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Collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 will in 40-50 years lead to the collapse of USA-led global neoliberal empire

Analogy exists between collapse of neoliberalism and dissolution of the USSR. When ideology became discredited, the social system based on it enters zombie state. Neoliberalism which entered zombie state in 2008 now is more cruel and bloodthirsty then before

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Introduction

As the most recent transformation of capitalism, neoliberalism is a broad economic and political project of restoring class power of financial oligarchy it enjoyed in 20th of XX century (financial revanchism). It involved  consolidation, globalization and rapid concentration of financial capital (Giroux 2008; 2014). Both neoliberal  governments and authoritarian societies share one important self-destructive trait: They care only about consolidating power in the hands of the financial elite, common people be damned.  As such it  is not a sustainable social system, although this does not mean that the replacement will be better. It well can be worse.

In any case financial oligarchy is the most criminal and vile part of capitalism class. Probably more vile then limitary industrial complex. The most close to the organized crime. So the fact that they will drive the societies which allowed them to rule of the cliff is govern. Neoliberalism was a toxic ideology designed specifically to restore the power of financial oligarchy and as such it has no staying power.  It is unable to improve the standard of living of the majority of the population as it is oriented on looting of this majority by the financial oligarchy without any interference from the state.  The peak power of neoliberal ideology was the decade of  1990-2000. during this decade the standard of living of working and middle class of the USA was sustained by looting the xUSSR area as well as computer and telecommunication revolution, which partially compensated the deindustrialization trend.

After that neoliberalism experienced series of shocks:

  1. Dot com bubble
  2. Bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble, devaluation of CDOs and the collapse of financial industry. Government bailout at a huge cost instead of deep reforms of financial sector (Obama was really a traitor of his class and his race) . That was a knockdown, but not a knockout. This crisis buried the neoliberal ideology, much like WWII buried Bolsheviks ideology.  At this point neoliberalism entered zombie stage, much like Bolshevism in late forties.
  3. Election of Trump and rejection of candidate of neoliberal elite -- Hillary Clinton by the majority of the US electorate.
  4. Color revolution against Trump by intelligence agencies and Clinton wing of the Democratic Party which further delegitimized neoliberal elite. Epstein scandal.
  5. Unleashing by Trump administration of the trade war with China and end of "classic neoliberalism" globalization period.
  6. Defeat of the USA in Afghanistan  and realization that the dominance of Atlantic nations (G7) is coming to the end (Macron  remarks to European diplomats immediately after the Group of 7 summit in Biarritz  is a nice illustration here)

As an ideology, neoliberalism consider profit-making to be the final arbiter and essence of democracy ("market fundamentalism"). Like Fascism and Bolshevism neoliberalism relies on the power of the state for pushing neoliberal "reforms" and the relentless brainwashing of the population by neoliberal propaganda (including indoctrination of the university students via neoclassical economy courses).   So democracy under neoliberalism is just a fig leaf covering dictatorship of financial oligarchy ("inverted totalitarism'). Despite smoke screen of "free market" rhetoric neoliberal are statists  par excellence. But this is covered by thick smoke screen  of propaganda, which in its intensity, penetration and the level of deception outdo Bolsheviks propaganda by an order of magnitude approaching the level described in Brave New World dystopia. In other words neoliberal population is a thoroughly brainwashed population.

There no surprise that the majority of the USA population hate it which in this USA resulted in the election of Trump and is GB in Brexit. Neoliberalism's sale of state assets, offshored jobs, stripped services, poorly-invested infrastructure and armies of the forcibly unemployed have delivered, not promised "efficiency" and "flexibility" to communities, but discomfort and misery. The wealth of a few has now swelled to a level of conspicuousness that must politely be considered vulgar, yet the neoliberal ideology and perverted neoliberal rationality entrenched itself so deeply in how governments make decisions and allocate resources. To the extent that one of propagandists of neoliberalism once declared its triumph "the end of history".

From the late 1980s to 2016, neoliberal ideas held hegemonic sway among both the Democratic elite and the Republican elite in the USA. But election of Trump was a sign of the  legitimization of the neoliberal elite and a really serious crack in the neoliberal facade. Which neoliberal elite tried to patch with the campaign of virulent Russophobia (aka RussiaGate.)  Moreover intelligence agencies and Clinton wing of Democratic Party tried to reverse the results of the elections by unleashing the color revolution against Trump.

Unlike fascism and bolshevism which both relied on population mobilization, neoliberalism tried to emasculate citizens suppressing political activity by treating them as just a consumers. In other words it promote political passivity and replacement of real political struggle by colorful spectacle like wrestling in WWE. Consumption is the only legitimate form of activity of citizens under neoliberalism and exercising of their choice during this consumption is the only desirable political activity.  With the related religious belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations (the  idea of "self-regulating market," to use Karl Polanyi's phrase.) The resulting grinding mass unemployment — with only tiny remnants of New Deal protection mechanisms to soften the blow — created political instability that destroyed any chances of Clinton Wing of Dems for reelection in 2016.

As the mode of governance, neoliberalism produces the way of life driven by a survival-of-the fittest ethic, grounded in the idea of the free, predatory individual in economic jungles. And it declared the moral the right of ruling groups and institutions to exercise power ignoring issues of ethics and social costs (variant of "might is right" mentality).  Epstein scandal (or more correctly the fact that Epstein was not ostracized after his initial conviction and prison term)  is just extreme demonstration of this mentality. 

In the area of economic policies such mentality tend to produce an economy with highly unequal incomes, prevalence of monopolies and high business concentration, unstable booms, and long, painful busts.

As the political project, it involves the privatization of public services, the dismantling of the connection of private issues and public problems, the selling off of state functions, liberalization of trade in goods and capital investment, the eradication of government regulation of financial institutions and corporations, the destruction of the welfare state and unions, and the complete "marketization" and "commodification" of social relations.

Neoliberalism has put an enormous effort into creating a commanding cultural apparatus and public pedagogy in which individuals can only view themselves as consumers, embrace freedom as the right to participate in the market, and supplant issues of social responsibility for an unchecked embrace of individualism and the belief that all social relation be judged according to how they further one’s individual needs and self-interests.

Matters of mutual caring, respect, and compassion for the other have given way to the limiting orbits of privatization and unrestrained self-interest, just as it has become increasingly difficult to translate private troubles into larger social, economic, and political considerations. As the democratic public spheres of civil society have atrophied under the onslaught of neoliberal regimes of austerity, the social contract has been either greatly weakened or replaced by savage forms of casino capitalism, a culture of fear, and the increasing use of state violence.

One consequence is that it has become more difficult for people to debate and question neoliberal hegemony and the widespread misery it produces for young people, the poor, middle class, workers, and other segments of society — now considered disposable under neoliberal regimes which are governed by a survival-of-the fittest ethos, largely imposed by the ruling economic and political elite.

That they are unable to make their voices heard and lack any viable representation in the process makes clear the degree to which young people and others are suffering under a democratic deficit, producing what Chantal Mouffe calls “a profound dissatisfaction with a number of existing societies” under the reign of neoliberal capitalism (Mouffe 2013:119). This is one reason why so many youth, along with workers, the unemployed, and students, have been taking to the streets in Greece, Mexico, Egypt, the United States, and England.

Neoliberalism is the second after Marxism social system that was "invented" by a group of intellectuals (although there was not a single dominant individual among them) and implemented via coup d'état. ( Installed from above by a "quite coup") Although is  formally only around 40 years old (if we count the age of neoliberalism from the election of Reagan, which means from 1981) neoliberalism as ideology was born much earlier, around in 1947.  And the first neoliberal US president was not Reagan, but  Jimmy Carter.

In any case in 2008 it already reached the stage of discreditation of its ideology. When ideology became discredited, the social system based on it enters zombie state. That happened with Bolshevism after its victory on the WWII when it became evident that the working class does not represent the new dominant class and communist party is unable to secure neither higher productivity of economics, nor higher standard of living for people then the advanced capitalist societies. Soviet soldiers in 1944-1945 saw the standard of living in Poland (which was Russian province before the revolution, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Austria and started to suspect the dream of building communist society was just another "opium for the people", the secular religion which hides the rule of "nomenklatura". 

Later the Soviet intelligencia realized that The Iron Law of Oligarchy  in applicable to the USSR no less that to any Western country. We probably can  assume that Soviet ideology entered zombies state in 1945, or may be later in 1963 (with  Khrushchev Thaw) when it became clear that the USSR will never match the standard of living of the USA population and most of Western European countries (which paradoxically was the result of the existence of the USSR and which entered the decline after the USSR dissolution) .  Illusions of the possibility of global Communist hegemony had evaporated with the collapse of Sino-Soviet relations (also the 1960s.) Around 1975, the Soviet Union entered a period of economic stagnation from which it  never emerged.  Due to this the USSR looked to Europe, primarily West Germany, to provide hard currency financing through massive loans, while the US became a major supplier of grain.

All in all the story of the USSR collapse suggests that after the ideology was discredited the society, which was based on it,  can last  several decades, or even half a century (The USSR lasted another 28-46 years (depending on the point at which you assume the ideology was completely discredited).  The sad story of the USSR after 1963 does suggests that if the ideology is "man made" like is both the case with Marxism and neoliberalism, the collapse of ideology is the prolog to the subsequent collapse of the society (even if with a substantial lag). The collapse  of such a society is inevitable. It is just a matter of time.

Neoliberal society probably has at least the same staying power as Bolshevism. Probably more. So we can expect that  after 2008 -- when the ideology was discredited and neoliberalism entered zombie stage it will last around 50 years. If not more. The key fact that might speed up the collapse of neoliberalism is the end of cheap oil. As soon as the price of one barrel of oil exceeds some magic number (different researchers cite figures from $70 to $120; let's assume $100 per barrel) the USA like the USSR will enter the period of stagnation from which it might never emerge without dismantling neoliberalism first.

So the crisis of neoliberalism as ideology doers not signify the death of neoliberal as a social system. It will continue to exist in zombie state for some time. A development that some will indeed see as a curse, others as a blessing. Many people after 2008 declared that neoliberalism is dead or seen to be in its death throes. Many obituaries of finance capitalism and global free trade were written in 2008-2012. Nevertheless, neoliberalism has shown itself to be resilient and remains the dominant social system around the world( this resilience was called by Colin Crouch "the strange non-death of neoliberalism".)

The USSR managed to survive in a very hostile international environment more then 40 years (1945-1991) after Bolshevism was dead as an ideology. Absence of hostile environment, as well as the lack of alternative social system might prolong the life of neoliberalism. Also one advantage neoliberalism enjoyed is that collapse of the USSR was prompted by the ascendance of neoliberalism and betrayal of Soviet nomenklatura (which correctly decided that they will be better off under neoliberalism, then under Brezhnev socialism) is that socialism was discredited.   Also unlike KGB brass, which was instrumental in transition of the xUSSR space from Brezhnev socialism to neoliberalism (with the first stage of gangster capitalism) the USA and GB intelligence agencies (actually all five eyes intelligence agencies) still is ready to defend neoliberalism, as color revolution against Trump had shown.  

However, Brexit (and the election of Jeremy Corbyn as head of Labor) and the movements surrounding Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the United States are each in their own way symptomatic of a turning of the political tide against neoliberalism, especially such features as hyper-globalization and deregulation of financial markets. The benefits of free trade – of goods, services and capital – and outsourcing of labor to low-cost destinations are now being challenged across the political spectrum.

That means that the crisis of neoliberalism turned from the stage of purely intellectual  problems (collapse and discreditation of the ideology) to the stage of rising political challenges. Under Trump the effectiveness of neoliberal propaganda declined and start approaching the effectiveness of Soviet propaganda under Brezhnev. Neoliberal MSM are viewed by the majority of population of "fake news" -- the label in popularization of which Trump played an important role. Even "leading neoliberal economists" like Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Jeffrey Sachs and Thomas Piketty started voicing concerns.  Rising inequality lessen the cohesion of neoliberal societies and  created social tensions within them as we see in Marcon France. Even top economist from the IMF have recently acknowledged that neoliberalism has been “oversold”.

But we still do not see social system that will replace neoliberalism yet.  And that might prolog the life neoliberalism to the upper limit of the suggested range Meantime the crisis of neoliberalism created preconditions for the rise of far right movements and switch to "national neoliberalism" (or neoliberalism without globalization). Much like Stalinism was socialism within one given country with Trotsky idea of permanent world revolution till final victory of socialism sent to the dustbin). It is an interesting theoretical question if "national neoliberalism" promoted by Trump can be viewed as a flavor of neoliberalism or a flavor of neofascism. If the latter then neoliberalism already died around 2016 and existed in its classic form just 30 years or so.   I doubt  that we can do such equivalence.

At the current stage collapse of neoliberalism, if we can use this word, is still very slow and almost invisible.  Brexit and election of Trump in the USA are probably the first two most notable events after 2008 that can be interpreted as such. Both undermined "neoliberal globalization" -- one of the key components of neoliberalism, because like Communism before it is about building a global neoliberal empire (led by the USA financial oligarchy in close cooperation of other western oligarchies), without state borders.

Still "Great recession" which  started in 2008 is the fact of life. Nations took various roads out of the Great Depression and that's probably will be true for the Great Recession.  Some used deficit spending and the abandonment of the gold standard, which had to overcome resistance from business. In Germany, fascism removed "capitalist objections to full employment," wrote economist Michal Kalecki, by routing all deficit spending into rearmament and by keeping labor quiescent with political repression and permanent dictatorship.

We can envision  the same process of  the growing level of repression in the USA due to the growing gap between ideology postulates and the real life conditions, especially falling standard of living for most of the people (let's say, lower 80% in the USA. Top 20% including large part of "professional" class are doing just fine, much like nomenklatura in the USSR).

In the United States, the replacement ideology for unregulated capitalism on the early 20th was the New Deal. After some initial failed experimentation with planning, New Dealers settled on a framework of stimulus, regulation, unionization, progressive taxation, and anti-trust, heavily influenced by Louis Brandeis. To get people back to work and prime the economic pump, vast new public works were built, and millions were directly employed by the state. Business — especially finance — was regulated, above all to prevent concentration. Unions were protected under a new legal regime created by the National Labor Relations Act. Taxes on the rich were sharply increased, both to raise revenue and to deliberately prevent the accumulation of vast fortunes. Finally, world trade was managed under the Bretton-Woods system. New Deal ideology did not win at once and in 1937, FDR reversed the course and went back to austerity, instantly throwing millions out of work, and forcing him to return to deficit spending. It took the WWII war spending in 1941-1945 to entrench the New Deal and to eliminate mass unemployment. War also created the political space for Roosevelt to raise the top tax bracket to 94%. Think about it. Less then a century ago the top tax bracket in the USA was 94%. The erosion of the New Deal started almost immediately. For example, in 1847 trade union power was undercut by Taft–Hartley Act.

The New Deal framework held for about three decades after the end of the war — during which time the country also had the greatest economic boom in American history. Critically, this time the fruits of growth were also broadly shared. For all the many faults in the New Deal, in this period America was reformed from a country which functioned mostly on behalf of a tiny elite into one which functioned on behalf of a sizable chunk of population.

In this sense ascendance of neoliberalism was a counter-revolution against New Deal staged by financial elite:  fundamental economic bedrock is quite similar: deregulation, tax and spending cuts, union busting, and free trade. Its adherents resurrected the idea of the self-regulating market, creating an elaborate mathematic model in which depressions were always the result of structural problems, the economy is always at full employment, and nothing could be changed without making someone else worse off. Once again, the political message was that regulations and taxation should be kept as low as possible.

A generation of economists centered around the Chicago School, including Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Robert Lucas, provided the intellectual backbone, gaining strength in the 1950s and '60s. They argued that New Deal structures were a drag on economic growth, and that taxes, regulation, and social insurance needed to be cut. America simply couldn't afford the strangling red tape and high taxes of the New Deal. And this time, they assured everyone, things would be different — no 1929-style crash would be in the cards. That was all a very clever deception,  propaganda design at restoring the power of financial oligarchy undermined by the New Deal capitalism and increasing the rate of profits via financialization of everything. Plus a dream of world neoliberal revolution  taken directly from Trotskyite books (Neoliberalism can be viewed as a Trotskyism for the rich)

Neoliberals' opportunity came in the 1970s, when the world economy ran into difficulties and at the center of those difficulties was the rising price of oil. War spending, the baby boom coming of age, and the oil shocks created serious inflation and pushed the USA into a trade deficit, which broke the Bretton-Woods system. Profits declined and big business mobilized against labor and trade unions. The first wave of de-industrialization in the USA and offshoring of factories to Asia hit manufacturing.

I wonder if oil can serve as the grave digger of neoliberalism this time.

The limits of analogy between the collapse of neoliberalism and the collapse of the USSR

Like all analogies it far from being perfect.  Here are major objections:

  1. When the USSR collapsed neoliberal ideology was a clear alternative and the collapse of the USSR coincided with "triumphal march" of neoliberalism around the globe.  In a sense the USSR simply fall on the rails of the neoliberal train.
  2. Right now we do not see such a prominent alternative to the dominant neoliberal ideology, although it is clear that it is wrong and that neoliberal promise that high inequality speeds up economic development and "rising tide lifts all bots" proved to be a fake. But right now  neoliberalism  is still social system that is dominant globally (BTW this is true not only for the USA and Western Europe, but also for Russia and China).  Even after 2008 it managed to counterattack in Argentina and Brazil.
  3. Neoliberalism exists without  major geopolitical threat, unlike Soviet Union which existed in the hostile surrounding of major Western powers with their three letter agencies directly targeting this society. The "collective West" used huge money resources of Western financial system against the USSR, limit access to technology and scientific exchange, and created constant threat of the mere survival which justified huge military expenses (which in turn entrenched Soviet military-industrial complex which starved the civil society) and the burning desire (especially by the US neoliberal elite, which came to power in 1980 ) to get rid of competition by any means possible. 
  4. While Trump administration reminds in its incompetence Brezhnev administration, the gap is still tremendous. While Trump is definitely a third  rate politician, Gorbachov as a politician was simply a naive (and probably bought) idiot. In comparison with him Trump looks like a shrewd statesman (or, at least, a staunch nationalist.) Unless we assume that "Gorby" (cultivated by his handler Margaret Thatcher) was a traitor (the version that became increasingly popular in post Soviet space after 1991). But the complete absence of political talent (Gorbachov came to power as a protégé of Andropov)  is still the primary suspect, because you should not assume sinister motives when incompetence is enough for the explanation of the events (  The Soviet collapse Contradictions and neo-modernization ):

    The main charge that may be laid against Gorbachev as leader is that he lacked an effective strategy of statecraft: the mobilization of resources to make a country more self-confident, more powerful, more respected and more prosperous. Instead, Gorbachev frittered away the governmental capital accumulated by the Soviet regime, and in the end was unable to save the country which he had attempted to reform.

  5. Despite all difficulties the USA remains the owner of world reserve currency and the center of technological innovation (although in the later role it somewhat slipped). It military spending (which stimulate fundamental research) remains the largest in the world. The country still remains the magnet for immigration from other countries.
  6. Geographic location of the USA is such that it has no rivals that share common border.

Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich

There one, especially deep analogy between any neoliberal society and the USSR. Neoliberalism borrowed large part of its strategy and tactic of acquiring and maintaining power directly from  Marxism, specifically from the  flavor of Marxism, which partially originated (and remained popular until late 1940th) in the USA, and called Trotskyism (which Trotsky was a Russia émigré, he spend  his formative years in the USA).  Actually analogies with Marxism are to numerous to list.

The first notable analogy is the slogan "Dictatorship of "free markets"" instead of "dictatorship of proletariat."  With the same idea that the driving force of this social transformation is the intellectual "vanguard" recruited mainly from "Intelligentsia" (mainly right wing economists and philosophers of the  Mont Pelerin Society  created in `947 with the explicit goal to oppose socialism and Bolshevism) will drive steeple to the "bright future of all mankind" -- global neoliberal empire led by the USA. And that the end justifies the means.

In short, neoliberalism is a kind of "Trotskyism for rich." And it uses the same subversive tactics to get and stay in power, which were invented by Bolsheviks/Trotskyites. Including full scale use of intelligence agencies (during WWII Soviet intelligence agency -- NKDV -- rivaled the primary intelligence agencies of Nazi Germany -- Abwehr; CIA was by-and-large modeled on Abwehr  with Abwerh specialists directly participating in its creation ).  It also process the ideal of World Revolution -- with the goal of creating the global neoliberal empire. The neoliberal USA elite is hell-bent on this vision.

Like Trotskyism neoliberalism generally needs a scapegoat. Currently this role is served by Islamic fundamentalist movements. But recently Russia emerged like more convenient scapegoat, at least for "CIA democrats" like Obama and  Hillary Clinton.

Also like Bolshevism before, neoliberalism created its own "nomenklatura" -- the privileged class which exists outside the domain of capital owners. Which along with high level management and professionals include neoclassical academic economists. Who guarantee the level of brainwashing at the universities necessary for maintaining the neoliberal system.  This "creator class" fight for its self-preservation and against any challenges. Often quite effectively.

 Deification of markets (free market fundamentalism) like the idea of "dictatorship of proletariat" is "fools gold"

Yet another strong analogy is that the deification of markets much like the idea of "dictatorship of proletariat" is "fools gold". This fact was clearly established after the Great Recession, and one of the most succinct explanation of the stupidity of the idea of self-regulating market remains Karl Polanyi's famous book The Great Transformation.  Polanyi argued that the development of the modern state went hand in hand with the development of modern market economies and that these two changes were inextricably linked in history. And all talk about small state, state as "night watchman" are pure hypocrisy.  Like Marxism, neoliberalism really provides "the great transformation" because it both changes the human institutions and human morality. The latter in a very destructive way.  The book postulated that and "free market society" (where the function of social regulation is outsourced to the market forces)  is unsustainable because it is fatally destructive to human nature and the natural social contexts humans need to survive and prosper. 

Polanyi attempted to turn the tables on the orthodox liberal account of the rise of capitalism by arguing that “laissez-faire was planned”, whereas social protectionism was a spontaneous reaction to the social dislocation imposed by an unrestrained free market. He argues that the construction of a "self-regulating" market necessitates the separation of society into economic and political realms. Polanyi does not deny that the self-regulating market has brought "unheard of material wealth", but he suggests that this is too narrow a focus. The market, once it considers land, labor and money as "fictitious commodities" (fictitious because each possesses qualities that are not expressed in the formal rationality of the market), and including them "means to subordinate the substance of society itself to the laws of the market. This, he argues, results in massive social dislocation, and spontaneous moves by society to protect itself. In effect, Polanyi argues that once the free market attempts to separate itself from the fabric of society, social protectionism is society's natural response, which he calls the "double movement." Polanyi did not see economics as a subject closed off from other fields of enquiry, indeed he saw economic and social problems as inherently linked. He ended his work with a prediction of a socialist society, noting, "after a century of blind 'improvement', man is restoring his 'habitation.

But when 50 years passed and generation changed they manage to shove it down throat. Because the generation which experienced horrors of the Great Depression at this point was gone (and that include cadre of higher level management which still have some level of solidarity with workers against capital owners).

They were replaced with HBS and WBS graduates -- ready made neoliberals. Quit coup (in Simon Johnson terms) naturally  followed ( https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/ ) and we have hat we have.  In a sense neoliberalism and Managerialism ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managerialism ) are closely related.  Here is how  he "reinvents" the concept  of "Minsky moment" in the new conditions of neoliberal globalization"

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders. When a country like Indonesia or South Korea or Russia grows, so do the ambitions of its captains of industry. As masters of their mini-universe, these people make some investments that clearly benefit the broader economy, but they also start making bigger and riskier bets. They reckon—correctly, in most cases—that their political connections will allow them to push onto the government any substantial problems that arise.

Neoliberalism in zombie state (which it entered after 2008) remains dangerous and is able to counterattack

Unlike Bolshevism after 1945, neoliberalism in zombie state (which it entered after 2008) remains dangerous and is able to counterattack -- the US sponsored efforts of replacement of left regimes in LA with right wing neoliberal regimes were by-and-large successful. I two key LA countries neoliberalism successfully counterattacked and won political power deposing more left regimes (Brazil and Argentina ). That happened despite that this phase of neoliberal era has been marked by slower growth, greater trade imbalances, and deteriorating social conditions. In Latin America the average growth rate was lower by 3 percent per annum in the 1990s than in the 1970s, while trade deficits as a proportion of GDP are much the same. Contrary to neoliberal propaganda the past 25 years (1980–2005) have also characterized by slower progress on social indicators for the vast majority of low- and middle-income countries [compared with the prior two decades ( https://monthlyreview.org/2006/04/01/neoliberalism-myths-and-reality/ ) :

In an effort to keep growing trade and current account deficits manageable, third world states, often pressured by the IMF and World Bank, used austerity measures (especially draconian cuts in social programs) to slow economic growth (and imports). They also deregulated capital markets, privatized economic activity, and relaxed foreign investment regulatory regimes in an effort to attract the financing needed to offset the existing deficits. While devastating to working people and national development possibilities, these policies were, as intended, responsive to the interests of transnational capital in general and a small but influential sector of third world capital. This is the reality of neoliberalism.

The danger of the end of "cheap oil" for neoliberalism

The Soviet Union collapsed partially due to the fact that collapse of oil prices (which might be engineered event) deprived it of the ability to buy the necessary goods from the West (which at this point included grain, due to inefficiency of Soviet model of  large centralized state owned agricultural complexes).

In case of the USA an opposite situation might also serve as a trigger: as soon as oil cross, say, $80 dollar per barrel mark most Western economies slide in "secular stagnation" and that means growing discontent of lower 80% of population. Also as  globalization is inherently dependent on cheap hydrocarbons and disappearance of cheap oil will male the current international patterns of flow of goods across countries with China as world manufacture  open to review.  

This is the situation when the irresistible force of globalization hits the brick wall of high oil prices. Also high cost of hydrocarbons means "end of growth" (aka permanent stagnation), and neoliberalism financial schemes based on cheap credit automatically implode in the environment of slow of zero growth. So expect that the next financial crisis will shake neoliberalism stronger then the crisis of 2008.

A lot of debt becomes unplayable, if growth stagnates. That makes manipulation of GDP numbers the issue of political and economic survival because this is the method of "inspiring confidence".  And the temptation to inspire confidence is too great to resists. Exactly like it was in the USSR. 

It might well be that the consistent price of oil, say, over $120 is a direct threat to neoliberal project in the USA. Even with prices over $100 the major neoliberal economics  tend to enter the stage of "secular stagnation". It also makes the US military which is a large consumer of oil in the USA much more expensive to run and virtually doubles the costs of  neoliberal "wars for regime change", essentially curtailing neoliberal expansion.

Election of Trump is just testament that some part of the US elite is ready for "Hail Mary" pass just to survive.  The same is true about financiering of color revolutions, which as a new type of neoliberal conquests of other countries, also require a lot of cash, although not at the scale of "boots on the ground".

 More on "zombie stage" of neoliberalism: the consequences of the situation when neoliberal ideology is already discredited

The implosion of the entire global banking/mortgage industry in 2008 has essentially delegitimized neoliberalism as an economic and social model which the U.S. has been pleased to espouse as the royal road to prosperity for decades. It signified the end of Washington Consensus.

At this point ideology of neoliberalism was completely discredited in a sense that promise prosperity for all via "free market" mechanisms. The whole concept of "free markets" is from now on is viewed as fake. Much like happened with bolshevism in the USSR.

It actually was viewed as fake after the Great Depression too, but the generation that remembered that died out and neoliberalism managed to perform its major coup d'état  in the USA in 1981. After trail balls in Chile and GB. 

Also its fake nature became evident to large part of global elite (which probably never have any illusions from the very beginning) as well, which is even more dangerous, a large part of upper middle class in many developing countries, the social strata from which "fifth column of neoliberal globalization" is typically recruited. 

Global neoliberal empire still is supported by pure military and financial power of the USA and its Western (and some Asian, such as Japan) allies as well as technological superiority of the West in general. So right now mainly ideological postulates of neoliberalism, especially as its "free market absolutism", started to be questioned.  And partially revised (the trend which is visible in increase financial regulation in most Western countries). So "self-regulation free market model proved to be neither self-regulating, not really free -- it just transferred the cost of its blunders on the society at large.  This form of neoliberalism with the core ideology intact but with modified one of several postulates can be called post-neoliberalism or zombie neoliberalism. 

Rule of financial oligarchy like the rule of "nomenklatura" in the USSR is under increasing scrutiny

While indoctrination now reached almost all adult population,  there are some instances of resistance, especially among young people, who are insisting that casino capitalism is an act of violence against them and destruction of their future. And if it does not come to an end, what we might experience a mass destruction of human life if not  the planet itself. 

Both Obama and Trump proved to be masters of the "bait and switch" maneuver, but the anger of population did not dissipated and at some point still can explode.

Rule of financial oligarchy also gradually comes under some (although very limited) scrutiny in the USA. Some measures to restrict appetites of financial oligarchy were recently undertaken in Europe (bank bonuses limitations).

HFT and derivatives still remain off-reach for regulators despite JP Morgan fiasco in May 2012 in London branch. Trade loss was around two billions, decline of bank value was around $13bn (The Guardian) At this stage most people around the world realized that as Warren Buffett's right-hand man Charlie Munger quipped in his CNBC interview Trusting banks to self-regulate is like trusting to self-regulate heroin addicts. At the meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) heads of states in the spring of 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the death of “the Washington Consensus” — the famous list of market-liberalizing policy prescriptions that guided the previous 20 or 30 years of neoliberal expansion into third world countries  (Painter 2009).

Prominent economists in the United States and elsewhere pointed out that after decades of reform, market-liberalizing policies had not produced the promised benefits for either economic growth or social welfare of countries were those policies were applied (Stiglitz 2002, 2006; Rodrik 2006). These criticisms further undermined the legitimacy of neoliberal governance, exactly the same way as similar criticism undermined socialist model of the USSR and Eastern Europe. the problem is that while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achievement, here there is no alternative model with which to compare.

Still a backlash directed at the USA is mounting even from the former loyal vassals. Even the UK elite starts to display the behavior that contradict its role of the US poodle. The atmosphere is which the USA is considered "guilty" of pushing though the throats of other countries a utopia that harmed them is a different atmosphere for the US oligarchy that the role of it accustomed to.

Everybody is now aware of the substantial costs that the modern financial system has imposed on the real economy and no amount of propaganda and brainwashing can hide this simple fact. It is questionable that the "financial innovations" of the last three-four decades can compensate for those huge costs and that they warrants those costs. Shocks generated within the financial system and transformation of economies imposed by international financial oligarchy as the core of neoliberal elite, implies that the rule of financial oligarchy creates negative externalities for societies and that some types of financial activities and some financial structures should be treated like an organized crime (as purely parasitic, extortionist type of players).

Still this stage preserves several attributes of previous stage and first of all push for globalization and aggressive foreign policy. While economic crisis of 2008 destroyed legitimacy of ideology of neoliberalism, neoliberalism as an ideology continue to exists as a cult, much like communism as an ideology continues to exist, despite the failure of the USSR. And being phony ideology from the very beginning, a smokescreen for  the revanchism of financial oligarchy, it still can be promoted by unrelenting propaganda machine of the same forces which put it into mainstream albeit with les efficiency.  

Rise of nationalism as the reaction on neoliberal globalization
much like it was a reaction on Brezhnev's stagnation in the USSR

While no viable alternatives emerged, and inertia is still strong, and G7 block with the USA as the head is still the dominant world power, the crash are now visible in the global neoliberalism façade.  Like in 20th failure the globalization and unrestrained financial markets (which produced the Great Depression)  the financial crisis of 2008 led to the dramatic rise of nationalism, especially in Europe (France, Hungary, Ukraine). In some countries, such as Ukraine, the net result of neoliberal revolution was establishing  far right regime which has uncanny similarities to the régimes which came to power in 30th such as Franco regime in Spain.  The global neoliberal dominance as a social system still continues, it is just the central idea of neoliberalism, the fake idea of self-regulating market that was completely discredited by the crisis (it was discredited before during Great Depression, but the generation the remembered the lesson is now extinct (it looks like it takes approximately 50 years for humanity to completely forget the lessons of history ;-).

This rise of nationalism was also a feature of the USSR political space in 80th. Formally it was nationalist sentiments that buried the USSR.

Around the world, economists and policymakers now come to consensus that excessive reliance on unregulated financial markets and the unrestrained rule of financial oligarchy was the root cause of the current worldwide financial crisis. That created a more difficult atmosphere for the USA financial institutions to operate abroad. Several countries are now trying to limit role of dollar as the world currency (one of the sins Saddam Hussein paid the price).

Also internal contradictions became much deeper and the neoliberal regime became increasingly unstable even in the citadel of neoliberalism -- the USA. Like any overstretched empire it became hollow within with stretches on potholes ridden roads and decaying infrastructure visible to everyone. Politically, the Republican Party became a roadblock for any meaningful reform (and its radical wing -- the tea party even sending its representatives to Congress), the Party that is determined to rather take the USA the road of the USSR, then change its ideology. All this points to the fact that neoliberalism as an socio-economic doctrine is following the path of Bolshevism.

Neoliberal propaganda gradually lost effectiveness,
 and now  invokes internal protest and rejection much like Marxist propaganda in the USSR

Neoliberalism failed to fulfill its promises for the bottom 80% of population. They became more poorer, job security deteriorated, good jobs disappear, and even McJobs are scare judging from the fact that Wall Mart and McDonalds are able to fully staff their outlets.  McJobs are jobs that does not provide a living wages.  Opiod epidemics reminds me epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR during Brezhnev period.  Cannabis legalization belong to the same trend.

But its media dominance of neoliberalism paradoxically continues unabated. And this is despite the fact that after the crisis of 2008, the notion that finance mobilizes and allocates resources efficiently, drastically reduces systemic risks and brings significant productivity gains for the economy as a whole became untenable. We can expect that like was the case with Catholicism in middle ages and Bolshevism in the USSR, zombie phase of neoliberalism can last many decades (in the USSR, "zombie" state lasted two decades, say from 1970 to 1991, and neoliberalism with its emphasis on low human traits such as greed and supported by military and economic power of the USA, is considerably more resilient then Bolshevism). As of 2013 it is still supported by elites of several major western states (such as the USA, GB, Germany, France), transnational capital (and financial capital in particular) and respective elites out of the sense of self-preservation. That means that is it reasonable to expect that its rule in G7 will continue (like Bolshevism rule in the USSR in 70th-80th) despite probably interrupted by bursts of social violence (Muslim immigrants in Europe are once such force).

In the US, for example, income and wealth inequality continue to increase, with stagnating middle-class earnings, reduced social mobility, and an allegedly meritocratic higher education system, generously supported by tax exemptions, has been turned into the system whose main beneficiaries are the children of the rich and successful. Superimposed on this class divide is an increasingly serious intergenerational divide, and increases level of unemployment of young people, which make social atmosphere somewhat similar to the one in Egypt, although the pressure from Muslim fundamentalists is absent.

More and more neoliberalism came to be perceived as a ruse intended to safeguard the interests of a malignantly narcissistic empire (the USA) and of rapacious multinationals. It is now more and more linked with low-brow cultural homogeneity, social Darwinism, encroachment on privacy, mass production of junk, and suppression of national sentiments and aspiration in favor of transnational monopolies. It even came to be associated with a bewildering variety of social ills: rising crime rates, unemployment, poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, organ trafficking, and other antisocial forms of conduct.

While ideology of neoliberalism is by-and-large discredited, the global economic institutions associated with its rise are not all equally moribund. For example, the global economic crisis of 2008 has unexpectedly improved the fortunes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization long famous for the neoliberal policy conditions attached to its loans that served to incorporate countries into a global neoliberal economic system. In 2008, a cascade of financial crises in Eastern Europe and Iceland fattened the IMF’s dwindling loan portfolio.

World Trade Organization (WTO), the key US-used and abused universal opener of markets to US corporations and investments is in worse shape then IMF, but still is able to enforce Washington consensus rules. The Doha round of negotiations is stalled, mostly due to irresolvable disputes between developed and developing countries. Consequently, the current crisis of neoliberalism raises many important questions about the future path of the current international institutions promoting the neoliberal order. But still Russia joined WTO in 2012 which means that this organization got a new lease of life.

The slide to "Neoliberalism in name only" under Trump

When ideology collapses the elite often resorts to corporatism (and in extreme case to neo-fascism) That happened briefly in the USSR under Andropov, but he did not last long enough to establish a trend.

Trumps "national neoliberalism" (neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization) mixed with economic nationalism can be called "neoliberalism in name only". Trump foreign economic policies look more and more like an economic aggression, economic racket, then a neoliberal economic policy (which presuppose treating financial oligarchy of other countries as equals). Looks like Trump's "national neoliberalism" became "Hail Mary pass" with which the US financial oligarchy seeks to maintain at all costs it global dominance (The Great Crash, 2008: A Geopolitical Setback for the West , Foreign Affairs)

The financial and economic crash of 2008, the worst in over 75 years, is a major geopolitical setback for the United States and Europe. Over the medium term, Washington and European governments will have neither the resources nor the economic credibility to play the role in global affairs that they otherwise would have played. These weaknesses will eventually be repaired, but in the interim, they will accelerate trends that are shifting the world's center of gravity away from the United States.

A brutal recession is unfolding in the United States, Europe, and probably Japan -- a recession likely to be more harmful than the slump of 1981-82. The current financial crisis has deeply frightened consumers and businesses, and in response they have sharply retrenched. In addition, the usual recovery tools used by governments -- monetary and fiscal stimuli -- will be relatively ineffective under the circumstances.

This damage has put the American model of free-market capitalism under a cloud. The financial system is seen as having collapsed; and the regulatory framework, as having spectacularly failed to curb widespread abuses and corruption. Now, searching for stability, the U.S. government and some European governments have nationalized their financial sectors to a degree that contradicts the tenets of modern capitalism.

Much of the world is turning a historic corner and heading into a period in which the role of the state will be larger and that of the private sector will be smaller. As it does, the United States' global power, as well as the appeal of U.S.-style democracy, is eroding.

The USSR war in Afghanistan and the rampant militarism of the US neoliberal empire:
you can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them

The USSR occupation of Afghanistan was actually a trap created by Carter administration in order to weaken and possibly destroy  the USSR. They wanted that the USSR experienced its own Vietnam-style defeat.  As a side effect they created political Islam and Islam fundamentalist movement (exemplified by former CIA asset Osama bin Laden) that later bite them in the back.

The US elite got into this trap voluntarily after 9/11: first via occupations of  Afghanistan (the war continues to this day), then occupation of Iraq, Libya and initiating "color revolution" (and train and supply Sunni Islam fundamentalists, along with KSA and Turkey) to depose Assad government in Syria.

The USA still remains the most powerful country in the world with formidable military, and still can dictate it will military for small countries in a classic sense --  in a sense that "might makes right". It still can afford to behave as a word hegemon and the only source of justice ignoring the UN and other International organization, unless it is convenient to them.

But there are costs attacked and in case of Iraq war they are already substantial (to the tune of several trillion dollars). While effects on the USA economy of those set of wars of managing and expanding its neoliberal empire (and repartitioning ME, securing oil access and repartitioning the region in favor of Israel regional interests)  are still in the future, military adventurism was a gravestone on many previous empires, which tend to overstretch themselves and this fasten their final day. 

As Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them". having first class military weakens is not everything when you face guerilla resistance in occupied country. Running aggressive foreign policy on a discredited ideology and relying on blunt propaganda and false flag operations is a difficult undertaking as resistance mounts and bubble out in un-anticipated areas.

Ukraine is one recent example, when neoliberal color revolution, which was performed by few thousands trained by the West far right militants, including openly neo-fascist squads, led to civil war in the country. Syria is another case of unanticipated effects, as Russia did not want to repeat experience of Libya and intervened, interfering with the USA goal of establishing Sunni-based Islamist regime, subservant to KSA and Turkey, and/or dismembering the country and creating   several weak Sunny dominated statelets with jihadists in power, the situation which greatly  benefit Turkey and Israel.  Israel correctly consider secular Assad régime as a greater threat and major obstacle in annexation of Golan Heights and eliminating Hezbollah in Lebanon.  It would prefer weak islamist regimes, hopefully engaged in protracted civil war to Assad regime any time.

Unfortunately, the recent troika of "neoliberalized" countries -- Libya, Syria  and Ukraine --  were not probably a swan song of muscular enforcement of neoliberal model on other countries. While sponsored by the USA and allies anti-Putin putsch in Russia (aka "white revolution") failed, events in Libya and, especially,  Ukraine prove the neoliberalism still can launch and win offensives at relatively low, acceptable cost (via color revolutions mechanism ). The main cost carry the population of the target country which is plunged  into economic and political chaos, in most cases including the civil war.  

But in the USA those wars also somewhat backfire with broken domestic infrastructure, decaying bridges and angered, restless, and partially drugged by opioids  population.  As well as thousands of crippled young men healthcare for whom till end of their lives will cost large amount of money.

In such circumstances chances of raising to power of an openly nationalistic leader substantially increase. Which was already demonstrated quite convincingly by the election of Trump.

Conclusions

Analogy of current crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and the USSR collapse is demonstrably far from perfect. The USSR was always in far less favorable conditions  than the USA, operating is a hostile environment encircled by Western powers interested in its demise; also the collapse of the USSR happened during "triumphal march of neoliberalism" which provided ready-made alternative to Brezhnev's socialism and stimulated the betrayal of Soviet nomenklatura of their old ideology and "switching ideological camps").  But the key to collapse of the USSR was the collapse of Bolshevik's ideology, which has happened some time from 1945 to 1963. And this is a common element with the situation of the USA now.

Which does not bode well for the USA future, if the hypothesis that the same fundamental forces are in play in both cases. In this sense the collapse of neoliberal ideology ("free market fundamentalism"), which happened in  2008 is a bad omen indeed.

There is still a chance that the US elite proves to be flexible again  and manage to escape this "ideological mousetrap" by switching to some new ideology, but they are pretty weak, if we look at the quality of Trump administration and the personalities in the USA Congress. The latter clearly resembles the level of degeneration of Soviet Politburo.

Some members of Congress and key figured in Trump administration way  too closely correspond to the depiction of sociopaths to stay comfortable.  Some are perverts. The same was true about certain parts of Soviet "nomenklatura", especially leaders of Komsomol (All-Union Leninist Young Communist League ), from which such questionable post-communist figures such a Khodorkovsky, in Russia (of "pipes and corpses" film fame), and Turchinov in Ukraine  later emerged.

The recent humiliation of the US representative in the UN Nikki Haley by Bolivian representative also suggest that neoliberal propaganda lost large part of its effectiveness and unilateral military actions by the USA are now questioned more effectively: Bolivian UN Rep Sacha Llorenti Blasts U.S. for Attacking Syria, Educates Nikki Haley on Iraq, UN & U.S. History

Llorenti’s fourteen minute address to the UNSC was a tour de force – a critique of unilateral military action by the U.S. (it violates the UN charter), an analysis of previous emotional appeals for urgent action (think Colin Powell in 2003), as well as a reminder of the United States’ long history of interventionism in Latin America. Llorenti also called the UNSC to task for its internal structure, which grants considerably more power upon its five permanent members than it does its ten non-permanent members.

It was a remarkable anti-imperialist display. Read a partial transcript and/or watch the full video below.

That closely corresponds to what had happened with Bolshevism ideology around 1980 -- when it became the source of jokes both inside the USSR and abroad.  Or a little bit later, if we remember "Tear down this wall!" -- a line from a speech made by US President Ronald Reagan in West Berlin on June 12, 1987. When  Paul Craig Roberts  claims that It Has Become Embarrassing To Be An American  that is a symptom of a problem, yet another symptom of the demise of neoliberal propaganda,  despite obvious exaggeration.

It would be  too much stretch to state that neoliberal and especially globalist propaganda is now rejected both by population within the USA (which resulted in defeat of Hillary Clinton -- an establishment candidates and election of the  "wild card" candidate  -- Donald Trump -- with clearly nationalistic impulses) and outside the USA. 


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Old News ;-)

[Oct 10, 2019] Trump, Impeachment Forgetting What Brought Him to the White House by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
The term "centrist" is replaced by a more appropriate term "neoliberal oligarchy"
Notable quotes:
"... Furthermore, Donald Trump might well emerge from this national ordeal with his reelection chances enhanced. Such a prospect is belatedly insinuating itself into public discourse. For that reason, certain anti-Trump pundits are already showing signs of going wobbly, suggesting , for instance, that censure rather than outright impeachment might suffice as punishment for the president's various offenses. Yet censuring Trump while allowing him to stay in office would be the equivalent of letting Harvey Weinstein off with a good tongue-lashing so that he can get back to making movies. Censure is for wimps. ..."
"... So if Trump finds himself backed into a corner, Democrats aren't necessarily in a more favorable position. And that aren't the half of it. Let me suggest that, while Trump is being pursued, it's you, my fellow Americans, who are really being played. The unspoken purpose of impeachment is not removal, but restoration. The overarching aim is not to replace Trump with Mike Pence -- the equivalent of exchanging Groucho for Harpo. No, the object of the exercise is to return power to those who created the conditions that enabled Trump to win the White House in the first place. ..."
"... For many of the main participants in this melodrama, the actual but unstated purpose of impeachment is to correct this great wrong and thereby restore history to its anointed path. ..."
"... In a recent column in The Guardian, Professor Samuel Moyn makes the essential point: Removing from office a vulgar, dishonest and utterly incompetent president comes nowhere close to capturing what's going on here. To the elites most intent on ousting Trump, far more important than anything he may say or do is what he signifies. He is a walking, talking repudiation of everything they believe and, by extension, of a future they had come to see as foreordained. ..."
"... Moyn styles these anti-Trump elites as "neoliberal oligarchy", members of the post-Cold War political mainstream that allowed ample room for nominally conservative Bushes and nominally liberal Clintons, while leaving just enough space for Barack Obama's promise of hope-and-(not-too-much) change. ..."
"... These "neoliberal oligarchy" share a common worldview. They believe in the universality of freedom as defined and practiced within the United States. They believe in corporate capitalism operating on a planetary scale. They believe in American primacy, with the United States presiding over a global order as the sole superpower. They believe in "American global leadership," which they define as primarily a military enterprise. And perhaps most of all, while collecting degrees from Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Wellesley, the University of Chicago, and Yale, they came to believe in a so-called meritocracy as the preferred mechanism for allocating wealth, power and privilege. All of these together comprise the sacred scripture of contemporary American political elites. And if Donald Trump's antagonists have their way, his removal will restore that sacred scripture to its proper place as the basis of policy. ..."
"... "For all their appeals to enduring moral values," Moyn writes, "the "neoliberal oligarchy" are deploying a transparent strategy to return to power." Destruction of the Trump presidency is a necessary precondition for achieving that goal. ""neoliberal oligarchy" simply want to return to the status quo interrupted by Trump, their reputations laundered by their courageous opposition to his mercurial reign, and their policies restored to credibility." Precisely. ..."
"... how does such misconduct compare to the calamities engineered by the "neoliberal oligarchy" who preceded him? ..."
"... Trump's critics speak with one voice in demanding accountability. Yet virtually no one has been held accountable for the pain, suffering, and loss inflicted by the architects of the Iraq War and the Great Recession. Why is that? As another presidential election approaches, the question not only goes unanswered, but unasked. ..."
"... To win reelection, Trump, a corrupt con man (who jumped ship on his own bankrupt casinos, money in hand, leaving others holding the bag) will cheat and lie. Yet, in the politics of the last half-century, these do not qualify as novelties. (Indeed, apart from being the son of a sitting U.S. vice president, what made Hunter Biden worth $50Gs per month to a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch? I'm curious.) That the president and his associates are engaging in a cover-up is doubtless the case. Yet another cover-up proceeds in broad daylight on a vastly larger scale. "Trump's shambolic presidency somehow seems less unsavory," Moyn writes, when considering the fact that his critics refuse "to admit how massively his election signified the failure of their policies, from endless war to economic inequality." Just so. ..."
"... Exactly. Trump is the result of voter disgust with Bush III vs Clinton II, the presumed match up for a year or more leading up to 2016. Now Democrats want to do it again, thinking they can elect anybody against Trump. That's what Hillary thought too. ..."
"... Trump won for lack of alternatives. Our political class is determined to prevent any alternatives breaking through this time either. They don't want Trump, but even more they want to protect their gravy train of donor money, the huge overspending on medical care (four times the defense budget) and of course all those Forever Wars. ..."
"... Trump could win, for the same reasons as last time, even though the result would be no better than last time. ..."
"... I wish the slick I.D. politics obsessed corporate Dems nothing but the worst, absolute worst. They reap what they sow. If it means another four years of Trump, so be it. It's the price that's going to have to be paid. ..."
"... At a time when a majority of U.S. citizens cannot muster up $500 for an emergency dental bill or car repair without running down to the local "pay day loan" lender shark (now established as legitimate businesses) the corporate Dems, in their infinite wisdom, decide to concoct an impeachment circus to run simultaneously when all the dirt against the execrable Brennan and his intel minions starts to hit the press for their Russiagate hoax. Nice sleight of hand there corporate Dems. ..."
Oct 10, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

There is blood in the water and frenzied sharks are closing in for the kill. Or so they think.

From the time of Donald Trump's election, American elites have hungered for this moment. At long last, they have the 45th president of the United States cornered. In typically ham-handed fashion, Trump has given his adversaries the very means to destroy him politically. They will not waste the opportunity. Impeachment now -- finally, some will say -- qualifies as a virtual certainty.

No doubt many surprises lie ahead. Yet the Democrats controlling the House of Representatives have passed the point of no return. The time for prudential judgments -- the Republican-controlled Senate will never convict, so why bother? -- is gone for good. To back down now would expose the president's pursuers as spineless cowards. The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC would not soon forgive such craven behavior.

So, as President Woodrow Wilson, speaking in 1919 put it, "The stage is set, the destiny disclosed. It has come about by no plan of our conceiving, but by the hand of God." Of course, the issue back then was a notably weighty one: whether to ratify the Versailles Treaty. That it now concerns a " Mafia-like shakedown " orchestrated by one of Wilson's successors tells us something about the trajectory of American politics over the course of the last century and it has not been a story of ascent.

The effort to boot the president from office is certain to yield a memorable spectacle. The rancor and contempt that have clogged American politics like a backed-up sewer since the day of Trump's election will now find release. Watergate will pale by comparison. The uproar triggered by Bill Clinton's " sexual relations " will be nothing by comparison. A de facto collaboration between Trump, those who despise him, and those who despise his critics all but guarantees that this story will dominate the news, undoubtedly for months to come.

As this process unspools, what politicians like to call "the people's business" will go essentially unattended. So while Congress considers whether or not to remove Trump from office, gun-control legislation will languish, the deterioration of the nation's infrastructure will proceed apace, needed healthcare reforms will be tabled, the military-industrial complex will waste yet more billions, and the national debt, already at $22 trillion -- larger, that is, than the entire economy -- will continue to surge. The looming threat posed by climate change, much talked about of late, will proceed all but unchecked. For those of us preoccupied with America's role in the world, the obsolete assumptions and habits undergirding what's still called " national security " will continue to evade examination. Our endless wars will remain endless and pointless.

By way of compensation, we might wonder what benefits impeachment is likely to yield. Answering that question requires examining four scenarios that describe the range of possibilities awaiting the nation.

The first and most to be desired (but least likely) is that Trump will tire of being a public piñata and just quit. With the thrill of flying in Air Force One having worn off, being president can't be as much fun these days. Why put up with further grief? How much more entertaining for Trump to retire to the political sidelines where he can tweet up a storm and indulge his penchant for name-calling. And think of the "deals" an ex-president could make in countries like Israel, North Korea, Poland, and Saudi Arabia on which he's bestowed favors. Cha-ching! As of yet, however, the president shows no signs of taking the easy (and lucrative) way out.

The second possible outcome sounds almost as good but is no less implausible: a sufficient number of Republican senators rediscover their moral compass and "do the right thing," joining with Democrats to create the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump and send him packing. In the Washington of that classic 20th-century film director Frank Capra, with Jimmy Stewart holding forth on the Senate floor and a moist-eyed Jean Arthur cheering him on from the gallery, this might have happened. In the real Washington of "Moscow Mitch" McConnell , think again.

The third somewhat seamier outcome might seem a tad more likely. It postulates that McConnell and various GOP senators facing reelection in 2020 or 2022 will calculate that turning on Trump just might offer the best way of saving their own skins. The president's loyalty to just about anyone, wives included, has always been highly contingent, the people streaming out of his administration routinely making the point. So why should senatorial loyalty to the president be any different? At the moment, however, indications that Trump loyalists out in the hinterlands will reward such turncoats are just about nonexistent. Unless that base were to flip, don't expect Republican senators to do anything but flop.

That leaves outcome No. 4, easily the most probable: while the House will impeach, the Senate will decline to convict. Trump will therefore stay right where he is, with the matter of his fitness for office effectively deferred to the November 2020 elections. Except as a source of sadomasochistic diversion, the entire agonizing experience will, therefore, prove to be a colossal waste of time and blather.

Furthermore, Donald Trump might well emerge from this national ordeal with his reelection chances enhanced. Such a prospect is belatedly insinuating itself into public discourse. For that reason, certain anti-Trump pundits are already showing signs of going wobbly, suggesting , for instance, that censure rather than outright impeachment might suffice as punishment for the president's various offenses. Yet censuring Trump while allowing him to stay in office would be the equivalent of letting Harvey Weinstein off with a good tongue-lashing so that he can get back to making movies. Censure is for wimps.

Besides, as Trump campaigns for a second term, he would almost surely wear censure like a badge of honor. Keep in mind that Congress's approval ratings are considerably worse than his. To more than a few members of the public, a black mark awarded by Congress might look like a gold star.

Restoration Not Removal

So if Trump finds himself backed into a corner, Democrats aren't necessarily in a more favorable position. And that aren't the half of it. Let me suggest that, while Trump is being pursued, it's you, my fellow Americans, who are really being played. The unspoken purpose of impeachment is not removal, but restoration. The overarching aim is not to replace Trump with Mike Pence -- the equivalent of exchanging Groucho for Harpo. No, the object of the exercise is to return power to those who created the conditions that enabled Trump to win the White House in the first place.

Just recently, for instance, Hillary Clinton declared Trump to be an "illegitimate president." Implicit in her charge is the conviction -- no doubt sincere -- that people like Donald Trump are not supposed to be president. People like Hillary Clinton -- people possessing credentials like hers and sharing her values -- should be the chosen ones. Here we glimpse the true meaning of legitimacy in this context. Whatever the vote in the Electoral College, Trump doesn't deserve to be president and never did.

For many of the main participants in this melodrama, the actual but unstated purpose of impeachment is to correct this great wrong and thereby restore history to its anointed path.

In a recent column in The Guardian, Professor Samuel Moyn makes the essential point: Removing from office a vulgar, dishonest and utterly incompetent president comes nowhere close to capturing what's going on here. To the elites most intent on ousting Trump, far more important than anything he may say or do is what he signifies. He is a walking, talking repudiation of everything they believe and, by extension, of a future they had come to see as foreordained.

Moyn styles these anti-Trump elites as "neoliberal oligarchy", members of the post-Cold War political mainstream that allowed ample room for nominally conservative Bushes and nominally liberal Clintons, while leaving just enough space for Barack Obama's promise of hope-and-(not-too-much) change.

These "neoliberal oligarchy" share a common worldview. They believe in the universality of freedom as defined and practiced within the United States. They believe in corporate capitalism operating on a planetary scale. They believe in American primacy, with the United States presiding over a global order as the sole superpower. They believe in "American global leadership," which they define as primarily a military enterprise. And perhaps most of all, while collecting degrees from Georgetown, Harvard, Oxford, Wellesley, the University of Chicago, and Yale, they came to believe in a so-called meritocracy as the preferred mechanism for allocating wealth, power and privilege. All of these together comprise the sacred scripture of contemporary American political elites. And if Donald Trump's antagonists have their way, his removal will restore that sacred scripture to its proper place as the basis of policy.

"For all their appeals to enduring moral values," Moyn writes, "the "neoliberal oligarchy" are deploying a transparent strategy to return to power." Destruction of the Trump presidency is a necessary precondition for achieving that goal. ""neoliberal oligarchy" simply want to return to the status quo interrupted by Trump, their reputations laundered by their courageous opposition to his mercurial reign, and their policies restored to credibility." Precisely.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

The U.S. military's "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad at the start of the Iraq War, as broadcast on CNN.

For such a scheme to succeed, however, laundering reputations alone will not suffice. Equally important will be to bury any recollection of the catastrophes that paved the way for an über -qualified centrist to lose to an indisputably unqualified and unprincipled political novice in 2016.

Holding promised security assistance hostage unless a foreign leader agrees to do you political favors is obviously and indisputably wrong. Trump's antics regarding Ukraine may even meet some definition of criminal. Still, how does such misconduct compare to the calamities engineered by the "neoliberal oligarchy" who preceded him? Consider, in particular, the George W. Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 (along with the spin-off wars that followed). Consider, too, the reckless economic policies that produced the Great Recession of 2007-2008. As measured by the harm inflicted on the American people (and others), the offenses for which Trump is being impeached qualify as mere misdemeanors.

Honest people may differ on whether to attribute the Iraq War to outright lies or monumental hubris. When it comes to tallying up the consequences, however, the intentions of those who sold the war don't particularly matter. The results include thousands of Americans killed; tens of thousands wounded, many grievously, or left to struggle with the effects of PTSD; hundreds of thousands of non-Americans killed or injured ; millions displaced ; trillions of dollars expended; radical groups like ISIS empowered (and in its case even formed inside a U.S. prison in Iraq); and the Persian Gulf region plunged into turmoil from which it has yet to recover. How do Trump's crimes stack up against these?

The Great Recession stemmed directly from economic policies implemented during the administration of President Bill Clinton and continued by his successor. Deregulating the banking sector was projected to produce a bonanza in which all would share. Yet, as a direct result of the ensuing chicanery, nearly 9 million Americans lost their jobs, while overall unemployment shot up to 10 percent. Roughly 4 million Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. The stock market cratered and millions saw their life savings evaporate. Again, the question must be asked: How do these results compare to Trump's dubious dealings with Ukraine?

Trump's critics speak with one voice in demanding accountability. Yet virtually no one has been held accountable for the pain, suffering, and loss inflicted by the architects of the Iraq War and the Great Recession. Why is that? As another presidential election approaches, the question not only goes unanswered, but unasked.

Sen. Carter Glass (D–Va.) and Rep. Henry B. Steagall (D–Ala.-3), the co-sponsors of the 1932 Glass–Steagall Act separating investment and commercial banking, which was repealed in 1999. (Wikimedia Commons)

To win reelection, Trump, a corrupt con man (who jumped ship on his own bankrupt casinos, money in hand, leaving others holding the bag) will cheat and lie. Yet, in the politics of the last half-century, these do not qualify as novelties. (Indeed, apart from being the son of a sitting U.S. vice president, what made Hunter Biden worth $50Gs per month to a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch? I'm curious.) That the president and his associates are engaging in a cover-up is doubtless the case. Yet another cover-up proceeds in broad daylight on a vastly larger scale. "Trump's shambolic presidency somehow seems less unsavory," Moyn writes, when considering the fact that his critics refuse "to admit how massively his election signified the failure of their policies, from endless war to economic inequality." Just so.

What are the real crimes? Who are the real criminals? No matter what happens in the coming months, don't expect the Trump impeachment proceedings to come within a country mile of addressing such questions.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is president and co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft . His new book, " The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory ," will be published in January.

This article is from TomDispatch.com .


Mark Thomason , October 9, 2019 at 17:03

Exactly. Trump is the result of voter disgust with Bush III vs Clinton II, the presumed match up for a year or more leading up to 2016. Now Democrats want to do it again, thinking they can elect anybody against Trump. That's what Hillary thought too.

Now the Republicans who lost their party to Trump think they can take it back with somebody even more lame than Jeb, if only they could find someone, anyone, to run on that non-plan.

Trump won for lack of alternatives. Our political class is determined to prevent any alternatives breaking through this time either. They don't want Trump, but even more they want to protect their gravy train of donor money, the huge overspending on medical care (four times the defense budget) and of course all those Forever Wars.

Trump could win, for the same reasons as last time, even though the result would be no better than last time.

LJ , October 9, 2019 at 17:01

Well, yeah but I recall that what won Trump the Republican Nomination was first and foremost his stance on Immigration. This issue is what separated him from the herd of candidates . None of them had the courage or the desire to go against Governmental Groupthink on Immigration. All he then had to do was get on top of low energy Jeb Bush and the road was clear. He got the base on his side on this issue and on his repeated statement that he wished to normalize relations with Russia . He won the nomination easily. The base is still on his side on these issues but Governmental Groupthink has prevailed in the House, the Senate, the Intelligence Services and the Federal Courts. Funny how nobody in the Beltway, especially not in media, is brave enough to admit that the entire Neoconservative scheme has been a disaster and that of course we should get out of Syria . Nor can anyone recall the corruption and warmongering that now seem that seems endemic to the Democratic Party. Of course Trump has to wear goat's horns. "Off with his head".

Drew Hunkins , October 9, 2019 at 16:00

I wish the slick I.D. politics obsessed corporate Dems nothing but the worst, absolute worst. They reap what they sow. If it means another four years of Trump, so be it. It's the price that's going to have to be paid.

At a time when a majority of U.S. citizens cannot muster up $500 for an emergency dental bill or car repair without running down to the local "pay day loan" lender shark (now established as legitimate businesses) the corporate Dems, in their infinite wisdom, decide to concoct an impeachment circus to run simultaneously when all the dirt against the execrable Brennan and his intel minions starts to hit the press for their Russiagate hoax. Nice sleight of hand there corporate Dems.

Of course, the corporate Dems would rather lose to Trump than win with a progressive-populist like Bernie. After all, a Bernie win would mean an end to a lot of careerism and cushy positions within the establishment political scene in Washington and throughout the country.

Now we even have the destroyer of Libya mulling another run for the presidency.

Forget about having a job the next day and forget about the 25% interest on your credit card or that half your income is going toward your rent or mortgage, or that you barely see your kids b/c of the 60 hour work week, just worry about women lawyers being able to make partner at the firm, and trans people being able to use whatever bathroom they wish and male athletes being able to compete against women based on genitalia (no, wait, I'm confused now).

Either class politics and class warfare comes front and center or we witness a burgeoning neo-fascist movement in our midst. It's that simple, something has got to give!

[Oct 09, 2019] Ukrainegate as the textbook example of how the neoliberal elite manipulates the MSM and the narrative for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objectives -- distracting the electorate from real issues

Highly recommended!
Oct 09, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael , October 09, 2019 at 02:07 PM

His entire life trump has been a deadbeat.

"The president is dropping by the city on Thursday for one of his periodic angry wank-fests at the Target Center, which is the venue in which this event will be inflicted upon the Twin Cities. (And, just as an aside, given the events of the past 10 days, this one should be a doozy.) Other Minneapolis folk are planning an extensive unwelcoming party outside the arena, which necessarily would require increased security, which is expensive. So, realizing that it was dealing with a notorious deadbeat -- in keeping with his customary business plan, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago has stiffed 10 cities this year for bills relating to security costs that total almost a million bucks -- the company that provides the security for the Target Center wants the president*'s campaign to shell out more than $500,000.

This has sent the president* into a Twitter tantrum against Frey, who seems not to be that impressed by it. Right from when the visit was announced, Frey has been jabbing at the president*'s ego. From the Star-Tribune:

"Our entire city will stand not behind the President, but behind the communities and people who continue to make our city -- and this country -- great," Frey said. "While there is no legal mechanism to prevent the president from visiting, his message of hatred will never be welcome in Minneapolis."

It is a mayor's lot to deal with out-of-state troublemakers. Always has been."

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29416840/trump-feud-minneapolis-mayor-security-rally/

ilsm , October 09, 2019 at 03:03 PM
When it comes to Trump not going full Cheney war monged in Syria Krugman is a Bircher!l
likbez , October 09, 2019 at 03:22 PM
This is not about Trump. This is not even about Ukraine and/or foreign powers influence on the US election (of which Israel, UK, and Saudi are three primary examples; in this particular order.)

Russiagate 2.0 (aka Ukrainegate) is the case, textbook example if you wish, of how the neoliberal elite manipulates the MSM and the narrative for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objectives -- distracting the electorate from real issues.

An excellent observation by JohnH (October 01, 2019 at 01:47 PM )

"It all depends on which side of the Infowars you find yourself. The facts themselves are too obscure and byzantine."

There are two competing narratives here:

1. NARRATIVE 1: CIA swamp scum tried to re-launch Russiagate as Russiagate 2.0. This is CIA coup d'état aided and abetted by CIA-democrats like Pelosi and Schiff. Treason, as Trump aptly said. This is narrative shared by "anti-Deep Staters" who sometimes are nicknamed "Trumptards". Please note that the latter derogatory nickname is factually incorrect: supporters of this narrative often do not support Trump. They just oppose machinations of the Deep State. And/or neoliberalism personified by Clinton camp, with its rampant corruption.

2. NARRATIVE 2: Trump tried to derail his opponent using his influence of foreign state President (via military aid) as leverage and should be impeached for this and previous crimes. ("Full of Schiff" commenters narrative, neoliberal democrats, or demorats.) Supporters of this category usually bought Russiagate 1.0 narrative line, hook and sinker. Some of them are brainwashed, but mostly simply ignorant neoliberal lemmings without even basic political education.

In any case, while Russiagate 2.0 is probably another World Wrestling Federation style fight, I think "anti-Deep-staters" are much closer to the truth.

What is missing here is the real problem: the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA (and elsewhere).

So this circus serves an important purpose (intentionally or unintentionally) -- to disrupt voters from the problems that are really burning, and are equal to a slow-progressing cancer in the US society.

And implicitly derail Warren (being a weak politician she does not understand that, and jumped into Ukrainegate bandwagon )

I am not that competent here, so I will just mention some obvious symptoms:

  1. Loss of legitimacy of the ruling neoliberal elite (which demonstrated itself in 2016 with election of Trump);
  2. Desperation of many working Americans with sliding standard of living; loss of meaningful jobs due to offshoring of manufacturing and automation (which demonstrated itself in opioids abuse epidemics; similar to epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR before its dissolution.
  3. Loss of previously available freedoms. Loss of "free press" replaced by the neoliberal echo chamber in major MSM. The uncontrolled and brutal rule of financial oligarchy and allied with the intelligence agencies as the third rail of US politics (plus the conversion of the state after 9/11 into national security state);
  4. Coming within this century end of the "Petroleum Age" and the global crisis that it can entail;
  5. Rampant militarism, tremendous waist of resources on the arms race, and overstretched efforts to maintain and expand global, controlled from Washington, neoliberal empire. Efforts that since 1991 were a primary focus of unhinged after 1991 neocon faction US elite who totally controls foreign policy establishment ("full-spectrum dominance). They are stealing money from working people to fund an imperial project, and as part of neoliberal redistribution of wealth up

Most of the commenters here live a comfortable life in the financially secured retirement, and, as such, are mostly satisfied with the status quo. And almost completely isolated from the level of financial insecurity of most common Americans (healthcare racket might be the only exception).

And re-posting of articles which confirm your own worldview (echo chamber posting) is nice entertainment, I think ;-)

Some of those posters actually sometimes manage to find really valuable info. For which I am thankful. In other cases, when we have a deluge of abhorrent neoliberal propaganda postings (the specialty of Fred C. Dobbs) which often generate really insightful comments from the members of the "anti-Deep State" camp.

Still it would be beneficial if the flow of neoliberal spam is slightly curtailed.

[Oct 06, 2019] How An Ever Sanctioning Superpower Is Losing Its Status

Notable quotes:
"... Combat crews of S-400, in Astrakhan Region, held combat exercises against hypersonic target-missiles "Favorit PM" and destroyed all targets. The statement of the press-service of Western Military District announced. The crews of S-400 Triumphs were from the units of air-defense of Leningrad Army of Air Force and Air Defense of Western Military District. ..."
Oct 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

" When Ukraine's Prosecutor Came After His Son's Sponsor Joe Biden Sprang Into Action | Main October 04, 2019 How An Ever Sanctioning Superpower Is Losing Its Status

The Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke yesterday at the yearly Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Sochi. A video with English translations and excerpts of the transcript are here .

With regards to the global system Putin made an interesting historic comparison:

in the 19th century they used to refer to a "Concert of Powers." The time has come to talk in terms of a global "concert" of development models, interests, cultures and traditions where the sound of each instrument is crucial, inextricable and valuable, and for the music to be played harmoniously rather than performed with discordant notes, a cacophony. It is crucial to consider the opinions and interests of all the participants in international life. Let me reiterate: truly mutually respectful, pragmatic and consequently solid relations can only built between independent and sovereign states .

Russia is sincerely committed to this approach and pursues a positive agenda.

The Concert of Europe was the balance of power system between 1815 to 1848 and from 1871 to 1914:

A first phase of the Concert of Europe, known as the Congress System or the Vienna System after the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), was dominated by five Great Powers of Europe: Prussia, Russia, Britain, France and Austria. [...] With the Revolutions of 1848 the Vienna system collapsed and, although the republican rebellions were checked, an age of nationalism began and culminated in the unifications of Italy (by Sardinia) and Germany (by Prussia) in 1871. The German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck re-created the Concert of Europe to avoid future conflicts escalating into new wars. The revitalized concert included France, Britain, Austria, Russia, and Italy with Germany as the main continental power economically and militarily.

Bismark's concert kept peace in a usually warring Europe for 43 years. If Putin wants to be the new Bismarck I am all for it.

Putin also made a rather extraordinary announcement :

Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is helping China build a system to warn of ballistic missile launches.

Since the cold war, only the United States and Russia have had such systems, which involve an array of ground-based radars and space satellites. The systems allow for early spotting of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Speaking at an international affairs conference in Moscow on Thursday, Putin said Russia had been helping China develop such a system. He added that "this is a very serious thing that will radically enhance China's defence capability".

His statement signalled a new degree of defence cooperation between the two former Communist rivals that have developed increasingly close political and military ties while Beijing and Washington have sunk into a trade war.

That is as good for China as it is for Russia. China has an immediate need for such a system because the U.S. is taking a significantly more bellicose posture against it.

The U.S. left the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia to build a nuclear missiles force in South Asia that will aim at China. It is now looking for Asian countries in which it could station such weapons. China is using its economic might to prevent that but the U.S. is likely to succeed.

While China has capable weapons and can defend itself against a smaller attack the U.S. has about 20 times more nuclear warheads than China. It could use those in an overwhelming first strike to decapitate and destroy the Chinese state. An early warning system will give China enough time to detect such an attack and to launch its own nuclear deterrent against the U.S. The warning systems will thus checkmate the U.S. first strike capability.

Over the last two years Russia and China both unveiled hypersonic weapons. Currently the U.S. has neither such weapons nor any defensive system that can protect against these.

Russia was smart enough to develop both - the super fast offensive weapon and a defense against it. Via Andrei Martyanov we learn of a recent Russian press notice:

Translation: Combat crews of S-400, in Astrakhan Region, held combat exercises against hypersonic target-missiles "Favorit PM" and destroyed all targets. The statement of the press-service of Western Military District announced. The crews of S-400 Triumphs were from the units of air-defense of Leningrad Army of Air Force and Air Defense of Western Military District.

And what this "Favorit PM" missile-target complex is? Very simple, it is deeply modernized good ol' S-300 P series which allows to use missiles of types 5V55 which have their explosives removed and are capable of atmospheric maneuverable flight with the velocities of Mach=6 (in excess of 7,000 kilometers per hour). These are genuine hyper-sonic missile-targets and, evidently, and I don't have any reasons to doubt it, S-400 had very little problems shooting them down.

On top of the missile warning system China will also want to have that most capable air and missile defense system. Russia will make it a decent offer.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's talked a day earlier than Putin. His speech and the Q & A with him are here . The talk was mostly about the Middle East and Lavrov's tone was rather angry while he passed through a long list of U.S. sins in the region and beyond. There were also some interesting remarks about Turkey, Syria and the Ukraine. The most interesting passage was his response to a question about U.S. sanction against Russia to which some senators want to add even more. Lavrov said:

I have heard that Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin are two famous anti-Russia-minded members of the US Congress. I don't think that this implies that they have any foresight. Those with a more or less politically mature opinion of the situation should have realised long ago that the sanctions don't work in the direction they wanted them to work. I believe that they will never work. We have a territory and its riches that were bestowed on us by God and our ancestors, we have a feeling of personal dignity, and we also have the armed forces. This combination makes us very confident. I hope that economic development and all the investment that has been made and continues to be made will also pay off in the near future.

The U.S. loves to dish out sanctions left and right and the Trump administration has increased their use. But sanctions, especially unilateral ones, do not work. The U.S. has not recognized that because it has never assessed whether those sanctions fulfill their aims. A recent Government Accountability Office report found :

The Departments of the Treasury (Treasury), State (State), and Commerce (Commerce) each undertake efforts to assess the impacts of specific sanctions on the targets of those sanctions. [...] However, agency officials cited several difficulties in assessing sanctions' effectiveness in meeting broader U.S. policy goals , including challenges in isolating the effect of sanctions from other factors as well as evolving foreign policy goals. According to Treasury, State, and Commerce officials, their agencies have not conducted such assessments on their own.

The U.S. sanctions and sanctions and sanctions but never checked if sanctions work to the intended purpose. The efforts to sanction Russia have surely led to some unintended consequences. They are the reason why the alliance between China and Russia deepens every day. The U.S. has the exorbitant privilege of having its own currency being used as the international reserve. The sanctioning of U.S. dollar transactions is the reason why the U.S. is now losing it :

Russia's Rosneft has set the euro as the default currency for all its new export contracts including for crude oil, oil products, petrochemicals and liquefied petroleum gas, tender documents showed.

The switch from U.S. dollars, which happened in September according to the tender documents published on Rosneft's website, is set to reduce the state-controlled firm's vulnerability to potential fresh U.S. sanctions.

Washington has threatened to impose sanctions on Rosneft over its operations in Venezuela, a move which Rosneft says would be illegal.

Iran has taken comparable steps. It now sells oil to China and India in either local currencies. Other countries will surely learn from this and will also start to use other currencies for their energy purchases. As the transactions in dollars decrease they will also start to use other currencies for their reserves.

But the U.S. is not losing its financial or sole superpower status because of what China or Russia or Iran have done or do. It is losing it because its has made too many mistakes.

Those states who, like Russia, have done their homework will profit from it.

Posted by b on October 4, 2019 at 18:03 UTC | Permalink


Don Bacon , Oct 4 2019 18:33 utc | 1

next page " b: [Iran] now sells oil to China and India
Not to India, but India has said that that will change. India has to be deliberate because it is angling for a permanent seat in the UNSC.
Red Ryder , Oct 4 2019 18:35 utc | 2
Russia is building a network of missile defense, early warning, electronic weapons systems that will ring Greater Eurasia, not just the Russian Federation.

Russia may not produce smart phones and have their own Amazon or Alibaba scale e-commerce platform, but they have the world class defenses and leading edge counter-strike weapons that overwhelm anything the US has or will have for a decade to come.

Putin and Lavrov have laid out the diplomatic talking points for a safer, saner world.

And as the saying goes, if you don't talk to Lavrov, then you can talk with Shoigu (MOD).

The Russians have warned the West. Maybe the West is hard of hearing.
But what is clear, the rest of the world has heard it and they are gravitating toward Russia and China.

Don Bacon , Oct 4 2019 18:36 utc | 3
b: The U.S. sanctions and sanctions and sanctions . . .
It even sanctions itself, with tariffs. Free trade is dead!
Jackrabbit , Oct 4 2019 18:38 utc | 4
It is losing it because its has made too many mistakes.

A statement that deserves to be unpacked. I think at the core of the "mistakes" is a certain exceptionalist attitude which carries with it a combination of greed and hubris that promotes moral turpitude.

Kiza , Oct 4 2019 18:38 utc | 5
When the re-alignment of Russia and China started, I compared them to two soldiers, standing back-to-back, defensively pointing their guns forward. This is becoming an integrated continental defense now. Do you think that the two missile warning system will remain separate? It is sad that it had to come to this, but the AngloZionist mindset of domination and exploitation is what it is. Russia and China are not benevolent, but a big majority of countries prefers their economic approach to the Western military - bombed and killed if you do not comply with master's wishes. Simply, the West is a one-trick-pony in decline,
Beibdnn. , Oct 4 2019 18:39 utc | 6
As the U.S.A.slowly petrifies into an ever more fragile state of existence will the blow that finally causes it to fracture into a state of catastrophic impotence,( in it's eyes ) mean that it will die with a whimper or a bang?
Will the politik of the U.S.A.wake up before it's demise and re-orientate it's ethos so as to integrate with the new order instigated from the east or, like an enraged, immature being try to bring the rest of the world down with it?
I hope wiser minds than those in the Senate prevail. However I'm not really that optimistic that they are capable of serious self reflection.
Sally Snyder , Oct 4 2019 18:39 utc | 7
Here is an article that looks at a WikiLeaks document that explains how the United States Army is preparing to help Washington achieve its national strategic objectives:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/us-power-wielding-unconventional.html

This Army manual gives us a very clear view of how Washington uses manipulation through its influence on the World Bank, IMF, OECD and other "global" groups to wage unconventional warfare on any nation that doesn't share its view of how the world should function and that threatens America's control of the globe, including nations like Venezuela, Iran, Russia and North Korea.

Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 18:41 utc | 8
While China has capable weapons and can defend itself against a smaller attack the U.S. has about 20 times more nuclear warheads than China. It could use those in an overwhelming first strike to decapitate and destroy the Chinese state.

b, in a nuclear exchange, all it takes is a tiny fraction of the US/China/Russia's nuclear arsenals to finish off human civilisation, so numbers are irrelevant. Radiation knows no borders.

Paul Damascene , Oct 4 2019 18:46 utc | 9
Such contributors and Don Bacon, Grieved and Karlof1 might help me (dis)confirm this, but my impression is that Russia is or could make a case for selling only or primarily defensive weapons, to pretty much anyone ... with the effect and, say, the intent, to make wars of aggression, particularly pre-emptive strikes, much less tempting.

By shifting the field advantage towards defense, can it be plausibly proposed that Russia is working to make the world, overall, a safer place (even if their primary intent might be to make it safer from attacks initiated by the Unipolar Axis)?

Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 18:49 utc | 10
Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 4 2019 18:36 utc | 3

b: The U.S. sanctions and sanctions and sanctions . . .
It even sanctions itself, with tariffs. Free trade is dead!

Don, there's NEVER been free trade, ever, no matter how far back you look in history. Free trade is imperial speak for the dominant economies dictating to the weaker.

William H Warrick , Oct 4 2019 18:50 utc | 11
These Globalist maniacs we are supposed to fear are unbelievably stupid.
Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 18:53 utc | 12
Posted by: Paul Damascene | Oct 4 2019 18:46 utc | 9
my impression is that Russia is or could make a case for selling only or primarily defensive weapons, to pretty much anyone ...

Isn't this exactly what they're doing. Martynov's writings reveal this proces in detail. It's a process that has its origins in WWII, a process that also has economic implications for Russia.

psychohistorian , Oct 4 2019 18:56 utc | 13
Thanks for the posting b

I agree with Barovsky in comment # 8 about the MAD nature of any nuclear war

I also want to posit that until China has its own air and missile defense system that Russia will use its to insure that any nuclear attack on China will result in global MAD

@ b who wrote
"
But the U.S. is not losing its financial or sole superpower status because of what China or Russia or Iran have done or do. It is losing it because its has made too many mistakes.
"
it is not the US necessarily that has the sole financial superpower status but the cult of global private finance ownership that is international and not just the US. And now that financial superpower status is not just being challenged from outside the Western nations of empire but from within as I continue to write about in the latest Open Thread. The US state of California has instantiated public finance for the state...it was signed into law this past Wednesday and the Western MSM has yet to report or comment on this game changing initiative.....speaks volumes to the threat it creates to global private finance because California has the 5th largest GDP in the world.

Casey , Oct 4 2019 19:09 utc | 14
I had been leaning toward the scenario where the Empire would, eventually, have to be put down in a violent confrontation, with a CBG sunk, but I am really feeling now, given the Singapore deal in the EAEU with India and Iran in the wings and the missile-shield over PRC and Rosneft selling product in Euros and Syria and Iran and Venezuela not being wiped out, that maybe, just maybe, the Empire will be left in the dust, with no climactic confrontation required. Maybe I am being naive, but there seems to be evidence to support that idea.
rt4 , Oct 4 2019 19:31 utc | 15
I wish since a while for an US American Gorbachov. This kind of person only is able to bring down the still running war economy. You would expect some hero like spiritual leader is necessary. The only thing what was special about the russian version for that job, he was young. Able to imagine a world without that permanent pressure, that everybody can feel in every cell of society. Of course, I hoped that trump maybe will do this, but he is twisted in his own challenges, already old, no real love for the people around him in general. The actual task is to lead down US from the sole position of power to become the most important country in the world. I hope US Americans can fell save one day without spending half of world's expanses on war, which equals that US budget is more than half for this reason. Who will be able to explain to voters, this isn't a sound deal?
Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 19:34 utc | 16
Posted by: Casey | Oct 4 2019 19:09 utc | 14

I'm loathe to posit this but if the US follows the demise of previous empires, then only war will accomplish this but perhaps, just perhaps the mold (or is that mould?) has been broken? After all, WWI and WWII came about because of competition between dominant economies and ultimately a redivision of the world into new blocs. But then again, the emergence of the USSR changed everything, the most momentous event of the 20th century. So perhaps we need a new USSR but this time a transnational USSR?

Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 19:37 utc | 17
PS: Let's call it WUSR, the World Union of Socialist Republics?
Summer Diaz , Oct 4 2019 19:39 utc | 18
My country is in a sorry state of affairs indeed, and listening to those around me, a common theme occurs, a wish that that slow-coming line in the sand which will truly mark the end of our illusion of exceptionalism would just get here and be done, so we, or those of us who are left afterward, can work through those damnable five stages of grieving, and begin the process of reconstruction and healing what remains.

Judging by comments made here, I've withdrawn hope of either party having anything to present the citizenry as a way out of our demise, so coast toward that necessary line we do. Is that too negative?

Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 19:39 utc | 19

Posted by: William H Warrick | Oct 4 2019 18:50 utc | 11

These Globalist maniacs we are supposed to fear are unbelievably stupid.

Stupid maybe but incredibly dangerous!

Kiza , Oct 4 2019 19:49 utc | 20
Slightly off topic, but is not the Western use of children for nefarious purposes increasing? From the first Hong King rioter who got shot for attacking a policeman, at all of his 14 years of age, through Epstein's sexual use of young girls for blackmail, to Greta and the climate change screaming kids. If you are younger than 18, and without or with weak parental oversight due to challenging economic conditions (struggle to survive), you are a fair game for the Western "elite". Earn some pocket money by burning down Hong Kong.

This will only increase, because it runs parallel to the tactics of turning adults against each other to miss to notice the "elite's" hand in all of their pockets. Fight each other people and send your children into the front lines. That is how they channel anger toward's "elite's" alternative-model enemies (China) and away from the real perpetrators and the real issues. This is why the images of Hong Kong riots overlap with the two minute hate from the movie 1984.

Finally, the Communist elite used children too, to do the dying in revolutions, to report their own parents the communist authorities and to severely punish ideological opponents. The use of children is nothing new, but it shows total moral depravity.

Don Bacon , Oct 4 2019 20:02 utc | 21
@ Sally Snyder 7
Thank you for that! And I thought Special Forces was only interested in assassinations.

As you indicate, it's surprising that they put such self-damaging information in print. They think they're invincible, so we need more Lavrovs to set them straight.

uncle tungsten , Oct 4 2019 20:22 utc | 22
re Paul Damascene #9, I see mutually assured defense as a highly desirable strategy emerging from Russia and China. If that new 'mad' is expanded to friendlies in the middle east then a very large sector of the planets continents can be enclosed in a single defensive frame.

I see this as a mighty good potential to arrest the lunatic tendency to war constantly being chanted by the five eyes and their vassal toadies.

Certainly the elimination of nuclear weapons entirely should be the global objective. Failing that, the prevention of ground blasts with the consequent dust and threat of nuclear winter is desirable in my view. High altitude interception may prevent premature detonation of attacking warheads but it will most likely lead to highly contaminated hot spots on ground.

There is an evil in warmongering that is utterly beneath contempt.

imoverit , Oct 4 2019 20:46 utc | 23
I see on AMN, the Syrian News site, an article speaking about a new KFC in terrorist-held Idlib ...

If this isn't a statement about who is collaborating in these wars I don't know what is !! It is partially about the globalists wanting to increase the extent of their reach (apart from all the religious and cultural issues too)

Hoarsewhisperer , Oct 4 2019 20:47 utc | 24
...
...but my impression is that Russia is or could make a case for selling only or primarily defensive weapons, to pretty much anyone ... with the effect and, say, the intent, to make wars of aggression, particularly pre-emptive strikes, much less tempting.

By shifting the field advantage towards defense, can it be plausibly proposed that Russia is working to make the world, overall, a safer place (even if their primary intent might be to make it safer from attacks initiated by the Unipolar Axis)?
Posted by: Paul Damascene | Oct 4 2019 18:46 utc | 9

Imo that's a perfectly sane assessment. It's just an unfortunate prerequisite, and a sign of the times, that M.A.D. had to be looming in the background before the wisdom could be recognised and de-escalation could commence.

Don Bacon , Oct 4 2019 20:47 utc | 25
@ PD 9
shifting the field advantage towards defense

>Actually all nations are supposed to concentrate on defense. The US changed its War Dept to Defense Dept. --( to throw us off? ) There are few nations that have an overwhelming offensive capability. Its expensive and requires a lot of people, including mostly draftees.
> The F-35 jet fighter now goes for about $150 million per copy, in large part because it is stealthy and can get through enemy defenses. At least that's the plan. But after eighteen years (and counting) of development, the F-35 still has not been approved for full production. That's an offensive weapon.
> Another expensive piece of gear is the aircraft carrier, now going for $13 billion per copy, and several of the newfangled complex features on the new carrier design don't work. High maintenance, too. Of eleven carriers only two are deplorable currently, none on the east coast. Carriers have been mostly used to facilitate bombing runs over defenseless third-world countries. They need a cheap defense.
> Regarding soldiers, few countries have a draft, or a large draft, any longer. No more major land armies, required for offense. People are expensive, and 70% of US youth don't qualify for service.
> The US Marine Corps is now going through a change with a new commandant. The main US enemy now is China, and there's no thought of any war on China itself, only on allied islands they might grab. So the Marines want to back out of their land warfare stance and concentrate on Iwo-Jima type operations like the good old days. New USMC Commandant Berger: "We are too heavy, too cumbersome. We're built for another Desert Storm. We have to go on a diet. . .we're not going to go head-to-head, tank-on-tank," he said
> The recent Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia was a wake-up call. Drones and missiles, inexpensive unstoppable and effective.
> So there's a lot of work to do, but yes one can say there is a trend from offense to defense, and little by little the world might be safer against offensive actions.

Don Bacon , Oct 4 2019 20:54 utc | 26
@25 - carriers
Make that deployable, not deplorable. Freudian slip.
Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 21:03 utc | 27
@#9:
I see mutually assured defense as a highly desirable strategy emerging from Russia and China. If that new 'mad' is expanded to friendlies in the middle east then a very large sector of the planets continents can be enclosed in a single defensive frame.

Excellent observation Uncle! It's the Empire (and its vassals) versus the planet.

vk , Oct 4 2019 21:03 utc | 28
@ Posted by: rt4 | Oct 4 2019 19:31 utc | 15

There will never be an American Gorbachev because the American system is completely different from the Soviet system.

In the USSR, the Communist Party was everything and commanded all the sociometabolical aspects of society through a centralized State. When the Gorbachev killed the Party, he killed the USSR. That's why it simply collapsed overnight and in a relatively peaceful way.

The USA is a pure-blood capitalist society. It functions through a confederation of capitalists, who command and owns different parts of the means of production. The State, albeit powerful, is just one instutition among many others in this free market anarchy. The USA, therefore, is a relatively decentralized society (for its size, it is incredibly decentralized). In this sense, the USA is more akin to the old Roman Empire than any other recent liberal or late-feudal empire.

My guess is the USA will degenerate slowly and very violently and chaotically, with a succession of weak POTUS over a course of at least many decades. It can or cannot lose territory in this process (I don't think it ever will, unless you're talking about Puerto Rico and other possessions in the Southwestern Pacific). It almost certainly will provoke many more wars against foreign nations in the process. It will be a very dangerous period of Humanity's History, if not mark its end (if a total nuclear war happens).

--//--

I don't think Putin wants to be "the next Bismarck". Bismarck's new Concert was a failure: it didn't relieve pressure between the imperialist powers in Europe and only gathered pressure overtime in order to create an even bigger meatgrinder (WWI), which generated an even bigger revolution (1917). By all intents and purposes, Bismarck's foreign polices were an abject failure. His domestic record, on the other side, is stellar, since he turned Germany into a world superpower which, by 1900, had already surpassed the UK in industrial terms to reach second place overall (behind only the much bigger USA).

Taffyboy , Oct 4 2019 21:03 utc | 29
..."But the U.S. is not losing its financial or sole superpower status because of what China or Russia or Iran have done or do. It is losing it because its has made too many mistakes."...

The cadaver that is the USA, a ruptured spleen of financial criminality, is in it's end stage of sucking the life of the world, it's host. Russia, China, and like minded sovereign states are backstopping the US buck into oblivion with their gold purchases. Gold continues to show the absurdities of the financial status of the US dollar. Gold is inoculating these states that are being sanctioned and financially harassed. The USA, is a drunken bum in the gutter looking for his next drink. Time is running short as the world economies are now contracting into a spiral down the toilet drain taking the great financial criminal with it.

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Oct 4 2019 21:03 utc | 30
If any politicians on the global chessboard can rival the statesmanship and intellect in strategy, it sure is Putin.
Before him maybe de Gaulle, Helmut Schmidt or Churchill. But now? No where in the western states.

To the growing ties with China and Russia: Irony is, Putin warned the western world, that if his and Russia's preference of joining the western states would be denied, Russia would be forced into China's arms, even though they are culturally and religiously much more tied to Europe and the western world.

US and NATO policy brought the Russians to see the former "yellow menace" as their only hope; Equally China was forced into the arms of its Russian neighbor, despite the Chinese tradition of seeing the Russians equally as a not much loved neighbor.
So the "social Imperialists" and "Barbarians" of Russia and the "Yellow Menace" were forced to overcome their old prejudices.

De Gaulle once said: "One day the Russians will realize again that they are white." Meaning, when the Soviet system would come crashing down, the Russians would realize, that they and their culture are European, and not Asian.
When this prophecy actually came true, and Yeltsin and Putin tried to rebuild the bridges back to their cultural fellow European states, the Neocons destroyed that historic chance of healing decades and century old wounds.

Putin and Russia actually tried for over a decade to avert this. Only most recently the fight in the Russian bureaucracy is leading into going into the partnership with China more broadly. It still is a partnership not of love or true desire, but of simple survival. And that won't likely ever change.

I am currently reading a great book of the legendary German-French journalists and author Peter Scholl-Latour about the new cold war against Russia. he published it IIRC over 12 years ago, with research since the 90s for it, and including previous reports from his visits in Russia since 1958.
He saw what he discusses here 20 years ago. And the strategic consequences of this idiotic rejection of Russia's wish to come back into the fold of European nations by the US will haunt us for generations to come, if it is not fixed.

Only way to that would be if we would have politicians in the EU and Europeans states like Putin; more concrete: With the backbone, strategic insight, and a strong stand on national sovereignty.

But with the current politicians in the EU and its states? Certainly no one on the left, as "sovereignty" is now seen as "Nazi", and left politicians at least here in Germany being "educated" by NATO think tanks, supporting military "interventions". The only ones who realize how important sovereignty is for any country, are the new right like Salvini, Le Pen, and the Nigel Farage. Which maybe a big part of why they are so hysterically attacked by the MSM and establishment.

But sovereignty is important for the left too, and historically e.g. the older generations social democrats here knew that. People like Helmut Schmidt realized that no people can be free, and exercise its self-determination as a nation, without true sovereignty.

But the time of politicians of this class and caliber in the west is long gone. Maybe another reason, why our politicians hate Putin so much. ;)

Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 21:05 utc | 31
Apologies, @#22 not #9
Ian2 , Oct 4 2019 21:19 utc | 32
It should be obvious to anyone that we're going to see some kind of a joint Sino-Russian military organization like NORAD. I was wondering about this after Russia sold their S-400 to China. However, I'm not sure if the Chinese, or Russia, would be open to a Warsaw Pact version 2. IMO, the inevitable collapse would be like the Soviet Union as WMDs will prevent a war fought directly between the larger powers. In the meantime, expect more proxy wars fought globally.

Kiza | Oct 4 2019 19:49 utc | 20:

It's always been like this as that is the most impressionable stage of one's life. I don't know if this is an increase or not, but I see these useful idiots as activation of sleeper cells cultivated in educational institutions.

steven t johnson , Oct 4 2019 21:20 utc | 33
The "Concert of Powers" was marked by numerous wars. Great power conflict in Europe was avoided in favor of colonial wars. England against Indians, Africans and Asians, but Russia against Turks too. So much for "truly mutually respectful..." relations. Putin speaks gibberish. Today, "sovereign" means claiming the right to wage war at will. This is not a premise for solid relationships, but shifting alliances against the current enemy.

It is incidentally highly unlikely that a basket of currencies could possibly substitute for a single reserve. If people couldn't make bimetallism work, making bi-, tri-, poly-fiat currency work isn't happening either. The fluctuations in relative value will destabilize the financial systems of smaller powers.

Kooshy , Oct 4 2019 21:31 utc | 34
Don
I don't see possibility of India getting a UNSC permanent seat any time coming soon, it's a permanent wishful thinking on India's part. India will need to resolve her problems with Kashmir and Pakistan before even she be considered. Indian realist analyst know this well. As matter of fact I don't see any hope that anytime soon we can see a structural change in UN. It's more possible UN be dissolved like the League was before it be reformed. US and India only can be short term tactical allies against China, and not even strategic allies since they both have different postures toward the subcontinent's, Indian Ocean states.
Sorghum , Oct 4 2019 21:33 utc | 35
@ 27 Barofsky

Exactly, which is why I am both confused and frustrated by people taking a side in the Ukraine-gate farce. Does it matter which flavor of evil is currently provably less corrupt? They all have almost the same goals: peanuts and platitudes to placate the peasants at home and Full Spectrum Imperial Dominance abroad. I get trying to figure out the Gordian Knot, but the Make Believe of Good Cop/Bad Cop is annoying.

Willy2 , Oct 4 2019 21:39 utc | 36
- No, when Rosneft is chosing the Euro as its trading currency then that will increase - IMO - the risk of a (MAJOR) war.
dh , Oct 4 2019 21:40 utc | 37
@23 It's true! A KFC opened in Idlib. Here is a video with some amusing comments.

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1247614/pg1

Willy2 , Oct 4 2019 21:51 utc | 38
- Wars like WW 1 & WW 2 are not going to happen anymore because such wars have simply too expensive. But instead we'll see a series of smaller wars or proxy wars.
lysias , Oct 4 2019 21:53 utc | 39
Germany before Hitler was a pluralist capitalist society like America has been. Didn't stop Hitler from centralizing everything.

If Germany could have a Hitler, America can have its Gorbachev.

Jen , Oct 4 2019 21:54 utc | 40
VK @ 28:

I should think that one reason for the failure of the Second Concert of Europe was that Britain was determined to eliminate Germany as an economic and political rival and as an example of what centralised government economic and social planning could do to improve people's lives and the conditions in which they lived and worked. The reforms that Bismarck brought to Germany, if only to keep 1848-style revolutions at bay, challenged the prevailing laissez-faire economic policies (precursor to neoliberalism in our day) in Britain that favoured the landowning and military elites.

The period 1871 - 1914 was one in which British aristocracy "revitalised" itself (for want of a better term) by taking brides from American families that made their wealth from investing in railway development across the US and in new American industries. (Perhaps "vampirising" American money is the better term.) The classic examples of such marriages are those of Consuelo Vanderbilt, of the wealthy Vanderbilt family, marrying into the Spencer-Churchill family; and of Winston Churchill's mother marrying his father. Acquiring American wealth in this way was one way in which British elites could maintain enough power to keep a grip on British politics and British colonial politics.

The same period was also one in which European powers competed to chop up Africa and Asia into colonies or "spheres of influence". So in a sense, the Europeans were already at war with each other (and the Second Concert was a facade, just as the Cold War of the late 20th century was a facade): they conducted this war away from their own publics, in areas distant and remote enough, that most incidents of mass violence or outright land theft could be covered up. The major exception was Belgian King Leopold's treatment of the area that is now the Democratic Republic of Congo / Congo (Kinshasa) as he ruled it in the manner of a mediaeval feudal lord and the atrocities committed there by his government were on a scale too huge to ignore.

c1ue , Oct 4 2019 21:54 utc | 41
@Paul Damascene #9
Not strictly true.
Two nations, one with sword and shield but the other with only a shield. The first nation can attack with little fear of reprisal.
Russia is still not going to sell defensive weapons to anyone unless there is a clear overall strategic benefit.
lysias , Oct 4 2019 21:57 utc | 42
Norman Angell argued in "The Great Illusion" that a great war was no longer economically possible. Published in 1909.
lysias , Oct 4 2019 22:06 utc | 43
Ironic that the Great War had to wait until 1914, when Britain's Liberal government was adopting many of Bismarck's social welfare measures.

I suspect that America's increasing hostility to China reflects a fear of contagion from the more successful and fairer Chinese system. Just like Britain and Germany in 1914.

Peter AU 1 , Oct 4 2019 22:16 utc | 44
A number of the S-300 standard missiles are just into the hypersonic range.
Missile spec section in wikipedia give missile velocity and maximum target velocity.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-300_missile_system#Missiles

Two are listed as being good for target velocity up to 6,415 mph which is well into hypersonic range.
Another two, target velocities up to 11,185mph - mach 14.7 according mph to mach converter.

lysias , Oct 4 2019 22:19 utc | 45
Helmut Schmidt's books on China are impressive, but it's striking that in the first one, "Nachbar China," of 2006, he totally failed to anticipate the economic collapse of 2008.
Barovsky , Oct 4 2019 22:42 utc | 46
Posted by: lysias | Oct 4 2019 22:06 utc | 43

Actually, that's not true. When the UK went to war in 1914, they discovered that their soldiers were so undernourished and unfit to fight for the Empire, that a series of 'social reforms' were enacted to improve the lot of the working class (or cannon fodder).

Annie , Oct 4 2019 22:50 utc | 47
"While China has capable weapons and can defend itself against a smaller attack the U.S. has about 20 times more nuclear warheads than China. It could use those in an overwhelming first strike to decapitate and destroy the Chinese state."

B, I read your analysis of the China weapons parade and came away with the impression that US air & sea superiority was over. I thought China already had the S-400 too. I had no idea that the US was in possession of more nukes than China. I hope that China gets that system set up quickly, as well as the S-400.

The US is a psychopathic control freak, whose mask has slipped, yet the only one who doesn't know that is Washington, but when it realizes it, that's when it will become far more dangerous and may think that their time for a US first nuke strike is running out. Let's hope they are not that stupid.

Ian2 , Oct 4 2019 23:07 utc | 48
Anybody that believes China have only 290 nukes are naive. Look at all those DF-41 and JL-2/3 missiles they've made. Some of those missiles have MIRV capability.
William Gruff , Oct 4 2019 23:21 utc | 49
Ian2 @48

What point does lying that way about a deterrence weapon serve? China only has nukes to deter America from attacking them. The nukes are not intended to ever actually be used, so why would they lie and pretend to have less than they really have? That makes no sense. If anything they would lie and pretend to have more than they really do to enhance their deterrence.

Secret weapons do not make an effective deterrence.

On the other hand, like Japan China probably has big stockpiles of fissile materials sufficiently enriched that they could make many hundreds of additional nukes in a matter of a couple weeks, or maybe even just days, if they needed to.

William Gruff , Oct 4 2019 23:42 utc | 50
Ian2 @48

Just to clarify, a 100kg solid chunk of iron traveling at hypersonic speeds and with decent accuracy would ruin the day for an American aircraft carrier. No nuke is needed.

Furthermore, if China has only 290 nukes, but 5,000 launch vehicles, which ones out of that 5,000 are armed and have to be destroyed if America does a first strike and wants to avoid several dozen of its biggest cities being turned into glowing craters in response? Hint: All 5,000.

So you see, China doesn't really need much more than 290 nukes to prevent America from attacking, assuming Americans are not stupid. Unfortunately that could very well be a losing bet.

Josh , Oct 4 2019 23:45 utc | 51
Washington is not a nation. It is only a city. If the rest of the world wants an honest glimpse of what this city intends, all it has to do is look at what it has done, and is still doing, to America's population. Take an honest look, disregarding all testimony. When you completely disregard the narrative of dc and the media, the picture becomes quite stark quite quickly.
FKA_Realist , Oct 5 2019 0:00 utc | 52
> Washington is not a nation. It is only a city.
Posted by: Josh | Oct 4 2019 23:45 utc | 51

The only "city" you should worry about is The City of London. The root of evil on this planet, for the past few centuries.

---
[Iran] now sells oil to China and India

Posted by b on October 4, 2019 at 18:03 UTC | Permalink

The exploitation of Iranian national wealth continues to support the Cabal's projects.

lysias , Oct 5 2019 0:13 utc | 53
The reason for the constitutional crisis in Britain in 1910, which resulted in the House of Lords losing most of its power, was that the Lords refused to approve Lloyd George's People's Budget, which, according to Wikipedia, "introduced unprecedented taxes on the lands and incomes of Britain's wealthy to fund new social welfare programs." The upshot of the crisis was that the budget became law.
Don Bacon , Oct 5 2019 0:16 utc | 54
. . . picked this up on the web:
In his seminal work On War, Carl von Clausewitz famously declared that, in comparison to the offense, "the defensive form of warfare is intrinsically stronger than the offensive."

The defender being in his homeland contributes to defensive strength. It's certainly contributed to US offensive failures in the last fifty years. It took the mighty US Army four years and over a thousand deaths to pacify Baghdad. So what to do, the US has reverted to high-level aerial bombing and long-range artillery to kill foreigners. This increases US opposition, creating more enemies. No shortage of them.

karlof1 , Oct 5 2019 0:44 utc | 55
lysias @53--

Gotta give you a big Shout-Out for providing that ultra important fact as that marked the beginning of the reaction to Classical Economists in the UK which was already happening within the Outlaw US Empire, thus the seed of UK's Neoliberalism was planted and watered. It also brought the UK and US elite together mind-set-wise.

Josh @51--

Your observation is 100% on the mark! The utterly gross neglect of the USA's human capital's been ongoing for decades, and was given a great boost by the adoption of Neoliberalism as basic policy during Carter's presidency, which was subsequently turbocharged by Reagan/Bush. Profit before people had always been present; but after the "Saving the bond-holders" deliberately deep recession caused by Volker from 1979-1982, there would be no more policies aimed at improving social welfare. Instead, they were targeted for destruction as the Full Employment Act of 1946 was 100% ignored by both Rs & Ds as jobs went offshore and the Rust Belt oxidized.

--//--

Today, the hollowed-out Outlaw US Empire is a mere Paper Tiger reduced to using terrorists and terrorism as its policy tools. Slowly, the nations of the world are enacting a de facto form of containment that will eventually result in the diminishment of The Empire's abilities and force it to become a normal nation for the first time in its history--hopefully without a nuclear conflagration.

ben , Oct 5 2019 0:46 utc | 56
Putin is a voice of reason in a very sick and twisted world, one that is dominated by an evil empire whose only purpose seems to be global corporate hegemony.

His voice should be heard by the American people.

Grieved , Oct 5 2019 1:28 utc | 57
@2 Red Ryder - Russia is building a network of missile defense, early warning, electronic weapons systems that will ring Greater Eurasia, not just the Russian Federation.

Always good to see your sweeping strategic view from the commanding heights. I quoted your opening sentence because it makes such total sense, and also sounds so good. Mackinder has no need to turn in his grave - the heartland has upended the world to save him the trouble ;)

There will be the invulnerable Eurasia, and the outside.

~~

I'm enjoying all the comments jumping onto the notion of Mutual Assured Defense. It seems a concept that many here can readily relate to - and sign me up for sure. Thanks to Paul Damascene for the concept, and uncle tungsten for coining the phrase.

Sharmine Narwani in her recent interview with Ross Ashcroft cited a Twitter comment somebody made, to the effect that the S-400 was Russia's foreign policy. She was struck by how perfectly this actually works as a policy. In a world where everybody has an S-400, no war. Mutually assured defense.

I have long theorized, without a grain of collateral to prove it, that there is only one security strategy for Russia. If I had a border as extensive as Russia's, I would see that the only security possible for me would rest in an entire world at peace.

Therefore Russia works towards peace. It's how she conquers the world. As we saw in Chechnya and in Syria, Russia builds and not destroys. Syria in particular over a long period showed us precisely how Russia fights - not to "win", not to destroy an enemy, but purely to lock down the peace and make everything safe. Only those restless souls who would not become still were killed.

China too shares this same understanding of the Tao - not surprisingly of course. The game is not to crush the opponent but to render the fight unnecessary. If China conquers the world it will mean the Mandate Of Heaven has come to rule everywhere. The fight will become unnecessary.

~~

Federico Pieraccini in his latest article had this to say about China's strategy:

Beijing's strategy seems to be designed to progress in phases, modulating according to the reaction of the US, whether aggressive or mild; a kind of capoeira dance where one never actually hits one's opponent even when one can.

I had to look it up, Brazil's amazing contribution to world peace, the capoeira. I had never heard of it and now I will never forget it. A brilliant comment from Pieraccini.

Peace is coming to the world faster than war is being left room to break out. And this is because peacemaking is as dynamic an activity as warmaking . But by its very nature of not breaking things, it is far less visible.

Don Bacon , Oct 5 2019 1:47 utc | 58
. . .from Putin
Truly mutually respectful, pragmatic and consequently solid relations can only built between independent and sovereign states.
. . .from the UN Charter
The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
somebody , Oct 5 2019 2:25 utc | 59
Putin is pointing backwards not forwards when you think it through.

No "souvereign" state can be independent in the age of global supply chains and markets, refugees and global warming. The world is interdependent and always has been since the evolution of the human species in Africa.

"Souvereignty" and statehood has always been achieved (and lost) by military power. It is a recipe for war.

This is for the theory. Now for the practice. Of course, Russia has been intervening in the affairs of other "souvereign" states. Of course Iran has been striving for dominance in the Middle East. And of course Eastern European states feel squeezed between Russia, the US and Germany. And of course China pressures Vietnam for the resources of the South China Sea.

Putin is talking about being polite.

Europe will have neither economic nor political or military power dealing with Russia, the US or China as individual "sovereign" states. And this is what this populist dance is about.

The US has not lost influence because of the sanctions, they have lost influence because they have no longer the technological edge and "souvereign states" have the alternative of allying with Russia and China. That is a binary choice, not souvereinty.

Paul Damascene , Oct 5 2019 2:36 utc | 60
ciue @ 41:
An intelligent observation, thanks. Though I find myself wondering if the world in which everyone has a shield, and only one, a sword, is not, perhaps, a world quite changed.

In reading Don Bacon @ 58 and Grieved @ 57, something slid into place for me. As a child of the Enlightenment, pained as I have been--for all its failings--to see it slip under the waves, it has been especially painful to see the West despoiling its legacies of democracy and universal human rights. Nothing has done these more damage than our corrupt, cynical exploitation of them. When I look to the emergent multipolar model with not inconsiderable relief, I see it as one in which democracy will not necessarily be a central value or form of polity.

But if this multipolar principle of the sovereign equality among all of its members is considered from a certain vantage point, the principle's equivalent in a democratic system of individuals would be an acceptance of its various citizens as of fundamentally equal worth regardless of their ideologies or beliefs.

Perhaps if that feature of our own systems were not so close to being lost, a glimpse of this quality of an international comity wouldn't come to me now as a revelation.

somebody , Oct 5 2019 2:44 utc | 61
Posted by: Grieved | Oct 5 2019 1:28 utc | 57

I guess it is a Rorschach test. I don't see how anything in Syria has been resolved peacefully, I just don't. I am not blaming Russia for it. Putin virtually waited until it became clear that the US (Obama) would not intervene.

Russians had the worst WWI and WWII experience, plus Chechnya and Afghanistan. No Russian leader would be able to motivate them for anything else but defense. It took the Moscow apartment bombings to motivate them for the Chechen war.

Political power in China has grown out of the barrel of a gun - since Mao Tse Tung. It has grown out of the barrel of a gun world wide since the invention of gun powder.

Peace might come not because of defense systems but because of cheap and simple technology to defeat these defense systems.

snake , Oct 5 2019 2:49 utc | 62
weaponized economics USA says it has ability to affect the economic environment, says it can influence international financial institutions .. says it can use such abilities and influence to cement multinational coalitions for unconventional warfare campaigns or dissuade adversary nation-state governments from supporting competitors"

financial blackmail .[nations either join/suffer], the stores of value can be exploited.. the economic space is a war zone the tax, interest rates, legal and bureaucratic measures used locally, by target states, can be [manipulated] to persuade adversaries, allies, and surrogates to modify their behavior.. Entire agencies specialize in identifying. opportunities where financial weapon(s) can be used to provide leverage [to achieve goals]? Thank you Sally Snyder @ 7 for that link and great explanation. I want to add that I see evidence the USA uses that same strategy domestically against the leaders of its states, its cities, its counties, its political parties and privately against the leaders and activist the world over. Americans rarely have the opportunity you afforded @7 to understand why things are happening in the USA the way they are.

new subject:
The Great War had to wait until 1914, when Britain's Liberal government was adopting many of Bismarck's social welfare measures.to Lysias @ 43 <==I certainly do agree with your reason.. Consider the following

The great war was on hold since 1897, waiting on the British and French bankers to create a means to finance the war. That financing required the warriors in Europe to invade and overthrow the US Constitutional prohibition (Article I, Section 9, paragraph 4) which prohibited Capitation or other direct taxes, not based in proportion to the population. Amendment 16 ratifed on February 3, 1913 reads, the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Within minutes after the US. Supreme court took up taking non proportional taxes from the pockets of working Americans the privately owned Federal reserve bank was created, and made by congress the central bank of the world (1913). So to recap, British adoption of Bismarck's measures had little to do with the war in Europe, instead it was the the money to be taken by taxation from the pockets of every American that satisfied the bankers requirement of suitable and ample capital (Federal Reserve Act of 1913); USA taxes on Americans would collateral the FR lending, and the USA would guarantee the taxes would be collected and rendered as required. Once constitutional intent was thwarted, the federal Reserve could lend to the global warriors who wanted to destroy Germany and take the oil rich land (entire Middle East) from the Ottoman. It took two world wars and trillions of tax dollars, not to mention millions of lives, for the pubic nations states to enable the private theft of the oil rich Middle East lands owned by the Ottomans.

additionally .. Barovsky responded also to lysias @ 43 with "Actually, that's not true. When the UK went to war in 1914, they discovered that their soldiers were so undernourished and unfit to fight for the Empire, that a series of 'social reforms' were enacted to improve the lot of the working class (or cannon fodder).by: Barovsky @ 46

Don Bacon , Oct 5 2019 2:55 utc | 63
@ somebody 61
I don't see how anything in Syria has been resolved peacefully, I just don't.
Russia's strategy of giving foes a choice of fighting or being bused elsewhere, a choice they took, was a truly unique peaceful resolution. Never been done before, to my knowledge. Revolutionary. Wonderful. Peaceful. I liked it.
Don Bacon , Oct 5 2019 3:08 utc | 64
@ PD 60

If I may: A big part of national strategy is to have the populace focusing on "foreign threats" which takes citizens' minds of their domestic problems. Part of "sovereign equality" is (at the national level) to mind our own business, not somebody else's.

George Washington dedicates a large part of his farewell address to discussing foreign relations and the dangers of permanent alliances between the United States and foreign nations, which he views as foreign entanglements.

Later, we have "War is the Health of the State"
by Randolph Bourne (1918) . . here
". . .The republican State has almost no trappings to appeal to the common man's emotions. What it has are of military origin, and in an unmilitary era such as we have passed through since the Civil War, even military trappings have been scarcely seen. In such an era the sense of the State almost fades out of the consciousness of men. With the shock of war, however, the State comes into its own again. The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war. . ."

b4real , Oct 5 2019 3:10 utc | 65
I think we are seeing more like russia/china using a strategy similar to Muhammad Ali's rope a dope against the u.s. They are both spending their money wisely on building effective military forces, both defensive and offensive, but they are not wasting their treasure on imperialist adventures. At the same time, everywhere U.S. has tried to corner a market or extend itself, they have been getting cut off at the knees by either Russia or China. Russia put a monkey wrench in U.S. goals in Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela. U.S. went after Iran and China stepped in with a huge oil purchase and development project. Now I'm reading that Russia is getting ready to assist Cuba in a major way.

Was it napoleon who said, "when you see your enemy making mistakes, let him"? (paraphrase) I think they are going to continue trying to avoid a fight while they wait for the U.S. to either come to its senses, collapse or come to blows, but they won't be the instigator.

U.S. is capitalist and this kind of society is more likely to destruct through a financial collapse or a civil war than declaring war on either China or Russia. Not that war with China or Russia can be ruled out, but if it occurred I think it would probably start as a result of U.S. accidental blowing something up with one of our smart missiles....

This (entertaining) article was written by some street fellow in ukraine around the time Yanukovich was ousted, but the similarities between Ukraine and US shares a common perspective of a lot of USA common folk. In usa,you don't ever get to own much (its all leased or financed) and even if you do, its not hard for them to find a way to liberate it from you.


b4real

chu teh , Oct 5 2019 4:14 utc | 66
Barovsky | Oct 4 2019 22:42 utc | 46

re WW1 UK malnourished soldiers

I recall US journalist George Seldes remarking his observations as he met the UK conscripts coming to the WW1 front. His on-the-scene notes of malnourishment and inability to handle repetitive lifting of ammunition to feed mortars/small cannon, relative to German conscripts, were telling. Explains the postwar emphasis on sports and diet just to prep for the next war. Lessons perhaps also applied to American emphasis on spoprts may just be the overt signs of underlying gov covert funding/subsidies and legislation enabling "league" monopolies.

Ian2 , Oct 5 2019 4:23 utc | 67
@William Gruff:

Why the understatement? It's the same reason why militaries don't showcase their latest greatest hardware to the public. Secrecy provides maneuvering room and is only revealed when appropriate. It's also about managing fear and public opinion in hopes of exerting some influence over your adversary.

AFAIK, China have not officially stated their holdings. The 290 figure is really an estimate given by various NGOs.

ziogolem , Oct 5 2019 4:25 utc | 68
Time is on the side of the new eastern powers, that is, with each passing month the US military (& economic) superiority shrinks.
I think that is why China has been able to exercise such restraint with HK, they can put up with the tantrums till 2047.

The big danger is if those who own the USA try to use their advantage before they lose it.

They already assume that an apocalypse is inevitable;
When the elite retreat to bunkers and private islands in Hawaii, New Zealand, Tasmania or Patagonia , their main concern is how to keep the deplorable's grubby hands off their stuff when the shit finally hits the fan.

chu teh , Oct 5 2019 4:51 utc | 69
...re China's invention of gun powder. IIRC Marco Polo brought it back to Europe in 1400s at a time when China had already advanced it to hand-held-cannon status.

Note well that Europe itself was already in an advanced state of acquisitive madness, as much as could be enabled by formations of swords and horses occasionally being an overwhelming weapon .

With gunpowder, force-of-arms were now an overwhelming weapon in far more areas of the continent.

Then, and only then, could a Columbus et al have set out on voyages of discovery with confident ability to claim any "new" lands for some king who would fund the mission.

I submit, there is no way a Columbus could set-sail unless he had on-board such overwhelming weapons.

Else, landing anywhere without such would only permit some sly smiling and trading and scouting. Any overtly aggressive landing party would be slaughtered by the sheer numbers of home-team locals.

Re "power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely", gunpowder was the 1st overwhelming weapon that enabled conquest.

The 2nd overwhelming weapon was the atom-bomb. But IMO, some heroic figures understood the ramifications its overwhelming-nature; thus they felt motivated to force its sharing, bec a monopoly guaranteed its use to permit limitless conquering.

Then at that point, science was funded by .govs to invent the next overwhelming weapon and use it before any delicious target could duplicate it. We are here.

The acquisitive-syndrome.

FSD , Oct 5 2019 4:54 utc | 70
Lavrov: "Those with a more or less politically mature opinion of the situation should have realised long ago that the sanctions don't work in the direction they wanted them to work."


Oswald Spengler is good here. What he called Western 'money-thinking' is moving at the moment in contrary, self-extinguishing, directions. Full spectrum dominance, bankrolled by reserve currency status, seeks the whole enchilada and potentially once had the wherewithal to achieve it --if not for the punitive subtractions necessitated by sanctions regimes. Compounding matters, the exiled nations, having escaped the comforts of the lab, develop fearsome powers of self-reliance (what North Korea proudly calls juche). Banded together, these hardened exiles will some day go on to decimate the King's Army:


"Spengler, more poet than historian, offers the penetrating eye of the stranger. His prescience for the Russian destiny is paraphrased by Kerry Bolton here:

The Russian soul is not the same as the Western Faustian, as Spengler called it, the 'Magian' of the Arabian civilization, or the Classical of the Hellenes and Romans. The Western Culture that was imposed on Russia by Peter the Great, what Spengler called Petrinism, is a veneer The Russian soul expresses its own type of infinity, albeit not that of the Westerner's Faustian soul, which becomes enslaved by its own technics at the end of its life-cycle."

