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Neoliberalism

The ideology that dare not speak it's name is actually a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

Version 6.6

Skepticism and Pseudoscience > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

News An introduction to Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberalism war on organized labor Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Globalization of Financial Flows
Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Neoliberal rationality Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura Neoliberalism and Christianity Key Myths of Neoliberalism Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Anti-globalization movement
Zombie state of neoliberalism and coming collapse of neoliberalism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Definitions of neoliberalism Neoliberal Brainwashing Neoclassical Pseudo Theories US Presidential Elections of 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization
Neocon stooge formerly known as Anti-Globalist and Trump betrayal of his voters Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Casino Capitalism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism War is Racket Inverted Totalitarism
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism and shift to neo-fascism Neoliberal corruption Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Corruption of Regulators "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization
Alternatives to Neo-liberalism Elite Theory Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions Key Myths of Neoliberalism Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Gangster Capitalism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality Blaming poor and neoliberalism laziness dogma Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime
Peak Cheap Energy and Oil Price Slump The Deep State Predator state Disaster capitalism Harvard Mafia Small government smoke screen Super Capitalism as Imperialism
The Great Transformation Monetarism fiasco Neoliberalism and Christianity Republican Economic Policy In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Ronald Reagan: modern prophet of profligacy Milton Friedman -- the hired gun for Deification of Market
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocons New American Militarism
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few YouTube on neoliberalism History of neoliberalism Humor Etc


Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare. “There’s class warfare, all right, "Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."

- New York Times

Make no mistake, the neo-Liberal fuckers are just as bad as the Stalinists

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

GB: once a great cultured nation, now a poorly-educated gangster mafia state, ruled by oligarchs and inhabited by soccer hooligans

The Kremlin Stooge

The terms Neoliberalism and Casino Capitalism are used interchangeably. They define the same phenomenon. The term "Casino Capitalism" stresses that neoliberalism glorifies stock market, and creates powerful incentives for financial speculation and excessive risk-taking on the part of the public (mass ownership of stocks via 401K plans), financial institutions (derivatives, currency speculations, "naked" commodity futures, intentional blowing of bubbles), and even Main Street entrepreneurs (dot-com crisis on 2000).  That's why neoliberalism is also called "market fundamentalism". But Neoliberalism is not market-fetishism, unless fetishism is understood as fake devotion. Like Bolshevism, Neoliberalism is a State ideology. Its central tenet is that the State must directly help the rich, the poor will be better off as a by-product. In other words, neoliberalism is a welfare for the top 1%, the "free market" jungle for the rest

While many think about neoliberalism as "Ubercapitalism" or return to "Robber Barons" era on a new level, ideologically Neoliberalism is close to Trotskyism ( and thus can be called Neo-Trotskyism ). In the famous slogan "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" neoliberalism substituted the word "proletarians" with the word "elites" (as in "Transnational elites, Unite!" ). The idea of "Permanent Revolution" was in turn substituted with the idea of permanent "Color revolutions." Methods used remain a variation and enhancement of methods used by Trotskyites for destabilizing the government, with a special emphasis on use of the students and acquiring the control of mass media. Caste of "professional revolutionaries"  now consists of  well-paid functionaries sitting in comfortable chairs in various lavishly financed think tanks and NGO. In the USA they constitute the core of both parties which cares very little about the interest of rank-and-file members with "bait and switch" maneuver as the major tool for election success (Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump). Marx is probably rolling in his grave.

Despite being a flavor of Trotskyism, Neoliberalism is still a very interesting, unique social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and socialism (and facilitated the dissolution of the USSR by buying out Soviet nomenklatura, including KGB brass). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow is prohibited by MSM to mention. In this system, like under Stalin's version of socialism, the state play the leading role in enforcing the social system upon the people, brainwashing them with wall-to-wall 24 x 7 USSR-style propaganda an, if necessary, by state violence (As Sheldon Wolin mentioned neoliberalism tries to use violence selectively, as overuse of state violence undermines the social system, see Inverted Totalitarism). Essentially neoliberalism lifted intelligence services into full fledged political player (which means that later stage of neoliberals is always a variant of the national security state) as we can see in color revolution launched by them against Trump. The question it was an isolated case when intelligence agencies gone rogue or this is just a step in evolution of neoliberalism and is a "new normal" needs to be answered.

Instead of regulating predatory tendencies of capitalism like under New Deal, state became just a corrupt policeman that serve large corporations and against the people. In this sense any neoliberal country is to certain extent is an "occupied country" and the neoliberal regime is occupying regime, much like Bolsheviks (with their theocratic state) were in USSR space. Much like during Robber barons era, when the state helped to squash West Virginia miner upraising in 1912-21. Foreign policy under neoliberalism is marked by rampant militarism and constant wars for expanding of the global, USA-led neoliberal empire. Neocons dominate foreign policy discourse since 1980th.

The neoliberal state justifies its decisions, policies and rules by deification of the markets. Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms and state-sponsored religion. The level of a secular religion in which "market" and "competition" are new deities ("market fundamentalism") is especially visible in university education, were alternative approaches were mercilessly crushed. It is not an exaggeration to say that the main goal of teaching of economics in universities is the indoctrination, and it has very little in common with teaching economic as a complex and contradictory science. Mathematics serves as powerful smoke screen for hiding the neoliberal ideological core (maziness)

Neoliberalism radically transforms welfare state. The idea of welfare that was the core of New Deal Capitalism is not completely abolished. But under neoliberalism only corporations are desirable welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up.

In labor relations neoliberal pursue a staunch anti-union stance. Labor is atomized, unions suppressed and individuals put on the market "naked" on conditions dictated by employees. Which means squeezing goo paying job in favor of terms and contractors, outsourcing and other anti--labor measure designed to preserve falling profitability in the market condition characterized by falling consumer demand (due to lower standard of living for the majority of population). And this is done at any cost. Even at the cost of human life. That situation gave rise to the term "naked capitalism".

The idea of welfare is not abolished. But under neoliberalism only corporations are desirable welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. that gave a rise of various (often stupid) "performance metrics" and cult of "performance reviews". It redefines citizens as consumers, who exercise they political power mainly buying and selling, the process which supposedly rewards merit (producing market winners) and punishes inefficiency. It postulates a primitive (and wrong) dogma that “the market” always delivers benefits that are superior and could never be achieved by planning. Which is definitely untrue for military contractors. In a way the "market" under neoliberalism is a kind of "all powerful deity". Which makes neoliberalism a variation of a secular religion (compare with "God building" faction of Bolsheviks Party which included such prominent figures as Lynacharsky). As such neoliberalism, like Marxism before, is hostile to Christianity. And while Marxism absolutize the power of human compassion and redefines paradise as a social system that supposedly can be built on Earth (communism), neoliberalism denigrates the power of human compassion and enforces "greed is good" and "homo homini lupus est" morale. Which turns into law of jungle for lower and middle class. In this sense it is more like a branch of Satanism, with greed as a virtue ("Greed is good"), speculation as a noble activity (while according to Chris Hedges "Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged." ) and the slogan "Homo homini lupus est" as one of the key Commandments. See Neoliberalism and Christianity

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations, and greed as a virtue

This social system can be viewed as dialectical denial of socialism and represents the other extreme in classic triad "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis". We do not know yet what the synthesis will be like, but neoliberalism as a social system after 2008 shows definite cracks. Much like the USSR after the WWII when people serving in Red Army discovered what the standard of living in Central and Eastern Europe for workers was far superior that existed in the USSR and start to understand that "state socialism" as practiced in the USSR can't deliver promised higher standard of living for ordinary citizens and that Soviet "nomenklatura" is not that different from the capitalist class in appropriation in Marx terms of "surplus value of labor".

That helped to undermine the validity and effectiveness of communist propaganda. And once the ideology is undermined the elite can't restore the trust of population, which start viewing it with suspicion and contempt. The process of irreversible deterioration started and proceed rather slowly. After WWII Bolshevism survived for another 40 years or so, but eventually failed as the elite (aka Soviet nomenklatura) changed sides and joined neoliberal camp. Like Bolshevism before it, neoliberalism proved to be unstable social system. A utopian system which is unable to deliver promised benefits to the common people, and which destabilizes capitalism in comparison with New Deal capitalism, producing periodic crisis with increasing severity. The first of such crisis was "savings and loans" crisis, followed by dot com bubble burst, and the financial crisis in 2008. The latter led to the Great Recession from which the USA never fully recovered.

In 2008 the large banks, which are the core of neoliberal economics, were saved from facing consequences of their "transgressions" only by massive state intervention. All powerful market was unable to save those sick puppies. The consequences of 2008 crisis did buried neoliberal ideology which from this point looks like cruel and primitive hypocrisy designed to restore the power of financial oligarchy to the level the latter enjoyed in 1930th. That did not mean that neoliberalism became completely toothless. It managed to stage comeback in several Latin American countries (the USA backyard). But in 2016 it led to the election of Trump who managed to defeat establishment candidate, neocon warmonger Hillary Clinton despite all the efforts of the neoliberal/neocon establishment to derail him. Trump pursues the version of neoliberalism which can be called "national neoliberalism" -- neoliberalism limited to the USA with implicit rejection of globalization (or at least large part of it). Which makes Trumpism somewhat similar to Stalinism. Unlike Trotsky Stalin did not believed in the "World Revolution" mantra.

In the absence of alternatives neoliberalism managed somewhat recover after 2008 debacle, and even successfully counterattacked in some Latin American and European countries (Argentina, Brazil, Greece), but the Great Recession still left of huge and ugly scar on the neoliberal face. In any case glory days of triumphal march of neoliberalism all over globe are over. Crisis of neoliberalism also logically led to increase of share of "guard labor" in economics. On state level this resulted in hypertrophied growth of repressive apparatus including intelligence agencies. And as is typical for such cases at some point tail started to wag the dog. Russiagate (which properly should be called Intelligence-gate) is a nice illustration of this trend.

With lower standard of living of the middle class is no longer possible to hide that "it 's not enough cookies for everybody". Resentment of working class and lower middle class reached in 2016 unprecedented level. As Pope Francis noted:

... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

Outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing in the USA -- the citadel of neoliberalism led to epidemic of opiod abuse similar to epidemic of alcoholism among workers in the late USSR.

Impoverishment of lower 20% of the society (those who have so called McJobs) reached the level when we can talk about a third world country within the USA.

All those factors created pre-conditions for a sharp rise of far right nationalism. In a way neoliberalism naturally generated far right nationalism splash much like Gilded Age and the market crash of Sept 4, 1929 capitalism created precondition for the rise of national socialism. Reading NDSAP 25 points program (adopted in 1920) we can instantly feel that many problem that existed then are now replayed on the new level. After approximately 40 years of global dominance neoliberalism facade shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became strong enough to provide upsets, albeit temporary, which demonstrated itself in Brexit, and election of Trump. Who, despite his election-time claims to be a fighter against neoliberal globalization, for restoration of local jobs, and against the wars for expanding neoliberal empire, he essentially folded in two-or three months after the inauguration.

Like Soviet version of Communism before it, Neoliberalism failed to meet its promises of rising standard of living (and the key idea of justifying of raising of inequality and redistribution of wealth up under neoliberalism was "rising water lifts all boats" mantra, or as Kenneth Galbraith famously defined it “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” ). We can stress again, that the current opiod epidemics in the USA is not that different from epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR under Brezhnev's "well developed socialism" and has the same social roots.

It is important to understand that under neoliberalism the key priority is the maintenance of global neoliberal empire for the benefits of multinationals (with the associated idea of Global Neoliberal Revolution which, as we mentioned before, makes is similar to Trotskyism). Opening new markets is vital for the interests of transnational corporations and that means that the USA government supports the war for the expansion of the USA-led global neoliberal empire at the expense of interests of regular US citizens. Outsourcing and atomization of the US workforce (squeezing unions) means that neoliberal government has an adversarial attitude towards its common citizenry. They are, by definition, the second class citizens (Undermensch, or as Hillary Clinton elegantly coined it "basket of deplorables" ) . While neoliberal themselves ("creative class") are new Ubermench and like old aristocracy are above the law. So the idea of the "nomenklatura" as a ruling class in the USSR is now replayed on a new level. The fact the Ann Rand was a Soviet émigré tells you something ;-)

As it evolved with time, neoliberalism is a somewhat fuzzy concept ( much like Bolshevism evolved from Leninism to Stalinism, then to Brezhnev's socialism and at last to Gorbachov "perestroika" ). In various countries it can morph into quite different "regimes", despite the common "market fundamentalism" core. The simplest and pretty precise way to define is to view it as "socialism for the rich, feudalism for the poor" or, more correctly "Trotskyism for the rich" ("Elites of all countries unite !" instead of “Proletarians of all countries, Unite! ...). It is "socialism for the upper strata of population and corporations, especially transnationals".

In this sense neoliberals are as "internationalists" as communists were at their time, and may be even more (the term "globalism" is commonly used instead of "internationalism".) And like "Communist International", the "Neoliberal International" accepts the elite from any country, but only a very narrow strata of the elite and only on a certain conditions, with the leading role reserved for the USA elite and a part of G7 elite. Much like in Comintern the role of Moscow as a leader was something that can't be even discussed. Only taken for granted. Although spying capabilities of "Neoliberal International" via "five eyes" are tremendously more powerful then the rudimentary capabilities of Comintern. And the technology of staging "color revolutions" is more polished then Trotskyite approach to staging proletarian revolutions. As a proverb say "One is a bad student, if he can't exceed the level of his teacher". Or "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." --William Arthur Ward

Neoliberals also have more money and that matters. The alone allow them to create a powerful "fifth column" in countries other then G7 who are on the receiving end of neoliberal expropriation of wealth to the top countries of Neoliberal International. Like in Comintern, "all pigs are created equal, but some pigs are more equal then others."

The key idea of obtaining power by training the cadre of "professional revolutionaries" introduced by social-democratic parties and, especially, Bolsheviks are replaced with no less effective the network of neoliberal think tanks. In other words neoliberalism borrowed and perverted almost all major ideas of social-democratic parties. Including the existence of a paid "party core" typical for Bolsheviks, and instrumental to the success of their coup d'état in October 1917 against Provisional government by Kerensky. Under neoliberalism this idea transformed into the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored.

Monte Perelin society (the initial neoliberal think tank) explicitly tried to adapt successful idea of western social democratic parties and Bolsheviks to neoliberal doctrine. One such "appropriations" is the level of secrecy and existence of "underground" part of the party along with "legal" parliamentary faction, a set of figureheads who are controlled by "invisible hand" (honorable politician is the one who after he was bought stays bought). Some important theoretical work in this direction was done USA renegade Trotskyites (aka neoconservatives, especially by James Burnham as well as staunch neoliberals like James Buchanan (The Guardian)

The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential”. Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical “reforms”... Gradually they would build a [well-paid] “counter-intelligentsia”, allied to a “vast network of political power” that would become the new establishment.

The control of MSM is another idea borrowed from Bolsheviks. Like Bolshevism, neoliberalism created it's own Neoliberal newspeak and a set of myths ("greed is good", "invisible hand", "the efficient markets hypothesis", "rational expectations scam", Shareholder value scam, supply side voodoo aka "rising tide lifts all boats", etc). In "neoliberal newspeak" the term "freedom" is used as the excuse for ripping down public protections on behalf of the very rich. For example, "free market" means the market free from any coercion by the state (read "free from regulations") which makes it the corporate jungle where the most powerful corporation dictate the rules of the game and eat alive small fish with complete impunity. In no way neoliberal "free market" is fair. Actually neoliberals try to avoid to discuss the issue of farness of the market. This is anathema for them. As such neoliberalism has distinct Social Darwinism flavor and enforces scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed

In no way neoliberal "free market" is fair. Actually neoliberals try to avoid to discuss the issue of farness of the market. This is anathema for them. As such neoliberalism has distinct Social Darwinism flavor and enforces scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed

As neoliberalism inherited consumerism of the New Deal Capitalism, it adapted it for it own purposes. One distinct feature is trying to get into dent the majority of the population of the country as well as "lesser" countries (neo-colonialism)/

On the individual workers levels neoliberalism has sophisticated mechanisms of enforcing excessive debt on unsuspecting population with such mechanisms as credit card companies, mortgages, student debt, etc. And a worker with a large debt is, essentially, a debt-slave. Atomization (neoliberalism is openly and forcefully anti-union) and enslavement of the workforce is exactly what neoliberalism is about: recreation of the plantation economy on a new technological and social levels. Not that unions are without problems in their own right, but crushing the union is the goal of every neoliberal government starting with Thatcher and Reagan. The same model that is depicted in famous song Sixteen Tons. With replacement of the company store debt and private corporate currencies with credit card debt.

On "lesser" countries level IMF and World banks does the heavy lifting of converting countries into debt-slaves. Sometimes with the help of Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs.

Like Trotskyism, neoliberalism is a militaristic creed, the only different is that dream of global Communist empire led from Moscow was replaced by the dream of global neoliberal empire led by Washington. Neocons in this sense is just a specific flavor of neoliberals --" neoliberals with the gun" as in Al Capone maxim "You Can Get Much Further with a Kind Word and a Gun than with a Kind Word Alone" ;-). This "institualized gangsterism" of the US neocons represents probably the greatest threat to the survival of modern civilization.

Neoliberalism elevates of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms. The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of neoliberal economics (and economists). When this authority collapses the eventual collapse of neoliberalism is imminent. This is a classic "the castle built of sand story. "

Due to the size the introduction was moved to a separate page -- Neoliberalism: an Introduction


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Old News ;-)

(Research materials to the paper Neoliberalism: an Introduction)

Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2017 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2016 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2015 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[Aug 14, 2018] Try track me after that, google.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Automatic Choke -> johngaltfla Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

1) remove the smartphone battery

2) smash the smartphone with a hammer

3) burn the pieces of the smartphone

4) leave the ashes at home when you are out and about

Try and track THAT, google.

[Aug 14, 2018] I am sure the tracking your movements all the time it s just a harmless oversight on the part of Google.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

spanish inquisition Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:28 Permalink

I am sure it's just a harmless oversight.

Kefeer -> Clock Crasher Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:38 Permalink

Hammer it and remove all EMF's. An old microwave over works as a Faraday cage. Also; if you take a cell phone and wrap it in just a layer or two of aluminum foil; it will not make or receive calls.

beemasters -> Kefeer Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:42 Permalink

Or just carry a dummy phone to make yourself look important. In today's world, perception is it.

Giant Meteor -> beemasters Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

Good point. Save alot of shekkels too. Why just the other day I was standing in grocery line having an imaginary conversation with my imaginary broker, on my fake phone! The conversation became quite heated. It was all going swell until I ran into the door on my way out, fell over backwards, spilt the milk carton, and crushed a dozen eggs. No one even noticed ..

cougar_w -> beemasters Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:42 Permalink

They don't need GPS to know where you are, cell towers report the same information to good enough accuracy for most uses. When Google is tracking you, that is how they are doing it usually.

JoeTurner Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:30 Permalink

The East German Stasi only wish they could be like Google...

Socratic Dog -> Grandad Grumps Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:13 Permalink

OSMand replaces google maps very nicely, and works perfectly fine completely off line (by GPS). It also doesn't have to allow google to update its maps every 30 days to keep it working, download maps for anywhere in the world and just use them.

Lineage OS is a replacement for Android OS. I've had it in 2 phones so far, quite content with it. Open source, so lots of eyes on it to make sure this sort of shit isn't happening. You can minimize or completely eliminate the google presence, your choice.

Whether some deep-down shit is tracking me, I have no idea. I assume it is, and act accordingly.

Oldguy05 -> Socratic Dog Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:19 Permalink

Deep-down, it's all shit!

valjoux7750 -> Socratic Dog Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:26 Permalink

Love to try lineage but I'm on Verizon and their phones since the note 5 are locked down good. Rooting, jailbreaking, or what ever you call it is the way to go if your concerned about privacy.

Socratic Dog -> valjoux7750 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:31 Permalink

Rooting isn't difficult. That's why they try so hard to stop you doing it.

[Aug 14, 2018] Paranoia as a natural condition of people living in the national security state: Faraday Cages for sale! Get yours today -- or they'll get you tomorrow!

** This story brought to you by the Divorce Lawyers of America **
Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

toady -> hedgeless_horseman Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:41 Permalink

Duh. Who didn't know this?

Even taking the battery out doesn't work anymore... they've built in transistors that will hold enough juice to keep the tracking capabilities enabled for several hours after the battery is removed.

NidStyles -> toady Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:44 Permalink

Are you kidding me Gracie? I assume it was you sending the nutcase

johngaltfla -> NidStyles Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:45 Permalink

Man are those geeks going to be bored as fucking hell tracking me.

Alananda -> johngaltfla Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:59 Permalink

I dindu nuffin. I never do nothing. What -- me worry? I have nothing to hide. Idiot.

johngaltfla -> Alananda Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:57 Permalink

Humor and sarcasm. Try Googling it.

Automatic Choke -> johngaltfla Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

1) remove the smartphone battery

2) smash the smartphone with a hammer

3) burn the pieces of the smartphone

4) leave the ashes at home when you are out and about

Try and track THAT, google.

[Aug 14, 2018] Peter Strzok Fired From The FBI

Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Peter Strzok, who spearheaded the FBI's investigations into both the Clinton email "matter" and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, has been fired from the agency over anti-Trump texts, according to The Washington Post .

Aitan Goelman, Strzok's lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday -- even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI's repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process. - Washington Post

" This isn't the normal process in any way more than name ," Goelman said.

Strzok's termination follows a June report that he was physically escorted out of an FBI building despite still being employed by the agency.

me title=

In response Goelman said in a statement: " Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process , and yet he continues to be the target of unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks."

In the same June letter, Goelman complained about the " impartiality of the disciplinary process, which now appears tainted by political influence ."

In other words, Peter Strzok - who vowed in a text message to his FBI mistress to "stop" Trump, was the victim of political bias - according to his attorney.

Goelman also wrote that "instead of publicly calling for a long-serving FBI agent to be summarily fired, politicians should allow the disciplinary process to play out free from political pressure." We are confident that everyone will be very interested in watching the "impartial" disciplinary process play out fully in the coming months.

Goelman's conclusion: "Despite being put through a highly questionable process, Pete has complied with every FBI procedure, including being escorted from the building as part of the ongoing internal proceedings."

Strzok's anti-Trump sentiment came to light after an internal investigation revealed he and his FBI mistress Lisa Page had exchanged 50,000 text messages, many of which contained clear animus towards then-candidate Donald Trump.

Strzok's position in the bureau had been precarious since last summer, when Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz told Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III that the lead agent on his team had been exchanging anti-Trump messages with an FBI lawyer. The next day, Mueller expelled Strzok from the group.

The lawyer, Lisa Page, had also been a part of Mueller's team, though she left a few weeks earlier and no longer works for the FBI. She and Strzok were having an affair. - Washington Post

Perhaps the most alarming of the exchanges mentions an "insurance policy" in the event Trump is elected.

" I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office - that there's no way he [Trump] gets elected - but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." Strzok wrote to Page, adding " It's like a life insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40 ."

In another text exchange, Strzok tells Page: "I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherrent answer," and "I CAN'T PULL AWAY, WHAY THE F*CK HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY (redacted)??!?! "

Page then messages Strzok, saying "And maybe you're meant to stay where you are because you're meant to protect the country from that menace . (links to NYT article), to which Strzok replied " I can protect our country at many levels ."

me title=

The text messages made abundantly clear that Strzok - the man who downgraded the FBI's assessment of Hillary's email mishandling from "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless," and used a largely unfounded Trump-Russia dossier to launch a counterintelligence operation - holds a deep disdain for Donald Trump.

In response to the discovery of Strzok and Page's texts, President Trump derided the pair as "FBI lovers." On Sunday, Trump tweeted "Will the FBI ever recover it's once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired? So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!"

me title=

Strzok testified at a Congressional earing last month, asserting that there was "no evidence of bias in my professional actions," and that his testimony was "just another victory notch in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's belt and another milestone in our enemies' campaign to tear America apart."

The now-former FBI agent also creeped people out with a weird smirk during the session, as well as the generally creepy faces he made:

me title=

We're looking forward to hearing Strzok's side of the story wherever he lands next - which we assume will either be CNN or MSNBC.


Hobbleknee -> DeadFred Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:22 Permalink

He probably gets to keep his security clearance though.

vaporland -> Hobbleknee Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:25 Permalink

Pete has steadfastly played by the rules and respected the process

the crooked rules and rigged process?

Gatto -> vaporland Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:34 Permalink

PS tried to influence a US election! He should be made an example of to put fear in the 'Russians' or anyone else that ever tries to throw an election, a sentence of life in a hard labor camp will be fair!

NvrGivUp -> MagicHandPuppet Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:11 Permalink

The lawyer professing his clients innocence: https://www.zuckerman.com/people/aitan-d-goelman

Gen. Ripper -> Harry Lightning Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:43 Permalink

They didn't issue a firearm to him. He was not a graduate of FLETC nor a law enforcement agent/officer. He is not an 1811 criminal investigator. He was a CIA puke shipped to FBI for detail by Brennan. This is all lies.

Banana Republican -> Gaius Frakkin' Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:17 Permalink

Assume he's already talking to decorators about his new office at CNN.

38BWD22 -> City_Of_Champyinz Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:43 Permalink

Or MSNBC.

Boxed Merlot -> RafterManFMJ Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:55 Permalink

...PAID to lie...see reported what "so and so's lawyer said"...

Really.

And in an unrelated matter Mr. Goelman raged at the severity of the court's handling of the orphaned Menendez brothers sentencing.

Just enough "truth" to get caught in one's craw.

Seriously though, what kind of name is "Strzok"?

Never mind, I just read Mr. Strzok's, (pronounced like struck), Wikipedia entry: "This page was last edited on 13 August 2018, at 15:17 (UTC)."

I wonder how many more updates will be needed before this sordid affair runs it's course?

carbonmutant -> Bill of Rights Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:20 Permalink

I think the Deep State is throwing Trump a bone...

aqualech -> carbonmutant Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:35 Permalink

I think that the Deep State could not come up with any possible alternative.

Promethus -> aqualech Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:54 Permalink

Agreed. It is the very least they could do.

Sounds like my lib brother who says there is no need to go after Hillary because she lost. I told him by that logic we shouldn't have tried the Nazis because they lost.

tmosley -> BabaLooey Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:16 Permalink

I highly doubt this will be the end of it.

He was kept on because he was a cooperating witness. He decided not to cooperate, so now he's gone.

DeadFred -> tmosley Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:29 Permalink

Firing him only means he is of no more use. Lisa Page was fired after she had no more use other than testifying. I'll be interested to see what happens to PS. He represents an interesting mix of factors. His background is pure Deep State yet he is personally well and truly screwed. Will he flip to save his hide or will he go down with the globalist ship? I personally think he turned on them but that is just a guess. The demon-possessed kabuki testimony was just an act he was told to portray for optics IMHO. Tie will tell

SRV -> DeadFred Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:41 Permalink

He played a big role in the CIA infiltration of the FBI (to get around that annoying policy of no spying on Americans in the CIA... officially of course). He doesn't even show up as completing the FBI Academy program... same for McCabe...

But why is he not being charged for conspiracy to take down a sitting president using official government agency tools?

CRM114 -> DeadFred Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:42 Permalink

I doubt PS has any dirt on anyone who hasn't already been fired.

No, his best bet personally is to make a truckload of cash for appearances, talks and book advances (no one will buy them, of course). The Deep State look after their own.

enough of this -> BabaLooey Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:51 Permalink

Strzok thought he would be safe towing the FBI party line during his congressional hearing, where he behaved like a useful idiot. Now that he is on record defending the FBI, it was no longer necessary to keep him on the payroll, so the FBI fired him. That's how the deep-state closes ranks after they discard one of their own who stupidly embarrassed them by leaving text messages that showed FBI corruption in exonerating Clinton and framing Trump.

SummerSausage Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:41 Permalink

Not to worry. Strzok's wife is a top SEC lawyer. The Deep State will still try to manufacture garbage on Trump.

Kool Kat Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:43 Permalink

" In other words, Peter Strzok - who vowed to "stop" Trump, was the victim of political bias according to his attorney."

Everything I say is a lie. But, if everything I say is a lie, then, I'm lying as I say this. Therefore, everything I say is truth. But, if everything I say is true, and I'm telling you that I am lying

Hmmmn

1971 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:50 Permalink

Does he get to keep his job at the CIA?

Zero-Hegemon Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:50 Permalink

This is awesome because Team Mueller & Co. won't be able to resist from pulling at the threads of this latest twist, as in "was Stroke's firing politically motivated...", and will further unravel the DNC's, Democrats and Fusion GPS collusion at all levels of government.

Fucking genius move, and most well deserved (though he got off easy). If he's smart he'll stay out of the public eye.

arrowrod Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:09 Permalink

How will the FBI operate without Strzok? He was everywhere. Russia, Hillary, Trump Tower, White House, China, Comey, Brennan.

Writing all of the warrants. Over 50,000 text messages in less than a year.

The FBI is going to have to hire 500 "special" agents, to do the work that Strzok did.

hooligan2009 Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:14 Permalink

and the question nobody is answering.

who at the FBI awarded immunity from prosecution to Clintons lawyers et al?

was it Comey, Strzok, McCabe?

why does that immunity still stand if the FBI officers that granted it were poltical hacks fucking on government time and using federal/taxpayers money?

koan Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:20 Permalink

LOL "he's been stationed in Human Resources" anyone that's dealt with HR knows this is a fate worse than death.

William Dorritt Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:22 Permalink

The FBI packed with Ivy Leaguers, Friends and Relatives of Wall Street, Social Justice Warriors, and Govt types who know they are above the Law.

The real question is, is the FBI worth saving ?

or can it even be saved and made back into a beacon of integrity?

The best policy would be to close it, terminate everyone and transfer any law enforcement or national secutiry work that it might have inadvertently been doing, to the various other myriad of Law Enforcement Agencies, like Homeland, US Marshals, Treasury, ATF etc etc etc.....

CStanford -> William Dorritt Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:28 Permalink

The FBI has never been a beacon of integrity, far from it.

[Aug 14, 2018] Neo-liberal phase is in state of collapse. It doesn't mean that capitalism is collapsing; but that its current form is collapsing and we're entering a new phase.

Notable quotes:
"... It has to adapt, and whether the new system will be biased to the ruling class or the masses, is still be revealed." ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

World acclaimed Marxist thinker Samir Amin dies

In an interview with Ahram Online in 2012 Samir Amin said that he believes that "this neo-liberal phase is in state of collapse. It doesn't mean that capitalism is collapsing; but that its current form is collapsing and we're entering a new phase. It has to adapt, and whether the new system will be biased to the ruling class or the masses, is still be revealed."

[Aug 14, 2018] Trump s Creative Vision for a New, Sensible, RealPolitik American Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Financial Times ..."
"... raison d'état ..."
"... balance of power ..."
"... Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, "Does the United States Have a Future?" was published on 12 October 2017. Both paperback and e-book versions are available for purchase on http://www.amazon.com and all affiliated Amazon websites worldwide. See the recent professional review http://theduran.com/does-the-united-states-have-a-future-a-new-book-by-gilbert-doctorow-review/ For a video of the book presentation made at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. on 7 December 2017 see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciW4yod8upg ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Tharoor quotes from New York Times columnist David Brooks who concluded that Trump's behavior was that "of a man who wants the alliance to fail." He quotes extensively from Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister and leader of the Liberal political fraction in the European Parliament fighting for a much more integrated EU, who sees Trump as the enemy of liberal internationalism and ally of his own alt right enemies in Europe.

Tharoor also brings into play Martin Wolf of the Financial Times , who delivered a scathing attack on Trump for his rejection of the West: " today the U.S. president appears hostile to core American values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law; he feels no loyalty to allies; he rejects open markets; and he despises international institutions."

In the 23 July issue of "Today's World View," Tharoor takes advantage of the time gone by since Helsinki to refine the conclusions. He offers a pithy commentary from Susan Glasser of The New Yorker : "We are witnessing nothing less than the breakdown of American foreign policy."

In the same issue, Tharoor notes that public reaction to Trump in Helsinki is less pronounced than one might suppose from reading the pundits. He offers the following remarks of colleagues on the results of a recent poll: "Most Americans do not feel Trump went 'too far' in supporting Puitn, and while more Americans say U.S. leadership has gotten weaker than stronger under Trump, his ratings on this question are slightly improved from last fall."

If we go back in time to the days following Trump's visit to the NATO gathering in Brussels, we find in the headlines of the 11 July issue another take on what Trump is doing:

"Trump's NATO trip shows 'America First' is 'America Alone.'"

Here we read about Trump's insistence that America "stop footing Europe's bill" for its defense, namely his demand that all NATO allies pay up 2% of GDP at once, not in the remote future; and that they prepare to double that to 4% very quickly. By intentional abrasiveness, these moves by Trump are, Tharoor tells us, "undercutting the post-World War II order in pursuit of short-term, and likely illusory, wins."

All of these comments address the question of what Trump opposes. However, Tharoor is unable to say what, if anything, Trump stands for. There are only hints: continued US hegemony but without the ideological cover; might makes right; nationalism and the disputes that lead to war.

Does this make sense? Or is it just another way of saying that Trump's foreign policy stance is an inconsistent patchwork, illogical and doomed to fail while causing much pain and destruction along the way?

I fully agree with the proposition that Donald Trump is ripping up the post-Cold War international order and is seeking to end NATO and the rest of the alliance system by which the United States has maintained its global hegemony for decades. But I believe this destructive side is guided by a creative vision of where he wants to take US foreign policy.

This new foreign policy of Donald Trump is based on an uncompromising reading of the teachings of the Realist School of international affairs, such as we have not seen since the days of President Teddy Roosevelt, who was its greatest practitioner in US history.

This is not isolationism, because Trump is acting to defend what he sees as US national interests in foreign trade everywhere and in geopolitics in one or another part of the world. However, it is a world in which the US is cut free from the obligations of its alliances which entail maintenance of overseas bases everywhere at the cost of more than half its defense budget. He wants to end the risks of being embroiled in regional wars that serve our proxies, not core US national interests. And he is persuaded that by a further build-up of military might at home, by adding new hi-tech materiel the US can secure its interests abroad best of all.

I reach these conclusions from the snippets of Trump remarks which appear in the newspapers of daily record but are intentionally left as unrelated and anecdotal, whereas when slotted together they establish the rudiments of an integrated worldview and policy.

For example, I take his isolated remark that the United States should not be prepared to go to war to defend Montenegro, which recently passed NATO accession, because Montenegro had been a trouble-maker in the past. That remark underwent virtually no analysis in the media, though it could be made only by someone who understood, remarkably, the role of Montenegro at the Russian imperial court of Nicholas II precisely as "troublemaker," whose dynastic family aided in their own small way the onset of WWI.

Donald Trump is not a public speaker. He is not an intellectual. We cannot expect him to issue some "Trump Doctrine" setting out his Realist conception of the geopolitical landscape. All we get is Tweets. This inarticulate side of Trump has been used by his enemies to argue he has no policy.

In fact, Trump is the only Realist on the landscape.

Going back to 2016, I thought he was being guided by Henry Kissinger during the campaign and then in the first months of his presidency, I misjudged entirely. Trump is true to the underlying principles of Realism without compromise, whereas Henry K. made his peace with the prevailing Wilsonian Idealism of the American Establishment a couple of decades ago in order to remain welcome in the Oval Office and not to be entirely marginalized.

Trump's vision of Realism draws from the source in the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648 with its guiding concept of sovereign nation-states that do not intervene in others' domestic affairs. It further draws on the notions of raison d'état or national interest developed by the French court of Louis XIV and then taken further by "perfidious Albion" in the eighteenth century, with temporary and ever changing combinations of states in balance of power realignments of competitors. The history of the Realist School was set out magnificently by Kissinger in his 1994 work Diplomacy . It is a pity that the master himself strayed from true and narrow.

In all of this, you have the formula for Trump's respect, even admiration for Putin, since that also is now Vladimir Vladimirovich's concept of Russia's way forward: as a strong sovereign state that sets its own course without the constraints of alliances and based on its own military might.

The incredible thing is how a man with such poor communication skills, a man who does not read much came to such an integrated vision that outstrips the conceptual abilities of his enemies, his friends and everyone in between.

We are tempted to look for a mentor, and one who comes to mind is Steve Bannon, who is very articulate, razor-sharp in his intellect and who provided Trump with much of the domestic content of his 2016 campaign from the alt right playbook. And though Bannon publicly broke with Trump in their falling out over his ever diminishing role in the Administration, Bannon's ongoing project, in particular his Movement to influence European politics and shift it to the Right by coordinating activities across the Continent during the parliamentary elections of May 2019, very closely parallel what Trump's ambassador in Berlin seems to be doing in Trump's name.

It may well be that the President and his confidantes find it prudent for him to play the hapless fool, the clueless disrupter of the global political landscape until he has the support in Congress to roll out the new foreign policy that is now in gestation.

The logical consequence of such a Realist approach to foreign policy will be to reach an understanding with the world's other two principal military powers, Russia and China, regarding respective spheres of influence in their geographic proximity. But I do not believe we will see a G-3 succeeding America's unipolar moment. Given the predispositions of both Russia and China, we are more likely to see a broader board of governors of global policy in the form of the G-20, ushering in the multipolar age. In such a formulation, regional conflicts will be settled locally by the interested parties and with the major powers involved only as facilitators, not parties to conflict. That promises a much more stable and peaceful future, something which none of Donald Trump's detractors can begin to imagine as his legacy.


Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His latest book, "Does the United States Have a Future?" was published on 12 October 2017. Both paperback and e-book versions are available for purchase on http://www.amazon.com and all affiliated Amazon websites worldwide. See the recent professional review http://theduran.com/does-the-united-states-have-a-future-a-new-book-by-gilbert-doctorow-review/ For a video of the book presentation made at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C. on 7 December 2017 see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciW4yod8upg

[Aug 13, 2018] The other reason The shift will be to hybrids - not fully-electric.

Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

kellys_eye -> BarkingCat Mon, 08/13/2018 - 01:00 Permalink

The shift will be to hybrids - not fully-electric. I don't know of ANY country that has the infrastructure, let alone the electrical production capacity, to cover the needs of all-electric vehicles.

Fossil fuelled vehicles will be with us for a LONG time to come.

pcrs Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

Somehow the Saudis don't strike me as people who buy a.non gasoline car manufacturer invested in a solar city failure for a pumped up price and ever postponed profits and barely met production promises with faulty cars factory gated.

[Aug 13, 2018] The Real Reason Why Trump Cancelled The Iran Deal by Eric Zuesse

This is ,of course, hypothesis by Eric Zuesse, and the idea that the USA elite decided to abandon EU elite is somewhat questionable, but some of his consideration are interesting...
Notable quotes:
"... Yeah, its the defense contractors. It has nothing to do with the zillions of cars that clog every fucking freeway in this country every morning and every evening, 7 days a week. Its not the assholes cruising around in monster trucks alone, just to show off their stupid trucks. It has nothing to do with the the zillions of jets screaming through the skies carry all those fat assholes to meetings all over the world for no reason. It has nothing to do with the billions of barrels of oil that come to the US on tankers as long as city blocks filled constantly day and night. ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
45 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The following is entirely from open online sources that I have been finding to be trustworthy on these matters in the past. These sources will be linked-to here; none of this information is secret, even though some details in my resulting analysis of it will be entirely new.

It explains how and why the bottom-line difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, regarding US national security policies, turns out to be their different respective estimations of the biggest danger threatening the maintenance of the US dollar as the world's leading or reserve currency. This has been the overriding foreign-policy concern for both Presidents .

Obama placed as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of the EU (America's largest market both for exports and for imports) from alliance with the United States. He was internationally a Europhile. Trump, however, places as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of Saudi Arabia and of the other Gulf Arab oil monarchies from the U.S. Trump is internationally a Sunni-phile: specifically a protector of fundamentalist Sunni monarchs -- but especially of the Sauds themselves -- and they hate Shia and especially the main Shia nation, Iran .

Here's how that change, to Saudi Arabia as being America's main ally, has happened -- actually it's a culmination of decades. Trump is merely the latest part of that process of change. Here is from the US State Department's official historian , regarding this history:

By the 1960s, a surplus of US dollars caused by foreign aid, military spending, and foreign investment threatened this system [the FDR-established 1944 Bretton Woods gold-based US dollar as the world's reserve currency ], as the United States did not have enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce; as a result, the dollar was overvalued. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson adopted a series of measures to support the dollar and sustain Bretton Woods: foreign investment disincentives; restrictions on foreign lending; efforts to stem the official outflow of dollars; international monetary reform; and cooperation with other countries. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, traders in foreign exchange markets, believing that the dollar's overvaluation would one day compel the US government to devalue it, proved increasingly inclined to sell dollars. This resulted in periodic runs on the dollar.

It was just such a run on the dollar, along with mounting evidence that the overvalued dollar was undermining the nation's foreign trading position, which prompted President Richard M. Nixon to act, on August 13, 1971 [to end the convertibility of dollars to gold].

When Nixon ended the gold-basis of the dollar and then in 1974 secretly switched to the current oil-basis, this transformation of the dollar's backing, from gold to oil, was intended to enable the debt-financing (as opposed to the tax-financing, which is less acceptable to voters) of whatever military expenditure would be necessary in order to satisfy the profit-needs of Lockheed Corporation and of the other US manufacturers whose only markets are the US Government and its allied governments, as well as of US extractive industries such as oil and mining firms, which rely heavily upon access to foreign natural resources, as well as of Wall Street and its need for selling debt and keeping interest-rates down (and stock-prices -- and therefore aristocrats' wealth -- high and rtising).

This 1974 secret agreement between Nixon and King Saud lasts to the present day, and has worked well for both aristocracies. It met the needs of the very same "military-industrial complex" (the big US Government contractors) that the prior Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, had warned might take control of US foreign policies. As Bloomberg's Andrea Wong on 30 May 2016 explained the Nixon system that replaced the FDR system, "The basic framework was strikingly simple. The US would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America's spending."

This new system didn't only supply a constant flow of Saudi tax-money to the US Government; it supplied a constant flow of new sales-orders and profits to the military firms that were increasingly coming to control the US Government -- for the benefit of both aristocracies: the Sauds, and America's billionaires.

That was near the end of the FDR-produced 37-year period of US democratic leadership of the world, the era that had started at Bretton Woods in 1944. It came crashing to an end not in 1974 (which was step two after the 1971 step one had ended the 1944 system) but on the day when Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981. The shockingly sudden ascent, from that moment on, of US federal Government debt (to be paid-off by future generations instead of by current taxpayers) is shown, right here, in a graph of "US Federal Debt as Percent of GDP, 1940-2015" , where you can see that the debt had peaked above 90% of GDP late in WW II between 1944-1948 , and then plunged during Bretton Woods, but in 1981 it started ascending yet again, until reaching that WW II peak for a second time, as it has been ever since 2010 , when Obama bailed-out the mega-banks and their mega-clients, but didn't bail out the American public, whose finances had been destroyed by those banksters' frauds, which Obama refused to prosecute; and, so, economic inequality in America got even more extreme after the 2008 George W. Bush crash, instead of less extreme afterward (as had always happened in the past).

Above 90% debt/GDP during and immediately following WW II was sound policy, but America's going again above 90% since 2010 has reflected simply an aristocratic heist of America, for only the aristocracy's benefit -- all of the benefits going only to the super-rich.

Another, and more-current US graph shows that, as of the first quarter of 2018, this percentage (debt/GDP) is, yet again, back now to its previous all-time record high of 105-120%%, which had been reached only in 1945-1947 (when it was justified by the war).

Currently, companies such as Lockheed Martin are thriving as they had done during WW II, but the sheer corruption in America's military spending is this time the reason , no World War (yet); so, this time, America is spending like in an all-out-war situation, even before the Congress has issued any declaration of war at all. Everybody except the American public knows that the intense corruptness of the US military is the reason for this restoration of astronomical 'defense' spending, even during peace-time. A major poll even showed that 'defense' spending was the only spending by the federal Government which Americans in 2017 wanted increased; they wanted all other federal spending to be reduced (though there was actually vastly more corruption in military spending than in any other type -- the public have simply been hoodwinked).

