill-fated authors are "opposed to private banks and the 'Money Power' without their opposition leading to more sophisticated political analysis" (p. 215). Any reading of the highly sophisticated Soddy (1934) quickly reveals such labels as unfounded defamation.

To the contrary, the empirical evidence presented in this paper has revealed that the many supporters of the financial intermediation theory and also the adherents of the fractional reserve theory are flat-earthers that believe in what is empirically proven to be wrong and which should have been recognisable as being impossible upon deeper consideration of the accounting requirements. Whether the authors in Eatwell et al. (1989) did in fact know better is an open question that deserves attention in future research. Certainly the unscientific treatment of the credit creation theory and its supporters by such authors as Keynes, who strongly endorsed the theory only a few years before authoring tirades against its supporters, or by the authors in Eatwell et al. (1989), raises this possibility.

5.4.2. Implications for government policy

There are other, far-reaching ramifications of the finding that banks individually create credit and money when they do what is called 'lending money'. It is readily seen that this fact is important not only for monetary policy, but also for fiscal policy, and needs to be reflected in economic theories. Policies concerning the avoidance of banking crises, or dealing with the aftermath of crises require a different shape once the reality of the credit creation theory is recognised. They call for a whole new paradigm in monetary economics, macroeconomics, finance and banking (for details, see for instance Werner, 1997, 2005, 2012, 2013a,b) that is based on the reality of banks as creators of the money supply. It has potentially important implications for other disciplines, such as accounting, economic and business history, economic geography, politics, sociology and law.

5.4.3. Implications for bank regulation

The implications are far-reaching for bank regulation and the design of official policies. As mentioned in the Introduction, modern national and international banking regulation is predicated on the assumption that the financial intermediation theory is correct. Since in fact banks are able to create money out of nothing, imposing higher capital requirements on banks will not necessarily enable the prevention of boom–bust cycles and banking crises, since even with higher capital requirements, banks could still continue to expand the money supply, thereby fuelling asset prices, whereby some of this newly created money can be used to increase bank capital. Based on the recognition of this, some economists have argued for more direct intervention by the central bank in the credit market, for instance via quantitative credit guidance (Werner, 2002, 2003a, 2005).

5.4.4. Monetary reform

The Bank of England's (2014b) recent intervention has triggered a public debate about whether the privilege of banks to create money should in fact be revoked (Wolf, 2014). The reality of banks as creators of the money supply does raise the question of the ideal type of monetary system. Much research is needed on this account. Among the many different monetary system designs tried over the past 5000 years, very few have met the requirement for a fair, effective, accountable, stable, sustainable and democratic creation and allocation of money. The view of the author, based on more than twenty-three years of research on this topic, is that it is the safest bet to ensure that the awesome power to create money is returned directly to those to whom it belongs: ordinary people, not technocrats. This can be ensured by the introduction of a network of small, not-for-profit local banks across the nation. Most countries do not currently possess such a system. However, it is at the heart of the successful German economic performance in the past 200 years. It is the very Raiffeisen, Volksbank or Sparkasse banks – the smaller the better – that were helpful in the implementation of this empirical study that should serve as the role model for future policies concerning our monetary system. In addition, one can complement such local public bank money with money issued by local authorities that is accepted to pay local taxes, namely a local public money that has not come about by creating debt, but that is created for services rendered to local authorities or the community. Both forms of local money creation together would create a decentralised and more accountable monetary system that should perform better (based on the empirical evidence from Germany) than the unholy alliance of central banks and big banks, which have done much to create unsustainable asset bubbles and banking crises (Werner, 2013a,b).


AND, be sure to read why a lot of present economist's are so OFF "talking points" that they don't know they are even off the fundamental talking points, and way off track! You have to start reading the Werner article from the beginning to understand that preceding exclamatory sentence.

Christopher H. , February 21, 2018 at 09:54 AM
Here's something for the Neolibros who desperately want an excuse for why Hillary lost to the orange clown.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/18/confessions-of-a-russiagate-skeptic-217024

Confessions of a Russiagate Skeptic

Why I have my doubts about whether Trump colluded with Moscow.

By BLAKE HOUNSHELL February 18, 2018

f, like me, you've been following every twist and turn of the Russia investigations, you've probably wrestled with the same question that has been gnawing at me for more than a year now: What if there's nothing there?

No, I'm not denying the voluminous evidence that Russia, at Kremlin strongman Vladimir Putin's personal direction, sought to meddle in the 2016 election, and that Donald Trump was clearly his man. The indictment on Friday of 13 Russians -- and the incredible forensic detail in the 37-page complaint filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team -- ought to have convinced any reasonable person that the Russia investigation is definitely a somethingburger. But what kind of somethingburger is it?


President Trump has seized on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's statement that "there is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity" to say that the special counsel has vindication his oft-repeated refrain that there was "NO COLLUSION" between Russia and the Trump campaign. This is obviously nonsense -- the key words in Rosenstein's remarks being "in the indictment," which in any case dealt only with a sliver of Russian efforts to tilt the election in Trump's favor.

Of course, Mueller has put some serious points on the board. In addition to the 13 Russians and three Russian organizations from Friday's indictments, we've also seen two indictments of Trump associates thus far -- former Trump campaign chairman/manager Paul Manafort and his wingman Rick Gates -- and two plea bargains, from sometime national security adviser Michael Flynn and volunteer campaign adviser George Papadapoulos. There is also other stuff hanging out there -- most of all Donald Trump Jr.'s infamous meeting in Trump Tower, the one he enthusiastically scheduled after being told the Russians on offer had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Mueller's team has had nothing to say -- yet? -- about the hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee or Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. And there is no indication, despite the professed optimism of White House lawyer Ty Cobb, that they are wrapping up anytime soon.

There are, of course, odd aspects of Trump's behavior that arouse suspicions. His obsequious praise of Putin. The aborted effort to roll back the old Russia sanctions, and the failure to enforce the new ones. His refusal to accept that Moscow meddled in the election, despite the conclusions of his own staff, the intelligence community and pretty much everyone looking at the evidence in good faith. Firing his FBI director and reportedly ordering the firing of the special counsel. His constant fulminations against the "Russia hoax." The fact that he hasn't directed any effort to safeguard the 2018 midterms. If Trump is guilty, he sure is acting like it.

And there is the fact Trump aides have repeatedly lied about the fact, and extent, of contact between campaign officials and Russia. If the Trump Tower meeting was as innocuous as Donald Jr. says it was, for instance, why the misleading claim that it was about "adoptions"?

I keep coming back the slapdash nature of Trump's 2016 operation, and the chaos and dysfunction that everyone who covered that campaign saw play out each day. Like the Trump White House, the Trump campaign was a viper's nest of incompetence and intrigue, with aides leaking viciously against one another almost daily. So much damaging information poured out of Trump Tower that it's hard to believe a conspiracy to collude with Moscow to win the election never went public. If there was such a conspiracy, it must have been a very closely guarded secret.

Then there's the Trump factor to consider. Here's a man who seems to share every thought that enters his head, almost as soon as he enters it. He loves nothing more than to brag about himself, and he's proven remarkably indiscreet in the phone calls he makes with "friends" during his Executive Time -- friends who promptly share the contents of those conversations with D.C. reporters. If Trump had cooked up a scheme to provide some favor to Putin in exchange for his election, wouldn't he be tempted to boast about it to someone?

And there are aspects of the Russia scandal, too, that don't quite add up for me. Take Flynn's plea bargain. As Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, noted after the deal became public, prosecutors usually prefer to charge participants in a conspiracy with charges related to the underlying crime. But Flynn pleaded guilty only to lying to the FBI, which Bharara surmised suggests might mean Mueller didn't have much on him. It certainly seems unlikely that any prosecutor would charge Flynn for violating the 219-year-old Logan Act, a constitutionally questionable law that has never been tested in court, for his chats with the Russian ambassador. It's not even clear if the (stupid) idea of using secure Russian communications gear, as Flynn and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly considered doing, would have been a crime.

Then there is Papadopoulos, the hapless campaign volunteer who drunkenly blabbed to the Australian ambassador to London that the Russians were sitting on loads of hacked emails. He, likewise, confessed only to lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos desperately tried to arrange meetings between Trump or top Trump officials and Russians, which apparently never happened. Papadopoulos has been cooperating with Mueller for months, but how much does he really have to offer? He seems like an attention-seeking wannabe -- the kind who puts "Model U.N. participant" on his resume.

Speaking of attention-seeking wannabes, Carter Page was another volunteer campaign adviser who was enthusiastic about collaborating with Russia. His writings and comments suggest he has been a Putin apologist for years. But anyone who has seen Page's TV interviews or read through his congressional testimony can tell that there's something not quite right about him. He's apparently broke, doesn't have a lawyer, and has issued lengthy, bizarre statements comparing himself to Martin Luther King, Jr. Back in 2013, when a Russian agent tried to recruit Page, he described him as too much of an "idiot" to bother with. This is the mastermind of the Russia scandal?

As for Manafort and Gates, the charges against them are serious and detailed. They stand accused of failing to register as foreign agents for their overseas work, as well as various offenses related to money laundering. But Mueller has yet to charge them with any crimes related to their work on the Trump campaign. Gates is reportedly working out a cooperation deal with Mueller's team -- perhaps he has stories to tell. And we can't rule out the idea that Mueller is prepared to file superseding charges against either or both of the two men. But so far, their alleged crimes seem unrelated to 2016.

There is, of course, plenty of public evidence that Trump was all too happy to collude with Putin. "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," springs to mind, not to mention Trump's endless invocation of WikiLeaks in the closing weeks of the 2016 campaign. What's particularly eerie, too, is how Trump's divisive racial rhetoric and claims about how the election was going to be "rigged" in favor of Hillary Clinton echoes the messages described in Mueller's latest indictment. Not to mention the voluminous fodder Trump has given Mueller for a (very) hypothetical obstruction of justice case.

Mueller's team doesn't leak, and he's repeatedly surprised us, as he did again on Friday. But I'm still waiting for a smoking gun -- and the special counsel hasn't shown us one yet, assuming he ever will.

Christopher H. said in reply to kurt... , February 21, 2018 at 06:24 PM
We'll see when Mueller finally wraps up his investigation, but we know that garbage people like you and Yggies are taking this opportunity to attack the Left even though there is on evidence for it.

Bernie and Jill Stein supporters aren't implicated at all and only scum like you would suggest so. No doubt you are paid by DNC Super PACs.