Many of those 'technics' fall under what Spengler called "money-thinking". At the twilight of its life-cycle the West threatens to withhold its toxicity from all those who don't 'play fair', plying its financial sanctions like an overused tool-set: fractional reserve banking, impudent debt-money that arrives ex nihilo seeking its keep from God-knows-where, leverage that belabors ever-narrowing denominators of intrinsic value."

https://thesaker.is/sins-without-recourse-beast-without-remorse/

The Western debt pyramid can ill-afford meting out the punishment of exile. On the contrary it needs everything on Earth plus the minerals of passing meteors and Martian water. However its petulance and hubris can't resist banishing nations that displease it. When its petulance exceeds its own diminishing critical mass, the seesaw tips against it.

Peter AU 1 , Oct 5 2019 4:58 utc | 71
Re ""power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely", gunpowder was the 1st overwhelming weapon that enabled conquest."
The history of empires is as long as the history of agriculture and herding, nearly ending with the advent of nuclear weapons and MAD.
Only one country left trying that needs some sense knocking into it.
somebody , Oct 5 2019 6:05 utc | 72
Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 5 2019 2:55 utc | 63

I don't think the bussing to Idlib was Russian strategy. The Syrian civil proxy war was a lot about demographics, Hezbollah tried to save Shiites from mixed areas, dito the Syrian state with their supporters. It was a local solution that was necessary as Jihadi fighters come with huge families. Turkey might have had a part as their interest was to have the Jihadis at the border to fight against the Kurdish groups. You may have noticed that the Syrian government with support of Russia now attacks the Jihadi fighters in Idlib.

Russia's strategy was to force Turkey on its side without alienating Iran or Syrians. Iran at one stage seemed ready to support a religious power share the type of Lebanon. The Russian intervention stopped that idea.

Russia saved the Syrian state and the Syrian state insisted on being secular and getting rid of all internal ennemies. That is a kind of peace but the peace of the graveyard.

somebody , Oct 5 2019 6:27 utc | 73
Actually it is quite funny that Putin has started to go back to the 19th century, to "development models, interests, cultures and traditions " and the "concert of power".

After the Congress of Vienna there was the Russio-Persian war, the Russio-Turkish war, the battle of Warsaw against Poland, the Crimean war against the Ottoman empire, Britain and France, advancement in Central Asia and one of the tsars banned Ukrainian language in print. Never mind the tsars successfully fighting the rebellions of the Russian middle classes. Though in 1861 Russian serfs were finally freed as they were needed in newly developing industries. The century ended in 1900 with the Russification of Finland, making Russian the official language.

Never trust a historic reference.

psychohistorian , Oct 5 2019 6:29 utc | 74
@ Peter AU 1 who wrote about the history of empires
"
Only one country left trying that needs some sense knocking into it.
"
That is occurring as we write our textual white noise about the details but the approach is not a Western knocking some sense into it but an Eastern Art of War approach.

It came to me today that instead of WWIII we need to think of what the world is going through as a Civilization war or evolution, assuming we make it out the other side of the conflict. The current empire is trying everything in its quiver of arrows short of MAD to retain control over the form of social organization with private finance at its core.

But the social organization of the East does not think like that and wants to spread the wealth and ownership broadly. The East has been taken advantage of and maligned by the West for centuries and they are not going to continue to let that happen. So they have organized themselves to beat the West at its own game but are doing so according to the Art of War meme instead of trying to knock some sense into the West. Since the East is good at playing the long game in relation to the West they are incrementally wearing down and constraining the West until it collapses of its inability to bully and Might-Makes-Right itself forward.

As we are watching the end game of those efforts, IMO. I don't see the West holding its control on empire for much longer because the East is giving example of a better and more equitable way that will be and is winning over country after country that have been client states of empire held in place by the jackboot of global private finance.

We are witnessing a Civilization war of our species and it is quite the spectacle, eh?

Tom , Oct 5 2019 6:52 utc | 75
Another example of the ever sanctioning superpower is losing its status. "Whistleblower accuses largest US military shipbuilder of putting 'American lives at risk' by falsifying tests on submarine stealth coating" Another day, another example of failure of the MIC to deliver.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, which spun-off from Northrop Grumman in 2011, "knowingly and/or recklessly" filed falsified records with the Navy claiming it had correctly applied a coating, called a Special Hull Treatment, to Virginia-class attack submarines which would allow the vessels to elude enemy sonar, the Sept. 26 complaint alleges.
Instead, the complaint said, Huntington Ingalls' Newport News Shipbuilding facility in Virginia took shortcuts that allegedly "plagued" the class of submarines with problems, and then retaliated against the employee who spoke up about the issues. At this rate most of the US navy will be tied up at their home port waiting for repairs.

According to the complaint, Lawrence, a senior engineer at Huntington Ingalls who has worked there since 2001, has provided evidence of the alleged issues at the company's Newport News Shipbuilding facility in Virginia. Stay safe Lawrence.

https://taskandpurpose.com/lawsuit-huntington-ingalls-whistleblower

Peter AU 1 , Oct 5 2019 6:53 utc | 76
psychohistorian

My thoughts also. And we do live in very interesting times for sure.
When I say knocking some sense into, that includes something along the lines of a soviet style collapse which is the preferable option.

albagen , Oct 5 2019 7:11 utc | 77
@ b4real
re: napoleon quote

replace 'let him' with 'don't interrupt him'

MadMax2 , Oct 5 2019 7:56 utc | 78
~By The Western debt pyramid can ill-afford meting out the punishment of exile.~
71 FSD

Yeah, it is curious. You would think, with an understanding of its own system - infinite growth backed by debt - that empire would wisely choose to employ its tentacles, not deny them. Especially with most states outside of North Korea being open for business in some shape or form. At this rate the US Treasury will need to authorize the advance sale of mortgages to the burgeoning colonies on the moon.

To navigate to the summit for the best part of a century. And to squander those gains within the space of half a young lifetime.

Barovsky , Oct 5 2019 7:58 utc | 79
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 5 2019 4:58 utc | 71

"power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely"

Correction: It's the quest for power that corrupts....

Jack Garbo , Oct 5 2019 8:30 utc | 80
Putin's concept of strong defense is sound. You don't attack if the other side can defend itself. You negotiate. In Thailand, we rarely see street fights (except between drunk foreigners).
Why? The national sport is lethal Muay Thai (kick boxing), so you never start a fight, since the other side can fight, too. You talk it over, negotiate.
A User , Oct 5 2019 8:38 utc | 81
Lot of nonsense in this thread. From "gunpowder was the 1st overwhelming weapon that enabled conquest." When it is trivially simple to argue that the trained, uniformed and properly regimented Roman Army which came 1500 years earlier was both a better example and likely not the first.
Equally facile is the claim that "It's the quest for power that corrupts" Whilst its probably true that some have been corrupted reaching for power it is equally true that many who for various reasons were not corrupted in the quest, either because they acquired it through serendipity by way of hereditary or accident, came into power as naive or ideologically principled upstarts yet as with every leader, they were corrupted by power as they were convinced no one else could do it (be the bossfella) as well as they.

Emperor Claudius comes to mind as an earlyish big time boss destroyed by power, but callow youths thrust into power as clan leader when dad and/or older bros were killed in battle and went on to become bigger arseholes than Dad, are examples which go back to when us mob first walked upright.

Peter AU 1 , Oct 5 2019 8:47 utc | 82
Barovsky
I quoted a sentence by chu teh and was replying to the piece about gunpowder.

As for the power corrupts part, take a look at the US prior to the fall of the Soviet Union and then what it has become during the time it held virtually absolute power..

Elora Danan , Oct 5 2019 9:18 utc | 83
Yesterday night The Godfather was broadcasted in a foreign private channel....

I saw a comrade telling about that and arguing that this movie contains the world...and it is that indeed it encompasses the history of the USA...

"I have "worked" all my life for the welfare of my family, and I have always refused to be a puppet moved by the threads of the powerful. With you I had other projects Michael. I thought that one day you could move those threads. Senator Corleone, Governor Corleone, or more".

Even in the meeting of all the mafia families in New York for to reach a "pact of no agression" someone states:

"After all, we are not communists..."

somebody , Oct 5 2019 9:18 utc | 84
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 5 2019 8:47 utc | 82


As for the power corrupts part, take a look at the US prior to the fall of the Soviet Union and then what it has become during the time it held virtually absolute power

That's a myth .

In the decades since the 1972 Watergate scandal, more charges of corruption have been leveled against members of presidential administrations than in the preceding two centuries. Perhaps the most lasting achievement of Ronald Reagan's presidency was the astonishingly successful campaign to delegitimate government itself, at least in the eyes of many citizens, and to enshrine individual economic self-interest, manifested in unregulated "private enterprise," as the paramount value of American life. That transformation, like the rise of so-called rational choice and utility maximization as the governing paradigms in the social sciences, has encouraged citizens to seek wealth -- and to avoid paying taxes or participating in civil society -- as the only sensible strategy. As a result, the homely virtues of self-discipline, moderation, and reciprocity preached by Enlightenment thinkers such as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Abigail Adams now strike many Americans as outmoded advice for suckers. If "greed is good," as the Wall Street character Gordon Gekko asserted, then Donald J. Trump's career of swindling, debt dodging, and tax evasion might serve as a model to emulate rather than an object lesson in the mainstreaming of corrupt business practices.1

Peter AU 1 , Oct 5 2019 9:29 utc | 85
somebody
US has always been corrupt. Now it can scarcely function. Like a drug pusher consuming too much of the product.
Russ , Oct 5 2019 9:39 utc | 86
No one familiar with Alexander Hamilton, Roger "open the purses of the people" Morris or the roots of the Shay's Rebellion, Whiskey Rebellion, North Carolina Regulator movement and other people's movements and actions, or the 1787-88 counter-revolutionary coup carried out by the Constitutional Convention for the purpose of centralizing economic and military power toward social control and building a continental empire (anyone in any doubt about that should read the proceedings and the Federalist Papers; Hamilton was especially forthcoming about the imperial motivation), would have any illusions about how deeply corruption is inherent in the US system.

Same for imperialism. And all subsequent US history starting and continuing with the genocide of the First Nations bears this out.

Elora Danan , Oct 5 2019 10:11 utc | 87
With respect to sanctions, the EU central power ( i.e. Germany ) impossed harsh sanctions that ended being implemented in full only by southern countries like Spain, who are those who have seen their commercial excahnges with Russia diminished to the least with the conseuqent loses for national business, while, in fact, German business continue their exchnage with Russia as if nothing had happened...

Now that Trump impose import tariffs to Europe, the most affected are, again, those who fulfilled the US sanctions plan towayds Russia at the letter, i.e. Spain and southern countries...

If these Southern European Countries would have a sovereign government with any respect for the people who vote them, they will extract the consequent lesson from all of this...and would apply the recipe for all this with respect to Russia, Iran, and so on...

The lesson would translate like "the more you comply with US mandate on sanctions against any other country you have nothing against, even at the price of harming badly your own economy, the more sanctions/import tariffs will be impossed on yourself at the first necessity...", which is the old lesson from primary school, "the more weak you would show in front of a bully...more beating will come..., oor already in grown mafiosi, "more "special tax" for "protection" to pay"...

Then it is Spain who hosts most of US nuclear deterrence and AFRICOM central command...If Spain would have a sovereign government with a hint of respect for the people who vote it, an ultimatum will be possed in front of the yankees, "eliminate import tariffs, stop meddling with national economy, or pack your things and go home"

Elora Danan , Oct 5 2019 10:27 utc | 88
1.3 billion paper money to prevent the collapse of the Wall Street Stock Exchange.


The Federal Reserve of the United States has injected about 278,000 million dollars in the money market in four days. After injecting 53,000 million dollars earlier this week, the Federal Reserve renewed these operations three times for astronomical amounts representing 75,000 million per day, and has already announced that it will continue to do so daily until October 10.

The newspaper Le Figaro (1) describes as "astronomical" that jet of fiat money that, however, does not seem to worry the New York Stock Exchange, with a Dow Jones index that remained above 27,000 points throughout week. It is normal because, as the Efe agency says, "Wall Street feeds on the flexibility of the Fed" (2), that is, the massive emissions of paper money.

It has no different menu to nourish itself and, as specialists say, "the reasons that lead to lower interest rates are usually not good."

The resistance of Wall Street is explained because these operations only affect the interbank market, which is short of liquidity "temporarily". Banks that are financed on a daily basis in this market would suffer a shortage of liquidity as a result of large debt issues by the Treasury and a strong demand for liquidity from companies facing fiscal maturities.

But there are more than enough reasons for speculators to worry. "The reasons may be not only technical," says the newspaper. Some financial institutions have refused to make their funds available to the market, indicating the possible vulnerability of a participant (bank or companies) who may not be able to repay the amounts borrowed on a day-to-day basis. If this situation is confirmed, which is synonymous with the loss of mutual trust in the interbank market, it could be a more serious crisis than in 2008.

The President of the Federal Reserve, Jerome H. Powell, who took office in February last year, has no different alternative. He has been a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve since 2012 and knows nothing more than routine: since the late 1970s he is the first president of the Federal Reserve that does not even have a bachelor's degree in economics. Does he need it?

The question is whether the gigantic mass of fiat money that it has put into circulation will be sufficient to avoid a collapse like that of 2007, or another even greater collapse will occur.

snake , Oct 5 2019 10:38 utc | 89
Russ @ 86.. can you tell me more about the continental congress. where can the biographies and histories be had which might shed some real light on John Hanson first president(1781-1783) of the United States in Congress Assembled(1776-1789) .. and Samuel Huntington (Conn), and Thomas McKeen (Delaware) and the others who were elected and served as Presidents of the [Continental Congress<= the government that defeated the British and that existed between 1776 and 1789}, before the lobbyist imposed ratification to install the US Constitution {a document that cut off (terminated) the right of self determination and denied bottom up democracy to the people of the several nations that were in America at the time]. Before the constitution, the people could and did impose democracy on those who were in charge of the local, state and central governments (The Articles of Confederation, central government from 1776 to 1789] after the Constitution, [the governed were never heard from again. ]. ..
Russ , Oct 5 2019 12:47 utc | 90
@ snake 89

Here's a piece I wrote some years ago on the 1787-88 convention and its goals.

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/the-american-revolution/

William Gruff , Oct 5 2019 13:19 utc | 91
somebody @59 sez: ""Souvereignty" and statehood ... is a recipe for war."

This is the mindset of the hegemon (or the servant of hegemony, whatever). They cannot even imagine "Truly mutually respectful, pragmatic and consequently solid relations" between nations any more than they can imagine others seeking that. They assume that everyone else is motivated to dominate as they are. They project their own damage from having been born into an intensely competitive, egotistical, identity -obsessed culture onto the rest of humanity out of sheer ignorance that things could possible be any different elsewhere.

Western culture, with the purest expression being in the United States, exalts in the individual. That sounds like a noble and wonderful thing on the surface, but the practical effect is to atomize society into isolated and competing hermetic entities. Community is displaced to accommodate the self. This environment favors the sociopath and the psychopath, which is why in the West sociopaths and psychopaths most easily accumulate power and rise to the tops of all of those societies' institutions. It is not surprising that those born into such an environment imagine it to be the natural order and human nature because that is all they know and experience.

But of course that is not human nature. The species would have died out far more than a hundred thousand years ago if it were. Human nature is to build community, and given the opportunity that is precisely what they do. Community, though, is a threat to the power of the psychopaths who ascend to the top of capitalist society, so in all institutions in which those psychopaths gain power they discourage and fight and dismantle community and replace it with social order built around themselves.

This psycho-driven culture grew to dominate in the West because, like slave-based societies before, it was economically progressive. Due to the immaturity of communication technology, individual psychos could assemble and coordinate larger social organizations directed at production than the population could naturally assemble on its own. But technology progresses and naturally formed human communities grow in scale and scope over time. This made slave-based economies obsolete, and is now in the process of obsoleting psycho-centric economies. It should come as no surprise that this replacement is occurring most rapidly in cultures where the psycho-centrism had not fully established itself.

Considering the above, my bet is that as we see China's BRI project mature in Africa, that continent will experience a Renaissance of epic proportions, perhaps even dwarfing China's accomplishments of the last half century. This is because African cultures are similar to the Chinese and other Asian cultures in that they have not yet been fully assimilated into the western worship of "individualism" , so their natural human tendencies towards community-building are not yet corrupted and subverted.

If China's transition to the dominant progressive power on the planet doesn't shatter the dangerous American myth of exceptionality, then big portions of Africa moving into first world status surely will. That's still some decades away, but we should be able to see undeniable signs of movement in that direction by about 2030 to 2040 (growth in industrial output and movement up the value added chain, dramatic development of infrastructure, rapid increases in academic attainment, significant declines in poverty, etc).

Naturally, that is something that few westerners, particularly Americans, can wrap their heads around because they have a flawed (Hobbesian) understanding of human nature. As they do with China now, westerners will deny the evidence from their own eyes with regards to Africa for as long as they can.

bevin , Oct 5 2019 13:27 utc | 92
wikipedia makes no mention of it but for a long time Thomas McKeen was famous as the villain in William Cobbett's The Democratic Judge or The Equal Liberty of the Press.
McKeen was a very nasty piece of work-his origins in Delaware are coincidental
bevin , Oct 5 2019 13:33 utc | 93
"...that is not human nature. The species would have died out far more than a hundred thousand years ago if it were. Human nature is to build community, and given the opportunity that is precisely what they do. Community, though, is a threat to the power of the psychopaths who ascend to the top of capitalist society, so in all institutions in which those psychopaths gain power they discourage and fight and dismantle community and replace it with social order built around themselves..."
How true, if a little unfair to psychopaths.
financial matters , Oct 5 2019 13:37 utc | 94
Elora Danan @ 88

Very interesting.
I don't think it's the use of fiat money itself that's so important but what it's used for. The money you describe as being used to support Wall Street is a great example of the wrong use. Supporting a derivative led financial speculation benefitting the 1% vs the belt and road which is oriented to real economic development which would be a wise productive use of fiat.
-------------

In a famous critical remark directed at China's heavy reliance on western-style, debt-led growth – an anonymous author (thought to be Xi or close colleague), noted (sarcastically) the notion that big trees could be grown 'in the air'. Which is to say: that trees need to have roots, and to grow in the ground. Instead of the 'virtual', financialised 'activity' of the West, real economic activity stems from the real economy, with roots planted in the earth. The 'Belt and Road' is just this: intended as a major catalyst to real economics.When the music stops and the derivative structure starts unraveling showing multiple claims on ownership who will prevail. I think that there's a new sheriff in town with the power to back up the 'roots in the ground' team.Posted by: financial matters | Jan 22, 2019 8:46:28 AM | 100

snake , Oct 5 2019 13:42 utc | 95
The 1776 Constitution was on a vector. By contrast, the 1788 Constitution was designed to foreclose any further democratic movement. On the contrary, its main vector was to concentrate power and wealth up the hierarchy, and to help build an empire for this new ruling class.] the empire class ...needed a constitution which would centralize government, strongly concentrate it, turn it into a versatile and brutal weapon on behalf of finance assaults, military aggression, and police repression. There's only one path forward: We must resume the American Revolution. by Russ @ 90..


very interesting.. 2012 .. discussion.. your paper .thanks . but still no background on the people who brought about the 1776 government. and who operated it between its inception 1776 and the Bankers coup that regime changed the 1776 government into the 1788 Constitution of the United States of America.
As you said in your article, everyone should know about Article 6 in the constitution of the United States of America (the 1788 government) it saved British and French Aristocracy <=and kept in power the very people the Americans had sought to remove=> from the Americans who fought the war. It says All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, shall be as valid against the US under this Constitution, as under the confederation (but no where do I see court cases that say under the 1776 government, that claims to lands, granted by foreign kings and Queens (land grant estates) were valid? In fact, what I see is that the Articles of Confederation government was planning to deny title to, and confiscate the lands which traced to the land grants (G. Washington owned half of West Virginia and all of Virginia) and the AoC plan was to distribute the land grant lands so confiscated among the people who lived in America equally?

Don Bacon , Oct 5 2019 13:47 utc | 96
@WG 91
. . . as we see China's BRI project mature in Africa, that continent will experience a Renaissance of epic proportions
Yes, and they've got a head start:
African countries with GDP growth rates above 5% in 2018
Libya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, The Gambia, Senegal, Uganda, Burkina Faso. Kenya, Guinea, Ghana, Egypt, Niger.
Also: China 6.5, US 2.8, France 1.5, Germany 1.4, UK 1.3 . . here
BM , Oct 5 2019 13:52 utc | 97
Lot of nonsense in this thread. From "gunpowder was the 1st overwhelming weapon that enabled conquest."
Posted by: A User | Oct 5 2019 8:38 utc | 81

...re China's invention of gun powder. IIRC Marco Polo brought it back to Europe in 1400s at a time when China had already advanced it to hand-held-cannon status.
Posted by: chu teh | Oct 5 2019 4:51 utc | 69

Agree with the lot of nonsense bit, although there is also a lot of interest. It is true that China discovered gunpowder, but not sure about the "hand-held-canon status". My version of reality had it that due to differences of perspective between East and West, China discovered gunpowder and used it for firecrackers, and (allegedly) never thought of using it for weapons. Similarly knowledge of the configuration of the stars in relation to location was discovered by the arabs, long before this knowledge was exploited by Europeans for navigation. The claim being, that the practical Europeans put scientific discovery to use for practical benefits while the East - which discovered important segments of that scientific discovery long before - had "merely" put it to spiritual, cultural and other transcendent uses.

I absorbed the above factoids (gunpowder and the stars) over half a century ago before I would have looked at such claims sufficiently critically; to what extent such factoids might be really true I am not quite sure, although I remain somewhat sceptical about the "hand-held-canon" claim. The broader claim though about the application of scientific discovery needs to be reexamined more impartially.

William Gruff , Oct 5 2019 14:03 utc | 98
Ian2 @67: "Secrecy ... is only revealed when appropriate."

And the appropriate moment to reveal a strategic doomsday arsenal that only exists to prevent attack is when that arsenal is fielded. This point is so obvious that it was raised with humorous intent in the 1964 Kubrick movie Dr. Strangelove .

You only keep weapons systems secret that you intend to use in attacks in order to surprise your victims. Since America is violently aggressive and regularly attacks other countries, the US maintains this sort of policy. America is exceptional in this regard, though. America's focus is on offensive weaponry to attack other countries with, so keeping those weapons secret helps limit America's victims' abilities to prepare and defend themselves. Military secrecy is therefore the tool of the aggressor intended to facilitate sucker-punching its victims. Weapons intended to discourage such attacks must be advertised loud and clear for their intended deterrence to succeed. This is why Russia openly announces their new weapons and why China shows theirs off in parades.

China does not intend to use their nukes. They are not like America which is building tactical nukes to make atomic weapons more palatable to use in practice. There are no countries in the world that China has shown any interest in attacking anyway, unlike America which maintains a list of target countries that it is working itself up to attacking.

braindead , Oct 5 2019 14:07 utc | 99
aaaaand the 1 mirrion $ question is: who funds the army?

- the people in the tent cities
- the oligarchs
- none of the above

jo6pac , Oct 5 2019 14:22 utc | 100
Who says V Putin doesn't have sense of humor as trolls Amerika.

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

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[Oct 05, 2019] Elisabeth Warren: Is Time for the United States to Stand Up to China in Hong Kong

Notable quotes:
"... The intemperate comments of an imperial-minded candidate for the presidency ..."
"... The democrat coup/impeach/coup machine suffers is bi-polar disorder. Every they way fill the military industry complex trough! In their war manic state they supress freedom fighters, and arm their jailers, in their war depress state they support rioters in Hong Kong. If Donbass rebels were in Macao they would get US support, in Dobass the US will suppress freedom. ..."
"... With Ukraine, because the democrat neocons want to surround Russia, US national security arms Ukriane to forcibly put down Donbass as they attempt some form of "self determination". ..."
"... In the case of Hong Kong because US is enemy to the PRC (Red China at Menzie Chinn blog) the US is all for self determination, like Hitler was for pulling Sudetenland out of Czechoslovakia in 1938! ..."
"... This bipolar morality fits with deep state surveillance on Trump in 2016 and in 2019 claiming Trump doing it to Biden so that Trump/DoJ cannot fight corrupt (all) democrats ever! ..."
Oct 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Is Time for the United States to Stand Up to China in Hong Kong
Tweets aren't enough. Washington must make clear that it expects Beijing to live up to its commitments -- and it will respond when China does not.
By ELIZABETH WARREN


anne -> anne... , October 04, 2019 at 09:28 AM

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/03/it-is-time-for-the-united-states-to-stand-up-to-china-in-hong-kong/

October 3, 2019

It Is Time for the United States to Stand Up to China in Hong Kong
Tweets aren't enough. Washington must make clear that it expects Beijing to live up to its commitments -- and it will respond when China does not.
By ELIZABETH WARREN

[ Shocking and appalling; unethical and immoral; discrediting. The intemperate comments of an imperial-minded candidate for the presidency. ]

EMichael -> anne... , October 04, 2019 at 09:40 AM
You need to find out what "imperial-minded" means, and address your opposition to Warren's thoughts with reality.
ilsm -> EMichael... , October 04, 2019 at 01:41 PM
The democrat coup/impeach/coup machine suffers is bi-polar disorder. Every they way fill the military industry complex trough! In their war manic state they supress freedom fighters, and arm their jailers, in their war depress state they support rioters in Hong Kong. If Donbass rebels were in Macao they would get US support, in Dobass the US will suppress freedom.

With Ukraine, because the democrat neocons want to surround Russia, US national security arms Ukriane to forcibly put down Donbass as they attempt some form of "self determination".

In the case of Hong Kong because US is enemy to the PRC (Red China at Menzie Chinn blog) the US is all for self determination, like Hitler was for pulling Sudetenland out of Czechoslovakia in 1938!

This bipolar morality fits with deep state surveillance on Trump in 2016 and in 2019 claiming Trump doing it to Biden so that Trump/DoJ cannot fight corrupt (all) democrats ever!

[Oct 03, 2019] Warren vs Biden vs Trump

Oct 03, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> kurt... , October 02, 2019 at 06:00 PM

More unfounded assertions from kurt.

1) We don't know for certain what Shokin was investigating and what he wasn't.

2) Ukraine was rife with corruption. But most likely Biden was more concerned with uprooting pro-Russian elements calling them corrupt as shorthand. Pro-Western corruption was most likely overlooked.

3) We don't know why Hunter Biden was appointed to the Burisma board along with one of Joe Biden's big bundlers and the CIA-friendly former President of Poland. We do know that Hunter was put on the board immediately after the color revolution in Ukraine and that he served a stint on the National Democratic Institute, which promotes regime change. Much more needs to be learned about what the Bidens were up to in Ukraine and whether they were carpet baggers cashing out.

As I have said, I would be delighted if Trump went down and took Joe Biden with him. The last thing this country needs is a Joe Lieberman with a smiling face serving as President which is basically what Joe Biden is.

likbez -> JohnH... , October 02, 2019 at 08:51 PM
"As I have said, I would be delighted if Trump went down and took Joe Biden with him."

Biden was already destroyed by Ukrainegate, being Pelosi sacrificial pawn (and for such semi-senile candidate exit now looks the most logical; he can hand around for longer but the question is why? ), but it is unclear how this will affect Trump.

In any case each accusation of Trump boomerang into Biden. And Biden China story probably even more interesting then his Ukrainian gate story.

CIA ears over all Ukraine-gate are so visible that it hurts Pelosi case. Schiff is a sad clown in this circus, and he has zero credibility after his well publicized love story with Russiagate.

The fact that Warren is now favorite increases previously reluctant Wall Street support for Trump, who is becoming kind of new Hillary, the establishment candidate.

And if you able to think, trump now looks like establishment candidate, corrupt interventionist, who is not that far from Hillary in foreign policy and clearly as a "hard neoliberal" aligns with Hillary "soft neoliberal" stance in domestic policy.

As Warren can pretend that she is better Trump then Trump (and we are talking about Trump-2016 platform; Trump action were betrayal of his electorate much like was the case with Obama) she has chances, but let's do not overestimate them.

Pelosi help with Trump re-election can't be underestimated.

[Sep 30, 2019] Some longtime Democratic donors are reportedly considering throwing their backing behind Donald Trump

If Krugman is surprised that some Democratic donors will support Trump over Warren, he is not an analyst.
And Obama was a Wall Street prostitute, much like bill Clinton, no questions about it. Trump betrayal of his voters actually mirror the Obama betrayal. May suspect that Warren will be malleable with will fold to Wall Street on the first opportunity, governing like Trump-lite.
Sep 30, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 30, 2019 at 03:53 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/30/opinion/elizabeth-warren-wealth-tax.html

September 30, 2019

Warren Versus the Petty Plutocrats. Why do they hate her? It's mainly about their egos.
By Paul Krugman

Remember when pundits used to argue that Elizabeth Warren wasn't likable enough to be president? It was always a lazy take, with a strong element of sexism. And it looks ridiculous now, watching Warren on the campaign trail. Never mind whether she's someone you'd like to have a beer with, she's definitely someone thousands of people want to take selfies with.

But there are some people who really, really dislike Warren: the ultrawealthy, especially on Wall Street. They dislike her so much that some longtime Democratic donors are reportedly considering throwing their backing behind Donald Trump, corruption, collusion and all, if Warren is the Democratic presidential nominee.

And Warren's success is a serious possibility, because Warren's steady rise has made her a real contender, maybe even the front-runner: While she still trails Joe Biden a bit in the polls, betting markets currently give her a roughly 50 percent chance of securing the nomination.

But why does Warren inspire a level of hatred and fear among the very wealthy that I don't think we've seen directed at a presidential candidate since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

On the surface, the answer may seem obvious. She is proposing policies, notably a tax on fortunes exceeding $50 million, that would make the extremely wealthy a bit less so. But delve into the question a bit more deeply, and Warren hatred becomes considerably more puzzling.

For the only people who would be directly affected by her tax proposals are those who more or less literally have more money than they know what to do with. Having a million or two less wouldn't crimp their lifestyles; most of them would barely notice the change.

At the same time, even the very wealthy should be very afraid of the prospect of a Trump re-election. Any doubts you might have had about his authoritarian instincts should have been put to rest by his reaction to the possibility of impeachment: implicit death threats against whistle-blowers, warnings of civil war and claims that members of Congress investigating him are guilty of treason.

And anyone imagining that great wealth would make them safe from an autocrat's wrath should look at the list of Russian oligarchs who crossed Vladimir Putin -- and are now ruined or dead. So what would make the very wealthy -- even some Jewish billionaires, who should have a very good idea of the likely consequences of right-wing dominance -- support Trump over someone like Warren?

There is, I'd argue, an important clue in the "Obama rage" that swept Wall Street circa 2010. Objectively, the Obama administration was very good to the financial industry, even though that industry had just led us into the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. Major financial players were bailed out on lenient terms, and while bankers were subjected to a long-overdue increase in regulation, the new regulations have proved fairly easy for reputable firms to deal with.

Yet financial tycoons were furious with President Barack Obama because they felt disrespected. In truth, Obama's rhetoric was very mild; all he ever did was suggest that some bankers had behaved badly, which no reasonable person could deny. But with great wealth comes great pettiness; Obama's gentle rebukes provoked fury -- and a huge swing in financial industry political contributions toward Republicans.

The point is that many of the superrich aren't satisfied with living like kings, which they will continue to do no matter who wins next year's election. They also expect to be treated like kings, lionized as job creators and heroes of prosperity, and consider any criticism an unforgivable act of lèse-majesté.

And for such people, the prospect of a Warren presidency is a nightmarish threat -- not to their wallets, but to their egos. They can try to brush off someone like Bernie Sanders as a rabble-rouser. But when Warren criticizes malefactors of great wealth and proposes reining in their excesses, her evident policy sophistication -- has any previous candidate managed to turn wonkiness into a form of charisma? -- makes her critique much harder to dismiss.

If Warren is the nominee, then, a significant number of tycoons will indeed go for Trump; better to put democracy at risk than to countenance a challenge to their imperial self-esteem. But will it matter?

Maybe not. These days American presidential elections are so awash in money that both sides can count on having enough resources to saturate the airwaves.

Indeed, over-the-top attacks from the wealthy can sometimes be a political plus. That was certainly the case for F.D.R., who reveled in his plutocratic opposition: "They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred."

So far Warren seems to be following the same playbook, tweeting out articles about Wall Street's hostility as if they were endorsements, which in a sense they are. It's good to have the right enemies.

I do worry, however, how Wall Streeters will take it if they go all out to defeat Warren and she wins anyway. Washington can bail out their balance sheets, but who can bail out their damaged psyches?

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 30, 2019 at 04:59 AM
"Deductive reasoning" within the media message is mob control.

"It ain't what you know... it's what you know that ain't so"#. Keep reading the mainstream media!

Given enough time [and strategy wrt 2020 election] we will get to the bottom of Obama's "criminal influence" on 2016 election.

It takes a lot more to debunk the Biden, Clinton, Nuland, Obama Ukraine drama. To my mind, Ukraine needs to be clean as driven snow* to "earn" javelins to kill Russian speaking rebels.

Why do US from Obama+ fund rebels in Syria (Sunni radicals mainly) and want to send tank killers to suppress rebels where we might get in to the real deal?

# conservatives have been saying that about the 'outrage' started by the MSM for decades.

* not possible given US influenced coup in 2014

+Clinton in Serbia!

[Sep 30, 2019] The best alternative to the current situation: Get Liz Warren elected. But it is completely unclear whether the impeachment favors Warren or Trump

Sep 30, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 29, 2019 at 06:46 AM

Best alternative to the above?

Get Liz Warren elected, IMO.

likbez,

Warren might be an improvement over the current situation. Moreover she has some sound ideas about taming the financial oligarchy

"Best alternative to the above? Get Liz Warren elected, IMO."

True. IMHO Warren might be an improvement over the current situation. Moreover she has some sound ideas about taming the financial oligarchy.

The idea of taking on financial oligarchy will find strong support of voters and in some respects she is "a better Trump then Trump" as for restoring the honor and wellbeing of the working people mercilessly squeezed and marginalized by neoliberalism in the USA.

Her book "The two income trap"(2004) suggests that this is not just a classic "bait and switch" election trick in best Obama or Trump style.

And I would say she in her 70 is in better shape then Trump in his 73+. He shows isolated early signs of neurologic damage (some claim sundowning syndrome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwh6Fu9BcAw slurring speech patterns, repetitions, disorientation, etc), which is natural for any person in his 70th subjected to his level of stress.

But it is completely unclear to me whether the impeachment favors Warren or Trump. the treat of impeachment already cemented fractures in Trump base which now, judging from comments in forums, is really outraged.

Some people are talking about armed resistance, which is, of course, hopeless nonsense in the current national-security state, but does show the state of their mind.

Also nobody here can even imagine the amount of dirt Obama administration accumulated by their actions in Ukraine. They really supported a neo-fascist party and cooperated with neo-Nazi (other important players were Germany, Poland and Sweden). Just to achieve geopolitical victory over Russia. Kind of total reversion of WWII alliance for me.

That avalanche of dirt can affect Warren indirectly as she proved to be a weak, unsophisticated politician by supporting Pelosi drive for impeachment instead of pretending of being neutral. Which would be more appropriate and much safer position.

Neoliberal democrats despite all Pelosi skills ( see https://mediaequalizer.com/martin-walsh/2017/12/gifford-heres-how-pelosi-learned-mob-like-tactics-from-her-father ) really opened a can of worms with this impeachment.

Also it looks like all of them, including Pelosi, are scared of CIA:
https://galacticconnection.com/nancy-pelosi-admits-congress-scared-cia/

== quote ==
In response to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s speech last week calling out the CIA for spying on her staffers, Rep. Nancy Pelosi was asked to comment and gave what might be the most revealing comments to date as to why Congress is so scared of the CIA:


“I salute Sen. Feinstein,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference of the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I’ll tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly. Not without evidence, and when I say evidence, documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.”

Pelosi added that she has always fought for checks and balances on CIA activity and its interactions with Congress: “You don’t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don’t always tell the truth.
==end==

I strongly doubt that Trump will ever risk to drop a bomb by declassifying documents about Obama dirty actions in Ukraine; so to speak go "all in" against neoliberal Democrats and part of intelligence community (and possibly be JFKed).

But Trump is unpredictable and extremely vindictive. How he will behave after being put against the wall on fake changes is completely unclear. I wonder if Pelosi correctly calculated all the risks.

[Sep 30, 2019] Wall Street fear and loathing of Elizabeth Warren, suggesting that it has more to do with threatened egos than with money per se

Sep 30, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 29, 2019 at 08:34 AM

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1178303352570089473

Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

I wrote the other day about Wall Street fear and loathing of Elizabeth Warren, suggesting that it has more to do with threatened egos than with money per se 1/

Some more thoughts on reports that Wall Street Democrats will back Trump over Warren. Obviously it's hard to know how big a deal this is -- how many of these guys are there, were they ever really Dems, and will they back Trump as more revelations emerge 1/

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/26/wall-street-democratic-donors-may-back-trump-if-warren-is-nominated.html

6:39 AM - 29 Sep 2019

So I remembered a sort of time capsule from the eve of the financial crisis that nicely illustrated how these guys want to be perceived, and retrospectively explains their fury at no longer getting to pose as economic heroes 2/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/business/15gilded.html

The Richest of the Rich, Proud of a New Gilded Age

The new titans often see themselves as pillars of a similarly prosperous and expansive age, one in which their successes and their philanthropy have made government less important than it once was.

The thing is, even at the time the idea that financial deregulation had ushered in a golden age of prosperity was flatly contradicted by the data 3/

[Graph]

And of course the financial crisis -- which is generally considered to have begun just three weeks after that article was published! -- made utter nonsense of their boasting 4/

But they want everyone to forget about the hollowness of their claims to glory; and Warren won't let that happen, which makes her evil in their minds 5/

anne -> anne... , September 29, 2019 at 08:44 AM
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=p1hb0

January 30, 2018

Real Median Family Income in United States, 1954-2018

(Indexed to 2018)

anne -> anne... , September 29, 2019 at 12:11 PM
Correcting link:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=p1hb

January 30, 2018

Real Median Family Income in United States, 1954-2018

(Indexed to 2018)

[Sep 29, 2019] Did Warren benefitted from killing Hillary's ring in 2016

Sep 29, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Warren would be more likely to bite off Hillary's finger @Steven D

When Bill was president Warren met with Hillary and persuaded her to talk Bill into killing Biden's increased protection for lenders from rapacious borrowers. When Hillary was senator she supported the Bill. Warren gave an interview on the subject before she was involved in politics. She was not happy.

Warren was the single female Democratic senator who declined to give Hillary an endorsement before the primaries started. That's an event of some significance.