But can the US Government's extreme misallocation of wealth, from the public to the insiders, continue without turning this country into a much bigger version of today's Greece? More and more people around the world are worrying about that. Of course, Greece didn't have the world's reserve currency, but what would happen to the net worths of America's billionaires if billionaires worldwide were to lose faith in the dollar? Consequently, there's intensified Presidential worrying about how much longer foreign investors will continue to trust the oil-based dollar.

America's political class now have two competing ideas to deal with this danger , Obama's versus Trump's, both being about how to preserve the dollar in a way that best serves the needs of 'defense' contractors, extractive firms, and Wall Street. Obama chose Europe (America's largest market) as America's chief ally (he was Euro-centric against Russia); Trump chose the owner of Saudi Arabia (he's Saudi-Israeli centric against Iran) -- that's the world's largest weapons-purchaser, as well as the world's largest producer of oil (as well as the largest lobbies) .

The Saudi King owns Saudi Arabia, including the world's largest and most valuable oil company, Aramco, whose oil is the "sweetest" -- the least expensive to extract and refine -- and is also the most abundant, in all of the world, and so he can sell petroleum at a profit even when his competitors cannot. Oil-prices that are so low as to cause economic losses for other oil companies, can still be generating profits -- albeit lowered ones -- for King Saud; and this is the reason why his decisions determine how much the global oil-spigot will be turned on, and how low the global oil-price will be, at any given time. He controls the value of the US dollar. He controls it far more directly, and far more effectively, than the EU can. It would be like, under the old FDR-era Bretton Woods system, controlling the exchange-rates of the dollar, by raising or lowering the amount of gold produced. But this is liquid gold, and King Saud determines its price.

Furthermore, King Saud also leads the Gulf Cooperation Council of all other Arab oil monarchs, such as those who own UAE -- all of them are likewise US allies and major weapons-buyers.

In an extraordinarily fine recent article by Pepe Escobar at Asia Times, "Oil and gas geopolitics: no shelter from the storm" , he quotes from his not-for-attribution interviews with "EU diplomats," and reports:

After the Trump administration's unilateral pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European Union diplomats in Brussels, off the record, and still in shock, admit that they blundered by not "configuring the eurozone as distinct and separate to the dollar hegemony". Now they may be made to pay the price of their impotence via their "outlawed" trade with Iran.

As admitted, never on the record, by experts in Brussels; the EU has got to reevaluate its strategic alliance with an essentially energy independent US, as "we are risking all our energy resources over their Halford Mackinder geopolitical analysis that they must break up [the alliance between] Russia and China."

That's a direct reference to the late Mackinder epigone Zbigniew "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski, who died dreaming of turning China against Russia.

In Brussels, there's increased recognition that US pressure on Iran, Russia and China is out of geopolitical fear the entire Eurasian land mass, organized as a super-trading bloc via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), [and] the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), is slipping away from Washington's influence.

This analysis gets closer to how the three key nodes of 21st century Eurasia integration -- Russia, China and Iran -- have identified the key issue; both the euro and the yuan must bypass the petrodollar, the ideal means, as the Chinese stress, to "end the oscillation between strong and weak dollar cycles, which has been so profitable for US financial institutions, but lethal to emerging markets."

It's also no secret among Persian Gulf traders that in the -- hopefully unlikely -- event of a US-Saudi-Israeli war in Southwest Asia against Iran, a real scenario war-gamed by the Pentagon would be "the destruction of oil wells in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]. The Strait of Hormuz does not have to be blocked, as destroying the oil wells would be far more effective."

And what the potential loss of over 20% of the world's oil supply would mean is terrifying; the implosion, with unforeseen consequences, of the quadrillion derivatives pyramid, and consequentially [consequently] of the entire Western financial casino superstructure.

In other words: it's not the 'threat' that perhaps, some day, Iran will have nuclear warheads, that is actually driving Trump's concern here (despite what Israel's concerns are about that matter), but instead, it is his concerns about Iran's missiles, which constitute the delivery-system for any Iranian warheads: that their flight-range be short enough so that the Sauds will be outside their range . (The main way Iran intends to respond to an invasion backed by the US, is to attack Saudi Arabia -- Iran's leaders know that the US Government is more dependent upon the Sauds than upon Israel -- so, Iran's top targets would be Saudi capital Riyadh, and also the Ghawar oil field, which holds over half of Saudi oil. If US bases have been used in the invasion, then all US bases in the Middle East are also be within the range of Iran's missiles and therefore would also probably be targeted.)

Obama's deal with Iran had focused solely upon preventing Iran from developing nuclear warheads -- which Obama perhaps thought (mistakenly) would dampen Israel's (and its billionaire US financial backers') ardor for the US to conquer Iran. Israel had publicly said that their concern was Iran's possibility to become a nuclear power like Israel became; those possible future warheads were supposed to be the issue; but, apparently, that wasn't actually the issue which really drove Israel. Obama seems to have thought that it was, but it wasn't, actually. Israel, like the Sauds, want Iran conquered. Simple. The nuclear matter was more an excuse than an explanation.

With Trump now in the White House, overwhelmingly by money from the Israel lobbies (proxies also for the Sauds) -- and with no equivalently organized Jewish opposition to the pro -Israel lobbies (and so in the United States, for a person to be anti-Israel is viewed as being anti-Semitic, which is not at all true, but Israel's lies say it's true and many Americans unfortunately believe it) -- Trump has not only the Sauds and their allies requiring him to be against Iran and its allies, but he has also got this pressure coming from Israel: both the Big-Oil and the Jewish lobbies drive him. Unlike Obama, who wasn't as indebted to the Jewish lobbies, Trump needs to walk the plank for both the Sauds and Israel.

In other words: Trump aims to keep the dollar as the reserve currency by suppressing not only China but also the two main competitors of King Saud: Iran and Russia. That's why America's main 'enemies' now are those three countries and their respective allies.

Obama was likewise targeting them, but in a different priority-order , with Russia being the main one (thus Obama's takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 turning it against Russia, next door ); and that difference was due to Obama's desire to be favorably viewed by the residents in America's biggest export and import market, the EU, and so his bringing another member (Ukraine) into the EU (which still hasn't yet been culminated).

Trump is instead building on his alliance with King Saud and the other GCC monarchs, a group who can more directly cooperate to control the value of the US dollar than the EU can. Furthermore, both conservative (including Orthodox) Jews in the United States, and also white evangelical Protestants in the US, are strongly supportive of Israel, which likewise sides with the Arab oil monarchs against Iran and its allies. Trump needs these people's votes.

Trump also sides with the Sauds against Canada. That's a matter which the theorists who assert that Israel controls the US, instead of that the Sauds (allied with America's and Israel's billionaires) control the US, ignore; they ignore whatever doesn't fit their theory. Of course, a lot doesn't fit their theory (which equates "Jews" with "Israelis" and alleges that "they" control the world), but people whose prejudices are that deep-seated, can't be reached by any facts which contradict their self-defining prejudice. Since it defines themselves, it's a part of them, and they can never deny it, because to do so would be to deny who and what they are, and they refuse to change that. The Sauds control the dollar; Israel does not, but Israel does the lobbying, and both the Sauds and Israel want Iran destroyed. Trump gets this pressure not only from the billionaires but from his voters.

And, of course, Democratic Party billionaires push the narrative that Russia controls America. It used to be the Republican Joseph R. McCarthy's accusation, that the "commies" had "infiltrated" , especially at the State Department . So: Trump kicked out Russia's diplomats, to satisfy those neocons -- the neoconservatives of all Parties and persuasions, both conservative and liberal.

To satisfy the Sauds, despite the EU, Trump has dumped the Iran deal . And he did it also to satisfy Israel, the main US lobbyists for the Sauds. (Americans are far more sympathetic to Jews than to Arabs; the Sauds are aware of this; Israel handles their front-office.) For Trump, the Sauds are higher priority than Europe; even Israel (who are an expense instead of a moneybag for the US Government) are higher priority than Europe. Both the Sauds and Israel together are vastly higher. And the Sauds alone are higher priority for Trump than are even Canada and Europe combined . Under Trump, anything will be done in order to keep the Sauds and their proxy-lobbyists (Israel) 'on America's side'.

Consequently, Trump's political base is mainly against Iran and for Israel, but Obama's was mainly against Russia and for the EU. Obama's Democratic Party still are controlled by the same billionaires as before; and, so, Democrats continue demonizing Russia, and are trying to make as impossible as they can, any rapprochement with Russia -- and, therefore, they smear Trump for anything he might try to do along those lines.

Both Obama and Trump have been aiming to extend America's aristocracy's dominance around the world, but they employ different strategies toward that politically bipartisan American-aristocratic objective: the US Government's global control, for the benefit of the US aristocracy, at everyone else's expense. Obama and Trump were placed into the White House by different groups of US billionaires, and each nominee serves his/her respective sponsors , no public anywhere -- not even their voters' welfare.

An analogous example is that, whereas Fox News, Forbes, National Review, The Weekly Standard, American Spectator, Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Breitbart News, InfoWars, Reuters, and AP , are propagandists for the Republican Party ; NPR, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Mother Jones, The Atlantic, The New Republic, New Yorker, New York Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast , and Salon , are propagandists for the Democratic Party ; but, they all draw their chief sponsors from the same small list of donors who are America's billionaires, since these few people control the top advertisers, investors, and charities, and thus control nearly all of the nation's propaganda. The same people who control the Government control the public; but, America isn't a one-Party dictatorship. America is, instead, a multi-Party dictatorship . And this is how it functions.

Trump cancelled the Iran deal because a different group of billionaires are now in control of the White House, and of the rest of the US Government. Trump's group demonize especially Iran; Obama's group demonize especially Russia. That's it, short. That's America's aristocratic tug-of-war; but both sides of it are for invasion, and for war. Thus, we're in the condition of 'permanent war for permanent peace' -- to satisfy the military contractors and the billionaires who control them. Any US President who would resist that, would invite assassination; but, perhaps in Trump's case, impeachment, or other removal-from-office, would be likelier. In any case, the sponsors need to be satisfied -- or else -- and Trump knows this.

Trump is doing what he thinks he has to be doing, for his own safety. He's just a figurehead for a different faction of the US aristocracy , than Obama was. He's doing what he thinks he needs to be doing, for his survival. Political leadership is an extremely dangerous business. Trump is playing a slightly different game of it than Obama did, because he represents a different faction than Obama did. These two factions of the US aristocracy are also now battling each other for political control over Europe .

caconhma -> MoreSun • Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:57 Permalink

The article is correct:

The Bottom Line

Trump and its policies have no chance to succeed neither inside nor outside the USA. The USA has less than 3-5 years to maintain the present status quo.

PitBullsRule -> PitBullsRule • Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:40 Permalink

Yeah, its the defense contractors. It has nothing to do with the zillions of cars that clog every fucking freeway in this country every morning and every evening, 7 days a week. Its not the assholes cruising around in monster trucks alone, just to show off their stupid trucks. It has nothing to do with the the zillions of jets screaming through the skies carry all those fat assholes to meetings all over the world for no reason. It has nothing to do with the billions of barrels of oil that come to the US on tankers as long as city blocks filled constantly day and night.

Its not that, its Lockheed selling them airplanes. Thats how the sand niggers got so much US money, Lockheed.

What a fucking conspiratorial ass-swipe this guy is.

NiggaPleeze -> wet_nurse Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:02 Permalink

Eric Zeusse ranks in popularity right along the Gatestone Institute - though Eric may just be ignorant and opinionated whilst Gatestone is an affirmative disinformation propaganda organ, both are equally annoying to read. I just came for the comments :).

JSBach1 -> NiggaPleeze Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:38 Permalink

+1. Eric Zuesse is part-and-parcel of the agenda that the Gatestone Institute espouses.

Eric Zuesse's real agenda can be revealed by his position on 9/11 (see second link below). He also blames Obama for everything (he shifts the blame away from Israel onto any other party which could be blamed due to either direct or indirect ties)

Here is Eric Zuesse in his own words:

Notice the absence of Israel/Zionism

Historic New Harpers Article Exposes Who Controls America
Posted on December 17, 2015 by Eric Zuesse.

"The fundamentalist-Sunni royal family of the Sauds have bought the highest levels of the U.S. government in order to control U.S. foreign policies, especially the ongoing wars to take down the governments of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and ultimately (they hope) of Russia itself, which latter nation has allied itself instead with Shia countries. The controlling entities behind American foreign policies since at least the late 1970s have been the Saud family and the Sauds' subordinate Arabic aristocracies, which are the ones in Qatar (the al-Thanis), Kuwait (the al-Sabahs), Turkey (the Turkish Erdoğans, a new royalty), and UAE (its six royal families: the main one, the al-Nahyans in Abu Dhabi; the other five: the al-Maktoums in Dubai, al-Qasimis in Sharjah, al-Nuaimis in Ajman, al-Mualla Ums in Quwain, and al-Sharqis in Fujairah). Other Saudi-dominated nations -- though they're not oil-rich (more like Turkey in this regard) -- are Pakistan and Afghanistan."

". But, perhaps, one can safely say that the alliance between the U.S. aristocracy and the royal Sauds, is emerging as a global dictatorship, a dictatorial type of world government. Because, clearly: those two aristocraciues have been, to a large extent, ruling the world together, for several decades now. From their perspective, jihadists are themselves a weapon, not merely a political nuisance.

This is a more realistic explanation of America's decades-long catastrophic failures to make significant progress in eliminating even a single one of the numerous jihadist groups around the world: that's how things have been planned to be. It's not just 'intelligence errors' or 'not being tough enough.' Those 'explanations' are just cover-stories, propaganda, PR from the aristocrats. It's skillful 'crowd control': keeping the people in their 'proper' places."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/12/historic-new-harpers-article-exposes

9/11: Israel Didn't Do It; The Plan Was Co-Led by U.S. & Saud Governments
By Eric Zuesse

March 15, 2018

"9/11 was a well-planned operation, whatever it was. Substantial money paid for it, but little if any of that came from either Iran or Israel. It all came from fundamentalist-Sunnis.

And, if all of the money was fundamentalist-Sunni, then the only non-Sunni people who could have been involved in planning the operation would have been George W. Bush and his friends

The problem certainly isn't Jews nor Muslims. The problem is the aristocracy, which controls Saudi Arabia, and the aristocracy which controls Israel, and the aristocracy which controls America. The victim is the public, and the victimizer is the aristocracy. It's not just 9/11."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48957.htm

Obama's Nazis
Posted on August 17, 2014 by Eric Zuesse.

(Zuesse's obsession with the word nazis or Nazis)

"What Obama has done and is doing in Ukraine is historic, like what Adolf Hitler did, and like what Slobodan Milosevic* did, and like other racist fascists have done; and he, and we Americans (if we as a nation continue accepting this), will be remembered for it, like they and their countries were. Evil on this scale cannot be forgotten. No matter how solidly the American "news" media hide this history, it is already solidly documented for the history books. Obama will be remembered as the worst President in U.S. history, just as the racist-fascist or 'nazi' leaders of other countries are."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/obamas-nazis.html

Jewish Billionaire Finances Ukraine's Aydar SS Nazi Troops
Posted on April 7, 2015 by Eric Zuesse.

"The hyper-nationalist Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky, a friend of the Obama White House and employer of Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, is a major donor to far-right Ukrainian causes. He sides with the followers of Stepan Bandera, the pro-Nazi Ukrainian leader whom Hitler ditched when Bandera made clear that he wanted Ukraine to be nazi but independent of Germany's Nazi Party. Briefly, Bandera's #2 in command, Yaroslav Stetsko, led nazi Ukraine, and approved the slaughter of thousands of Jews there."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/04/jewish-billionaire-finances-ukraines

"Zuesse is pushing Zionist lies. One of the links in the article goes to a Reuters story, "Exclusive – Over 100 Russian soldiers killed in single Ukraine battle – Russian rights activists," that claims to get its info from the "Russian presidential human rights council."

If you want to read more lies by Zuesse, go to this "AMAZON" link to read reviews of his book, "Iraq War: The Truth," in which Zuesse claims that GW Bush invaded Iraq to thank Jesus for his alcohol and drug addiction cure and to neuter the International Criminal Court???

There is one comment lavishing praise on Zuesse's book about the Iraq War by David Swanson, another Zionist tool and BS artist, who's been outed in the past by the blog, "American Everyman."

https://careandwashingofthebrain.blogspot.com/2014/09/stay-away-from-wh

http://beforeitsnews.com/survival/2015/01/i-expect-my-apology-from-wash

Winston Churchill -> wet_nurse Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:06 Permalink

A total one, although his mention of MacKinder was only bright spot.

The US has been using the Heartland strategy since before the occupation of Afghanistan, which

was in response to the Taliban approving oil pipelines from Iran to China thru the Kush.The real reason

for the everlasting war there.With the defection of Pakistan to the SCO, the only option is take out Iran

and Turkey now that Syria is lost.Its not even a matter of which faction of billionaires controls empire

policy, its pure geography.You build the alliances around that geography,not the other way around.

The Great Game was played for 200 years over this same ground,only the players have changed.

Hence both the Turkey and Iran situation now, the empire wants control of both,but will probably get neither.

The last roll of the dice.

Hyjinx Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:42 Permalink

What is this rambling unfocused BS? Just because Trump thought the Iran deal was shitty doesn't mean he works for the Saudis.

OverTheHedge -> My Days Are Ge Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:20 Permalink

See how fast the internet warriors are to claim the article is rubbish, and not reflecting reality. No argument to back up their propaganda, but that's not important. Must be depressing running the Sunday evening shift in the cubicle farm; all the boys in their neatly pressed uniforms, clicking away to keep us safe from democracy. Well done lads, another day keeping the evil Russians /Iranians at bay.

I actually find it interesting to see what shakes the foundations, and this article seems to be something that they don't like, so probably worth a re-read just to get all the nuances. Of course, the author suggesting that it is not Jews running America will get short shrift from some commenters, but it is certainly interesting to have pointed out, finally, that Israel is a net drain, and Saudi Arabia an enormous gain for the US. We always say to follow the money, and whilst Israel is good profit for the MIC, Saudi Arabia IS the petrodollar system - mustn't forget that. No oil in Saudi Arabia, no petrodollar. I wonder how long they have left until it's all gone? That would probably be the over-riding factor in deciding war with Iran.

Joe A Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:55 Permalink

I always wondered why the EU did nit make bigger efforts to replace the petrodollar with the petroeuro but nobody wants to end up as Ghadaffi or Saddam Hussein who threatened to do just that. Iran has also repeatedly threaten to that. Also Putin has recently said that Russia wants to move away from the petrodollar. He must know that that is dangerous for one's health so there must be some sort of alliance against the dollar being formed.

hugin-o-munin Mon, 08/13/2018 - 01:15 Permalink

Well written article that sums it up nicely:

The United States is in a state of constant war with the entire world.

[Aug 13, 2018] CBO Cuts 2018 GDP Outlook, Sees Fewer Fed Rate Hikes

Rising oil prices will slow down the growth and secular stagnation will return. The USA economy has no capacity to grow in oil prices are approximately above $70-$80
Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Four months after the CBO surprised US economy watchers by releasing an especially strong outlook for 2018 US GDP, which it said would hit 3.3%, on Monday afternoon in its latest projections , the CBO unexpectedly trimmed its 2018 real GDP forecast to 3.1% citing concerns over rising trade war coupled with higher inflation.

The Congressional Budget Office kept its 2019 GDP growth forecast unchanged at 2.4%, and also trimmed its 2020 outlook to 1.7% from 1.8% in April.

hotrod -> kurwamac • Mon, 08/13/2018 - 15:11 Permalink

What does it matter, they have adjusted what constitutes GDP 3 times in the last fiver years. The most current being the extra 1 trillion they found by basically adjusting the price deflator down ward.

The fact is there is NOTHING NEW in this economy generating higher GDP except Cost and Debt. Healthcare alone over the last 5 years has added trillions yet it picks everyone's pockets to the point they cant use it.

[Aug 13, 2018] Will Turkey be the first domino to fall Zero Hedge Zero Hedge

Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

So the question is looking at today's markets, who will be the first domino to fall? Some thought Cyprus but that was contained. Then there was Greece but that was contained. There was talk of Italy being the first. Then last week we had Turkey. If the Turkish situation deteriorates you can bet that the financial markets will, like during the Asian crisis, become nervous regarding areas beyond Turkey bringing considerable risks of financial contagion. We already saw investors dumping stocks such as Italian bank UniCredit last week, for fear that they are over exposed to risks in Turkey. According to the Bank for International Settlements, international banks had outstanding loans of $224 billion to Turkish borrowers, including $83 billion from banks in Spain, $35 billion from banks in France, $18 billion from banks in Italy, $17 billion each from banks in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and $13 billion from banks in Germany. So what happens next is anybody's guess but to believe that it couldn't happen again is probably not the most prudent view to take.

[Aug 13, 2018] The Founding Fathers would have impeached corrupt Trump in a New York minute

Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

fbazzrea Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

please forgive me but had to share this OT article. it's MSM/DS propaganda in full bloom. slow thread so...

UPDATE: The Founding Fathers would have impeached corrupt Trump in a New York minute

Today 11:05 AM ET (MarketWatch) Print

By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch

The Founding Fathers had someone just like Donald Trump in mind when they banned any and all emoluments to the president from any foreign or state governments

Conservatives, we are constantly told, believe in strict adherence to the Constitution based primarily on the text and secondarily on the views of the Founding Fathers, who wrote and breathed life into our founding document. If conservatives really were "originalists," they would be the first to say that Donald Trump is exactly the kind of president who ought to be impeached.

Unique among presidents, Trump has divided loyalties ( https://www.citizensforethics.org/profitingfromthepresidency/ ). He has entangled his business interests with his official duties, ( http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/399541-senate-dem-hints-trump-hotel- ) creating the impression, if not the reality, that his own financial interest -- not his duty as president -- guides his thoughts and actions.

The Founding Fathers, savvy students of history and human nature, were highly attuned to the risks of public corruption -- actual or perceived -- and inserted language into the Articles of Confederation and later into the Constitution to guard against such human frailties. They wanted to make sure that anyone who held a public office would serve only one master: the American people.

A farewell to kings

For the Founders, public corruption wasn't just a theoretical danger. They viewed it as the primary threat to their independence. Living in a small, fledgling country, the Americans feared that the European powers would seize control of the American democracy by flattering and bribing our officials.

The kings and princes of Europe were masters of the art. The British king had corrupted Parliament by providing titles and sinecures, a major contributor to the split between the colonies and Britain. The true history of the 1670 Treaty of Dover had just been published, which revealed that King Louis XIV of France had bribed Charles II of England with a secret pension, a beautiful and beloved French mistress, and a promise of protection. In exchange, Charles had agreed to convert to Catholicism and to join Louis in his costly and fruitless war against the Dutch, his former ally.

During the Constitutional Convention ( http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp ), Gouverneur Morris (who is regarded as the chief architect of the presidency) argued that receiving such emoluments would justify impeachment of the president: Because the president would not have a lifetime office or income, Morris said, "he may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust; and no one would say that we ought to expose ourselves to the danger of seeing the first Magistrate in foreign pay, without being able to guard against it by displacing him."

It seems the Founding Fathers had Donald Trump (or someone very like him) in mind when they wrote those clauses into the Constitution. They were concerned about our government officials being corrupted by foreign or domestic powers. Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist Paper #73 ( https://www.congress.gov/resources/display/content/The+Federalist+Papers ) that the domestic emoluments clause was designed to keep the president independent and incorruptible.

'Appealing to his avarice'

"In the main," Hamilton argued, "it will be found that a power over a man's support is power over his will."

With the emolument ban in place, "they can neither weaken his fortitude by operating on his necessities, nor corrupt his integrity by appealing to his avarice," Hamilton wrote.

The key passage in the Constitution is Article I, Section 9: ( https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript#toc-sect -) "No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

The point of this clause is to prevent any foreign power from gaining influence over the U.S. government by providing gifts, titles, jobs or other benefits to its officials.

No exceptions

Article II, Section 1 ( https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript#toc-sect ) specifically limits the president and does not allow Congress to approve exceptions: "The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them."

The point of this clause is to prevent the Congress or any of the states from gaining undue influence over the president by lining his pockets.

Note that these prohibitions don't require a legal finding of bribery. The Constitution doesn't say payments are OK as long as there's no quid pro quo. Such "emoluments" are unconstitutional, full stop.

Trump is sued

Trump has been hit with lawsuits alleging that he is violating ( http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2017/06/t )those two constitutional provisions. One of the lawsuits is moving forward, bad news for this utterly corrupt administration.

The facts of the case are clear: Foreign and state officials do patronize his businesses with the express purpose of currying his favor ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/2016/11/18/9da9 known as "stay to play"). Trump is soliciting business from foreign officials and U.S. politicians. The emoluments he receives from them is significant and important to his business ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-president-trumps-hotel-in-ne ). Congress has not been asked for its consent, nor has it been granted. State government officials have also patronized his hotel ( http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/348558-government-watchdogs- ). The federal government has also granted Trump an "advantage" by approving the continuation of the lease ( http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/348558-government-watchdogs- )for his hotel at the Old Post Office despite the clear wording in the lease that "no elected official" shall benefit from it.

The only real point of dispute between Trump's defenders and his critics is over the meaning of the word "emolument." Trump's lawyers say ( http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-03/Defendants-Motion-to-Dism )"emolument" means only the money that is earned for holding an office (and not for renting a room or granting a lease). His critics say "emolument" means any profit, advantage, gain or benefit.

'Originalist' approach

Recently, Federal District Judge Peter J. Messitte sided with Trump's critics ( http://oag.dc.gov/sites/default/files/2018-07/2018_07_25_Emoluments_Opi )as to the legal meaning of "emoluments," and ruled that a lawsuit alleging violations of the emolument clauses could proceed. ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-judge-allows-emoluments )

It's interesting that Messitte's ruling relies heavily (but not exclusively) on an "originalist" approach. He notes in his opinion that the preponderance of the evidence shows that the common meaning in 1787 of the word "emolument" was any "profit," "gain" or "advantage." Nearly all dictionaries of the day followed this definition, and many authors and politicians at that time also used that definition. Trump's alternative definition has almost no contemporaneous support, the judge ruled.

Messitte's ruling may be overturned, of course. There is considerable pressure on Republican office holders, as well as conservative jurists, to ignore the stench of corruption stemming from Trump's ownership of a large and complex business that does business with governments near and far.

The Founding Fathers could well imagine that a foreign or domestic power would try to corrupt the president. But they could not imagine that the constitutional system they created would ever permit the president to corrupt the Congress or the courts. Let's hope they weren't wrong about us.

'Guard against corruption'

Edmund Randolph, governor of Virginia, delegate to the Philadelphia convention and first attorney general of the United States, said during the ratification debate that the president "is restrained from receiving any present or emolument whatever. It is impossible to guard better against corruption."

And if the president does so, "he may be impeached," Randolph declared with no reservations.

The Founding Fathers, in other words, would have impeached Trump in a New York minute.

-Rex Nutting; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com

RELATED: To drain the swamp of corruption, Congress must require Trump to divest his businesses ( http://www.marketwatch.com/story/to-drain-the-swamp-of-corruption-congr )

RELATED: Donald Trump builds the best swamps ( http://www.marketwatch.com/story/donald-trump-builds-the-best-swamps-an )

RELATED: The EPA's Pruitt is finally gone, but there's plenty of rot left ( http://www.marketwatch.com/story/its-time-for-the-republican-congress-t )

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 13, 2018 11:05 ET (15:05 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

[Aug 13, 2018] Carter Page was a plant, just like Manafort and Papadapolous

Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

trentusa Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:32 Permalink

ZH is just as bad as cnn and fox news these days. Report the REAL NEWS you fucks. Tylers i am so sorry what happened to this website, nothing but russian propoganda anymore.

Prove me wrong. Do a story on the reason Carter Page was never charged w/ a crime is bc he was a cooperating fbi witness in 2016 and the fbi knew CP wasnt a spy bc he just finished helping them, the fbi, bust up a REAL russian spy ring, or does that not fit into your narrative? https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/02/02/the-fbi-knew-carter-page-m

detached.amusement -> trentusa Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:04 Permalink

stfu, anyone who has been paying attention knows goddam well that Carter Page was giving testimony of behalf of the gov just a couple months before he magically became a russian agent so that they could justify all the spying they'd already been doing on team trump. Carter Page was a plant, just like Manafort and Papadapolous.

[Aug 13, 2018] Imperialism Is Alive and Kicking A Marxist Analysis of Neoliberal Capitalism by C.J. Polychroniou

Highly recommended!
Marxism provides one of the best analysis of capitalism; problems start when Marxists propose alternatives.
Notable quotes:
"... Such demand-compression occurs above all through the imposition of an income deflation on the petty producers, and on the working population in general, in the Third World. This was done in the colonial period through two means: one, "deindustrialization" or the displacement of local craft production by imports of manufactures from the capitalist sector; and two, the "drain of surplus" where a part of the taxes extracted from petty producers was simply taken away in the form of exported goods without any quid pro quo ..."
"... I mean by the term "imperialism" the arrangement that the capitalist system sets up for imposing income deflation on the working population of the Third World for countering the threat of inflation that would otherwise erode the value of money in the metropolis and make the system unviable. "Imperialism" in this sense characterizes both the colonial and the contemporary periods. ..."
"... The fact that the diffusion of capitalism to the Third World has proceeded by leaps and bounds of late, with its domestic corporate-financial oligarchy getting integrated into globalized finance capital, and the fact that workers in the metropolis have also been facing an income squeeze under globalization, are important new developments; but they do not negate the basic tendency of the system to impose income deflation upon the working population of the Third World, a tendency that remains at the very core of the system. ..."
"... any state activism, other than for promoting its own exclusive and direct interest, is anathema for finance capital, which is why, not surprisingly, "sound finance" and "fiscal responsibility" are back in vogue today, when finance capital, now globalized, is in ascendancy. Imperialism is thus a specifically capitalist way of obtaining the commodities it requires for itself, but which are produced outside its own domain. ..."
"... dirigiste regimes ..."
"... With the reassertion of the dominance of finance, in the guise now of an international ..."
"... Contemporary imperialism therefore is the imperialism of international finance capital which is served by nation-states (for any nation-state that defies the will of international finance capital runs the risk of capital flight from, and hence the insolvency of, its economy). The US, being the leading capitalist state, plays the leading role in promoting and protecting the interests of international finance capital. But talking about a specific US imperialism, or a German or British or French imperialism obscures this basic fact. ..."
"... Indeed, a good deal of discussion about whether the world is heading toward multi-polarity or the persistence of US dominance misses the point that the chief actor in today's world is international or globalized finance capital, and not US or German or British finance capital. ..."
"... US military intervention all over the world, in order to acquire a proper meaning has to be located within the broader setting of the imperialism of international finance capital. ..."
"... absolute immiserization ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | truthout.org

C.J. Polychroniou: How do you define imperialism and what imperialist tendencies do you detect as inherent in the brutal expansion of the logic of capitalism in the neoliberal global era?

Prabhat Patnaik: The capitalist sector of the world, which began by being located, and continues largely to be located, in the temperate region, requires as its raw materials and means of consumption a whole range of primary commodities which are not available or producible, either at all or in adequate quantities, within its own borders. These commodities have to be obtained from the tropical and sub-tropical region within which almost the whole of the Third World is located; and the bulk of them (leaving aside minerals) are produced by a set of petty producers (peasants). What is more, they are subject to "increasing supply price," in the sense that as demand for them increases in the capitalist sector, larger quantities of them can be obtained, if at all, only at higher prices, thanks to the fixed size of the tropical land mass.

This means an ex ante tendency toward accelerating inflation as capital accumulation proceeds, undermining the value of money under capitalism and hence the viability of the system as a whole. To prevent this, the system requires that with an increase in demand from the capitalist sector, as capital accumulation proceeds, there must be a compression of demand elsewhere for these commodities, so that the net demand does not increase, and increasing supply price does not get a chance to manifest itself at all.

Such demand-compression occurs above all through the imposition of an income deflation on the petty producers, and on the working population in general, in the Third World. This was done in the colonial period through two means: one, "deindustrialization" or the displacement of local craft production by imports of manufactures from the capitalist sector; and two, the "drain of surplus" where a part of the taxes extracted from petty producers was simply taken away in the form of exported goods without any quid pro quo . The income of the working population of the Third World, and hence its demand, was thus kept down; and metropolitan capitalism's demand for such commodities was met without any inflationary threat to the value of money. Exactly a similar process of income deflation is imposed now upon the working population of the Third World by the neoliberal policies of globalization.

I mean by the term "imperialism" the arrangement that the capitalist system sets up for imposing income deflation on the working population of the Third World for countering the threat of inflation that would otherwise erode the value of money in the metropolis and make the system unviable. "Imperialism" in this sense characterizes both the colonial and the contemporary periods.

We recognize the need for a reserve army of labor to ward off the threat to the value of money arising from wage demands of workers. Ironically, however, we do not recognize the parallel and even more pressing need of the system (owing to increasing supply price) for the imposition of income deflation on the working population of the Third World for warding off a similar threat.

The fact that the diffusion of capitalism to the Third World has proceeded by leaps and bounds of late, with its domestic corporate-financial oligarchy getting integrated into globalized finance capital, and the fact that workers in the metropolis have also been facing an income squeeze under globalization, are important new developments; but they do not negate the basic tendency of the system to impose income deflation upon the working population of the Third World, a tendency that remains at the very core of the system.

Those who argue that imperialism is no longer a relevant analytic construct point to the multifaceted aspects of today's global economic exchanges and to a highly complex process involved in the distribution of value which, simply put, cannot be reduced to imperialism. How do you respond to this line of thinking?

Capitalism today is of course much more complex, with an enormous financial superstructure. But that paradoxically makes inflation even more threatening. The value of this vast array of financial assets would collapse in the event of inflation, bringing down this superstructure, which incidentally is the reason for the current policy obsession with "inflation targeting." This makes the imperialist arrangement even more essential. The more complex capitalism becomes, the more it needs its basic simple props.

I should clarify here that if "land-augmenting" measures [such as irrigation, high-yielding seeds and better production practices] could be introduced in the Third World, then, notwithstanding the physical fixity of the tropical land mass, the threat of increasing supply price -- and with it, [the threat] of inflation -- could be warded off without any income deflation. Indeed, on the contrary, the working population of the Third World would be better off through such measures. But these measures require state support and state expenditure, a fact that Marx had recognized long ago. But any state activism, other than for promoting its own exclusive and direct interest, is anathema for finance capital, which is why, not surprisingly, "sound finance" and "fiscal responsibility" are back in vogue today, when finance capital, now globalized, is in ascendancy. Imperialism is thus a specifically capitalist way of obtaining the commodities it requires for itself, but which are produced outside its own domain.

The post-decolonization dirigiste regimes [regimes directed by a central authority] in the Third World had actually undertaken land-augmentation measures. Because of this, even as exports of commodities to the metropolis had risen to sustain the biggest boom ever witnessed in the history of capitalism, per capita food grain availability had also increased in those countries. But I see that period as a period of retreat of metropolitan capitalism, enforced by the wound inflicted upon it by the Second World War. With the reassertion of the dominance of finance, in the guise now of an international finance capital, the Third World states have withdrawn from supporting petty producers, a process of income deflation is in full swing, and the imperialist arrangement is back in place, because of which we can see once more a tendency toward a secular decline in per capita food grain availability in the Third World as in the colonial period.

There is a third way -- apart from a greater obsession with inflation aversion and a yoking of Third World states to promoting the interests of globalized finance rather than defending domestic petty producers -- in which contemporary capitalism strengthens the imperialist arrangement. It may be thought that the value of imports of Third World commodities into the capitalist metropolis is so small that we are exaggerating the inflation threat from that source to metropolitan currencies. This smallness itself, of course, is an expression of an acutely exploitative relationship. In addition, however, the threat to the Third World currencies themselves from a rise in the prices of these commodities becomes acute in a regime of free cross-border financial flows as now, which threatens the entire world trade and payments system and hence makes income deflation particularly urgent. Hence the need for the imperialist arrangement becomes even more acute.

Not long ago, even liberals like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times were arguing that "McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas" (that is, the US Air Force). Surely, this is a crude version of imperialism, but what about today's US imperialism? Isn't it still alive and kicking?

The world that Lenin had written about consisted of nation-based, nation-state-supported financial oligarchies engaged in intense inter-imperialist rivalry for repartitioning the world through wars. When [Marxist theorist] Karl Kautsky had suggested the possibility of a truce among rival powers for a peaceful division of the world, Lenin had pointed to the fact that the phenomenon of uneven development under capitalism would necessarily subvert any such specific truce. The world we have today is characterized by the hegemony of international finance capital which is interested in preventing any partitioning of the world, so that it can move around freely across the globe.

Contemporary imperialism therefore is the imperialism of international finance capital which is served by nation-states (for any nation-state that defies the will of international finance capital runs the risk of capital flight from, and hence the insolvency of, its economy). The US, being the leading capitalist state, plays the leading role in promoting and protecting the interests of international finance capital. But talking about a specific US imperialism, or a German or British or French imperialism obscures this basic fact.

Indeed, a good deal of discussion about whether the world is heading toward multi-polarity or the persistence of US dominance misses the point that the chief actor in today's world is international or globalized finance capital, and not US or German or British finance capital. So, the concept of imperialism that [Utsa Patnaik and I] are talking about belongs to a different terrain of discourse from the concept of US imperialism per se . The latter, though it is, of course, empirically visible because of US military intervention all over the world, in order to acquire a proper meaning has to be located within the broader setting of the imperialism of international finance capital.

Some incidentally have seen the muting of inter-imperialist rivalry in today's world as a vindication of Kautsky's position over that of Lenin. This, however, is incorrect, since both of them were talking about a world of national finance capitals which contemporary capitalism has gone beyond.

... ... ...

One final question: How should radical movements and organizations, in both the core and the periphery of the world capitalist economy, be organizing to combat today's imperialism?

Obviously, the issue of imperialism is important not for scholastic reasons, but because of the praxis that a recognition of its role engenders. From what I have been arguing, it is clear that since globalization involves income deflation for the peasantry and petty producers, and since their absorption into the ranks of the active army of labor under capitalism does not occur because of the paucity of jobs that are created even when rates of output growth are high, there is a tendency toward an absolute immiserization of the working population. For the petty producers, this tendency operates directly; and for others, it operates through the driving down of the "reservation wage" owing to the impoverishment of petty producers.

Such immiserization is manifest above all in the decline in per capita food grain absorption, both directly and indirectly (the latter via processed foods and feed grains). An improvement in the conditions of living of the working population of the Third World then requires a delinking from globalization (mainly through capital controls, and also trade controls to the requisite extent) by an alternative state, based on a worker-peasant alliance, that pursues a different trajectory of development. Such a trajectory would emphasize peasant-agriculture-led growth, land redistribution (so as to limit the extent of differentiation within the peasantry) and the formation of voluntary cooperatives and collectives for carrying forward land-augmentation measures, and even undertaking value-addition activities, including industrialization.

Small Third World countries would no doubt find it difficult to adopt such a program because of their limited resource base and narrow home market. But they will have to come together with other small countries to constitute larger, more viable units. But the basic point is that the question of "making globalization work" or "having globalization with a human face" simply does not arise.

The problem with this praxis is that it is not only the bourgeoisie in the Third World countries, but even sections of the middle-class professionals who have been beneficiaries of globalization, who would oppose any such delinking. But the world capitalist crisis, which is a consequence of this finance-capital-led globalization itself, is causing disaffection among these middle-class beneficiaries. They, too, would now be more willing to support an alternative trajectory of development that breaks out of the straitjacket imposed by imperialism.

[Aug 13, 2018] Turkey blames Trump for attack on lira, says it won't 'kneel' and has counter-measures ready

Notable quotes:
"... "The currency of our country is targeted directly by the US president," ..."
"... "This attack, initiated by the biggest player in the global financial system, reveals a similar situation in all developing countries." ..."
"... "All of our action plan and measures are ready," ..."
"... "Together with our banks, we prepared our action plan regarding the situation with our real sector companies, including Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is the sector that is affected by the fluctuation the most," ..."
"... "Together with our banks and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA), we will take the necessary measures quickly." ..."
"... "It is making an operation against Turkey Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down," ..."
"... "We have seen your play and we challenge you." ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.rt.com

Turkey has accused Donald Trump of leading an attack on its national currency. The lira lost about 40 percent of its value against the US dollar this year and, to reduce its volatility, Ankara has prepared an urgent action plan. "The currency of our country is targeted directly by the US president," Finance Minister Berat Albayrak told the Hurriyet. "This attack, initiated by the biggest player in the global financial system, reveals a similar situation in all developing countries."

The Turkish lira took a massive hit against the dollar on Friday following Trump's decision to double tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey to 20 percent and 50 percent. Overall, the national currency lost roughly about 40 percent of its value this year.

Read more © Ozan Kose Erdogan urges Turks to dump dollar to support lira

To calm down the markets, the government instructed its institutions to implement a series of actions on Monday. "All of our action plan and measures are ready," Albayrak said, without elaborating.

"Together with our banks, we prepared our action plan regarding the situation with our real sector companies, including Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is the sector that is affected by the fluctuation the most," the minister said . "Together with our banks and the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA), we will take the necessary measures quickly."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile slammed the US decision to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

"It is making an operation against Turkey Its aim is to force Turkey to surrender in every field from finance to politics, to make Turkey and the Turkish nation kneel down," Erdogan said in Trabzon on Sunday. "We have seen your play and we challenge you."

[Aug 13, 2018] Social Unrest Breaks Out In China After Panic Bank Run On Peer-2-Peer Lenders

Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Social Unrest Breaks Out In China After "Panic" Bank Run On Peer-2-Peer Lenders

by Tyler Durden Sun, 08/12/2018 - 16:29 233 SHARES

One week ago, when discussing the " source of China's next debt crisis ", namely the recent explosion in Chinese household debt which over the past year has soared by over 40% even as credit growth across other debt categories remained relatively stable...

... and which was on the verge of surpassing the nation's corporations as the biggest source of credit demand, we highlighted the one financial sector that has recently emerged as most at risk in China's economy: online peer-to-peer lenders who collect money from retail investors and dispense small loans to consumers, usually without collateral, putting the loans at risk of a default with zero recovery.

We pointed out that outstanding loans on P2P platforms rose 50% just last year to total Rmb1.49 trillion ($215 billion) - making the size of China's P2P industry far bigger than in the rest of the world combined - and due to their lack of collateral, interest rates often are as high as 37%, with additional charges for late payment.

P2P, in which platforms gather funds from retail investors and loan the money to small corporate and individual borrowers, promising high returns, started to flourish nearly unregulated in China in 2011. At its peak in 2015, there were about 3,500 such businesses.

But after Beijing launched a campaign several years ago to defuse debt bubbles and reduce risks in the economy (a campaign which recently reversed once the Trump trade war started getting hot), including the country's enormous non-bank lending sector, cracks began to appear as investors pulled their funds.

As a result, the peer-to-peer lending channel not only got clogged up, but went in reverse. In a recent article, the WSJ reported that a string of Chinese internet lenders have already shut their doors in recent weeks, stranding investors as the economy slows and regulators tighten controls over an unruly side of the fintech sector.

Across China, more than 200 internet-based fund managers since late June have either shut down, closed parts of their operations or are reeling from cash crunches, missing executives and other problems, according to industry tracker Wangdaizhijia.

The tide began to turn even more forcefully against the sector ahead of a late June deadline for new stringent registration regulations. With a slowing economy making it difficult for some companies to pay back loans, many lenders decided to simply shut down. Meanwhile, investors, already souring on the sector, began pulling out funds, further pinching the lending platforms, and as Reuters reports , since June, 243 online lending platforms have gone bust, according to wdzj.com, a P2P industry data provider. In that period, the industry saw its first monthly net fund outflows since at least 2014.

And, as we noted last week, it was only a matter of time before social unrest spread as Chinese investors who had funded these usually small, unregulated P2P operations, found they had lost all their money demanding a bail out.

That's precisely what happened... except for one thing: Beijing was already one step ahead of the protesters.