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2018/02/russiagate-bernie-sanders-jill-stein-msnbc

Russiagate Targets the Left
BY
BRANKO MARCETIC
Liberal conspiracy theorists are using Russiagate to smear Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein. How long until they come for you?

id Russia conspire to put its thumb on the scales for Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein in 2016?

If you've paid any attention to mainstream coverage of Robert Mueller's indictment of the Russians involved in running an online troll farm that opposed Hillary Clinton's campaign, then you're probably certain the answer is "yes." There's been no shortage of headlines declaring that the accused -- typically referred to simply as "Russians" -- "tried to help" or "aimed to help" the two left-wing candidates, or that they "appear to have been helped by Russian election interference." Even the New York Times, the paper of record, declared that the company, Internet Research Agency, aimed to "bolster" Sanders and Stein's candidacies.

You'll find this same narrative on the nominally liberal MSNBC. Stein was grilled on MSNBC about the Russian attempt to "boost" her campaign. Meanwhile, Ari Melber, one of the network's pundits, seemed to suggest there was something fishy going on between Sanders and the Russian trolls with an innuendo-laden question to Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

"It says in here that Donald Trump was the main intended beneficiary, and Bernie Sanders was the other major party candidate who was a beneficiary," said Melber. "Neither of them have clearly stood up today and said: 'I don't want that help from the Russians, please don't do that kind of thing for me, and anything that happened, I disclaim.'"

It all sounds pretty damning. Until you read the actual indictment.


Fast and Loose
The sole reference to Stein in the nearly 10,000-word document is a sentence that mentions one single Instagram post from Blacktivist, an account controlled by the company, saying: "Choose peace and vote for Jill Stein. Trust me, it's not a wasted vote."

Sanders, meanwhile, appears twice. The first mention is when the document states the company's work was "primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump." The second is a few lines down, when it provides an example of this support: an outline of themes for future content that was circulated around the company, urging employees to "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump -- we support them)." The indictment doesn't specify anything else, including any examples of material support for Sanders's campaign.

These scant references comprise the sole basis for headline after headline about the Kremlin-backed trolls working for Sanders and Stein's campaigns. Some Clinton backers such as Joy-Ann Reid uncritically spread the narrative that "Russia was helping Jill Stein and Sanders," while others used it as a launching pad to suggest Sanders was knowingly in cahoots with the Russian efforts.

MSNBC's Melber has been particularly dogged in pushing this narrative. Despite the lack of evidence in the indictment, Melber claimed on his show that "Mueller has shown that [the Russians] spent 2016 pushing another campaign to elect Bernie Sanders."

When Sanders, appearing on Meet the Press, said that the trolls only began flooding pro-Sanders Facebook pages with anti-Clinton content after she had already won the nomination -- a claim backed up by previous reporting -- Melber pushed back.

"That may be how Sanders remembers it," said Melber. "But now we know it began much earlier with those February marching orders, and the very next month a Sanders volunteer, John Mattes, says a 'huge wave of fake news stories' slamming Clinton from abroad targeted Sanders supporters."

The quote that Melber is referring to -- "huge wave of fake news stories" -- comes from this Guardian piece from July 2017. It also happens to have been wildly misrepresented by Melber.

For one, the words were never uttered by Mattes, a Sanders campaign volunteer in California and investigative journalist who played a role in bringing the Iran-Contra scandal to light in the 1980s. Rather, the phrase was used by the Guardian article's author, Julian Borger. Secondly, at no point is it stated that this "wave" was targeting Sanders supporters. In fact, reading the whole passage it's clear that neither Borger nor Mattes was saying that the "wave" had anything to do with Sanders at all. Here is the passage in full:

A huge wave of fake news stories originating from eastern Europe began washing over the presidential election months earlier, at the height of the primary campaign. John Mattes, who was helping run the outline campaign for the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders from San Diego, said it really took off in March 2016.

"In a 30-day period, dozens of full-blown sites appeared overnight, running full level productions posts. It screamed out to me that something strange was going on," Mattes said. Much of the material was untraceable, but he tracked 40 percent of the new postings back to eastern Europe.

In fact, publicly available interviews with Mattes make this clear, such as this NBC 7 interview in which Mattes explains what led him to look into the troll activity in the first place.

"Hundreds and hundreds of people were joining Bernie Sanders pages on Facebook for a campaign that was over. It made no sense," he told the network.

I spoke to Mattes, who confirmed as much.

"I did not do that, at all," he said about the claim that he looked into troll activity on pro-Sanders pages during the primaries. "Anybody who says that I knew what was happening in March 2016 is misconstruing what I've said publicly."

Mattes, who says he was never consulted by MSNBC about Melber's use of his quote, adds that he has "not seen any reporting that there was material assistance that would have helped" Sanders during the primaries. While he does say that he found Sanders page administrators around the country complaining about fake news sites being posted on their pages, that was in May, and was largely haphazard. The trolls didn't appear to target California, for instance, even though it was clear by at least mid-May that the state was the Sanders's campaign's last hope.

"Had there been an outrageous blasting of Hillary Clinton on our Facebook pages in the outrageous manner that occurred after the convention, I would've noticed it," says Mattes. "If the Russians had really wanted to help Bernie, our last stand was in California, and I didn't see it."

As of the time of writing, Melber's segment is still available for viewing online on the MSNBC website, even though Mattes says he contacted MSNBC to register his objections regarding the misquote. I reached out to Melber and MSNBC and asked them if they plan on issuing a public retraction. This story will be updated with their response.

It appears, then, that the widespread claim that "the Russians" were helping Sanders's campaign, and did so during the primaries, is fake news -- much like the kind that those advancing this narrative accuse the Kremlin of spreading to subvert American democracy.

What appears to have happened here is a marked collapse of basic journalistic standards. Various news outlets and pundits have created a narrative about Russian material support for left-wing presidential candidates based on precisely three references in a thirty-seven-page document that don't actually provide evidence of such a thing. Ari Melber, meanwhile, misattributed and misrepresented a quote from a year-old article and never bothered to speak to the individual he was supposedly quoting -- all for the purposes of quickly and falsely debunking Sanders's defense of his campaign.

A less charitable interpretation is that the media -- unfriendly towards Sanders, uncritical of the national security establishment, and predisposed to run sensational stories about Russian interference -- ran headfirst into a story that seemed to be an ideal blend of these two trends, facts be damned.

Who's Next?
The widespread adoption of this narrative as a cudgel wielded against prominent left-wing political figures, often by liberals, shows the danger of the current political climate, in which liberal anchors openly speculate whether their political opponents are foreign agents. The moment such accusations are turned leftward is never far away.

Look at what's happening in the Mexican presidential race. The current front-runner is a left-wing, anti-Trump populist running on a platform promising to renegotiate NAFTA, establish a universal pension, pump billions into infrastructure spending, and undo the current president's privatization of gas and oil fields. One Bloomberg op-ed charged he would be an ideal beneficiary of a Putin-backed disinformation campaign. Another, this time at the Washington Post, asserted that Putin "may" be working to help him, an unsupported charge repeated by one of his opponent's aides in January.

Those hostile to left-wing causes have also made use of the accusation of Russia meddling. Texas Republican Lamar Smith, a man saturated with the fumes of fossil fuel industry money, has accused anti-fracking environmental groups and Facebook ads of being funded by the Kremlin. Others have also hyped up the work of Russian troll farms in promoting black activism and the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. It brings to mind the intelligence assessment released by the Directorate of National Intelligence last January, which, in lieu of detailing evidence for the Russian hacking of the DNC, instead cited Russia Today's coverage of US wealth inequality, police brutality, mass surveillance, corruption, fracking, and more as examples of Russian propaganda.

And in the future, such attacks can easily be turned on the liberals now weaponizing Russiagate. What would happen if and when a Kremlin-backed disinformation campaign appeared to come to the aid of the Democrats in a future election? It's not so far-fetched: the legal analysis website Law & Crime recently reported that the pundit most retweeted by the trolls indicted by Robert Mueller was MSNBC's very own Joy-Ann Reid, who received around ten times more retweets than Sanders from the same trolls. It remains to be seen if news outlets will claim that Reid was being "helped" by the Russian disinformation campaign, or if Ari Melber will ask for her to renounce their aid.

Liberals should be wary of continuing to use Russiagate for partisan purposes, and of abandoning reporting standards to punish their ideological challengers, whether consciously or not. Weapons, after all, have a way of getting into other people's hands.

kurt -> Christopher H.... , February 22, 2018 at 09:51 AM
Oh lookie - the troll found someone who wrote an article with sketchy references that ignores evidence - but he posted it because he agrees with it!
Eric377 , February 21, 2018 at 12:40 PM
Employers have spent a lot of effort understanding their processes in greater and greater detail over the past 25 years. "Labor productivity" is very, very gross measure and does not have much meaning to the employer. What exactly in the process is generating improvements and can an employee effectively withhold their contribution to the improvement are key questions that are pursued very aggressively. If the new layout of the fabrication cells drives a lot of extra productivity or if a redesign of the product itself increases producibility, the human labor in the process is not going to be compensated very much regardless of the aggregate shift in labor productivity. If you can hire someone out of a fast food restaurant and hit the 95% productivity target by the close of his/her first shift, well the incumbent worker in the position is not going to be getting a big slice of general productivity measures. On the whole, firms are assessing situations accurately and taking actions that are in their profit interests. If they were getting this wrong a lot they would make changes. Employers are usually very pragmatic and if higher compensation makes them more money, they do not hesitate. But it usually does not make them more money.
Christopher H. said in reply to Eric377... , February 21, 2018 at 06:20 PM
"Employers are usually very pragmatic and if higher compensation makes them more money, they do not hesitate."

LMAO

This is not the case at all.

Longtooth , February 22, 2018 at 02:22 AM
I don't know whether other commenters have already made this observation, but in case they haven't:

The paper can be summarized by the relationship of median wage growth to productivity growth as the sum of two variables A & B:

c(3)W = c(1)A + c(2)B

where c(i) are the coefficients of the relations of each term to productivity growth.

What the authors implied is that c(1) is positive and c(2) is negative by a much greater absolute value than c(1), resulting in a very low but positive c(3).

For this to be the case, then variable B must be the composite weighted sum of all factors besides those with positive coefficients included in A.

The authors did not identify those factors the sum of which are B.