During the debates Warren took actions that helped Bernie on several occasions. Someone, I think Paul Krugman, said Glass Stegall would have done nothing to stop the meltdown because it didn't deal with shadow banking. Bernie was able to respond that he supported Warren's proposed Glass Stegall bill, which did have provisions to regulate shadow banking. On another occasion someone pointed out that Warren's bill did not break up big banks. Warren stated publicly that the bill didn't propose breaking up too big to fail banks but she supported the idea.

Warren and Sanders both supported Clinton when she had the nomination locked up. It was Bernie's responsibility to defend his supporters from Team Clinton's smears and insults during and after the convention.

It wasn't Warren that Clinton invited to the Hamptons to be introduced to a few dozen of her favorite fundraisers. It was Harris.

up 3 users have voted.

Alligator Ed on Sat, 09/28/2019 - 6:06pm

If this is documented, it is quite important

@FuturePassed

It wasn't Warren that Clinton invited to the Hamptons to be introduced to a few dozen of her favorite fundraisers. It was Harris.

But, even if so, Harris was to be nothing more than a Clinton place-holder to be swept aside one HER decided to resurrect the same Dimocratic party, which she has still not successfully destroyed, even with minor assistance from Barack, JoJo and Wild Bill. Nope. My contention is that Hillary Rodent Clinton will sweep the field of duped pseudo-contenders in a fixed horse race. HRC -- still with her!~

[Sep 29, 2019] White House Weighs Blocking Chinese Companies From U.S. Exchanges

Sep 29, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 28, 2019 at 09:13 AM

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/us/politics/trump-china-stock-exchange.html

September 27, 2019

White House Weighs Blocking Chinese Companies From U.S. Exchanges
By Alan Rappeport and Ana Swanson

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration is discussing whether to block Chinese companies from listing shares on American stock exchanges, the latest push to try to sever economic ties between the United States and China, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

The internal discussions are in their early stages and no decision is imminent, these people cautioned.

The talks come as senior officials from both countries are scheduled to resume trade negotiations in Washington early next month. President Trump, who has continued to give mixed signals about the prospect of a trade deal with China, said earlier this week that an agreement could come "sooner than you think." His decision to delay an increase in tariffs until mid-October and China's recent purchases of American agricultural products has fueled optimism that the talks could produce an agreement.

But the prospect of further limiting American investment in China underscores the challenge that the two sides will continue to face even as they try to de-escalate a trade war that has shaken the global economy. The administration has already increased scrutiny of foreign investment with a particular eye toward China, including expanding the types of investments that can be subject to a national security review.

Last week, the Treasury Department unveiled new regulations detailing how a 2018 law, the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, will work to prevent foreign firms from using investments like minority stakes to capture sensitive American information. And the United States has already blacklisted some Chinese companies, including Huawei, effectively barring them from doing business with American companies.

Stocks dropped on Friday after a report on the deliberations was published by Bloomberg News. The market continued to slide through most of the day. At close, the S&P 500 was down 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq composite index was down 1.1 percent.

Losses were particularly steep in the technology sector, and among semiconductor stocks, two parts of the market that have been sensitive to the latest updates on the economic tensions between China and the United States.

Details of how the United States would restrict Chinese companies from American stock markets were still being worked out and the idea remained in its early stages, the people familiar with the deliberations said.

China hawks within the administration have discussed the possibility of tighter restrictions on listed Chinese companies for many months. Supporters say the efforts would close longstanding loopholes that have allowed Chinese companies with links to its government to take advantage of America's financial rules and solicit funds from American investors without proper disclosure.

Skeptics caution that the move could be deeply disruptive to markets and the economy and risk turning American investors and pension funds into another casualty of the trade war.

The effect of limiting Chinese firms from raising capital inside the United States could be significant. As of the beginning of this year, 156 Chinese companies were listed on American exchanges and had a total market capitalization of $1.2 trillion, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

"The underlying concerns have merit, but how to deal with them without creating a lot of collateral damage is tricky," Patrick Chovanec, managing director at Silvercrest Asset Management, wrote in a post on Twitter. "Abruptly delisting Chinese firms en masse would clearly send shock waves through markets."

The idea gained traction on Capitol Hill this summer when Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and the House introduced legislation that would delist firms that were out of compliance with American regulators for three years. The lawmakers argued that Chinese companies have been benefiting from American capital markets while playing by a different set of rules.

American complaints center on a lack of transparency into the ownership and finances of Chinese firms. The business community has long criticized China for classifying some auditor reports on company finances as state secrets and outlawing cross-border transfers of auditors' documentation.

In 2015, the Chinese affiliates of the Big Four accounting firms -- Deloitte Touch Tohmatsu, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young -- paid $500,000 each to settle a dispute about their refusal to provide documentation on Chinese companies to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which an American judge had ruled was a violation of United States law.

The White House has grown more interested in blocking Chinese firms in recent weeks, with some in the administration describing it as a top priority. Officials say the topic is not yet an issue in bilateral negotiations with the Chinese and inserting it into the talks could lead negotiations to fall apart again.

"This would be another step in ratcheting up the pressure," said Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute who said he raised the concept of investment restrictions with the White House after negotiations with China broke down in the spring.

The White House declined to comment.

The concept has divided Mr. Trump's advisers along their usual fault lines, with Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump's trade adviser, advocating action and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urging caution....

[Sep 28, 2019] The Real Winner of Impeaching Trump? Liz Warren by Patrick J. Buchanan

Notable quotes:
"... The first casualty of Pelosi's cause is almost certain to be the front-runner for the party nomination. Joe Biden has already, this past week, fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren in Iowa, New Hampshire, and California. ..."
"... By making Ukraine the focus of the impeachment drive in the House, Pelosi has also assured that the questionable conduct of Biden and son Hunter will be front and center for the next four months before Iowa votes. ..."
"... What did Joe do? By his own admission, indeed his boast, as vice president, he ordered then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to either fire the prosecutor who was investigating the company that hired Hunter Biden for $50,000 a month or forego a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee that Kiev needed to stay current on its debts. ..."
"... There is another question raised by Biden's ultimatum to Kiev to fire the corrupt prosecutor or forego the loan guarantee. Why was the U.S. guaranteeing loans to a Kiev regime that had to be threatened with bankruptcy to get it to rid itself of a prosecutor whom all of Europe supposedly knew to be corrupt? ..."
"... This is bad news for the Biden campaign. And the principal beneficiary of Pelosi's decision that put Joe and Hunter Biden at the center of an impeachment inquiry is, again, Warren. ..."
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
"... the Movers and Shakers in the Democrat Party have wanted Warren as their standard bearer on the belief that Biden is "yesterday" and that the rest of the field is either too loony (O'Rourke), nondescript (Booker) or -- potentially -- too corrupt (Harris).. ..."
"... Warren is the most pro-establishment candidate of all the non-establishment candidates, that is true ..."
"... Roughly 37% of Americans love Trump and will never change their mind. On the other side there are 38% who already supported impeachment based on previous investigations. That leaves 25% of Americans who are likely to be swayed one way or the other over this. In any case, those 25% are unlikely to be on this website. ..."
"... It'll be interesting to see what the voter turnout will be in 2020. 2016 --one of the most pivotal and controversial elections in modern times--saw 42% of the electorate stay home. This was a shockingly high numbter, little noted in the press. If you tack on the 6% who voted for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, that would mean that 48% of the electorate--nearly half--did NOT vote for either Trump or Clinton. ..."
"... Well, given that Trump has already released the transcript and Zelensky has already confirmed there were no pressure in their conversation plus said that Hunter's case is to be investigated by the AG, any impeachment hearings can only be damaging to those who decide to go further with them, because, as it turns out, there is no basis for such hearings and they were started a year before the election, showing what those who started them think regarding their own chances to win. ..."
Sep 28, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Even before seeing the transcript of the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Nancy Pelosi threw the door wide open to impeachment.

Though the transcript did not remotely justify the advanced billing of a "quid pro quo," Pelosi set in motion a process that is already producing a sea change in the politics of 2020.

The great Beltway battle for the balance of this year, and perhaps next, will be over whether the Democrats can effect a coup against a president many of them have never recognized as legitimate and have sought to bring down since before he took the oath of office.

Pelosi on Tuesday started this rock rolling down the hill.

She has made impeachment, which did not even come up in the last Democratic debate, the issue of 2020. She has foreclosed bipartisan compromise on gun control, the cost of prescription drugs, and infrastructure. She has put her and her party's fate and future on the line.

With Pelosi's assent that she is now open to impeachment, she turned what was becoming a cold case into a blazing issue. If the Democrats march up impeachment hill, fail, and fall back, or if they vote impeachment only to see the Senate exonerate the president, that will be the climactic moment of Pelosi's career. She is betting the future of the House, and her party's hopes of capturing the presidency, on the belief that she and her colleagues can persuade the country to support the indictment of a president for high crimes.

One wonders: do Democrats, blinded by hatred of Trump, ever wonder how that 40 percent of the nation that sees him as the repository of their hopes will react if, rather than beat him at the ballot box, they remove him in this way?

The first casualty of Pelosi's cause is almost certain to be the front-runner for the party nomination. Joe Biden has already, this past week, fallen behind Senator Elizabeth Warren in Iowa, New Hampshire, and California. The Quinnipiac poll has her taking the lead nationally for the nomination, with Biden dropping into second place for the first time since he announced his candidacy.

'Ukraine-gate' Will Endanger Biden, Not Trump The Impeachment Train Finally Stops for the Democrats

By making Ukraine the focus of the impeachment drive in the House, Pelosi has also assured that the questionable conduct of Biden and son Hunter will be front and center for the next four months before Iowa votes.

What did Joe do? By his own admission, indeed his boast, as vice president, he ordered then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to either fire the prosecutor who was investigating the company that hired Hunter Biden for $50,000 a month or forego a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee that Kiev needed to stay current on its debts.

Biden insists the Ukrainian prosecutor was corrupt, that Hunter had done no wrong, that he himself was unaware of his son's business ties. All these assertions have been contradicted or challenged.

There is another question raised by Biden's ultimatum to Kiev to fire the corrupt prosecutor or forego the loan guarantee. Why was the U.S. guaranteeing loans to a Kiev regime that had to be threatened with bankruptcy to get it to rid itself of a prosecutor whom all of Europe supposedly knew to be corrupt?

Whatever the truth of the charges, the problem here is that any investigation of the potential corruption of Hunter Biden, and of the role of his father, the former vice president, in facilitating it, will be front and center in presidential politics between now and New Hampshire.

This is bad news for the Biden campaign. And the principal beneficiary of Pelosi's decision that put Joe and Hunter Biden at the center of an impeachment inquiry is, again, Warren.

Warren already appears to have emerged victorious in her battle with Bernie Sanders to become the progressives' first choice in 2020. And consider how, as she is rising, her remaining opposition is fast fading.

Senator Kamala Harris has said she is moving her campaign to Iowa for a do-or-die stand in the first battleground state. Senator Cory Booker has called on donors to raise $1.7 million in 10 days, or he will have to pack it in. As Biden, Sanders, Harris, and Booker fade, and "Mayor Pete" Buttigieg hovers at 5 or 6 percent in national and state polls, Warren steadily emerges as the probable nominee.

One measure of how deeply Biden is in trouble, whether he is beginning to be seen as too risky, given the allegations against him and his son, will be the new endorsements his candidacy receives after this week of charges and countercharges.

If there is a significant falling off, it could be fatal.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.


Mark B. 2 days ago

Then the Dems are doing themselves a favor. Biden stands no chance against Trump, Warren does.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Mark B. 2 days ago
They would be, if it were Sanders to get the nomination. Warren's chances are, obviously, better than Biden's - anyone's, save for complete fringe wackos, are - but, if they really wanted to win, they would need Sanders. Or, even better, Gabbard. But Sanders is too independent, dangerously so, and Gabbard is an outright enemy of their totalitarian cult. Hence, they pick Warren, who might be vaaaaaaaaaaguely considered Sanders-lite. But lite is not enough against someone like Trump. Or, even worse for them, they resort to all possible and impossible machinations to still get Biden nominated. It'll be a screaming mistake, but it's not excluded at all, given how easily the've just been lured into a trap.
Connecticut Farmer Mark B. a day ago
Happened to tune in to Rush Limbaugh yesterday just as he was saying that Pelosi's motivation to spin the wheels was at least in part to kill two birds with one stone--Trump AND Biden. Mehhh...maybe, but it's been clear from the beginning that the Movers and Shakers in the Democrat Party have wanted Warren as their standard bearer on the belief that Biden is "yesterday" and that the rest of the field is either too loony (O'Rourke), nondescript (Booker) or -- potentially -- too corrupt (Harris)..
Mark B. Connecticut Farmer 21 hours ago
Warren is the most pro-establishment candidate of all the non-establishment candidates, that is true . Incrowd-lite. Bernie of course is the big unknown. Will he prevail over Warren?
impedocles 2 days ago
If this scandal sinks Biden and Trump together, the Dems will come out ahead because they are not committed to Biden as their nominee. I think Warren will be the biggest net winner. My prediction is that we see an impeachment with the Senate voting on party lines to acquit. That could still be very damaging to Trump's election chances, if the portion of the public who dislikes Trump decide that he abused his power.

Roughly 37% of Americans love Trump and will never change their mind. On the other side there are 38% who already supported impeachment based on previous investigations. That leaves 25% of Americans who are likely to be swayed one way or the other over this. In any case, those 25% are unlikely to be on this website.

The main question, other than whether there is something damning that shows up, is whether the majority of voters think a quid pro quo is necessary for corruption to be an impeachable offense. It is required in a criminal bribery conviction, but impeachment isn't a criminal trial. Is the president using a diplomatic call to pressure a foreign government to dig up dirt on his political rivals something the 25% will be okay with? If they believe the story of Biden's corruption, will they see that as justification for using a diplomatic talk to push for an investigation into it? Will moderate voters who have a high opinion of Biden from the his time as Vice President view this as an unfair attack on him or will they change their view of him to match Trump's narrative?

Biden is in a tough spot, because he will be smeared here whether he is guilty or not. Trump is very good as slinging mud to distract from his actions. And most Americans are very unlikely to parse through the information overload to figure out whether the fired prosecutor is corrupt, whether the decision to fire him came from Joe or the state department/UK/EU/local protest, whether Hunter Biden was qualified for the job with his ivy law degree/experience on corp boards/previous consulting experience, and whether the investigation into Burisma was actuall ongoing when Shokin was fired. Who has time to read through everything and figure out which side is manufacturing a controversy?

But if Biden decides to go down a Martyr, it wouldn't be difficult for him to take Trump with him.

Connecticut Farmer impedocles a day ago
It'll be interesting to see what the voter turnout will be in 2020. 2016 --one of the most pivotal and controversial elections in modern times--saw 42% of the electorate stay home. This was a shockingly high numbter, little noted in the press. If you tack on the 6% who voted for Gary Johnson or Jill Stein, that would mean that 48% of the electorate--nearly half--did NOT vote for either Trump or Clinton.

These numbers are ominous and do not bode well for the future of this thing of ours.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) impedocles a day ago
Well, given that Trump has already released the transcript and Zelensky has already confirmed there were no pressure in their conversation plus said that Hunter's case is to be investigated by the AG, any impeachment hearings can only be damaging to those who decide to go further with them, because, as it turns out, there is no basis for such hearings and they were started a year before the election, showing what those who started them think regarding their own chances to win. If Democrats want to cut losses, they should stop it now and, using military terms, regroup immediately, nominating Gabbard who consistently opposed this stillborn impeachment stupidity. But something makes me think they won't. Their visceral hatred to an anti-war candidate like her is simply too strong.
Clyde Schechter Alex (the one that likes Ike) 21 hours ago
Update: Tulsi Gabbard came out in favor of impeachment today.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Clyde Schechter 4 hours ago
And how does it change the fact that a) given the transcript, Democrats merrily fell into a trap b) they hate her because of her anti-war positions?

What has she specifically said, by the way?

Mata L Seen impedocles a day ago
I think you are missing that Trump's lawyers can subpoena people and drag up a lot of dirt on the Democrats too. I think it can go both ways.

Still Warren can be tough for Trump. She is not tainted by Clinton. She is a chameleon; will sound sufficiently WASP in New England and sufficiently woke in California and new York. If Buttgig becomes her sidekick he can get all the gays on-board.

Rick Steven D. Mata L Seen 12 hours ago
You're missing one thing about Warren: she's a wonk. And she actually has some good ideas alongside the more crazy ones. Even Tucker Carlson praised her book.

But Warren is an absolute stiff. Zero charisma. Like Kerry or Gore on their very worst day. And in this day and age, where the only thing that counts for the overwhelming majority of low information voters are soundbites and how telegenic you come off in a debate, someone like Trump will chew her up and spit her out for breakfast.

Sea Hunt 2 days ago
Warren? OK. I don't see how she could be any worse than Trump. Plus, we might not feel like we were snorkeling in a cesspool all the time, like we do now.
Eric Patton a day ago
"Warren already appears to have emerged victorious in her battle with
Bernie Sanders to become the progressives' first choice in 2020."

Buchanan evidently knows few progressives.

marisheba Eric Patton a day ago
Literally every progressive I know save one is team Warren. I think there might be an age divide. Progressives under thirty are more likely to be for Sanders, and over thirty for Warren.
Nowandthen marisheba a day ago
Warren is a progressive of convenience. Her record speak otherwise.

She claim to back M4A insinuating support for Bernies plan by using that term yet has failed to explain her plan which is more baby steps or buy in.

Eric Patton marisheba 12 hours ago • edited
You evidently know few progressives.
Don Quijote a day ago
She has foreclosed bipartisan compromise on gun control, the cost of prescription drugs, and infrastructure.

There was never going to be any compromise on any of these issues, so what is the loss?

WorkingClass a day ago
I have no idea what will happen with the election. But if Trump wins it after the Dems have done nothing for four years except impeach him - every day is going to be like Christmas.
Libertarianski a day ago
notice how it's all womyn @ Fauxcahontas's speeches,
how she gonna win with such a focused group??
Connecticut Farmer a day ago
Hey, did anybody inquire as to whether Biden cleared all this stuff with his boss first? Haven't heard that question posed to date.
Arclight a day ago
I sincerely hope that Trump is right in thinking that Biden is his biggest threat, because this affair is going to ensure Warren is the nominee. I think a lot of proggy Dems know this as well, which partly explains their enthusiasm for impeachment at this particular moment (not that they haven't been itching for this since November 8, 2016).
Salt Lick a day ago
Agree that Biden is toast. Best question from a reporter to Biden since the scandal broke: "Is Hunter dating Ukraine?"

But so is Warren toast against Trump:

View Hide
Ho Hum a day ago
I agree Biden and Bernie are toast but Warren is far from a sure thing. Of all the democratic candidates Tulsi is the most attractive in more ways than one and I could see Tulsi appealing to the many Trump voters who voted for him because he claimed to be non-interventionist only to discover he is a war-pig like the rest of them. Imagine Tulsi in a debate with Trump! If not Tulsi I would bet another high profile Dem will enter the race because Warren is un-electable and I would not be surprised to see Hillary get in the race at the last minute. American's love re-matches and come-back stories.
Barry_D a day ago
Not an honest word. Then again, none was expected.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Barry_D a day ago
Not a single counterargument from you. Just emotioning, pure in its meaninglessness. Then again, none was expected.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) a day ago
In breaking news: Pelosi has just revealed who was behind all this. It's Cardinal Richelieu Russians again.

Does the girl even understand that, by saying so, she's, basically, stating that she's the chief Russian agent out there, because she was the one who initiated that freak show?

Jesus Harold Christ, what a travelling circus. And this passes for a parliament these days.

Barry F Keane a day ago
Ukrainegate is Watergate in reverse. The farcical impeachment unintentionally acts as a foil, amplifying the significance of the Ukraine stories in the press (John Solomon, Andrew McCarthy) which reveal a culture of corruption and venality permeating the Democratic leadership: the Clintons, the Bidens, the DNC, the current Democratic caucus, and the entire deep state remnants of the obama administration. We haven't seen election interference like this since the Watergate break-in and coverup. This impeachment is the coup-de-grâce of the Democratic Party not just Biden. The Democrat faithful now have a choice between Scylla and Charybdis - self-proclaimed socialists with a tenuous hold on reality, or the discredited establishment. As an old-school Democrat, I can only hope that Trump buries them in 2020, so that the Democrats finally get the message and return to their pre-Clinton roots.
ObamasThirdTerm a day ago • edited
It is insane to pursue impeachment this late in a divisive President's mandate. The Democrats should spend their efforts selecting a moderate nominee that doesn't show signs of cognitive decline (Only candidate that matches these requirements is Tulsi Gabbard. ) rather than make Trump a "victim" in the eyes of many.

Drama Don is doing a good enough job himself to make sure that the Democrats win in 2020. "Trump fatigue" is going to be the most used expression next fall if Trump runs. If Trump is pushed out before the election, the Republicans may choose a charismatic new nominee who actually has a chance to win in 2020. The biggest asset that the Democrats have in 2020 is Trump.

samton909 a day ago • edited
Somebody, somewhere, had decided that Democrats stand little chance with Biden, because he is so old and gaffe prone. So they have put their money on Warren. Warren will choose Buttigieg as VP candidate, primarily because they want all that gay billionaire money flowing in. At the same time, they tick the SJW boxes -woman, gay candidates, so the left will love them. The fix is in.

Hence the stupid "impeachment " controversy, which is obviously a sham to knock Biden out.

Mark Krvavica a day ago
I don't wish U.S. Senator and "Queen" Elizabeth Warren well in 2020.
Will Wilkin a day ago
I voted for Trump, not as a Republican because I despise both political parties. I voted for him based on the need for a nationalist trade policy, and especially because I was so against the TPP --and President Trump rewarded me for that vote his first week in office by pulling the US out of TPP negotiations. Also I have great respect for you, Mr. Buchanan, and learned much from the 3 of your books I've read and recommended to others. But it looks like President Trump has been using his office for personal political gain, so I am sorry to admit I support the impeachment investigation to bring the facts to light and make a judgement of whether it is true he used the office to solicit a foreign country to help undermine his political opponent. But even before this, I'd decided I will not vote for him again, mainly because I have become alarmed at the looming climate crisis, and believe we need urgent policy towards full decarbonization of the global energy economy. But that doesn't motivate me to support the impeachment inquiry, a path I hate and regret...but it seems there is no other way to demand the President not abuse his office and manipulate foreign governments to help his political career. That is no patriot, that is corrupt and an embarrassment to our nation.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Will Wilkin 4 hours ago
Well, he has just released the transcript. Which specific abuse was there?
Rick Steven D. 13 hours ago • edited
"...effect a coup against a president many of them have never seen as legitimate and have sought to bring down since before he took the oath of office."

Every single word of that describes the Republicans in Congress during the eight years Obama was president. Every single syllable.

Remember that birth certificate? And remember that Dick Tracy villain, Pocket-Neck McConnell, an excrescence that still infects us, standing up and actually saying, with a straight face, "Our ONLY goal is to make Obama a one-term president." Never mind an economy that was in free-fall, right Mitch? Or a couple of bothersome wars going on?

And what about how, for the very first time in history, Standard and Poor's downgraded America's credit rating, all because of completely meaningless Republican obstruction about the debt ceiling? And when I say completely meaningless, I mean completely meaningless. Now, under Trump, the deficit is approaching a trillion, and those very same Republicans couldn't give a hoot.

It's all in the great 2012 book, It's Even Worse Than it Looks, by Ornstein and Mann. We've had partisanship and gridlock before. But what was new is how the Republicans behaved under Obama: they treated him as completely illegitimate from the word go, and absolutely refused to work with him under any and all circumstances. The stimulus, which by the way saved the entire world economy from complete meltdown, didn't get a single Republican vote.

But Republicans can feel proud of one thing: their disgusting, scorched-earth, win-at-all-costs tactics are now business-as-usual in Washington. Probably for all time. Nice going, guys.

dupree 7 4 hours ago
Warren is the best candidate to defeat Trump. She is super smart ,honest and works hard as heck for the non 1% to get more of a fair shake. If she softens her hard left positions she could be a great candidate

[Sep 28, 2019] Joining this witch hunt greatly damages standing of Warren exposing her as a mediocre, malleable politician ( unlike Tulsi )

Sep 28, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , September 25, 2019 at 05:23 PM

Interesting day in Presidential politics today.

I assume most here are sick of hearing about it further today.

I enjoy speculating on what Speaker Pelosi might do with the results of the Impeachment Inquiry by the House.

Assumption: The House finds grounds for Impeaching Trump and hands it to Pelosi.

What will she do or rather what can she do?

She can have the full House vote to Impeach and march the Articles over to the Senate.

She can have the House Censure Trump, not vote to Impeach, and go no further at this time. That brings Trump's crimes to light, but saves the country from a Political Trial in the Senate, that won't convict Trump.

She can hold the Committee's report for review and not go forward until and unless she see's the POLITICAL need.

She can, IMO, have the House vote Articles of Impeachment and then HOLD them in the House waiting to take them to the Senate at a much later date of her choice or never.

The Senate cannot act until the Speaker delivers the Articles of Impeachment. No where does the Constitution declare WHEN those Articles, once voted, must be delivered, only that they are to be.

She can set a new precedent if she desires. Who can stop her?

This would allow the Articles to float over Trump's head - and the Re-Election campaign serving to restrain Trump, like a cudgel over his head - preventing or at least limiting more of Trump's outrageous unconstitutional and illegal acts in Office until Election 2020.

Simultaneously this would allow The House to continue its multiple investigations of Trump, including the IRS Whistle Blower complaint, further checking Trump, and even to open more investigations into Trump's abuse of Office, e.g., his use of AG Barr on Ukraine/Biden as well as investigations of AG Barr pursuing Ukraine/Biden.

Not to mention other investigations into Trump including NY's pursuit of Trump's Tax Returns, which could well be as revealing as the Ukraine phone call transcript.

So, while today was interesting in D.C., the future is far more so, imho.

likbez said in reply to im1dc... , September 25, 2019 at 06:17 PM
Let's face it:

1. Biden is now a zombie and has less then zero changes to beat Trump. Even if nothing explosive will be revealed by Ukraine-gate, this investigation hangs like albatross around his neck. Each shot at Trump will ricochet into Biden. Add to this China and the best he can do is to leave the race and claim unfair play.

2. Trump now probably will be reelected on the wave of indignation toward Corporate Dems new witch hunt. People stopped believing neoliberal MSM around 2015, so now neolibs no longer have the leverage they get used to. And by launching Ukraine-gate after Russiagate they clearly overplayed their hand losing critical mass of independents (who previously were ready to abandon Trump_

3. If unpleasant facts about neolib/neocon machinations to launch Ukraine-gate leak via alternative press via disgruntled DNC operatives or some other insiders who are privy to the relevant discussions in the Inner Party, they will poison/destroy the chances of any Dem candidate be it Warren or anybody else. Joining this witch hunt greatly damages standing of Warren exposing her as a mediocre, malleable politician ( unlike Tulsi )

4. Instead of running on policy issues the Democrats again tried to find vague dirt with which they can tarnish Trump. This is a huge political mistake which exposes them as political swindlers.

Neolib/neocon in Democratic Party from now on will be viewed as "The Children of Lieutenant Schmidt" (a fictional society of swindlers from the 1931 classic "The Little Golden Calf" by Ilf and Petrov).

I would say that Pelosi might now be able to understand better the situation in which Wasserman-Shultz had found herself in 2016 and resign.

IMHO this is a king of zugzwang for neoliberal Dems. There is no good exit from this situation.

After two years of falsely accusing Trump to have colluded with Russia they now allege that he colluded with Ukraine.

In addition to overpaying their hand that makes it more difficult for the Democrats to hide their critical role in creating and promoting Russiagate.

Here is one post from MA which tries to analyse this situation:

== quote ==
nil , Sep 25 2019 19:37 utc | 24
I think what's going in the brain trust of the DNC is something like this:

i. Biden is a non-starter with the public. He'll be devoured alive by the Republicans, who only need to bring up his career to expose his mendacity.

ii. Warren might be co-opted, having been a Republican and fiscal conservative up to the mid-90s, but what if she isn't?

iii. Sanders is a non-starter, but with the "people who matter". Rather than having to threaten him with the suspicions around his wife, or go for the JFK solution, they'd rather [make that] he didn't even get past the primaries, much less elected.

iv. As a CNN talking head said weeks ago, it's better for the wealthy people the DNC is beholden to that their own candidate loses to Trump if that candidate is Sanders.

So better to hedge their bets start impeachment hearings, give Trump ammunition to destroy Sanders or Warren. That way, the rich win in all scenarios:

a. If Biden wins the nomination, the campaign will be essentially mudslinging from both sides about who is more corrupt. The rich are fine with whoever wins.

b. If Warren gets the nomination and is co-opted, the media will let the impeachment hearings die out, or the House themselves will quickly bury it.

c. If Warren gets the nomination and is not co-opted, or if Sanders get it, the impeachment will suck up all the air of the room, Trump will play the witchhunt card and will be re-elected.

likbez -> ken melvin...

, September 25, 2019 at 07:53 PM

That's a very good idea to concentrate on your job instead of some fluff, or worse, criminal activity.

Millions of dollars, millions of manhours of political discourse and newsmedia coverage, were wasted on Russiagate. That's a typical "control fraud." Control fraud occurs when a trusted person in a high position of responsibility in a company, corporation, or state subverts the organization and engages in extensive fraud (in this case a witch hunt) for personal gain.

Those hours could have been used researching and discussing country foreign policy, economic policy, healthcare policy, industrial policy, environment policy and other important for this nation topics.

Instead the Dems chased a ghost (and they knew that this a ghost) for 3 years and now Pelosi have just signaled that they will spend the next 6 months chasing another ghost -- trying to impeach Trump for his attempt to re-launch (in his trademark clumsy, bulling way) investigating Joe Biden's family corruption in Ukraine. Action which is in full compliance with The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA)

During the last two years there were actions of Trump that probably deserved launching impeachment proceeding. For example, attempt of regime change in Venezuela. But neoliberal Dems were fully on board with that. So the main loss which this bunch of swindlers can't settle with is the the loss in their ability to defraud the country: I feel that the neoliberal Democrats' real problem with Trump is that he ended their scheme of defrauding the country in favor of his own.

Now with this Ukraine-gate scandal the US voters have, in effect, are being defrauded by a group of the same sophisticated political swindlers that ruled the county during Clinton and Obama administrations.

Joe -> likbez...

, September 26, 2019 at 11:42 PM

Right on all accounts.

Except this:

"Instead of running on policy issues the Democrats again tried to find vague dirt with which they can tarnish Trump."

If Warren is nominated she can run on dirt because she does not have the sewage history. If she runs on policy people will remember that she will fce 20 million families who got a $500/month Obamacare tax. These are the families that cost Dems four elections. She should not mention medicare at all, once she has the nomination.

Impeachment is what happens when a President has sex and lies about it. So it has become meaningless, thanks to Repubs.

If I were Trump, I would take the impeachment and run with it. Trump will claim he got impeached because he was hunting for Biden sewage, and there is no Biden, thanks to the impeachment. His team agrees, take the impeachment and run with it.

Who liked Biden? None of the young turks, they want Biden out as badly as they want Trump out. I just have this feeling, Biden is a gonner, sort of a bipartisan play if you ask me.

Joe , September 25, 2019 at 06:12 PM
For The First Time, Warren Beats Out Biden For No. 1 Spot In National Poll
--

Biden gone. Harris gone. Pete gone. Beto gone. It is between Bernie and Liz. Both of whom will be telling 10 million families that health care is free and they will not get hit with a $500/month tax. Problem is, voters regret on this is lifelong, a ot of voters, right here in this blog, think Obamacare was deceptive. But these same voters now put the cost on the federal debt machine, courtesy of Trump, and they prefer that.

Trump wins as long as there is no blue bar and Repubs avoid mass shootings in Florida or Texas. We, this group and our favorite economists have lost credibility on medical programs.

likbez -> Joe... , September 25, 2019 at 07:35 PM
"It is between Bernie and Liz. "
Looks like it is just Liz. She is younger ;-)

[Sep 27, 2019] Sanders endorsed the impeachment proceedings

Sanders is spend force in any case. His endorsement does not matter much. But for Warren this is a blunder. Tulsi is the only one out of this troika who proved to be capable politician.
Sep 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Sep 26 2019 19:23 utc | 51
bevin @41--

As I reported on the previous thread, Sanders endorsed the impeachment proceedings in a tweet I linked to and cited. Gabbard is apparently the only D-Party candidate that said this decision is a mistake. This article about her stance is actually balanced. Citing her recent interview by FOXNews :

"'I have been consistent in saying that I believe that impeachment in this juncture would be terribly divisive for our country at a time when we are already extremely divided,' Gabbard explained. 'Hyper-partisanship is one of the things that's driving our country apart.'

"'I think it's important to defeat Donald Trump. That's why I'm running for president, but I think it's the American people who need to make their voices heard, making that decision,' she said.

"Regardless of how you feel about Gabbard, you have to give her credit on this front. America is extremely divided today and politicians in Washington play into that. The impeachment saga is a prime example of their role in this division ." [My Emphasis]

When one digs deeper into the forces Gabbard's attacking, she's the most patriotic one of the entire bunch, including the Rs. I haven't looked at her election websites recently, but from what I see of her campaign appearances, her and Sanders seem to be sharing each other's policy proposals, although they both choose to place more emphasis on some than others. For Gabbard, its the wonton waste and corruption of the Empire that keeps good things from being done for all citizens at home, whereas Sanders basically inverts the two.

[Sep 26, 2019] You Can Have Brandeis or You Can Have Debs

Sep 26, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Elizabeth Warren understands better than most the difference between her and Bernie Sanders.

"He's a socialist," Warren explains , "and I believe in markets." She's a " capitalist to [her] bones ," and Sanders is a democratic socialist .

Minor quibbles aside -- Warren presumably doesn't derive most of her income from capital owner-ship, and markets are compatible with socialism -- the Massachusetts senator is right. She and Sanders draw their lineage from distinct political traditions.

Warren is a regulator at heart who believes that capitalism works well as long as fair competition exists; Sanders is a class-conscious tribune who sees capitalism as fundamentally unjust . Warren frames her most ambitious reforms as bids to make capitalism " accountable "; Sanders pushes legislation called the " Stop BEZOS Act " and denounces ceos for exploiting workers . Warren seeks a harmonious accord between workers and employers; Sanders encourages workers to fight back.

Foreign policy differences spring from their respective traditions as well. While both are suspicious of military interventionism, Vermont's junior senator has shown himself much more willing to criticize the crimes of US empire -- famously proclaiming in a 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton that "Henry Kissinger is not my friend." Warren, though a critic of Bush-style adventurism, sees America's role in more conventional terms, arguing in a Foreign Affairs essay this year that we should "project American strength and values throughout the world."

Warren's political tradition is the left edge of middle-class liberalism; Sanders hails from America's socialist tradition. Or, to put the distinction in more personal terms: Warren is Louis Brandeis , Sanders is Eugene Debs .

[Sep 26, 2019] A house bill bans using Huawei and ZTE phones; also adds 1 billion in taxpayer paid for equipment to be donated to to USA companies so the USA companies can trash the China made equipment and exchange if for 1 billion in USA and Israel made equipment.

Sep 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Sep 25 2019 18:50 utc | 12

A house bill bans using Huawei and ZTE phones; also adds 1 billion in taxpayer paid for equipment to be donated to to USA companies so the USA companies can trash the China made equipment and exchange if for 1 billion in USA and Israel made equipment.

I wonder does this mean the USA and Israel cannot compete with the Chinese?


huawei ban

huawei ban

huawei ban
huawei ban

[Sep 25, 2019] Warren most probably will win the Democratic nomination

Look also at the story about Warren daughter and Working Families Party -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jugq-wdI_7I
Notable quotes:
"... Rudy Drops New Bombs: Slams Obama Cabinet 'Pattern Of Corruption'; Claims China 'Bought' Biden ..."
"... Warren wins the nomination because the issue is Swamp Sewage and she hasn't been around long enough to emit much of it. Biden has a ton of it. Trump has three years of it. ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Joe , September 25, 2019 at 10:26 AM

Rudy Drops New Bombs: Slams Obama Cabinet 'Pattern Of Corruption'; Claims China 'Bought' Biden

---

Rudy on a roll. Go look it up on a safe site.

Warren wins the nomination because the issue is Swamp Sewage and she hasn't been around long enough to emit much of it. Biden has a ton of it. Trump has three years of it.

[Sep 25, 2019] Tulsi is the only talented politician among those who are running on Democratic Platform; Warren proved to be a mediocre politician. I still believe that Warren has chances to win against Trump. But with such moves by Dem leadership this might no longer be true.

Notable quotes:
"... Warren proved to be a very weak, mediocre politician. By joining the calls to "Impeach Trump" she proved this again. And this is not the first time she made a very bad call. Looks like she is completely malleable candidate. The candidate without spine outside his favorite re-regulation issues. ..."
"... Ukraine-gate impeachment process (aka another attempt to demonize Trump after Russiagate fiasco) is what Trump badly needs now, as it will cement his voting block and might bring back those voters who are appalled by his betrayal of almost all election promises. ..."
"... As Ukraine-gate is based on a false rumor and actually implicates Biden, not Trump (and after Trump decision to open the transcript Dems now need to move goalposts like it was with the inner party member Parteigenosse Mueller witch hunt ). ..."
"... It portrays the Dems as clueless political scum who are ready to resort to dirty tricks in order to protect neoliberal warmonger Biden, and maintain Wall-Street favorable status quo. ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Plp -> im1dc... , September 24, 2019 at 11:56 AM

The Senate republicans should be forced to block trumps impeachment. This is a good election issue in deep purple states with a senator up for re election. Plus a good house issue. Let the people judge both party wagons

Trump and Biden make a perfect pair of party Totem heads

likbez -> Plp... , September 25, 2019 at 08:28 AM
Tulsi is the only talented politician among those who are running on Democratic Platform.

And I applaud her courage to stand against the mob

Warren proved to be a very weak, mediocre politician. By joining the calls to "Impeach Trump" she proved this again. And this is not the first time she made a very bad call. Looks like she is completely malleable candidate. The candidate without spine outside his favorite re-regulation issues.

She essentially gave Trump additional ammunition to attack her and poach her supporters. I would now attack her along the lines:

"Do not believe anything Warren say; she does have spine. Look how easily she was co-opted to join this witch-hunt. If Warren wins, she will instantly fold and will do what bought by Wall Street Dems leadership will ask her. I am not perfect but I withstood Russiagate witch-hunt and that proves that with all my faults I am the only independent politician in this race, who can go against the flow and deliver what was promised; please give additional time and I will deliver"

Of course, this is disingenuous projection as Trump did the same, but that's politics ;-)

I still believe that Warren has chances to win against Trump. But with such moves by Dem leadership this might no longer be true. Why Warren does not attack Trump disastrous domestic and foreign policy record instead of making such questionable calls is not clear to me. Just a diagram "Trump promises vs reality" as election advertisement might improve her chances.

Ukraine-gate impeachment process (aka another attempt to demonize Trump after Russiagate fiasco) is what Trump badly needs now, as it will cement his voting block and might bring back those voters who are appalled by his betrayal of almost all election promises.

As Ukraine-gate is based on a false rumor and actually implicates Biden, not Trump (and after Trump decision to open the transcript Dems now need to move goalposts like it was with the inner party member Parteigenosse Mueller witch hunt ).