Take the case of Peter Wang: as Reuters reports , Wang was asleep at his home in Beijing last Monday when police officers arrived before dawn to detain him, saying he had helped organize a protest planned for later that day. Peter wasn't alone, and across Beijing, others who had lost money investing in China's online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms - including some who had traveled from half way across the country - got similar visits from police.

A police officer gestures at the photographer as security patrol outside the headquarters of China's banking regulator, to prevent planned protests by investors who lost money from collapsed peer-to-peer (P2P) online lending platforms

Why the crackdown?

Because by the time they were released, the demonstration they had planned using social media chat groups had fizzled amid a massive security response around the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) headquarters in the heart of Beijing's financial district. Those protesters who did show up were in for a surprise: instead of demanding that the government bail out the hundreds of collapsed P2P companies, they were forced onto buses and carted away to Jiujingzhuang, a holding center for petitioners on the outskirts of Beijing, according to two Reuters sources.

"Once the police checked your ID cards and saw your petition materials, they knew you are here looking to protect your rights. Then they put you on a bus directly," said Wang, who works at an auto repair shop, and who is a perfect representative of China's prevailing ideology that a government bailout of any investment is a fundamental "right."

Wang did not give up and after his detention he joined a separate, smaller protest in a different part of Beijing. "There was no channel to solve any problems. All they care about was preventing any disturbance."

* * *

The latest burst of anger, which led to the planned protests, flared up ahead of a June 30 deadline for companies to comply with new business practice standards, which are still being finalised, and as noted above, many P2Ps shut down rather than face tougher regulations, Zane Wang, chief executive of online micro-loan provider China Rapid Finance told Reuters.

That caused panic in the broader market. Investors tried to pull funds from P2P companies, causing liquidity problems for many smaller operators, Wang said, although larger ones are faring better. "Some platforms might become a winner out of this, and some platforms, probably a large portion of the platforms, might not be able to make it," he said.

Naturally, to avoid an even bigger panic, no mainland Chinese media - official mainstream papers or more independent-leaning publications - reported the attempts to protest in China's capital. The media blackout took place as China's propaganda machine swung into action as Beijing sought "to reassure people that the Chinese economy and financial markets are healthy" despite a trade war with the United States and steep declines in the value of stock prices and the yuan.

As part of the government's crackdown, many would-be protesters " were forced to give fingerprints and blood samples and prevented from traveling to Beijing. Some were even removed from Beijing-bound trains ahead of the protests, said a Shanghai-based P2P investor who lost 1.3 million yuan ." She declined to be named out of fear for her safety.

What is surprising, is just how worried about the prospect of widespread social unrest Beijing was: even after the demonstrations were effectively snuffed out, hundreds of security personnel patrolled around CBIRC's office, "highlighting authorities' sensitivity to any form of social instability" according to Reuters.

It has reason to be worried: on Sunday, Xinhua reported that the government has proposed 10 measures to reduce risk in the P2P sector, including a strict ban on new P2P companies and online finance platforms, and a blacklist under China's social credit rating system for those who don't repay their loans. This means that P2P investors will soon suffer tens of billions in more losses (although it may well end up being good news for those who borrowed money from the insolvent P2Ps as there will be nobody left to collect).

* * *

This is not the first time China was burned on P2P platforms, which traditionally lend to customers that might be deemed too risky for a commercial bank, which has resulted in liquidity crises when too many investors demand their funds at once if loans appear to be going south.

The most famous case of P2P fraud is Ezubao - a $7.6 billion Ponzi scam involving more than 900,000 investors - which we described in early 2016 , and which led to a similar forceful government crackdown after the public demanded a full bailout. While none has come close to the scale of Ezubao's collapse, there are currently more than 100 publicly listed Chinese companies that are involved in P2P, and 32 of those own more than 30% of a P2P company, according to a July research report by CITIC Securities.

Exacerbating the problems facing the P2P industry, China extended by two years a separate June 30 deadline for an online finance clean-up campaign. But rather than calming matters, it created more uncertainty, market watchers said as CITIC Securities estimated that - under the campaign - only about 100 platforms out of 1,836 would be able to meet even today's regulatory standards and obtain a license. Less than 50 would thrive.

This would amount to hundreds of billions in investor losses, and not even an army could prevent the social outcry that would result.

Meanwhile, the market is starting to price in the worst, and shares of some of the Chinese P2P companies listed in the U.S. have plunged. China Rapid Finance shares have lost 73% in 2018, while Yirendai slumped 71%. PPDai dropped 44%, and Hexindai is down 27%.

And as if to ensure that the peer-2-peer bank run in China gets worse, Tang Ning, founder and chief executive officer of CreditEase, the majority owner of P2P lending platform Yirendai, told Reuters that he was concerned that the "industry-wide panic" would escalate .

He urged regulators to "act with a sense of urgency" to protect good P2P companies while punishing bad players to avoid harming China's financial system and economy.

"Otherwise, it will be 'winter' for the industry. All companies will be hit, both illicit and compliant. Everyone will lose and that's a situation no one wants to see," said Tang. "Small businesses will lose an important, or the most important source of funding. That's not only hurting the financial system but also the real economy."

As for individual investors such as the abovementioned Peter Wan - who was so sure it is his "right" to be bailed out by the government - the pain is acute. He and his family had invested 7 million yuan - their life savings, with which they had planned to use to buy a home at the end of the year - in two P2P platforms that have shut down.

"They recovered none of their investment."

[Aug 13, 2018] Corporate Capitalists Killed American Identity by David Masciotra

Notable quotes:
"... In 2004, the historian Walter McDougall concluded that as early as the Civil War, America was a "nation of hustlers." During Reconstruction, Walt Whitman wrote that "genuine belief" seemed to have left America. "The underlying principles of the States," Whitman said, "are not honestly believed in, nor is humanity itself believed in." ..."
"... Accumulation of capital is the dominant, even definitional, American idea, which is why Calvin Coolidge famously remarked, "The chief business of the American people is business." ..."
"... Christopher Lasch had a slightly more prosaic way of measuring the pain of progress. "The triumph of corporate capitalism," he wrote, "has created a society characterized by a high degree of uniformity, which nevertheless lacks the cohesiveness and sense of shared experience that distinguish a truly integrated community from an atomistic society." ..."
"... Rather than a "marketplace of ideas," the United States is a mere marketplace, and just like at any store in the shopping mall, whatever fails to sell is removed from the shelves. Today's trend is tomorrow's garbage. ..."
"... We focus on immigration because it is a clear threat to the American tradition with clear and obvious solutions. ..."
"... While I appreciate that the writer is trying to link immigration with big business and culture, the argument as a whole doesn't come together. He needs to define what he means by "corporate capitalism," "identity," and "culture"; otherwise, this is nothing more than a incoherent rant. Is he talking about popular entertainment, the arts, academic institutions, civil society, religion? How exactly is the existence of a Walmart or the popularity of smartphones to blame? Quoting Walt Whitman and Calvin Coolidge doesn't really get us anywhere. ..."
"... Yes of course a commercial culture is prosperous, dynamic, cosmopolitan, rootless, greedy, materialistic, cynical, plebian and vulgar. And yes, of course in a market-dominated culture, all other systems of indoctrination (i.e. church and state) are constantly on the defensive. ..."
"... That is not 'no' culture; it is a highly distinctive culture. It tends to neglect the high arts and excel at the low arts; it favors novelty over tradition, spectacle over reflection, passion over balance. Again, 'twas ever thus; as is the inevitable cooling of these innovations to new formalisms for the next generation to rebel against, and enrich. ..."
Aug 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Donald Trump, during a recent stop on his "Anarchy in the UK" tour, argued that the mass influx of immigrants into Europe is causing Great Britain and other nations to "lose their culture." The fear of cultural dilution and transformation as a consequence of shifting demographics is widespread, and it resonates in the United States, too, especially among those who support the current president.

Stephen Bannon, Tucker Carlson, and other popular right-wing figures have warned of threats to national identity in an American context, contending that Mexicans will not assimilate and that Islam is incompatible with liberal democracy and secular governance. Liberals and libertarians often respond by recalling the long tradition of assimilation in American history, along with the outrage that often accompanies new arrivals. Nearly every ethnic group, from the Italians to the Chinese, has been the target of political and social hostility. It is an old story, but one worth telling, and it is an old debate, but one worth having. Border sovereignty, even to someone like me who probably favors more liberal immigration laws than most TAC readers, is a legitimate issue and not to be easily dismissed.

The current conversation about traditionalism, national identity, and cultural preservation, however, is so narrow to render it counterproductive and oblivious. For those truly worried about the conservation of traditional culture, to focus solely, or even primarily, on immigration is the equivalent of a gunshot victim rushing to the barber for a haircut.

Rather than asking whether American culture is at risk of ruination, it is more salient to inquire, after decades of commercialization, Madison Avenue advertising onslaughts, the erasure of regional differences, and the "Bowling Alone" collapse of community, whether America even has a culture.

Some Conservatives Have Been Against Capitalism for Centuries Blame Regulation, Not Capitalism

In 2004, the historian Walter McDougall concluded that as early as the Civil War, America was a "nation of hustlers." During Reconstruction, Walt Whitman wrote that "genuine belief" seemed to have left America. "The underlying principles of the States," Whitman said, "are not honestly believed in, nor is humanity itself believed in."

Prophesizing with his pen that democratic structures and procedures would prove insufficient to cultivate a truly democratic culture, Whitman likened the American obsession with commercial conquest and pecuniary gain to a "magician's serpent that ate up all the other serpents." Americans, Whitman warned, were dedicating themselves to creating a "thoroughly-appointed body with no soul."

When Whitman wrote the essay in question -- "Democratic Vistas" -- the United States had open borders and immigrants freely entered the "new world" for reasons of freedom and financial ambition. Even if they attended churches in their native languages and lived in ethnic enclaves, they often found that they could matriculate into the mainstream of Americana through pursuit of the "American dream," that is, hope for monetary triumph. Accumulation of capital is the dominant, even definitional, American idea, which is why Calvin Coolidge famously remarked, "The chief business of the American people is business."

Capitalism is a formidable engine, enabling society to advance and allowing for high standards of living. But to construct an entire culture around what Coolidge identified as "buying, selling, investing, and prospering," especially when capitalism becomes corporate and cronyist, is to steadily empty a culture of its meaning and purpose.

Few were as celebratory over the potential for meaning and purpose in American culture as Whitman, who drew profound inspiration from America's natural beauty and regional diversity. So what force was most responsible for the widespread desecration of America's own Garden of Eden? All arguments about immigration aside, changing demographics did not transform the country into the planetary capital of asphalt and replace its rich terrain with the endless suburban sprawl of office complexes, strip malls, and parking lots. The reduction of the American character to a giant Walmart and the mutation of the American landscape, outside of metropolitan areas, to the same cloned big box stores and corporate chains is not a consequence of immigration.

The degradation of the American arts and the assault on history and civics in public school and even higher education curricula is not the result of immigrants flooding American streets. Amy Chua has argued quite the opposite when it comes to America's increasingly imbecilic and obscene pop culture. Many immigrant families try to keep their children away from the influence of reality television, the anti-intellectual reverence for celebrities, and the vigilant commercialization of every aspect of life.

The same cultural killer is responsible for all the assaults on American identity visible as daily routine, from environmental destruction to the endangerment of independent retailers and "mom and pop" shops. That culprit is corporate capitalism. It is a large entity that, like any killer, justifies its death toll with dogmatic claims of ideology. "Progress," everyone from the owner of the local diner to the out-of-work art teacher is told, has no room for you.

In his song "The West End," John Mellencamp gives an angry account of the disappearance of a small town:

For my whole life
I've lived down in the West End
But it sure has changed here
Since I was a kid
It's worse now
Look what progress did
Someone lined their pockets
I don't know who that is

Progress, as Mellencamp succinctly captures in song, often comes at someone else's expense, and translates to enrichment for the few who benefit.

Christopher Lasch had a slightly more prosaic way of measuring the pain of progress. "The triumph of corporate capitalism," he wrote, "has created a society characterized by a high degree of uniformity, which nevertheless lacks the cohesiveness and sense of shared experience that distinguish a truly integrated community from an atomistic society."

The irony Lasch describes is tragic. A culture of corporate capitalism demands conformity, and most people cooperate. But because its center is hollow, few people feel any sense of connection to each other, even as they parrot the same values. It is no wonder that most forms of rebellion in the United States are exhibitions of stylized individualism -- inspiring theater and often enlivening to observe, but politically fruitless.

Rather than a "marketplace of ideas," the United States is a mere marketplace, and just like at any store in the shopping mall, whatever fails to sell is removed from the shelves. Today's trend is tomorrow's garbage.

Those concerned about tradition and cultural longevity can lament immigration and condemn "open borders." But if they are serious about American identity, they should begin and end with the villainous corporate enterprise that has waged war on it since the late 19th century.

David Masciotra is the author of four books, including Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky) and Barack Obama: Invisible Man ( Eyewear Publishing).



Nelson August 9, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Whatever culture remains in this country can often be found in the places where people still maintain at least a symbolic link with their immigrant roots.
Whine Merchant , , August 9, 2018 at 11:55 pm
Many of the immigrants came to the dream of America believing the myth. That they could be anything hard work would bring them, regardless of rank or class of birth, title, family name, or religious prejudice. For the most part, this was sufficiently true that they prospered. They became "us". This [perhaps naive] belief in the dream made most of them, and their children, our most loyal and law-abiding citizens.

It was indeed the robber barons of the 19th century that pushed us down the path of self-destruction.

Fran Macadam , , August 10, 2018 at 12:33 am
I feel vindicated. Some years ago, Rod Dreher pilloried me for being obsessed with how destructive corporate capitalism had become to American culture, values and social cohesion. I think his epiphany came, when supposedly "conservative" big business turned out to be on the other side in the culture wars.
Ray Woodcock , , August 10, 2018 at 6:02 am
I hear you, Mr. Masciotra. I'm not especially fond of large for-profit corporations. But they wouldn't occupy monopolistic positions and enjoy rapacious profits and latitude for enormous misdeeds if the public were firmly opposed to that sort of thing. Americans generally love a winner, even if the "winning" is fraudulent or coerced, as long as they personally aren't coerced or defrauded. It's all about the money, or at least the belief that the money might come.
Crème fraiche , , August 10, 2018 at 8:09 am
Thank you for this refreshing piece which points the finger to a place where those on the left and right can actually make a difference. Of course, making any changes will require dismantling some the mythology of the American prosperity gospel, but it starts with great articles like these.

The system didn't become corrupt in the 80s, it's been that way for much longer. And there have been hustlers and " well meaning " Corporate yes men making dishonest money off of their compatriots for centuries (everywhere, I might add).

So the question is, do we want to continue to encourage this behavior or do we dare to dream of another reality ?

GaryH , , August 10, 2018 at 8:39 am
Oh so true. America's super rich are the enemy, a much worse one than a naive socialist like Bernie Sanders.
connecticut farmer , , August 10, 2018 at 9:05 am
Well crafted and thoughtful. Years ago, Walker Percy observed that America was unique among nations in that it was simultaneously the most religious country and the most materialistic country in the world. Fast forward to 2018 and while religion appears to be in decline "getting and spending" continues apace.
Youknowho , , August 10, 2018 at 9:17 am
SOCIALISM DOES NOT WORK!

WHAT ARE YOU, SOME KIND OF COMMUNIST?

THE FREE MARKET WILL SOLVE IT!

There, I put in the Libertarain response so there is no need to read all the posts they all will say the same thing.

How dare you attack the sacred cow of Capitalism, sir?

joshua , , August 10, 2018 at 9:25 am
Agreed but lets be honest with ourselves. We have to go where the kindling is dry and abundant to start a proverbial fire. America does have a culture. To see that all one need do is visit Nashville, the Ozarks or farm country in nebraska. Where there are still people the culture survives. That is a stoical dispensation. The culture does go back to Hellenism but Americana does have it's own ways. Go visit Europe for any amount of time or dare I say it Asia and American culture becomes obvious.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday that, in my opinion, best represents American culture and how it is different from all else.

collin , , August 10, 2018 at 9:47 am
Corporate Capitalism has always been American culture and life. Basic Taylorism on the assembly line was over 100 years in which men spent 50 -- 60 hours a week performing a single task very quickly.

What is American art? Would we consider Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley great American art and music? I do but the original reaction of older Americans was 1950s R&R was complete degradation of music. (Some of the racial language was very colorful by good citizens.) Or what Star Wars or Godfather. Or maybe the modern Marvel 'universe' has a degree of great pop art.

Jon , , August 10, 2018 at 10:02 am
Certainly well argued but for one important element that has been omitted; one ingredient which bundles everything together into one integrated picture. That necessary item can be summed with these two words, "buy in." Corporate capitalism would never hold sway except for the acquiescence of the populace which wanting the quantity of commodities had gathered in the shopping malls but now remain isolated in the front of their computer screens or cell phones.

Rather than there being the tyranny of the marketplace bringing forth this dominance of goods over people and the legerdemain of monetized value displacing our organic relationship to the land, it is this anonymous accommodation to the denigration of the high arts and the erosion to our culture which is the ultimate culprit.

In a word, it is the tyranny of the masses which pulls apart any endeavor at creating and sustaining a hierarchy of value rewarding all enterprise which appeases public taste by appealing to the lowest common denominator. Fore it is through this tyranny that capitalism has built its avaricious edifice.

Suffice it to say that the target "corporate capitalism" remains the straw man, that ethereal and empty concept devoid of blood and sinews. Where then does one find the source to this dilemma but in that which is of both flesh and blood namely humanity. The problem lies with the populace.

What is called for here is an awakening but not through a reckoning as that would only cause humanity to roll over and return to its slumber. And if crisis and collapse serves not the catalyst for such an awakening what then will provide such an arousal? Until such a time, we remain asleep and the institutions of our dream life will rule us.

Corporate capitalism is not the source. It is not even at the source. We are the source until such a time as we awaken.

Joe the Plutocrat , , August 10, 2018 at 10:06 am
excellent points. oh, and ironically (or not), from the Middle Ages (Europe) through the 19th century (American West), it was not uncommon for a barber to also perform ad hoc surgery/medical procedures, or to share space with the town's 'doctor', so in some instances it was prudent to go to the barbershop if shot
Winston , , August 10, 2018 at 10:22 am
"Liberals and libertarians often respond by recalling the long tradition of assimilation in American history, along with the outrage that often accompanies new arrivals."

Apples and oranges. The welfare state didn't exist then, so it was assimilate or fail. 1/3 of all culturally similar to existing US culture Europeans returned to Europe.

Today, "Press 2 for Spanish", the welfare state (give birth on US soil to a US citizen for family access to benefits [or steal an ID], then chain migrate the rest of your family), the Internet, and identity politics discourage assimilation and allow extremely large cultural enclaves which are politically divisive as pointed out MANY years ago by the not exactly "right wing" former WH press secretary for LBJ, Bill Moyers, in one of his many excellent documentaries.

William Taylor , , August 10, 2018 at 11:02 am
interesting to see how this challenging article agrees with Chris Hedges in the radical left "Truthdig."
Tony Soprano , , August 10, 2018 at 11:17 am
We focus on immigration because it is a clear threat to the American tradition with clear and obvious solutions. The author paints this focus of the Trumpian and dissident right as exclusionary, but it is not; at the same time arguing for his own exclusionary anti-capitalist platform. Quite frankly, I don't know what it's doing on TAC, but I will take the time to respond.

The criticism of anti-immigration on the right is a straw man argument. The dissident right is not merely anti-immigration, it is more broadly anti-multiracialist. Many understand and agree with the author on the problems of capitalism, but also see racial and cultural integration as an additional threat to the American tradition. His point about how the immigration (into America) didn't cause the hellspace of suburbia is true, since only up until 1965 did we make sure immigrants were white and could integrate well into society. However, he ignores the history of black empancipation and subsequent desegregation that led to massive internal migration from the South into cities like Detroit, Chicago, and Baltimore. There weren't always majority black, my friend. The very real problems that this internal migration presented to ethnically homogenous, culturally rich, urban white neighborhoods in the 20th century were the driving force behind the suburban sprawl. We colloquially refer to this phenomenon as "white flight," and many on the left and the right see it as unjustified "racism."

The curious reader would do well to investigate this claim to see if maybe white flight might have actually been very justified, maybe a gross historical injustice was done to those now ethnically cleansed communities, and maybe racial desegregation is partly to blame for the author's perceived lack of (white) culture in America.
Thank you for reading.

Tyro , , August 10, 2018 at 11:35 am
"Capitalism" is cronyist by nature. "Capitalism" itself requires an extensive set of laws that benefit some economic arrangements over others. Now the reason for this is because nations need development, and that means they need capital, and that means they need to create laws that ensure that the people who have capital feel willing and confident enough to invest it in that country.

But once you've opened the pandora's box of bankruptcy laws, limit liability, and other "terms and conditions" of investment and capital, you're going to have a system that lends itself to cronyism when you have no other counter-balancing power from labor.

Ken Zaretzke , , August 10, 2018 at 11:45 am
My brilliant iPad just deleted my response. So, quickly, capitalism is partly curable by antitrust and protectionism, but proto-amnesty mass immigration is not curable, and it more quickly distorts national identity than does capitalism, which takes a very long time to alter society's frame. Mass immigration does that relatively quickly. Also, immigration has as many rackets as capitalism does -- for the one, capital gains tax cuts, and for the other, H1-B visas.
Tyro , , August 10, 2018 at 12:40 pm
only up until 1965 did we make sure immigrants were white and could integrate well into society

The immigration act of 1924 which choked off most immigration was about reducing white immigration. It didn't actually affect Mexican immigration. The largest beneficiaries the post-1965 immigration laws have been Asian immigrants who everyone argues integrate perfectly well.

ethnically homogenous, culturally rich, urban white neighborhoods

Any of the residents of those neighborhoods in Chicago would have been quick to deny they were "ethnically homogeneous" because they would have pointed out how they were mixed neighborhoods of Greeks, Poles, Slovenes, etc.

TJ Martin , , August 10, 2018 at 1:06 pm
Its about time someone on this site placed at least 50% of the blame when it comes to demise of the American Middle Class as well as ' culture ' -- ( such as it is seeing we have no well defined codified ' culture ' because we are and have been since the beginning so diverse ) -- on the American Corpocracy .

But the fact is the other 50% of the blame must fall firmly upon the shoulders of the greedy speculators and investors convinced every year should be a profitable year and they should of received next year's profits yesterday

Along with the American Consumer addicted to cheap goods 60% of which they have no need for nor ever use .

So what is the answer ? First we need to move towards a Responsible Capitalism rather than the Ayn Rand addled narcissist Hyper- Capitalism rapidly approaching Anarcho -- Capitalism we're currently immersed in from the Oval Office on down

Second the American Consumer needs to accept paying what something is worth .. be it service , goods or food .. rather than thinking the entire world is a discounted oyster at their beck and call

And Third .. with the onus once again falling firmly upon the shoulders of the discount addled American consumer . We need to get over the theater of convenience shopping ( online ) and get back to supporting local businesses who pay taxes to our local community and are in fact our neighbors

Problem is all of the above solutions require both compromise , authentic thought as well as discernment

None of which ( for the most part ) currently exists in this over polarized ' Collective Stupidity of America ' zeitgeist we're firmly entrenched in

Lecture over . Donuts , bagels and coffee in the virtual break room .

Cynthia McLean , , August 10, 2018 at 1:49 pm
English colonials brought to the American continent both English Law -- based on private property -- which has turned into Corporate Market Capitalism (Citizens United, eh?), and the Enlightenment idea of the centrality of Individual Freedom, which has turned into the rank Individualism of our current Me-Myself-and-I cultural ethos.

Democracy and a healthy culture, in my view, depend upon holding in balance the needs/desires/rights of both the Individual and the broader Common Good. There now seems to be little left of a Social Covenant that includes all Americans, which is central to a viable culture.

Great article, thank you.

BradD , , August 10, 2018 at 2:29 pm
I'll say this when it comes it integration: people in the past weren't forced to integrate in the least. A friend of mine has a grandmother that speaks Russian, only Russian, and no English. As long as she remained in her little enclave in the US, why need to speak English? In my native Cincinnati the "Over the Rhine" neighborhood had beer gardens, German schools, German newspapers, and German street signs. Only a fire and I am sure some Progressive 'encouragement' broke the neighborhood up.

White in America use to mean Anglo-Saxon and Protestant. To be Wet was to be Catholic and to be Catholic was to be an immigrant. Dry was honest, hard working, and true. Wet was disorderly, murderous, and poor. Irish weren't white, Poles weren't white, and the Italians most certainly weren't white.

My question is why are we poo pooing Latina values? Family centric, conservative, Catholic/Christian, and hard working (come on, either immigrants are stealing our jobs or they are welfare leeches, pick one!). Their food is delicious and the music is fun.

The latina vote should be the Republican vote if they would just get over themselves. Spanish is just as much a Romance language as French or Italian. Get with the program, declare them white, and let's enjoy a super majority with taco Tuesday.

KDM , , August 10, 2018 at 3:42 pm
@BradD
Nothing is necessarily wrong with "Latin" values per se . The problem is with massive amounts of Illigeal immigration coming all from one area. I'm sorry but integration and assimilation is extremely important, just look at Europe for an idea of what happens to countries that don't integrate immigrants well.

Also, if "Latin" values are great and desirable then why would such a massive amount of people be bum rushing our southern borders?

Can you please tell me one example of a country in Latin America that has been successful for an extended period of time? I cannot even think of one. When people come in small waves they can integrate and learn the value of our institutions, laws, freedom, liberty ect They basically become American w/ Latin heritage. When they come en mass, they keep their societies values a lot longer and stay in enclaves a lot longer as well. As an example not too long ago I was in the southern part of Houston Texas and the Galveston area and I cannot tell you the number of cars, houses and business that have the Mexican flag up instead of the USA flag! That is all kinds of wrong to me. If Mexico is so great, than they should just move on back and set up shop there.

LT , , August 10, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Ding, ding, ding
We have a winner here. America is promoted as merchant culture, bread or bombs. The peoole termed colonists were largely corporate sponsored. So when people continue to arrive, they figure starting their store or buying the "right" things is American culture. And for everything else, they just say, "We have our own, thank you."
Auguste Meyrat , , August 10, 2018 at 9:39 pm
While I appreciate that the writer is trying to link immigration with big business and culture, the argument as a whole doesn't come together. He needs to define what he means by "corporate capitalism," "identity," and "culture"; otherwise, this is nothing more than a incoherent rant. Is he talking about popular entertainment, the arts, academic institutions, civil society, religion? How exactly is the existence of a Walmart or the popularity of smartphones to blame? Quoting Walt Whitman and Calvin Coolidge doesn't really get us anywhere.

I would be happy to defend free enterprise in America and would even credit the business and marketing practices in America for inculcating customer service as a uniquely American trait. You can tell you're in America when people act politely and aim to serve you -- even illiterate young people know this. Go to any country in Europe, and you'll find a whole staff of people from the airport, to the stores, to the hotel frowning at you for having the nerve to have want of their services. And that's just a side benefit. The main thing business does is finance the creation of culture at all levels. Any civilization's golden age followed from societal prosperity, not from a more democratic and tasteful distribution of wealth.

If we're talking about the arts and influence, America is still the most dynamic in the world, being a great producer of movies, music, books, and all the rest. Even the existence of a site like TAC should cause one to reflect on just how nice it is to live in a country that permits open discourse and values quality writing and ideas -- and for no cost at all to the reader. We can despair all we like of the decline of the Oscars, or the stupidity of modern art, or the pointlessness of postmodernist ideology, but it says something that we can even have this conversation. I'm not sure other cultures, outside those in elite circles, even think about this stuff.

mike , , August 10, 2018 at 9:55 pm
Yes! Intentionally generalising: Big, remote, powerful things are ALWAYS evil. Small, local, law-governed communities are always good.
Thomas Hobbes , , August 11, 2018 at 12:44 am
Wow, something Fran Macadam and I agree on! Surely there is enough there for some bright politician to make a central platform plank out of?

A number of commenters point out that this isn't just imposed on us, we also embrace it (or just succumbed to the propaganda/advertising). Fixing the problem will require efforts to curb corporate power as well cultural change from the ground up to embrace real values beyond just capitalism.

JonF , , August 11, 2018 at 8:11 am
Re: We need to get over the theater of convenience shopping ( online ) and get back to supporting local businesses

Sure, if local businesses carry the stuff I'm looking for. All too often you have to go online to find anything that is not a mass appeal staple.

JonF , , August 11, 2018 at 8:17 am
Re: Today, "Press 2 for Spanish", the welfare state (give birth on US soil to a US citizen for family access to benefits [or steal an ID], then chain migrate the rest of your family), the Internet, and identity politics discourage assimilation

The evidence, notably from language learning, shows that today's immigrants assimilate at about the same rate others did in the past. And yes, you could hear other languages in the US in the past also. There were places in Detroit I remember in childhood where all the signs were in Polish. Going farther back 19th century nativists were horrified that entire communities in the Midwest spoke German. Early on, our eighth president, Martin Van Buren, grew up speaking Dutch in the Hudson Valley.

As for the welfare state, well, there were lots of mutual aid societies which provided help -- we were not a social Darwinist nation. And don't forget the Civil War pensions to which a significant fraction of the population was entitled.

Kurt Gayle , , August 11, 2018 at 8:55 am
Mr. Mascriota tells us: "Border sovereignty, even to someone like me who probably favors more liberal immigration laws than most TAC readers, is a legitimate issue and not to be easily dismissed."

And yet, Mr. Mascriotra, last Sept 9th (2017) at "Salon" you wrote an article entitled "The case for open borders: Stop defending DACA recipients while condemning the 'sins' of their parents":

"As an English instructor and tutor, I've met young men and women from Ethiopia, China and Nigeria, and I have taught students whose parents emigrated from Mexico to the United States 'illegally.' If I were an insecure coward afraid to compete in a multicultural society, and convinced my future children would become deadbeats without the full force of white privilege to catapult them into success, I would advocate for the deportation of immigrant families similar to those of my students, and I would repeat mindless bromides like 'America First' and 'Build that Wall.' One of the costs of racism, xenophobia, or any form of pathetic provincialism is that freezes the prejudicial person in a permanent state of mediocrity President Donald Trump's decision to end DACA, and his demand that Congress 'fix the' nonexistent 'immigration problem,' demonstrates a stunning streak of sadism, projecting yet another signal to his rabid and anti-American base of closed-minded losers If the 'real Americans' are afraid to compete with immigrants for jobs, prestige, or cultural authority, they only indict themselves as weak, self-entitled and easy to panic. In a word, 'snowflakes'. A bureaucratic permission slip is trivial compared to the imperative of human freedom -- freedom that should transcend what are largely artificial borders."

https://www.salon.com/2017/09/09/the-case-for-open-borders-stop-defending-daca-recipients-while-condemning-the-sins-of-their-parents/

Hibernian , , August 11, 2018 at 11:51 am
@Mr. Soprano: I think Baltimore was a special case as a Southern city (which it historically was up to maybe WW1, maybe WW2.) Don't know its demographics pre-WW2 but I'd bet dollars to donuts it was substantially more black pre-WW1 than Chicago, which was nearly all white up to about 1915 even though it was founded by a Francophone Black man Jean Baptiste Pont du Sable.
johnhenry , , August 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm
David Masciotra: Not sure what I think about the ironmongery in your left ear, but this piece is excellent. My only criticism -- mild at that -- concerns the analogy in your third paragraph:

" to focus [our worries] on immigration is the equivalent of a gunshot victim rushing to the barber for a haircut."

DOA. Sorry.

paradoctor , , August 11, 2018 at 1:46 pm
This article is timely, but only because its complaints are perennial. 'Twas ever thus.

Yes of course a commercial culture is prosperous, dynamic, cosmopolitan, rootless, greedy, materialistic, cynical, plebian and vulgar. And yes, of course in a market-dominated culture, all other systems of indoctrination (i.e. church and state) are constantly on the defensive.

That is not 'no' culture; it is a highly distinctive culture. It tends to neglect the high arts and excel at the low arts; it favors novelty over tradition, spectacle over reflection, passion over balance. Again, 'twas ever thus; as is the inevitable cooling of these innovations to new formalisms for the next generation to rebel against, and enrich.

A similar cycle applies to demographics. Today's scary outsider becomes tomorrow's stodgy insider, after they buy their way in. I therefore second BradD's motion to declare Hispanics to be white; and Asians too.

All those disturbed by demographic transitions should contemplate this truism: that by the middle of next century every man, woman and child now alive shall be dead, and replaced by people not born yet.

This includes you, which makes it personal. What a way to run a world! But if you can put up with 100% population turnover by 2150, then language and skin tint seems (to me at least) a trivial detail.

***

Self-critique: The preceding analysis has a flaw, namely that this is not simply a 'commercial' culture; it is a 'capitalistic' culture, which is the least free form of commercial culture.

Siarlys Jenkins , , August 11, 2018 at 4:48 pm
Wow, something Fran Macadam and I agree on! Surely there is enough there for some bright politician to make a central platform plank out of?

Right! And I agree with Fran AND Thomas Hobbes!

Thrice A Viking , , August 11, 2018 at 5:46 pm
So, what should replace corporate capitalism -- socialism, distributism, non-corporate capitalism, what?
Tyro , , August 11, 2018 at 6:20 pm
Go to any country in Europe, and you'll find a whole staff of people from the airport, to the stores, to the hotel frowning at you for having the nerve to have want of their services.

Americans, in my experience, mistake lack of slavish over-friendliness as rudeness. I have realized this because I am a fairly reserved kind of person, and "reserved" gets coded as "aloof" or "snobbish."

European retail still follows the "sole proprietor" model of service -- it's assumed that by shopping there you're effectively entering someone else's home, and you must act accordingly. In the US, lacking a formal class system, the retail experience is one coded towards allowing the customer to feel as though he is a noble with servants to attend on him that he can order around. The store is selling that experience.

Related to this is why middle class and upper middle Americans are so upset by the DMV and the Post Office. It's the only place where money does not buy them any better service, and they cannot use the threat of talking to the manager to have the service personnel fired in order to get what they want.

America's customer service culture is probably one of our most culturally dysfunctional aspects, all rooted in middle class insecurity.

Renoaldo , , August 12, 2018 at 1:12 am
If this were actually, a Conservative website, that valued Western ideals? Do you really believe such excuses or something outside of myself like the "devil made me do it" will pass mustard with "God" or "St. Peter?"
Paul , , August 12, 2018 at 4:40 am
I strongly endorse Jon's (much earlier comment). It is not corporations that ruin culture but we who demand what they give. Corporations are just a convenient funding vehicle to produce goods. Yes they often mass market them. But it is we who like the marketing. If we were appalled, or turned away and it ignored it, they would change. In the end, when the spiritual life is subordinate to the material, our appetites and the corporations that serve them are a guaranteed outcome.
M. Orban , , August 12, 2018 at 12:31 pm
late to this thread but what is American identity? How is it different from let's say a Danish identity? I have a good number of coworkers from other countries: Asians, South Americans, some Germans or Swedes. When I visit them, do you think I find their homes, their families (or their priorities for that matter) different from that of born-here American? If so, I must have missed it
Ricardo , , August 12, 2018 at 4:40 pm
Auguste Mayrat hit the nail on the head. This article is garbage. It's sad that so many commentators agree with it. America is full of culture: pro and college sports, movies, TV shows, technology, books, music of all kinds all consumed throughout the world, as people from all countries love and admire American culture. Find a country that produces more culture than America. You can't. Churches and schools proliferate here. What's so bad about corporations? If you own an iPhone or a television or a car or shop at the mall, or ride a plane or go on a cruise, you're a hypocrite to be against corporations. Corporations provide goods and services that people want, not to mention jobs. The author of this piece is an intellectual lightweight, and those who agree with his views are the type of blind sheep that communists find useful. The author neither specified what's bad about corporations, nor provides any solutions. Can believe TAC publishes such drivel.

[Aug 12, 2018] David Stockman The World Economy Is At An Epochal Pivot by Adam Taggart

From comments: "Relax everyone, Stockman says exactly the same thing this time every year, he just changes the dates."
Notable quotes:
"... We are in a "never before seen" monetary "experiment" Some debt will be written off. Stocks will fall. Banks will fail. Long overdue. ..."
"... Today's doom porn is brought to you by the letters D and S ..."
"... He says the Earth has entered the Anthropocene. Although it is not an official epoch on the geological timescale, the Anthropocene is entering scientific terminology. It spans the time since industrialisation, when our species started to rival ice ages and comet impacts in driving the climate on a planetary scale. Fenner says the real trouble is the population explosion and "unbridled consumption". ..."
"... Capitalism requires growth to survive. Look at what happened to FB recently when they merely stated that their growth was slowing. ..."
"... The answer to your question, is yes. As short term rates continue to rise, PM hoarders will begin cashing in much of their holdings, to chase yields. which will start a run ..."
"... I suspect the waterfall move down will be in property prices, both CRE and residential. ..."
Aug 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

A 'great reset' approaches...

David Stockman warns that the global economy has reached an "epochal pivot", a moment when the false prosperity created from $trillions in printed money by the world's central banks lurches violently into reverse.

There are few people alive who understand the global economy and its (mis)management better than David Stockman -- former director of the OMB under President Reagan, former US Representative, best-selling author of The Great Deformation , and veteran financier -- which is why his perspective is not to be dismissed lightly. He knows intimiately how how our political and financial systems work, as well as what their vulnerabilties are.

And Stockman thinks the top for the current asset price bubble era is in -- specifically, he thinks it hit its apex in January 2018. As this "Everything Bubble" prepares to burst, Stockman estimates the risk of economic crisis is as great, if not greater than, the 2008 Great Financial Crisis because of the radical and unsustainable monetary policy expansion the central banks have pursued over the past decade.

This has caused the prices of stocks, bonds, real estate and most other assets to appreciate at rates that have no basis in the ongoing income/cash flow of the global economy. In short, they are wildly overvalued.

A key condition that Stockman has been waiting to see, that serves as a signal the bubble's bursting is nigh, is the concentration of speculative capital into fewer and fewer stocks as the "good" options for investors shrink. We now clearly see this in the FAANG complex (a topic covered in detail in our recent report The FAANG-nary In The Coal Mine )

Stockman's main warning is that there's no bid underneath this market -- that when perception shifts from greed to fear, the bottom is much farther down than most investors realize. In his words, it's "rigged for implosion".

He predicts a Great Reset is imminent. One that, for those who see it coming and take prudent action today, will offer tremendous, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime, investment opportunity once the dust settles.

To hear Stockman's specific predictions and warnings, listen to this 16-minute interview:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zHAHVUUFdZM

Those interested in having the opportunity to spend an entire day with David Stockman, where he'll present the specifics of his forecasts as well as address investor Q&A, should consider attending Peak Prosperity's New York City Summit with him on Sep 26, 2018 .

It's a good thing this Summit is coming up soon. We very likely do not have much time left before Stockman's predicted Great Reset begins.

As he puts it himself:

You would think by now that the big thinkers and strategists of Wall Street would get the joke. Trump's election was always a dagger aimed squarely at the egregious financial bubbles on Wall Street that have been building for 30 years at the expense of a stagnant main street economy.

And now [America's] no-holds barred pursuit of Trade Wars and Fiscal Debauch have guaranteed that the day of reckoning is at hand.

In fact, it may be only days away. And this chart from the final days of the dotcom bubble may be a pretty serviceable roadmap as to why and when.

Sonny Brakes Sat, 08/11/2018 - 12:56 Permalink

Eventually, Dave will be correct.

Maybe one of the keys to surviving this upcoming economic collapse is to be completely out of debt with very little money in the bank and with just enough precious metals to keep from starving while living in a small town just far enough away from the city to keep foreigners from invading.

Truther -> Sonny Brakes Sat, 08/11/2018 - 12:58 Permalink

One day, and sooner than we think, David may be right.

But.... I'm not buying any books, rather holding the shiny phyzz is my hedge.

JRobby -> Truther Sat, 08/11/2018 - 13:05 Permalink

"Lurches violently into reverse"

We are in a "never before seen" monetary "experiment" Some debt will be written off. Stocks will fall. Banks will fail. Long overdue.

Adolfsteinbergovitch -> Amnaroy789 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:52 Permalink

Dear Cherie girl,

There is no second act in American lives

- R Scott Fitzgerald

This could apply to you, but i don't think you have an IQ high enough to understand. That's the problem when you deal with stupid people...

eforce -> Adolfsteinbergovitch Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:32 Permalink

"This hatred will be still further magnified by the effects of an economic crises, which will stop dealing on the exchanges and bring industry to a standstill. We shall create by all the secret subterranean methods open to us and with the aid of gold, which is all in our hands, a universal economic crises whereby we shall throw upon the streets whole mobs of workers simultaneously in all the countries of europe. These mobs will rush delightedly to shed the blood of those whom, in the simplicity of their ignorance, they have envied from their cradles, and whose property they will then be able to loot."

--The Protocols (1905)

TRN -> francis scott Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:23 Permalink

If you want timing, I would say within the month we will have the first installment of the correction. As for fixing things, it is never guaranteed, much like a war.

francis scott -> TRN Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:19 Permalink

Lots of people are saying that the correction won't come in installments, but in one lump sum. Dunno, but doesn't timing always include those 'limit down' days?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y4pdH12xDM

Snaffew -> Truther Sat, 08/11/2018 - 15:44 Permalink

as long as the pm's are in your control and not at some brokerage storage area, you should be fine. If you can't touch it every day, then you don't own it is my philosophy.

Truther -> Snaffew Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:56 Permalink

Oh believe me. I'm touching it, rubbing it, holding it. And every time I do, I get such a fucking boner that makes my wife beg for it.

The boner that is..

ShrNfr -> Sonny Brakes Sat, 08/11/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

Today's doom porn is brought to you by the letters D and S and the number 1,693,988,000,237,681,444,314,159,625.

Endgame Napoleon -> ShrNfr Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:07 Permalink

This economy is more Oscar-the-Grouch-like than Big Birdish, no matter how much bragging is done. It is not Big Bird's fault, however. It was all in place before he ever got there. Sunny day, not.

Endgame Napoleon -> oldmanofthesee Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:09 Permalink

He likely means any group that can undercut underemployed US citizens, driving down wages in the few available jobs.

Endgame Napoleon -> kurwamac Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:14 Permalink

One question, though...If you are an average Venezuelan, wouldn't it be easier to have BitCoin? Affluent people have the means to store gold and better ways of selling it in the case of an economic catastrophe. It would be interesting to hear the perspective of ordinary people in places with hyperinflated currency. They would probably be afraid to discuss it, though, due to nutty .gov officials. It seems like people could help them easier via BTC, assuming they have some way to spend it on staples. In the event of a calamity, most people will just give up, I fear.

jm Sat, 08/11/2018 - 12:57 Permalink

LOL.

1. Life always finds a way to survive.

2. There are always winners and losers. Winners take risk, losers fret over the end of the world.

3. The apocalyse porn industry is remarkably resilient

oddjob -> jm Sat, 08/11/2018 - 13:10 Permalink

Thousands of species have gone extinct over time, so always might be a bit short sighted.

Condor_0000 -> oddjob Sat, 08/11/2018 - 13:54 Permalink

Actually, I believe it's 99% of all species that ever existed have gone extinct. Humans will not be the exception. What people don't realize is how soon down the road human extinction might be.

----------------------

"We're Going To Become Extinct, Probably Within 100 Years" Eminent Scientist Says

June 16, 2010

The Australian

Excerpts

"We're going to become extinct," the eminent scientist says. "Whatever we do now is too late."

Fenner is an authority on extinction. The emeritus professor in microbiology at the Australian National University played a leading role in sending one species into oblivion: the variola virus that causes smallpox.

And his work on the myxoma virus suppressed wild rabbit populations on farming land in southeastern Australia in the early 1950s.

He made the comments in an interview at his home in a leafy Canberra suburb. Now 95, he rarely gives interviews.

He says the Earth has entered the Anthropocene. Although it is not an official epoch on the geological timescale, the Anthropocene is entering scientific terminology. It spans the time since industrialisation, when our species started to rival ice ages and comet impacts in driving the climate on a planetary scale. Fenner says the real trouble is the population explosion and "unbridled consumption".