But, that identification only matters to identify what if any of those factors can be adjusted, eliminated, or substantially modified. And since they are each related to Productivity growth but still sum to a composite weighted negative coefficient c(2) they must adjustable, or eliminatable, or modifiable such that in composite the coefficient c(2) sums to near zero.

The simple fact that the coefficient of B has increasingly become more negative over time strongly suggests that many or most or even all of these factors that sum to B may not in fact be adjustable, eliminatable, or modifiable to any appreciable degree, since otherwise they would have already been identified and adjustments, etc. made (1973 to 2018 is nearly two generations of time).

In other words the coefficients of factors B that sum to c(2) must clearly also have strong positive weighted coefficients that relate to other than productivity growth but which are each still related to productivity growth.

It is obvious then that the other relationships (non-productivity growth) of factors B weigh positively (since 1973 and increasingly so since then) far more than those that sum to coefficients c(2) which only relate to productivity growth.

Simply stated the other relationships of B to non-productivity growth terms have had increasingly greater priority than those related to productivity growth .. enough so to fully counteract them at an increasingly greater rate with time.

I submit that Summers et.al. know this already and even what the major drivers are, but intentionally left them in their Posted "economics" as unknowns to keep from upsetting the apple cart.

Longtooth , February 22, 2018 at 02:49 AM
"This divergence between productivity and the typical worker's pay is a relatively recent phenomenon.."

Only if you consider 46 years (1973 to 2018) "recent". Most economists would reject that assertion. Most non-economists would reject that assertion. Most laypersons would reject that assertion.

So on what basis can Summers et.al. possibly assert it as true?

The period since the end of WWII completely changed global and domestic economies and that period is 73 years of time, so that the most recent 45 years comprises 61% of it or well over half the period since WWII's end has been in effect.

Basically the most recent 45 years begins a few short years after LBJ's administration and the Nixon's failed admin -- but which was followed by Ford, Carter, and Reagan's.

Longtooth -> Longtooth... , February 22, 2018 at 02:59 AM
I'm not indicting the presidential administrations only using them to show that "recent" begins in the post LBJ / Nixon time-frame. I don't know anybody that would refer to Nixon's presidency as a "recent" administration, including me (and I was born in 1945). My 40 something offspring and their cousins and all their friends refer to that as "ancient history". Summers was born nearly a decade after I was, and so must be using a hugely different concept of "recent" than I do or than my children and their generation do.

Historians have a different concept of "recent" since their operating time frames cover at least from the Industrial revolution and more often than not several centuries more.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron , February 22, 2018 at 03:23 AM
"On the link between US pay and productivity" is more a matter of the link between Anna Stansbury and Larry Summers than a matter of analytical elegance. OTOH, Anna is quite elegant.
Christopher H. , February 22, 2018 at 05:51 AM
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-22/fed-staff-pondered-inflation-puzzle-and-came-away-none-the-wiser

Fed Staff Pondered Inflation Puzzle and Came Away None the Wiser
By Matthew Boesler
February 22, 2018, 12:00 AM EST

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has called low inflation a bit of a "mystery." So it was appropriate that at her final Fed meeting, she and her colleagues received a special briefing on what had gone wrong with the computer models they use to forecast price pressures.

The conclusion of the briefing: The models aren't great for forecasting, but alternative options aren't obvious either. Perhaps even more troubling for policy makers is that inflation appears to be anchored below the Fed's 2 percent target.

The presentations by Fed staff economists were described in the minutes of the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee's Jan. 30-31 meeting published Wednesday. The failure to anticipate last year's decline in inflation, despite a tightening labor market, was chalked up to transitory factors like a one-time drop in the price of cell-phone services.

No alternative frameworks for understanding inflation beyond the Fed's reliance on the decades-old Phillips Curve relationship -- which relies on the level of the unemployment rate and household inflation expectations -- were uncovered.

"The staff found little compelling evidence for the possible influence of other factors such as a more competitive pricing environment or a change in the markup of prices over unit labor costs," according to the minutes of the gathering, which took place just before Jerome Powell succeeded Yellen as chairman. "The prediction errors in recent years were larger than those observed during the 2001-07 period but were consistent with historical norms."

On one hand, the findings arm Fed officials with ammunition in the debate about whether inflation will pick up again this year as unemployment remains low. "Almost all" FOMC participants continued to see the Phillips Curve relationship between unemployment and inflation as a useful guide, according to the minutes, which reinforces the case for gradually raising interest rates even with relatively slow price increases.

But the news was not all good.

"Two of the briefings presented findings that the longer-run trend in inflation, absent cyclical disturbances or transitory fluctuations, had been stable in recent years at a little below 2 percent," according to the minutes.

Evans Dissent
The findings echoed a concern that led Chicago Fed President Charles Evans to dissent against the FOMC's most recent rate hike in December. After that meeting, he explained his decision on the grounds that U.S. households' expectations for inflation may have fallen below 2 percent, which may make it harder for actual inflation to rise.

Fed officials' preferred inflation gauge has been below 2 percent throughout most of the last six years. Prices rose 1.7 percent in the 12 months through December, according to the Commerce Department index.

But in the discussion among FOMC participants that followed the briefings, there was no indication that Evans's concerns were becoming more widespread, despite the staff's findings. Only "a few" said inflation expectations appeared to have fallen below 2 percent, though "a number" noted the importance of stressing the symmetric nature of the Fed's inflation goal.

RGC , February 22, 2018 at 06:24 AM
Dorian Bon reviews a collection of essays by socialist authors and journalists, many of them SW contributors, that asks tough questions about Trumpism--and answers them.

...............................................

Trump and the crisis that caused him

...................................

"In 2008, Obama rode a wave of popular enthusiasm into the White House. "Two years later," Selfa writes, "the formerly discredited and out-of-touch Republican Party scored a historic landslide in the 2010 midterm election. In the largest congressional midterm victory since 1938, the Republicans captured sixty-three seats, ending the four-year Democratic majority in the House of Representatives."

"How did this happen? When Obama took office two years before, with the Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, his administration quickly proceeded to appoint Bush-era officials to top positions in the Treasury and Pentagon.

The fiscal stimulus law passed weeks after Obama's inauguration, while significant, excluded jobs programs to ease rising unemployment. The administration imposed sweeping concessions on unionized workers through the auto industry bailout, even while corporate executives continued to be rewarded with lavish payoffs.

As the business elite found a willing partner in the new White House, poll after poll showed that Americans had begun to associate Obama and the Democratic Party with big finance."

...........................................................

https://socialistworker.org/2018/02/16/trump-and-the-crisis-that-caused-him

[Feb 23, 2018] Deep State and the FBI Federal Blackmail Investigation

Intelligence agencies, once created, has their own development dynamics and tend to escape from the control of civilians and in turn control them. Such an interesting dynamics. In any case, the intelligence agencies and first of all top brass of those agencies constitute the the core of the "deep state". Unlike civiliant emplorres they are protected by the veil of secrecy and has access to large funds. Bush the elder was probably the first deep state creature who became the president of the USA, but "special relationship" of Obama and Brennan is also not a secret.
Another problem is that secrecy and access to surveillance, Which gives intelligence agencies the ability to blackmail politicians.
Availability of unaccounted financial resources make them real kingmakers. In a sense, as soon as such agencies were created the tail started waging the dog.
Notable quotes:
"... Serving under nine presidents, from Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, the FBI was turned into a "Gestapo by Hoover whose modus operandi was blackmail". That's how President Harry Truman (1943-53) reportedly characterized Hoover's bureau. How else do you think he survived for so long – five decades – as the nation's top law enforcer? ..."
"... One of Hoover's mainstay sources is strongly believed to be Mafia crime bosses who had lots of dirt on politicians, from bribe-taking to vote-rigging, to illicit sexual affairs. It is suspected that the Mafia had their own dossier of images on Hoover in a compromising homosexual tryst which, in turn, kept him under their thumb. ..."
"... JFK was particularly wide open to blackmail owing to his rampant promiscuity and extra-marital liaisons, including with screen idol Marilyn Monroe. Kennedy more than once confided to his aides that "the bastards" had him nailed. It was for this reason that he made the thuggish Texan Senator Lyndon B Johnson his vice president even though he detested LBJ. Hoover and Johnson were longtime associates and the former no doubt pulled a favor to get LBJ into the White House. ..."
"... However, Hoover's blackmail on JFK was not enough to curtail his defiance of rabidly anti-communist Cold War politics. Against the hostility of the Pentagon, CIA and FBI, Kennedy pursued a courageous policy of detente with the Soviet Union and Cuba. Such a policy no doubt led to his assassination by the Deep State in Dallas on November 22, 1963. There is ample evidence that Hoover and Johnson, who became the new president, then colluded with the Deep State assassins to cover up the assassination as the act of lone nut Lee Harvey Oswald – a cover-up that persists to this day. ..."
"... But Hoover and Johnson got their revenge by subsequently letting Nixon know that there was classified information on him – thanks to FBI wiretaps. The specter of incrimination is possibly a factor in Nixon becoming increasingly paranoid during this presidency, culminating in the ignominy of the Watergate scandal that ended his career. ..."
"... Hoover certainly was the devious architect of a malign Deep State machine. But he was not alone. He instilled a culture and legacy that pervades the top echelons of the bureau. And not just the FBI. The early Cold War years saw the formation of the CIA and the NSA under the Machiavellian guidance of men like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms and a host of others ..."
Feb 23, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

No other individual in modern US history has a more sinister legacy than John Edgar Hoover, the founder and lifetime director of the FBI. He founded the bureau in 1924 and was its director until his death in 1972 at the age of 77.

Serving under nine presidents, from Calvin Coolidge to Richard Nixon, the FBI was turned into a "Gestapo by Hoover whose modus operandi was blackmail". That's how President Harry Truman (1943-53) reportedly characterized Hoover's bureau. How else do you think he survived for so long – five decades – as the nation's top law enforcer?

J Edgar Hoover and his henchmen kept files on thousands of politicians, judges, journalists and other public figures, according to biographer Anthony Summers. Hoover ruthlessly used those files on the secret and often sordid private lives of senior public figures to control their career conduct and official decisions so as to serve his interests.

And Hoover's interests were of a rightwing, anti-communist, racist bigot.

Ironically, his own suppressed homosexuality also manifested in witch-hunts against homosexuals in public life.

It was Hoover's secret files that largely informed the McCarthyite anti-communist inquisitions of the 1950s, whose baleful legacy on American democracy, foreign policy and freedom of expression continues to this day.