It portrays the Dems as clueless political scum who are ready to resort to dirty tricks in order to protect neoliberal warmonger Biden, and maintain Wall-Street favorable status quo.

[Sep 25, 2019] Warren would try to re-negotiate another Iran Nuclear Deal.

Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc -> anne... , September 23, 2019 at 07:37 AM

Does anyone know S. Warren's position on this?

Has she said she will re-enter the Iran Nuclear Agreement?

I assume so but don't know.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to im1dc... , September 23, 2019 at 07:52 AM
Where 2020 Democratic hopefuls stand on Iran
https://go.shr.lc/2FrKc4I
via @commondreams - June 23

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has supported the nuclear agreement since its inception, has levied criticism toward the White House. On June 18, in response to a New York Times report titled, "Trump Adds Troops After Iran Says It Will Breach Nuclear Deal" (a questionable media framing given that the U.S. had already violated the deal), she tweeted:

"I hope Iran chooses a different path. But let's be clear: Trump provoked this crisis. He has no strategy to contain it, he's burned through our friends and allies, and now he's doubling down on military force. We can't afford another forever war."

While Warren was correct to argue against war, she opens by appearing to place blame against Iran, neglecting to acknowledge the U.S.'s role in villainizing Iran in the first place.

On June 20, after reports of the Navy drone were published, Warren elaborated on her comments, adopting a stronger oppositional stance to the prospect of war with Iran.

"Trump provoked this crisis, and his reckless foreign policy by tweet will only worsen it. I've co-sponsored legislation to prohibit a war with Iran. We need to de-escalate tensions -- not let the war hawks in this administration drag us into conflict. #NoWarWithIran"

That same day, she followed with

"Donald Trump promised to bring our troops home. Instead he has pulled out of a deal that was working and instigated another unnecessary conflict. There is no justification for further escalating this crisis -- we need to step back from the brink of war."

Here, Warren uses stronger language to denounce Trump's actions, but still falls short of a moral denunciation of U.S. violence or a more incisive analysis of the Iran nuclear deal's power relations. Meanwhile, Warren's vote for new sanctions against Iran in 2017 weakens her legislative record. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , September 23, 2019 at 07:57 AM
Warren is far more progressive than mainstream Democrats like Joe Biden. She calls for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Warren campaigns for the United State to rejoin the nuclear accord with Iran and to end trade pacts that hurt workers.

"Warren's foreign policy positions have shifted a fair amount in recent years, particularly during the past few months," says Stephen Zunes, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, who provides foreign policy advice to the Warren campaign.

Elizabeth Warren on War and Peace
https://go.shr.lc/2MjA563 via @commondreams

im1dc -> Fred C. Dobbs... , September 23, 2019 at 04:52 PM
Thank you, Fred.

S. Warren would try to re-negotiate another Iran Nuclear Deal.

[Sep 25, 2019] Capitalism, Alone: Four important -- but somewhat hidden -- themes by Branko Milanovic

Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 24, 2019 at 10:26 AM

https://glineq.blogspot.com/2019/09/capitalism-alone-four-important-but.html

September 24, 2019

Capitalism, Alone: Four important--but somewhat hidden--themes

I review here four important, but perhaps not immediately apparent, themes from my Capitalism, Alone. The book contains many other, more topical, subjects that are likely to attract readers' and reviewers' attention much more than the somewhat abstract or philosophical issues briefly reviewed here.

1. Capitalism as the only mode of production in the world. During the previous high point of the British-led globalization, capitalism shared the world with various feudal or feudal-like systems characterized with unfree labor: forced labor was abolished in Austria-Hungary in 1848, serfdom in Russia in 1861, slavery ended in the US in 1865, and in Brazil only in 1888, And labor tied to land continued to exist in India and to a lesser degree in China. Then, after 1917, capitalism had to share the world with communism which, at its peak, included almost a third of the world population. It is only after 1989, that capitalism is not only a dominant, but the sole, system of organizing production (Chapter 1).

2. The global historical role of communism. The existence of capitalism (economic way to organize society) throughout the world does not imply that the political systems must be organized in the same way everywhere. The origins of political systems are very different. In China and Vietnam, communism was the tool whereby indigenous capitalism was introduced (explained below). The difference in the "genesis" of capitalism, that is, in the way capitalism was "created" in various countries explains why there are at least two types of capitalism today. I am doubtful that there would ever be a single type of capitalism covering the entire globe.

To understand the point about the different origins, one needs to start from the question of the role of communism in global history and thus from the interpretation (histoire raisonéee) of the 20th century (Chapter 3).

There are two major narratives of the 20th century: liberal and Marxist; they are both "Jerusalem"-like in the Russian philosopher Berdiaff's terminology. They see the world evolving from less developed toward more developed stages ending in either a terminus of liberal capitalist democracy or Communism (society of plenty).

Both narratives face significant problems in the interpretation of the 20th century. Liberal narrative is unable to explain the outbreak of the First World War which, given the liberal arguments about the spread of capitalism, (peaceful) trade, and interdependence between countries and individuals that ostensibly abhor conflict should never have happened, and certainly not in the way it did -- namely by involving in the most destructive war up to date all advanced capitalism countries. Second, liberal narrative treats both fascism and communism as essentially "mistakes" (cul de sacs) on the road to a chiliastic liberal democracy without providing much of reasoning as to why these two "mistakes" happened. Thus the liberal explanations for both the outbreak of the War and the two "cul de sacs" are often ad hoc, emphasizing the role of individual actors or idiosyncratic events.

Marxist interpretation of the 20th century is much more convincing in both its explanation of World War I (imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism) and fascism (an attempt by the weakened bourgeoise to thwart left-wing revolutions). But Marxist view is entirely powerless to explain 1989, the fall of communist regimes, and hence unable to provide any explanation for the role of communism in global history. The fall of communism, in a strict Marxist view of the world, is an abomination, as inexplicable as if a feudal society having had experienced a bourgeois revolution of rights were suddenly to "regress" and to reimpose serfdom and the tripartite class division. Marxism has therefore given up trying to provide an explanation for the 20th century history.

The reason for this failure lies in the fact that Marxism never made a meaningful distinction between standard Marxist schemes regarding the succession of socio-economic formations (what I call the Western Path of Development, WPD) and the evolution of poorer and colonized countries. Classical Marxism never asked seriously whether the WPD is applicable in their case. It believed that poorer and colonized countries will simply follow, with a time lag, the developments in the advanced countries, and that colonization and indeed imperialism will produce the capitalist transformation of these societies. This was Marx's explicit view on the role of English colonialism in Asia. But colonialism proved too weak for such a global task, and succeeded in introducing capitalism only in small entropot enclaves such as Hong Kong, Singapore and parts of South Africa.

Enabling colonized countries to effect both their social and national liberations (note there was never a need for the latter in advanced countries) was the world-historical role of communism. It was only Communist or left-wing parties that could prosecute successfully both revolutions. The national revolution meant political independence. The social revolution meant abolishment of feudal growth-inhibiting institutions (power of usurious landlords, labor tied to land, gender discrimination, lack of access to education by the poor, religious turpitude etc.). Communism thus cleared the path for the development of indigenous capitalism. Functionally, in the colonized Third World societies, it played the same role that domestic bourgeoisies played in the West. For indigenous capitalism could be established only once feudal institutions were swept away.

The concise definition of communism is hence: communism is a social system that enabled backward and colonized societies to abolish feudalism, regain economic and political independence, and build indigenous capitalism.

3. The global dominion of capitalism was made possible thanks to (and in turn it exacerbates) certain human traits that, from an ethical point, are questionable . Much greater commercialization and greater wealth have in many ways made us more polished in our manners (as per Montesquieu) but have done so using what were traditionally regarded as vices -- desire for pleasure, power and profit (as per Mandeville). Vices are both fundamental for hyper-commercialized capitalism to be "born" and are supported by it. Philosophers accept them not because they are by themselves desirable, but because allowing their limited exercise allows the achievement of a greater social good: material affluence (Smith; Hume).

Yet the contrast between acceptable behavior in hyper-commercialized world and traditional concepts of justice, ethics, shame, honor, and loss of face, create a chasm which is filled with hypocrisy; one cannot openly accept that one has sold for a sum of money his/her right to free speech or ability to disagree with one's boss, and thus arises the need to cover up these facts with lies or misrepresentation of reality.

From the book:

"The domination of capitalism as the best, or rather the only, way to organize production and distribution seems absolute. No challenger appears in sight. Capitalism gained this position thanks to its ability, through the appeal to self-interest and desire to own property, to organize people so that they managed, in a decentralized fashion, to create wealth and increase the standard of living of an average human being on the planet by many times -- something that only a century ago was considered almost utopian.

But this economic success made more acute the discrepancy between the ability to live better and longer lives and the lack of a commensurate increase in morality, or even happiness. The greater material abundance did make people's manners and behavior to each other better: since elementary needs, and much more than that, were satisfied, people no longer needed to engage in a Hobbesian struggle of all against all. Manners became more polished, people more considerate.

But this external polish was achieved at the cost of people being increasingly driven by self-interest alone, even in many ordinary and personal affairs. The capitalist spirit, a testimony to the generalized success of capitalism, penetrated deeply into people's individual lives. Since extending capitalism to family and intimate life was antithetical to centuries-old views about sacrifice, hospitality, friendship, family ties, and the like, it was not easy to openly accept that all such norms had become superseded by self-interest. This unease created a huge area where hypocrisy reigned. Thus, ultimately, the material success of capitalism came to be associated with a reign of half-truths in our private lives."

4. Capitalist system cannot be changed. The dominion of hyper-commercial capitalism was established thanks to our desire to permanently keep on improving our material conditions, to keep on getting richer, a desire which capitalism satisfies the best. This has led to the creation of a system of values that puts monetary success as its top. In many ways it is a desirable evolution because "believing" in money alone does away with other traditional and discriminatory hierarchical markers.

In order for capitalism to exist it needs to grow and to expand to ever new areas and new products. But capitalism exists not outside of us, as a external system. It is individuals, that is, us, who, in our daily lives, create capitalism and provide it with new fields of action -- so much that we had transformed our homes into capital, and our free time into a resource. This extraordinary commodification of almost all, including what used to be very private, activities was made possible by our internalization of the system of values where money acquisition is placed on the pinnacle. If this were not the case, we would not have commodified practically all that can be (as of now) commodified.

Capitalism, in order to expand, needs greed. Greed has been entirely accepted by us. The economic system and the system of values are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Our system of values enables hyper-commercialized capitalism to function and expand. It then follows that no change in the economic system can be imagined without a change in the system of values that underpins it, which the system promotes, and with which we are, in our everyday activities, fully comfortable. But to produce such a change in values seems, at present, to be an impossible task. It has been tried before and ended in the most ignominious failure. We are thus locked in capitalism. And in our activities, day in, day out, we support and reinforce it.

-- Branko Milanovic

[Sep 24, 2019] Warren improved her chances to beat Biden in Iowa

Sep 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"Warren's rise shakes up Democratic field" [ The Hill ]. "A new poll showing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leading former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa has shaken up the Democratic nomination battle -- and insiders across the party are gaming out what it all means. Warren currently has 22 percent support to Biden's 20 percent, according to the well-respected Des Moines Register–CNN–Mediacom poll, released Saturday night. The two are well clear of the rest of the field, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in third place with 11 percent support . With more than four months to go, the experts all agree that it's too early to make solid predictions. But the battle for Iowa is heating up by the day."

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dcrane , September 24, 2019 at 3:09 pm

Re: Warren triumphalism/polls

Is there any reason to see what is going on as more than just Biden support bailing to "Plan C", i.e., the next most establishment-friendly candidate who has any apparent chance of winning? Sanders' support seems solid. Admittedly, I would much rather see Sanders slowly eating away at the "pro-establishment" fraction of Dem voters, but there is nothing to suggest that he is losing support.

nippersmom , September 24, 2019 at 2:25 pm

The more I see of Warren, the less I like her- and I would not have voted for her to begin with. I'm getting very tired of moderate Republicans being packaged and sold as "progressives".

hunkerdown , September 24, 2019 at 3:28 pm

To her credit, Warren does have a theory of change:

After dinner, "Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice," Ms. Warren writes. "I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People -- powerful people -- listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don't criticize other insiders.

"I had been warned," Ms. Warren concluded.

Message received and understood!

jsn , September 24, 2019 at 3:54 pm

"• I'm not sure I agree. There are many, many, many of those "boutique lobbying or consulting shops" -- "

And how is Trump's shakedown hotel any different from DNC dialing for dollars? Or would it be better if he limited himself just renting out the Lincoln Bedroom like the Clintons did?

Lambert Strether Post author , September 24, 2019 at 4:03 pm

I want to reiterate the point that Yglesias seems incapable of recognizing* that a network of small shops could create more damage than one guy, even a titan. Look at health care policy, for example. It looks like Elizabeth Warren's daughter runs a body-shop for the kind of person Yglesias regards as harmless. Thread:

Samuel Douglas Retweeted Samuel Douglas

I spent some time looking into Warren Tyagi's consulting firm (Business Talent Group), and I learned some interesting things 1/

Samuel Douglas ‏ @ CANCEL_SAM Aug 25

Replying to @ philosophrob

Elizabeth Warren's daughter co-founded HealthAllies, a venture capital-backed health benefits firm which was later acquired by United Health Group, the second largest health insurer in the U.S.

NOTE * Incapable of recognizing, because obviously professionals don't have class interests.

Baby Gerald , September 24, 2019 at 5:23 pm

Wow, thanks for this, Lambert. See my link to the story in a reply above for yet another shady bit about Warren's daughter. I wouldn't normally find myself on RedState, but searching 'WARren daughter WFP' in the googlygoo brought this up first and after a read-through, seems pretty straight-up. It even includes reporting from Jordan Chariton in the meat of the story.

It's time for Warren to drop out. She's way too compromised.

[Sep 24, 2019] Trump To UN The Future Does Not Belong To Globalists

Sep 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump To UN: The Future Does Not Belong To Globalists by Tyler Durden Tue, 09/24/2019 - 21:45 0 SHARES

Authored by Graham Noble via LibertyNation.com,

President Donald Trump delivered a measured speech to the United Nations General Assembly this morning. Ever the showman who usually likes to go off-script, Trump was almost painfully presidential – the UN, after all, is not the forum for off-the-cuff remarks. The speech was wide-ranging, but the overriding theme was the importance of national pride and sovereignty to every country. "The future," Trump told the assembly, "does not belong to globalists." In addition to providing an overview of America's foreign policy challenges, the president berated China for its unfair trade practices and its violation of obligations made to the people of Hong Kong. He called for the empowerment of women and for the rights of the LGBT community to be protected.

Adversaries Singled Out

Taking aim at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for admitting China , Trump pointed out that 60,000 American factories have closed since China became a member-state.

"The World Trade Organization needs drastic change," the president said. "The second-largest economy in the world should not be permitted to declare itself a developing country in order to game the system at others' expense."

Trump also singled out the governments of Iran and Venezuela . Of the former, the president made it clear that US sanctions would not be lifted while the Iranian government continues its aggressive behavior. At the same time, the US leader expressed sympathy and support for the Iranian people. Such a distinction is important.

Of Venezuela's dictator, Nicolas Maduro – whose role as that country's legitimate leader is now in dispute – Trump said: "[He] is a Cuban puppet, protected by Cuban bodyguards, hiding from his own people while Cuba plunders Venezuela's oil wealth to sustain its own corrupt communist rule."

Expanding on the issue of the Venezuelan government's catastrophic political and economic policies, Trump warned that "one of the most serious challenges our countries face is the spectrum of socialism," which he described as "the wrecker of nations and destroyer of societies."

The Injustice Of Illegal Mass Migration

The president also devoted part of his address to the issue of mass illegal immigration . Acknowledging that this was not just an American problem but a global one, Trump told the gathering that every country has the right to secure its own borders. He had a direct message, though, for open-borders activists whom he accused of cloaking themselves "in the rhetoric of social justice":

"Your policies are not just. Your policies are cruel and evil. You are empowering criminal organizations that prey on innocent men, women, and children. You put your own false sense of virtue before the lives, well-being in [sic] countless innocent people."

It is indeed ironic that the same people who champion the alleged right of people from Central America to flow unchecked into the United States also feign concern for the economic deprivation that exists in those countries from which these migrants are coming. Trump made the counterpoint in succinct fashion:

"[T]hese nations cannot reach their potential if a generation of youth abandon their homes in search of a life elsewhere."

A Jab At Domestic US Politics

In a continuation of the anti-globalist, sovereign-nations theme, Trump warned against totalitarianism and the erosion of democracy and individual freedoms. "We must always be skeptical of those who want conformity and control," he told the assembly. "Even in free nations, we see alarming signs and new challenges to liberty."

In what seemed to be a thinly veiled reference to the efforts of Democrats and left-wing activists in the US to reverse the result of the 2016 presidential election, the Commander-in-Chief went on:

"A permanent political class is openly disdainful, dismissive, and defiant of the will of the people."

He was not done. Though it would have been entirely inappropriate to openly call out his political opponents, Trump dwelt on the topic while presenting it as a problem faced by all free nations – which, in fact, it is:

"A faceless bureaucracy operates in secret and weakens democratic rule. Media and academic institutions push flat-out assaults on our histories, traditions, and values a free society must not allow social media giants to silence the voices of the people and a free people must never, ever be enlisted in the cause of silencing, coercing, canceling, or blacklisting their own neighbors."

Still on the subject of individual liberty, the president also warned the UN that Americans would not be deprived of their Second Amendment rights: "There is no circumstance," he warned, "under which the United States will allow international actors to trample on the rights of our citizens, including the right to self-defense." To emphasize the point, the president reminded the assembly that America would not ratify the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

To close his address, the president delivered to the gathered world leaders and ambassadors a message of unity, peace, and recognition that, like the US, every country in the world should, first and foremost, act in the interests of its own people. "Lift up your nations," he told them, "cherish your culture, honor your histories, treasure your citizens, make your country strong and prosperous and righteous. Honor the dignity of your people and nothing will be outside of your reach."


Noob678 , 34 seconds ago link

Trump's UN speech puts his commerce secretary to sleep

Bob_Sacamano , 36 seconds ago link

Trump's speech was the same boilerplate BS he wheels out all of the time - Israel, Iran, black and Mexican unemployment, pissing away Trillions on strengthening the military, etc.

Noob678 , 2 minutes ago link

Throwing stones in a glass house: Trump criticizes the world, but his words are best applied to the US

[Sep 23, 2019] Huawei launched its Mate 30 series on Friday, the first new device produced by the Shenzhen telecommunications firm since it has been blacklisted by the United States government and excluded from American technology markets.

Notable quotes:
"... With the inaugural "Huawei AppGallery" emerging with the Mate 30, the company has now positioned itself on an investment trajectory to create a new "Huawei core" to compete with the world of Google-led Android systems outright. ..."
"... Beyond Apple and the iPhone, the Android operating system dominates in the global smartphone market. Describing it as an "operating system" is barely fitting; it might otherwise be described as "an ecosystem" with a wide range of Google orientated services within it. ..."
"... They include the popular browser Chrome, the YouTube video service, Google mail and, most critically, the "Google Playstore," which, owing to its popularity, attracts more developers and investors than any other unofficial App stores. This "ecosystem" creates a "web of comfort" which effectively entrenches the consumer in the Android orbit. ..."
"... p until May 2019, Huawei was a part of this orbit. Its subsequent estrangement from Android owing to the American government's decision has forced some difficult choices. It has made markets keen to observe how the Mate 30 will perform given its lack of Google applications and the need for users to obtain some apps through third-party stores. ..."
"... So, the question is: How are they now adapting and making that transition? Bengt Nordstrom of North Stream research in Sweden notes that "they have a strategy to become completely independent from U.S. technology. And in many areas, they have become independent." ..."
"... Huawei's announced bid to invest over 1 billion U.S. dollars in developing its own application "core" or ecosystem. This, in essence, is an effort to get developers to establish applications for the new "Huawei App store" and thus establish a self-reliant, independent path from the world of Android. ..."
"... To achieve this, the company has pledged a competitive revenue sharing scheme of 15 percent to developers, half of that what Apple and Google demand for participation in their own app-stores. ..."
Sep 23, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 21, 2019 at 06:30 AM

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-09-21/Huawei-s-pivotal-moment-KabssDHWdq/index.html

September 21, 2019
Huawei's pivotal moment
By Tom Fowdy

Huawei launched its Mate 30 series on Friday, the first new device produced by the Shenzhen telecommunications firm since it has been blacklisted by the United States government and excluded from American technology markets.

The subsequent result of the listing had led Google to sever ties with the company and prohibit new devices from using its Play Store services and operating system, something which ultimately impacts the Mate 30 Series, which is using an open-source version of Android.

The impact of it all has led Western commentators to ask questions about Huawei's future in Western smartphone markets, particularly what applications can it access.

However, not all is bleak, and what may start off as a hindrance for the company is set to transform into an opportunity. The United States' assault on the company has forced Huawei to innovate.

With the inaugural "Huawei AppGallery" emerging with the Mate 30, the company has now positioned itself on an investment trajectory to create a new "Huawei core" to compete with the world of Google-led Android systems outright.

In this case, what seems like a detriment is part of a broader pivotal moment for Huawei. The company's portfolio is about to change forever.

Beyond Apple and the iPhone, the Android operating system dominates in the global smartphone market. Describing it as an "operating system" is barely fitting; it might otherwise be described as "an ecosystem" with a wide range of Google orientated services within it.

They include the popular browser Chrome, the YouTube video service, Google mail and, most critically, the "Google Playstore," which, owing to its popularity, attracts more developers and investors than any other unofficial App stores. This "ecosystem" creates a "web of comfort" which effectively entrenches the consumer in the Android orbit.

U p until May 2019, Huawei was a part of this orbit. Its subsequent estrangement from Android owing to the American government's decision has forced some difficult choices. It has made markets keen to observe how the Mate 30 will perform given its lack of Google applications and the need for users to obtain some apps through third-party stores.

So, the question is: How are they now adapting and making that transition? Bengt Nordstrom of North Stream research in Sweden notes that "they have a strategy to become completely independent from U.S. technology. And in many areas, they have become independent."

First of all, we are well aware that Huawei is developing its own Harmony Operating System as a contingency measure, although it has not chosen to apply it to the Mate 30 as an olive branch to Google.

Second, and most excitingly is Huawei's announced bid to invest over 1 billion U.S. dollars in developing its own application "core" or ecosystem. This, in essence, is an effort to get developers to establish applications for the new "Huawei App store" and thus establish a self-reliant, independent path from the world of Android.

To achieve this, the company has pledged a competitive revenue sharing scheme of 15 percent to developers, half of that what Apple and Google demand for participation in their own app-stores.

This effort is combined with a wider scope in research and development from the company, which is also designed to forfeit dependence upon American technology chains in terms of critical components and other parts.

We have already seen massive investment pledges from Huawei to build new research and development centers in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy and Brazil. They are not empty promises, but a serious and strategic effort.

In this case, what was intended to be a political effort to destroy and contain Huawei is likely to prove a pivotal turning point in the company's history with huge repercussions for global smartphone and technology markets.

Instead of having once been reliant on and thus beneficial to American technology markets, the outcome is that Huawei will re-emerge independent of and competing against it.

Armed with a pending new operating system, a new application development drive and a broader research effort, what seemed otherwise a detriment is likely to bring a massive opportunity. Thus, it is very important to examine the long-term prospects for the company's fortunes ahead of short-term challenges.

[Sep 23, 2019] Tucker Carlson labelled the liberal Massachusetts senator and top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination a "joke" and a "living tragedy."

Sep 23, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , September 15, 2019 at 06:59 AM

(An op-ed heavy on irony.)

How Donald Trump just might save
the Republican Party -- and the country
https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2019/09/06/how-donald-trump-just-might-save-republican-party-and-country/qbew52NeSqBhmFGQ6t6GaM/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

David Scharfenberg - September 6

FOX NEWS HOST Tucker Carlson was saying nice things about Elizabeth Warren again.

Well, not entirely nice things.

Speaking at a conference of conservative journalists and intellectuals this summer (*), he took a moment to label the liberal Massachusetts senator and top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination a "joke" and a "living tragedy."

But he also spoke, in admiring tones and at substantial length, about "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke," the book Warren wrote with her daughter in 2004.

"Elizabeth Warren wrote one of the best books I've ever read on economics," he said.

(The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Going Broke
https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-Two-Income-Trap%3A-Why-Middle-Class-Parents-Are-Tyagi-Warren/9e71e947ba3ba9f8a993eb39699b9d9baacff235 )

By that point, he'd already warned his audience about the perils of "monopoly power" and declared that income inequality, which the right had long been trained to believe is "just a pure invention of some diabolical French intellectual to destroy America," is actually "completely real" and "totally bad."

His Bolshevist pronouncements were probably not a surprise to anyone who'd watched Carlson's show closely in the months leading up to his speech. But Fox, despite its outsize influence, has a relatively small audience.

And it's not just Carlson's evolution that's escaped notice. It's hard to keep track of what most of the key players on the right are saying these days, with President Trump soaking up so much attention.

But while the commander-in-chief thrashes about, something important is taking shape in his shadow -- the outlines of a new conservatism inspired, or at least elevated, by his rise to power.

It's a conservatism that tries to wrestle with the post-Cold War, post-industrial angst that fired his election -- dropping a reflexive fealty to big business that dates back to the Reagan era and focusing more intently on the struggles of everyday Americans.

"There are many downsides, I will say, to Trump," Carlson said, in his speech this summer. "But one of the upsides is, the Trump election was so shocking, so unlikely ... that it did cause some significant percentage of people to say, 'wait a second, if that can happen, what else is true?' "

The reimagining is playing out not just on Carlson's show or in conservative journals, but among a small batch of young, ambitious Republicans in Congress led by senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida.

Their populist -- or "nationalist" or "post-liberal" -- prescriptions sometimes smack of opportunism. And it's still not clear how far they're willing to stray from their party. But it looks like there are places where the new nationalists could find common cause with an energized left.

Whether the two sides can actually forge a meaningful alliance in the glare of our hyperpartisan politics is an open question. But a compact -- even a provisional one -- may offer the country its best shot at building a meaningful, post-Trump politics.

. . .

CARLSON DELIVERED HIS speech at the National Conservatism Conference -- the first major gathering aimed at forging a new, right-of-center approach in the age of Trump.

"This is our independence day," said Yoram Hazony, an Israeli political theorist and chief organizer of the event, in his spirited opening remarks. "We declare independence from neoconservatism, from libertarianism, from what they call classical liberalism."

"We are national conservatives," he said.

Any effort to build a right-of-center nationalism circa 2019 inevitably runs into questions about whether it will traffic in bigotry.

And one of the speakers, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax, seemed to do just that -- suggesting that "cultural compatibility" should play a role in deciding which migrants are allowed into the country.

"In effect," she said, this "means taking the position that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites."

But Wax's speech, however discomfiting, stood out because it was so discordant.

Conference organizers took pains to prevent hate-mongers from attending -- ultimately rejecting six applicants. ...

"Your ideas," he said, "are not welcome here." ...

* At the National Conservatism Conference, an
'Intellectual Trumpist' Movement Begins to Take Shape
https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/07/national-conservatism-conference-intellectual-trumpist-movement/

[Sep 23, 2019] Smartest and fastest: Huawei reveals new smartphone chip Kirin 990 5G

Notable quotes:
"... "The Kirin 990 is not only an SoC and a 5G modem glued together. We put a lot of effort in integrating the two chips. So the new chip uses less power and generates less heat while getting the job done," said Huawei fellow Ai Wei before the launch event. ..."
"... The whole Kirin 990 5G chip is so dense that it contains 10.3 billion semiconductors, the first and largest of its kind. ..."
"... Another example is AI-based video quality improvements, which takes in a low quality video and render a better one. Objects in the rendered video have much sharper edges. Huawei technicians refused to explain how they made it, but the underlying tech seems to be object recognition, content-based pixel generation and noise reduction, since these are the tricks AI does well. ..."
"... Huawei's P30 Pro smartphone, together with the Kirin 980 chip, has taken "smartphone zoom to the next level," according to third-party review site DxOMark. The phone was on top of all smartphones when it comes to photography in DxOMark's ranking. The Kirin 990 is packed with more graphic features to continue Huawei's dominance. ..."
Sep 23, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , September 20, 2019 at 04:51 PM

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-09-06/Smartest-and-fastest-Huawei-reveals-new-smartphone-chip-Kirin-990-5G-JLGH1KVKeI/index.html

September 6, 2019

Smartest and fastest: Huawei reveals new smartphone chip Kirin 990 5G
By Gong Zhe

Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, which has been under heavy attack from the U.S. government during the last few months, just revealed its next-generation smartphone system-on-a-chip (SoC) product "Kirin 990 5G," signaling the company's business is not stalled by foreign strangling.

The launch event was held simultaneously at IFA electronic show in Berlin, Germany, and in Beijing on Friday.

In his keynote speech, Huawei's head of gadgets Richard Yu told the press that the chip is more advanced than other flagship smartphone SoCs, because it has a built-in 5G modem.

Current rivals of the chip, like Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855, have no 5G modem and have to rely on an extra chip to support 5G.

"The Kirin 990 is not only an SoC and a 5G modem glued together. We put a lot of effort in integrating the two chips. So the new chip uses less power and generates less heat while getting the job done," said Huawei fellow Ai Wei before the launch event.

The whole Kirin 990 5G chip is so dense that it contains 10.3 billion semiconductors, the first and largest of its kind.

Flexible AI power

The chip also features three AI cores, two larger than the other smaller. This design, first in smartphones, saves battery power by only using the small core to process simple AI tasks, while resorting to the larger cores for more complex jobs.

The company named the cores "Ascend Lite" and "Ascend Tiny" to relate the cores to Huawei's new, self-proclaimed "fastest AI training chip in the world," the Ascend 910.

Huawei built a showcase at the Beijing launch event to demonstrate the chip's AI power. They showed a FaceID-like face recognition feature in a Kirin 990-powered developer board that can work when the person is four meters away from the phone, times further than Apple's current product.

Another example is AI-based video quality improvements, which takes in a low quality video and render a better one. Objects in the rendered video have much sharper edges. Huawei technicians refused to explain how they made it, but the underlying tech seems to be object recognition, content-based pixel generation and noise reduction, since these are the tricks AI does well.

Even better photos

Huawei's P30 Pro smartphone, together with the Kirin 980 chip, has taken "smartphone zoom to the next level," according to third-party review site DxOMark. The phone was on top of all smartphones when it comes to photography in DxOMark's ranking. The Kirin 990 is packed with more graphic features to continue Huawei's dominance.

A Kirin 990-powered smartphone can shoot 4K videos (3840 x 2160 pixels) at 60 frames per second, on par with market flagship phones.

The chip can also run DSLR-level noise-reduction algorithm – namely "Block Match 3D" – to bring professional tech to consumer devices.

"Porting an algorithm from DSLR to smartphone may be easy. But getting the program to run fast enough can be hard for any phone maker," Ai told CGTN Digital.

Non-U.S. tech

The design of Kirin 990 is still based on technology Huawei bought from British tech company ARM, used by several mainstream brands.

After the U.S. began imposing restrictions on Huawei, ARM cut ties with the Chinese phone maker. Despite this, Huawei has been able to use and modify AMRv8 technology thanks to its permanent ARM license. Hence why chips like Kirin 990 can still be legally built and sold.

In addition to ARM, there are other major smartphone tech companies cutting ties with Huawei, forcing the Chinese company to create its own alternatives. After Google announced to bar Huawei phones from installing their apps, Huawei started porting its IoT system "Harmony" to smartphones.

But Huawei still wishes to use technologies from all over the world. As Ai Wei explained at the launch event, "Huawei will not deliberately remove all U.S. tech from its smartphones. But when the supply from U.S. was cut, Huawei has to find a way to survive."

"That's why Huawei chose to create its own technology," Ai added....

anne -> anne... , September 20, 2019 at 05:01 PM
The point in article after article is that China is emphasizing technical advance in building the economy from rural to urban applications and the emphasis will not be lessened. The rural applications I am reading about are especially exciting.
point -> anne... , September 21, 2019 at 07:36 AM
https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/america-keeps-getting-china-all-wrong

Terrific discussion on how the West perceives China et al and vice versa. Much new to me.

anne -> point... , September 21, 2019 at 08:39 AM
I appreciate the interview, but Clayton Dube as director of the University of Southern California's U.S.-China Institute knows remarkably little about China or American relations with China. Possibly Dube is being especially cautious, but still:

"The air in Los Angeles," the academic explains by way of an example, "is influenced by the air coming out of northern China. But of course, that bad air in China is produced by factories often producing for the American market. And so we have not only outsourced production, we've outsourced pollution."

This is absurdly wrong. China has been working on cleaning the environment for years now and the effects as monitored have been dramatic.

point -> anne... , September 21, 2019 at 09:16 AM
The idea that China thinks of 1849 to 1949 as a colonial period that took them 100 years to get free from, for instance, immediately helps me understand some of where they are coming from.
anne -> point... , September 21, 2019 at 09:45 AM
The idea that China thinks of 1849 to 1949 as a colonial period that took them 100 years to get free from, for instance, immediately helps me understand some of where they are coming from.

[ Surely so, this very day is "International Day of Peace in Nanjing" in memory of the victims of the terrible Japanese occupation:

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-09/21/c_138410902.htm ]

anne -> point... , September 21, 2019 at 08:40 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/12/upshot/china-pollution-environment-longer-lives.html

March 12, 2018

Four Years After Declaring War on Pollution, China Is Winning
Research gives estimates on the longer lives that are now possible in the country.
By Michael Greenstone

On March 4, 2014, the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, told almost 3,000 delegates at the National People's Congress and many more watching live on state television, "We will resolutely declare war against pollution as we declared war against poverty."

...

anne -> point... , September 21, 2019 at 08:46 AM
China, for instance, has over 420,000 electric busses. The United States has 300:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-15/in-shift-to-electric-bus-it-s-china-ahead-of-u-s-421-000-to-300

im1dc -> anne... , September 21, 2019 at 09:16 AM
China has had the benefit of skipping over other advanced nation's Legacy infrastructure.

Leapfrogging ahead in some areas of development is smart and saves money for China as well, but that doesn't make China superior to other advanced nations.

anne -> anne... , September 21, 2019 at 09:26 AM
China, for instance, has over 420,000 electric busses. The United States has 300:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-15/in-shift-to-electric-bus-it-s-china-ahead-of-u-s-421-000-to-300

May 15, 2019

The U.S. Has a Fleet of 300 Electric Buses. China Has 421,000
The rest of the world will struggle for years to match China's rapid embrace of electric transit.
By Brian Eckhouse - Bloomberg

anne -> anne... , September 21, 2019 at 09:27 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/14/business/chinese-train-national-security.html

September 14, 2019

Fearing 'Spy Trains,' Congress May Ban a Chinese Maker of Subway Cars
By Ana Swanson

CHICAGO -- America's next fight with China is unfolding at a glistening new factory in Chicago, which stands empty except for the shells of two subway cars and space for future business that is unlikely to come.

A Chinese state-owned company called CRRC Corporation, the world's largest train maker, completed the $100 million facility this year in the hopes of winning contracts to build subway cars and other passenger trains for American cities like Chicago and Washington.

But growing fears about China's economic ambitions and its potential to track and spy on Americans are about to quash those plans. Congress is soon expected to approve legislation that would effectively bar the company from competing for new contracts in the United States, citing national security and economic concerns. The White House has expressed its support for the effort....

anne -> anne... , September 21, 2019 at 09:38 AM
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2019-09-18/Chinese-make-300-mln-daily-trips-through-green-transport-K5xRBUQiZO/index.html

September 18, 2019

Chinese make 300 mln daily trips through green transport

[ China has 65% of the world total mileage of high-speed rail service, but what do the Chinese know about trains anyway? ]

anne -> point... , September 21, 2019 at 09:20 AM
Terrific discussion on how the West perceives China...

[ Actually a discussion that shows a remarkable misperception of China even by an American China academic-specialist. As such the discussion is important though discouraging. ]

[Sep 22, 2019] Trump May Get Much of the World's Manufacturing Out of China, but It Won't Be Coming Back to the US

Notable quotes:
"... I always thought globalization was about the opportunity for a handful of businesses and corporations to control major industries around the world. ..."
"... There is an anti-China hawks faction based in the Republican party that has made its present felt. People like Robert Lighthizer, Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon. I have seen this sentiment spill over into Australian politics but they have not reached the stage where they are asking: "Are you now, or have you ever been, born Chinese?". ..."
"... We have also seen hawk factions against Russia, Iran and not long ago Venezuela. The ones for Russia and Iran have been long going but the ones against China and Venezuela were sudden and new. It may be that tomorrow that Trump will do the same against Cuba and threaten any country that does trade with them. Who knows what other country may fall within his sights? ..."
"... it seems business people in the government are being pushed aside by hawkish factions who do not care what effect it has on the economy or the country. Great! ..."
"... Those are the same "hawks" that are busy destroying the rest of America as well. ..."
"... As it is now, China literally has the US by the jewels, and if a serious conflict ever arose, could squeeze them hard. Just their dominance in manufacturing a large percentage of the pharmaceuticals consumed by US patients alone creates a serious vulnerability. ..."
"... Situating the manufacturing in countries that are part of the Chinese sphere of influence won't help much in a conflict. China would probably be able to sweep through much of Southeast Asia quickly or interdict shipments if there was war. ..."
"... the world wide presence/threat of the USA military and diplomatic corps allows globalization to be less risky for USA businesses, so, in effect, the patriotic "spreading of democracy" around the world via military actions is a factor in USA job loss. This is yet another cost of the bloated military to the general USA population. ..."
"... Trump, as usual, got his strings pulled by the Deep State when he went for actual implementation of a campaign promise. The DS doesn't care about working Americans, they are simply against China. ..."
"... as Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs, writes: "United States industry is losing ground to foreign competitors on price, quality and technology. In many areas, our manufacturing capacity cannot compete with what exists in Asia." ..."
"... Back in the early 80s I saw a massive warehouse full of machine tools, Bridgeport mills, and such lined up, it seemed forever, the guy there said they were going to China. I asked my Dad about it, and he told me we were selling them to the Chinese for the price of scrap. The whole thing is mindless and pathetic, but the really maddening thing is the slippery way our 'leaders' can keep dodging the blame by simply pointing a finger in whatever direction, and everybody's eyes move in unison. ..."
"... The argument/discussion is not about how and where to outsource our jobs, it's about how stupid it was to do it in the first place ..."
"... Also the Chinese internal market continues to attract MNC's and this attraction will continue to grow far into the future. China's middle class is already larger than the total population of the US and it continues to grow rapidly. While down presently the Chinese internal consumption continues to grow at an annual rate of some 8.5%. ..."
"... Trump's approach to trade is isolating the US, blocking its Co's from the Chinese market, and incentivizing the Chinese to offer better conditions to Co's of the rest of the world. How can that help the US ? ..."
"... The relentless neoliberal race to the bottom, outsourcing, and austerity that marked the death blow to American Labor is over. In that light it makes little difference whether our corporations pull out of China, go to Vietnam, or come home. The exploitation of the poorest is coming to an end. And none too soon. ..."
"... I hope some candidates discuss the imperative to have the US start making it's own medications again. ..."
"... I could not believe the government has allowed the entire supply chain of building blocks of ALL our antibiotics to be sourced almost solely from China. To me THAT'S the national security issue we need to deal with immediately. As well as other vital drugs.. ..."
"... Chinese manufacturers have the wealth and experience to teach production line workers and make things anywhere. Western companies manufacturing in China have belatedly looked for facilities in neighboring countries and found the Chinese are already there. ..."
"... Trump doesn't give a damn about getting manufacturing jobs back into the United States! (Or at least his advisors don't). ..."
"... Low housing costs, lead to lower wages so UK employers were able to compete in a free trade world. William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics. ..."
"... He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years. Free trade requires a low cost of living and what was known in the 19th century had disappeared by the 20th. The West's high cost of living means high wages and an inability to compete in a free trade world. ..."
Sep 21, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Marshall Auerback, a market analyst and commentator. Produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute

"Chimerica" is a term originally coined by the historian Niall Ferguson and economist Moritz Schularick to describe the growing economic relationship between the U.S. and China since the latter's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. In the words of Ferguson : "The Chinese did the saving, the Americans the spending. The Chinese did the exporting, the Americans the importing. The Chinese did the lending, the Americans the borrowing." Much of the pre-crisis boom in global trade was driven by this economic symbiosis, which is why successive American presidents tolerated this marriage of convenience despite the increasing costs to the U.S. economy . The net benefits calculation, however, began to change after 2008, and the conflict has intensified further after the 2016 presidential election result. Today, the cumulative stress of Donald Trump's escalating trade war is leading to if not an irreparable breach between the two countries, then certainly a significant fraying. The imminent resumption of trade talks notwithstanding, the rising cost of the tariffs is already inducing some U.S. manufacturers to exit China. But in most instances, they are not returning to home shores.