The number of Homo sapiens is projected to exceed 6.9 billion this year, according to the UN. With delays in firm action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Fenner is pessimistic.

"We'll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island," he says. "Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we're seeing remarkable changes in the weather already. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we've seen disappear.

"Homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years," he says. "A lot of other animals will, too. It's an irreversible situation. I think it's too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.

"Mitigation would slow things down a bit, but there are too many people here already."

Endgame Napoleon -> Condor_0000 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:20 Permalink
Condor_0000 -> Endgame Napoleon Sat, 08/11/2018 - 15:02 Permalink

Capitalism requires growth to survive. Look at what happened to FB recently when they merely stated that their growth was slowing. Almost all of capitalism's growth comes from population expansion. If we demanded that nobody could reproduce, and the global population was quickly cut in half, capitalism would utterly collapse. So, what do you want to do? What do you think the richest capitalists, who totally rule the world, want to do? Well, we know what they're going to do. We're watching them do it. They're going to drive humanity towards extinction and hope that their massive wealth allows them to survive while 7 billion people perish; as if climate change will abruptly come to a halt at that point and they will be spared. They won't be. But that's their only game plan. What else could they possibly do?

jm -> Not Too Important Sat, 08/11/2018 - 15:37 Permalink

LOL.

This planet has seen Cambrian and other explosions of diversity as well as Permian-level extinctions that wiped out 90% of all organisms and 40% of phyla. YET LOOK HOW THINGS STAND NOW.

Forget the cult of doom-saying, which really has all the elements of a weird religious movement. If you bet, bet on life. Not jackassery.

delmar Jackson -> Condor_0000 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:17 Permalink

"Fenner says the real trouble is the population explosion and "unbridled consumption".

The population of almost every western nation has been declining for years. Even in the USA, if we subtracted immigration the numbers would show a below replacement level birthrate. Africa, on the other hand, shows a surprising increase in population every year defying the expectations of demographers year after year and the continent is now expected to have 4 trillion Africans by the end of the century. So we do not have an overpopulation problem on planet earth. We have an African problem. Furthermore, nearly all the growth in greenhouse gases in western countries is driven by the transfer of immigrants from very low carbon footprint countries to high carbon footprint countries. If open border globalist David Gelbaum had not bribed the Sierra Club in 2006 with 100 million dollars to never mention immigration and the harm it does our environment more people would be talking about the dangers of immigration to our environment.

The eminent scientist may be right, we could be headed for extinction, but not for his reasons, but for our fear of confronting the reckless growth in Africa and the agenda of the globalist to turn all western countries into dysfunctional ungovernable tribal nations via massive endless immigration.

east of eden -> Ward of the Squid Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:43 Permalink

The problem is, that in a crisis, yes, both gold and silver will drop, possibly almost as much as the stock and bond markets, however, at some point during the crisis, they will snap back, and roar upwards. The problem, as always, is that in a crisis environment, would you even be able to obtain physical gold and silver, and, at what premium? It wasn't so long ago that silver was trading at a 35% premium to spot, and we weren't even in a financial or banking crisis, so, you can just imagine the kind of spreads you would be paying to own physical, in a real crisis.

To my way of thinking, if you believe in the durability of gold and silver to weather not only severe inflation, but also severe deflation, one is much better off buying before the crisis hits.

If inflation becomes the dominant trend, then your gold and silver will rise with each hit on fiat currencies and the reserves banks that issue them. If deflation becomes the dominant theme, yes, you may loose nominal value compared to the price you purchased those holdings at, but since everything else will be plummeting in prices, your relative wealth advantage will be preserved.

It's difficult to say what will happen when the bottom falls out, once again. This time will not be like 2008/09, when the Fed and other central banks had small balance sheets and could buy government debt at very low interest rates. Considering the trap that many countries (US included) find themselves in now, I am not sure it is realistic to expect interest rates to rise to 22% as they did when Nixon closed the gold window, for the simple reason that interest rates at that level will definitely bankrupt many sovereigns, making the situation even worse.

It might also be of interest to note, that in the last 15 years, the price of gold, in all major currencies (pound, dollar, franc, euro, yen, AUS and CAD) has risen between 10 and 12% a year, on average over those years. Which simply means that the 'real' inflation rate has been between 10% and 12% in those currencies.

That is what gold does. It doesn't make you 'moar' money, but it does preserve the purchasing power of the money you do have.

Dewey Cheatum -> silverer Sat, 08/11/2018 - 13:17 Permalink

The answer to your question, is yes. As short term rates continue to rise, PM hoarders will begin cashing in much of their holdings, to chase yields. which will start a run

Imo, gold and silver will continue to go down, which means, better buying opportunities.

oddjob -> Dewey Cheatum Sat, 08/11/2018 - 13:27 Permalink

Anybody leveraged into PM's is long gone, I suspect the waterfall move down will be in property prices, both CRE and residential. A tripling of interest rates would not even get them back to historical norms, this will devastate most mortgage holders.

Arrowflinger -> Herdee Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:07 Permalink

Once the $21 trillion was obtained by single-entry accounting by the oddly-named "Defense" department, the Fed is powerless over money supply.

Endgame Napoleon -> Arrowflinger Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:31 Permalink

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-24/ron-paul-heres-21-trillion-re

[Aug 12, 2018] One of the things folks are not getting is that when a crash occurs that there is no place for the crash to land

Notable quotes:
"... The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics. ..."
"... Same economics, same problem, globally. Neoliberalism was just one huge debt fuelled boom, which was replicated across the UK, the US, the Euro-zone, Japan and China. ..."
"... The early neoclassical economists hid the problems of rentier activity in the economy by removing the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income and they conflated "land" with "capital". ..."
"... DS has been saying that Armageddon is just around the corner for about seven years at this stage. Yet the ponzi continues.... ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Fantasy Free E Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:06 Permalink

One of the things folks are not getting is that when a crash occurs that there is no place for the crash to land. There is no ground on which the economy can land in order to reset. The only growth engines in play are new expanded human herding opportunities and using government to add value to assets. Both of these engines are running out of gas.

http://quillian.net/blog/the-deficit-spending-racket/

Arrowflinger -> Fantasy Free E Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:12 Permalink

The 'gas' is infinite.

falconflight Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:23 Permalink

The red reset button is a bit over the top. Playing on me fears and tears...oh my!

Let it Go Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:37 Permalink

The massive debt load hanging above our heads has not receded or gone away it has merely been transferred to the public sector where those in charge of such things feel it is more benign . By a series of off-book and backdoor transactions those in charge have transferred the burden of loss from the banks onto the shoulders of the people, however, shifting the liability from one sector to another does not alleviate the problem.

Writing off bad debt is usually a painful process and often results in a huge change in what something is worth. The creditor, meaning the person, business, or institution that holds the paper can suffer a huge loss. Defaults generally constitute an unplanned and involuntary financial adjustment. We as individuals should be concerned as to how defaults can spill over and affect our lives. The article below delves into this subject.

http://Debt Has Burgeoned, Is The Day Of Reckoning Near? html

falak pema Sat, 08/11/2018 - 14:52 Permalink

Mr Reaganomics is now shitting in his pants for what his ancient master has created in Jefferson's land...

Batman11 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 15:12 Permalink

The economics of the neoliberal era had a fundamental flaw.

The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.

Same economics, same problem, globally. Neoliberalism was just one huge debt fuelled boom, which was replicated across the UK, the US, the Euro-zone, Japan and China.

At 25.30 mins we can see the super imposed the debt-to-GDP ratios.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6

The damage is done and the collapse begins.

Batman11 -> Batman11 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 15:57 Permalink

You may not like it, but it's always been craponomics.

It was corrupted at birth to hide the discoveries of the Classical economists.

They had realised most at the top of society were parasites living off the hard work of everyone else, an idle rentier class.

The early neoclassical economists hid the problems of rentier activity in the economy by removing the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income and they conflated "land" with "capital".

They also took the focus off the cost of living, which had been so important in Classical Economics.

Clogheen Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:35 Permalink

DS has been saying that Armageddon is just around the corner for about seven years at this stage. Yet the ponzi continues....

Drop-Hammer Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:25 Permalink

The 'epochal pivot', of which (((Stockman))) speaks, is The Great Trumpening. Everything else is back-ground radiation like from The Big Bang.

[Aug 12, 2018] Economics, Trumpism and Migration

Aug 12, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm 11

Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it's the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations.

The emergence of Trumpism signifies deepening of the ideological crisis for the neoliberalism. Neoclassical economics fell like a house of cards.

IMHO Trumpism can be viewed as a kind of "national neoliberalism" which presuppose rejection of three dogmas of "classic neoliberalism":

1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization including, but not limited to, free movement of labor. Attempt to protect domestic industries via tariff barriers.

2. Rejection of excessive financialization and primacy of financial oligarchy Restoration of the status of manufacturing, and "traditional capitalists" status in comparison with financial oligarchy.

3. Rejection of austerity. An attempt to fight "secular stagnation" via Military Keysianism.

Trumpism sent "Chicago school" line of thinking to the dustbin of history. It exposed neoliberal economists as agents of financial oligarchy and "Enemy of the American People" (famous Trump phase about neoliberal MSM).

See, for example, a good summary by Sanjay Reddy ( Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research) at https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/trumpism-has-dealt-a-mortal-blow-to-orthodox-economics-and-social-science.html

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements.

Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proleterianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the 'national' industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the 'scientific' sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.

Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the 'neoliberal' era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

Finally, interpretations of politics were too restrictive, conceptualizing citizens' political choices as based on instrumental and usually economic calculations, while indulging in a wishful account of their actual conditions -- for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities.

Mainstream accounts of politics recognized the role of identities in the form of wooden theories of group mobilization or of demands for representation. However, the psychological and charismatic elements, which can give rise to moments of 'phase transition' in politics, were altogether neglected, and the role of social media and other new methods in politics hardly registered. As new political movements (such as the Tea Party and Trumpism in the U.S.) emerged across the world, these were deemed 'populist' -- both an admission of the analysts' lack of explanation, and a token of disdain. The essential feature of such movements -- the obscurantism that allows them to offer many things to many people, inconsistently and unaccountably, while serving some interests more than others -- was little explored. The failures can be piled one upon the other. No amount of quantitative data provided by polling, 'big data', or other techniques comprehended what might be captured through open-eyed experiential narratives. It is evident that there is a need for forms of understanding that can comprehend the currents within the human person, and go beyond shallow empiricism. Mainstream social science has offered few if any resources to understand, let alone challenge, illiberal majoritarianism, now a world-remaking phenomenon.

nastywoman 08.12.18 at 4:11 am 16

and about@11
"for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities".

How true – how true –
(and didn't I write that when Von Clownstick won? – and hardly anybody in economics believed it?)

and then there is this:
– "financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proleterianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class".

So we might have to talk one day about if it truly is "obvious enough by now that support for Trumpism in the US and elsewhere is motivated primarily by racial and cultural animus, and not (or at least not in any direct way) by economic concerns"??

[Aug 12, 2018] One of FDR s Best Speeches: I welcome their hatred

Notable quotes:
"... @Not Henry Kissinger ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

Not Henry Kissinger on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 1:35pm

JekyllnHyde on Thu, 08/09/2018 - 2:00pm
One of FDR's Best Speeches

@Not Henry Kissinger

Franklin Roosevelt's Address Announcing the Second New Deal - October 31, 1936

[Aug 12, 2018] A Trumpist dream about how neoliberals will be purged

Notable quotes:
"... Cut to view of parade down Main Street USA of politicians and business people with computer keyboards hung around their necks. Many wear signs around their necks proclaiming their crimes. "I facilitated consumers to buy insurance policies for the ACA," says one. "I front ran the market for Uncle Sam," says another. ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , , November 26, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Reactionaries will be purged. The Markets of Historical Determinism will demand it. Cut to view of parade down Main Street USA of politicians and business people with computer keyboards hung around their necks. Many wear signs around their necks proclaiming their crimes. "I facilitated consumers to buy insurance policies for the ACA," says one. "I front ran the market for Uncle Sam," says another.

The lines of armed guards lining the parade route are there to protect the penitents, as various short action shots show. The crowd is in an ugly mood. Storm clouds lower in the distance.

animalogic , , November 28, 2016 at 12:15 am

"Storm clouds lower in the distance". Camera pans, penitents trudge dejectedly up hill, to silhouette of Guillotine. Steady rain begins. End shot.

[Aug 11, 2018] Economics, Trumpism and Migration

Aug 11, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it's the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations. The second part of this claim has been pretty thoroughly demolished, so I want to look mainly at the first. However, as we will see, the corporate tax cuts remain central to the argument.

likbez>, 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm 11

Still, to the extent that Trumpism has any economic policy content it's the idea that a package of immigration restrictions and corporate tax cuts[1] will make workers better off by reducing competition from migrants and increasing labor demand from corporations.

The emergence of Trumpism signifies deepening of the ideological crisis for the neoliberalism. Neoclassical economics fell like a house of cards. IMHO Trumpism can be viewed as a kind of "national neoliberalism" which presuppose rejection of three dogmas of "classic neoliberalism":

1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization including, but not limited to, free movement of labor. Attempt to protect domestic industries via tariff barriers.

2. Rejection of excessive financialization and primacy of financial oligarchy. Restoration of the status of manufacturing, and "traditional capitalists" status in comparison with financial oligarchy.

3. Rejection of austerity. An attempt to fight "secular stagnation" via Military Keysianism.

Trumpism sent "Chicago school" line of thinking to the dustbin of history. It exposed neoliberal economists as agents of financial oligarchy and "Enemy of the American People" (famous Trump phase about neoliberal MSM).

See, for example, a good summary by Sanjay Reddy ( Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research) at https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/trumpism-has-dealt-a-mortal-blow-to-orthodox-economics-and-social-science.html

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements. ...

Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proletarianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the 'national' industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the 'scientific' sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.

Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the 'neoliberal' era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

Finally, interpretations of politics were too restrictive, conceptualizing citizens' political choices as based on instrumental and usually economic calculations, while indulging in a wishful account of their actual conditions -- for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities.

Mainstream accounts of politics recognized the role of identities in the form of wooden theories of group mobilization or of demands for representation. However, the psychological and charismatic elements, which can give rise to moments of 'phase transition' in politics, were altogether neglected, and the role of social media and other new methods in politics hardly registered. As new political movements (such as the Tea Party and Trumpism in the U.S.) emerged across the world, these were deemed 'populist' -- both an admission of the analysts' lack of explanation, and a token of disdain. The essential feature of such movements -- the obscurantism that allows them to offer many things to many people, inconsistently and unaccountably, while serving some interests more than others -- was little explored. The failures can be piled one upon the other. No amount of quantitative data provided by polling, 'big data', or other techniques comprehended what might be captured through open-eyed experiential narratives. It is evident that there is a need for forms of understanding that can comprehend the currents within the human person, and go beyond shallow empiricism. Mainstream social science has offered few if any resources to understand, let alone challenge, illiberal majoritarianism, now a world-remaking phenomenon.

[Aug 11, 2018] Major color revolutions sponsor is in decline, but still show his teeth and his methods did not become less dangerius for Eastern Europe, xUSSR space and developing countries

It is not only George Soros is losing. Neoliberalism is losing some of its fights too, despite recent revenge in sev eral Latin American countries. Deep state was always an alliance of Wall Street sharks with intelligence agencies and Soros is a true representative of this breed. He is connected and acted in sync with them in xUSSR space. In this sense he can be viewed as a part of Harvard Mafia which economically raped Russia in 1990th...
Malaysia's prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, correctly called Soros and other speculators "unscrupulous profiteers" whose immoral work served no social value. That actually aptly characterize all members of Harvard mafia not just George Soros.
BTW, if Victoria Nuland (of EuroMaydan putch fame) praises a particular person, you can be sure that his person serves US imperial interests...
Notable quotes:
"... ...In the 1990s, he was portrayed by the far left as an agent of American imperialism, helping to foist the so-called neoliberal agenda (mass privatization, for example) on Eastern Europe. For some critics, Soros's Wall Street background has always been a mark against him. ..."
"... In one campaign rally in Budapest, Orban referred to Soros as "Uncle George," telling tens of thousands of supporters that "we are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the world." ..."
"... I always thought George Soros was a dangerous [neo]liberal but after reading this article and seeing the damage he has created around the world it has been confirmed. ..."
"... Mr. Soros fights for all the [neo]liberal causes no matter the consequences. ..."
"... I am glad that the conservatives and others are finally seeing his true colors and are trying to subdue him the best they can. He must be called out on this negative behavior before it is too late. It is reassuring that many of the European nations are implementing policies that are favorable to their countries and looking out for their people. Europeans must be protected and George Soros stopped. I am glad they see him for what he truly is which is frightening. ..."
"... As Mr. Soros said of himself, "I am a confirmed egoist." He has used his money to make the world as he thinks is best. But having money does not give you a better moral view of how the world should be governed nor make you a god to decide for the rest of us. ..."
"... I think this kind of undue influence (money in politics) is what is driving some of the back-lash against [neo]liberal democracy. So many of the "[neo]liberal" proponents of an open society, like George Soros and Bill Gates, seem to have an inordinate power to effect political outcomes because of their money. ..."
"... Soros is an enemy of the middle and working classes in America. ..."
"... Now, more than ever, American politics is defined by money, so it's important to understand how it is used in that context by those who have it. ..."
"... What about the devastating effects that free trade and globalization have had on the spread of inequality throughout the world... Huge corporations consistently use "free trade" or globalization as an excuse to offer the lowest possible wages, and move manufacturing to places with the least environmental protections and human rights. ..."
"... Soros didn't bet on Democracy, he bet on his version of it which he tried to buy through individual politicians on the take and the Democratic Party. Better he quit manipulating pols and gave his money to charity. ..."
"... Soros is a criminal by any other name. He hedged against the UK Pound 20 years ago, and earned $1B. He earned billions by manipulating the market. With his profits he wanted to create his own society where his money could be used to buy politicians and pass legislation according to his one man agenda. He's selfish, an egomaniac, and dangerous. ..."
"... George Soros is the epitome of corruption – penetration and distortion of political process by obscene wealth. It does not matter what his true intentions are – he can say whatever he wants but we will never know for sure. And stop calling that "philanthropy". ..."
"... What Soros is doing is imposing his personal political beliefs and ideas on everybody by buying political influence with his money - that is called "corruption" pure and simple. ..."
"... What he does is not democracy promotion - it is the exact opposite – democracy destruction. It is good to know that he is failing in that effort. ..."
"... Neoliberalism has failed to improve democratic governance and reduced distribution of wealth ..."
"... What pharaonic globalist plutocrats like him mean by "Liberal Democracy" encompasses a sinister set of objectives. Prominent among which are these two: ..."
"... Full support for neocon/neoliberal destabilization, confrontation, and military interventionism. ..."
"... The destruction of borders, nations, and cultures -- particularly Western Culture here and in Europe. ..."
"... Soros and his peers want unhindered unlimited access to cheap Third World labor as well as to have complete control over the entire global economy. To his class nationalism and culture are speed bumps on the way to those self-serving goals. ..."
Aug 11, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Yet the political realm is where Soros has made his most audacious wager. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, he poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the former Soviet-bloc countries to promote civil society and [neo]liberal democracy. It was a one-man Marshall Plan for Eastern Europe, a private initiative without historical precedent. It was also a gamble that a part of the world that had mostly known tyranny would embrace ideas like government accountability and ethnic tolerance. In London in the 1950s, Soros was a student of the expatriated Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, who championed the notion of an "open society," in which individual liberty, pluralism and free inquiry prevailed. Popper's concept became Soros's cause.

... ... ...

...In the 1990s, he was portrayed by the far left as an agent of American imperialism, helping to foist the so-called neoliberal agenda (mass privatization, for example) on Eastern Europe. For some critics, Soros's Wall Street background has always been a mark against him.

Last autumn, he signaled that same sense of defiance when he announced that he was in the process of transferring the bulk of his remaining wealth, $18 billion in total at the time, to the O.S.F. That will potentially make it the second-largest philanthropic organization in the United States, in assets, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is already a sprawling entity, with some 1,800 employees in 35 countries, a global advisory board, eight regional boards and 17 issue-oriented boards. Its annual budget of around $1 billion finances projects in education, public health, independent media, immigration and criminal-justice reform and other areas

... ... ...

He decided that his goal would be opening closed societies. He created a philanthropic organization, then called the Open Society Fund, in 1979 and began sponsoring college scholarships for black South African students. But he soon turned his attention to Eastern Europe, where he started financing dissident groups. He funneled money to the Solidarity strikers in Poland in 1981 and to Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia. In one especially ingenious move, he sent hundreds of Xerox copiers to Hungary to make it easier for underground publications to disseminate their newsletters. In the late 1980s, he provided dozens of Eastern European students with scholarships to study in the West, with the aim of fostering a generation of [neo]liberal democratic leaders. One of those students was Viktor Orban, who studied civil society at Oxford. From his Manhattan trading desk, Soros became a strange sort of expat anticommunist revolutionary.

... ... ...

In one campaign rally in Budapest, Orban referred to Soros as "Uncle George," telling tens of thousands of supporters that "we are fighting an enemy that is different from us. Not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money; does not have its own homeland but feels it owns the world." Along with the fiery speeches, there were the billboards, which featured a picture of a smiling Soros and the message, "Let's not let George Soros have the last laugh."

... ... ...

Orban's coalition won 49 percent of the vote, enough to give it a supermajority in Parliament. But the anti-Soros campaign didn't end with the election. Days after the vote, a magazine owned by a pro-Orban businesswoman published the names of more than 200 people in Hungary that it claimed were Soros "mercenaries."

... ... ...

There have been mistakes; by his own admission, Soros erred in championing Mikheil Saakashvili, the mercurial former president of Georgia, and also became too directly involved in the country's politics in the early 2000s. He clearly misjudged Orban. But as Victoria Nuland, a former American diplomat who worked for both Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton, put it when I spoke to her recently, "George is a freedom fighter."


alexander hamilton new york July 17

"Billionaire philanthropist?" Really? Does that make the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelstein "philanthropists" too, or does that label apply only to left-leaning individuals seeking political leverage many times that of the average citizen?

One citizen, 1 vote. ALL citizens should be limited to $100 contributions for their senators, representatives and the President. NO citizen should be able to contribute to a campaign in a state where he/she is not a full-time permanent resident.

And NO citizen should be able to contribute more than $100 to his/her own campaign. We don't need more Kennedys, Clintons, Bloombergs, Trumps, Perots or Forbes buying (or trying to buy) their way into public office, using their millions.

Of the people, by the people, for the people. That's the model, folks. Depart from it at your peril.

Conservative Democrat WV July 17

For a man that purportedly promotes democracy, Mr. Soros conveniently overlooked public opinion when it came to promoting open borders.

In its essence, democracy is all about the wisdom and will of those governed, and not about what a billionaire thinks is best for them.

Maqroll North Florida July 17 Times Pick

Soros--a "European at heart." Must have brought some much-needed smiles to the UK following the recent Trump Tour of Destruction. How soon we forget--in the 90s, Soros broke the pound as the Brits were trying to unify European currencies--with unfortunate conditions that weakened the effort and Soros smartly exploited.

Who can blame a globalist from crashing a poorly devised govt scheme and walking away with a cool $1B--back when a billion dollars was a lot of money? I am not the person to say whether Soros may qualify as an honest proponent of democracy, but I strongly suspect that he is a poster boy of the ultra-nationalists as they battle globalization.

In a way, Soros epitomizes the failure of globalization, which may or may not benefit the classic, labor-intensive industries of manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and mining, but always benefits, sometimes wildly, the financial "industry."

As far as I'm concerned, Soros is merely making reparations. And, sorry to say, George, it's prob too little, too late.

WPLMMT New York City July 17 Times Pick

I always thought George Soros was a dangerous [neo]liberal but after reading this article and seeing the damage he has created around the world it has been confirmed. Nigel Farage, the British politician, recently said on television that Mr. Soros is out to destroy the world. It certainly appears to be the case when you see what he did to the British and Thai economies. He was so concerned with helping immigrants and refugees that he had little regard for the citizens that actually lived in those countries that are being affected. People lost their livelihoods but that did not matter to him.

Mr. Soros fights for all the [neo]liberal causes no matter the consequences. He ... does not care who he hurts as long as he promotes his progressive agenda. He wants to allow as many immigrants to enter a nation as possible even if it adversely affects that country while he lives in luxury and is not inconvenienced by this invasion. He has billions and will probably never be touched by massive immigration.

I am glad that the conservatives and others are finally seeing his true colors and are trying to subdue him the best they can. He must be called out on this negative behavior before it is too late. It is reassuring that many of the European nations are implementing policies that are favorable to their countries and looking out for their people. Europeans must be protected and George Soros stopped. I am glad they see him for what he truly is which is frightening.

gpickard Luxembourg July 17 Times Pick

As Mr. Soros said of himself, "I am a confirmed egoist." He has used his money to make the world as he thinks is best. But having money does not give you a better moral view of how the world should be governed nor make you a god to decide for the rest of us.

I think this kind of undue influence (money in politics) is what is driving some of the back-lash against [neo]liberal democracy. So many of the "[neo]liberal" proponents of an open society, like George Soros and Bill Gates, seem to have an inordinate power to effect political outcomes because of their money.

The making of such huge amounts of money is not done with any charitable purpose. Only later, does charity come to mind.

c smith Pittsburgh July 17

Soros is an enemy of the middle and working classes in America. Yes, a billion people around the world are better off because of the forces of "globalization" (this total most definitely includes Soros himself), but millions of Americans have suffered economically as a result. GATT, NAFTA and the entire alphabet soup of trade deals have lined the pockets of the globalists, while grinding the fortunes of U.S. working and middle class laborers into dust.

Karekin USA July 17

Great article. Now, more than ever, American politics is defined by money, so it's important to understand how it is used in that context by those who have it. At this juncture, I think the American people deserve to see an expose of all those millionaires and billionaires who have and continue to support Trump. It's only fair, to lay the money trail on the table, on all sides, for everyone to see.

Tim DC area July 17 Times Pick

What about the devastating effects that free trade and globalization have had on the spread of inequality throughout the world... Huge corporations consistently use "free trade" or globalization as an excuse to offer the lowest possible wages, and move manufacturing to places with the least environmental protections and human rights.

Immigration policies are also sometimes used in ways to suppress wages, and even more worse, enacted with very little thought given to assimilation. Most of the poorer areas, or ghettoes surrounding Paris for example are populated with huge numbers of Muslim immigrants that face extremely daunting odds of fully assimilating into French culture.

While the wealthier (sometimes elite [neo]liberals) Parisians almost certainly live in gated or posh neighborhoods with hardly any immigrants as their neighbors. Despite the generous financial support Soros (and some other elites) gives to human rights causes, he rarely outright discusses some of these problems associated with free trade, globalization and mass immigration. These seeming hypocrisies and inconsistencies then become much easier fodder for those of Orban's ilk to manipulate and ultimately consolidate power.

Samuel Spade Huntsville, al July 17

Soros didn't bet on Democracy, he bet on his version of it which he tried to buy through individual politicians on the take and the Democratic Party. Better he quit manipulating pols and gave his money to charity.

Ivory Tower Colorado July 17

First, Hungary is not xenophobic, they merely want to protect their culture. Second, George Soros wants plenty of wealth for him and his family, yet he wants those of us in the middle class to dive up our meager assets with the world's poorest. Third, his personal wealth has often been generated by destroying currencies and the middle class who owns those currencies. Fourth, he promotes open borders without consulting the citizenry of said borders as to their opinion regarding their own national sovereignty. Our world would be a much better place without George Soros.

Concerned EU Resident Germany July 17

Soros is a criminal by any other name. He hedged against the UK Pound 20 years ago, and earned $1B. He earned billions by manipulating the market. With his profits he wanted to create his own society where his money could be used to buy politicians and pass legislation according to his one man agenda. He's selfish, an egomaniac, and dangerous.

geezer117 Tennessee July 17

Soros employs his vast wealth to create the society he dreams of, regardless of what the rest of us want. When the democratic process veers away from his vision, he uses the power of his wealth to steer it back.

So he's just another wealthy and powerful elite trying to remake the world as he prefers it. Such arrogance!

Rose Philadelphia July 17

Sucking money out of the world's economies so that he can direct it as HE sees fit does not make a man great. Rather, I would argue that such actions contributed to the rise of both Brexiteers and Trumpsters.

If Soros really wants to contribute to society, he would lobby for financial industry reform - less favorable tax treatment for hedge funds (what value do they really provide to society) and a transaction tax on trades to reduce speculation. Then fight for minimum wage increases.

Jonas Seattle July 17

This is a horrifying interview and does not improve the image of George Soros. "My ideology is nonideological," he says while spending billions on politics, which he defines as "In politics, you are spinning the truth, not discovering it." He describes Obama as his greatest disappointment because Obama "closed the door on me," as in he expected Obama should work with him and take his advice. Soros uses his billions to fund politicians and meddle in elections... this is a man who enjoys influencing and manipulating politics and becomes frustrated when his efforts backfire or are not successful.

Peter Albany. NY July 17

This man is the absolute worst! His no borders policy has done more to hurt Europe then Russia ever could. The Soros gang has zero respect and tolerance for nation-state sovereignty and local governance. Talk about a global elite! He and his gang epitomize that arrogance.

Marian Maryland July 17

George Soros bet big on open borders,one world governance and destroying the working class through unfair trade agreements. Yes he appears to be losing. Thank God for small favors.

Al Nino Hyde Park NY July 17

It cracks me up to read these type of article in the NYT and then read another story in the NYT about how if you can pay the money you can have yourself a private waiting area in a major airport to separate yourself from the chaos of the masses in the public waiting areas. Maybe democracy wouldn't be in trouble around the world if it worked as well for the "slobs" in the public waiting areas as it did for those in the exclusive waiting rooms. This is globalization in a nutshell. It works great for the rich, not so well for the rest of us slobs. This is a government of the rich people, by the rich people, for the rich people. The slobs realise their government doesn't really care that their jobs are disapearing and their standard of living is going down.

Charles Becker Sonoma State University July 17

I am not interested in windfall investing profits. Soros is *not* my hero: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-george-soros-broke-the-bank-of-thaila... . Wretched.

John Medina Holt July 17

To say that George Soros is funding [neo]liberal democracy is a misnomer. What Soros is funding is open borders. Where national interests are set aside, global interests prevail. This is precisely what George Soros is advocating. Tired of having to face multitude regulatory systems in his effort to build a global financial empire, Soros is quite right in discerning that a borderless, global regulatory system would increase his financial power exponentially. Nations are right to resist the encroachment of Soros because global interests, by definition, are not local interests. Nationalism, so loathed by Soros and his open border lackeys, serves as a check and balance on men like Soros who would be god and would dictate to the world from some point of central governance what their truth and value should be. George Soros and his globalist kin should be resisted. The true threat to global interests is not nationalism, it is globalism.

Richard L. Wilson Moscow, Russia July 17

Soros, and American [neo]liberalism, economic and social [neo]liberalism championed by Soros and the NYT, is in its death throes. Call us fascists, totalitarians, racists--- understand clearly: we do not care. Europe is waking up. [neo]liberalism is close to being dead. No spectres or phantoms are haunting Europe. Blood is standing up and answering our ancestors.We are not commodoties, consumers, meat for your wars. You have attacked us, belittled us, turned our queen of continents into latrines of filth. You, American [neo]liberalism, have destroyed us.Now, we take our nations back.

elizabeth renant new mexico July 17

It's amusing to read phrases like "nationalism and tribalism are resurgent". It never does to underestimate tribalism; as long as groups feel safe they are tolerant. But when groups feel threatened, tribalism rears up in what is not so much a resurgence but more like an awakening from a nap.

The older cultures of Europe are waking up from a nap and realizing that unless they reassess a few long-held assumptions, they will eventually be ethnically diminished and culturally pressured.

Denmark has banned the burka and legislated some of the harshest migration, immigration, asylum, and naturalization laws in Europe. It is implementing laws to ensure integration, including stopping benefits to families whose children are not integrating. Do the author and Mr. Soros think that Denmark exercising control over its future demographics and preserving its culture are malign?

The Danes some years ago elected the Danish People's Party to significant power; the DPP is often referred to as a far right party, but is a typical left-wing party in everything except pushing Denmark toward "multiculturalism".

Sweden's centre-left government, on the other hand, brought in hundreds of thousands of Third World immigrants and then refused even to admit, let alone discuss, the glaring problems with integration within its immigrant community.

Result: the Sweden Democrats, a bona fide neo-Nazi party, are set to do extremely and alarmingly well in Sweden's September elections.

Yes - in Sweden.

Larry Left Chicago's High Taxes July 17

This super-rich elitist from Hungary is trying to buy American democracy and reshape it in his image regardless of what We The People want. And the Democrats are on his payroll and totally owned by this foreign agent!

Burton Austin, Texas July 17

Soros' flaw is that he only tolerates centralized socialist democracy. He cannot stand the idea of democracy in the form of a federal republic with a weak central government. Interestingly, he made his billions as a predatory capitalist now he turns on capitalism. He also exhibits a particularly vicious elitism: No one should be allowed to own guns except his private security guards. He knows that umarmed men are always someone's slaves.

Ned Flarbus Berkeley July 17

Soros is a hypocrite who did one thing and is now out to create a legacy. All is shows is he is driven by both greed and ego. His blatant hypocrisy probably did more harm than good - common denominator, it's always about him. Hey Soros, don't do us plebes any more favors, ok?

Philly Expat July 17

Democracy is alive and well, regardless of what Soros thinks. He does not represent democracy, he was never been elected to any public office. He represents open borders mass migration, as the name of one of his NGOs implies, Open Society Foundation. Brexit voters, and other voters across the west are increasingly voting against his philosophy. Voters in the US, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, etc, have democratically chosen as their leaders conservative controlled borders leaders, and to underscore, all were elected via the democratic process.

Open Borders and globalism that Soros is pushing is increasingly being rejected in voting booths in the EU and the US.

It is hardly undemocratic to increasingly vote against what Soros is selling – chaotic mass migration made possible by open borders.

He represents [neo]liberal democracy, and voters increasingly favor conservative democracy.

David Brisbane July 17

George Soros is the epitome of corruption – penetration and distortion of political process by obscene wealth. It does not matter what his true intentions are – he can say whatever he wants but we will never know for sure. And stop calling that "philanthropy".

Red Cross and Salvation Army is philanthropy. What Soros is doing is imposing his personal political beliefs and ideas on everybody by buying political influence with his money - that is called "corruption" pure and simple.

Sure, he is not the only one doing that, but he is the one doing that most overtly and blatantly. He seems to relish being the face of the elitist disregard for the masses. What he does is not democracy promotion - it is the exact opposite – democracy destruction. It is good to know that he is failing in that effort.

idimalink usa July 17

Neoliberalism has failed to improve democratic governance and reduced distribution of wealth, just as leftists predicted. Soros benefitted financially, which has increased his privilege to participate in governance voters cannot achieve. Despite Soros' wealth, successfully manipulating currency markets does not easily transfer to manipulating electorates. Even if Soros believes his projects would produce good governance, he lacks the ability to convince voters what is in their best interests.

Jose Pardinas Collegeville, PA July 18

I am elated to hear that George Soros might be losing.

What pharaonic globalist plutocrats like him mean by "Liberal Democracy" encompasses a sinister set of objectives. Prominent among which are these two:

1). Full support for neocon/neoliberal destabilization, confrontation, and military interventionism.
2). The destruction of borders, nations, and cultures -- particularly Western Culture here and in Europe.

Soros and his peers want unhindered unlimited access to cheap Third World labor as well as to have complete control over the entire global economy. To his class nationalism and culture are speed bumps on the way to those self-serving goals.

[Aug 11, 2018] Looks like Session was the insurance about which Strzok texted

Aug 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump attacked former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, the man at the center of the Trump dossier scandal, who had extensive contacts with the Department of Justice's former #4 ranked official, before and after the FBI opened its Trump-Russia probe in the summer of 2016, according to new emails recently turned over to Congressional investigators.

That official, Bruce Ohr, was demoted twice after the DOJ's Inspector General discovered that he lied about his involvement with opposition research firm Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson - who employed Steele. Ohr's CIA-linked wife, Nellie, was also employed by Fusion as part of the firm's anti-Trump efforts, and had ongoing communications with the ex-UK spy, Christopher Steele as well, suggesting that Steele was much closer to the Obama administration than previously disclosed, and his DOJ contact Bruce Ohr reported directly to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates - who approved at least one of the FISA warrants to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

"The big story that the Fake News Media refuses to report is lowlife Christopher Steele's many meetings with Deputy A.G. Bruce Ohr and his beautiful wife, Nelly. It was Fusion GPS that hired Steele to write the phony & discredited Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary & the DNC.... " Trump tweeted.

"...Do you believe Nelly worked for Fusion and her husband STILL WORKS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF "JUSTICE." I have never seen anything so Rigged in my life. Our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action. It is all starting to be revealed - not pretty. IG Report soon? Witch Hunt!"

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Trump's latest broadside on Steel and Ohr was likely prompted by speculation that the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is preparping subpoenas for people connected to the controversial Steele dossier. As The Hill reported earlier this week , Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is said to be preparing subpoenas for Bruce Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.

By escalating his all too public demands on AG Sessions, Trump is risking further scrutiny by Robert Mueller, who is already poring over Trump's tweets to solidify his Obstruction of justice case, while inviting a whole new set of contradictory statements by his newest attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who most recently said that Trump would be willing to sit down with Mueller if two specifics topics are not discussed:

  1. Why Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
  2. What Trump said to Comey about the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Of course, by continuing his periodic twitter attacks on Sessions, Trump makes it prohibitively difficult for Mueller to agree to those terms. Tags Multiline Utilities - NEC

Comments Vote up! 26 Vote down! 5

DarkPurpleHaze Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:34 Permalink

It's hard to say what's really going on behind the scenes but you'd think at some point soon that a huge and undeniable truth-bomb is revealed.

Here's a sick thought...is Session's position as Trump's AG the "insurance policy" (((they))) had in place?

If Session's isn't part of Trump's plan then he'll be gone soon enough. If Trump endlessly tolerates Session's inactivity and merely berates him periodically (just for optics) then we'll know Sessions is clandestinely working behind the scenes (w/HUBER) and this movie starts to finally get interesting.

Obama, Hillary & Co. will pay for their attempted/failed treason. But will Session's be the AG that see's it through?

#WWG1WGA

FireBrander -> Kidbuck Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:53 Permalink

Would like to hear Trump explain why Sessions still works for HIM!

The Attorney General may be removed at will by the President under the Supreme Court decision Myers v. United States ,

DingleBarryObummer -> FireBrander Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:57 Permalink

He's just trying to mess with your head and make you confused. That's what he does.

"Hit it from every angle. Open multiple fronts on your enemy. He must be confused, and feel besieged on every side."- Roger Stone's Rules (the guy who got trump elected.)

What you don't realize is WE the people are his "enemy" in that tactic above. It's gaslighting.

Here's another Stone rule

"Always praise 'em before you hit 'em."

"Politics isn't theater. It's performance art. Sometimes, for its own sake."

"Unless you can fake sincerity, you'll get nowhere in this business"

sound familiar?

Algo Rhythm -> Kidbuck Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:58 Permalink

He reads just fine but he reads what the zio-bankers and israhell gives him to read. The Administration has become such a fucking dissapointment.

loveyajimbo -> brushhog Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:49 Permalink

What does that make Trump... knowing Sessions is a disgrace and useless... but refusing to fire him? No nut-sack?

DingleBarryObummer -> Ajax-1 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:17 Permalink

https://imgur.com/a/ZQSNEBb

Prehuman Insight -> brushhog Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:53 Permalink

MetaMussolini Our golfing warthog president has picked a cabinet of semi-human dirty people who are intellectually corrupt gangsters. Trump makes worse the sorrows of the middle class.

UmbilicalMosqu -> Ajax-1 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

Myers v. United States ,

Adolfsteinbergovitch -> DingleBarryObummer Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

One name: Skripal.

fauxhammer -> DarkPurpleHaze Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:37 Permalink

Jeeesus...get on with it already. Stop your tweeting and start arresting criminals you fucking blowhard.

DingleBarryObummer -> fauxhammer Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:40 Permalink

Stop your tweeting and start arresting criminals

I guarantee you no one will go to real jail because this is not real beef. Just kabuki.

Baron von Bud -> fauxhammer Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:45 Permalink

This confirms what we've been hearing on the alt news. Sessions isn't doing his job and the criminals will get a pass. Mr. Sessions, you may not agree with the President and may feel you're acting honorably but that's a problem. You were put there to round up the criminals (your former esteemed colleagues) and didn't follow through on your duties. Step aside and let someone step up who isn't timid and let's git 'er done. Of course, that's assuming any of this was real to begin with and I have serious doubts.

the artist -> Baron von Bud Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:12 Permalink

If Hill-Obama crew are influencing AG or obstruction in other ways then that extends any statute of limitations.

Push -> DarkPurpleHaze Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

So, do you think that Hillary and Obama are influencing mi5 and mi6 to run their operation against Trump? Or do you think it's the other way around?

brushhog -> Push Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:50 Permalink

I think it goes a lot deeper than Hillary, Obama, or any intel agencies. All the way up to the globalist western oligarchs who are scared shitless of losing control and allowing a populist movement to fuck up their racketts.

Orders come down the pike from the oligarchs through the politicans [ who's campaigns cannot be funded without the oligarchs, and who nod is needed to be accepted by either of the two parties ] and their appointed intelligentce agents, down through the media, through the special interest groups to the idiot at home watching CNN.

Miggy -> DarkPurpleHaze Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:48 Permalink

Very curious the MIA of Sessions and even more so the relative quiet from the Trump administration about it.

Kidbuck -> Miggy Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

Who has the better home videos of Denny Hastert's last Christmas party, Trump or Sessions?

DingleBarryObummer -> DarkPurpleHaze Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:53 Permalink

If Session's isn't part of Trump's plan then he'll be gone soon enough. If Trump endlessly tolerates Session's inactivity and merely berates him periodically (just for optics) then we'll know Sessions is clandestinely working behind the scenes (w/HUBER) and this movie starts to finally get interesting.

We are 568 days into the presidency. THIS Is What President Trump Can Do RIGHT NOW To Fix The System. By Gregory Mannarino - YouTube

KuriousKat -> DarkPurpleHaze Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:13 Permalink

bingo..sessions was the insurance


PrintCash -> Omen IV Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:00 Permalink

Do you think that there are a lot of public servants in Washington DC who practice rule of law, hold themselves to higher ideals, are interested in promoting and spreading liberty? Tell me about them. Most Reps are just talking heads, that's all they do, appear before cameras looking like they are accomplishing shit. Same with Sessions, except now he's in a appointed position, where there's actual things to be accomplished besides finding the next donor to sell out to. But it's not called the swamp for nothing. These law abiding freedom loving so called conservatives we've been voting for are a joke, no significant gains, only slightly less aggressive rate of deterioration into a bigger state. And Session fits into that club nicely. The conservative club is the joke. I'm merely pointing it out. I'd like to be wrong, but I see no evidence of it. We're way past the tipping point, too many of us are in on the take, in one way or another, to go back, and by design.

Miggy -> PrintCash Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:50 Permalink

Nothing personal but this is wrong. Sessions is an insider and sharp as a rats tooth.

My guess is they have something on him.

chunga -> DingleBarryObummer Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:11 Permalink

Sure. It's a possibility. But then I wonder why the Awan guy walked right out the front door.

Pollygotacracker Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:38 Permalink

What has Sessions been doing? The man is A.W.O.L. They guy needs to get to work or find another job.

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 -> Pollygotacracker Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:42 Permalink

Amen! I heard a sound clip of Sessions giving a speech on XM 125 a few days ago. The man can barely talk and when he does talk he sounds like a moron. A real life Forest Gump. He sounds retarded. Bad choice on the part of Trump.