One of Hoover's mainstay sources is strongly believed to be Mafia crime bosses who had lots of dirt on politicians, from bribe-taking to vote-rigging, to illicit sexual affairs. It is suspected that the Mafia had their own dossier of images on Hoover in a compromising homosexual tryst which, in turn, kept him under their thumb.

Absurdly, the FBI chief maintained that there was "no such thing as the Mafia" in public statements.

Two notorious cases of how FBI wiretapping worked under Hoover can be seen in the presidencies of John F Kennedy (1961-63) and Richard Nixon (1969-74).

As recounted by Laurent Guyénot in his 2013 book , 'JFK to 9/11: 50 Years of Deep State', Hoover made a point of letting each new president know of compromising information he had on them. It wouldn't be brandished overtly as blackmail; the president would be briefed subtly, "Sir, if someone were to have copies of this it would be damaging to your career". Enough said.

JFK was particularly wide open to blackmail owing to his rampant promiscuity and extra-marital liaisons, including with screen idol Marilyn Monroe. Kennedy more than once confided to his aides that "the bastards" had him nailed. It was for this reason that he made the thuggish Texan Senator Lyndon B Johnson his vice president even though he detested LBJ. Hoover and Johnson were longtime associates and the former no doubt pulled a favor to get LBJ into the White House.

However, Hoover's blackmail on JFK was not enough to curtail his defiance of rabidly anti-communist Cold War politics. Against the hostility of the Pentagon, CIA and FBI, Kennedy pursued a courageous policy of detente with the Soviet Union and Cuba. Such a policy no doubt led to his assassination by the Deep State in Dallas on November 22, 1963. There is ample evidence that Hoover and Johnson, who became the new president, then colluded with the Deep State assassins to cover up the assassination as the act of lone nut Lee Harvey Oswald – a cover-up that persists to this day.

As for Richard Nixon, it is believed that "Tricky Dicky" engaged in secret communications with the US-backed South Vietnamese regime on the cusp of the presidential elections in 1968. Nixon promised the South Vietnamese stronger military support if they held off entering peace talks with communist North Vietnam, which incumbent President Johnson was trying to organize. LBJ wanted to claim a peace process was underway in order to boost the election chances of his vice president Hubert Humphrey.

Nixon's scheming prevailed. The Vietnam peace gambit was scuttled, the Vietnam war raged on, and so the Democrat candidate lost. Nixon finally got into the White House, which he had long coveted from the time he lost out to JFK back in 1960.

But Hoover and Johnson got their revenge by subsequently letting Nixon know that there was classified information on him – thanks to FBI wiretaps. The specter of incrimination is possibly a factor in Nixon becoming increasingly paranoid during this presidency, culminating in the ignominy of the Watergate scandal that ended his career.

These are but only two examples of how Deep State politics works in controlling and subverting American democracy. The notion that lawmakers and presidents are free to serve the people is a quaintly naive one. For the US media to pretend otherwise, and to hail the FBI as some kind of benign bastion of justice, while also deprecating claims of "Deep State" intrusion as "conspiracy theory", is either impossibly ignorant of history – or a sign of the media's own compromised complicity.

Nonetheless, to blame this culture of institutionalized blackmail and corruption on one individual – J Edgar Hoover – is not fair either.

Hoover certainly was the devious architect of a malign Deep State machine. But he was not alone. He instilled a culture and legacy that pervades the top echelons of the bureau. And not just the FBI. The early Cold War years saw the formation of the CIA and the NSA under the Machiavellian guidance of men like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms and a host of others.

Once formed, the Deep State – as an alternate, unaccountable, unelected government – does not surrender its immense power willingly. It has learnt to hold on to its power through blackmail, media control, incitement of wars, and, even ultimately, assassination of American dissenters.

The illegal tapping of private communications is an oxygen supply for the depredations of the American Deep State.

Thinking that such agencies are not actively warping and working the electoral system to fix the figurehead in the White House is a dangerous delusion.

So too are claims that American democracy is being "influenced" by malign Russian enemies, as the US intelligence chiefs once again chorused in front of the Senate this past week. The consummate irony of it!

The real "influence campaigns" corrupting American democracy are those of the "All-American" agencies who claim to be law enforcers and defenders of national security.

US citizens would do well to refresh on the untold history of their country to appreciate how they are being manipulated.

We might even surmise that a good number of citizens are already aware, if only vaguely, of the elite corruption – and that is why Washington DC is viewed with increasing contempt by the people.

[Feb 23, 2018] The Rothschild Organ And Octoputin - Projection or Envy

Feb 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

ger | Feb 22, 2018 11:40:39 AM | 2

In an uninformed America, fake news organization like NYT, Wapo and Economist can peddle fake news about fake news with nary a question of its accuracy. A dangerous time for the world. MORONS R/U$

A P , Feb 22, 2018 11:50:18 AM | 3

"I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire, ... The man that controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire. And I control the money supply."
Baron Nathan Mayer Rothschild

Bearing mind that the US Federal Reserve is a private consortium of Rothschild-linked banks and it was another Rothschild that basically wrote the Balfour Declaration...

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority." Lord Acton

Add in Zimbardo (Stanford Prison Experiment) and Milgram (Shock Experiments) revealing how the influence machine operatesand you have the schema behind what passes for crony capitalism that infests the world. The icing on the oligarchic system is Bernays-inspired propaganda.

Perfect storm.

james , Feb 22, 2018 12:03:16 PM | 4
well octopi are very intelligent as i understand it.. so they got that right!

i agree with @2 ger and @3 A P.. this constant mantra to get russia is a real interesting set up if you ask me... someone hopes to make a ton of money off war.... these same people don't care about the death of others either... not pretty..

test , Feb 22, 2018 12:05:26 PM | 5
Sigh, nothing but racism against Russians, MSM really wants ww3 with Russia and unfortunately they will probably get it if their hatred, hysteria soar coming months, years.

As b said earlier this week, all for the click-bait.

Also,
Woman threatened online after CNN publicly confronts her on her porch for "siding with Russian trolls"
https://www.scoopnest.com/user/RT_com/966693158724792320-woman-threatened-online-after-cnn-publicly-confronts-her-for-siding-with-russian-trolls

James lake , Feb 22, 2018 12:22:27 PM | 6
Russiagate is the means the USA are using to manufacture consent for war.

A war that is not based on any real cause - just the Neo cons agenda. That is what the Meuller enquiry is designed to with the cooperation of the media - to make Americans hate Russia enough for war to be on the agenda

Putin is demonised - like with Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden and Ghaddafi

It started with obama and the demonisation of Putin.

Hillary was meant to continue this - Trump (Macmasters, Haley, Tillerson and the gang) are following the plan set out by the Neo-cons.

The question is will Europe follow - the UK and France and Poland may the Baltic's are dumb enough but I am not so sure about the rest of Europe.

golom , Feb 22, 2018 12:29:46 PM | 7
Octopus ist a Symbol like any other, depicting for example methods of surveilance states. If Sueddeutsche got attacked for using nazi symbolism, this is mosty due to the strong influence of zionist groups in germany, showing off on their power. Bruce schneier likely confirms this, even he though he uses a slightly different symbol: the squid.
test , Feb 22, 2018 12:38:16 PM | 8
James lake


"The question is will Europe follow - the UK and France and Poland may the Baltic's are dumb enough but I am not so sure about the rest of Europe".

Unfortunately you are misinformed, the anti-russian hatred is probably worse in europe than in america. Remember economist is a brittish/european news magazine.

Jo Garcia , Feb 22, 2018 12:40:16 PM | 9
Who most likely resembles an octopus, and acts more likely as one, is George Soros. Have never seen his likeness mocked in any publication. It is far overdue.
psychohistorian , Feb 22, 2018 1:12:19 PM | 10
This is amazing Big Lie projection by the elite. It shows their current weakness when they project their ability onto others as b clearly shows.....has private banking been reeled in since 1894 or has it grown to project more power and control?

Please remember folks that it is our social contract that needs to change rather than punish some individuals and leave finance in private hands. Have we "evolved" enough to be able to manage finance as a public utility? Like with gun (aggression) control, if we can get some adults to lead the discussion and evolution instead of the psychopaths leadership we have currently, there shouldn't be a problem.

hopehely , Feb 22, 2018 1:32:37 PM | 11
Posted by: test | Feb 22, 2018 12:38:16 PM | 8
the anti-russian hatred is probably worse in europe than in america. Remember economist is a brittish/european news magazine.

Not in whole Europe. In Southern/Mediterranean Europe for example you do not find hatred towards Russia. And how much Britain is European anyways, they call us 'continentals' after all.
ben , Feb 22, 2018 1:37:30 PM | 12
james @ 4 said:"i agree with @2 ger and @3 A P.. this constant mantra to get russia is a real interesting set up if you ask me... someone hopes to make a ton of money off war.... these same people don't care about the death of others either... not pretty.."

Couldn't have said it any better james, kudos...

bevin , Feb 22, 2018 1:37:56 PM | 13
The picture of Putin as meddling octopus attacking democracies is of course dumb nonsense. There is no evidence that the Russian government was in any way involved in the U.S. election..."
No evidence either that the US, where electors choose between Trump and Clinton, Democrat neo-cons and republican neo-cons, is a democracy.
Perhaps The Economist is re-cycling Karl Marx's old, 1848, charge against 'that power, whose head is in Moscow and whose hand is in every cabinet in Europe' a charge that today fits the arbiter of all wannabe, whose head is in Washington. to a tee.
Skeletor , Feb 22, 2018 2:17:34 PM | 14
@ B

The link to the NYT article is broken....or more likely they have removed the article.

Good reporting as always above. Thank you.

Anonymous , Feb 22, 2018 2:44:10 PM | 15
"well octopi are very intelligent as i understand it.. so they got that right!" James @4

They are also very good at spraying black ink indiscriminately in order to make their escape or mask their presence.

test , Feb 22, 2018 2:57:53 PM | 16
hopehely

I cant see any difference between southern states like Spain, France vs northern like Holland and Norway.
The media is even more hawkish than the folks also.

jo6pac , Feb 22, 2018 3:15:34 PM | 17
No comment needed. Enjoy.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/hillary-clinton-begs-forgiveness-rothschilds-leaked-email/221570/

jo6pac , Feb 22, 2018 3:17:04 PM | 18
Another one because I'm having fun.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-clintons-intimate-relationship-with-the-rothschild-banking-dynasty-the-shadowy-network-of-super-elites/5542966

This is a nice piece of the German journalist Norbert Häring about Soros:

http://norberthaering.de/de/27-german/news/67-das-inet-von-george-soros-instrument-zur-weltverbesserung-oder-trojanisches-pferd-der-finanzoligarchie

He carefully sorted out what seems to be fact and what is gossip. Alt right people here hate this approach.