It may have taken Trump to point out the pitfalls of the Chimerica link, but coming up with a coherent strategy to replace it is clearly beyond the president's abilities. America is likely to remain a relative manufacturing wasteland, as barren as Trump's own ill-conceived ideas on trade. At the same time, it's not going to be an unmitigated victory for China either, as Beijing is increasingly suffering from a large confluence of internal and external pressures.

Chimerica helped to launch China as a global trade power. To the extent that this marriage helped the U.S. economy, it skewed toward the largely blue state coastal regions. Wall Street banks located on the East Coast happily collected lucrative commissions and investment banking fees, as China's export proceeds were recycled into U.S. treasuries, stocks, and high-end real estate while the capital markets boomed; on the West Coast, "new economy" companies thrived, their growth and profitability unhindered by the onslaught of Chinese manufactured exports. By contrast, facilitated by technological advances that permitted large-scale outsourcing by U.S. manufacturers, Chimerica laid waste to much of what was left of America's Rust Belt, and the politics of many of the displaced workers mutated to the extent that Donald Trump became an appealing alternative to the establishment in 2016.

The major legacy of Chimerica, then, is that too many American workers have been semi-permanently replaced by low-cost offshored labor. Prior to great advances in technology, along with globalization, displacement of the current labor force could only have occurred through immigration of workers into the country. Historically, displacement by immigrants generally began at the menial level of the labor force, and became more restrictive as when it became correlated with significant unemployment. Given the rise of globalization and the corresponding liberalization of immigration in the past few decades, however, policy no longer arrests the displacement of American workers. The policy backlash has consequently manifested itself more via trade protectionism. Trump has sought to consolidate his Rust Belt base of supporters by launching a trade war, especially versus Beijing, the ultimate effects of which he hoped would be to re-domicile supply chains that had earlier migrated to China.

Early on in his presidency, there was some hope that Trump's protectionism was at best a bluff or, at worst, an aberration, and that the return of a Democrat to the White House in 2020 would eventually reestablish the status quo ante. But the president still can't get a wall, and his protectionism has become more pronounced almost as if to compensate. The problem today is that even if Trump is voted out of office in 2020, corporate America is becoming less inclined to wait out the end of his presidency to return to the pre-Trump status quo of parking the bulk of their manufacturing in China. There is too much risk in putting all of one's eggs in the China basket, especially given growing national security concerns . Hence, U.S. companies are taking action. In spite of decades of investment in these China-domiciled supply chains, a number of American companies are pulling out: toy manufacturer Hasbro , Illinois-based phone accessories manufacturer Xentris Wireless, and lifestyle clothing company PacSun are a few of the operators who are exiting the country.

But they are not coming back to the U.S., relocating instead to places like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Mexico, the Philippines and Taiwan. The chief financial officer of Xentris, Ben Buttolph, says that the company will never return to China: "We are trying to have multiple locations certified for all of our products, so that if all of a sudden there's an issue with one of the locations, we just flip the switch." Likewise, the CEO of Hasbro, Brian Goldner, recently spoke of "great opportunities in Vietnam, India and other territories like Mexico."

All is not lost for the U.S., however, as Goldner did celebrate the success of Hasbro's facility in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, which has resumed production of Play-Doh in the U.S. for the first time since 2004 . It is doubtful, however, that this represents the recapturing of the high value-added supply chains that Trump envisaged when he first launched his trade assault on Beijing.

In general, as Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs , writes: "United States industry is losing ground to foreign competitors on price, quality and technology. In many areas, our manufacturing capacity cannot compete with what exists in Asia."

These are not isolated examples. Defense One also notes the following development:

It came without a breaking news alert or presidential tweet, but the technological competition with China entered a new phase last month. Several developments quietly heralded this shift: Cross-border investments between the United States and China plunged to their lowest levels since 2014, with the tech sector suffering the most precipitous drop. U.S. chip giants Intel and AMD abruptly ended or declined to extend important partnerships with Chinese entities. The Department of Commerce halved the number of licenses that let U.S. companies assign Chinese nationals to sensitive technology and engineering projects.

This development consequently makes it hard to proclaim Beijing a winner in this dispute either. The country still needs access to U.S. high tech. The government announced yet another fiscal stimulus to the economy earlier this month in response to a cluster of weakening economic data, much of which is related to the trade shock. It is also the case that China is being buffeted politically, both externally and internally: externally, in addition to the escalating trade war, China's own efforts to counter the effects of rising protectionism by creating a " reverse Marshall Plan " via the Belt and Road Initiative is floundering . China's "iron brother," Pakistan, is increasingly being victimized by India's aggressive Hindu-centric nationalism . It is hard to imagine the Modi government opportunistically taking the step of annexing Kashmir and undermining Pakistan, had it not sensed Beijing's increasing vulnerability.

Internally, Beijing is finding it increasingly challenging as it seeks to enforce its "One China" policy in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The withdrawal of the controversial extradition law that first precipitated widespread demonstrations in Hong Kong has not alleviated the political pressures in the territory, but simply allowed an even bigger protest culture to take root and strengthen an independent political mindset. Similarly, Taiwan has also openly supported the Hong Kong protesters, pledging help to those seeking asylum . Both regions now constitute both a huge humiliation and challenge to the primacy of China's ruling Communist Party. And now on top of that, foreign manufacturers are leaving the country, weakening a totally leveraged manufacturing complex.

The implications of this divorce go well beyond the U.S. and China. They constitute another step toward regionalization, another step away from a quaint ideological "post-history" construct that saw Washington, D.C., as the head office and the rest of the world as a bunch of branch plants for "America, Inc." It's hardly comforting to contemplate that the last time we reached this historic juncture was the early 1900s, when a similarly globalized economy broke down, followed by the Great War. As Niall Ferguson points out , "a high level of economic integration does not necessarily prevent the growth of strategic rivalry and, ultimately, conflict." There's no doubt that both Washington and Beijing will likely making soothing noises to the markets in order to create favorable conditions for the trade talks in October, but their actions suggest that they are both digging in for a longer struggle . Today's trade wars, therefore, are likely to morph into something more destructive, which is a lose-lose in an era where human advancement depends on greater integration between economic powers.

somecallmetim , September 21, 2019 at 2:43 am

So ultimately trade peace or symbiosis is chimerical?

John , September 21, 2019 at 4:09 am

I always thought globalization was about the opportunity for a handful of businesses and corporations to control major industries around the world.

Who knew that there were people in any country that benefit?

The first country that would address affordable housing, healthcare and education so that people don't need more jobs will win.

The Rev Kev , September 21, 2019 at 4:30 am

There may be another aspect to this development and that is of geopolitics. You can see that in Marshall's article when the CFO of Xentris said: "We are trying to have multiple locations certified for all of our products, so that if all of a sudden there's an issue with one of the locations, we just flip the switch." There is an anti-China hawks faction based in the Republican party that has made its present felt. People like Robert Lighthizer, Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon. I have seen this sentiment spill over into Australian politics but they have not reached the stage where they are asking: "Are you now, or have you ever been, born Chinese?".

So we have seen a long string of sanctions and tariffs at play so that China will change its laws and institutions to suit American interests. Yeah, I can't see that happening anytime soon but hey, America First, Baby. We have also seen hawk factions against Russia, Iran and not long ago Venezuela. The ones for Russia and Iran have been long going but the ones against China and Venezuela were sudden and new. It may be that tomorrow that Trump will do the same against Cuba and threaten any country that does trade with them. Who knows what other country may fall within his sights?

That being the case if you were running an international country, you can no longer just have your manufacturing base or service operations just in one country. If Xentris is an example, US companies may have to split manufacturing into several countries in case one fine day that Trump will sanction yet another country that your company depends on.

I would imagine that it would not be so efficient but it seems business people in the government are being pushed aside by hawkish factions who do not care what effect it has on the economy or the country. Great!

Leroy , September 21, 2019 at 11:51 am

Those are the same "hawks" that are busy destroying the rest of America as well. Another four years of this will, effectively, dismantle what democracy is left. The world trade won't be the big issue. The departure of millions of Americans will.

drumlin woodchuckles , September 22, 2019 at 4:42 pm

If that happens, be sure to thank the Catfood Democrats for it. Because they are the people who will do their very best and hardest to throw the next election to Trump, one way or another.

jeremyharrison , September 21, 2019 at 5:23 am

It seems like diversification of supply chains can only be a good thing. As it is now, China literally has the US by the jewels, and if a serious conflict ever arose, could squeeze them hard. Just their dominance in manufacturing a large percentage of the pharmaceuticals consumed by US patients alone creates a serious vulnerability.

I really don't think it matters if manufacturing jobs are repatriated to the US, or just set up and spread around elsewhere for now – since they'll be obsolete jobs in the near future anyway, as robotics and AI get increasingly efficient at doing the work that human workers currently do.

rd , September 21, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Situating the manufacturing in countries that are part of the Chinese sphere of influence won't help much in a conflict. China would probably be able to sweep through much of Southeast Asia quickly or interdict shipments if there was war.

Dan , September 21, 2019 at 6:28 am

So the status quo was preferable? The tone of the article seems to suggest that America should accept it place as a third-world manufacturer, as if these Asian nations have some magical sauce that can't be replicated. Gawd.

The US does have a lot of magic. Like one third of FDI related to tax evasion. Pulling Mac Book manufacturing out of Austin for the lack of one 'screw', etc. So is the premise of going after China on trade and IP policies good. I would agree. Maybe not in strategy, but at least someone has opened the box.

John Wright , September 21, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I agree with your comment, the article suggests the status quo was preferable. Of note, Trump has shown his supporters that something CAN be done other than follow the "resistance is futile" path of the Bill Clinton/Bush Jr./Obama administrations.

I also suggest that the world wide presence/threat of the USA military and diplomatic corps allows globalization to be less risky for USA businesses, so, in effect, the patriotic "spreading of democracy" around the world via military actions is a factor in USA job loss. This is yet another cost of the bloated military to the general USA population.

I worked in the electronics industry for 30+ years and watched high margin manufacturing move to Asia. Now the lower level component manufacturers (PCBs, passives) are firmly established in Asia as the USA companies have helped train worthy competitors overseas. It took 25+ years to move much of USA manufacturing overseas, indicating to me that it will take a long time to bring it back significantly, well outside the Trump time frame.

But I suspect Trump voters will appreciate Trump's headline efforts. If the Democrats push for more Free Trade as good for the USA, it will hurt them at the ballot box.

GramSci , September 21, 2019 at 6:51 am

The second time as farce. How tragicomic that Trump has succeeded in little more than repatriating the manufacture of Play-Doh. On the other hand, the shipping cost of unbaked brick seems a rational factor in Hasbro's decision. A GND that shortens supply lines would be more effective in repatriating heavy industry, but then printed circuit boards aren't all that heavy .

a different chris , September 21, 2019 at 8:42 am

The thing is Trump, as usual, got his strings pulled by the Deep State when he went for actual implementation of a campaign promise. The DS doesn't care about working Americans, they are simply against China.

So he goes and puts tariffs on a country, not a product. And surprise, said product doesn't come back on-shore. Comical (and yeah, cosmically a bit just) that Vietnam is getting so much of that manufacturing. Wasn't what he was elected for.

Glen , September 21, 2019 at 9:44 am

In general, as Julius Krein, editor of American Affairs, writes: "United States industry is losing ground to foreign competitors on price, quality and technology. In many areas, our manufacturing capacity cannot compete with what exists in Asia."

As a engineer up to my elbows in manufacturing for forty years, this was awfully easy to predict way back then (I gave up complaining about it about 2000), and then watch happen – real time. And to once again state the obvious, China did not TAKE American jobs, American CEOs GAVE them our jobs. We will not fix this problem until we identify and fix the root cause.

Now the only way to fix it is (once again obviously) massive government investment such as mandated by the GND. We need the GND, it is not only required to save the world, it will save our country.

Leroy , September 21, 2019 at 11:57 am

Fully agree Glen. How can we say China stole our "technology" when we placed it on their doorstep and asked them to make some of these for us please ?

Watt4Bob , September 21, 2019 at 3:19 pm

Agree, it was predictable, and it was predicted. What we've been talking about is the "Giant sucking sound" Ross Perot foretold would happen prior to the passing of NAFTA. It wasn't hard back then to see that he was right, but it took a few decades for the public to feel the impact, boiling frogs and all that.

Back in the early 80s I saw a massive warehouse full of machine tools, Bridgeport mills, and such lined up, it seemed forever, the guy there said they were going to China. I asked my Dad about it, and he told me we were selling them to the Chinese for the price of scrap. The whole thing is mindless and pathetic, but the really maddening thing is the slippery way our 'leaders' can keep dodging the blame by simply pointing a finger in whatever direction, and everybody's eyes move in unison.

rd , September 21, 2019 at 5:39 pm

NAFTA and China are two completely separate things. I have actually supported NAFTA in principle because we should encourage trade to be focused on our immediate neighbors. A wealthier and safer Mexico and Central America would create markets for us and virtually eliminate illegal immigrants as the southern border.

China is on the other side of the world and is not part of NAFTA. While we should have cordial relations with it, if we are looking for inexpensive labor, south of the border is the better place to focus on that. So Trump's tariffs on China are not the wrong thing to do per se. The problem is that they are being done in a vacuum of general trade policy where he is looking at everything as transaction bilateral relations with every country on the planet, which requires an immense amount of detailed thought and negotiation, neither of which appear to be a focus of this administration.

The countries that the companies are talking about moving their operations to are generally part of the new TPP which the US is not part of. So, we have removed ourselves from having trade relations with countries US CEOs are setting up operations in, but those countries are now starting to work together to counter both China (original TPP purpose) and the US (now that the US has bailed on it). Sounds like a recipe for a replay of China's giant sucking sound.

Watt4Bob , September 21, 2019 at 6:48 pm

The argument/discussion is not about how and where to outsource our jobs, it's about how stupid it was to do it in the first place. Anyone smart enough to breath knows that Mexico is next door, and China is on the other side of the world, but they are both part of the same giant sucking sound. The fact that you support both NAFTA ,think it was unwise to back out of the TPP, and think the issue is the present administration's lack of " detailed thought and negotiation " indicate a truly unbelievable level of denial.

drumlin woodchuckles , September 22, 2019 at 4:47 pm

NAFTA and MFN for China were two different actions towards the same goal . . . the use of Free Trade to dismantle thingmaking in America and re-mantle thingmaking in foreign export-aggression platforms to use against America.

Free Trade is the new Slavery. Militant Belligerent Protectionism is the new Abolition.

John Wright , September 21, 2019 at 5:41 pm

I remember when a Midwest Democrat (Stabenow?) tried to get a law passed that would prohibit a US corporation from deducting, from their federal taxes, the cost of moving factories overseas. A very minor disincentive, but a disincentive nonetheless. The Repubs beat it down as "anti-business". Concern about American workers is something to express in political speeches around election time but not in legislation.

eg , September 21, 2019 at 7:31 pm

This. As so ably described in Judith Stein's "Pivotal Decade" https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300171501/pivotal-decade

And the consequences of which forewarned in James Goldsmith's "The Trap" https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/2091182.The_Trap

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wwmOkaKh3-s

Ignacio , September 21, 2019 at 10:41 am

Hidden within this narrative is the fact that some countries, and not only China, have for long been playing beggar-thy-neighbor policies by restraining internal consumption and redirecting savings to the rest of the world that in turn finance their exporting machines. IMO, the biggest mistake made by China has been not to force fast enough a transition from a saving economy to a consumer economy with more balanced external relationships.

These kind of policies are confrontational. As confrontational as tariffs or even as economic sanctions in my view. Yet, the prevailing economic narrative is that saving and exporting is the right economic thing to do. In this sense I think it matters a lot to which countries are being re directed investments of american companies leaving China. My intuition is that, for instance, Vietnam migth be willing to play this game while Mexico not. Investing in countries that save too much migth be counterproductive.

I very much regret this aggressive narrative that has become common place in which countries are identified simply as competitors, if not enemies, in a global chess game. Political moves are confrontational and or humiliating. These Game of Thrones dynamics are played precisely when some international consensus in more important things like figthing climate change would be more than desirable. We are headed to truly bad times.

laodan , September 21, 2019 at 11:33 am

Here is an article by Steve Dickinson from the layers office Harris Bricken McVay Sliwoski that is based on his Co's China practice. Steve's conclusion goes as follows:

The Chinese system put in place from 1992 to 2005 was a unique system and not likely to be replaced in S.E./South Asia or in any other region of the world. So for manufacturers, moving to a new region means doing the analysis from the ground up. Simply taking what they do in China and moving it to a new location is not likely to be a workable solution.

Also the Chinese internal market continues to attract MNC's and this attraction will continue to grow far into the future. China's middle class is already larger than the total population of the US and it continues to grow rapidly. While down presently the Chinese internal consumption continues to grow at an annual rate of some 8.5%.

Personal savings deposited in bank accounts reach the equivalent of some $US 30 Trillion ! Compare that to consumer debt at some $US 6.5 Trillion. In other words China is growing into the largest consumer market on earth and the biggest advantage that its internal market procures is its 'economies of scale' that make Chinese productions hyper-competitive. In other words China is gaining the kind of advantage that the US had along the 20th century. The advantage of a super large market size that dwarfs other national markets.

Trump's approach to trade is isolating the US, blocking its Co's from the Chinese market, and incentivizing the Chinese to offer better conditions to Co's of the rest of the world. How can that help the US ?

The biggest problem of the West and particularly the US is its ideological approach to economics. The Chinese adopted a pragmatic approach and it has served them well. Time to relearn the meaning of political economics (économie politique).

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2019 at 3:42 pm

I read Dickinson's PR piece linked by laodan. I used to work for a big law firm that had an international practice group focusing on moving US businesses to China ( I was not involved in that practice area, did environmental law and litigation.) The firm's PR department tasked lawyers with certain expertise to generate these kinds of come-ons as part of the compensation weighting scheme -- publish, and bring in business, or lose out in the annual "whining for dollars" partnership division of spoils. Eat what you kill.

Dickinson is talking his book, of course. I have no idea if his read of the history and the current state of affairs in China and the "Asian Tigers" (does anyone use that term any more?) is accurate and complete, but what he describes is his firm's readiness to help supranational (emphasize SUPRAnational) and post-national corporate entities get a leg up in the race to the bottom. He'll help you find the places where the ruling class will give away the biggest share of the "national birthright" so the corporate entity can maximize profit by streamlining production and consumption, and of course growth. All the stuff that is killing the planet. But his time frame, his personal time frame, presumably, as well as the framing of the corporate shark entities which he is a remora to, cares nothing for the bigger economic and ecological effects of more stuff, more shipping, more energy use, and of course more combustion and consumption.

And I'd note that he carefully omits all the baksheesh and greasing of palms that i read is such an important part of "doing business" at any kind of scale, to varying degrees everywhere in the world. I wonder if his custom analyses of the relative merits of, say, Vietnam vs. China vs. Cambodia vs. Taiwan includes sketching out the bribes that have to be paid to close on the sale of national birthrights on the way to the bottom that the globalist business model drives everything toward?

I'm sure he would be happy to have the ear and hourly billings of all the great decision makers of all the various kinds of businesses, high to low tech, wanting to take full advantage of the "opportunities" that may be on offer, on how to ride the asymptotically downward curve of the race to the bottom, for fun and profit

Looks like China has had a pretty effective industrial policy, unlike the US where corporate vampire capital dominion and corruption have bled the mopery white (not a racial reference, of course ) Do economists and policy wonks in the US even dare to use the phrase "industrial policy" any more? Or is it just presumed that "shareholder value" trumps all else? Especially as the author puts it, again quoting Ferguson, where we are "in an era where human advancement depends on greater integration between economic powers."

Right.

Susan the other` , September 21, 2019 at 3:06 pm

The relentless neoliberal race to the bottom, outsourcing, and austerity that marked the death blow to American Labor is over. In that light it makes little difference whether our corporations pull out of China, go to Vietnam, or come home. The exploitation of the poorest is coming to an end. And none too soon.

mtnwoman , September 21, 2019 at 7:22 pm

For national security reasons at minimum, I hope some candidates discuss the imperative to have the US start making it's own medications again. Makes more sense to subsidize our production of medication than to give billions in subsidies to very profitable oil companies.

https://www.tribdem.com/news/editorials/rosemary-gibson-u-s-dependence-on-china-for-medicine-a/article_db7c66e6-a407-11e9-a63e-5b2bf9c80820.html

Merf56 , September 22, 2019 at 9:04 am

I agree. I could not believe the government has allowed the entire supply chain of building blocks of ALL our antibiotics to be sourced almost solely from China. To me THAT'S the national security issue we need to deal with immediately. As well as other vital drugs..

Anecdotally, I have started making this my number one political conversation issue – replete with references ( because of course not a soul believes it at first).. I have yet to find a single person Repub or Demo who isn't horrified and against it . Any nation with this much power over our drug supply they could kill millions of us in short order

RBHoughton , September 21, 2019 at 10:06 pm

Even getting manufacturing out of China will not bankrupt that country as intended. If USA is intent on pursuing a nationalistic basis to sanctions, I think its bound to fail. Trade always finds a way as we can well remember from our own commercial / industrial development.

Chinese manufacturers have the wealth and experience to teach production line workers and make things anywhere. Western companies manufacturing in China have belatedly looked for facilities in neighboring countries and found the Chinese are already there. What's still available is land far from roads and rivers with little power supply.

Another thing is preserving wealth. US Industrialists will keep their money offshore and remit only as much as they need in the homeland. A major problem imo is a mental restraint in USA thinking. Life is all about competition and winning. The actual activity, whatever it is, provides no joy unless you win. That fearful tag "No-one remembers who came second" is banded about. Thats not a philosophy for happiness. It forces the population into displacement activities few of which are wholesome. Here endeth the lesson.

TG , September 21, 2019 at 10:48 pm

It's not a bug, it's a feature! Trump doesn't give a damn about getting manufacturing jobs back into the United States! (Or at least his advisors don't).

The trick is to move them out of nationalistic China, which is setting itself up as a competitor for power, and move the jobs into nice docile low-wage colonies, like Mexico and Indonesia and Bangladesh.

The only catch: China has all the integrated supply lines and is stable. Moving your manufacturing into a dozen different uncoordinated unstable third-world banana republics has its own down side.

Sound of the Suburbs , September 22, 2019 at 3:10 am

The UK repealed the Corn Laws to embark on free trade. This reduced the price of bread, and lowered the cost of living, so UK employers could pay internationally competitive wages. Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

Employees get their money from wages and the employer pays through wages, so the employer is paying for that bread through wages. Expensive bread leads to higher wages making UK employers unable to compete in a free trade world. "The interest of the landlords is always opposed to the interest of every other class in the community" Ricardo 1815 / Classical Economist

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living) Employees get their money from wages and the employer pays via wages. Employees get less disposable income after the landlords rent has gone. Employers have to cover the landlord's rents in wages reducing profit. Ricardo is just talking about housing costs, employees all rented in those days. The appalling conditions UK workers lived in during the 19th century were well documented.

Low housing costs, lead to lower wages so UK employers were able to compete in a free trade world. William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6iXBQ33pBo&t=2485s

He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years. Free trade requires a low cost of living and what was known in the 19th century had disappeared by the 20th. The West's high cost of living means high wages and an inability to compete in a free trade world.

Never mind our companies can off-shore to where employers can pay lower wages for higher profits. Look at the US cost of living Donald; this is why those jobs ain't coming back. It's hard to make a good profit in the US, when employers have to cover the US cost of living in wages, reducing profit. The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + other debt repayments + food + other costs of living

Sound of the Suburbs , September 22, 2019 at 3:15 am

A multi-polar world became a uni-polar world with the fall of the Berlin Wall and Francis Fukuyama said it was the end of history.
It was all going so well, until the neoliberals got to work.

The US created an open, globalised world with the Washington Consensus.

China went from almost nothing to become a global super power.
That wasn't supposed to happen, let's get the rocket scientists onto it.

Maximising profit is all about reducing costs.
China had coal fired power stations to provide cheap energy.
China had lax regulations reducing environmental and health and safety costs.
China had a low cost of living so employers could pay low wages.
China had low taxes and a minimal welfare state.
China had all the advantages in an open globalised world.

It did have, but now China has become too expensive and developed Eastern economies are off-shoring to places like Vietnam, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

An open, globalised world is a race to the bottom on costs.

"The Washington Consensus was always going to work better for China than the US" the rocket scientists.

The West never really stood a chance.

drumlin woodchuckles , September 22, 2019 at 5:00 pm

Several years ago Naked Capitalism ran an article about how a young George Ball was one of the New Immoralists for International Corporate Globalonial Plantationism. And that was before neoliberalism.

Phillip Allen , September 22, 2019 at 8:06 am

"[A]n era where human advancement depends on greater integration between economic powers."

Oh, by all the gods, no. And what, pray, defines 'human advancement'? What the hell is Mr Auerback talking about?

Further integration only propels the speed at which resources are extracted and the planet dies incrementally more. The future will not be one fully integrated planet guided by whatever-the-hell oligarchs and their 'meritocratic' servitors deign the best options. The future will of necessity be vastly more local, vastly more hand-made, vastly less energy- and resource-intensive, and there will be vastly less intercontinental and intra-continental trade. World-spanning – even continent-spanning political-economic arrangements have no long term viability whatsoever. Trying to maintain such is a foolish waste of effort and resources that could be more usefully be directed at de-growth and de-industrialization.

And with that, The Lord Curmudgeon shook his cane one last time at the kids on his lawn and returned to the troll's cave from which he came.

Merf56 , September 22, 2019 at 9:11 am

I hope you have read James Howard Kunstler's World Made By Hand novelettes. They outline such a future. Interesting and quick reads if you haven't

Sound of the Suburbs , September 22, 2019 at 5:02 pm

The last engine of global growth, China, has now reached the end of the line as they have seen their Minsky Moment coming. China was the latest victim of neoclassical economics. The biggest danger to capitalism is neoclassical economics; it brought capitalism to its knees in the 1930s and is having another go now.

https://cdn.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/04/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13.52.41.png

1929 and 2008 look so similar because they are; it's the same economics and thinking. Richard Vague has analysed the data for 1929 and 2008 and they were even more similar than they initially appear. Real estate lending was actually the biggest problem in 1929. Margin lending was another factor in 2008.

This has happened globally. At 25.30 mins you can see the super imposed private debt-to-GDP ratios.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6

The 1920s US mistake is now global. Japan, the UK, the US, Euro-zone and now China. The last engine of global growth, China, has now reached the end of the line as they have seen their Minsky Moment coming. The debt fuelled growth model not only runs out of steam, all the debt in the economy then acts like a drag anchor holding the economy back. Japan has been like this for thirty years.

Richard Koo explains the processes at work in the Japanese economy since the 1990s, which are at now at work throughout the global economy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

The repayment of debt to banks destroys money and this is the problem.

[Sep 22, 2019] The complete and total incompetence of the Tories

It is unclear why he calls this "incompetence". Tories clearly want to sabotage the deal and at the same time save face. That's a very tricky task and mistakes were made.
Notable quotes:
"... Politically the Tories have no plan at all, and when the clock stops on Brexit they will completely implode. The Tories are so deadlocked on Brexit that they can't even talk to themselves. ..."
"... You know the conservative party is full of incompetent wankers when the business community prefers a radical socialist over them. ..."
"... Christian Schulz at Citi says "perhaps" Corbyn is no longer as bad an option as no deal, while Deutsche's Oliver Harvey says fears about the Labour leader "may be overstated". ..."
"... "It is not that the financiers favour the opposition leader's plans for 'higher taxes, tighter labour laws, spending increases and the nationalisation of network industries', but that this may cause less harm than leaving the EU without a deal" says the Telegraph. ..."
Sep 07, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 12:07pm A little over a year ago I wrote this .

Politically the Tories have no plan at all, and when the clock stops on Brexit they will completely implode. The Tories are so deadlocked on Brexit that they can't even talk to themselves.

...This is a political and economic disaster, not just waiting to happen, but firmly scheduled...unless Labour's neoliberal Blairites save them, the Tory government is headed for an epic collapse.

It's rare that my predictions are 100% accurate, but this time I totally nailed it. To give you an idea of how badly the Tories have bungled things, look at these two headlines.

You know the conservative party is full of incompetent wankers when the business community prefers a radical socialist over them.

But while Corbyn may be less popular than no deal among the public, The Daily Telegraph says "the scourge of bankers and avowed opponent of capitalism, is winning support from unexpected new quarters" with two of the biggest global banks operating in the City of London "warming to the Labour leader".

According to the paper, he is now seen as the lesser of two evils by analysts at Citibank and Deutsche Bank, two titans of the financial system.

Christian Schulz at Citi says "perhaps" Corbyn is no longer as bad an option as no deal, while Deutsche's Oliver Harvey says fears about the Labour leader "may be overstated".

"It is not that the financiers favour the opposition leader's plans for 'higher taxes, tighter labour laws, spending increases and the nationalisation of network industries', but that this may cause less harm than leaving the EU without a deal" says the Telegraph.

To put this sentiment in hard numbers , a coalition led by his party would spur the pound more than 5%.

As for those overstated fears about the Labour leader, that's because of a highly coordinated three year smear campaign by the very same business community.

Just a few days ago the headline was: U.K.'s Super-Rich Prepare to Flee From Corbyn Rule, Not Brexit Now they want Corbyn to save them. Without the business community undermining him at every turn, Corbyn has easily managed to hold the opposition together. At the same time Corbyn has outmaneuvered the Tories and left them helpless.

Then, his efforts to secure a snap general election -- with the goal of replacing the sacked lawmakers with a new slate of candidates more aligned with his hard-Brexit views -- were scuppered when opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to play along.

Now, he is effectively trapped in Downing Street, with Corbyn holding the keys. The government plans to propose new elections again on Monday, but the opposition leader says his party will only support the move when its efforts to prevent a no-deal Brexit are locked down.

"Certainly his biggest tactical mistake so far was not to realize that it was Corbyn, as leader of the opposition, who effectively had veto power over when a general election could be held," said Professor Tony Travers, director of the Institute of Public Affairs at the London School of Economics.

This allows time for Corbyn to appear like a professional leader, so that when he finally allows a general election the memory of his steady hand will be fresh in the public's mind.

thanatokephaloides on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 6:20pm

catch-a-Tory

Like all other Tories worldwide, Boris "Tiny" Johnson is a charlatan. Hopefully, the British People will wake up and end their decades-long nightmare by placing him [Corbyn] in power.

As we need to do, ourselves.

edit: Added Corbyn's name to clarify that last sentence. And we, too, need to remove all Tories from power.

edg on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 3:58pm
Enemies

The value of an idea is often assessible by the number and strength of the enemies arrayed against it. Since so many entrenched interests and Powers-That-Be and elitists/globalists are against Brexit, I'm beginning to think that deal or no deal, Brexit must in the best interests of the 99%. Otherwise, the 1% wouldn't fight against it so hard.

gjohnsit on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 4:19pm
I think you are partly correct

@edg
I think Brexit is like tariffs. Tariffs are a good idea for the working class because it puts a cost on off-shoring jobs. BUT the way Trump is doing it is stupid and doesn't help anyone. Same thing with Brexit. It probably helps the 99%, but not the way the Tories are going about it.

The value of an idea is often assessible by the number and strength of the enemies arrayed against it. Since so many entrenched interests and Powers-That-Be and elitists/globalists are against Brexit, I'm beginning to think that deal or no deal, Brexit must in the best interests of the 99%. Otherwise, the 1% wouldn't fight against it so hard.

ludwig ii on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 4:06pm
What's the problem with no-deal?

The fact that Blair, the City of London, and neoliberals the world over hate Brexit and especially no-deal Brexit makes me think it's probably a good thing. Anything that chips away at the hegemony of global finance seems positive.

UntimelyRippd on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 8:41pm
for starters, it really screws up the Irish situation.

@ludwig ii

The fact that Blair, the City of London, and neoliberals the world over hate Brexit and especially no-deal Brexit makes me think it's probably a good thing. Anything that chips away at the hegemony of global finance seems positive.

[Sep 22, 2019] Neoliberalism Political Success, Economic Failure Portside by Robert Kuttner

Highly recommended!
The key to the success of neoliberal was a bunch on bought intellectual prostitutes like Milton Friedman and the drive to occupy economic departments of the the universities using money from the financial elite. which along with think tank continued mercenary army of neoliberalism who fought and win the battle with weakened New Del capitalism supporters. After that neoliberalism was from those departments like the centers of infection via indoctrination of each new generation of students. Which is a classic mixture of Bolsheviks methods and Trotskyite theory adapted tot he need of financial oligarchy.
Essentially we see the tragedy of Lysenkoism replayed in the USA. When false theory supported by financial oligarchy and then state forcefully suppressed all other economic thought and became the only politically correct theory in the USA and Western Europe.
Notable quotes:
"... The neoliberal counterrevolution, in theory and policy, has reversed or undermined nearly every aspect of managed capitalism -- from progressive taxation, welfare transfers, and antitrust, to the empowerment of workers and the regulation of banks and other major industries. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's premise is that free markets can regulate themselves; that government is inherently incompetent, captive to special interests, and an intrusion on the efficiency of the market; that in distributive terms, market outcomes are basically deserved; and that redistribution creates perverse incentives by punishing the economy's winners and rewarding its losers. So government should get out of the market's way. ..."
"... Now, after nearly half a century, the verdict is in. Virtually every one of these policies has failed, even on their own terms. ..."
"... Economic power has resulted in feedback loops of political power, in which elites make rules that bolster further concentration. ..."
"... The culprit isn't just "markets" -- some impersonal force that somehow got loose again. This is a story of power using theory. The mixed economy was undone by economic elites, who revised rules for their own benefit. They invested heavily in friendly theorists to bless this shift as sound and necessary economics, and friendly politicians to put those theories into practice. ..."
"... The grand neoliberal experiment of the past 40 years has demonstrated that markets in fact do not regulate themselves. Managed markets turn out to be more equitable and more efficient. ..."
"... The British political economist Colin Crouch captured this anomaly in a book nicely titled The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism . Why did neoliberalism not die? As Crouch observed, neoliberalism failed both as theory and as policy, but succeeded superbly as power politics for economic elites. ..."
"... The neoliberal ascendance has had another calamitous cost -- to democratic legitimacy. As government ceased to buffer market forces, daily life has become more of a struggle for ordinary people. ..."
"... After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, ours was widely billed as an era when triumphant liberal capitalism would march hand in hand with liberal democracy. But in a few brief decades, the ostensibly secure regime of liberal democracy has collapsed in nation after nation, with echoes of the 1930s. ..."
"... As the great political historian Karl Polanyi warned, when markets overwhelm society, ordinary people often turn to tyrants. In regimes that border on neofascist, klepto-capitalists get along just fine with dictators, undermining the neoliberal premise of capitalism and democracy as complements. ..."
"... Classically, the premise of a "free market" is that government simply gets out of the way. This is nonsensical, since all markets are creatures of rules, most fundamentally rules defining property, but also rules defining credit, debt, and bankruptcy; rules defining patents, trademarks, and copyrights; rules defining terms of labor; and so on. Even deregulation requires rules. In Polanyi's words, "laissez-faire was planned." ..."
"... Around the same time, the term neoconservative was used as a self-description by former liberals who embraced conservatism, on cultural, racial, economic, and foreign-policy grounds. Neoconservatives were neoliberals in economics. ..."
"... Lavishly funded centers and tenured chairs were underwritten by the Olin, Scaife, Bradley, and other far-right foundations to promote such variants of free-market theory as law and economics, public choice, rational choice, cost-benefit analysis, maximize-shareholder-value, and kindred schools of thought. These theories colonized several academic disciplines. All were variations on the claim that markets worked and that government should get out of the way. ..."
"... Market failure was dismissed as a rare special case; government failure was said to be ubiquitous. Theorists worked hand in glove with lobbyists and with public officials. But in every major case where neoliberal theory generated policy, the result was political success and economic failure. ..."
"... For example, supply-side economics became the justification for tax cuts, on the premise that taxes punished enterprise. ..."
"... Robert Bork's "antitrust paradox," holding that antitrust enforcement actually weakened competition, was used as the doctrine to sideline the Sherman and Clayton Acts. Supposedly, if government just got out of the way, market forces would remain more competitive because monopoly pricing would invite innovation and new entrants to the market. In practice, industry after industry became more heavily concentrated. ..."
"... Human capital theory, another variant of neoliberal application of markets to partly social questions, justified deregulating labor markets and crushing labor unions. Unions supposedly used their power to get workers paid more than their market worth. Likewise minimum wage laws. But the era of depressed wages has actually seen a decline in rates of productivity growth ..."
"... Financial deregulation is neoliberalism's most palpable deregulatory failure, but far from the only one ..."
"... Air travel has been a poster child for advocates of deregulation, but the actual record is mixed at best. Airline deregulation produced serial bankruptcies of every major U.S. airline, often at the cost of worker pay and pension funds. ..."
"... Ticket prices have declined on average over the past two decades, but the traveling public suffers from a crazy quilt of fares, declining service, shrinking seats and legroom, and exorbitant penalties for the perfectly normal sin of having to change plans. ..."
"... A similar example is the privatization of transportation services such as highways and even parking meters. In several Midwestern states, toll roads have been sold to private vendors. The governor who makes the deal gains a temporary fiscal windfall, while drivers end up paying higher tolls often for decades. Investment bankers who broker the deal also take their cut. Some of the money does go into highway improvements, but that could have been done more efficiently in the traditional way via direct public ownership and competitive bidding. ..."
"... The Affordable Care Act is a form of voucher. But the regulated private insurance markets in the ACA have not fully lived up to their promise, in part because of the extensive market power retained by private insurers and in part because the right has relentlessly sought to sabotage the program -- another political feedback loop. The sponsors assumed that competition would lower costs and increase consumer choice. But in too many counties, there are three or fewer competing plans, and in some cases just one. ..."
"... In practice, this degenerates into an infinite regress of regulator versus commercial profit-maximizer, reminiscent of Mad magazine's "Spy versus Spy," with the industry doing end runs to Congress to further rig the rules. Straight-ahead public insurance such as Medicare is generally far more efficient. ..."
"... Several forms of deregulation -- of airlines, trucking, and electric power -- began not under Reagan but under Carter. Financial deregulation took off under Bill Clinton. Democratic presidents, as much as Republicans, promoted trade deals that undermined social standards. Cost-benefit analysis by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) was more of a choke point under Barack Obama than under George W. Bush. ..."
"... Dozens of nations, from Latin America to East Asia, went through this cycle of boom, bust, and then IMF pile-on. Greece is still suffering the impact. ..."
"... In fact, Japan, South Korea, smaller Asian nations, and above all China had thrived by rejecting every major tenet of neoliberalism. Their capital markets were tightly regulated and insulated from foreign speculative capital. They developed world-class industries as state-led cartels that favored domestic production and supply. East Asia got into trouble only when it followed IMF dictates to throw open capital markets, and in the aftermath they recovered by closing those markets and assembling war chests of hard currency so that they'd never again have to go begging to the IMF ..."
"... The basic argument of neoliberalism can fit on a bumper sticker. Markets work; governments don't . If you want to embellish that story, there are two corollaries: Markets embody human freedom. And with markets, people basically get what they deserve; to alter market outcomes is to spoil the poor and punish the productive. That conclusion logically flows from the premise that markets are efficient. Milton Friedman became rich, famous, and influential by teasing out the several implications of these simple premises. ..."
"... The failed neoliberal experiment also makes the case not just for better-regulated capitalism but for direct public alternatives as well. Banking, done properly, especially the provision of mortgage finance, is close to a public utility. Much of it could be public. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | portside.org
The invisible hand is more like a thumb on the scale for the world's elites. That's why market fundamentalism has been unmasked as bogus economics but keeps winning politically. This article appears in the Summer 2019 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here .