It was this speech. Jeez, the lefties and fags are freaking out and saying Sessions visited a hate group. At least he slammed SPLC! https://www.dailysignal.com/2018/08/08/sessions-calls-out-southern-pove

ADF: Alliance Defending Freedom and is made of Christians. Because of that it is a hate group. The fucking commies will never stop. This PC crap that everything is hate speech and everything is racist is nonsense. I'm sick of it, quite frankly. Want to be racist? Go ahead. Want to say something hateful or stupid? Go ahead. Let the leftists freak out. I have had enough of their caterwauling!

HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:40 Permalink

This is awesome: "lowlife Christopher Steele's many meetings with Deputy A.G. Bruce Ohr and his beautiful wife, Nelly." If you have seen pics of Nelly, well, she isn't beautiful. Her being married to Ohr is weird. Beyond weird. These two things do not go together!

Too funny to see Trump trolling! He's good!

Chupacabra-322 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 16:42 Permalink

Bongino just broke that suddenly Mark Warner who sits the the Senate Intelligence Committee wants to meet with Julian Assange behind closed doors.

KuriousKat -> Chupacabra-322 Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:28 Permalink

Thats interesting because waldman inserted himself with assange and did nine visits..the purpuse of that was to establish a mythical Russian bridge to Assange that would be used against him by Mueller who was exposed workin on Oleg Matter with the FBI . Oleg powed 25 M of own money..and never got his visa. Chris steele was working to Get Oleg his visa..Walman represented steele assange and Oleg...

He completed his mission..on assange then sold him down the river turning the immunity deal over to Warner...

Knowing full well Warner Comey and deepstate would trash it.

Warner is King of the Snakes..Adam was just doing what was best for his mafioso boss Olegs business. Oleg and FBI are joined at the hip.

KuriousKat Sat, 08/11/2018 - 17:13 Permalink

Sessions was the insurance. He screened everyone during the transition including halper, who was then pushed aggressively by Navarro... Its ironic that when paige , the patsy, went to the Cambridge meeting paid by Halpers connection.. Paige took it cuz no body wanted to go so he volunteered.. the guest speakers were Madelinne Albright of the Atlantic Council and Vin Weber disgraced congressman whose PR firm was scrutinized by Mueller.

Albright went to emphasize what a threat Trump and the populist movement was and how important it was to get on the transition team. No telling how many others Sessions let thru. Make no mistake.. he will be implicated in this. Trump knows what a betrayal this really was.

[Aug 11, 2018] Trumpism Has Dealt a Mortal Blow to Orthodox Economics and 'Social Science'

Notable quotes:
"... By Sanjay Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
"... Finally, interpretations of politics were too restrictive, conceptualizing citizens' political choices as based on instrumental and usually economic calculations, while indulging in a wishful account of their actual conditions -- for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities. ..."
"... Welcome to the "New World Economic Order;" which looks suspiciously like Dickensian Predatory Capitalism. ..."
"... Just one caveat: Neoliberalism is not really market-fetishism, unless fetishism is understood as fake devotion. Neoliberalism is a State ideology of the economy, its central tenet being that the State must directly help the rich, the poor will be better off as a by-product. ..."
"... The Academy are direct and indirect employees of the State. The Ivy League are direct and indirect employees of plutocrats (thru the university endowment). The State officials are plutocrats or more commonly indirect employees of the plutocrats. What is not to like? How can the Academy be reformed, when it has been oligarchic since Plato (an oligarch) invented it the first Rand Corporation ..."
"... Steve Keen said similarly in Forbes – that once you offshore an industry it is too expensive to reinstall, and that some old factory for making furnaces cannot be retooled to make textiles, etc. even tho' you might have a comparative advantage for doing textiles – sounds like corporate raiding and big time looting more and more because once you devastate an industry you really cannot do anything economically with those facilities and those workers. ..."
"... Another factor in maintaining manufacturing in the USA is what is referred to as furthering the "next bench syndrome". This is where one is made aware of a manufacturing problem to solve due to proximity to the factory floor, and the solution leads to new profitiable products that can be used both inside/outside the original factory. ..."
"... Financialization leads to asset bubbles and deindustrialization. It hollows out industries. When money/credit are created in ever increasing quantity, the makeup of how we "work" shifts from goods producing to "finance". ..."
"... Get ready for real kleptocracy. Breitbart obscurantism + Trump/Bannon misdirection = turkeys vote for thanksgiving. ..."
"... TINA was definitely an ideology – an idea backed by interest. They were making fun of Thatcherism last nite on France 24 because it had been so devastating and now one of the candidates in France is talking her old trash again. ..."
"... "The Anti-Corn Law League was a successful political movement in Great Britain aimed at the abolition of the unpopular Corn Laws, which protected landowners' interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread at a time when factory-owners were trying to cut wages to be internationally competitive." ..."
Nov 26, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Sanjay Reddy, Associate Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Grappling with the shock of Donald Trump's election victory, most analysts focus on his appeal to those in the United States who feel left behind, wish to retrieve a lost social order, and sought to rebuke establishment politicians who do not serve their interests. In this respect, the recent American revolt echoes the shock of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, but it is of far greater significance because it promises to reshape the entire global order, and the complaisant forms of thought that accompanied it.

Ideas played an important role in creating the conditions that produced Brexit and Trump. The 'social sciences' -- especially economics -- legitimated a set of ideas about the economy that were aggressively peddled and became the conventional wisdom in the policies of mainstream political parties, to the extent that the central theme of the age came to be that there was no alternative. The victory of these ideas in politics in turn strengthened the iron-handed enforcers of the same ideas in academic orthodoxy.

It is never clear whether ideas or interests are the prime mover in shaping historical events, but only ideas and interests together can sustain a ruling consensus for a lengthy interval, such as the historic period of financialization and globalization running over the last 35 years. The role of economics in furnishing the now-rebuked narratives that have reigned for decades in mainstream political parties can be seen in three areas.

  1. First, there is globalization as we knew it. Mainstream economics championed corporate-friendly trade and investment agreements to increase prosperity, and provided the intellectual framework for multilateral trade agreements. Economics made the case for such agreements, generally rejecting concerns over labor and environmental standards and giving short shrift to the effects of globalization in weakening the bargaining power of workers or altogether displacing them; to the need for compensatory measures to aid those displaced; and more generally to measures to ensure that the benefits of growth were shared. For the most part, economists casually waved aside such concerns, both in their theories and in their policy recommendations, treating these matters as either insignificant or as being in the jurisdiction of politicians. Still less attention was paid to crafting an alternate form of globalization, or to identifying bases for national economic policies taking a less passive view of comparative advantage and instead aiming to create it.
  2. Second, there is financialization, which led to increasing disconnection between stock market performance and the real economy, with large rewards going to firms that undertook asset stripping, outsourcing, and offshoring. The combination of globalization and financialization produced a new plutocratic class of owners, managers and those who serviced them in global cities, alongside gentrification of those cities, proleterianization and lumpenization of suburbs, and growing insecurity and casualization of employment for the bulk of the middle and working class.

    Financialization also led to the near-abandonment of the 'national' industrial economy in favor of global sourcing and sales, and a handsome financial rentier economy built on top of it. Meanwhile, automation trends led to shedding of jobs everywhere, and threaten far more.

  3. All of this was hardly noticed by the discipline charged with studying the economy. Indeed, it actively provided rationales for financialization, in the form of the efficient-markets hypothesis and related ideas; for concentration of capital through mergers and acquisitions in the form of contestable-markets theory; for the gentrification of the city through attacks on rent control and other urban policies; for remaking of labor markets through the idea that unemployment was primarily a reflection of voluntary leisure preferences, etc. The mainstream political parties, including those historically representing the working and middle classes, in thrall to the 'scientific' sheen of market fetishism, gambled that they could redistribute a share of the promised gains and thus embraced policies the effect of which was ultimately to abandon and to antagonize a large section of their electorate.
  4. Third, there is the push for austerity, a recurrent trope of the 'neoliberal' era which, although not favored by all, has played an important role in creating conditions for the rise of popular movements demanding a more expansionary fiscal stance (though they can paradoxically simultaneously disdain taxation, as with Trumpism). The often faulty intellectual case made by many mainstream economists for central bank independence, inflation targeting, debt sustainability thresholds, the distortive character of taxation and the superiority of private provision of services including for health, education and welfare, have helped to support antagonism to governmental activity. Within this perspective, there is limited room for fiscal or even monetary stimulus, or for any direct governmental role in service provision, even in the form of productivity-enhancing investments. It is only the failure fully to overcome the shipwreck of 2008 that has caused some cracks in the edifice.

The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization. The system depended not merely on actors having the specific interests attributed to them, but in believing in the theory that said that they did. [This is one of the reasons that Trumpism has generated confusion among economic actors, even as his victory produced an early bout of stock-market euphoria. It does not rebuke neoliberalism so much as replace it with its own heretical version, bastard neoliberalism, an orientation without a theory, whose tale has yet to be written.]

Finally, interpretations of politics were too restrictive, conceptualizing citizens' political choices as based on instrumental and usually economic calculations, while indulging in a wishful account of their actual conditions -- for instance, focusing on low measured unemployment, but ignoring measures of distress and insecurity, or the indignity of living in hollowed-out communities.

Mainstream accounts of politics recognized the role of identities in the form of wooden theories of group mobilization or of demands for representation. However, the psychological and charismatic elements, which can give rise to moments of 'phase transition' in politics, were altogether neglected, and the role of social media and other new methods in politics hardly registered. As new political movements (such as the Tea Party and Trumpism in the U.S.) emerged across the world, these were deemed 'populist' -- both an admission of the analysts' lack of explanation, and a token of disdain. The essential feature of such movements -- the obscurantism that allows them to offer many things to many people, inconsistently and unaccountably, while serving some interests more than others -- was little explored. The failures can be piled one upon the other. No amount of quantitative data provided by polling, 'big data', or other techniques comprehended what might be captured through open-eyed experiential narratives. It is evident that there is a need for forms of understanding that can comprehend the currents within the human person, and go beyond shallow empiricism. Mainstream social science has offered few if any resources to understand, let alone challenge, illiberal majoritarianism, now a world-remaking phenomenon.

Trumpism is a crisis for the most prestigious methods of understanding economic and social life, ennobled and enthroned by the metropolitan academy of the last third of a century. It has caused mainstream 'social science' to fall like a house of cards. It can only save itself through comprehensive reinvention, from the ground up.


ambrit , November 26, 2016 at 4:39 pm

You are onto something here. I always wondered if the suppression of wages would lead to a decline in the population of people even willing to learn a task due to a perceived lack of incentive to make the effort. This would work alongside a seldom mentioned fact; the limits to the supply of appropriately skilled "foreigners" to perform a task.

The resultant mix must be generating an industry of active recruiters in foreign lands for in demand, for less, skill sets. I would lay money on the bet that eventually, things will reach the point where criminal activities make more sense than the miserable jobs on offer.

watermelonpunch , November 27, 2016 at 12:59 am

"I always wondered if the suppression of wages would lead to a decline in the population of people even willing to learn a task due to a perceived lack of incentive to make the effort."

Just from what I've seen & heard I'm pretty sure that's already happened with CNC machinists, and it's happening with CDLs, and starting to happen with CNAs.

ambrit , November 27, 2016 at 8:30 am

"I'm pretty sure that's happened with CNC machinists." One of my neighbours is a CNC machinist. He is presently working "free lance" because the company he was associated with was bought by a Taiwanese concern and all the skilled labour, previously in house, was out sourced. After a couple of years of near disasterous "production," the company re-shored the more technical work, but as sub contract labour.

Now Jack receives regularly spaced "jobs" from the company to do what was previously done in house. Naturally, now Jack and his fellow "free tradesmen" have to supply all the incidental work involved, such as quarterly taxes, insurance if any, self supplied "workers comp," of a sort, and most importantly, the actual machinery to do the work. Even a used CNC machine is a pretty big investment for an individual.

Jack's CNC machine is almost as big as a Volkswagen Beetle. Jack was "lucky" insofar as he was already trained to do this work. Others needs rely on the support of small businesses in this "Engineering Trade," or go into debt to learn the process at a technical college. Then, as Jack has remarked, there is no set schedule nor guaranteed contract. The ultimate "craps shoot."

Welcome to the "New World Economic Order;" which looks suspiciously like Dickensian Predatory Capitalism.

RepubAnon , November 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm

Sounds like a classic supply/demand curve: the lower the price, the lower the supply and the greater the demand. As many have noted – perhaps higher wages would increase the number of job applicants.

However, skilled workers aren't widgets – they need to be trained. Companies don't want to invest in training, and students don't want to take out all those student loans without some assurance that there'll be a job which pays enough to pay off the loans and still have enough left over to put food on the table and have a roof over their heads. Thus, it takes time to bring more skilled workers on-line, and by then, the demand may have evaporated.

Public schools investing in training workers would help – but that would mean raising taxes to pay for them – and Grover would get angry.

Procopius , November 27, 2016 at 10:24 am

I think some states are seeing a shortage of teachers because of the way they've demonized the teaching profession and cut wages for the last fifteen years.

bmeisen , November 27, 2016 at 3:32 am

That was front page on the Wall St Journal Europe a couple days ago – a jaw-drop moment. The voice of business effectively calling for a larger pool of voiceless dirt-cheap laborers to dismantle the social contract. Clearly the management class has no fear of suffering consequences, like maybe even higher crime rates (their native victims not the illegals the perps), dystopic civics, encapsulation, culture = branding. are those undocumented roofers in code with that left over sealing? you bet! management has got them by the cajones.

The Cleaner , November 26, 2016 at 8:01 pm

I don't think these were considered "immigrant proof" as much as "outsourcing proof" which makes sense if you think about it.

Sandy , November 26, 2016 at 10:12 am

Important to note there's quite a lot of Europeans who stay illegally in the US by entering on the visa waiver program as tourists and simply overstaying. Irish and Eastern Europeans especially. If you're in the Northeast it's common to see Irishmen working maintenance jobs at buildings here, or as bartenders or other cash jobs – 90% are going to be out of status. But this issue gets almost zero media attention.

bmeisen , November 27, 2016 at 3:45 am

Citizen registration (cr) would effectively end illegal immigration in the US. Once you get past the immigration control at the airport you are in. access to relevant services is possible without having to prove citizenship/legality. It is insane and/or perversely clever that illegals can get drivers licenses, ss#s, use dumps, open bank accounts, receive water and electrical services, even pay taxes without having to out themselves.

The only barrier is at the border and Trump is gonna make it really big! hahaha.

To receive any municipal service, including registering to vote, it should be necessary to be registered at city hall, anytime you change address you have to renew your registration, standard practice in eur social democracies.

Boris , November 27, 2016 at 1:46 pm

The thing to do is try to push the actual numbers of people trying to immigrate here down, by ceasing to ruin their home countries. No one's ever even tried that.

You are on the right path Tim.

Any of you notice this shift in economic possibilities from Russia?

Excerpt:

The Stolypin Group

The third group represented was the one most Western observers ridiculed and dismissed, with the US Pentagon-linked Stratfor referring to them as a "strange collective." I have personally met and talked with them and they are hardly strange to anyone with a clear moral mind.

This is the group which after two months has emerged with the mandate from Vladimir Putin to lay out their plans to boost growth again in Russia.

The group is in essence followers of what the great almost-forgotten 19th Century German economist, Friedrich List, would call "national economy" strategies. List's national economy historical-based approach was in direct counter-position to the then-dominant British Adam Smith free trade school.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/putin-nyet-neo-liberals-da-nationa

Friedrich List happens to be a contemporary of an economist I like, our homegrown American economist, Henry George. They share this website

http://www.truefreetrade.org/list.htm (LIST)

http://www.truefreetrade.org/pftindex.htm (GEORGE)

Overview http://www.truefreetrade.org/amap.htm

And now this.

http://russia-insider.com/en/putin-finally-purging-medvedev-government/r

Can we find some common ground in this demographic driven trade problem?

De`tante (Steady State) trade, lack of traditional "growth" yet more abundance and sanity? Can we defeat demographic trends with a better monetary system? There is plenty of need, is that not unfulfilled demand?

We see massive malinvestment and over capacity right now, so some common sense like List and George sounds good to me.

http://www.truefreetrade.org/

Forward Comrades ;-)

oh , November 27, 2016 at 9:17 am

I thought it's not possible to get a driver's license without a green card or US citizenship since they changed the laws after 9/11. If this is true, one cannot get a SS No., open a bank a/c etc. Mexicans and others who cross the border w/o papers are unable to open a bank a/c and therefore pay big fees to Amex for money orders.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong on this.

Bill H , November 27, 2016 at 11:18 am

Not all states adopted the OpenID law which requires this, and the federal government cannot impose it since it imposes a financial cost on the states without compensating benefit. There are federal punishments for not adopting it, but states are fighting it.

Watermelon , November 28, 2016 at 12:44 am

In my state you need legal presence docs and proof of residence in the state, at least a student visa for example, to get a drivers license. And then the info is checked against the federal govt Save request.

I think the post office and drug stores sell money orders without id? Certainly without perm res status.

I think bank accounts can be opened at least at some banks with a foreign passport and maybe an itin number.

Dignan , November 26, 2016 at 2:38 pm

I'm told by my father that in Berkely Springs, West Virginia, men can get haircuts for as little as $1.75. Perhaps these are eastern European barbers? More likely it is simply a product of the crushing desperation we see in our broken economy. But hey, unemployment is under 5% so everything's fine, right? The dismal science indeed.

Ruben , November 26, 2016 at 6:20 am

Neoliberalism -> c(Globalization, Financialization, Austerity)

Just one caveat: Neoliberalism is not really market-fetishism, unless fetishism is understood as fake devotion. Neoliberalism is a State ideology of the economy, its central tenet being that the State must directly help the rich, the poor will be better off as a by-product.

So if the push of the populace is strong enough, a new State ideology of the economy (aka mainstream economic dogma) would develop around the concepts of Self-suficiency (as opposed to Globalization), Industrialism (as opposed to Financialization), and Stimulus (as opposed to Austerity). Probably MMT has something to say about the latter, but what about Self-sufficiency and Industrialism?

BecauseTradition , November 26, 2016 at 10:26 am

its central tenet being that the State must directly help the rich, the poor will be better off as a by-product. Ruben

Yes, government-subsidized* private credit creation being a (the?) prime example of this.

*e.g. forcing the poorer to lend (a deposit is legally a loan) to banks to lower the borrowing costs of the more so-called creditworthy, the richer, or else be limited to dealing with unsafe, inconvenient physical fiat, cash.

animalogic , November 28, 2016 at 12:08 am

The old refrain -- Welfare for the 1%, the "free market" for the rest

Disturbed Voter , November 26, 2016 at 8:33 am

The Academy are direct and indirect employees of the State. The Ivy League are direct and indirect employees of plutocrats (thru the university endowment). The State officials are plutocrats or more commonly indirect employees of the plutocrats. What is not to like? How can the Academy be reformed, when it has been oligarchic since Plato (an oligarch) invented it the first Rand Corporation

cocomaan , November 26, 2016 at 8:47 am

Remember, though, that neoliberal social sciences now insists that everything is "post fact". "Post fact" society. "Anti intellectualism". And so on.

Synoia , November 26, 2016 at 11:30 am

We can look forward to too post-neoliberslism . -- which would be liberalism, as the post and neo cancel out.

Damian , November 26, 2016 at 9:27 am

Tell me where you want to go and I'll provide the selective facts and the subjective interpretation of those facts to reach the desired conclusions = Economists

-- - or merely arbitrarily change the cell definitions in excel as Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.

As early as 1967 Greenspan was well known as an academic whore and a Rockefeller Puppet which now is a vast army of dial up opinions.

fresno dan , November 26, 2016 at 9:31 am

From the article:

"Ideas played an important role in creating the conditions that produced Brexit and Trump. The 'social sciences' -- especially economics -- legitimated a set of ideas about the economy that were aggressively peddled and became the conventional wisdom in the policies of mainstream political parties, to the extent that the central theme of the age came to be that there was no alternative. The victory of these ideas in politics in turn strengthened the iron-handed enforcers of the same ideas in academic orthodoxy."

Yesterday I posted a link from Krugman saying that manufacturing CANNOT be restored in the US.

Not that laws, rules, trade agreements make it difficult, but that something akin to the "arrow of time" or entropy prevents it – " that there was no alternative." Which is why I so vehemently disagree with the man. 1st, economics is not a physical science. 2nd, the loss of manufacturing in this country is due to man made conventions. Men made the rules, men can unmake the rules.

Just like prohibition was thought to be a good idea, but with the passage of time, it was revealed that whatever benefits arise of not drinking, it is more than offset by the setbacks.

I used to believe in "free trade" – but a thing called reality whacked me upside the head and disabused me of the notion. Whether GDP is going up fast enough or not, there is overwhelming evidence that the vast majority of GDP is not distributed to the 90% of the members of society.

Like a lot of things, we did the experiment – it doesn't work, but a few who gain advantage by that state of affairs want it to continue. The emperor has been exposed as having no clothes, and once you see the nakedness, you can't unsee it.

vlade , November 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm

of course you could institute that all manufacturng used 1960s technology – or maybe even 1860s, that would generate even more jobs.
short of doing that, todays higly automated factory will use about tenth of blue collar workforce than in 1960s with the same productivity but creating much more complex products.

I've seen reshoring happen (into compartively high labour cost country) and it created a thousand jobs or so. the previus offshoring costed close to five or six thousands iirc.

edr , November 27, 2016 at 9:26 pm

Because 'selective facts' and 'neoliberal narrative' and 'corporate funding' blinded him maybe

vlade , November 28, 2016 at 6:13 pm

I doubt that you'd wish for the US workers to have 10k or less annual salary – because that is what the Chinese get (10k is about the average salary for a worker at one of the plants making Apple gadgets, and that involves almost continuous overtime. IIRC, the hourly rate is something like $1.80. Oh, and there's no health or social insurance).

I suggest you investigate why the UK was the birthplace of industrial revolution and the Continent wasn't (hint – the UK labour costs were order(s) of magnitude higher than say in France or Germany. It just didn't make sense to invest in up-front expensive capital goods when you could get reams of very cheap labour instead).

And, in fact, the QE and ZIRP made it even worse, because before that you'd to cost the capital at much more than labour, while now you can get money for literally nothing (assuming you want to use it for something, like capital goods). At the same time, the companies run locally optimal, but globally bad strategy of holding on the money, failing to recognise that for people to spend, they have to earn first. The supply economic mantra "if you make it cheap enough, someone will buy" fails to recognise that shopping basket of most people is very much skewed towards food, energy and housing, leaving limited buffer for other goods – so the "cheap enough" may have to be "free" or "near free" in the environment of falling real wages.

But I'd be happy for you to provide examples of re-shored operations where the number of jobs created were the same (assuming the same quality of jobs) or comparable to the number of jobs lost by offshoring before.

I don't have US numbers, but I can give you UK ones. In 1970s, UK car manufacturing industry employed about 500k people. That number has been steadily dropping and today it's about 140k total between all manufacturers (you may see some sources use number as high as 750k – but that generally includes anyone who has anything to do with cars, like car salesmen, garage staff etc. – not just car manufacturers. I don't have a reliable comparable number for 1970, so use manufacturers only).

In 1970, UK manufactured about 2m cars, in 2014 it was about 1.6m. The loss of 400k is almost entirely covered by the loss of commercial vehicles capacity – personal cars are at the same level.

So, the UK car industry lost about 70% of its jobs, but only 20% of its output. And the cars it manufactures today are mostly driveable unlike say Austin Allegro.

The situation is not that much different elsewhere. Yves run an article on Trump making US coal "great again" – and the conclusion was the same – it will never employ the same number of people at the same salaries.

John Wright , November 26, 2016 at 1:07 pm

I work in the electronics industry and had a minor observation point for some of the outsourcing of electronics manufacturing from the USA to, primarily, Asia, starting in the late 1980's. At first USA employees were told not to worry as only excess capacity would be built overseas. But, that was proven to be an optimistic(?) statement, as even the managers making these statements also disappeared.

If one looks at the value of raw electronic "ingredients" produced in Asia, for example, Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), one can see how much capacity has been built up overseas.

Here are some numbers pulled from report I have access to:

So Asia produces 18.55 x as much dollar volume of PCBs than North America (Canada + USA)

In my simple minded labor model, when a country allows very free migration of capital overseas, importation of foreign workers by migration or temporary visas and outsourcing of labor by computer networks to overseas workers, it seems implausible one would argue that USA wages would not tend lower in response.

But we have Obama and numerous economists, pushing the Free Trade mantra, via TPP, as good for American workers.

And a further factor is the US military and State Department strive to make it safer for American businesses to function anywhere in the world, lowering business risk while pitching increased national security to the USA population (who bears the military cost).

It will be difficult to bring American manufacturing back, especially when the alleged high paying white collar college jobs are pushed as the solution to USA wage stagnation.

susan the other , November 26, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Steve Keen said similarly in Forbes – that once you offshore an industry it is too expensive to reinstall, and that some old factory for making furnaces cannot be retooled to make textiles, etc. even tho' you might have a comparative advantage for doing textiles – sounds like corporate raiding and big time looting more and more because once you devastate an industry you really cannot do anything economically with those facilities and those workers.

Which explains why after clever men like Mitt Romney finish with your corporation's takeover nobody dashes in to re-up something new. Like pulling a tree out by its roots and then expecting it to grow into some kinda shrub.

a different chris , November 26, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Well I like Steve Keen but he and PK are finally on the same page, where neither knows not what the f he is talking about.

A lot of "offshoring" of the steel industry happened as the US plants themselves were passing the "invest or wind down" point in their life. Since the US labor force was considered intractable and foreign governments had much newer facilities the TPTB in steel just punted on US manufacturing.

I am going to try to find a link, but there was a lot of debate between the union and US Steel (? one of them? ) about building a continuous caster plant in the 70's. Foreign companies had them, we didn't. I think they didn't, but the point is the, all other things being equal, any plants of any type of manufacturing go thru the same technological vs ageing cycle, and the US is as likely to gain "back" -- quotes because like continuous casting, it's steelmaking but not the same as before -- an industry as it is to have lost it in the first place. Factories like to be located where they make sense.

And what is all this about "well they don't need anybody in manufacturing, it's all gonna be machines now". Yeah, right. Been on a manufacturing floor lately? People have yet to be born that are going to be working in something called "manufacturing". And if the machines cut the work need by 10x, we may well need 10x as much stuff as long as it is the right stuff.

Well, if we had universal heathcare and Germanic trade education, but that would require elections not between carrot-heads and Queen Wannabes.

nothing but the truth , November 26, 2016 at 9:26 pm

hang on. why can manufacturing work in germany but not in the US?

Octopii , November 27, 2016 at 12:06 am

Because they have a skilled trade education track, and manufacturing is a respected occupation that one can raise a family doing. Because of the high-skill labor base, Germany can make high-margin products that the rest of the world wants to import.

From very early, all German kids are encouraged to build things and take things apart, and they are given this opportunity even in urban areas at special "building playgrounds" that have hammers, nails, and wood. How is a poor American kid in a housing project going to do this? He's not, and even if he does have a clue what to do with a tool someone hands him on the job, he won't have the deep fundamental background to use it well without a long period of training and screwups -- the kind of period he would have already gotten through while growing up.

American small businesses that require skilled technicians are desperate for them. We literally cannot grow our businesses because of labor constraints.

Procopius , November 27, 2016 at 11:02 am

Since I am not an economist nor a historian probably I should restrain myself, but if you look at the history of labor relations in Germany you might notice that Bismark, not exactly a bleeding heart, believed that it was in the nation's interest to have a healthy, well-fed, well-educated populace. They not only made better workers, they made better soldiers. Then from the 1890s onward Socialism was much better regarded in Germany than it ever has been in the U.S. I speculate that there is a desire for fairness that has deeper roots in German culture than in American culture -- which is not particularly homogenous anyway.

PlutoniumKun , November 27, 2016 at 6:01 am

Even more than Germany, Switzerland, with its very strong currency and high labour costs still has a huge and growing manufacturing sector.

Anonymous , November 27, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Nobody wants to hear this, but manufacturing profit margins, according to Bruce Greenwald of Columbia Business School, are plummeting around the world. Globalization has hit its peak without our recognizing the fact and without our help. Fifty years from now, most of the things we buy will be made within fifty miles of our homes. In twenty years, we won't be admiring the German system.

http://blog.supplysideliberal.com/post/122394899914/bruce-greenwald-the-death-of-manufacturing-the

likbez , November 26, 2016 at 10:37 pm

I used to respect Krugman during Bush II presidency. His columns at this time looked like on target for me. No more.

Now I view him as yet another despicable neoliberal shill. I stopped reading his columns long ago and kind of always suspect his views as insincere and unscientific. In this particular case the key question is about maintaining the standard of living which can be done only if manufacturing even in robotic variant is onshored and profits from it re-distributed in New Deal fashion. Technology is just a tool. There can be exception for it but generally attempts to produce everything outside the US and then sell it in the USA lead to proliferation of McJobs and lower standard of living. Creating robotic factories in the USA might not completely reverse the damage, but might be a step in the right direction. The nations can't exist by just flipping hamburgers for each other.

Actually there is a term that explains well behavior of people like Krugman and it has certain predictive value as for the set of behaviors we observe from them. It is called Lysenkoism and it is about political control of science.

See, for example:

Yves in her book also touched this theme of political control of science. It might be a good time to reread it. The key ideas of "ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism " are still current.

John Wright , November 27, 2016 at 9:34 am

Another factor in maintaining manufacturing in the USA is what is referred to as furthering the "next bench syndrome". This is where one is made aware of a manufacturing problem to solve due to proximity to the factory floor, and the solution leads to new profitiable products that can be used both inside/outside the original factory.

This might be an improved process or an improvement in manufacturing tooling that had not been anticipated before.

New products will be created with their profits/knowledge flowing to the country hosting the manufacturing plants.

The USA seems to be on a path of "we can create dollars and buy anything we want from people anywhere in the world".

Manufacturing dollars and credit rather than real goods might prove very short sighted if dollars are no longer prized.

Perhaps the TPP, with its ISDS provisions, indicates that powerful people understand this is coming and want additional wealth extraction methods from foreign countries.

Boris , November 27, 2016 at 4:44 pm

We got ECONned all right. It goes back to the late 1800's.

Actus Purus , November 26, 2016 at 10:35 am

The author mentions globalization and financialization. But what seems to be always left out (and given a pass) in these discussions is the role of central banks and monetary policy.

Central banking policy (always creating more money/credit) lies at the nexus of almost all that is wrong with modern capitalism and is the lubricant and fuel that enables financialization's endless growth.

Financialization leads to asset bubbles and deindustrialization. It hollows out industries. When money/credit are created in ever increasing quantity, the makeup of how we "work" shifts from goods producing to "finance".

Then through globalization, what we lack in goods, foreigners who accept our paper, seem to provide. At least for now. In a closed system, financialization has its natural limits. But enabled by cross-border trade, it metastasizes.

In the short run, it appears to be a virtuous circle. We print paper. They make real stuff. They take our paper. We take their stuff. We feel very clever.

But over time, wealth inequality grows. Industries are hollowed out. The banking sector dominates.

And then we get a populist uprising because people realize "something is wrong".

But mistakenly, they think it's globalization. Or free trade. Or capitalism. When all along, it's just central banking. Central banks are the problem. Central bankers are the culprits.

BecauseTradition , November 26, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Central banks are the problem. Actus Purus

Yes, insofar as they create fiat for the private sector since that is obviously violation of equal protection under the law in favor of the banks and the rich.

Otoh, all citizens, their businesses, etc. should be allowed to deal directly in their nation's fiat in the form of account balances at the central bank or equivalent and not be limited to unsafe, inconvenient physical fiat, a.k.a. cash.

IDG , November 27, 2016 at 4:12 am

Central banks are part of the problem, but not because any of the things you say. Abandon monetarism, is just wrong, on everything.

CB's do not control the rates effectively during the upturns (they are just procyclical as they add to savings though higher rates).

CB's "creating money" would mean loanable funds theory is right, but as it has been demonstrated over and over it's horribly wrong. Banks suffice themselves to expand credit on upturns, and CB'ers can do nothing about it. On downturns they cna try, and fail, because the appetite for credit is just not there. Credit expansion and contraction is endogenous and apart of of what CB's do, not to speak about all the forms of shadow money which are the real outliers and trouble makers.

What CB's do, in practice, is to prevent capitalism from collapsing on crisis, making "bad money" good, by stabilising asset prices. All their tools are reactive, not pro-active, so they cannot create any condition, because they react to conditions. They neither set the rates in reality, nor "create money" that enters the real economy in any meaningful way.

The religion of "central bankism" is part of the problem, but as it is the religion of "monetarism" (which are the same) on which many of those ideas are based.

BecauseTradition , November 27, 2016 at 9:40 am

Banks suffice themselves to expand credit on upturns, and CB'ers can do nothing about it IDG

Yes, "loans create deposits" but only largely virtual liabilities wrt to the non-bank private sector. We should fix that by allowing the non-bank private sector to deal with reserves too then it would be much more dangerous for banks to create liabilities since bank runs would be as easy and convenient as writing a check to one's cb account or equivalent. Of course, government provided deposit insurance could then be abolished too since accounts at the cb or equivalent are inherently risk-free.

Our system is a dangerous mess because of privileges for depository institutions – completely unnecessary privileges given modern computers and communications.

Actus Purus , November 27, 2016 at 9:42 am

In other words, another "pass" for central banks. It's not their fault. It's just the economy. It's how "markets" work.

stefan , November 26, 2016 at 10:38 am

Get ready for real kleptocracy. Breitbart obscurantism + Trump/Bannon misdirection = turkeys vote for thanksgiving.

Welcome to government of the billionaires, by the billionaires, for the billionaires.

btw, if Giuliani is appointed to a cabinet post, he will have to explain his foreknowledge of the NY FBI→Kallstrom→Comey connection→to Congress under oath (if they aren't too afraid to ask).

a different chris , November 26, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I worry along with you, but again: When somebody Ms DeVos opens her mouth people just naturally recoil. Trump doesn't seem to have grasped the only thing that mattered in his election – you want your enemies to suck. His appointees are people that suck. Hillary would have appointed smooth-talkers who could effortlessly move between "private and public" positions.

PS: Paul Ryan is a good counterexample – people fall for his BS because he isn't quite a stupid as, say Guiliani. Of course he was elected, not picked by Trump.

Robert Dannin , November 26, 2016 at 10:41 am

mr reddy solves the riddle of the Great Refusal but doesn't far enough: certainly mainstream economists were wrong to act as cheerleaders for the kleptocracy, yet they were also complicit in a material sense by furnishing all the necessary algorithms to boost the derivatives industry into the realm of corporate cyber-theft. that genie isn't going back into bottle. what's in store for us then? economic apartheid. just read what the new team has been saying about walls, guns, police, military and terrorism. the bannon plan is for heavily policed gated communities monopolizing vital resources; high surveillance, rights abatement zones for the proletariat; and a free-fire wilderness of lumpen gangsters, gun-toting vigilantes, survivalist cults, etc. competing for subsistence. mad max, only run by people worse than mel gibson. close to what we already have but once legislated into existence impossible to reverse without a violent revolution. once again mr. reddy is correct: hobbes' leviathan is the negation of social science.

Waldenpond , November 26, 2016 at 11:39 am

hmmmm .. Trump said quite a few contradictory things during his campaign and it would seem an error to believe anything a candidate says on either side of an issue. Have the Koch brothers (who are involved w/Trump) been particularly unhappy with the numerous billions they've accumulated under Obama? I expect this regime to be more along the 'different globalization' side (more a shuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic). Manufacturing will be back in relation to the degree – penalties are eliminated on 'repatriated' funds, land is eminent domained on behalf of oligarchs, private profit is granted primacy over pollution, then build their factories with public money and abolish the minimum wage. Austerity will continue but the new con will be private/public partnerships. Don't you want to buy you friend/family member/neighbor a job? Don't you?

The elite, including the Trump's, are going to continue their actions until they've taken it all.

Wendell Fitzgerald , November 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Since you mention land you might be interested in the idea of land value taxation a way to take the land back from the oligarchs an idea that has been around for a long time assiduously ignored by folks like Naked Capitalism.

JEHR , November 26, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Mr. Fitzgerald, if you search in NC for "land value taxation" you will see many articles, especially from Mr. Hudson. NC has thoroughly covered a lot of territory regarding this topic.

a different chris , November 26, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Yes you could probably catch us restlessly muttering "Henry George" in our sleep half the time.

The problem is it's a really, really hard sell. It just sounds funny. Pittsburgh actually had it until a few years ago when it was "discovered" and before there was even a discussion the Democratic mayor and City Council who should have known better had rescinded it before anybody got a chance to say anything.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_value_tax_in_the_United_States

" during 2001 after years of underassessment, and the system was abandoned in favor of the traditional single-rate property tax. The tax on land in Pittsburgh was about 5.77 times the tax on improvements."

To be good Russian plants, we do actually need to know things about Amerika

Anyway, here's the problem: people just voted for a billionaire how you gonna get this type of taxation approved given the Pittsburgh example?

Allegorio , November 26, 2016 at 11:24 pm

It seems to be forgotten that this was a vote against Clinton and not a vote for Trump. If Trump goes back on his progressive platform, jobs jobs jobs there will be a backlash so fast that it will give everyone, especially the billionaires whiplash. Let them touch one hair on Social Security's head or privatize Medicare, there will be another big surprise in the mid-term elections. When the good people of the rust belt find out about the plans to put rentier tolls on all that public infrastructure, trust me the pitchforks will come out from their corners quick as you blink The best laid plans of billionaires and their lackeys often go awry. The curtain has been lifted. If Trump thinks he can satisfy the working class by giving another huge tax break to the .01%, he better think again. They do not have enough rubber bullets nor pepper spray.

Michael , November 27, 2016 at 3:38 am

Nah, as long as Trump keeps blaming folks of color, he's got a good six years. You overestimate the people of Flyover. Yes, they got hosed by Obama, but they've been electing Republicans to flog them for 30 years.

Lambert Strether , November 27, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Speaking of blaming

I love the Democrat attitude that "Democrats can never fail. They can only be failed," in this case by approximately 50% of the population.

Anonymous , November 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm

It's a hard sell for good reason. Many Americans are land rich and cash poor. The idea that they'd have to sell property to pay such a tax offends even the simplest conception of sound land planning. If a lot more property came on the market at once, as it would have to under the land tax scheme, we'd be Japan all over again.

BecauseTradition , November 27, 2016 at 11:41 am

Taxes should be unavoidable to avoid violating equal protection under the law and land taxes are certainly unavoidable in that land can't be hidden as income, for example, can be.

Another unavoidable tax, except for the existence of physical fiat* (notes and coins), would be a tax on fiat, i.e. negative interest.

*Yet these can be taxed when bought and sold to the central bank with/for "reserves"**
**Just another name for fiat account balances at the central bank when the account owners are depository institutions.

animalogic , November 28, 2016 at 1:11 am

Here's a few old fashioned & long derided ideas for taxes:

I'm sure we could add a couple dozen more tax ideas to the list. (The idea is not surpluses, but to reduce inequality )

BecauseTradition , November 28, 2016 at 9:17 am

but to reduce inequality ) animalogic

The goal should be to reduce injustice – preferably at its source. And the source of much injustice is surely government privileges for private credit creation and other welfare for the rich such as positive interest paying sovereign debt.

Still, there's previous injustice to deal with so asset redistribution should be on the table too and that could include taxing the rich to give to the poor – certainly not to run a surplus (or even a balanced budget) as you say.

Altandmain , November 26, 2016 at 11:47 am

Mainstream analysts don't want to recognize the real problem. They failed the people have lost their legitimacy to govern.

Not saying Trump is the solution (I'm hoping for a solution from the left and think that Trump could enable his cronies, but nothing else), but the Establishment is unworthy to govern.

Wendell Fitzgerald , November 26, 2016 at 1:24 pm

A solution that most people would consider being from the left but which is the radical center (taking valid ideas from both left and right) is land value taxation the wedge issue to tax the various sources of unearned income (estimated at 40+% of GNP however you determine it) thus allowing for the elimination of taxation of earned income from wages and profit from the investment of real capital in the real economy. Taxing community created land value and making the distinction between earned and unearned income has been assiduously ignored and avoided by mainstream economists, most of our vaunted/sainted public intellectuals and sources like naked capitalism but since all of that has failed there is nothing to lose by considering what this author, Sanjay Reddy, says is necessary: "It [social science] can only save itself through comprehensive reinvention, from the ground up." I suggest that the this has already been done literally from the ground up by the analysis that has been around for a very long time that takes land, how its value is created, who owns it and what happen when you tax its value into account. Happy day.

Rosario , November 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm

We finally made it to the post-modern wasteland. It is pretty weird to see the post-modern methods used by social scientists for decades to dissect culture actually manifest in practiced culture.

susan the other , November 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm

TINA was definitely an ideology – an idea backed by interest. They were making fun of Thatcherism last nite on France 24 because it had been so devastating and now one of the candidates in France is talking her old trash again. Humor is effective against ideology when all else fails but it takes a while. But as defined above, we actually do have an alternative – our current alternative is "illiberal majoritarianism". Sounds a tad negative. We should just use the word "democracy".

pzoellner , November 26, 2016 at 2:36 pm

Excellent thinking. Thanks to all

Sound of the Suburbs , November 26, 2016 at 2:39 pm

The problem with free trade, a historical lesson:

"The Anti-Corn Law League was a successful political movement in Great Britain aimed at the abolition of the unpopular Corn Laws, which protected landowners' interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread at a time when factory-owners were trying to cut wages to be internationally competitive."

The landowners wanted to increase their profit by charging a higher price for corn, but this posed a barrier to international free trade in making UK wage labour uncompetitive by raising the cost of living for workers.

In a free trade world the cost of living needs to be the same in West and East as this sets the wage levels.

The US has probably been the most successful in making its labour force internationally uncompetitive with soaring costs of housing, healthcare and student loan repayments.

These costs all have to be covered by wages and US businesses are now squealing about the high minimum wage.

US labour can never compete with Eastern labour and will have to be protected by tariffs.

Free trade has requirements and you must meet them before you can engage in free trade.

The cost of living needs to be the same in West and East.

BecauseTradition , November 27, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Assume, for the sake of argument, that all assets in the West were equally owned by its citizens? Then wouldn't free trade with the East be a universal blessing for the citizens of the West and not a curse for some (actually many) of them?

So the problem is unjust asset distribution? But how could that occur if our economic system is just? Except it isn't just since government subsidies for private credit creation are obviously unjust in that the poor are forced to lend (a deposit is legally a loan) to banks for the benefit of the rich.

Oregoncharles , November 27, 2016 at 1:31 pm

A technical note, to avoid possible confusion: "corn" in British means wheat and other small grains – a "corn" is a kernel. Maize was not a big factor in Britain; too far north.

Otherwise, good point.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 26, 2016 at 2:43 pm

There are two certainties in life – death and taxes.

There are two certainties about new versions of capitalism; they work well for a couple of decades before failing miserably.

Capitalism mark 1 – Unfettered Capitalism

Crashed and burned in 1929 with a global recession in the 1930s.
The New Deal and Keynesian ideas promised a bright new world.

Capitalism mark 2 – Keynesian Capitalism

Ended with stagflation in the 1970s.
Market led Capitalism ideas promised a bright new world.

Capitalism mark 3 – Unfettered Capitalism – Part 2 (Market led Capitalism)

Crashed and burned in 2008 with a global recession in the 2010s.

We are missing the vital ingredient.

When the first version of capitalism failed, Keynes was ready with a new version.

When the second version of capitalism failed, Milton Freidman was waiting in the wings with his new version of capitalism.

Elites will always flounder around trying to stick with what they know, it takes someone with creativity and imagination to show the new way when the old way has failed.

Today we are missing that person with creativity and imagination to lead us out of the wilderness and
stagnation we have been experiencing since 2008.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 26, 2016 at 2:45 pm

What is missing from today's economics?

1) The work of the Classical Economists and the distinction between "earned" and "unearned" income, also "land" and "capital" need to be separated again (conflated in neoclassical economics)

Reading Michael Hudson's "Killing the Host" is a very good start

2) How money and debt really work. Money's creation and destruction on bank balance sheets.