Hausmeister , Feb 22, 2018 3:26:09 PM | 19


This is a nice piece of the German journalist Norbert Häring about Soros:
http://norberthaering.de/de/27-german/news/67-das-inet-von-george-soros-instrument-zur-weltverbesserung-oder-trojanisches-pferd-der-finanzoligarchie
He carefully sorted out what seems to be fact and what is gossip. Alt right people here hate this approach.
augusto , Feb 22, 2018 3:59:21 PM | 20
The famous british weather forecast in never a past thing: ", ladies & gentelment a heavy thick mist this morning covers the Channel, thus isolating the European continent...''
mauisurfer , Feb 22, 2018 4:18:30 PM | 21
Haus
Here it is in english
http://norberthaering.de/en/32-english/news/944-soros-inet
psychohistorian , Feb 22, 2018 4:49:58 PM | 22
@ mauisurfer with the english translation of the Soros and INET piece....Thanks!

Most of my undergraduate study was in macro economics which showed the myth behind the religion of private finance/property and ongoing inheritance. I was one of the folks in class that asked too many questions and would never get invited to an INET gathering but was a computer nerd by then anyway.

The point that struck me about the situation is that to overturn private finance also means dealing with the excesses of patriarchy ....sigh We are a species that has advanced amazingly so in so many ways and yet here we are with a multi-century pattern of private finance controlling the lifeblood of human commerce like a vampire. This may have made some sense in the feudal era but we are past that aren't we?

I hope we don't destroy ourselves trying to evolve.

Lester , Feb 22, 2018 5:02:21 PM | 23
Putin works for the Rothschilds. Putin is the bankers' faithful employee. Putin was just a low-level KGB member and suddenly he becomes Russia's president? Just like Obama the unknown became the US president?

http://www.conspirazzi.com/tag/jewish-mother/

http://vladimirsuchan.blogspot.com.tr/2016/01/who-rules-russia-its-system-is-set-up.html?m=1

karlof1 , Feb 22, 2018 5:21:15 PM | 24
And before the Octopus there was the Hydra and its related mythology .

In one sense it's certainly projection. I imagine the text is full of falsifications and allegations offered with no facts to back them, which is what we've seen from all other media and linked governments. Clearly, Russia is seen as an easier target than China thanks to the years of Cold War brainwashing. But when we're confronted with such excrement, what's the message we see being sent? I see an elaborate Ponzi Scheme built on a slowly disintegrating foundation of lies in the process of imploding. The so-called Masters of the Universe no longer hold any Truths and must thus rely on their seemingly infinite lies broadcast via the Propaganda System. Meanwhile, The Resistance holds all the Truths and refutes the lies easily. The Resistance rapidly gains the credibility the Masters once wielded.

The Hydra in Greek Mythology is killed in several differing ways. But the most important aspect of its being is the reason for its existence: Hera raised it specifically to kill Heracles--it's a tool of the Elite made to kill one of the Elite's main challengers. Yet, it was a member of the Elite--Athena--who provides Heracles with the ultimate weapon to slay the Hydra. Yes, Truth is stranger than Fiction; and it must be recalled that Mythology always is constructed around a core of Truth.

Formerly T-Bear , Feb 22, 2018 5:31:30 PM | 25
@ psychohistorian | Feb 22, 2018 4:49:58 PM | 22

What? No cognitive dissonance? Look closely again! Rothschild is exactly what your "Private Finance" looks like. I would have thought you would highly approve. Are you sure you took Economics 101? or just had a bad reaction to a pizza?

Ivan , Feb 22, 2018 7:24:46 PM | 26
It is interesting that the host "b", who is scrupulous about anti-semitic biases, has now to acknowledge at least tangentially that the anti-semites got some things right. The anti-semites may have gone overboard with their accusations, but as always there is a kernel of truth. The Jewish opinion-makers have no sense of moderation, or fairplay and that has always turned off anyone who thinks about these things. I myself have turned away from being a raging 110% Zionist to total indifference now.
Don Bacon , Feb 22, 2018 8:24:11 PM | 27
Whose tentacles control the world?
From the Iran Deputy FM on the nuclear deal :
The world will be plunged into a new nuclear crisis if Donald Trump continues to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal, the country's deputy foreign minister has warned. Abbas Araghchi, a deputy foreign minister, accused Mr Trump's administration of violating the agreement by threatening to reimpose sanctions and said Tehran could walk away from the deal if it did not begin to see economic benefits from the deal.

" I don't think the deal can survive in this way, if the atmosphere of confusion continues, if companies or banks will not cooperate with Iran . We cannot stay in a deal in which there is no benefit for us," he said. "That's a fact." . . . here

countries that are parties to the JCPOA--
China
European Union
France
Germany
Iran
Russian Federation
United Kingdom
United States .. .The meddler

So Trump, not Putin, menaces Western democracies. Change the head on that octopus.

che , Feb 22, 2018 8:29:40 PM | 28
U.S. Mainstream news television and print has become boring predicable relentless propaganda nonsense, pure hype. Half is pure hype propaganda and the other is mostly advertisement selling products like pharmaceuticals any news item is product placement, LOL. It is Frightening at the same time hard to believe that the American Public is still falling for the same shell game, evil dictator, etc. This Defraud of the American Public, relentless and diabolical misinformation mind control, and Mr. Obama and his ilk insist they will decide what is true or not, fake news or not. And they will marginalize criminalize or physically damage the outliers.
saul alilinsky sachscoburg gotha , Feb 22, 2018 8:37:18 PM | 29
i live on rothschild street it is very nice and safe already no arab spring here as we removed them and sent them to munchen,garmischpartenkirken,scotland,wales london and norway sweden barbera lerner spector sorted the shipping out for us super better thsn dhl logistics already.


"The great Ideal of Judaism is ...that the whole world shall be imbued with Jewish teachings, and that in a Universal Brotherhood of Nations - a greater Judaism, in fact -- all the separate races and religions [and nations] shall disappear."

https://www.henrymakow.com/

Grieved , Feb 22, 2018 8:44:32 PM | 30
@24 karlof1

Mythology contains its core of truth because, I submit, events and symbols both arise from the same source, and share the same pattern.

In plain terms: we are too self-important to think we put the connections together. The connections come already made, we just ascertain them.

In useful terms: the mythologies contain patterns of existence that remain alive even if we only see the patterns from mythologies that owe their fame to past events. Whatever a story evokes, it also invokes. It can happen again because it never went away. The pattern is universal, enduring, primordial. Plus ca change...

And your Hydra story is wonderful. And hopeful :)

Jen , Feb 22, 2018 9:03:50 PM | 31
Karlofi @ 24: In a way, the Hydra did kill Heracles (the mortal part of him). Heracles shot a centaur who was menacing his second wife Deianira with one of his arrows (which he had previously dipped in the Hydra's blood). The centaur told Deianira to dip a shirt into his blood (the centaur's blood, that is), falsely claiming that his blood could be used as a love potion. Some time in the future, Heracles' eye starts to wander and Deianira remembers the centaur's last words. She gives Heracles the bloodstained shirt to wear. The Hydra poison in the shirt starts killing Heracles and he cannot take it off.
Debsisdead , Feb 22, 2018 9:23:13 PM | 32
It is vital to acknowledge that animus towards zionists is culturally driven rather than racially motivated. Saturday morning Hebrew classes - frequently instructed by fresh outta the IDF young israelis, has been an essential part of the indoctrination of jews into zionism. Without that it would have been impossible to develop the cohort of fervently pro-Israeli jews. Wind the clock back 5 or 6 decades and you will find that among the wider jewish population zionists were outnumbered by a mixture of secular jews who wanted integration and those orthodox jews who believed zionism to be contrary to established teaching. Not now.
However there is another major downside to the accepted indoctrinations. Spend time with a third generation arab american, italian- american or Greek-american and you will find that aside from the surname they appear just as any amerikan would. Not so for Amerikan jews, whose brainwashing has served to seperate them from the wider population.
This is particularly apparent in attitudes towards women. Over the early years of emigration to the "New World" there have been numerous instances of recent migrants from Italy Greece and the ME being involved in some dreadful activities against local women. Now, these have frequent been used by a racist media to persuade fools that the particular nationality in question is deviant, violent and will 'steal our womenfolk'. After a couple decades of local Italian-amerikans, Greek-amerikans and Arab-amerikans it all settles down into a crime rate within the usual boundaries of citizens.

That hasn't prevented race-baiting by third generation feminists, the worst example being englander Labour Party MP Sarah Champion claiming that all muslims were misogynist after a gang of 1st & 2nd generation Pakistani-englanders were convicted of grooming 'young white girls'. The link which certainly doesn't represent my view on this gives a flavour of how the englander media published racist tropes while pretending to be opposed to racism.

I mention the Champion case because one group of englanders and amerikans are always given a free pass on sexism, even though they, unlike descendants of xtian and islamic immigrants, continue with their belief in gender based oppression into all subsequent generations of amerikans.

Take a look at the primary perpetrators in the #ME TOO tweeting? Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski to name a tiny percentage of the Hollywood "heavy Hitters" who have been accused of sexual harassment and/or rape and who happen to be Jews.
I have always held that the combination of "we are the chosen people" rhetoric combined with the "all goy women are easy" [I mean to say married goyim don't even wear a sheitel ) nonsense has encouraged jews to hang on to gender based prejusices long after the societies which other migrants came from ditched such tosh.

Yet there have been no articles on the rate of Judaism amongst sex pests and rapists. Why not?

I'm not highlighting this because I reckon the world needs more racist propaganda, but because a well-researched article which considered all the issues properly could put these 'hebrew classes' that let's face it, are the judaic equivalent of wahabi Madrasa brainwashing, under pressure to reform the curriculum away the anti-=women, anti-islam - hell anti anyone/anything which isn't judaic- and into less socially divisive anti-hate speech stuff.

Looking at any of the problems across this rock in 2018 with a race-based mindset is wasteful and untrue. amerikans of all colours and creeds cheer on the destruction of the 'undeveloped' world not because of their hair or skin colour, but because they have had their minds filled with garbage ever since someone first turned on a vid tube to 'distract' them.

hopehely , Feb 22, 2018 9:51:48 PM | 33
Posted by: Ivan | Feb 22, 2018 7:24:46 PM | 26
to acknowledge at least tangentially that the anti-semites got some things right.

What things?
I myself have turned away from being a raging 110% Zionist to total indifference now.

What happened? Moved to Israel and didn't like it there? Too quiet on Saturdays?

[Feb 23, 2018] Life in the Sweatbox, Personal Bankruptcy, and the Narrative of Utilitarian Calculus by Lambert Strether

Notable quotes:
"... The Importance of Being Earnest ..."
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
"... Notre Dame Law Review ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
"Really, if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility." –Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

Credit Slips informs us of an important new study, "Life in the Sweatbox," by Pamela Foohey, Robert M. Lawless, Katherine M. Porter, and Deborah Thorne, forthcoming from the Notre Dame Law Review , and available for download now at SSRN . Foohey summarizes the article:

"Sweatbox" refers to the financial sweatbox -- the time before people file bankruptcy, which is when they often are on the brink of defaulting on their debts and lenders can charge high interest and fees. In the article, we focus on debtors' descriptions of their time in the sweatbox.

Based on CBP data, we find that people are living longer in the sweatbox before filing bankruptcy than they have in the past. Two-thirds of people who file bankruptcy reported struggling with their debts for two or more years before filing. One-third of people reported struggling for more than five years, double the frequency from the CBP's survey of people who filed bankruptcy in 2007. For those people who struggle for more than two years before filing -- the "long strugglers" -- we find that their time in the sweatbox is marked by persistent debt collection calls, the loss of homes and other property, and going without healthcare, food, and utilities. And although long strugglers do not file bankruptcy until long after the benefits outweigh the costs, they still report being ashamed of needing to file.

Foohey concludes:

Our results suggest that the bankruptcy system, at present, cannot deliver its promised "fresh start" to many of the families that seek its protection.

In this brief post, I'll look at one aspect of how the bankruptcy system came to be as it is: The narrative that debtors perform a "utilitarian calculus" in deciding whether or not to seek bankruptcy. This narrative is false, based the results of "Life in the Sweatbox." Since it will crop up again if bankruptcy reform efforts gain traction -- as they should -- it's important to debunk it now. This subject matter is new to me, so I will primarily quote from and contextualize Foohey, Lawless, Porter, and Thorne.

First, let's define the "sweatbox.' Foohey et al., page 1:

The time before a person files bankruptcy is sometimes called the financial "sweatbox." People in the financial sweatbox are on the brink of defaulting on their debts, which is when their lenders can charge high interest rates and fees and otherwise profit from their customers' financial misery.

Ka-ching.

Although the term "sweatbox" often is connected with bankruptcy, how long people spend in the sweatbox before filing and what it means to live in the sweatbox has yet to be carefully examined. Understanding what people endure while in the sweatbox is crucial to evaluating the longstanding belief that people decide to file bankruptcy based on a strategic, financial calculation.

Second, current personal bankruptcy law is premised on the narrative that people seek personal bankruptcy out of self-interest (the "utilitarian calculus"). Foohey et al., page 2:

The term "financial sweatbox" came out of the debates leading to the 2005 passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), a major amendment to the Bankruptcy Code designed to decrease consumer bankruptcy filings by making filing more difficult, expensive, and timeconsuming. The consumer credit industry insisted that changes to bankruptcy were needed because bankruptcy courts were full of deadbeat, "can-pay" debtors who filed "bankruptcies of convenience" to try to escape their rightful obligations and who felt no shame in "abusing" the system. This story contradicted the overwhelming expert consensus that the bankruptcy system functioned well, abuse was rare, and there was no need for drastic overhaul.

And from page 12:

To make its case for restricting access to bankruptcy and thus extend the time consumers spend in the sweatbox, the consumer credit industry painted a picture of profligate spending and uninhibited use of bankruptcy. This picture was not new. Rather, it was updated and embellished for more than a decade. Proponents of this picture argued that reforms were necessary because the "rising tide of bankruptcy filings" cost every moral, bill-paying family $400 a year, a figure that made for "the best sound-bite in the debate." Proponents further linked people's supposed propensity to file at the first sign of financial trouble to a purported drastic decline in bankruptcy's stigma.

None of proponents' claims were supported by evidence . Proponents never substantiated the often-cited "fact" that bankruptcy was costing every American family $400 a year. The claim that bankruptcy courts were filled with "can-pay" debtors was contradicted by decades of robust empirical evidence that people file bankruptcy after experiencing exogenous shocks, such as decline in income, increased expenses, job loss, divorce, and medical problems. Based on this evidence, the related claim that bankruptcy's stigma had disappeared became suspect. If anything, comparing levels of consumer debt and the number of bankruptcy filings, the stigma of filing may have increased over past decades.

Nonetheless, lured by tales of a $400 bankruptcy "tax," Congress embraced the consumer credit industry's assertion that restricting eligibility to and otherwise making it harder to file bankruptcy was the best policy.

(The politics of bankruptcy legislation, it seems, make the politics of health care law look like deliberations at Aristotle's Lyceum .) So now you have been inocculated against the talking points from the credit "industry" (so-called), especially that virulent "$400 a year" one. I'm about to give the article's internal logic on why these talking points are false, but the article is lavishly footnoted and you can run down plenty of additional material for yourself.

Third, the struggle to avoid bankruptcy involves immense suffering. Page 39:

To squeeze a few more dollars out of their lives, people work overtime, forego basic necessities, face serious health consequences, deal with persistent debt collection calls, end up in court, lose homes, and sell what little they own .

Financial misery hurts families. For couples, financial distress is "complicated by the internal dynamic of the household." Struggling with unmanageable debts can strain marriages and relationships. Fights over how to make ends meet, shifting of responsibilities for dealing with ever-worsening finances, and watching loved ones deal with the emotional distress that comes with money troubles may lead to separation and divorce. Splitting one household into two only worsens the financial problems .

For parents, financial troubles are compounded with worries over how the kids cope with the hardships. If homes are foreclosed, children are displaced along with their parents, and may switch schools, possibly more than once as their parents find a workable living situation. Home loss is linked with educational regression. Even if children are not displaced, they notice their parents' financial distress. Schedules change, diets change, and activities are scaled back as parents cut spending. Such changes can confuse children, resulting in behavioral and emotional problems. The effects of prolonged financial problems extend beyond families to workplaces and communities. Existing in a state of money scarcity damages people's ability to lead productive lives. Merely determining how one will survive day to day depletes people's mental resources. This leaves little energy for attending to anything else, including one's job, threatening people's livelihoods and leading to further economic drain. People withdraw from society, adding to their isolation. And the costs of life in the sweatbox are magnified by people's reported underutilization of health-related services and insurance, which can permanently harm people's health.

(The article does not mention Case-Deaton's "deaths of despair," but I'm sure all these hellish stressors have measurable health effects; see NC's discussion of "embodiment." )

Fourth, many prolong the struggle to avoid bankrupcty long after it's in their interest to do so. Page 3:

[T]wo-thirds of people who file bankruptcy report that they seriously struggled with their debts for more than two years prior to bankruptcy. Almost one-third report that they seriously struggled for more than five years, double the frequency from the CBP's survey of people who filed bankruptcy in 2007. For those people who struggle for more than two years before filing bankruptcy -- the "long strugglers" -- their time in the sweatbox is particularly damaging, distinguishing them from other debtors. They lose their homes to foreclosure, sell other property, report going without food and other necessities, all while employing multiple tactics to try to make ends meet and dealing with persistent debt collection calls and lawsuits. When long strugglers finally file, they enter bankruptcy with fewer assets than other debtors and overwhelming unsecured debts. Long strugglers would have benefitted financially from filing months or years before they did . Yet seven out of ten long strugglers say they felt shame upon filing bankruptcy. These debtors' reports about their prebankruptcy lives suggest a model of deciding to file based on something beyond just dollars and cents .

Finally and finally, QED. Debtors, especially long strugglers, cannnot be presumed to perfom a "utilitarian calculus." Page 42:

Debtors' presumed utilitarian calculation that underlies debates about access to bankruptcy supposes more knowledge about law and shrewdness about timing than our data suggest people have. People's willingness to file is diminished further by feelings of shame about using bankruptcy even when filing is clearly financially beneficial. Combined, the bankruptcy system is severely hampered in delivering the fresh start it is assumed to bestow on struggling families.

And from page 38:

Far from being a first resort, bankruptcy is the last refuge for struggling families, and their decisions to file do not reflect the utilitarianism bankruptcy law .

At this point, I'm thinking that the situation in bankruptcy is so hellish that that loveable goof, Joe Biden, actually did student debtors a favor by not allowing them to file for it [hollow laughter].

It also occurs to me that since it's not obvious that our elites are likely to feel shame, and it's quite obvious that they're adept at utilitarian calculus (ka-ching), perhaps they're projecting their own values and behavior onto the rest of us?

This is an excellent article, far richer in data, ideas, and policy concepts than I've sought to convey here. Recommended reading . Grab a cup of coffee!

[Feb 17, 2018] The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power by George Beebe

Notable quotes:
"... From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role. ..."
"... Note: this article is part of a ..."
"... included in the March/April 2018 issue of the ..."
"... George Beebe is director of the Center for the National Interest's intelligence program. He formerly served as chief of Russia analysis at the CIA, and as special advisor to Vice President Cheney on Russia and the former Soviet Union. ..."
Feb 13, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role. Tweet Share Share March-April 2018 Note: this article is part of a symposium included in the March/April 2018 issue of the National Interest .

FEW QUESTIONS have greater import for the health and integrity of any republic than the question of whether important parts of its government's national-security apparatus are abusing their power for political purposes. This is particularly true in the United States, where the departments and agencies known collectively as the Intelligence Community (IC) have grown so large and capable, where faith in the integrity of our democratic institutions is so vital to the effective functioning of our system, and where suspicions about secret police and intelligence organizations are baked so deeply into our country's political culture.