3) The work of Irving Fisher, Hyman Minsky and Steve Keen on debt inflated asset bubbles

4) The work of Richard Koo on dealing with balance sheet recessions
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

5) The realisation that markets have two modes of operation:

a) Price discovery
b) Bigger fool mode, where everyone rides the bubble for capital gains

There may be more

The Euro was designed with today's defective economics.
Oh dear, no wonder it's going wrong.

a different chris , November 26, 2016 at 9:29 pm

>The Euro was designed with today's defective economics.

Man I didn't think of that. What comically lousy timing. I do like this post because it similar to sigh, ok it asserts my belief but still don't think I'm in an echo chamber here, I actually want people to know what I think so they can reinforce the good and whittle out the bad anyway, asserts my belief that "economics" isn't a science but when used in the best way is a toolkit, here we need an hammer (austerity), here we need a screwdriver (some tweaking). It isn't one tool for all jobs for all time.

Sound of the Suburbs , November 27, 2016 at 1:24 pm

American's are brainwashed from birth about capitalism and Milton Freidman may have been as susceptible as the next man.

He may not have realised he was building on a base that had already been corrupted, the core of neoclassical economics.

The neoclassical economists of the late 19th century buried the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income.

These economists also conflated "land" and "capital" to cause further problems that were clear to the Classical Economists looking out on a world of small state, raw capitalism.

Thorstein Veblen wrote an essay in 1898 "Why is economics not an evolutionary science?".

Real sciences are evolutionary and old theory is replaced as new theory comes along and proves the old ideas wrong.

Economics needs a scientific, evolutionary rebuild from the work of the classical economists.

Most of the UK now dreams of giving up work and living off the "unearned" income from a BTL portfolio, extracting the "earned" income of generation rent.

The UK dream is to be like the idle rich, rentier, living off "unearned" income and doing nothing productive.

This is what happens when stuff goes missing from economics.

Keynes realised wage income was just as important as profit.
Wage income looks after the demand side of the equation and profit the supply side.
I think we will find he was right, this knowledge has just gone missing at the moment.

Keynes studied the Great Depression and noted monetary stimulus lead to a "liquidity trap".
Businesses and investors will not invest without the demand there to ensure their investment will be worthwhile.
The money gets horded by investors and on company balance sheets as they won't invest.
Cutting wages to increase profit just makes the demand side of the equation worse and leads you into debt deflation.
Central Banks today talk about the "savings glut" not realising this is probably Keynes's "liquidity trap".
It's more missing stuff.

When Keynes was involved in Bretton Woods after the Second World War they put in mechanisms for recycling the surplus, to keep the whole thing running.

The assumption today is that capitalism will just reach stable equilibriums by itself.

The Euro is based on this idea, but Greece has just reached max. debt and collapsed, it never did reach that stable equilibrium.

Recycling the surplus would probably have worked better.

Science is evolutionary for a reason.

Michael , November 27, 2016 at 3:40 am

Energy and true scarcity in the form of the biosphere are still missing from today's economics.

BecauseTradition , November 27, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Ethical fiat and credit creation are missing and have been for centuries.

UserFriendly , November 26, 2016 at 8:09 pm

I disagree that we don't have a ready to go replacement. MMT. We just have TPTB throwing $$$ around to make sure no one hears about it, much less does anything.

Barry disch , November 26, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Well written concentrated synopsis of how our economy has evolved over the last 35 years.

JEHR , November 26, 2016 at 5:39 pm

I believe that our way out of this morass is to start by buying locally. There are always people who make things and they need to be supported. We may not get the cheap products, but we can build our communities up gradually over time. Our standard of living will be different but we will have our dignity and the means for creating prosperous communities.

Arizona Slim , November 26, 2016 at 6:29 pm

I have been a member of a localist group here in AZ. Said group does a great job of appealing to people from across the political spectrum. And that is a good example to follow.

Ulysses , November 27, 2016 at 7:06 am

"I believe that our way out of this morass is to start by buying locally."

I very much like the localist movement, and I try very hard to support it in upstate NY, among other places. The problem with this approach is that there are simply way too many people for us to painlessly revert back to an artisanal, agrarian 18th c. lifestyle.

To put this in Empire State terms: we might just be able to accommodate hundreds of thousands of people who used to work for Kodak, I.B.M, or Xerox upstate– in new jobs making craft beer or high-quality string instruments, etc. Yet what do we do with the many millions of people, who live downstate, who currently work in jobs very dependent on a globalized economy?

Greg , November 26, 2016 at 11:25 pm

We've seen a few economists posting lately to say that all social sciences got it wrong, and especially economics. What's curious to me is that non of the examples given apply to any social science except economics.

Is this the same discipline that refuses to acknowledge the value of other disciplines and cross-discipline research, ducking for cover behind the very disciplines it's been snobbing?
'All social sciences' indeed.

John k , November 27, 2016 at 12:53 am

The election was less about trump gaining voters in the rust belt than Clinton losing hers. Romney lost with exactly as many votes as trump got because 6 million that voted for black Obama preferred to stay home rather than vote for white Clinton.
All the dems need to do is to run a candidate willing to spend quality time in the swing states, somebody not totally corrupt and not verbally advocating confrontation with Russia would also be a big help, though this already rules out most dem elites.

Of course if trump manages to get a lot of infra built, and gets a lot of decent jobs, his support in 2020 will grow, maybe to the point only a strong progressive could beat him.
But today's dem elites will fight tooth and nail to keep real progressives from controlling the party, as instructed by their corp overlords remember, bankers might go to jail if the wrong person gets AG. First indication is Keith on dec 1 can/will big o keep him out?

LifeIsLikeABeanstalk , November 27, 2016 at 2:17 am

I liked this 'take' by Prof. Reddy a lot in terms of looking at what happened to bring us to a Trump Presidency (with an observation that Orange Duce hasn't YET been sworn in).

But if he thinks that a Tea Party shaped Republican House and Senate and soon to be skewed Supreme Court aren't about to launch a season of Rent Taking and Austerity to levels previously only attained in Arthur Laffer's wet dreams he needs his otherwise rational head examined.

Schofield , November 27, 2016 at 9:22 am

Don't go so excited the "Trump Revolution" like the "Obama Revolution" will likely end up as "hopeless" for ordinary folk. So for starters Trump's tax breaks will save the 1% fifteen percent and the rest of us 2 percent! Already the msm including my local paper are already grinding out the counter-propaganda against raising tariff barriers for China. The majority of the electorate are too ignorant to figure much of it out and come 2024 will be voting Ivanka Trump in as president!

GregoryA , November 28, 2016 at 12:44 am

If Trump raises MORE(notice that word son) tariffs against China, he will get a nice uppercut across the forehead when China cancels contracts one after another and jobs start being lost in the next NBER recession. His ego can't take that.

He was the Mercers introduction to the elite, nothing more or less. If anything, the Republicans are more Jewy than ever.

Oregoncharles , November 27, 2016 at 1:09 pm

"The dominant economic ideas taken together created a framework in which deviation from declared orthodoxy would be punished by dynamics unleashed by globalization and financialization."

IOW, it isn't science; it's political ideology.

The environmental economist Herman Daley traces that back to the very beginning of the field; he says the earliest economists essentially chose sides in the contest then raging between landowners (resource based) and merchants (trade based). That made them propagandists, not referees. And it's the reason economics, from the beginning, suppressed the distinction between natural resources, like land, water, and minerals, and human-created capital. It recognized only two "production factors," when in reality there are at least three. Marx picked up the same self-serving :"error."

Oregoncharles , November 27, 2016 at 1:20 pm

" illiberal majoritarianism"
That's an unfortunate word choice, considering that Trump lost the election by nearly 2 million votes. It was an extraordinary demonstration of the defective Electoral College system. Maybe now we'll get some action on the Popular Vote initiative.

It's important to remember that the rebellion is "illiberal" mainly because the "liberal" parties refuse to offer a "liberal" populism, aka the New Deal. You could call it an old, proven idea. Some of us see that as weak tea, but even that isn't on offer outside the marginalized Left. (This is the essential point of Thomas Franks' "What's the Matter with Kansas.")

Of course, that's just a further illustration of the author's point.

Paul Hirschman , November 27, 2016 at 1:57 pm

One of the most insightful chapters in Karl Polanyi's THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION is about something Karl calls "the discovery of society." It is the story of how those who wrestled with the fundamental falsehoods of the "self-regulating market" [our Libertarian friends' dreamworld] had to begin thinking about how people in their everyday lives actually, really, incompletely, made a life for themselves in a world defined by trickle-down economics. It was never a pretty sight, but the lesson was that the "self-regulating market" was going to be regulated somehow by non-economic actors with non-economic considerations foremost in mind, like it or not, or face destruction by human beings whose lives were distorted beyond what would be tolerated by ordinary people. Most people put up with neoliberal BS for a generation because that's what most people do, most of the time, even when they know they're being sold a bunch of horsecr*p. But the limit of what people will tolerate in a society defined by the false gods of market capitalism is reached periodically. Trump's victory tells us that one of these limits has been reached. The question now is, "What are we going to "discover" about ourselves and about the society we want to live in–and will we find a way to create it, assuming it's something good?" (Or flee from, if it turns sour.)

TINA folks will repeat, over and over, that "there is no alternative," but that bugaboo has just been smashed. Clinton, Summers, Obama, Rubin, Schumer, and the many, many lesser lights of Neo-Liberalism have become "old hat" almost overnight. Let's hope our discovery of society includes a stronger dose of Reason and Solidarity than would seem to exist in Trumpworld.

Phil , November 28, 2016 at 3:33 am

Here's the deal:
Automation is hallowing out work *at all levels*. Don't believe me? Read this.
http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/downloads/academic/The_Future_of_Employment.pdf
Summary:
http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/about/news/new-study-shows-nearly-half-of-us-jobs-at-risk-of-computerisation

Add to the above:
Projected population increases, worldwide -including some demographic vertical projections
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/03/10-projections-for-the-global-population-in-2050/

ergo: Less work (at all levels) + increasing population (which includes some explosive variables, like a large increase of older persons who will require economic support from fewer younger workers) = a massive increase in tension re: the struggle for available necessities.

Technology innovation will help with some of this, but the great, looming problem is: how are billions of idle people with nothing to do going to be motivated to remain non-disruptive? I can see a massive surveillance state controlling the "idles"; perhaps new technologies that permit people to jack their brains into the network for diversion (but how long before people become desensitized to that?). Will there be a "spiritual" revolution that is not attached to current dogmatic religions, that values having less, sharing more, cooperating with others, etc.? Hard to say.

Anyway, it's coming, yet very few policy makers are talking about it. I'll bet the Pentagon is planning for this scenario, among others.

In twenty years – maybe a few more – we should be able to begin to migrate away from earth. It will probably be a LONG time before extra-earth settlements are feasible and sustainable. That said, we here on earth are going to have our hands full.

Can humanity somehow find ways to overcome its wired propensity for status reflected by material wealth, and somehow change that status-seeking to a sharing model that is not top-down?

I've been pondering this for a while. People much smarter than I will hopefully lead the way. We have our work cut out for us.

I don't have any answers

[Aug 11, 2018] A White, Trump-Voting Charlottesville Survivor Reflects On "An Entire Failed System Propped Up On Lies"

Aug 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

What other historical events and movements have we been lied to about? And can you prop up an entire failing system based on lies?

... ... ...

Senate Democrats, using the excuse of "Russian disinformation" campaigns, are already circulating a memo that would establish more government control over Internet content, including the de facto end of online anonymity [ Senate Democrats Are Circulating Plans for Government Takeover of the Internet: Reason Roundup , by Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason, July 31, 2018].

Slowly, America is moving toward a system where only favored groups will be allowed to express their opinion. Arguably, America is already at the point where groups such as Antifa simply do not have to obey the law at all, while ruinous lawsuits and "lawfare" are unleashed against conservative groups.

... ... ...

The end result: a country that increasingly seems on the brink of madness as it is gaslighted by a media growing ever more shrill. America is being put on a permanent war footing -- and the enemy its people are being mobilized against is the historic American nation, those European-Americans who live this country and its heritage.

[Aug 11, 2018] Neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interest

Notable quotes:
"... "While much of neoliberalism's rhetorical power comes from the assertion that "there is no alternative," the simple fact is that the world is full of alternatives. Indeed, even the so-called free marketers in Australia can see alternatives." ..."
"... It's dogma is nothing but empty lies held up as flawed truth's and full of scoundrels who profit from its concomitant pain. ..."
Jun 06, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

SwingingVoter, 3 Jun 2018 19:43

"neoliberal language allows powerful groups to package their personal preferences as national interests"

Its almost impossible to talk about a mining economy and a "free market" in the same sentence, Richard. a mining economy is is synonymous with corruption, Dutch disease and political grabs for cash etc. In the height of the 2009 GFC announced by kev07, unskilled labourers in the pilbara were still earning $100/hr. Real estate prices for 3 bed shacks in karratha were starting at $1million plus. The blue collar dominated pilbara area was overwhelmed with greed fed by left politicians hiding behind socialist ideals. The reality was that left wing economists recognized the "dutch disease" problem and their solution was to flood the area with greedy blue collar workers who were blowing their enormous salaries on prostitutes, alcohol and gambling in the hope that profits from the mining boom would be flushed into other parts of the economy.

The solution? partially transition Australia's economy to an innovation driven economy because innovation is linked to learning which is linked to stronger self esteem and self efficacy in the community. an innovation driven econmy is the better way of promting social development in the community and an innovation driven economy is the most effective way for politicians to transition to the benefits of a "free market" driven economy.... the reality is that transitioning to an innovation would require smacking the socialists over the back of the head in the hope that aspiring socialists will respect the ideas and intellectual property of others as opposed to continue to assimilate intellectual property in the name of employment generation and the common good

I dont fear the potential rise of neoliberalism, although i understand that spruiking a free market whilst talking about mining is ridiculous.
I fear the individuals who are have been talking about mining, and targeting/victimising the non politically active conservatives for more than 2 decades in the name of socialism

sierrasierra, 3 Jun 2018 19:21
"While much of neoliberalism's rhetorical power comes from the assertion that "there is no alternative," the simple fact is that the world is full of alternatives. Indeed, even the so-called free marketers in Australia can see alternatives."

Excellent article Richard, you have captured the ideology and its dogma quite specularly.

It's dogma is nothing but empty lies held up as flawed truth's and full of scoundrels who profit from its concomitant pain.

Examples from today's headlines and a few from last week:

[Aug 10, 2018] On Contact: Casino Capitalism with Natasha Dow Schull

Highly recommended!
This is kind of symbolic and amazing figures: 34 billions are spend in casinos each year. and that's just official figure...
Notable quotes:
"... Casinos and Gambling are a tax on the ignorant and the indigent. ..."
"... Economist, Michael Hudson recently said in an interview that economics trumps politics every time. I am an observer of casinos and gambling in it's many forms. I am someone who has been fleeced by vulture capitalists and unscrupulous financial types as well as government officials in charge of business financial assistance schemes that don't deliver. ..."
"... Another version of how ''Brave New World'' has come to pass. The documentaries: ''The Century of the Self'' and ''HyperNormalisation 2016'' by Adam Curtis explain how we have been subdued. This lady professor is very knowledgable. Excellent episode. ..."
"... Completing the circle of predatory capitalism. Government controlled by oligarchy/plutoracry that see us, the citizens, as enemies of the state. ..."
Mar 25, 2017 | www.youtube.com

On this week's episode of On Contact, Chris Hedges discusses the ramifications of casino culture in America with Professor Natasha Dow Schüll, author of " Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas". RT Correspondent Anya Parampil examines how gambling has become our premier form of entertainment and escape.


gre999999man , 1 year ago

Casinos and Gambling are a tax on the ignorant and the indigent.

Gerald Comeau , 1 year ago (edited)

Economist, Michael Hudson recently said in an interview that economics trumps politics every time. I am an observer of casinos and gambling in it's many forms. I am someone who has been fleeced by vulture capitalists and unscrupulous financial types as well as government officials in charge of business financial assistance schemes that don't deliver.

Often the two ie the vultures and the government officials work in tandem.

I have extreme distaste for these zombies and an always on the alert. I am bowled over with how an overwhelming number of people in society are scammed day in and day out and having their lives ruined. I fear it will shatter life as we know it not for individuals only but for whole nations. People must pay more attention to attention to what this video says and what Michael Hudson explains in his books .....Killing the Host and Junk Economics are his most recent ones.

PleaseStayTuned , 1 year ago

I liked what she had to say, but I wonder why she didn't go a bit deeper into the operant conditioning aspect considering that's what Skinner's work was based on. Why intermittent rewards work so well, and why the dopamine spike curve is so important in conditioning a behavior in anything with a limbic system. Important because understanding how dopamine and dopamine spikes work came largely from gambling research for slot machines. Technology that was built on Skinner's work by the gov and then business marketing along with gov propaganda, then gambling. If people understood how it worked and where the technology came from they would be much less likely to let gambling addiction happen in the first place.

Darren Swift , 1 year ago

I come from a family of gamblers, at least on my father's side. My dad towed us around to the racetracks and billiards parlors until we were old enough to drive, and card games for money were a frequent family activity for us. I never felt attracted to gambling, and often feel bored by the prospect. Needless to say, with advanced age I now find myself estranged from my remaining siblings. What had occurred to me some time ago is how living life is such a gamble. Outcomes can always vary, from planning and preparing for a career to going to the market for groceries. Games of chance seem to furnish a microcosm of the life experience, where participants are allowed an illusion of greater control and the outcomes tend to be uniformly immediate. It also allows you to ignore your greater life experience. Maybe that's the "zone" so many enjoy. I didn't remember what "March Madness" is. Until all those slots were shown I thought they were talking about something similar to Black Friday. Now that I remember, it hits me that my brother and sister undoubtedly have their bets down in multiple pools.

John E , 1 year ago

Another version of how ''Brave New World'' has come to pass. The documentaries: ''The Century of the Self'' and ''HyperNormalisation 2016'' by Adam Curtis explain how we have been subdued. This lady professor is very knowledgable. Excellent episode.

writernthesky , 1 year ago

And casinos have no windows so that it's difficult to track the time.

Richard Burt , 6 months ago

Skinner on slot machine as metaphor for the Skinner box! incredible.

Joe M , 1 year ago

Completing the circle of predatory capitalism. Government controlled by oligarchy/plutoracry that see us, the citizens, as enemies of the state.

Patricia MacLeod , 1 month ago

23:50 right on. We selfie generation are too busy trolling the media and playing games to think, meditate, analyze, understand and act for our fellow man or a healthier future for our country. It's all about me and my short-term gratifications.

starmanskye , 1 year ago

Casino-Disasterism Capitalism is well named -- All of the engineered mechano-psychological traits used to make longshot escapist-gambling popular, lucrative and addicting, based on the faux-goals of numb indulgence, cultivating of cheap-thrill delights, pandering to the conceits of synthetic wastrel satisfactions and dead-end fatalism -- is evident in the terminal phase of the global corporate deepstate technoracy of Empire Inc. that is pillaging and plundering its way across the planet, securitizing the earth right out from under our feet! ~ ; )

Mechyuda , 1 year ago

Professor Natasha Dow Schüll said Trump won the presidential election, because Trump used his casino expertise to manipulate voters. Based on the news I've seen, Trump was a failed casino owner. Trump is a con-artist who uses his massive inheritance, multiple bankruptcies, privatized large gains, socialized larger losses, and sales hype in order "to win". Trump, Obama, and Bush Jr. are good examples of how the average person lacks the talent, training, and experience to manage his/her own nation. Democracy, majority tyranny, mob rule, or dumb-mock-crazy elections are modern myths.

inessa armand , 1 year ago

The Clinton era, signified so much. Basically, in regard to this aspect, the very ending of any culture whatsoever; gambling casinos took over our down-towns, and our oldest landmarks. I went in once and saw those carpets and nearly puked. Now she tells why they are so ugly. Why any human being would find that appealing reminds me of Kissinger's infamous quote: "We've successfully made the public so dumb, I cannot die. For there is no one to replace me.."

[Aug 10, 2018] When> people use the term Jews they typically mean Financial oligachy

Notable quotes:
"... I never meet Jew haters in my personal life but there sure are a lot on this site. How does less than 2% of the US population utterly dominate the nation? Is each Jew 50 times stronger than every gentile. ..."
"... They tend to be urban dwellers where salaries are higher but standards of living are often lower. Those in my neighborhood are very well assimilated. They put elaborate Christmas lights on their houses. It is not a rich neighborhood. ..."
"... Their earlier history was wretched and included slavery and persecutions for thousands of years. Don't waste much time fearing Jews ..."
Jun 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

Patricus , June 5, 2018 at 11:43 pm GMT

I never meet Jew haters in my personal life but there sure are a lot on this site. How does less than 2% of the US population utterly dominate the nation? Is each Jew 50 times stronger than every gentile.

I meet many Jews but can't recall a single super Jew. Maybe they are clever deceivers? The great majority are middle earners. There are some rich and some poor. Jews dominate Hollywood and certain occupations but they are underrepresented as engineers and architects. So what.

They tend to be urban dwellers where salaries are higher but standards of living are often lower. Those in my neighborhood are very well assimilated. They put elaborate Christmas lights on their houses. It is not a rich neighborhood.

Jewish history does not support the idea of a super race. They only entered middle classes in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and only in the western world. Before that they were not allowed to attend universities or even own land in many cases.

Their earlier history was wretched and included slavery and persecutions for thousands of years. Don't waste much time fearing Jews.

[Aug 09, 2018] Institutionalizing Intolerance Bullies Win, Freedom Suffers When We Can't Agree To Disagree by John Whitehead

Notable quotes:
"... Silencing unpopular viewpoints with which the majority might disagree -- whether it's by shouting them down, censoring them, muzzling them, or criminalizing them -- only empowers the controllers of the Deep State. ..."
"... It's political correctness disguised as tolerance, civility and love, but what it really amounts to is the chilling of free speech and the demonizing of viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite. ..."
"... Instead of intelligent discourse, we've been saddled with identity politics, "a safe space from thought, rather than a safe space for thought." ..."
Aug 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech." ― Benjamin Franklin

What a mess.

As America has become ever more polarized, and those polarized factions have become more militant and less inclined to listen to - or even allow for the existence of - other viewpoints, we are fast becoming a nation of people who just can't get along.

Here's the thing: if Americans don't learn how to get along - at the very least, agreeing to disagree and respecting each other's right to subscribe to beliefs and opinions that may be offensive, hateful, intolerant or merely different - then we're going to soon find that we have no rights whatsoever (to speak, assemble, agree, disagree, protest, opt in, opt out, or forge our own paths as individuals).

In such an environment, when we can't agree to disagree, the bullies (on both sides) win and freedom suffers.

Intolerance, once the domain of the politically correct and self-righteous, has been institutionalized, normalized and politicized. Even those who dare to defend speech that may be unpopular or hateful as a constitutional right are now accused of " weaponizing the First Amendment ."

On college campuses across the country, speakers whose views are deemed "offensive" to some of the student body are having their invitations recalled or cancelled, being shouted down by hecklers, or forced to hire costly security details. As The Washington Post concludes, " College students support free speech -- unless it offends them ."

At Hofstra University, half the students in a freshman class boycotted when the professor assigned them to read Flannery O'Connor's short story "Artificial Nigger." As Professor Arthur Dobrin recounts, "The boycotters refused to engage a writer who would use such an offensive word. They hadn't read the story; they wouldn't lower themselves to that level. Here is what they missed: The story's title refers to a lawn jockey, a once common ornament of a black man holding a lantern. The statue symbolizes the suffering of an entire group of people and looking at it bring a moment of insight to a racist old man."

... ... ...

What we have instead is regulated, controlled speech, and that's a whole other ballgame.

Just as surveillance has been shown to " stifle and smother dissent, keeping a populace cowed by fear ," government censorship gives rise to self-censorship, breeds compliance, makes independent thought all but impossible, and ultimately foments a seething discontent that has no outlet but violence.

The First Amendment is a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world.

When there is no steam valve - when there is no one to hear what the people have to say - frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation. By bottling up dissent, we have created a pressure cooker of stifled misery and discontent that is now bubbling over and fomenting even more hate, distrust and paranoia among portions of the populace.

Silencing unpopular viewpoints with which the majority might disagree -- whether it's by shouting them down, censoring them, muzzling them, or criminalizing them -- only empowers the controllers of the Deep State.

Even when the motives behind this rigidly calibrated reorientation of societal language appear well-intentioned -- discouraging racism, condemning violence, denouncing discrimination and hatred -- inevitably, the end result is the same: intolerance, indoctrination and infantilism.

It's political correctness disguised as tolerance, civility and love, but what it really amounts to is the chilling of free speech and the demonizing of viewpoints that run counter to the cultural elite.

We've allowed ourselves to be persuaded that we need someone else to think and speak for us. And we've allowed ourselves to become so timid in the face of offensive words and ideas that we've bought into the idea that we need the government to shield us from that which is ugly or upsetting or mean.

The result is a society in which we've stopped debating among ourselves, stopped thinking for ourselves, and stopped believing that we can fix our own problems and resolve our own differences.

In short, we have reduced ourselves to a largely silent, passive, polarized populace incapable of working through our own problems with each other and reliant on the government to protect us from our fears of each other.

... ... ...

Instead of intelligent discourse, we've been saddled with identity politics, "a safe space from thought, rather than a safe space for thought."

Safe spaces.

[Aug 09, 2018] Ha-Joon Chang Economics: The User s Guide

Aug 09, 2018 | www.goodreads.com

"As these contrasts show, capitalism has undergone enormous changes in the last two and a half centuries. While some of Smith's basic principles remain valid, they do so only at very general levels.

For example, competition among profit-seeking firms may still be the key driving force of capitalism, as in Smith's scheme.

But it is not between small, anonymous firms which, accepting consumer tastes, fight it out by increasing the efficiency in the use of given technology.

Today, competition is among huge multinational companies, with the ability not only to influence prices but to redefine technologies in a short span of time (think about the battle between Apple and Samsung) and to manipulate consumer tastes through brand-image building and advertising."

[Aug 09, 2018] Free speech for me but not for thee

Aug 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

You see, tolerance cuts both ways.

This isn't an easy pill to swallow, I know, but that's the way free speech works, especially when it comes to tolerating speech that we hate.

" Free speech for me but not for thee " is how my good friend and free speech purist Nat Hentoff used to sum up this double standard.

[Aug 08, 2018] In a fascinating study, Karen Stenner shows in The Authoritarian Dynamic that while some individuals have "predispositions" towards intolerance, these predispositions require an external stimulus to be transformed into actions

Aug 08, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

stephen 08.05.18 at 6:45 pm

mclaren@22: I think you're right. One of the things the "personality" tests don't seem to appreciate is that the same person's opinions may change as time passes and experience changes: does the personality also change? Surely not.

Consider the case of the death penalty in the Netherlands. Abolished, in a fine moment of progressive anti-authoritarianism, in 1870. Serious change of opinion after 1940, many people reckoning that when it was abolished nobody believed that what had happened under German occupation was remotely possible. After liberation, a rather neat legal loophole was discovered: execution by firing squad was still legal, after conviction by a military court. The Netherlands being still officially at war, 1940-45, military courts were deemed to have jurisdiction over acts committed in that period, by military personnel or Dutch civilians. Hence the Bijzonder Gerechtshof, the Special Court of Justice, which sentenced 146 men and women to death, of whom 42 were shot. Could you grieve for them?

Likewise in Belgium: only one convicted murderer was executed between 1863 and 1944, after which 242 collaborators were shot. Some might regret that these did not include the pro-German and anti-Semitic, and subsequently eminent Harvard literary theorist, Paul de Man.

So there we are. Many people who in 1935 were certainly against the death penalty were, by 1945, in favour in some circumstances. Did their personalities change in response to changing circumstances? If so, as mclaren says, current personality tests have zero long-term predictive value. If their personalities remained the same while their opinions changed in response to circumstances, ditto.

PS I would not have wanted to see Paul de Man shot. Just exposed in his lifetime, and thrown out of Harvard amid universal ridicule and contempt. Alas.


Patrick S. O'Donnell 08.05.18 at 8:10 pm ( 37 )

Should anyone be interested, I have since expanded my list and prefaced it with an introduction and apologia (which makes clear my differences with the standard political science and 'scientific psychology' literature on this topic) and posted it on my Academia page.
Jim Harrison 08.06.18 at 12:17 am ( 38 )
@36 Paul de Man took his doctorate at Harvard, but he was a Yale prof when he got famous -- I took one of his courses. I remember thinking at the time, "This is a frightened guy," though I didn't know what he had to be so afraid.
Matt 08.06.18 at 2:42 am ( 39 )
Polygraphs obviously work, as showing in this documentary:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/cI5wfBVVu6g?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

engels 08.06.18 at 3:46 pm ( 40 )
One of the things the "personality" tests don't seem to appreciate is that the same person's opinions may change as time passes and experience changes: does the personality also change?

Yes

Sebastian H 08.06.18 at 4:30 pm ( 41 )
Paul de Man might be an interesting case study/counterexample to the idea that personality types fall naturally into political parties. A very active Nazi collaborator and propagandist in Europe but more on the left in the US.

But with that history (combined with the fact that he lied his way into various prestigious professorships) one of the champions of irreducible interpretive undecidability feels like an excellent case for investigating motivated reasoning.

engels 08.06.18 at 4:53 pm ( 42 )

In a fascinating study, Karen Stenner shows in The Authoritarian Dynamic that while some individuals have "predispositions" towards intolerance, these predispositions require an external stimulus to be transformed into actions. Or, as another scholar puts it: "It's as though some people have a button on their foreheads, and when the button is pushed, they suddenly become intensely focused on defending their in-group But when they perceive no such threat, their behavior is not unusually intolerant. So the key is to understand what pushes that button." What pushes that button, Stenner and others find, is group-based threats. In experiments researchers easily shift individuals from indifference, even modest tolerance, to aggressive defenses of their own group by exposing them to such threats. Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson, for example, found that simply making white Americans aware that they would soon be a minority increased their propensity to favor their own group and become wary of those outside it. (Similar effects were found among Canadians. Indeed, although this tendency is most dangerous among whites since they are the most powerful group in western societies, researchers have consistently found such propensities in all groups.)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/14/identity-politics-right-left-trump-racism

WLGR 08.06.18 at 4:59 pm ( 43 )
Dr. Hilarius @ 34, not only is polygraph testing junk , so is the vast majority of "forensic science" as used by law enforcement, so is a great deal of eyewitness testimony as used by prosecutors and law enforcement (not to mention testimony from police officers themselves ), and even DNA testing can be questionable depending on how well or badly law enforcement understands the methods they're using. Rule of thumb, if you've ever seen a method used by the "good guys" on CSI or NCIS, it's probably bullshit.

Here's a possible take-home lesson from that set of facts about "forensic science": we should be deeply suspicious whenever a small group of scientific practitioners takes broad methods and conclusions from a scientific field or set of fields, uses them as raw material to create a more narrowly "practical" applied subfield with clear instrumental utility for a set of wealthy and/or powerful actors in the broader society, and over time begins to associate their reputational and financial interests more and more with these outside actors at the expense of their credibility within the field of scientific research itself.

Wait a sec, I thought this thread was supposed to be about the issue of politically-driven personality psychology as advanced by figures like Jonathan Haidt how did I manage to drift so far off topic?

Chris Martin 08.06.18 at 7:44 pm ( 44 )
This is article is about the interaction between education and openness to experience, one of the Big Five traits:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pops.12070

It includes an introduction the topic of personality and politics.

LFC 08.07.18 at 12:20 am ( 45 )
WLGR @43

DNA testing has been used not only by police and prosecutors but also by groups like the Innocence Project (I think that's the name) whose mission is freeing those who have been wrongly convicted of crimes, including those wrongly convicted of capital crimes. No doubt DNA testing can be used well or badly (haven't followed the link yet), but it has helped overturn some wrong convictions (as well as probably helping to generate some justified convictions).

Dee 08.07.18 at 5:02 am ( 46 )
Many thanks, BenK @25 for nailing the enterprise of pathologizing those who disagree with us.
bad Jim 08.07.18 at 6:07 am ( 47 )
how did I manage to drift so far off topic?

Said no one ever at Crooked Timber. o 8

Z 08.07.18 at 11:44 am ( 48 )
The best work on political partisanship treated as a function of variation of personality at the individual level is Emmanuel Todd's The Invention of Europe , by far. It employs a rather idiosyncratic definition of individual level, but you'll have to read the book to find out (and then you'll be so full of gratitude towards me that you'll forgive me for the equivocation on individual).

Starting with anything else would be positively evil.

jrkrideau 08.07.18 at 2:30 pm ( 49 )
@34 Dr. Hilarius

Indeed. Polygraph sessions can work but as you say. "People, fearful of a polygraph, will often volunteer damaging information just prior to taking one". One of my professors pointed out that a psychopath should be able to ace something like a polygraph.

But they can, I think, work in actual use. I believe the key issue is the operator. A good "reader", I'm groping for a term here, let's say a good poker player as polygraph operator, is likely to obtain great results just as a witch doctor can. There is, likely an excellent chance that a good operator can discriminate truthfulness in many cases just as the witch doctor can. In both cases, it is the subject's belief not the tool that is the key.

As a university student several (cough, cough) years ago I remember a TA telling me that, amazingly, Dr. X, a local academic clinical psychologist, was obtaining excellent results in identifying and locating brain tumors using the Rorschach. He was rivaling the results of medical specialists. He, then, mentioned that he figured a cigarette package would be just as good as the Rorschach.

jrkrideau 08.07.18 at 2:56 pm ( 50 )
@ 43 WLGR

Rule of thumb, if you've ever seen a method used by the "good guys" on CSI or NCIS, it's probably bullshit.
Well said!

Have you read Strengthening forensic science in the United States: a path forward . National Research Council (U.S.). https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/228091.pdf .
Read carefully, it seems to suggest that "forensic science" is an oxymoron. The tone of disbelief is palpable . As far as I can see no "forensic science" procedure has been properly subjected to the equivalent of a blind RCT study. I am out of date though.

I do disagree with your conclusion about small group of scientific practitioners takes broad methods and conclusions from a scientific field or set of fields, uses them as raw material to create a more narrowly "practical" applied subfield " in this case, though certainly not in others.

Assuming the information in the above reference is true, there is close to zero scientific input into "forensic science. It has been some time since I read that reference, but my memory says than most of originators of the various branches of forensic science had no scientific basis for the technique, invented it out of whole cloth, or accepted the statement of a scientist as gospel without any evidence (Galton & fingerprints) and then proceeded to bugger things up even worse by poor implementation of bad ideas.

Michael 08.07.18 at 5:30 pm ( 51 )
@30: Here's a link re the :

Unfortunately, the ~1000 students in the follow-up were doing a routine class bonus survey and had not signed any sort of consent for publication.

[Aug 08, 2018] "How Liberalism Self-Destructed"

Aug 08, 2018 | eand.co

[Umair Haque, Medium ].

"Liberalism, once a great and noble philosophy, split into three factions  --  neoliberalism, libertarianism, and "classical liberalism" (I'll come back to that one). These factions, like stone age tribesmen gleefully performing a lobotomy, hacked and chopped away at liberalism, blow by crushing blow, until all that was left was a drooling, snarling, spitting, twitching zombie: predatory capitalism [P]redatory capitalism created a class of oligarchs richer than the kings of yore  --  and in many ways, more powerful, too. Untouchable, above the law, beyond reproach. The wealthier this class of ultra-rich got, the more that the middle and working class collapsed. Inequality spiraled out of control. People lost faith in all the great liberal institutions  --  law, rights, constitutions, knowledge, democracy itself  --  because it seemed that the only real purpose of those institutions was to allow the ultra-rich to prey on the poor, exacting crippling tribute for the most basic of things. Not paid in wheat or silver, but cold, hard, cash. Insulin that costs $1000? Childbirth that costs $30K? These three factions made liberalism self-destruct  --  by turning it into a mechanism for the one exact thing, a millennium or so ago, it was created to destroy: feudal, dynastic, untouchable, predatory elites skimming off an economy's surplus, amassing all a society's wealth for themselves." • Not the sort of thing one expects from the one-time most popular author at the Harvard Business Review . The waters must have risen higher than I thought.

[Aug 08, 2018] "The Utility of White-Bashing"

Aug 08, 2018 | www.theatlantic.com

[ The Atlantic ]. More on Sarah Jeong.

"The people I've heard archly denounce whites have for the most part been upwardly-mobile people who've proven pretty adept at navigating elite, predominantly white spaces. A lot of them have been whites who pride themselves on their diverse social circles and their enlightened views, and who indulge in their own half-ironic white-bashing to underscore that it is their achieved identity as intelligent, worldly people that counts most, not their ascribed identity as being of recognizably European descent." • Also "Asian American professional," although when you think about it, "Asia American" is a pretty problematic ascribed identity.

[Aug 08, 2018] Neoliberal Newspeak: Notes on the new planetary vulgate by Bourdieu and Wacquant

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The same demonstration could be made about the highly polysemic notion of ʻglobalizationʼ, whose upshot – if not function – is to dress up the effects of American imperialism in the trappings of cultural oecumenicism or economic fatalism and to make a transnational relation of economic power appear like a natural necessity. ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.radicalphilosophy.com

In a matter of a few years, in all the advanced societies, employers, international officials, high-ranking civil servants, media intellectuals and high-flying journalists have all started to speak a strange Newspeak. Its vocabulary, which seems to have spaing out of nowhere, is now on everyone's lips: 'globalization' and 'flexibility', 'governance' and 'employability', 'underclass' and 'exclusion', 'new economy' and 'zero tolerance', 'communitarianism' mid 'multiculturalism', not to mention their so-called postnKxlern cousins, 'minority', 'ethnicity', 'identity', 'fragmentation', etc..

The diffusion of this new planetary vulgate - from which the terms 'capitalism', 'class', 'exploitation', 'domination', and 'inequality' are conspicuous by their absence, having been peremptorily dismissed under the pretext that they are obsolete and non-pertinent - is the result of a new type of imperialism whose effects are all the more powerful and pernicious in that it is promoted not only by the partisans of the neoliberal revolution who, under cover of 'modernization!', intend to remake the world by sweeping away the social and economic conquests of a century of social struggles, henceforth depicted as so many archaisms and obstacles to the emergent new order, but also by cultural producers (researchers, writers and artists) and left-wing activists who. for the vast majority of them, still think of themselves as progressives.

Like ethnic or gender domination, cultural imperialism is a form of symbolic violence that relies on a relationship of constrained communication to extort submission. In the case at hand, its particularity consists in universalizing the particularisms bound up with a singular historical experience by making them ntisrecognized as such and recognized as universal. 1 Thus, just as, in the nineteenth century, a number of so-called philosophical questions that were debated throughout Europe, such as Spengler's theme of 'decadence' or Dilthey's dichotomy between explanation and understanding, originated, as historian Fritz Rringer has demonstrated, in the historical predicaments and conflicts specific to the peculiar world of German universities, 2 so today many topics directly issued from the particularities and particularisms of U.S. society and universities have been imposed upon the whole planet under apparently dehistoricized guises. These commonplaces -- in the Aristotelian sense of notions or theses with which one argues but over which there is no argument --, these undiscussed presuppositions of the

1 Let us make clear from the outset, to avoid any misunderstanding and ward off the facile accusation of

'anti-Americanism' - a foolproof defence against any critical examination of any imposition (cultural, economic or political) originating in America -- that the United Stales has no monopoly over the claim to the universal. A number of other countries, France. England, Spain, Japan and Russia among them, have, at various past epochs strived -- or are still striving -- to wield forms of cultural imperialism within their own sphere of influence (especially colonial). These are comparable in every respect, except that, for the first lime in history, one country now finds itself in a position to impose its point on view on the world to the

First lime in history, one country now linds llsell in a position to impose us point on view on the world to the whole world.

2 Frit/. Ringer. The Decline of the Mandarins. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1969.

... ... ..

This is a society characterized by the deliberate dismantling of the social state and the correlative hypertrophy of the penal state, the crushing of trade unions and the dictatorship of the ʻshareholder-valueʼ conception of the firm, and their sociological effects: the generalization of precarious wage labour and social insecurity, turned into the privileged engine of economic activity.

The fuzzy and muddy debate about ʻmulticulturalismʼ is a paradigmatic example.

The term was recently imported into Europe to describe cultural pluralism in the civic sphere, whereas in the United States it refers, in the very movement which obfuscates it, to the continued ostracization of Blacks and to the crisis of the national mythology of the ʻAmerican dreamʼ of ʻequal opportunity for allʼ, correlative of the bankruptcy of public education at the very time when competition for cultural capital is intensifying and class inequalities are growing at a dizzying pace. The locution ʻmulticulturalʼ conceals this crisis by artificially restricting it to the university microcosm and by expressing it on an ostensibly ʻethnicʼ register, when what is really at stake is not the incorporation of marginalized cultures in the academic canon but access to the instruments of (re)production of the middle and upper classes, chief among them the university, in the context of active and massive disengagement by the state. North American ʻmulticulturalismʼ is neither a concept nor a theory, nor a social or political movement – even though it claims to be all those things at the same time. It is a screen discourse, whose intellectual status is the product of a gigantic effect of national and international allodoxia, which deceives both those who are party to it and those who are not. It is also a North American discourse, even though it thinks of itself and presents itself as a universal discourse, to the extent that it expresses the contradictions specific to the predicament of US academics. Cut off from the public sphere and subjected to a high degree of competitive differentiation in their professional milieu, US professors have nowhere to invest their political libido but in campus squabbles dressed up as conceptual battles royal.

The same demonstration could be made about the highly polysemic notion of ʻglobalizationʼ, whose upshot – if not function – is to dress up the effects of American imperialism in the trappings of cultural oecumenicism or economic fatalism and to make a transnational relation of economic power appear like a natural necessity.

Through a symbolic reversal based on the naturalization of the schemata of neoliberal thought, the reshaping of social relations and cultural practices after the US template, which has been forced upon advanced societies through the pauperization of the state, the commodification of public goods and the generalization of job insecurity, is nowadays accepted with resignation as the inevitable outcome of national evolution, when it is not celebrated with sheep-like enthusiasm. An empirical analysis of the trajectory of the advanced economies over the longue durée suggests, in contrast, that ʻglobalizationʼ is not a new phase of capitalism, but a ʻrhetoricʼ invoked by governments in order to justify their voluntary surrender to the financial markets and their conversion to a fiduciary conception of the firm. Far from being – as we are constantly told – the inevitable result of the growth of foreign trade, deindustrialization, growing inequality and the retrenchment of social policies are the result of domestic political decisions that reflect the tipping of the balance of class forces in favour of the owners of capital.

By imposing on the rest of the world categories of perception homologous to its social structures, the USA is refashioning the entire world in its image: the mental colonization that operates through the dissemination of these concepts can only lead to a sort of generalized and even spontaneous ʻWashington consensusʼ, as one can readily observe in the sphere of economics, philanthrophy or management training. Indeed, this double discourse which, although founded on belief , mimics science by superimposing the appearance of reason – and especially economic or politological reason – on the social fantasies of the dominant, is endowed with the performative power to bring into being the very realities it claims to describe, according to the principle of the selffulfilling prophecy: lodged in the minds of political or economic decision-makers and their publics, it is used as an instrument of construction of public and private policies and at the same time to evaluate those very policies. Like the mythologies of the age of science, the new planetary vulgate rests on a series of oppositions and equivalences which support and reinforce one another to depict the contemporary transformations advanced societies are undergoing – economic disinvestment by the state and reinforcement of its police and penal components, deregulation of financial flows and relaxation of administrative controls on the employment market, reduction of social protection and moralizing celebration of ʻindividual responsibilityʼ – as in turn benign, necessary, ineluctable or desirable, according to the oppositions set out in the following ideological schema:

State

→ [globalization] →

Market

constraint freedom closed open rigid flexible immobile, fossilized dynamic, moving, self-transforming past, outdated future, novelty stasis growth group, lobby, holism, collectivism individual, individualism uniformity, artificiality diversity, authenticity autocratic (ʻtotalitarianʼ) democratic

The imperialism of neoliberal reason finds its supreme intellectual accomplishment in two new figures of the cultural producer that are increasingly crowding the autonomous and critical intellectual born of the Enlightenment tradition out of the public scene. One is the expert who, in the shadowy corridors of ministries or company headquarters, or in the isolation of think-tanks, prepares highly technical documents, preferably couched in economic or mathematical language, used to justify policy choices made on decidedly non-technical grounds. (The perfect example being plans to ʻsaveʼ retirement schemes from the supposed threat posed by the increase in life expectancy, where demographic demonstrations are used to railroad privatization plans that consecrate the power of shareholders and shift risk to wage-earners through pensions funds). The other is the communication consultant to the prince – a defector from the academic world entered into the service of the dominant, whose mission is to give an academic veneer to the political projects of the new state and business nobility. Its planetary prototype is without contest the British sociologist Anthony Giddens, Director of the London School of Economics, and father of ʻstructuration theoryʼ, a scholastic synthesis of various sociological and philosophical traditions decisively wrenched out of their context and thus ideally suited to the task of academicized sociodicy.

One may see the perfect illustration of the cunning of imperialist reason in the fact that it is England – which, for historical, cultural and linguistic reasons, stands in an intermediary, neutral position (in the etymological sense of ʻneither/norʼ or ʻeither/orʼ) between the United States and continental Europe – that has supplied the world with a bicephalous Trojan horse, with one political and one intellectual head, in the dual persona of Tony Blair and Anthony Giddens. On the strength of his ties to politicians,

Giddens has emerged as the globe-trotting apostle of a ʻThird Wayʼ which, in his own words – which must here be cited from the catalogue of textbook-style definitions of his theories and political views in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section of his London School of Economics website, <www.lse.ac.uk/Giddens/FAQs.htm> – ʻtakes a positive attitude towards globalizationʼ; ʻtries [ sic ] to respond to changing patterns of inequalityʼ, but begins by warning that ʻthe poor today are not the same as the poor of the pastʼ, and that, ʻlikewise, the rich are not the same as they used to beʼ; accepts the idea that ʻexisting social welfare systems, and the broader structure of the State, are the source of problems, not only the means of resolving themʼ; ʻemphasizes that social and economic policy are intrinsically connectedʼ, in order better to assert that ʻsocial spending has to be assessed in terms of its consequences for the economy as a wholeʼ; and, finally ʻconcerns itself with mechanisms of exclusion at the bottom and the top [ sic ]ʼ, convinced as it is that ʻredefining inequality in relation to exclusion at both levels is consistent with a dynamic conception of inequalityʼ. The masters of the economy, and the other ʻexcluded at the topʼ, can sleep in peace: they have found their Pangloss. This is a revised version of a translation by David Macey of an article that originally appeared in Le Monde Diplomatique 554, May 2000, pp. 6–7.

Buy the newest RP in print

[Aug 08, 2018] Neoliberalism corrupts and mangle the language like Bolshevism and Troskyism

Aug 08, 2018 | www.goodreads.com

"It is clear enough why both major propaganda systems insist upon this fantasy. Since its origins, the Soviet State has attempted to harness the energies of its own population and oppressed people elsewhere in the service of the men who took advantage of the popular ferment in Russia in 1917 to seize State power. One major ideological weapon employed to this end has been the claim that the State managers are leading their own society and the world towards the socialist ideal; an impossibility, as any socialist -- surely any serious Marxist -- should have understood at once (many did), and a lie of mammoth proportions as history has revealed since the earliest days of the Bolshevik regime. The taskmasters have attempted to gain legitimacy and support by exploiting the aura of socialist ideals and the respect that is rightly accorded them, to conceal their own ritual practice as they destroyed every vestige of socialism.

As for the world's second major propaganda system, association of socialism with the Soviet Union and its clients serves as a powerful ideological weapon to enforce conformity and obedience to the State capitalist institutions, to ensure that the necessity to rent oneself to the owners and managers of these institutions will be regarded as virtually a natural law, the only alternative to the 'socialist' dungeon."
Noam Chomsky


"Since its origins, socialism has meant the liberation of working people from exploitation. As the Marxist theoretician Anton Pannekoek observed, "this goal is not reached and cannot be reached by a new directing and governing class substituting itself for the bourgeoisie," but can only be "realized by the workers themselves being master over production." Mastery over production by the producers is the essence of socialism, and means to achieve this end have regularly been devised in periods of revolutionary struggle, against the bitter opposition of the traditional ruling classes and the 'revolutionary intellectuals' guided by the common principles of Leninism and Western managerialism, as adapted to changing circumstances. But the essential element of the socialist ideal remains: to convert the means of production into the property of freely associated producers and thus the social property of people who have liberated themselves from exploitation by their master, as a fundamental step towards a broader realm of human freedom."
Noam Chomsky

"It's intellectual freedom when a journalist can understand that 2 + 2 = 4; that's what Orwell was writing about in 1984. Everybody here applauds that book, but nobody is willing to think about what it means. What Winston Smith [the main character] was saying is, if we can still understand that 2 + 2 = 4, they haven't taken everything away. Okay? Well, in the United States, people can't even understand that 2 + 2 = 4."
Noam Chomsky , Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky

[Aug 08, 2018] New 'bubble' looming How dangerous are tech giants that don't make profits (VIDEO)

Notable quotes:
"... "Definitely, there's a bubble, not just in tech stocks but in general stock market itself," ..."
"... "there are signs of financial fragility" ..."
Aug 08, 2018 | www.rt.com

Tech giants like Tesla, Uber, or Spotify are making less and less profit at the moment and experts are worried about their impact on the world. Are we seeing a new economic bubble in the making? RT's Daniel Bushel finds out. American tech corporations are often making headlines nationwide and internationally, although their own performance is far from perfect. They lose more and earn less, and experts warn of a potential "bubble" looming in the horizon.

Tesla, Elon Musk's flagship company, is worth more than Ford or GM, but produces only a small number of cars. Spotify, a music streaming service, as well as Uber, are losing billions of dollars every year.

"Definitely, there's a bubble, not just in tech stocks but in general stock market itself," Jack Rasmus, professor of political economy at St. Mary's College, told RT, warning that "there are signs of financial fragility" that endanger the world

[Aug 08, 2018] US corps have bought out UK and EU corps and then outsource the work to India and China. US Corps = Globalisation.

Aug 08, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

DancehallStyle -> AgainstDarkness , 6 Aug 2018 20:02

US corps have bought out UK and EU corps and then outsource the work to India and China. US Corps = Globalisation.
DancehallStyle -> AnthonyFlack , 6 Aug 2018 19:57
IT tech and even intricate clothing are too fiddly for automata.

Americans view is if other countries like China make too much money and will overtake them then they will take it all back.

They did that with Japan. They also destroyed Soviet's economy.

ID4355982 , 6 Aug 2018 19:52
trump has wrecked environmental policy, trade policy and domestic social policy....the upshots will be: 1- a much more toxic environment & much higher level of respiratory disease and cancerous related ailments; overall poorer health & health care for the average citizen 2- higher prices for imported goods, lower level of trade exports, fewer US based jobs and more off-shoring of US jobs 3- a substantial increase in the homeless population in the urban areas of this country; increased rates of poverty for the poor, lower economic prosperity for the lower and lower middle class income brackets; wage stagnation for the middle & upper middle income brackets; less advanced education & lower worker productivity and innovation to name just a few of the impacts created by this idiot....in simple in English, Trump and his so-called initiatives are shafting this country in almost every way possible
Ilya Grushevskiy -> RepaTea , 6 Aug 2018 19:17
What part of international law is not just pissed on toiler paper strewn over the floors of a urinal? Which post WWII president respected this law?

None.

International law, since WWII failed. It failed in '47 when no referendum was held in Palestine - against Chapter 1, Article 1 paragraph 2 of the UN Charter. It failed in Crimea, when the results of such a referendum was spat on by the previous war criminal to sit in the Oval Office. It fails now as sanctions are used unilaterally - being equivalent to the use of force in result, they should be

But then let's not stop at after the war. The US is the only country to nuke civilians. 6/7 US four star generals at the time said the action had no strategic or tactical purpose whatsoever.

The US is what ISIS dreams to be, the sooner it falls into obscurity the better.

Brian Black -> bobthebuilder2017 , 6 Aug 2018 19:13
Pure nonsense. The Great Depression began on October 29, 1929. FDR was inaugurated on March 4, 1933 nearly 4 years after it began. Hoover had actually only been in office for just over 6 months before Black Tuesday. GDP began growing and unemployment began falling in 1933 shortly after FDR took office. The Depression officially came to an end in 1939 when GDP returned to pre-Depression levels.
Ilya Grushevskiy , 6 Aug 2018 19:09
There is no long term US growth. There is a debt default after people realize the fact that the top of the whole US government is incompetent. That it has chained itself to such astronomic liabilities for useless wars (as the Empire has not succeeded in world hegemony), is even sadder. It coould have spent the $5tn of Iraq and Afghanistan on building shit, but instead it bombed shit.

Trump doesn't matter for US long run - in 5-10 years time the country will be only found in history books.

gmiklashek950 , 6 Aug 2018 17:59
Remember Kruschev's (sp?) last words on leaving office, and I'm paraphrasing: "Don't worry about America, they'll spend themselves to death (just like we have)". Continued economic growth is a wet dream of Wall Street origin. We are massively overpopulated and rapidly using up earth's natural resources at an increasingly unsustainable rate. We must begin to reduce our growth, not keep increasing it. Population density stress is killing us now and only increasing every day along with the 220,000 new mouths to feed that we are turning out into a world that has no room for 28,000,000 homeless migrants already. Just how crazy are we really. If this article is to be believed, we are nuts. E.F. Schumacher is rolling in his grave! Stress R Us
AgainstDarkness , 6 Aug 2018 16:56
Trump/the US is attempting to renegotiate globalisation.

It is time for the rest of the western world to follow suit.

Levente Tanka -> plakias , 6 Aug 2018 16:34
The contribution of a president to the national debt depends a bit on how you calculate it. You could simply look at rhe dates of inauguration or go a step further and look at the fiscal years. For the latter see :

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

In absolute terms Obama is indeed at the top of the list, percentagewise his predecessor played a larger part. No matter how you look at it or what the causes were, under Bush and Obama the U.S. debt seems to have spiralled out of of control and Trump is doing bugger all to stop that trend.

[Aug 08, 2018] We need to see a larger context then neoliberalism in this issue. And it is the end of cheap oil or Plato oil production with increasing prices environment by likbez

Aug 06, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
likbez , August 6, 2018 12:42 am

We need to see a larger context then neoliberalism in this issue. And it is the end of "cheap oil" or "Plato oil production with increasing prices" environment.

Which might well be within a decade or two. At least for the next year, the USA production is stalled. By the time it picks back up, supply will not meet demand so the prices might increase while the total production staying on the same level or slightly decreasing.

Among possible effects we can mention the following:

1. Another round of lowering the standard of living for the US population, increasing social tensions.

2. Making transcontinental transportation, especially by air, too expensive and favoring local production. Essentially what Trump is trying to achieve.

3. Part of human influence on climate will dissipate. For example, it will end the mass transportation of goods by air and might cut private auto transportation, especially in the USA (actually for the latter you might need just around $10 per gallon of gas or so). So the the carbon footprint of humanity might improve.

4. Permanent stagnation of economy will cut into population growth. Without cheap hydrocarbons, current agriculture needs to change drastically and to sustain, say, 8 billion people on the planet might be more difficult.

5. Will stimulate the transition to electric cars for private transportation and to the reduction of the size of the cars in the USA to European levels.

6. Will affect military (especially military aviation) and might fasten dissolution of Global US-led neoliberal empire -- the process started by Trump.

7. Might provoke more wars for resources (of which Iraq and Libya wars are already "accomplished" events) which might deteriorate to the level of exchange of nuclear strikes between major powers leading to WWIII. The latter might end a large part of human civilization ( In worst case, Europe, the USA, Russia, China and Japan)

[Aug 08, 2018] How Hedge Fund Activists Coopted Shareholder Democracy

Notable quotes:
"... By Jang-Sup Shin, professor of economics at the National University of Singapore and a senior research associate at the Academic-Industry Research Network. This blog post draws on his INET working paper, "The Subversion of Shareholder Democracy and the Rise of Hedge-Fund Activism," which is in turn part of a forthcoming book with William Lazonick on predatory value extraction. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website ..."
Aug 06, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Jang-Sup Shin, professor of economics at the National University of Singapore and a senior research associate at the Academic-Industry Research Network. This blog post draws on his INET working paper, "The Subversion of Shareholder Democracy and the Rise of Hedge-Fund Activism," which is in turn part of a forthcoming book with William Lazonick on predatory value extraction. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

The casual observer can hardly comprehend the value-extracting power of hedge fund activists. Technically, they are no more than minority shareholders. Yet they exert enormous influence, often forcing these companies to undertake fundamental restructuring and to increase stock buybacks and dividends substantially. For instance, Third Point Management and Trian Fund Management, holding only 2% of the outstanding stock of Dow Chemical and DuPont, respectively, engineered a merger-and-split of America's top two chemical giants at the end of 2015 that resulted in both massive layoffs and the closure of DuPont's central research lab, one of the first industrial science labs in the United States.

So how did hedge fund activists gain power so far in excess of their actual shareholdings?

In the 1980s, predatory value extraction was the province of the corporate raiders who flexed their muscles by becoming major shareholders of target companies and staging hostile takeovers. This mode of value extraction was highly risky in two respects. First, the raiders needed to raise substantial amounts of money to purchase enough shares that they could plausibly threaten to take control of the companies they targeted. Second, they frequently faced legal battles with management or incumbent shareholders because nothing less than control of the company was at stake. Being able to influence corporations without taking those risks would be a corporate raider's dream come true.

In the late 1980s and 1990s this dream became a reality. Driven by a clamor for "shareholder democracy" amid a rapid increase in institutional shareholding of public corporations and broadening acceptance of the maximizing shareholder value (MSV) view, the federal government implemented regulatory changes that set the stage for hedge fund activism.

The first set of regulatory changes was put into motion by Robert Monks, who in 1985 set up Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the first proxy-advisory firm, upon his resignation from the post of chief pension administrator at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). During his sole year in the Labor Department's employ, Monks endeavored to make proxy voting compulsory for pension funds, using his position as a platform for public advocacy of the notion that the funds had an obligation to become responsible "corporate citizens" and actually exercise the power their financial holdings gave them over corporate management. In 1988, his former DOL colleagues established proxy voting as a fiduciary duty of pension funds by the so-called "Avon Letter." Compulsory voting of proxies was later extended to all other institutional investors, including mutual funds, under an SEC regulation in 2003.

Monks and his disciples justified the changes under the pretext of realizing the long-held goal of "shareholder democracy," which, however, was all but irrelevant to proxy voting. A political project that had begun in the early 20 th century, shareholder democracy was intended to lessen public distrust of corporations and to create social cohesion by distributing corporate shares to retail investors who had U.S. citizenship. Institutional investors were simply money-managing fiduciaries who, lacking the status of citizens, had never been seen as having any part in shareholder democracy. Moreover, voting in most countries is not legally compulsory, it is one's right as a citizen. But Monks and his followers appropriated the banner of shareholder democracy to impose the voting of proxies on institutional investors as a fiduciary duty.

The consequence was the creation of a huge vacuum in corporate voting. Most institutional investors remained uninterested in voting and incapable of doing it meaningfully. The situation got worse with the increasing popularity of index funds, currently estimated to hold about one-third of all shares issued by companies listed in the U.S. Faced with the new requirement not only to vote but also to justify their voting decisions, institutional investors became heavily reliant on proxy-advisory firms. But these firms are often no more competent in making voting decisions than the institutional investors that hire them, and, as for-profit entities, are wide open to conflicts of interest. Some large mutual funds and pension funds, responding to public criticism that they are simply outsourcing voting decisions, have set up internal "corporate-governance teams" or "stewardship teams." However, these teams are designed to do no more than pay "lip service" to voting requirements: they are minimally staffed and their decision-making resembles "the corporate governance equivalent of speed dating," as the New York Times phrased it, rather than examining the concrete contexts of individual companies' voting issues. The potential for cooperation with hedge fund activists is great: the current owner of ISS, for example, is itself a private equity fund founded by corporate raiders.

The second set of regulatory changes was proxy-rule changes in 1992 and 1999 that allowed "free communication and engagement" among public shareholders and between public shareholders and management, as well as between public shareholders and the general public. These proxy-rule changes ostensibly aimed at correcting an imbalance between public shareholders and management by making it easier for minority shareholders to aggregate their votes. By that time, however, the balance of power between public shareholders and management was already skewed decisively toward the former. Institutional shareholding of American corporations' stock had already approached 50% by the early 1990s and, by 2017, was to reach nearly 70%. The proxy-rule changes further strengthened the power of public shareholders by allowing them to form de facto investor cartels and freely criticize management. Even if the SEC required those whose holdings of a given company's stock reached a 5% share to disclose the fact publicly, hedge fund activists could easily circumvent that limit by forming "wolf packs": soliciting the participation of other activists, whose holdings had not reached the threshold for reporting, in staging sudden, concerted campaigns against target companies.

Allowing free communication between shareholders and the public, far from evening the supposed imbalance between shareholders and management, intensified the influence of the former. Activist shareholders were freed by the SEC directives to allow them criticize a company's management "as long as the statements [they made were] not fraudulent." In contentious issues, management makes its decisions by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the options available. But the directives have made it all too easy for activist shareholders to criticize management in public by simply emphasizing some of the disadvantages while remaining within the limit of not perpetrating fraud.

A third set of regulatory changes, which allowed hedge fund activists to gain even more power, followed from the 1996 National Securities Markets Improvement Act (NSMIA). Part of the financial market deregulation that took place during the Clinton administration, NSMIA effectively allowed hedge funds to pool unlimited financial resources from institutional investors without regulations requiring disclosure of their structure or prohibiting overly speculative investments. This threw the door wide open to co-investments between activist hedge funds and institutional investors who put their money into the hedge funds as "alternative investment." For instance, the California Teachers Retirement System (CaLSTRS) cooperated in Trian Fund's campaign against DuPont from the beginning by co-signing a letter supporting the hedge fund's demands in 2015. It later turned out that CaLSTRS, a long-term investor in DuPont, was also one of Trian's major investors.

In combination, these regulatory changes increased the incidence of predatory value extraction in the U.S. economy. For more than a decade, major public corporations have routinely disbursed to shareholders nearly all of their profits, and often sums equivalent to more than their profits, in the form of stock buybacks, dividends, and deferred taxes while investing less for the future and undertaking restructuring simply for the sake of reducing costs. It is now increasingly difficult to find incidents in which management rejects hedge fund activists' proposals outright and risks proceeding to a showdown proxy vote in a shareholder meeting. As Steven Davidoff Solomon wrote in his New York Times column , "companies, frankly, are scared" and "[their] mantra is to settle with hedge funds before it gets to a fight over the control of a company."

If a regulatory change is found to be misguided, it should be reversed or recalibrated. What would that look like in the context of activist hedge funds? Here are some suggestions for rebuilding the U.S. system of proxy voting and shareholder engagement such that it will support sustainable value creation and value extraction:

First, the SEC should make it mandatory, when shareholders make a submission of shareholder proposals to a shareholders' meeting, that they justify their proposals in terms of value creation by and capital formation for the corporation, rather than simply requesting distribution of company funds that could be made available by, for instance, disgorgement of free cash flows. Second, voting should be removed as a fiduciary duty of institutional investors. The compulsory voting of institutional investors, who tend to be both uninterested in voting and incapable of doing so meaningfully, has only given illegitimate power to proxy-advisory firms and hedge fund activists. Third, as a practical enforcement mechanism that will shape the thinking and behavior of shareholders so that they take sustainable value creation and value extraction into account, the regulatory authorities should allow differentiated voting rights that favor long-term shareholders. Fourth, the SEC should make it mandatory for both shareholders and management to disclose to the public what they have discussed in engagement sessions. Free engagement has been reserved to a restricted number of influential investors who have preferred to keep this communication private.

Fifth, hedge funds should be subject to regulations equivalent to those imposed on institutional investors. Hedge funds are already big enough to pose systemic risks to the economy, a lesson that might have been taken from the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998. Since the passage of the NSMIA in 1996, hedge funds have managed a large portion of institutional investors' funds for the benefit of their ultimate customers, who include ordinary workers and pensioners. There is no plausible reason why hedge funds should be treated as private entities and freed from financial regulations applied to institutional investors when they are functioning as surrogate institutional investors.


cnchal , August 6, 2018 at 6:53 am

From the NYT article linked above

The merger is certainly an impressive feat of financial engineering. It will bring together two companies: DuPont, with 54,000 employees, and Dow Chemical, with 53,000 employees. The two behemoths will merge, and then in the space of two years spit out three newly formed companies, one in agriculture, another in material sciences and a third in specialty products used in such fields as nutrition and electronics.

This plan is one easily understood by a hedge fund activist or investment banker in a cubicle in Manhattan with an Excel spreadsheet . To them, it makes perfect sense to merge a company and then almost immediately split it in three. Doing so will meet the goal to define business lines with precision and, it is hoped, spur growth. Expenses can also be cut, on paper at least.

The companies that the combined entity will create can cut $3 billion in expenses, but the last time I checked, three companies each require a chief executive, general counsel and many other executives, so these savings may be eaten up by new overhead.

Nearly 100,000 employees and their dependents, suppliers, and customers will get the hedge fund roto rooter treatment so a handful of rich bastards make moar. Ain't America great already?

The cherry on top is the public employee pension fund's assist in this certain debacle, when the three spun out entities synergize themselves into dust, taking suppliers and customers with them, while freeing up $3 billion in the short term to grease the looting operation. By the way $3 billion represents 30,000 employees were they paid $100,000 per year.

Whatever the names of the three new entities, append the word 'disaster' to it.

john c. halasz , August 6, 2018 at 10:13 am

Once again, why not just abolish the corporate income tax and make the point of incidence of taxation the wealth and income of the beneficial owners of corporations, the stock and bond holders? (This could be done in a "revenue neutral" way, but obviously greatly increased taxes on top tier wealth and income would be desirable for other reasons). That would obviate the point of such extractive strategies, which is simpler and more plausible than imagining the SEC would suddenly develop teeth and muscle and be able to impose "norms" on the business.

lyman alpha blob , August 6, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Or we could just regulate hedge funds right out of existence. And maybe take care of private equity firms at the same time. I have yet to see any benefit to society at large from either of them.

[Aug 08, 2018] Obama added some $12.8 Trillion Dollars to the debt.

Aug 08, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RepaTea -> plakias , 6 Aug 2018 14:56

Why quote figures without context?

Obama came to power January 2008.

Financial crisis hit 2007/8

So he gets the blame for the cost?

Conservative estimate is it added some $12.8 Trillion Dollars to the debt.

Now please grow up and compare apples with apples and be honest about the context....

plakias -> RepaTea , 6 Aug 2018 14:49
On January 20, 2009, when he was sworn in, the debt was $10.626 trillion. On January 20, 2017, when he left, it was $19.947 trillion. Most people would calculate Obama added $9 trillion to the debt, more than any other president. But then Tom Eleven isn't "Most people".

[Aug 07, 2018] Ministry of Plenty

Aug 07, 2018 | en.wikipedia.org

The Ministry of Plenty ( Newspeak : Miniplenty ) is in control of Oceania's planned economy . It oversees rationing of food , supplies , and goods . As told in Goldstein's book, the economy of Oceania is very important, and it's necessary to have the public continually create useless and synthetic supplies or weapons for use in the war, while they have no access to the means of production . This is the central theme of Oceania's idea that a poor, ignorant populace is easier to rule over than a wealthy, well-informed one. Telescreens often make reports on how Big Brother has been able to increase economic production, even when production has actually gone down (see § Ministry of Truth ).

The Ministry hands out statistics which are "nonsense". When Winston is adjusting some Ministry of Plenty's figures, he explains this:

But actually, he thought as he readjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of time you were expected to make them up out of your head.

Like the other ministries, the Ministry of Plenty seems to be entirely misnamed, since it is, in fact, responsible for maintaining a state of perpetual poverty , scarcity and financial shortages. However, the name is also apt, because, along with the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Plenty's other purpose is to convince the populace that they are living in a state of perpetual prosperity. Orwell made a similar reference to the Ministry of Plenty in his allegorical work Animal Farm when, in the midst of a blight upon the farm, Napoleon the pig orders the silo to be filled with sand, then to place a thin sprinkling of grain on top, which fools human visitors into being dazzled about Napoleon's boasting of the farm's superior economy.

A department of the Ministry of Plenty is charged with organizing state lotteries . These are very popular among the proles, who buy tickets and hope to win the big prizes – a completely vain hope as the big prizes are in fact not awarded at all, the Ministry of Truth participating in the scam and publishing every week the names of non-existent big winners.

In the Michael Radford film adaptation , the ministry is renamed the Ministry of Production, or MiniProd.

[Aug 07, 2018] Bill Black Pre-Crisis 4506-T Studies Showed Massive Fraud in Liar's Loans; Fed Ignored Warning, DoJ Refused to Target Implic

Notable quotes:
"... By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and co-founder of Bank Whistleblowers United. Jointly published with New Economic Perspectives ..."
"... New Economic Perspectives ..."
"... The Pentagon Wars ..."
"... The Generals ..."
"... The Chickenshit Club ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Bill Black: Pre-Crisis "4506-T Studies" Showed Massive Fraud in Liar's Loans; Fed Ignored Warning, DoJ Refused to Target Implicated Banksters Posted on August 7, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. With the tsunami of "ten years after the crisis" stories that are already starting to hit the beach, I am endeavoring to focus on ones that contain new or significantly under-reported information or give particularly insightful overviews. Here Black gives a telling example of both how the authorities were warned of massive mortgage fraud and ignored it, and then later failed to use the same evidence to pursue the perps.

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and co-founder of Bank Whistleblowers United. Jointly published with New Economic Perspectives

Steven Krystofiak formed the Mortgage Brokers Association for Responsible Lending, a professional association dedicated to fighting mortgage fraud and predation. On August 1, 2006. He tried to save our Nation by issuing one of the most prescient warnings about the epidemic of mortgage fraud and predation and the crisis it would so cause.

The context was Congress' effort to empower and convince the Federal Reserve to take action against what the mortgage lending industry called, behind closed doors, "liar's" loans. A liar's loan is a loan in which the lender does not verify (at least) the borrower's actual income. The industry knew that the failure to verify inherently led to endemic fraud. George Akerlof and Paul Romer's 1993 article on "Looting" by financial CEOs explicitly cited the failure to verify the borrower's income as an example of a lending practice that only fraudulent lenders would use on a widespread basis.

Congress gave the Fed the unique authority to ban all liar's loans in 1994, by passing the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA). HOEPA gave the Fed the authority to ban liar's loans even by "shadow" sector financial firms that had no federal deposit insurance.

Liar's loans began to become material around 1989 during the savings and loan debacle where all good U.S. financial frauds are born – Orange County, California. In that era, they were called "low documentation" ('low doc') loans. We (the West Region of the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS), were the federal regulator for these S&Ls, and we were overwhelmed dealing with the "control frauds" driving the debacle, who overwhelmingly used commercial real estate (CRE) as their accounting "weapon" of choice. Our examiners, however, made two critical points. No honest lender would make widespread loans without verifying the borrower's income because it was certain to produce severe "adverse selection" and produce serious losses. The examiners' second warning was that such loans were growing rapidly in Orange County and multiple lenders were involved.

We listened and responded well to our examiners' timely and sound warnings and made it a moderate priority to drive liar's loans out of the industry we regulated. The last of the major fraudulent S&L liar's loan lenders was Long Beach Savings. Long Beach set a common pattern for fraudulent lenders by also engaging in predation primarily against Latinos and blacks. In 1994, the same year HOEPA became law; Long Beach voluntarily gave up federal deposit insurance and its charger as a savings and loan. Long Beach's controlling owner, Roland Arnall, did this for the sole purpose of escaping our regulatory jurisdiction and our ability to examine, sue, and sanction the S&L and its officers. Arnall changed its name to Ameriquest, and converted it to a mortgage bank. Mortgage banks were essentially unregulated. Arnall successfully sought sanctuary in what we now call the "shadow" financial sector. The S&L debacle did not end. It found sanctuary in the Shadow and grew 50% annually for 13 years.

Ameriquest and its leading mortgage bank competitor, run by former S&L officers we (OTS) had "removed and prohibited" from working in any federally insured lender, became the leading "vectors" spreading the epidemic of fraudulent liar's loans through (initially) the shadow sector and later back into federally insured lenders. Many of Arnall's lieutenants eventually left Ameriquest to lead other fraudulent and predatory lenders making predatory liar's loans. Michael W. Hudson's book, The Monster , is a great read that presents this history. Ameriquest and its fraudulent and predatory peers grew at extraordinary rates for over a decade. They hyper-inflated the bubble and drove the financial crisis.

Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernake refused to use HOEPA to stop this surging epidemic of fraudulent and predatory liar's loans. This was the setting when Krystofiak, on his own dime and initiative took advantage of a Fed hearing on predatory lending near his home to warn us all of the coming disaster. Krystofiak was not the first warning. His written testimony cited the appraisers' and the FBI's prior warnings. The appraisers' 2000 petition explaining how lenders and their agents were extorting appraisers to inflate appraisals was superb. Chris Swecker's 2004 warning on behalf of the FBI that the developing "epidemic" of mortgage fraud would cause a financial "crisis" if not stopped was superb.

Krystofiak was also superb. The Fed did not want to conduct hearings on fraudulent and predatory liar's loans – Congress forced it to do so. The Fed's Board members were not interested in stopping fraudulent and predatory liar's loans. The Fed did not invite Krystofiak to testify. The Fed offered only a brief "cattle call" at the end of the hearing allowing (after a top Fed official had left to fly back to DC) the public to make a very brief statement.

The Fed's treatment of Krysofiak stood in sharp contrast to its fawning treatment of the Mortgage Bankers Associations' chosen witness. The MBA chose the leading originator of fraudulent liar's loans in California – IndyMac – to present the MBA's position. The MBA's position was that the Fed should not use its HOEPA authority to ban fraudulent and predatory liar's loans. The Fed officials cracked jokes with and treated the IndyMac officer like an old pal. They treated Krytofiak with cold indifference. The MBA witness presented utter BS. Krystofiak spoke truth to power. Power loved the BS. The truth discomfited the Fed officials.

Krytofiak's written testimony made many vital points, but I refer to only two related points here. First, he warned the Fed that the twin mortgage fraud origination epidemics – appraisal fraud and liar's loans – were so large that they were inflating the housing bubble. Second, his means of quantifying the incidence of liar's loan fraud showed the regulators and the prosecutors that they could use the same method to document reliably, cheaply, and quickly the incidence of liar's loan fraud at every relevant financial firm.

Data Collected by the Mortgage Brokers Association for Responsible Lending

A recent sample of 100 stated income loans which were compared to IRS records (which is allowed through IRS forms 4506, but hardly done) found that 90 % of the income was exaggerated by 5 % or more. MORE DISTURBINGLY, ALMOST 60 % OF THE STATED AMOUNTS WERE EXAGGERATED BY MORE THAN 50%. These results suggest that the stated income loans deserves the nickname used by many in the industry, the "liar's loan" (emphasis in original).

The MBA's anti-fraud experts, MARI, appears to have conducted the study for Krystofiak. They featured the 4506-T (the "T" stands for "transcript") study and its finding of a 90% fraud incidence in liar's loans. In 2006, MARI presented its fraud study at the MBA's annual meeting. The MBA sent MARI's report to every member, which included all the major mortgage players.

Any honest originator, purchaser, or packager of liar's loans was on notice no later than mid-2006 that they could determine quickly, cheaply, and reliably the fraud incidence in those liar's loans by using the 4506-T forms to test a sample of those loans. Krystofiak aptly noted that while lenders typically required borrowers to sign the IRS 4506-T form allowing the lender to access their tax information, it was actually "hardly done." Lenders supposedly require the 4506-T because taxpayers have an obvious interest in not inflating their income to the IRS. The self-employed have to report their income accurately or face potential tax fraud sanctions.

The reason liar's loan mortgage lenders, purchasers, the packagers of toxic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs ) that typically were composed of large amounts of liar's loans, and credit rating agencies, "hardly [ever] used" or required the sellers to use their 4506-T authority is also clear if you understand "accounting control fraud." Any 4506-T study of liar's loans will document their pervasive frauds. Virtually all liar's loan and CDO sales required "reps and warranties" that they were not fraudulent. If a firm making or selling liar's loans conducted a 4506-T study and documented that it knew its reps and warranties were false, and it continued t make, sell, package, or rate those fraudulent loans under false reps and warranties it would be handling its counterparty a dream civil fraud suit. They would be handing DOJ the ability to prosecute them successfully for felonies that caused hundreds of billions of dollars in losses. The fraudulent mortgage money machine relied on the major players following a financial "don't ask; don't tell" policy.

The exceptions prove the rule. I have found public evidence of only two cases in which mortgage players (other than Krystofiak) conducted 4506-T audits of liar's loans. I have never found public evidence that any federal regulator or prosecutor conducted or mandated a 4506-T study. The two known cases of 4506-T audits were Wells Fargo (just disclosed by DOJ) and Countrywide (disclosed by the SEC investigation and complaint). Both audits found massive fraud incidence in the liar's loans. The risk officers presented these audit results to the banks' senior managers.

Bank Whistleblowers United's 4506-T Proposal

Two and-a-half years ago, Bank Whistleblowers United (BWU) discussed the senior officers of Countrywide's response to its 4506-T audit. We noted that BWU co-founder Michael Winston blew the whistle on Countrywide's frauds to the bank's most senior officers to try to prevent these frauds. Mr. Winston eagerly aided potential prosecutors – who failed to prosecute Countrywide's senior officers leading the frauds. BWU then explained the analogous response of Citigroup's senior officers to a different but equally reliable audit conducted by BWU co-founder Richard Bowen. We did so in a January 30, 2016 New Economic Perspectives blog urging presidential candidates in the 2016 election to pledge to implement the 60-day BWU plan to restore the rule of law to Wall Street.

As documented in the SEC complaint, Countrywide's managers conducted a secret internal study of Countrywide's liar's loans that, on June 2, 2006, confirmed Krystofiak's findings of endemic fraud in liar's loans. Fraud was the norm in Countrywide's liar's loans, a fact that it failed to disclose to its stockholders and secondary market purchasers. Instead of stopping such loans, Countrywide's senior officers caused it to adopt what they termed "Extreme Alt-A" loans offered by Bear and Lehman that "layered" this fraud risk on top of a half dozen additional massive risks to create what Countrywide's controlling officer described as loans that were "toxic" and "inherently unsound." "Alt-A" was the euphemism for liar's loans. Countrywide made massive amounts of "Extreme Alt-A" and acted as a vector spreading these "toxic" loans throughout the financial system. A member of our group, Dr. Michael Winston, tried to stop these kinds of abuses, which enriched top management but bankrupted Countrywide.

Similarly, a member of our group, Richard Bowen and his team of expert underwriters, documented that Citigroup knew that it was purchasing tens of billions of dollars of loans annually on the basis of fraudulent "reps and warranties" – and then reselling them to Fannie and Freddie on the basis of fraudulent reps and warranties. Bowen put the highest levels of Citigroup (including Bob Rubin) on personal notice in writing as the incidence of fraud climbed from 40% to 60%. (It eventually reached an astonishing 80% fraud incidence.) Citigroup's leadership's response was to remove his staff. Senior Citigroup officers also responded to the surging fraud by causing Citigroup to become a major purchaser of fraudulently originated liar's loans.

We can now add the senior leaders that determined Wells Fargo's response to its 4506-T audit. We draw on the Department of Justice (DOJ) disclosures in conjunction with its indefensible settlement of civil fraud claims against Wells Fargo's massive mortgage fraud. The DOJ press release revealed that "in 2005, Wells Fargo began an initiative to double its production of subprime and Alt-A loans." DOJ did not explain that this was after the FBI warned there was an emerging "epidemic" of mortgage "fraud" that would cause a financial "crisis" if it were not stopped. The settlement discloses that Wells' risk officers alerted senior managers that the plan to increase greatly the number of liar's loans would greatly increase fraud in 2005 before Wells implemented the plan.

The press release had other bombshells (unintentionally) demonstrating the strength of the criminal cases that DOJ refused to bring against Wells' senior officers. Wells Fargo's 4506-T audit found that its liar's loans were endemically fraudulent, and the amount of inflated income was extraordinary.

The results of Wells Fargo's 4506-T testing were disclosed in internal monthly reports, which were widely distributed among Wells Fargo employees. One Wells Fargo employee in risk management observed that the "4506-T results are astounding" yet "instead of reacting in a way consistent with what is being reported WF [Wells Fargo] is expanding stated [income loan] programs in all business lines."

The press release note some other actions by Wells' senior managers that show what prosecutors term "consciousness of guilt." Such actions make (real) prosecutors salivate. The press release's final substantive revelation is the unbelievable rate of loan defaults on Wells Fargo's fraudulent loans and the exceptional damages those loans and sales caused.

Wells Fargo sold at least 73,539 stated income loans that were included in RMBS between 2005 to 2007, and nearly half of those loans have defaulted, resulting in billions of dollars in losses to investors.

Typical default rates on conventional mortgages averaged, for decades, around 1.5 percent. The Wells Fargo liar's loans defaulted at a rate 30 times greater.

How Corrupt is Wells? Cheating Customers is "Courageous"

The press release does not contain the Wells Fargo gem that proves our family rule that it is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody. Paragraph H of the settlement reveals that Wells' term for doubling its number of fraudulent liar's loans in 2005 was "Courageous Underwriting." Wells' senior managers changed its compensation system to induce its employees to approve even worse loans. Calling defrauding your customers "courageous" epitomizes Wells Fargo's corrupt culture built on lies and lies about lies.

DOJ's pathetic settlement with Wells Fargo has no admissions by the bank. It does not require a penny in damages from any bank officer. It does not require a bank officer to return a penny of bonuses received through these fraudulent loans. The settlement contains DOJ's statement that its investigation found that Wells' violated four federal criminal statutes. DOJ will continue to grant de facto immunity from prosecution to elite banksters. The Trump administration has again flunked a major test dealing with the swamp banksters.

Section H (b) of the settlement is factually inaccurate in a manner that makes it highly favorable to fraudulent lenders making liar's loans. There is no indication that DOJ ever investigated Wells' fraudulent loan origination practices. It was overwhelmingly lenders and their loan brokers that put the lies in liar's loans. DOJ's settlement documents do not refer to Wells whistleblowers, even though and competent investigation would have identified dozens of whistleblowers. Throughout its Wells documents, DOJ implies that borrowers overstated their income rather than Wells and its loan brokers.

The Jig is Up on DOJ's Pathetic Excuses for Refusing to Jail Elite Bank Frauds

We now know with certainty from the whistleblowers and the internal audits that the response of Citigroup, Countrywide, and Wells Fargo's senior leaders to knowing that most of their liar's loans and the reps and warranties they made about those loans were fraudulent. We know with certainty that Michael Winston and Richard Bowen's disclosures were correct. We know with certainty that each served up to DOJ on a platinum platter dream cases for prosecuting Citigroup and Countrywide's top managers. The senior managers' response to proof that their banks were engaged in endemic fraud makes sense only if the senior managers were leading an "accounting control fraud," which enriches the managers by harming the lender.

When the appraisers' warned of extensive extortion by lenders and their agents to inflate appraisals, when the FBI warned that mortgage fraud was becoming "epidemic" and would cause a financial "crisis" if not halted, and when the MBA publicized Krystofiak and MARI's warnings that liar's loans were endemically fraudulent, the fraudulent CEOs' response was always the same. In each case, they expanded what they knew were endemically fraudulent liar's loans and increased the extortion of appraisers.

Back to BWU's 4506-T Proposal

This brings us back to reminding the public what BWU proposed 32 months ago about 4506-T audits. Point 17 of our 60-day plan began:

Within 60 days, each federal financial regulatory agency directs any bank that it regulates to conduct and publicly report a "Krystofiak" study on a sample of "liar's" loans that they continue to hold. Krystofiak devised a clever study that he presented to the Federal Reserve in an unsuccessful attempt to try to get the Fed to stop the epidemic of fraudulent liar's loans. Lenders and secondary market purchasers routinely required borrowers to authorize the lender and any subsequent purchaser of the loan to obtain a "transcript" (4506-T) of the borrower's tax returns from the IRS to allow the lender to quickly and inexpensively verify the borrower's reported income.

Other parts of our 60-day plan called for DOJ appointees with the courage, integrity, and skills to restore the rule of law to Wall Street. We also explained the needs (and means) for the banking regulators to conduct the investigations (such as 4506-T audits), activate a legion of whistleblowers, and make the criminal referrals to DOJ essential to bring successful prosecutions.

Conclusion

Had the regulators (particularly the Fed through its HOEPA power) required each bank making liar's loans to conduct a 4506-T audit, the senior managers would have faced a dilemma. They could stop the fraudulent lending or provide DOJ with a great opportunity to prosecute them. The bank CEOs' response to the internal audits showing endemic fraud and the retaliation against the whistleblowers combine to offer superb proof of senior managers' 'specific intent' to defraud. The reasons for the failure to prosecute were some combination of cowardice and politics. If Democrats win control of the House they can use their investigative powers to force each bank regulator to cause every relevant financial institution to conduct a 4506-T audit.

Of course, the Republican Senate and House chairs could order those steps today . We are not holding our breath, but BWU's co-founders are eager to aid either, or both, parties restore the rule of law to Wall Street. Instead, we are rapidly creating an intensely criminogenic environment on Wall Street that will eventually cause a severe financial crisis.


Hayek's Heelbiter , August 7, 2018 at 5:35 am

Did John Stumpf (President of Wells Fargo 2007-2016) really say, "If one family loses their home, it is a tragedy. If ten million people lose their homes, it is a statistic?"

Tinky , August 7, 2018 at 6:33 am

Even by Black's lofty standards, this is an outstanding article. The fact that it won't be published in the mainstream media, and that the vast majority of regulators and politicians will ignore it, underscores once again just how broken and corrupted the American political and economic systems are.

Colonel Smithers , August 7, 2018 at 7:54 am

Thank you, Tinky.

It's the same in the UK with regard to mortgage fraud and reporting.

A colleague, brought in from the regulator to clean up our German basket case TBTF's brief and late in the day foray into the mortgage market, said the UK mortgage market was as corrupt / fraudulent. The same US firms were involved in many, if not most, cases. Lehman had an outpost, Ascendant, in my home county, Buckinghamshire, for such activity. Lehman, Merrill and Citi carved out the UK on geographical lines. One (US) firm was given the name of the Germanic tribe that settled in the area 1500 years before.

readerOfTeaLeaves , August 7, 2018 at 11:34 am

Agree about the excellence of this post.

FWIW, the kinds of government errors, cowardice, and confusions that Black relates – on top of having taxpayers foot the bill for it all – was a key factor IMVHO in people voting Trump as a kind of protest vote. He talks about 'fake news' to a huge number of Americans who faked income, or approved fake income.

The rest of us, I assume, continue to seethe and are supporting 'honest money, fair wages/salary' candidates like Warren and Sanders.

flora , August 7, 2018 at 11:54 am

+1

Tom Stone , August 7, 2018 at 7:49 am

In early 2005 I was working as a loan Broker when I met the World Savings rep or the first time.
The first words out of his mouth were a warning not to take more than 3 pints on the back end because it was greedy, the second sentence was "If there's a problem with the income the underwriter will drop the file on my desk, I'll call you and we'll fix it".
He's still in the business, a few rungs further up the corporate ladder, I got out of the business the following week.

Peter Pan , August 7, 2018 at 10:31 am

If Democrats win control of the House they can use their investigative powers to force each bank regulator to cause every relevant financial institution to conduct a 4506-T audit.

The establishment democrats that receive donor dollars from Wall Street banks? I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to even investigate much less do anything else to stop this criminal activity.

Otherwise another excellent post by Bill Black.