The United States has faced this question several times in its recent history. The Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations all used -- or attempted to use -- the FBI and CIA to gather intelligence on U.S. citizens they suspected of collaboration with communist agents, with too little regard for statutory regulations and prohibitions of such practices, and too great a tendency to view their political enemies as national-security threats. Lyndon B. Johnson believed, without much justification, that the CIA had conspired against him at the 1960 Democratic convention to ensure that John F. Kennedy won the presidential nomination. Richard Nixon was equally convinced that the CIA had helped to swing the subsequent presidential election to Kennedy. These misperceptions barely surfaced in public at the time and did little to shake voters' faith in the outcome of the election, but they had significant implications for the working relationships of both Johnson and Nixon with the CIA once in office. Johnson's suspicions probably increased his inclination to side with the Defense Department's optimistic assessments of the Vietnam War over the CIA's more pessimistic -- and, in retrospect, more accurate -- analyses. Nixon's suspicions fueled his determination to build a small intelligence-gathering and covert-action group within the White House, which ultimately led to the Watergate break-in and cover-up that destroyed his presidency.

Investigations in the 1970s into various IC abuses, including efforts to collect intelligence on the political activities of U.S. citizens, led to the creation of specially designated congressional oversight committees -- the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- with the power and authorization to ensure that the CIA, NSA, FBI, and other IC bodies conduct their activities strictly within the bounds of law. The investigations also resulted in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, which imposed strict limits on the government's ability to surveil the communications and activities of U.S. persons, requiring warrants issued by a special FISA court based on probable cause to believe that the target is a foreign power or its agent. The act established "minimization" requirements for disclosing the identities of U.S. persons being surveilled, allowing for "unmasking" -- that is, revealing their names to authorized government officials -- only when there is strong reason to believe they have committed a crime or when their identities are necessary to understand the intelligence information.

The now-infamous Iraq WMD estimate of 2002 raised questions of the political misuse of intelligence in a different form. Seldom had intelligence figured more prominently in the public justifications for a decision to go to war, and seldom had it been proven more spectacularly wrong in retrospect. Years of efforts by the CIA to increase its relevance had paid off in an unprecedentedly close relationship to the White House, but its unique ability to provide policymakers with the skepticism of a disinterested party suffered. The reorganization and reform of the IC mandated by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005 were designed less to prevent political abuses of intelligence than to make the IC less prone to such consequential errors. This required something new of intelligence overseers: not only to ensure that IC activities remained within the bounds of law, but also to encourage qualitative improvements to its analytic rigor, information sharing and collaboration.

In principle, no one disputes that intelligence operations should be conducted strictly within the bounds of law, and that intelligence and law-enforcement professionals should be guided solely by evidence and analytic rigor in producing their assessments. Human nature being what it is, however, two temptations will be a never-ending challenge: for the IC, to please its White House masters, and for the presidency, to conflate its political enemies with those of the country as a whole. Aspects of both these temptations are evident in the controversies over the 2016 presidential election.

The use of the IC's vast capabilities to gather intelligence on opposition political campaigns should occur only in the rarest of circumstances, justified by solid evidence of treasonous activities warranted by the FISA court. The so-called Steele dossier, a piece of Clinton-funded opposition research gathered from London through unsecure communications with unnamed contacts in Russia, does not meet that standard of evidence. If, as is alleged but not proven, the FBI relied on this unverified document to justify a FISA warrant for collecting intelligence on Trump campaign officials, then the Obama administration crossed an important ethical, though probably not legal, line. Is there a deep state in the United States? Yes, if that means that important parts of our national-security apparatus have the capability, albeit not the legal authority, to abuse intelligence to alter the outcomes of national elections or distort public-policy debates. But we have processes in place to minimize this danger if the oversight provisions established by our laws are properly implemented and our independent media play their informal oversight role effectively. The IC, Congress, judiciary and media all appear to have fallen short of the standards our country should expect.

George Beebe is director of the Center for the National Interest's intelligence program. He formerly served as chief of Russia analysis at the CIA, and as special advisor to Vice President Cheney on Russia and the former Soviet Union.


Alistar , February 14, 2018 9:00 AM

Mr. Beebe, crossed an ethical but probably not legal line??? Really, appalling. FBI/DOJ operatives using the national level intel services to spy against a political opponent? Corruption, deception, lying to judges? Then there's this little aspect of a "cover up." Remember Nixon and Watergate, the break in was small potatoes, it was the lying and cover up that cost Nixon the Presidency. These two questions MUST be asked: What did they know and when did they know it??? Lynch, Holder, Brennan, Comey, Panetta, Biden and especially Obama. The truth will come out, eventually.

Irakli Bokuchava , February 15, 2018 9:12 AM

CIA and Intelligence community in common are parts of the American political system;their successful functioning is basis of success and victory of the USA as civil country;its alpha and omega of practical politics!

enoch arden , February 14, 2018 9:33 AM

The American so-called "Intel community" is a very peculiar phenomenon. Including this very term. Any intelligence agency is a military organisation with a very strict discipline directly subordinated to the commander in chief. Its activity is strictly secret and the commander in chief is the only recipient of the intelligence they acquire.

The Chinese book of military strategy "Sun Tzu" says that if the information of an agent became known to anyone before it was reported to the superior commander, both the agent and the recipient must be executed: the former for his loose tongue, the latter for his inappropriate curiocity. This implies that a particular branch of the intelligence service cannot distribute the information even to the adjacent branches, leaving alone the media.

In the US these rules seems to be entirely foreign. The intelligence officers actively discuss everything both with each other and with the media so that the commander in chief is often the last receiving the information. In a normal country this behaviour would have been stopped by executing the first 100 caught in leaking. The rest would learn the lesson.

TrumpUup💪🏻 enoch arden , February 14, 2018 6:04 PM

I agree but i would say these people are obviously Obama lovers... We both know the realities of today wouldn't allow for executions but it would stop ot and i do agree... The only answer is smaller government but it's to late for that..

sr37212 , February 14, 2018 9:26 AM

I guess we should just ignore the Dulles boys and their using the government to advance their own worth by overthrowing governments.

Schlesinger's Zenith ElPrimero , February 14, 2018 6:02 AM

Another worthless article - how can you mention the Deep State and Nixon and not mention the mighty James Schlesinger and the Family Jewels? I think the Master Old Boy talked about peak oil in his later years too - nah, no such thing as the Limits to Growth eh boys?

Arkansas Traveler Schlesinger's Zenith ElPrimero , February 14, 2018 10:30 AM

The difference is that at one time, the deep state was on the side of the United States

[Feb 17, 2018] The Deep State Is No Supervillain by Michael Lind

Notable quotes:
"... Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author, with Robert D. Atkinson, of ..."
"... (MIT Press, March 2018). ..."
"... The rise of the power elite has long been a serious problem in many Western societies, but trying to forcibly overthrow it will only create a new and potentially more dangerous elite in turn. ..."
"... Information is the key to winning any war between the people and the elite ..."
"... Would have been nice to mention that all this was possible post-1991 because there was no longer a peer competitor to the US, and thus Western business elite no longer was constrained to be allied with Western workers. Since 2014, that has all changed. There are now two near-peer competitors to the US. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Political scientists often divide explanations of democratic politics in the United States and similar nations among theories of pluralism, state autonomy and elitism. The pluralist theory holds that the American elite, like the population, is divided among competing centers of power and authority with different values and interests. The state-autonomy theory holds that government agencies and military and intelligence organizations are independent actors in politics. The elitist theory holds that in most democracies most of the time, no matter how many political parties there may be, there is a dominant elite, which includes most of the leaders of politics, the economy and civil society and shares a broad consensus.

... ... ...

In my view, the elitist approach best explains the Trump phenomenon, along with contemporary populism on both sides of the Atlantic. Since the end of the Cold War, highly homogeneous social elites in North America and Europe have liberated themselves from the constraints of the institutions that restrained them between 1945 and 1989 -- institutions including strong labor unions, grassroots political parties and, in the United States, a distinct Southern oligarchy that by now has largely lost its identity and power and has been absorbed into the national ruling class.

Elites in the United States, Britain, Germany and other Western nations under post–Cold War leadership have deliberately weakened the bargaining power of workers in their nations by a combination of austerity-induced unemployment, offshoring, permitting Western-controlled corporations to play nation-states against one another and mass low-skilled immigration, creating a low-wage "reserve army of labor" in Western countries.

While restructuring the global economy to crush organized labor, transatlantic elites have simultaneously restructured government to minimize democratic accountability, by shifting decisionmaking from legislatures to executive and judicial agencies within the nation-state, and by enabling treaties and transnational agencies like the European Union, which are more insulated from voters, to replace or modify national statutory law. In both of the cases of anti-worker economic restructuring and de-democratization, American and European oligarchs have claimed that a mysterious, unstoppable force called "globalization" compelled them to do what they wanted to do anyway. This post–Cold War oligarchic revolution from above might be described as a conspiracy, but it is not a secret conspiracy perpetrated by the deep state. It was a program carried out in broad daylight by Bill Clinton and George Bush, Tony Blair and centrist European leaders. And it succeeded in its two goals of weakening the economic leverage and political power of the working-class majorities in the United States, the UK and other Western nations.

The populist rebellions of the second decade of the twenty-first century, which have been led by right-wing tribunes like Trump or left-wing demagogues like Sanders and Corbyn, can only be understood as a long-delayed reaction by populations to the replacement of the cross-class compromises of the post–World War II period by untrammeled oligarchy. America's newly empowered ruling class has closed ranks against Trump, but it would also close ranks against any other outsider president who challenged its post–Cold War dominance of American society, including Bernie Sanders. Deep divide? Yes. Deep state? No.

Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author, with Robert D. Atkinson, of Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business (MIT Press, March 2018).


Uniters.org Centrist EIC , February 13, 2018 7:36 AM

A bizarre misreading of history, though good points are made as well.

This is a classic example of a dishonest person analyzing something they disagree with, and instead of sticking to reality, they build a straw man bugaboo to assign blame to, and make their side into a victim:

"deliberately weakened the bargaining power of workers in their nations by a combination of austerity-induced unemployment, offshoring, permitting Western-controlled corporations to play nation-states against one another and mass low-skilled immigration, creating a low-wage "reserve army of labor" in Western countries"

He pretends that he isn't calling it a conspiracy, but that is exactly what he's doing, and some have done what he describes, but where he willfully jumps off the cliff of dishonesty is in claiming to know why ("deliberately") these actions were taken by so many people, over such a long period of time.

That's an obvious lie. Unless Mr. Lind is Professor X, using science fiction psychic magnifying machines to read thousands of minds, both past and present, there is no way anyone could honestly make that claim.

His use of conspiracy theory makes it doubly interesting in how he deconstructs the conspiracy theory many on the right are pushing about the 'deep state'.

Turn that skeptic's lens back on yourself, Mr. Lind.