Tomonthebeach , August 7, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Also, is there a statute of limitations on this fraud? If so, both parties might just be running out the clock.

crittermom , August 7, 2018 at 7:43 pm

+1

Bewildered , August 7, 2018 at 10:41 am

Fabulous piece as usual from Mr. Black. Just makes the tenure of the previous administration all the more complicit in the current state of affairs. As Mr. Black details there was an obvious solution to uncover the fraud and go after senior execs, something that also could have also been done when the 'democrat' party held the House and at least a leverage position in the Senate. What the American public received instead was a giant con job/cover-up advertised as restitution and Obama goes on national TV to pathetically claim that grossly fraudulent behavior was simply unethical. Obviously that maneuver had a higher ROI for post-tenure legacy building and fundraising.

georgieboy , August 7, 2018 at 10:50 am

Wells Fargo -- doing it the Warren Buffet way! For that matter, Goldman Sachs -- doing it the Warren Buffet way!

Superb summary by Mr. Black, thanks Yves.

Bottom Gun , August 7, 2018 at 11:10 am

There is really a simple solution: fire everyone at DOJ and replace them with Air Force officers.

An Air Force officer is brave. He will fly through enemy fire if he has to in order to do his job. He gives no thought to the Taliban career opportunities that he might be forgoing by bombing them.

An Air Force officer is competent. He can fly through thunderstorms in the dead of night and get his bombs when and where the forward air controller down with the infantry needs them. Compare that to the experience of an honest IG official trying to get an indictment from DOJ for anyone at a mega-bank.

An Air Force officer knows how to get funding for his priorities. The Air Force annual budget, at $156 billion, is about 5 times that of DOJ. Enough said.

When you know these facts, the solution is obvious.

Kevbot5000 , August 7, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Go read The Pentagon Wars or Coram's Boyd . Air Force (or other service) officers have no particular claim to virtue. If you pulled mostly captains maybe it'd work, but the bravery and competence needed on the front line is vastly different from that needed from say a Colonel or General running programs/units which is likely the officers you'd be bringing in. Remember you're advocating bringing in people responsible for the boondoggle that is the F35 to shape up an organization. (which is not an isolated instance but emblematic of the upper tiers of the service)

Bottom Gun , August 7, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Thanks for the referrals; let me take a look. (I have read Thomas Ricks' The Generals , which I suspect makes a similar point to those.) The point is acknowledged, although I have not only read The Chickenshit Club but lived through it. There were many DOJ people I had to deal with whom I can only describe using Bundy's pungent phrase for the South Vietnamese political leadership: "the absolute bottom of the barrel." They contrasted starkly with the fellow junior officers I knew in my youth, but as you noted, those were junior officers.

Susan the other , August 7, 2018 at 12:08 pm

The simplicity of the 4506-T audits is as profound as the physics comparison of the diversity of the economy to GDP. These things don't work when all the chaos comes home to roost. In 1989 our economy was on the rocks and our corporations were offshoring as fast as they could; the USSR collapsed and we landed like a murder of crows to pick their bones and loot Russia. OPEC was naming their price; China was exporting massive deflation; our banks were already on the brink. But how to bring home all the loot from not just Russia but all the other illegal sources connected with our once and future imperialism? We were no longer a country of laws; we were looters, thieves and launderers. We were trying to salvage our "investments" or we were hoovering up flight capital or some other thing that had nothing to do with law and order and democracy. You name it. How else did all the banks, all of them, agree to forego their own standards and make all those conveyor belt loans? They prolly all had to become industrial laundromats and get rid of the stuff asap. Which was perhaps only one aspect to the ongoing collapse of "capitalism" as we once knew it – but were unable to protect it. I love Bill Black because he makes me come to uncomfortable explanations who knows how it all fell apart? Somebody does.

templar555510 , August 7, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Superb comment Susan. I make know how ' it all fell apart ' other than recognising that the early capitalists worked with stuff that had to be produced, and so despite vile excesses produced something useful to many , whereas these financial capitalists produce nothing of value to anyone except themselves and take away something from everybody else ( liar's loans being a key example ) . The question is , is there any here beyond here ? Clearly not with ANY of the present political incumbents ( I am in the UK it's the same for you and us ) . So that in two sentences is my answer to your question . My question is ' how on earth do we get beyond here ?'

Chauncey Gardiner , August 7, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Re Bill Black: " Instead, we are rapidly creating an intensely criminogenic environment on Wall Street that will eventually cause a severe financial crisis."

By design and intent with no fear of criminal prosecution for fraud, imprisonment, or even surrender of ill-gotten personal financial gains. All brought to us courtesy of the political donor class and large corporations, those they have corrupted, and the Supreme Court's Orwellian-named Citizens United decision and expanded executive branch powers that make it possible.

Look at any set of issues: Failure to pass and implement policies to address climate change, endless wars, defunding public education and infrastructure, the opioid crisis, manipulation of financial markets, federal government austerity, transfers of public lands and resources into private hands, privatization of public services, healthcare, stagnant real wages, loss of any semblance of economic equality, debt burdens placed on our young people seeking economic opportunity or family formation, lack of legal separation of bank depository and payments system functions from their market speculations, failure to enforce corporate antitrust laws, erosion of privacy and civil liberties, repeated bubbles, concentration of media ownership in the hands of a few, secret international tax havens, etc. and what do you see?

Tim , August 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm

In case you need comedy – George Carlin The Death Penalty from 1996

https://youtu.be/qDO6HV6xTmI

crittermom , August 7, 2018 at 8:02 pm

Thanks, Tim. Comedy was exactly what I needed after Bill Black's excellent article. (One of his best, IMHO)

I saw George Carlin in person at a small theater in Denver long ago. He was great, & still cracks me up.

shinola , August 7, 2018 at 12:49 pm

With the latest disclosures about WF stealing directly from their banking customers on top of their previous frauds, I'm just sure the regulators will come down hard on them this time (NOT!)

I wonder if Mr. Trump, with his involvement in commercial RE, ever "mis-stated" his his income, assets and/or liabilities when obtaining a loan. Nah, couldn't happen.

Tomonthebeach , August 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

I wonder why anybody still banks with WF. My late mom had about 30K in a WF account under a trust that I could not close out for 24 months (Florida laws – WF had a branch in their eldercare facility.) I was delighted that my closeout check did not bounce.

Karma Fubar , August 7, 2018 at 1:22 pm

A while back I worked at a medical device startup operating within a formal (i.e. written and comprehensive) quality system. A quality system is required for any commercial sales of medical products; previously I had been involved in early stage R+D and had not been bound by such systems. So a lot of it was new to me.

Something that stuck out at the time, and probably ties in to the article above, was the sanctity of corporate internal audit files. The FDA could demand access to almost any company quality system document, except for internal audit files. They could be provided with summaries of these internal audits indicating something like "6 minor deficiencies found, 1 major deficiency found, 0 extreme deficiencies found" , but were not permitted access to the raw internal audits.

I suspect that financial firms have the same level of protection for their internal audits. Had they hired a consulting firm to investigate the accuracy of stated income in the loans they originated, the results of that outside investigation would probably be a document reviewable by government regulators (assuming they were interested in doing their job). But by pursuing this as an internal audit, executives knew that the results would never be reviewable, and give them plausible deniability that they knew of the systemic level of fraud.

There certainly must be other ways of investigating efficiency or compliance within a company, but by pursuing it as an internal audit they could easily bury the results.

Oregoncharles , August 7, 2018 at 1:52 pm

A quibble: comparing stated income to income tax forms may be misleading, although it is the standard. People have an interest in understating their income to the IRS, and in overstating it when seeking a loan. The logic is that they risk prosecution if they understate to the IRS, but there are plenty of situations where they're very unlikely to get caught. It's conceivable the loan application is more honest than the tax return.

perpetualWAR , August 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Neither is correct.

Enquiring Mind , August 7, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Loan officers I knew over the decades have changed their views. Asking them if they would lend their own money to the proposed borrower used to be more likely to elicit a Yes. When standards loosened (again) earlier this millennium, some answered No until realizing that they shouldn't care since the money wasn't theirs. What really mattered was getting that commission endorsed and deposited, given the rise of IBGYBG (I'll be gone, you'll be gone) thinking.

Another question I asked was about tracking borrower performance relative to loan officer compensation. Relationship building and longer term interactions declined with the rise of neo-liberalish (the -ish suffix indicates a primitive reaction to immediate perceived incentives without further investigation) mindsets. Portfolio lenders had more at risk but still laid off some of that on the deposit insurance funds. Loan buyers did not fully appreciate that they had to trust everyone preceding them in the value (destruction) cycle, from brokers and investment bankers through ratings agencies.

Internal audits, compliance functions and regulatory exams were often the only temporary inconveniences or obstacles to transactions and related income distribution.

Ron Con Coma , August 7, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Eric Holder for President – NOT!

steelhead23 , August 7, 2018 at 4:02 pm

If Democrats win control of the House they can use their investigative powers to force each bank regulator to cause every relevant financial institution to conduct a 4506-T audit.

Let us, for a moment, imagine this happens. Then what? The results would show widespread fraud and a pathetic lack of adequate vetting by the issuer. Then those fraudulent loans were aggregated into various RMBS and sold to others. I hope you can see that just this disclosure is likely to cause a substantial hiccup in the financial system, perhaps another full-blown crisis. And who would the public blame? The criminals – or the cops? I could see Dems, even Dems with little or no connection to the Street, deciding not to open Pandora's box.

That is one of the problems with the American political system. From defense appropriations to banking regulation, the pols live in fear of being tarred for doing the right thing, if the outcome is temporarily bad or unpopular. Yes, it would obviously be best to cleanse the wound, but doing so would hurt, so the pols decide that it would be best for their popularity to let the wound fester until it becomes too big to ignore or financial Armageddon occurs. Isn't that precisely the thinking of the Obama Administration?

Murgatroy , August 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm

All major Wall St banks and brokerages including Wachovia, Wells, BofA and even Citadel and a few foreign banks (ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, etc) set up an offshore sub called CDS Indexco. This was used as a defacto cartel to control the prices of both Sub-Prime CDO issues and their respective Credit Default Swaps. They created the Markit BBB- index which was used by Paulsen, Ackman and a few other chosen ones to short the MBS sub-prime market. This is the truth.. CDS Indexco dropped that name in Nov. 2008 when the accounting rules forced Marked to Market accounting and also the Consolidation of VIE's (Special Purpose Financial Subs that got an exception to the Enron Rule). So in other words: if banks had been made to follow the "Enron Rule" the financial crisis wouldn't have happened. Goldman's own employee was the Chairman of CDS Indexco, I couldn't make this shit up. And Yves knows it too. Gramm Leach Bliley made it all possible – so banks could hold both the debt and the equity of an entity that they took no responsibility for. This was the precise reason for Glass-Steagall banks were manhandling the ownership of business due to inherent conflicts of interest between debt and equity holders.

steelhead23 , August 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

My dear Murgatory, Wow. This is the first I have heard of CDS Indexco. You are suggesting that it was much more than a mere market clearinghouse. Where could I read more on this?

perpetualWAR , August 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm

Google it. I just did.
I. Am. Stunned.
Just when I think the shiitake can't get any deeper, it does.

perpetualWAR , August 7, 2018 at 7:34 pm

A former bank/trustee foreclosure attorney is running for a District Court judge position in Seattle. Remember Trott, the Foreclosure King, who Michigan sent to Congress? Yeah, this dude is trying to get on the bench.

crittermom , August 7, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Of course no bankers went to jail.

But does anyone remember this news from 2011, about the homeowner who did?
The lengths they went to 'catch him' once he was in their sites, says it all.
https://www.businessinsider.com/charlie-engle-2011-3

[Aug 07, 2018] Pat Buchanan Are Globalists Plotting A Counter-Revolution

Aug 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

For consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years : the frozen wages of U.S. workers, $12 trillion in U.S. trade deficits, 55,000 factories lost, 6 million manufacturing jobs gone, China surpassing the U.S in manufacturing, all causing a backlash that pushed a political novice to the Republican nomination and into the presidency.

To maintain a belief in the superiority of free trade to economic patriotism, in the face of such results, is to recognize that this belief system is impervious to contradictory proof.


Brazen Heist II -> brushhog Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:51 Permalink

The sad reality that I see all around is that Western civilization has been hijacked by degenerate hyenas like Rome was sacked from within first before being sacked externally. The institutions that once made the West a leader and a model, have been corrupted, tainted and filled with anti-humanists and crony corporatists. Greed is out of control and "popular culture" is spreading decay. The hollowing out will continue until these parasites find another host to leech off. Will it be China? Will it be a global government? Will it be another planet? Who knows.

Once upon a time figures like Rosenstein, Mueller, Brennan, Browder, Clapper, Clinton etc would be just fucking taken out or punished. Instead of that, they get to wander their toxic asses around like protected peacocks, all on tax payers dime, with their shitty agendas, and their shitty handlers cheering on the degeneracy and assault on the truth and the people.

If this is what "civilization" has boiled down to, count me the fuck out of it. The 5000 year old human farming experiment is merely switching straight jackets. Its the same old story that ever was, ever since we gave up the nomadic lifestyle. In a way, its probably an inevitability, given our flawed human nature, and the size of the population....and average intellect. The desire to be 'lead' by some ruling class, no matter what flavour of 'ism' it is, eventually all turns to the same end result....shit. Unless this global awakening can muster into a force to be reckoned with, and not be swayed by divide and conquer tactics, nothing will change. So far with the toxic Left vs Right divide, and countless other divides, the only beneficiaries of this are the ones at the top of the pyramid.

sarcrilege -> Brazen Heist II Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:12 Permalink

nature will take care of all this in due time...we just may not like the outcome

HopefulCynical -> sarcrilege Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:28 Permalink

Pat Buchanan: Are Globalists Plotting A Counter-Revolution?

HopefulCynical : Is the sky blue? Is water wet? Is fire hot?

FFS, look at the goddamn purge on (((Social media))). Of COURSE the (((globalists))) are attempting a counter-revolution.

We all need to move to alt-tech: Minds , Gab , Bitchute . Even if you don't have a (((social media))) presence, consider getting an alt-media presence. We've been wondering when the next phase would begin, whewn it would be time to take further action. Well, it's here.

First step in this next phase is to set up multiple lines of communication not under (((establishment))) control. Even if you seldom use them, set up accounts; advise those you know to do likewise. Wanna see the establishment panic? If they see the subscriber count for the alt-tech sites suddenly quadruple (or more) in response to their purge, they'll shit themselves. They'll probably attempt to pull domain registrars and financial processing services from those sites.

Then - the motherfucking games begin, bitchez.

[EDIT:] According to Styx, the alt-tech sites are already seeing a surge in membership. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZP1fwkdupg Let the (((establishment))) diaper-filling begin!

Endgame Napoleon -> Big Creek Rising Tue, 08/07/2018 - 12:14 Permalink

But will "negotiations" and regulatory loosening on issues like the environment and worker safety, which have gotten out of hand in the US to the disadvantage of underemployed citizens, offset the extremely low wages offered to Asian and Latin American workers in the countries where American-owned companies shipped over 6 million jobs, canceling out the SS-retirement fund contributions that would have been made by American workers [and] employers if the jobs had been kept here?

Cheap labor seems to TRUMP everything with US employers.

Running from the SS trust fund might be another reason for their abandonment of America.

Cheap labor Trumps everything here in the USA, too, and the cheap-labor pool is aided and abetted by the welfare system. That is why US employers prefer an often extremely absentee welfare and progressive-tax-code-subsidized labor market, receiving .gov-financed monthly bills and up to $6,431 in refundable child-tax-credit cash for US-born instant-citizen kids.

Contrary to myth, hard work, daily and all-day attendance and even work productivity, like every-month quota meeting, is NOT preferred by American employers for most of the jobs left here in the USA.

The welfare-eligible 42 million are (on the books) not hard workers, but part-time workers, staying under the income limits for welfare programs. I KNOW that from working at the Department of Human Services, where single moms and the womb-productive girlfriends of illegal and legal immigrants MUST submit proof of a single-breadwinner's part-time, traceable earnings to get the free stuff.

The earnings must fall below the income limits for welfare programs that ALWAYS reward part-time work in womb-productive single-breadwinner households of citizens and noncitizens. You cannot work full time in a minimum-wage job while meeting the income limits. When I worked at DHS, both the EBT and monthly cash assistance income limits were BELOW $900 per month......

Even if Trump eventually lures US corporations back here with looser regulations and tax cuts, rather than just unleashing a stock buy-back spree, it will not matter to the 101 million American citizens of working age who are out of the labor force and the 78 million gig pieceworkers, not if this welfare-rigged labor market of citizens and noncitizens continues to be the norm.

You cannot compete with a bigly labor market full of welfare-fetching citizens & noncitizens who do not need pay sufficient to cover rent due to their womb production.

Only a Deplorables First immigration reform would address that issue, including a big reduction in the number of welfare-eligible legal immigrants let in each year. The number 1.5 million is too many. This -- no more and no less than illegal immigration -- keeps wages down, but the illegal immigration has the added bonus of making America more dangerous.

The impasse on the immigration issue is the reason why I am skeptical of the value of current trade-war maneuvering, even though I am glad that Trump is addressing that general issue.

The other thing that complicates this trade war is the way that globalist elites have sold America out over the years, not just destroying the middle class with all of this offshoring and welfare-supported illegal labor, but also getting the US economy 1) waist-deep in debt, 2) dependent on foreign investment and 3) subject to getting jerked around by Machiavellian currency manipulation that non-math people, like me, really don't understand.

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/3463-trade-war-provides-perfect-cover-for-the-elitist-engineered-global-reset

It sounds kind of dangerous, though, even just the argument that Stockman makes about China being a house of cards that, if it came down, could have unintended consequences for the US.

I have no idea. But I do know that many of the people who voted for Trump are pretty adamant about the immigration issue, first and foremost, regarding it as an easier and less risky thing to get done as well.

Maybe, the children-at-the-border Movie of the Week has convinced most Trump voters to stay on the train, thinking something permanent has been done to contain the flow of welfare-rewarded illegal immigration.

I think many of the teenagers, released into the country to live with extended family or in foster care, will, in a few years, be entering the labor force as part-time workers, producing instant-citizen kids and getting free monthly bills and refundable child-tax-credit cash from .gov, while citizens like me will still face rent that eats up over half of our monthly, earned-only income from low-wage churn jobs.

As much of an enthusiastic Trump voter as I have been, going back a long way, I am not sure that I am going to vote in the mid-term general election. I am not going to vote for this Tammany Hall II Democratic Party, but I may just stay home.

There are many populists out there, not just on the right either, who are disgruntled for very real reasons, like this interesting article explains, so there will likely be wave after wave of non-centrist populism until globalism's shoreline has been redefined.

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/07/26/centrism-is-dead-and-it-never-really-existed/

Hmmm, weird, when I loaded the other link, it conformed to the format of this text box, but then when I loaded the link above this last paragraph, it reverted to cutting off the text on the side. Until I post it, I cannot see the full text after links are added.

Chupacabra-322 -> Brazen Heist II Tue, 08/07/2018 - 12:36 Permalink

@ Brazen,

"The few who understand the system, will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on it favors that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantages...will bear its burden without complaint and perhaps without suspecting that the system is inimical to their best interests."

-Rothschild Brothers of London communique' to associates in New York June 25th, 1863.

The Difference.

J. Speer-Willams

June 16, 2010.

New-Cons. Love War & torture, increased regulations, tyranny and taxes; with our taxes going to the plutocrats of the private banking community. They support governmental destruction of our environment, under the pretender of protecting it. They, also, overtly support corporatism (Fascism for Oligarchs) and any measures supported by the Republican Party that enrich the private International Monetary / Banking Cartel at the expensive of the. American People.

New- Libs. Love War & torture, increased regulations, tyranny and taxes; with our taxes going to the plutocrats of the private banking community. They support governmental destruction of our environment, under the pretender of protecting it. They, also, overtly support corporatism (Socialism for Oligarchs) and any measures supported by the Democratic Party that enrich the private International Monetary / Banking Cartel at the expensive of the. American People.

Batman11 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:08 Permalink

Neoliberalism was just one huge debt fuelled boom, which was replicated across the UK, the US, the Euro-zone, Japan and China.

At 25.30 mins we can see the super imposed the debt-to-GDP ratios.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6

The damage is done.

The economics of the neoliberal era had a fundamental flaw.

The 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn't look at private debt, neoclassical economics.

Same economics, same problem, globally.

TeethVillage88s -> Batman11 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:55 Permalink

I think Pat also gets this sentence wrong and if so I say he misses details we would like to see

This is truly economics uber alles, economy before country.

The University Economist programs/studies were more oriented toward people in the old days. Economics today is used to justify Wall Street type finance and ideology. Economic study was hijacked to serve only those looking to get rich any way they can. CFR agenda comes to mind. Globalism comes to mind also and is an attack on all nations constitutions.

Batman11 -> TeethVillage88s Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

The Americans have been discovering the problems of running an economy with bad economics.

Economics was always far too dangerous to be allowed to reveal the truth about the economy.

The Classical economist, Adam Smith, observed the world of small state, unregulated capitalism around him.

"The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers."

How does this tie in with the trickledown view we have today?

Somehow everything has been turned upside down.

The workers that did the work to produce the surplus lived a bare subsistence existence.

Those with land and money used it to live a life of luxury and leisure.

The bankers (usurers) created money out of nothing and charged interest on it. The bankers got rich, and everyone else got into debt and over time lost what they had through defaults on loans, and repossession of assets.

Capitalism had two sides, the productive side where people earned their income and the parasitic side where the rentiers lived off unearned income. The Classical Economists had shown that most at the top of society were just parasites feeding off the productive activity of everyone else.

Economics was always far too dangerous to be allowed to reveal the truth about the economy.

How can we protect those powerful vested interests at the top of society?

The early neoclassical economists hid the problems of rentier activity in the economy by removing the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income and they conflated "land" with "capital". They took the focus off the cost of living that had been so important to the Classical Economists to hide the effects of rentier activity in the economy.

The landowners, landlords and usurers were now just productive members of society again.

It they left banks and debt out of economics no one would know the bankers created the money supply out of nothing. Otherwise, everyone would see how dangerous it was to let bankers do what they wanted if they knew the bankers created the money supply through their loans.

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

The powerful vested interests held sway and economics was corrupted.

Now we know what's wrong with neoclassical economics we can put the cost of living back in.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

Employees want more disposable income (discretionary spending)

Employers want to pay lower wages for higher profits

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

The neoliberals obsessed about reducing taxes, but let the cost of living soar.

The economists also ignore the debt that is papering over the cracks and maintaining demand in the economy. This can never work in the longer term as you max. out on debt.

Felix da Kat Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:12 Permalink

The problem is the US has lost citizenry-control. A shadow-government along with media operatives work unseen to manipulate sentiment and events in-line with an overall globalist, world-government objective (Neo-Marxism). The so-called elites behind the curtain are after total control which is why we will continue toward totalitarian dictatorship. It will not be a one-man show nor will it be readily recognizable as such, rather there will be a secretive Cabal of select ultra-wealthy liberals who will negotiate with each other as to which levers to pull and valves to turn in order to "guide" culture and civilization. But the tightknit Cabal has more work to do to infiltrate deeper into US (and world) government. The EU's Parliament is a proto-type test to tweak how they must proceed. As the Cabal coalesces their power, more draconian rulership will become apparent. The noose will tighten slowly so as to be un-noticeable and unstoppable. Certain events are planned that will cause citizenry to demand totalitarianism (for safety reasons). For the Cabal, it'll be like taking candy from a baby. This, in a nutshell, is the outline of how the US (and Western civilization) loses its democracy.

Winston Smith 2009 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:22 Permalink

"...consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years..."

The point is that THAT is not "free trade," you idiot. Globalists just incorrectly call it that intentionally. HERE is what it is:

The Myth of Modern "Global Markets"

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/08/16/the-myth-of-modern-glob

Understanding how trillions of trade dollars influence geopolitical policy we begin to understand the three-decade global financial construct they seek to protect.

That is, global financial exploitation of national markets. FOUR BASIC ELEMENTS :

♦Multinational corporations purchase controlling interests in various national outputs and industries of developed industrial western nations.

♦The Multinational Corporations making the purchases are underwritten by massive global financial institutions, multinational banks.

♦The Multinational Banks and the Multinational Corporations then utilize lobbying interests to manipulate the internal political policy of the targeted nation state(s).

♦With control over the targeted national industry or interest, the multinationals then leverage export of the national asset (exfiltration) through trade agreements structured to the benefit of lesser developed nation states – where they have previously established a proactive financial footprint.

SJ158 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:34 Permalink

Pat must suffer from some kind of cognitive dissonance. There is no free trade, nor there was before Trump. In a world of flexible exchange rates and central banking backed-inflationary credit trade wars are the status quo. He willfully ignores all the effects of credit inflation, unsound money, tax structures, subsidies, regulatory burdens created internally and by those "trade deals" and last but not least the reserve status of the fiat dollar which basically turned the US in a huge nothing-for-something economy relative to its imports.

[Aug 07, 2018] The Story of Stagnant Wage Growth by Dean Baker

Images removed...
Notable quotes:
"... This column originally appeared on Dean Baker's blog: Beat the Press. ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

This recovery has not been great for workers. They have seen modest real wage gains over the last five years, but these gains have not come close to making up the ground lost in the recession and the first years of the recovery.

Nonetheless, real wages have been growing for most of the last five years. The last month has been an exception to this pattern, not because nominal wages have grown less, but because we had a large jump in energy prices, which has depressed real wage growth. Here's picture for the last five years.

... ... ...

As can be seen, there is a very modest acceleration in the rate of average hourly wage growth over this period from just over 2.0 percent in the middle of 2013 to 2.7 percent in the most recent data. Real wage growth, which is the difference between the rate of wage growth and the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, has mostly been positive, with the exception of a few months at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 and last month.

The explanation for the much larger variation in the real wage than the nominal wage is the variation in the rate of inflation over this period which is in turn overwhelmingly a function of changes in world oil prices. A sharp drop in world oil prices in 2014 translated into much lower energy prices for consumers in the United States. This meant very low, and even negative inflation rates, in 2015. The result was a much more rapid rate of real wage growth.

World oil prices have partially rebounded in the last two years, going from lows near $40 a barrel to current levels that are near $70. This has added to the inflation rate, pushing down real wage growth, and actually leading to short periods of negative growth.

The issue here is not that nominal wages have stopped growing, it is just that changes in world energy prices had led to a temporary drag on real wage growth, just as they provided a temporary boost to real wage growth in 2015.

This story is worth pointing out in the context of recent comments about real wages stagnating. This is true, but the cause is the rise in world oil prices, not something bad that happened to the labor market.

The folks who want to blame Trump for stagnant wages are off the mark, unless they think he is responsible for the rise in world oil prices. If the argument is that the tax cuts have not led to more rapid wage growth, this is true, but we really should not have expected to see much effect just yet. The tax cut story is that it will lead to more investment, which will in turn lead to higher productivity. Higher productivity will in turn lead to higher wages.

The key in this story is investment. And so far, there is nothing to show here , indicating that the tax cuts are only paying off for shareholders, not workers.

Anyhow, the point is that it's a bit silly to blame slower real wage growth on Trump. I'm not about to become a Trumper, but the guy does 1000 things every day for which he should be chased out of office. Let's focus on the real items, we don't have to make stuff up.

This column originally appeared on Dean Baker's blog: Beat the Press.

[Aug 07, 2018] Identity politics is a part of the ruling neoliberal class ideology

The best-case scenario looking forward is that Donald Trump is successful with rapprochement toward North Korea and Russia and that he throws a monkey wrench into the architecture of neoliberalism so that a new path forward can be built when he's gone. If he pulls it off, this isn't reactionary nationalism and it isn't nothing.
Notable quotes:
"... Here's the rub: Mr. Trump's critique of neoliberalism can accommodate class analysis whereas the Democrats' neoliberal globalism explicitly excludes any notion of economic power, and with it the possibility of class analysis. To date, Mr. Trump hasn't left this critique behind -- neoliberal trade agreements are currently being renegotiated. ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The rich have use identity wedge as a powerful tool to suppress class straggle:


Carey , August 3, 2018 at 9:58 pm

Donald Trump and the American Left, by Rob Urie:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/03/donald-trump-and-the-american-left/

Some "light bulb" moments in this article, for me anyway

Carey , August 3, 2018 at 10:51 pm

I thought this part of Urie's piece was especially good:

Left apparently unrecognized in bourgeois attacks on working class voters is that the analytical frames at work -- classist identity politics and liberal economics, are ruling class ideology in the crudest Marxian / Gramscian senses. The illusion / delusion that they are factually descriptive is a function of ideology, not lived outcomes.

Here's the rub: Mr. Trump's critique of neoliberalism can accommodate class analysis whereas the Democrats' neoliberal globalism explicitly excludes any notion of economic power, and with it the possibility of class analysis. To date, Mr. Trump hasn't left this critique behind -- neoliberal trade agreements are currently being renegotiated.

Asserting this isn't to embrace economic nationalism, support policies until they are clearly stated or trust Mr. Trump's motives. But the move ties analytically to his critique of neoliberal economic policies. As such, it is a potential monkey wrench thrown into the neoliberal world order. Watching the bourgeois Left put forward neoliberal trade theory to counter it would seem inexplicable without the benefit of class analysis.

JBird , August 4, 2018 at 12:35 am

Bourgeois left? Would it not be more accurate to say the bourgeois liberals? Although there is a continuum, not sharp lines.

Carey , August 4, 2018 at 12:41 am

Yes, bourgeois liberals would be more accurate, and that conflation really
annoys me. Good catch.

[Aug 07, 2018] Obamacare architect: We passed law due to 'stupidity of the American voter'

Aug 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

847328_3527 -> Kaiser Sousa Tue, 08/07/2018 - 17:45 Permalink

Obamacare architect: We passed law due to 'stupidity of the American voter'

~ Obama's Affordable Care Act author, Jonathan Gruber

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/10/obamacare-architect-we

[Aug 07, 2018] The role of US MSM in one sentence: "You furnish the pictures. I'll furnish the war."

Aug 07, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Summer , August 6, 2018 at 2:56 pm

"You furnish the pictures. I'll furnish the war."

Ha! The first thing that popped in my mind when I saw the headline "Press doesn't start wars – presidents do."

And that raises the more important question: Who stops them?

clarky90 , August 6, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Is press the enemy of the people? Jim Acosta confronts Sarah Sanders

"American journalist Jim Acosta confronts Press Secretary Sarah Sanders at news briefing in the White House."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IiCwy6skuU

A vignette of USAian political life. It is only three minutes long, and imo, speaks volumes.

Richard , August 6, 2018 at 5:10 pm

"USAian" – we really do need to find a way to refer to ourselves collectively in this country, that doesn't marginalize 100s of millions of other people.
Not our most pressing problem, I grant you
But if we put our minds to it we could probably knock it out toot sweet

drumlin woodchuckles , August 6, 2018 at 7:37 pm

USAmerican. pronounced yooessamerican.

Yasha , August 6, 2018 at 7:46 pm

"Usonian" was proposed during the the 19th century and promoted by Frank Lloyd Wright. This is familiar to Esperantists, as the Esperanto name for the U.S.A. is "Usono" and its inhabitants are "Usonanoj."

[Aug 07, 2018] Truth Decay: Living in the Age of the Big Lie

Notable quotes:
"... constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment. ..."
"... Genetically Modified Canola 'Escapes' Farm Fields, August 6, 2010 ..."
Aug 07, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"Living in the Age of the Big Lie" [Stephen Gold, Industry Week ]. Gold is President and Chief Executive Officer, Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI):

All this has created the potential for an American cultural crisis of distrust, authoritatively captured in two recently published analyses.

In "Truth Decay," [cute! –lambert] the RAND Corporation lays the blame for the deteriorating role of facts and data in public life on four primary causes:

1. The rise of social media
2. An overtaxed educational system that cannot keep up with changes in the "information ecosystem"
3. Political and social polarization
4. And -- perhaps due to all of these factors -- the increasing tendency of individuals to create their own subjective social reality, otherwise known as "cognitive bias."

"The Death of Truth" by Pulitzer-Prize winning book critic Michiko Kakutani explores the waning of integrity in American society, particularly since the 2016 elections. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's observation that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts," is more timely than ever, Kakutani says: "polarization has grown so extreme that voters have a hard time even agreeing on the same facts." And no wonder: Two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news through social media -- a platform that has been overwhelmed by trolls and bots, and which uses algorithms to decide what each of us gets to see.

Executives ignore the cultural shift away from honesty at their peril.

Social media has its own problems, gawd knows -- break them up and outlaw the algos, and they'd be a lot more like the public utilities they should really be -- but it's amazing how vague hand-wringing pieces like this ignore at least four seismic events since 2000, all of which involve perceived legitimacy and the nature of truth: (1) Bush v. Gore, (2) Iraq WMDs, (3) Obama's "hope and change" campaign, followed by (4) the crash, the bailouts, the free passes for bankers, and a brutal recession. The official narrative and its maintainers didn't lose credibility because of trolls and bots, who might be regarded as opportunistic infections overwhelming an already weakened immnune system.

Grassroots and/or AstroTurf?

Our Famously Free Press

"The Press Doesn't Cause Wars -- Presidents Do" [ The Atlantic ] • One of a ginormous steaming load of revisionist and defensive articles prompted by Trump's tweet that the press can "causes War." Anyone who was present for the build up to the Iraq War knows that Trump's claim is true; in fact, the "media critique" that began then was prompted by the Iraq WMDs scam, in which the press -- *** cough *** Judy Miller ***cough*** -- was not merely compliant or complicitous, but active and vociferous, especially in shunning and shaming skeptics. Of course, everybody who was wrong about Iraq was wrong in the right way, so they all still have jobs (David Frum, Bush speechwriter and Hero of the Resistance, at the Atlantic, among hundreds of others). So revisionist history is very easy for them to write.

Class Warfare

"The New Class-Blindness" [ Law and Political Economy ]. "It is true that class-based discrimination does not trigger heightened scrutiny under equal protection in the way that race-based and sex-based discrimination do . Some judges -- even some Supreme Court Justices -- have begun to argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fifth Circuit reached this conclusion a few years ago in the Whole Woman's Health case, in which it asserted that judges could consider only obstacles created by "the law itself" when determining whether a law unduly burdens the right to abortion -- a category that excluded obstacles such as lack of transportation, childcare, days off from work, and money for overnight stays. When Whole Woman's Health reached the Supreme Court, some of the Justices (in dissent) expressed support for this approach."

"Vermont's Striking Nurses Want A Raise for Nonunion Workers Too" [ Labor Notes ]. "Yet when 1,800 nurses and technical staff struck for better wages July 12-13 at the state's second-largest employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the people of Burlington came out in force to back them up. 'We had policemen and firefighters and UPS drivers pulling over and shaking our hands' on the picket line, said neurology nurse Maggie Belensz. 'We had pizza places dropping off dozens of pizzas, giving out free ice cream.' And when a thousand people marched from the hospital through Burlington's downtown, 'we had standing ovations from people eating their dinners,' she said. 'It was a moving experience.' One reason for such wide support: these hospital workers aren't just demanding a raise themselves. They're also calling for a $15 minimum wage for their nonunion co-workers, such as those who answer the phones, mop the floors, cook the food, and help patients to the bathroom."

"What Are Capitalists Thinking?" [Michael Tomaskey, New York Times ]. "I write today with some friendly advice for the capitalist class about said socialists. You want fewer socialists? Easy. Stop creating them . I understand completely why it's happening. Given what's been going on in this country, it couldn't not have happened. And if you're a capitalist, you'd better try to understand it, too -- and do something to address the very legitimate grievances that propelled it." • Finally, reality begins to penetrate the thickened craniums of the better sort of liberal

"In 2008, America Stopped Believing in the American Dream" [Frank Rich, New York Magazine ]. (The "American Dream" being one of the official narratives.) "It's not hard to pinpoint the dawn of this deep gloom: It arrived in September 2008, when the collapse of Lehman Brothers kicked off the Great Recession that proved to be a more lasting existential threat to America than the terrorist attack of seven Septembers earlier. The shadow it would cast is so dark that a decade later, even our current run of ostensible prosperity and peace does not mitigate the one conviction that still unites all Americans: Everything in the country is broken. Not just Washington, which failed to prevent the financial catastrophe and has done little to protect us from the next, but also race relations, health care, education, institutional religion, law enforcement, the physical infrastructure, the news media, the bedrock virtues of civility and community. Nearly everything has turned to crap, it seems ." • Ditto


Arizona Slim , August 6, 2018 at 3:08 pm

Computer glitch? Well, who programmed the computer and who paid 'em? Follow the money, and you'll find that it leads back to Wells Fargo.

sierra7 , August 6, 2018 at 4:54 pm

"We ("They") Were Doing God's Work" LLoyd Blankfein then head of Goldman Sachs in his testimony to Congress on " .what went wrong".

nippersdad , August 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm

I think I would put it much earlier than that. Anyone who watched Newt Gingrich during his Contract on America days, who watched Max Cleland be attacked by Saxby Chambliss, who watched as Clinton deregulated the media in favor of Rupert Murdoch even as they slagged him, knew something was afoot.

Integrity has been in short supply ever since.

foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:18 pm

How about going back a bit further,
Carter, put a sweater on.
Reagan, put it on the credit card.

cm , August 6, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Shenzhen Tech Girl Naomi Wu

informative post spelling out that China is still a repressive government in ways that Americans often cannot relate.

Carey , August 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm

Tomasky at NYT:

"I have mixed feelings about this socialism boomlet. It has yet to prove itself politically viable in general elections outside a handful of areas, and by 2021 we could wake up and see that it's been a disaster for Democrats."

What is a Democrat? Are they inherently good? Is failing the Democrats OK, if doing so improves the lives of the 90%?

pretzelattack , August 6, 2018 at 3:23 pm

I would say it is required.

Pat , August 6, 2018 at 5:07 pm

Mr. Tomasky seems to have missed that Democrats throwing out the concerns of the working class to court wealthy donors for its Clintonian politics boomlet has been distinctly, well not all that long term politically viable. It has been a disaster for the Democrats. There were signs prior to 2000, but it took starting an unpopular and largely unsuccessful war and attempting to undermine Social Security for the Democrats to make a come back. That their success was pretty much over by 2010, with the exception of the Presidency is very clear in the massive loss of Governorships, State Houses and yes Congress leading up to the 2016 debacle when they foolishly nominated the Grand Dame of that 'can't give me lots of money – suck on it' political position to be their Presidential nominee.

But why let facts get in the way of a good narrative meant to convince the rubes to continue voting for polticians who have no interest in their concerns because of the right pronouns and Russia!

Carey , August 6, 2018 at 6:16 pm

All well said. I wonder also about who is included in Tomasky's "we".

Class class class

nothing but the truth , August 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Truth Decay

The biggest cause is spin , that has become an art form, a business and career path.

Telling the truth in public is an invitation to cut short your career. The only time when officials tell the truth is when they are comfortably retired.

Especially with economists and journalists (the conscience keepers), it is not so important what they are saying, but why they are saying it (basically lack of trust in the narrator).

jsn , August 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm

I can't remember who it was, someone like Art Buchwald or Molly Ivins way back, who said "a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth."

Craig H. , August 6, 2018 at 5:15 pm

I personally blame Bill Clinton. The turning point was the report that he told Lewinsky "deny deny deny there's nothing they can do."

Which is true but that was the point in the timeline when a critical mass of people began to live like that. Or when it became obvious to me. Perhaps it was exactly like that for a long time before and it is not BC's fault.

Synapsid , August 6, 2018 at 3:39 pm

It's cheering that coal shipment and use in the US has declined. The good news for our coal industry is that coal exports January to June 2018 have risen, in particular to Africa, Asia (largely to India which is voracious) and South America.

The current Administration can thank the previous one for increasing our capacity to export coal, I believe.

Tom Stone , August 6, 2018 at 3:40 pm

Sarah Jeong is a piece of work, is her desk next to Judy Miller's?
Good grief, the cultural differences between different parts of SE Asian Countries can be profound let alone the cultural differences between countries.
I'm reminded of a boss who told me that monopolies increase competition, with a straight face.

Carey , August 6, 2018 at 4:13 pm

My impression is that Ms. Jeong's job is and will be to start plenty of cultural "fires", so
that while the citizenry is distracted with them, the looting and pillaging of the many by the few can continue.

jsn , August 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm

" the significant benefits that Federal Reserve independence brings." For whom?

diptherio , August 6, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Re: Mastodon

You can simply "unpin" the columns you don't want to see.

diptherio , August 6, 2018 at 4:21 pm

But to answer the question you actually asked the Federated timeline includes your local timeline, which itself includes your home timeline. So if you want to see it all, just use the federated timeline. If you only want to see people you follow, use the home timeline, etc.

Montanamaven , August 6, 2018 at 4:54 pm

How do you start? What "instances" would be a good fit?

Lee , August 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Re Sarah Jeong

What's an Asian woman doing criticizing a white guy for commenting on a predominantly, but not exclusively, black art form? I mean, why is she even speaking English and how about that name Sarah for an egregious example of cultural appropriation? And, as I have previously queried on this site: how is it even permissible for Yo-Yo Ma to play Bach on the cello? And in case you ask: yes, identity politics has finally driven me insane. Or is it they who are mad?

fresno dan , August 6, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Lee
August 6, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Actually, after I read the below, I'm kinda warming to her ..

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/welcome-to-bad-faith/

She (Sarah Jeong) wrote: "After a bad day, some people come home and kick the furniture. I get on the Internet and make fun of The New York Times." "I don't feel safe in a country that is led by someone who takes Thomas Friedman seriously." "Hannah Rosin shatters ceiling by proving women writers can be as hackish as Tom Friedman, too." "[David] Brooks is an absolute nitwit tho." "Notajoke: I'm being forced to read Nicholas Kristof. This is the worst." "if I had a bajillion dollars, I'd buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Tom Friedman ."

curlydan , August 6, 2018 at 5:34 pm

combining the articles, it sounds like she's got a lot of opinions. Good for an aspiring pundit but also opening herself up for a greater possibility of errors.

WobblyTelomeres , August 6, 2018 at 6:59 pm

I'd buy the New York Times, just for the pleasure of firing Tom Friedman ."

Ah, but you"ll have to scheme to have a cabbie deliver the news. Otherwise, he wouldn't believe it.

sleepy , August 6, 2018 at 3:45 pm

it's amazing how vague hand-wringing pieces like this ignore at least four seismic events since 2000, all of which involve perceived legitimacy and the nature of truth: (1) Bush v. Gore, (2) Iraq WMDs, (3) Obama's "hope and change" campaign, followed by (4) the crash, the bailouts, the free passes for bankers, and a brutal recession.

Good list to which I would add the Katrina debacle.

Arizona Slim , August 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm

One for the thumb!

jonhoops , August 6, 2018 at 7:18 pm

9-11 anyone? Of course we should probably go back to at least Nov. 1963

foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:28 pm

We probably should, but then you're just a conspiracy theorist.
Ya big dummy.

foghorn longhorn , August 6, 2018 at 8:48 pm

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DXY02Qkuc_f8&ved=2ahUKEwj61Jru2tncAhUJLKwKHYx6CZYQwqsBMAZ6BAgKEBE&usg=AOvVaw3Qc0sJeXBikn0l5vC9T388

Unless of course all the SS guys are riding on the VP limo.

fresno dan , August 6, 2018 at 3:55 pm

The New Class-Blindness" [Law and Political Economy]. "It is true that class-based discrimination does not trigger heightened scrutiny under equal protection in the way that race-based and sex-based discrimination do . Some judges -- even some Supreme Court Justices -- have begun to argue that it is constitutionally impermissible for courts to take class into account under the Fourteenth Amendment.
================
In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread. Anatole France

flora , August 6, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Note to Frank Rich: Read Simon Johnson's 2009 Atlantic Magazine essay 'The Quiet Coup'.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/

He saw what would happen if the US govt didn't clean up the TBTF banks, Wall St., and other financial perps. This still needs to happen.

knowbuddhau ,