R. Arandas , February 13, 2018 3:57 PM

The rise of the power elite has long been a serious problem in many Western societies, but trying to forcibly overthrow it will only create a new and potentially more dangerous elite in turn.

Information is the key to winning any war between the people and the elite.

Curt , February 13, 2018 1:59 PM

Would have been nice to mention that all this was possible post-1991 because there was no longer a peer competitor to the US, and thus Western business elite no longer was constrained to be allied with Western workers. Since 2014, that has all changed. There are now two near-peer competitors to the US.

[Feb 16, 2018] The Deep Staters care first and foremost about themselves.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Putin is evil, Putin kills, Putin steals, bla bla bla!!! Putin is only guilty for not being America's vassal. The Russia bashing in MSM will cease by miracle if it becomes America's client state. Putin and Russia are presumed guilty of everything bad that happens in the world. ..."
"... No evidence is needed, high confidence is enough!! It is almost funny that a country like USA which has a long records of meedling and intervention in others countries internal affairs worlwide, now is losing reason about alleged russia meedling. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

andrewp111 Guest , February 13, 2018 7:21 AM

For a very simple reason. The Deep Staters care first and foremost about themselves. They wanted Hillary to win, badly, but were not willing to risk too much for her. James Comey in particular cares about James Comey. Remember, this is a guy who views himself as a historical Religious Figure. He wanted to be able to serve out a full 10 year term. He wanted to please his Democratic masters enough to avoid being fired by either Obama or Clinton, but not too much to gain excessive ire from Congress. He was afraid that a Republican Congress under a future Clinton Administration would go after him tooth and nail if he "concealed" new evidence against Clinton prior to the election - especially since he promised the Congress that he would inform them of new developments. And Comey probably feared the worst as to what was in Wiener's email archive. When they finally went through that archive, and failed to find much that was new, he must have breathed a sigh of relief - only to see the wrong person win the election.

Tracy Crawford , February 13, 2018 8:21 PM

The political system in the US is a near complete failure. On one hand the massive levels of corruption legalized in Citizen's United give influence over political decisions to wealthy elites previously unseen outside of the deeply corrupted and criminal Russian oligarchy. On the other hand and synergistic with the previous point, the least informed and most easily influenced of people have votes equal in weight to highly informed, well-educated, expert and professional practitioners.

Rights guaranteed by a difficult-to-alter constitution combined with easily managed and easily created social media content based on opaque sources of emotionally charged, unverified and unverifiable information have gained control over public opinion (making alteration of our constitution even more difficult.)

And look at the fourth (Reagan, Bush, Bush, Trump) wave of Republican explosion of national debt under the banner of "fiscal responsibility."

It is astounding how "A" can be so successfully marketed as "B."

I am afraid that once control of public opinion has been so successfully attained in our form of democracy/legalized-corruption that there is no way to recover.

It is a sad state of affairs. I'd love to hear solutions.

Kurt Gayle , February 13, 2018 2:03 PM

An excellent description of the recent activities of the Deep State, Mr. Merry.

Thank you.

The trolls will now come after you full-bore.

WillDippel , February 12, 2018 9:08 PM

As shown in this article, Washington is completely ignoring the one issue of its own making that could create global chaos:

https://viableopposition.bl...

Washington's anti-Russia program is simply a distraction from its real problems.

Anti-Empire , February 14, 2018 12:48 PM

Great piece by Merry. Not new, but worthy of repetition when presented clearly like this.
It does not matter what you call it, Deep State or something else. What Merry says about the threat it poses to what remnants of democracy we have is true.
I prefer to call it the Imperial State since its highest priority is the US Empire, with domestic well-being simply an afterthought or of no cosequence at all.

Jamie , February 14, 2018 12:12 PM

"Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,"

- Cryin' Chuck Schumer

Steve JimmyD , February 14, 2018 1:29 PM

There is only ONE country that consistently "messes" in the politics of nearly every other country on the planet and that is not Russia.

It is the USA Deep State. I challenge you to research the evidence, "hidden in plain sight", of these examples:

1) US money that flowed into France and Italy elections after WW2;

2) overthrow of Greece elected pres in 1974 by US-friendly generals;

3) overthrow of Salvadore Allende in Chile 1973;

4) overthrow of Iran Mossadegh in 1953;

5) overthrow of neutral govt in Indonesia in early '60s;

6) the massive money that flowed into Russia in 1996 to get Yeltsin re-elected;

7) the money and attention US put into overthrowing legally elected govt in Ukraine in 2014.

That is just a VERY short list.

NO OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH HAS MAINTAINED THIS FRANTIC PACE OF MASSIVE INTERVENTIONS/MEDDLING/BRIBING/OVERTHROWING/BOMBING/INVADING/DEATH-SQUADing FOREIGN POLITICAL SYSTEMS FOR 70 YEARS LIKE YOUR "GOOD OLE USA", powered by it's un-elected Deep State.

kelly bako JimmyD , February 13, 2018 7:27 PM

Putin is evil, Putin kills, Putin steals, bla bla bla!!! Putin is only guilty for not being America's vassal. The Russia bashing in MSM will cease by miracle if it becomes America's client state. Putin and Russia are presumed guilty of everything bad that happens in the world.

No evidence is needed, high confidence is enough!! It is almost funny that a country like USA which has a long records of meedling and intervention in others countries internal affairs worlwide, now is losing reason about alleged russia meedling.

A troll, from Saint Petersburg.

Tracy Crawford kelly bako , February 13, 2018 10:50 PM

You're right, Kelly, about some of your points. Evil: check. Kill: check. Steal: check. Co-opting the largest per capita criminal network in the world: check.

kelly bako Tracy Crawford , February 14, 2018 2:01 AM

He forced Americans to vote trump to undermine your democracy : check

[Feb 16, 2018] The Deep State Is Very Real by Robert W. Merry

Notable quotes:
"... Note: this article is part of a ..."
"... included in the March/April 2018 issue of the ..."
"... Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is editor of ..."
"... . He is the author most recently of ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

February 12, 2018

Note: this article is part of a symposium included in the March/April 2018 issue of the National Interest .

OF COURSE there's a Deep State. Why wouldn't there be? Even a cursory understanding of human nature tells us that power corrupts, as Lord Acton put it; that, when power is concentrated and entrenched, it will be abused; that, when it is concentrated and entrenched in secrecy, it will be abused in secret. That's the Deep State. James Burnham saw it coming. The American philosopher and political theorist (1905–87), first a Trotskyist, then a leading conservative intellectual, wrote in 1941 that the great political development of the age was not the battle between communism and capitalism. Rather, it was the rise of a new "managerial" class gaining dominance in business, finance, organized labor and government. This gathering managerial revolution, as he called it, would be resisted, but it would be impervious to adversarial counteractions. As the managerial elites gained more and more power, exercised often in subtle and stealthy ways, they would exercise that power to embed themselves further into the folds of American society and to protect themselves from those who might want to bust them up.

Nowhere is this managerial elite more entrenched, more powerful and more shrouded in secrecy than in what Dwight Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, augmented by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. That's where America's relentless drive for global hegemony meshes with defense manufacturers only too willing to provide the tools of dominance.

Now we have not only a standing army, with hundreds of thousands of troops at the ready, as in Cold War days. We have also permanent wars, nine of them in progress at the moment and not one with what could even remotely be called proper congressional approval. That's how power gets entrenched, how the managerial revolution gains ever greater force and how the Deep State endures.

Few in the general public know what really happened with regard to the allegations of Trump campaign "collusion" with Russia, or how the investigation into those troubling allegations emerged. But we know enough to know we have seen the Deep State in action.

We know that U.S. agencies released an "Intelligence Community Assessment" saying that Russia and President Putin were behind the release of embarrassing Democratic emails in a plot to help Trump win the presidency. But we also know that it wasn't really a National Intelligence Assessment (a term of art denoting a particular process of expansive intelligence analysis) but rather the work of a controlled task force. As Scott Ritter, the former Marine intelligence officer and arms-control official, put it , "This deliberate misrepresentation of the organizational bona fides of the Russia NIA casts a shadow over the viability of the analysis used to underpin the assessments and judgments contained within." Besides, the document was long on assertion and short on evidence. Even the New York Times initially derided the report as lacking any "hard evidence" and amounting "essentially . . . to 'trust us.'"

We have substantial reason to believe that an unconfirmed salacious report on Trump, paid for by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign (with the FBI eventually getting hold of it), was used in an effort to get a secret national-security warrant so the government could spy on the Trump campaign. We know that the FBI went easy on Clinton in its investigation of her irresponsible email practices, and then we find out that a top FBI official involved in both the Clinton and Trump/Russia investigations despised Trump, liked Hillary and expressed an interest in doing what he could to thwart Trump's emergence. We know he privately told his lover that, while he didn't think Trump could win, he nevertheless felt a need for an "insurance policy" because "I'm afraid we can't take that risk." We know these matters were discussed in the office of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

We know further that former FBI director James Comey used a cutout to leak to the press a rendition of an Oval Office conversation with the president that could be interpreted adversely to Trump. We know he did this to set in motion the appointment of an independent investigator, a potentially mortal threat to any president -- and perhaps particularly to this freewheeling billionaire developer.

Perhaps most significant, we know that all this had the effect of wrenching from the president the flexibility to pursue a policy agenda on which he had campaigned -- and which presumably contributed to his election. That was his promise to work toward improved relations between the United States and Russia. Prospects for such a diplomatic initiative now are as dead as the dodo bird. Trump lost that one. The Deep State won.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . He is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century .


grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 8:07 AM

I don't believe there is a secret 'deep state' controlling the USA from the shadows like some Bond villian.

What people call the deep state is in fact the interests of the business elite who have been granted nearly unprecedented political influence by the American people in the form or nearly unlimited campaign contributions to politicians who promote their interests, unregulated lobbying, control of the MSM and the funding of think tanks and other institutions that promote their interests.

When historians look back at this time it will be Madison Avenue and the revolution in persuasion that they study.

Paul Cressman grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 6:20 PM

1934 Major General Smedley Butler, US Marine Corp, was asked by US Industrialists to help them overthrow the government. Roosevelt was to remain as the figurehead of the US but the industrialists would be in charge. The industrialist would supply Butler with a 500,000 man army that he would be in charge of. Butler's father was a congressman in the 1920's and Butler told congress of the possible Coup. Read of The Committee of Foreign Affairs, CFA.

R. Arandas