Since the late 1970s, we've had a grand experiment to test the claim that free markets really do work best. This resurrection occurred despite the practical failure of laissez-faire in the 1930s, the resulting humiliation of free-market theory, and the contrasting success of managed capitalism during the three-decade postwar boom.

Yet when growth faltered in the 1970s, libertarian economic theory got another turn at bat. This revival proved extremely convenient for the conservatives who came to power in the 1980s. The neoliberal counterrevolution, in theory and policy, has reversed or undermined nearly every aspect of managed capitalism -- from progressive taxation, welfare transfers, and antitrust, to the empowerment of workers and the regulation of banks and other major industries.

Neoliberalism's premise is that free markets can regulate themselves; that government is inherently incompetent, captive to special interests, and an intrusion on the efficiency of the market; that in distributive terms, market outcomes are basically deserved; and that redistribution creates perverse incentives by punishing the economy's winners and rewarding its losers. So government should get out of the market's way.

By the 1990s, even moderate liberals had been converted to the belief that social objectives can be achieved by harnessing the power of markets. Intermittent periods of governance by Democratic presidents slowed but did not reverse the slide to neoliberal policy and doctrine. The corporate wing of the Democratic Party approved.

Now, after nearly half a century, the verdict is in. Virtually every one of these policies has failed, even on their own terms. Enterprise has been richly rewarded, taxes have been cut, and regulation reduced or privatized. The economy is vastly more unequal, yet economic growth is slower and more chaotic than during the era of managed capitalism. Deregulation has produced not salutary competition, but market concentration. Economic power has resulted in feedback loops of political power, in which elites make rules that bolster further concentration.

The culprit isn't just "markets" -- some impersonal force that somehow got loose again. This is a story of power using theory. The mixed economy was undone by economic elites, who revised rules for their own benefit. They invested heavily in friendly theorists to bless this shift as sound and necessary economics, and friendly politicians to put those theories into practice.

Recent years have seen two spectacular cases of market mispricing with devastating consequences: the near-depression of 2008 and irreversible climate change. The economic collapse of 2008 was the result of the deregulation of finance. It cost the real U.S. economy upwards of $15 trillion (and vastly more globally), depending on how you count, far more than any conceivable efficiency gain that might be credited to financial innovation. Free-market theory presumes that innovation is necessarily benign. But much of the financial engineering of the deregulatory era was self-serving, opaque, and corrupt -- the opposite of an efficient and transparent market.

The existential threat of global climate change reflects the incompetence of markets to accurately price carbon and the escalating costs of pollution. The British economist Nicholas Stern has aptly termed the worsening climate catastrophe history's greatest case of market failure. Here again, this is not just the result of failed theory. The entrenched political power of extractive industries and their political allies influences the rules and the market price of carbon. This is less an invisible hand than a thumb on the scale. The premise of efficient markets provides useful cover.

The grand neoliberal experiment of the past 40 years has demonstrated that markets in fact do not regulate themselves. Managed markets turn out to be more equitable and more efficient. Yet the theory and practical influence of neoliberalism marches splendidly on, because it is so useful to society's most powerful people -- as a scholarly veneer to what would otherwise be a raw power grab. The British political economist Colin Crouch captured this anomaly in a book nicely titled The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism . Why did neoliberalism not die? As Crouch observed, neoliberalism failed both as theory and as policy, but succeeded superbly as power politics for economic elites.

The neoliberal ascendance has had another calamitous cost -- to democratic legitimacy. As government ceased to buffer market forces, daily life has become more of a struggle for ordinary people. The elements of a decent middle-class life are elusive -- reliable jobs and careers, adequate pensions, secure medical care, affordable housing, and college that doesn't require a lifetime of debt. Meanwhile, life has become ever sweeter for economic elites, whose income and wealth have pulled away and whose loyalty to place, neighbor, and nation has become more contingent and less reliable.

Large numbers of people, in turn, have given up on the promise of affirmative government, and on democracy itself. After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, ours was widely billed as an era when triumphant liberal capitalism would march hand in hand with liberal democracy. But in a few brief decades, the ostensibly secure regime of liberal democracy has collapsed in nation after nation, with echoes of the 1930s.

As the great political historian Karl Polanyi warned, when markets overwhelm society, ordinary people often turn to tyrants. In regimes that border on neofascist, klepto-capitalists get along just fine with dictators, undermining the neoliberal premise of capitalism and democracy as complements. Several authoritarian thugs, playing on tribal nationalism as the antidote to capitalist cosmopolitanism, are surprisingly popular.

It's also important to appreciate that neoliberalism is not laissez-faire. Classically, the premise of a "free market" is that government simply gets out of the way. This is nonsensical, since all markets are creatures of rules, most fundamentally rules defining property, but also rules defining credit, debt, and bankruptcy; rules defining patents, trademarks, and copyrights; rules defining terms of labor; and so on. Even deregulation requires rules. In Polanyi's words, "laissez-faire was planned."

The political question is who gets to make the rules, and for whose benefit. The neoliberalism of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman invoked free markets, but in practice the neoliberal regime has promoted rules created by and for private owners of capital, to keep democratic government from asserting rules of fair competition or countervailing social interests. The regime has rules protecting pharmaceutical giants from the right of consumers to import prescription drugs or to benefit from generics. The rules of competition and intellectual property generally have been tilted to protect incumbents. Rules of bankruptcy have been tilted in favor of creditors. Deceptive mortgages require elaborate rules, written by the financial sector and then enforced by government. Patent rules have allowed agribusiness and giant chemical companies like Monsanto to take over much of agriculture -- the opposite of open markets. Industry has invented rules requiring employees and consumers to submit to binding arbitration and to relinquish a range of statutory and common-law rights.

Neoliberalism as Theory, Policy, and Power

It's worth taking a moment to unpack the term "neoliberalism." The coinage can be confusing to American ears because the "liberal" part refers not to the word's ordinary American usage, meaning moderately left-of-center, but to classical economic liberalism otherwise known as free-market economics. The "neo" part refers to the reassertion of the claim that the laissez-faire model of the economy was basically correct after all.

Few proponents of these views embraced the term neoliberal . Mostly, they called themselves free-market conservatives. "Neoliberal" was a coinage used mainly by their critics, sometimes as a neutral descriptive term, sometimes as an epithet. The use became widespread in the era of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

To add to the confusion, a different and partly overlapping usage was advanced in the 1970s by the group around the Washington Monthly magazine. They used "neoliberal" to mean a new, less statist form of American liberalism. Around the same time, the term neoconservative was used as a self-description by former liberals who embraced conservatism, on cultural, racial, economic, and foreign-policy grounds. Neoconservatives were neoliberals in economics.

Beginning in the 1970s, resurrected free-market theory was interwoven with both conservative politics and significant investments in the production of theorists and policy intellectuals. This occurred not just in well-known conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage, Cato, and the Manhattan Institute, but through more insidious investments in academia. Lavishly funded centers and tenured chairs were underwritten by the Olin, Scaife, Bradley, and other far-right foundations to promote such variants of free-market theory as law and economics, public choice, rational choice, cost-benefit analysis, maximize-shareholder-value, and kindred schools of thought. These theories colonized several academic disciplines. All were variations on the claim that markets worked and that government should get out of the way.

Each of these bodies of sub-theory relied upon its own variant of neoliberal ideology. An intensified version of the theory of comparative advantage was used not just to cut tariffs but to use globalization as all-purpose deregulation. The theory of maximizing shareholder value was deployed to undermine the entire range of financial regulation and workers' rights. Cost-benefit analysis, emphasizing costs and discounting benefits, was used to discredit a good deal of health, safety, and environmental regulation. Public choice theory, associated with the economist James Buchanan and an entire ensuing school of economics and political science, was used to impeach democracy itself, on the premise that policies were hopelessly afflicted by "rent-seekers" and "free-riders."

Click here to read how Robert Kuttner has been unmasking the fallacies of neoliberalism for decades

Market failure was dismissed as a rare special case; government failure was said to be ubiquitous. Theorists worked hand in glove with lobbyists and with public officials. But in every major case where neoliberal theory generated policy, the result was political success and economic failure.

For example, supply-side economics became the justification for tax cuts, on the premise that taxes punished enterprise. Supposedly, if taxes were cut, especially taxes on capital and on income from capital, the resulting spur to economic activity would be so potent that deficits would be far less than predicted by "static" economic projections, and perhaps even pay for themselves. There have been six rounds of this experiment, from the tax cuts sponsored by Jimmy Carter in 1978 to the immense 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by Donald Trump. In every case some economic stimulus did result, mainly from the Keynesian jolt to demand, but in every case deficits increased significantly. Conservatives simply stopped caring about deficits. The tax cuts were often inefficient as well as inequitable, since the loopholes steered investment to tax-favored uses rather than the most economically logical ones. Dozens of America's most profitable corporations paid no taxes.

Robert Bork's "antitrust paradox," holding that antitrust enforcement actually weakened competition, was used as the doctrine to sideline the Sherman and Clayton Acts. Supposedly, if government just got out of the way, market forces would remain more competitive because monopoly pricing would invite innovation and new entrants to the market. In practice, industry after industry became more heavily concentrated. Incumbents got in the habit of buying out innovators or using their market power to crush them. This pattern is especially insidious in the tech economy of platform monopolies, where giants that provide platforms, such as Google and Amazon, use their market power and superior access to customer data to out-compete rivals who use their platforms. Markets, once again, require rules beyond the benign competence of the market actors themselves. Only democratic government can set equitable rules. And when democracy falters, undemocratic governments in cahoots with corrupt private plutocrats will make the rules.

Human capital theory, another variant of neoliberal application of markets to partly social questions, justified deregulating labor markets and crushing labor unions. Unions supposedly used their power to get workers paid more than their market worth. Likewise minimum wage laws. But the era of depressed wages has actually seen a decline in rates of productivity growth. Conversely, does any serious person think that the inflated pay of the financial moguls who crashed the economy accurately reflects their contribution to economic activity? In the case of hedge funds and private equity, the high incomes of fund sponsors are the result of transfers of wealth and income from employees, other stakeholders, and operating companies to the fund managers, not the fruits of more efficient management.

There is a broad literature discrediting this body of pseudo-scholarly work in great detail. Much of neoliberalism represents the ever-reliable victory of assumption over evidence. Yet neoliberal theory lived on because it was so convenient for elites, and because of the inertial power of the intellectual capital that had been created. The well-funded neoliberal habitat has provided comfortable careers for two generations of scholars and pseudo-scholars who migrate between academia, think tanks, K Street, op-ed pages, government, Wall Street, and back again. So even if the theory has been demolished both by scholarly rebuttal and by events, it thrives in powerful institutions and among their political allies.

The Practical Failure of Neoliberal Policies

Financial deregulation is neoliberalism's most palpable deregulatory failure, but far from the only one. Electricity deregulation on balance has increased monopoly power and raised costs to consumers, but has failed to offer meaningful "shopping around" opportunities to bring down prices. We have gone from regulated monopolies with predictable earnings, costs, wages, and consumer protections to deregulated monopolies or oligopolies with substantial pricing power. Since the Bell breakup, the telephone system tells a similar story of re-concentration, dwindling competition, price-gouging, and union-bashing.

Air travel has been a poster child for advocates of deregulation, but the actual record is mixed at best. Airline deregulation produced serial bankruptcies of every major U.S. airline, often at the cost of worker pay and pension funds.

Ticket prices have declined on average over the past two decades, but the traveling public suffers from a crazy quilt of fares, declining service, shrinking seats and legroom, and exorbitant penalties for the perfectly normal sin of having to change plans. Studies have shown that fares actually declined at a faster rate in the 20 years before deregulation in 1978 than in the 20 years afterward, because the prime source of greater efficiency in airline travel is the introduction of more fuel-efficient planes.

The roller-coaster experience of airline profits and losses has reduced the capacity of airlines to purchase more fuel-efficient aircraft, and the average age of the fleet keeps increasing. The use of "fortress hubs" to defend market pricing power has reduced the percentage of nonstop flights, the most efficient way to fly from one point to another.

Robert Bork's spurious arguments that antitrust enforcement hurt competition became the basis for dismantling antitrust. Massive concentration resulted. Charles Tasnadi/AP Photo

In addition to deregulation, three prime areas of practical neoliberal policies are the use of vouchers as "market-like" means to social goals, the privatization of public services, and the use of tax subsides rather than direct outlays. In every case, government revenues are involved, so this is far from a free market to begin with. But the premise is that market disciplines can achieve public purposes more efficiently than direct public provision.

The evidence provides small comfort for these claims. One core problem is that the programs invariably give too much to the for-profit middlemen at the expense of the intended beneficiaries. A related problem is that the process of using vouchers and contracts invites corruption. It is a different form of "rent-seeking" -- pursuit of monopoly profits -- than that attributed to government by public choice theorists, but corruption nonetheless. Often, direct public provision is far more transparent and accountable than a web of contractors.

A further problem is that in practice there is often far less competition than imagined, because of oligopoly power, vendor lock-in, and vendor political influence. These experiments in marketization to serve social goals do not operate in some Platonic policy laboratory, where the only objective is true market efficiency yoked to the public good. They operate in the grubby world of practical politics, where the vendors are closely allied with conservative politicians whose purposes may be to discredit social transfers entirely, or to reward corporate allies, or to benefit from kickbacks either directly or as campaign contributions.

Privatized prisons are a case in point. A few large, scandal-ridden companies have gotten most of the contracts, often through political influence. Far from bringing better quality and management efficiency, they have profited by diverting operating funds and worsening conditions that were already deplorable, and finding new ways to charge inmates higher fees for necessary services such as phone calls. To the extent that money was actually saved, most of the savings came from reducing the pay and professionalism of guards, increasing overcrowding, and decreasing already inadequate budgets for food and medical care.

A similar example is the privatization of transportation services such as highways and even parking meters. In several Midwestern states, toll roads have been sold to private vendors. The governor who makes the deal gains a temporary fiscal windfall, while drivers end up paying higher tolls often for decades. Investment bankers who broker the deal also take their cut. Some of the money does go into highway improvements, but that could have been done more efficiently in the traditional way via direct public ownership and competitive bidding.

Housing vouchers substantially reward landlords who use the vouchers to fill empty houses with poor people until the neighborhood gentrifies, at which point the owner is free to quit the program and charge market rentals. Thus public funds are used to underwrite a privately owned, quasi-social housing sector -- whose social character is only temporary. No permanent social housing is produced despite the extensive public outlay. The companion use of tax incentives to attract passive investment in affordable housing promotes economically inefficient tax shelters, and shunts public funds into the pockets of the investors -- money that might otherwise have gone directly to the housing.

The Affordable Care Act is a form of voucher. But the regulated private insurance markets in the ACA have not fully lived up to their promise, in part because of the extensive market power retained by private insurers and in part because the right has relentlessly sought to sabotage the program -- another political feedback loop. The sponsors assumed that competition would lower costs and increase consumer choice. But in too many counties, there are three or fewer competing plans, and in some cases just one.

As more insurance plans and hospital systems become for-profit, massive investment goes into such wasteful activities as manipulation of billing, "risk selection," and other gaming of the rules. Our mixed-market system of health care requires massive regulation to work with tolerable efficiency. In practice, this degenerates into an infinite regress of regulator versus commercial profit-maximizer, reminiscent of Mad magazine's "Spy versus Spy," with the industry doing end runs to Congress to further rig the rules. Straight-ahead public insurance such as Medicare is generally far more efficient.

An extensive literature has demonstrated that for-profit voucher schools do no better and often do worse than comparable public schools, and are vulnerable to multiple forms of gaming and corruption. Proprietors of voucher schools are superb at finding ways of excluding costly special-needs students, so that those costs are imposed on what remains of public schools; they excel at gaming test results. While some voucher and charter schools, especially nonprofit ones, sometimes improve on average school performance, so do many public schools. The record is also muddied by the fact that many ostensibly nonprofit schools contract out management to for-profit companies.

Tax preferences have long been used ostensibly to serve social goals. The Earned Income Tax Credit is considered one of the more successful cases of using market-like measures -- in this case a refundable tax credit -- to achieve the social goal of increasing worker take-home pay. It has also been touted as the rare case of bipartisan collaboration. Liberals get more money for workers. Conservatives get to reward the deserving poor, since the EITC is conditioned on employment. Conservatives get a further ideological win, since the EITC is effectively a wage subsidy from the government, but is experienced as a tax refund rather than a benefit of government.

Recent research, however, shows that the EITC is primarily a subsidy of low-wage employers, who are able to pay their workers a lot less than a market-clearing wage. In industries such as nursing homes or warehouses, where many workers qualified for the EITC work side by side with ones not eligible, the non-EITC workers get substandard wages. The existence of the EITC depresses the level of the wages that have to come out of the employer's pocket.

Neoliberalism's Influence on Liberals

As free-market theory resurged, many moderate liberals embraced these policies. In the inflationary 1970s, regulation became a scapegoat that supposedly deterred salutary price competition. Some, such as economist Alfred Kahn, President Carter's adviser on deregulation, supported deregulation on what he saw as the merits. Other moderates supported neoliberal policies opportunistically, to curry favor with powerful industries and donors. Market-like policies were also embraced by liberals as a tactical way to find common ground with conservatives.

Several forms of deregulation -- of airlines, trucking, and electric power -- began not under Reagan but under Carter. Financial deregulation took off under Bill Clinton. Democratic presidents, as much as Republicans, promoted trade deals that undermined social standards. Cost-benefit analysis by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) was more of a choke point under Barack Obama than under George W. Bush.

"Command and control" became an all-purpose pejorative for disparaging perfectly sensible and efficient regulation. "Market-like" became a fashionable concept, not just on the free-market right but on the moderate left. Cass Sunstein, who served as Obama's anti-regulation czar,uses the example of "nudges" as a more market-like and hence superior alternative to direct regulation, though with rare exceptions their impact is trivial. Moreover, nudges only work in tandem with regulation.

There are indeed some interventionist policies that use market incentives to serve social goals. But contrary to free-market theory, the market-like incentives first require substantial regulation and are not a substitute for it. A good example is the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which used tradable emission rights to cut the output of sulfur dioxide, the cause of acid rain. This was supported by both the George H.W. Bush administration and by leading Democrats. But before the trading regime could work, Congress first had to establish permissible ceilings on sulfur dioxide output -- pure command and control.

There are many other instances, such as nutrition labeling, truth-in-lending, and disclosure of EPA gas mileage results, where the market-like premise of a better-informed consumer complements command regulation but is no substitute for it. Nearly all of the increase in fuel efficiency, for example, is the result of command regulations that require auto fleets to hit a gas mileage target. The fact that EPA gas mileage figures are prominently disclosed on new car stickers may have modest influence, but motor fuels are so underpriced that car companies have success selling gas-guzzlers despite the consumer labeling.

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Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, were big promoters of financial deregulation.

Politically, whatever rationale there was for liberals to make common ground with libertarians is now largely gone. The authors of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made no attempt to meet Democrats partway; they excluded the opposition from the legislative process entirely. This was opportunistic tax cutting for elites, pure and simple. The right today also abandoned the quest for a middle ground on environmental policy, on anti-poverty policy, on health policy -- on virtually everything. Neoliberal ideology did its historic job of weakening intellectual and popular support for the proposition that affirmative government can better the lives of citizens and that the Democratic Party is a reliable steward of that social compact. Since Reagan, the right's embrace of the free market has evolved from partly principled idealism into pure opportunism and obstruction.

Neoliberalism and Hyper-Globalism

The post-1990 rules of globalization, supported by conservatives and moderate liberals alike, are the quintessence of neoliberalism. At Bretton Woods in 1944, the use of fixed exchange rates and controls on speculative private capital, plus the creation of the IMFand World Bank, were intended to allow member countries to practice national forms of managed capitalism, insulated from the destructive and deflationary influences of short-term speculative private capital flows. As doctrine and power shifted in the 1970s, the IMF, the World Bank, and later the WTO, which replaced the old GATT, mutated into their ideological opposite. Rather than instruments of support for mixed national economies, they became enforcers of neoliberal policies.

The standard package of the "Washington Consensus" of approved policies for developing nations included demands that they open their capital markets to speculative private finance, as well as cutting taxes on capital, weakening social transfers, and gutting labor regulation and public ownership. But private capital investment in poor countries proved to be fickle. The result was often excessive inflows during the boom part of the cycle and punitive withdrawals during the bust -- the opposite of the patient, long-term development capital that these countries needed and that was provided by the World Bank of an earlier era. During the bust phase, the IMF typically imposes even more stringent neoliberal demands as the price of financial bailouts, including perverse budgetary austerity, supposedly to restore the confidence of the very speculative capital markets responsible for the boom-bust cycle.

Dozens of nations, from Latin America to East Asia, went through this cycle of boom, bust, and then IMF pile-on. Greece is still suffering the impact. After 1990, hyper-globalism also included trade treaties whose terms favored multinational corporations. Traditionally, trade agreements had been mainly about reciprocal reductions of tariffs. Nations were free to have whatever brand of regulation, public investment, or social policies they chose. With the advent of the WTO, many policies other than tariffs were branded as trade distorting, even as takings without compensation. Trade deals were used to give foreign capital free access and to dismantle national regulation and public ownership. Special courts were created in which foreign corporations and investors could do end runs around national authorities to challenge regulation for impeding commerce.

At first, the sponsors of the new trade regime tried to claim the successful economies of East Asia as evidence of the success of the neoliberal recipe. Supposedly, these nations had succeeded by pursuing "export-led growth," exposing their domestic economies to salutary competition. But these claims were soon exposed as the opposite of what had actually occurred. In fact, Japan, South Korea, smaller Asian nations, and above all China had thrived by rejecting every major tenet of neoliberalism. Their capital markets were tightly regulated and insulated from foreign speculative capital. They developed world-class industries as state-led cartels that favored domestic production and supply. East Asia got into trouble only when it followed IMF dictates to throw open capital markets, and in the aftermath they recovered by closing those markets and assembling war chests of hard currency so that they'd never again have to go begging to the IMF. Enthusiasts of hyper-globalization also claimed that it benefited poor countries by increasing export opportunities, but as the success of East Asia shows, there is more than one way to boost exports -- and many poorer countries suffered under the terms of the global neoliberal regime.

Nor was the damage confined to the developing world. As the work of Harvard economist Dani Rodrik has demonstrated, democracy requires a polity. For better or for worse, the polity and democratic citizenship are national. By enhancing the global market at the expense of the democratic state, the current brand of hyper-globalization deliberately weakens the capacity of states to regulate markets, and weakens democracy itself.

When Do Markets Work?

The failure of neoliberalism as economic and social policy does not mean that markets never work. A command economy is even more utopian and perverse than a neoliberal one. The practical quest is for an efficient and equitable middle ground.

The neoliberal story of how the economy operates assumes a largely frictionless marketplace, where prices are set by supply and demand, and the price mechanism allocates resources to their optimal use in the economy as a whole. For this discipline to work as advertised, however, there can be no market power, competition must be plentiful, sellers and buyers must have roughly equal information, and there can be no significant externalities. Much of the 20th century was practical proof that these conditions did not describe a good part of the actual economy. And if markets priced things wrong, the market system did not aggregate to an efficient equilibrium, and depressions could become self-deepening. As Keynes demonstrated, only a massive jolt of government spending could restart the engines, even if market pricing was partly violated in the process.

Nonetheless, in many sectors of the economy, the process of buying and selling is close enough to the textbook conditions of perfect competition that the price system works tolerably well. Supermarkets, for instance, deliver roughly accurate prices because of the consumer's freedom and knowledge to shop around. Likewise much of retailing. However, when we get into major realms of the economy with positive or negative externalities, such as education and health, markets are not sufficient. And in other major realms, such as pharmaceuticals, where corporations use their political power to rig the terms of patents, the market doesn't produce a cure.

The basic argument of neoliberalism can fit on a bumper sticker. Markets work; governments don't . If you want to embellish that story, there are two corollaries: Markets embody human freedom. And with markets, people basically get what they deserve; to alter market outcomes is to spoil the poor and punish the productive. That conclusion logically flows from the premise that markets are efficient. Milton Friedman became rich, famous, and influential by teasing out the several implications of these simple premises.

It is much harder to articulate the case for a mixed economy than the case for free markets, precisely because the mixed economy is mixed. The rebuttal takes several paragraphs. The more complex story holds that markets are substantially efficient in some realms but far from efficient in others, because of positive and negative externalities, the tendency of financial markets to create cycles of boom and bust, the intersection of self-interest and corruption, the asymmetry of information between company and consumer, the asymmetry of power between corporation and employee, the power of the powerful to rig the rules, and the fact that there are realms of human life (the right to vote, human liberty, security of one's person) that should not be marketized.

And if markets are not perfectly efficient, then distributive questions are partly political choices. Some societies pay pre-K teachers the minimum wage as glorified babysitters. Others educate and compensate them as professionals. There is no "correct" market-derived wage, because pre-kindergarten is a social good and the issue of how to train and compensate teachers is a social choice, not a market choice. The same is true of the other human services, including medicine. Nor is there a theoretically correct set of rules for patents, trademarks, and copyrights. These are politically derived, either balancing the interests of innovation with those of diffusion -- or being politically captured by incumbent industries.

Governments can in principle improve on market outcomes via regulation, but that fact is complicated by the risk of regulatory capture. So another issue that arises is market failure versus polity failure, which brings us back to the urgency of strong democracy and effective government.

After Neoliberalism

The political reversal of neoliberalism can only come through practical politics and policies that demonstrate how government often can serve citizens more equitably and efficiently than markets. Revision of theory will take care of itself. There is no shortage of dissenting theorists and empirical policy researchers whose scholarly work has been vindicated by events. What they need is not more theory but more influence, both in the academy and in the corridors of power. They are available to advise a new progressive administration, if that administration can get elected and if it refrains from hiring neoliberal advisers.

There are also some relatively new areas that invite policy innovation. These include regulation of privacy rights versus entrepreneurial liberties in the digital realm; how to think of the internet as a common carrier; how to update competition and antitrust policy as platform monopolies exert new forms of market power; how to modernize labor-market policy in the era of the gig economy; and the role of deeper income supplements as machines replace human workers.

The failed neoliberal experiment also makes the case not just for better-regulated capitalism but for direct public alternatives as well. Banking, done properly, especially the provision of mortgage finance, is close to a public utility. Much of it could be public. A great deal of research is done more honestly and more cost-effectively in public, peer-reviewed institutions such as the NIH than by a substantially corrupt private pharmaceutical industry.

Social housing often is more cost-effective than so-called public-private partnerships. Public power is more efficient to generate, less prone to monopolistic price-gouging, and friendlier to the needed green transition than private power. The public option in health care is far more efficient than the current crazy quilt in which each layer of complexity adds opacity and cost. Public provision does require public oversight, but that is more straightforward and transparent than the byzantine dance of regulation and counter-regulation.

The two other benefits of direct public provision are that the public gets direct evidence of government delivering something of value, and that the countervailing power of democracy to harness markets is enhanced. A mixed economy depends above all on a strong democracy -- one even stronger than the democracy that succumbed to the corrupting influence of economic elites and their neoliberal intellectual allies beginning half a century ago. The antidote to the resurrected neoliberal fable is the resurrection of democracy -- strong enough to tame the market in a way that tames it for keeps.


Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy . In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books.

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[Sep 22, 2019] The specter of Marx haunts the American ruling class

Notable quotes:
"... A series of recent polls in the US and Europe have shown a sharp growth of popular disgust with capitalism and support for socialism. In May of 2017, in a survey conducted by the Union of European Broadcasters of people aged 18 to 35, more than half said they would participate in a "large-scale uprising." Nine out of 10 agreed with the statement, "Banks and money rule the world." ..."
"... In August of this year, a Gallup poll found that for the first time since the organization began tracking the figure, fewer than half of Americans aged 18–29 had a positive view of capitalism, while more than half had a positive view of socialism. The percentage of young people viewing capitalism positively fell from 68 percent in 2010 to 45 percent this year, a 23-percentage point drop in just eight years. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Last month, the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency of the Trump White House, released an extraordinary report titled "The Opportunity Costs of Socialism." The report begins with the statement: "Coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse. Detailed policy proposals from self-declared socialists are gaining support in Congress and among much of the younger electorate."

The very fact that the US government officially acknowledges a growth of popular support for socialism, particularly among the nation's youth, testifies to vast changes taking place in the political consciousness of the working class and the terror this is striking within the ruling elite. America is, after all, a country where anti-communism was for the greater part of a century a state-sponsored secular religion. No ruling class has so ruthlessly sought to exclude socialist politics from political discourse as the American ruling class.

The 70-page document is itself an inane right-wing screed. It seeks to discredit socialism by identifying it with capitalist countries such as Venezuela that have expanded state ownership of parts of the economy while protecting private ownership of the banks, and, with the post-2008 collapse of oil and other commodity prices, increasingly attacked the living standards of the working class.

It identifies socialism with proposals for mild social reform such as "Medicare for all," raised and increasingly abandoned by a section of the Democratic Party. It cites Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher to promote the virtues of "economic freedom," i.e., the unrestrained operation of the capitalist market, and to denounce all social reforms, business regulations, tax increases or anything else that impinges on the oligarchy's self-enrichment.

The report's arguments and themes find expression in the fascistic campaign speeches of Donald Trump, who routinely and absurdly attacks the Democrats as socialists and accuses them of seeking to turn America into another "socialist" Venezuela.

What has prompted this effort to blackguard socialism?

A series of recent polls in the US and Europe have shown a sharp growth of popular disgust with capitalism and support for socialism. In May of 2017, in a survey conducted by the Union of European Broadcasters of people aged 18 to 35, more than half said they would participate in a "large-scale uprising." Nine out of 10 agreed with the statement, "Banks and money rule the world."

Last November, a poll conducted by YouGov showed that 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 21 and 29 would prefer to live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country.

In August of this year, a Gallup poll found that for the first time since the organization began tracking the figure, fewer than half of Americans aged 18–29 had a positive view of capitalism, while more than half had a positive view of socialism. The percentage of young people viewing capitalism positively fell from 68 percent in 2010 to 45 percent this year, a 23-percentage point drop in just eight years.

This surge in interest in socialism is bound up with a resurgence of class struggle in the US and internationally. In the United States, the number of major strikes so far this year, 21, is triple the number in 2017. The ruling class was particularly terrified by the teachers' walkouts earlier this year because the biggest strikes were organized by rank-and-file educators in a rebellion against the unions, reflecting the weakening grip of the pro-corporate organizations that have suppressed the class struggle for decades.

The growth of the class struggle is an objective process that is driven by the global crisis of capitalism, which finds its most acute social and political expression in the center of world capitalism -- the United States. It is the class struggle that provides the key to the fight for genuine socialism.

Masses of workers and youth are being driven into struggle and politically radicalized by decades of uninterrupted war and the staggering growth of social inequality. This process has accelerated during the 10 years since the Wall Street crash of 2008. The Obama years saw the greatest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in history, the escalation of the wars begun under Bush and their spread to Libya, Syria and Yemen, and the intensification of mass surveillance, attacks on immigrants and other police state measures.

This paved the way for the elevation of Trump, the personification of the criminality and backwardness of the ruling oligarchy.

Under conditions where the typical CEO in the US now makes in a single day almost as much as the average worker makes in an entire year, and the net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans has doubled over the past decade, the working class is looking for a radical alternative to the status quo. As the Socialist Equality Party wrote in its program eight years ago, " The Breakdown of Capitalism and the Fight for Socialism in the United States ":

The change in objective conditions, however, will lead American workers to change their minds. The reality of capitalism will provide workers with many reasons to fight for a fundamental and revolutionary change in the economic organization of society.

The response of the ruling class is two-fold. First, the abandonment of bourgeois democratic forms of rule and the turn toward dictatorship. The run-up to the midterm elections has revealed the advanced stage of these preparations, with Trump's fascistic attacks on immigrants, deployment of troops to the border, threats to gun down unarmed men, women and children seeking asylum, and his pledge to overturn the 14th Amendment establishing birthright citizenship.

That this has evoked no serious opposition from the Democrats and the media makes clear that the entire ruling class is united around a turn to authoritarianism. Indeed, the Democrats are spearheading the drive to censor the internet in order to silence left-wing and socialist opposition.

The second response is to promote phony socialists such as Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and other pseudo-left organizations in order to confuse the working class and channel its opposition back behind the Democratic Party.

In 2018, with Sanders totally integrated into the Democratic Party leadership, this role has been largely delegated to the DSA, which functions as an arm of the Democrats. Two DSA members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Rashida Tlaib in Detroit, are likely to win seats in the House of Representatives as candidates of the Democratic Party.

The closer they come to taking office, the more they seek to distance themselves from their supposed socialist affiliation. Ocasio-Cortez, for example, joined Sanders in eulogizing the recently deceased war-monger John McCain, refused to answer when asked if she opposed the US wars in the Middle East, and dropped her campaign call for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

... ... ...

Barry Grey

[Sep 22, 2019] It was neoliberalism that won the cold war

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... As for the USSR, the Soviet elite changed sides. I think Putin once said that Soviet system was "unviable" to begin with. And that's pretty precise diagnosis: as soon as the theocratic elite degenerates, it defects; and the state and the majority of the population eventually fall on their own sword. ..."
"... And the USSR clearly was a variation of a theocratic state. That explain also a very high, damaging the economy, level of centralization (the country as a single corporation) and the high level of ideology/religion-based repression (compare with Iran and Islamic state jihadists.) ..."
"... So after the WWII the ideology of Bolshevism was dead as it became clear that Soviet style theocratic state is unable to produce standard of living which Western social democracies were able to produce for their citizens. Rapid degeneration of the theocratic Bolshevik elite (aka Nomenklatura) also played an important role. ..."
"... It is important to understand that the Soviet elite changed sides completely voluntarily. Paradoxically it was high level of KGB functionaries who were instrumental in conversion to neoliberalism, starting with Andropov. It was Andropov, who created the plan of transition of the USSR to neoliberalism, the plan that Gorbachov tried to implement and miserably failed. ..."
"... So the system exploded from within because the Party elite became infected with neoliberalism (which was stupid, but reflects the level of degeneration of the Soviet elite). ..."
"... The major USA contribution other then supplying the new ideology for the Soviet elite was via CIA injecting God know how much money to bribe top officials. ..."
"... As Gorbachov was a second rate (if not the third rate) politician, he allowed the situation to run out of control. And the efforts to "rock" the system were fueled internally by emerging (as the result of Perestroika; which was a reincarnation of Lenin's idea of NEP) class of neoliberal Nouveau riche (which run the USSR "shadow economy" which emerged under Brezhnev) and by nationalist sentiments (those element were clearly supported by the USA and other Western countries money as well as via subversive efforts of national diaspora residing in the USA and Canada) and certain national minorities within the USSR. ..."
"... The brutal economic rape of the xUSSR space and generally of the whole former Soviet block by the "collective neoliberal West" naturally followed. Which had shown everybody that the vanguard of Perestroika were simply filthy compradors, who can't care less about regular citizens and their sufferings. ..."
"... BTW this huge amount of loot postponed the internal crisis of neoliberalism which happened in the USA in 2008 probably by ten years. And it (along with a couple of other factors such as telecommunication revolution) explain relative prosperity of Clinton presidency. Criminal Clinton presidency I should say. ..."
"... BTW few republics in former USSR space managed to achieve the standard of living equal to the best years of the USSR (early 80th I think) See https://web.williams.edu/Economics/brainerd/papers/ussr_july08.pdf ..."
"... Generally when the particular ideology collapses, far right nationalism fills the void. We see this now with the slow collapse of neoliberalism in the USA and Western Europe. ..."
"... Chinese learned a lot from Gorbachov's fatal mistakes and have better economic results as the result of the conversion to the neoliberalism ("from the above"), although at the end Chinese elite is not that different from Soviet elite and also is corruptible and can eventually change sides. ..."
"... But they managed to survive the "triumphal march of neoliberalism" (1980-2000) and now the danger is less as neoliberalism is clearly the good with expired "use by" date: after 2008 the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited and entered "zombie" state. ..."
Sep 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> ilsm... , September 08, 2019 at 08:20 PM

This is a very complex issue. And I do not pretend that I am right, but I think Brad is way too superficial to be taken seriously.

IMHO it was neoliberalism that won the cold war. That means that the key neoliberal "scholars" like Friedman and Hayek and other intellectual prostitutes of financial oligarchy who helped to restore their power. Certain democratic politicians like Carter also were the major figures. Carter actually started neoliberalization of the USA, continued by Reagan,

Former Trotskyites starting from Burnham which later became known as neoconservatives also deserve to be mentioned.

It is also questionable that the USA explicitly won the cold war. Paradoxically the other victim of the global neoliberal revolution was the USA, the lower 90% of the USA population to be exact.
So there was no winners other the financial oligarchy (the transnational class.)

As for the USSR, the Soviet elite changed sides. I think Putin once said that Soviet system was "unviable" to begin with. And that's pretty precise diagnosis: as soon as the theocratic elite degenerates, it defects; and the state and the majority of the population eventually fall on their own sword.

And the USSR clearly was a variation of a theocratic state. That explain also a very high, damaging the economy, level of centralization (the country as a single corporation) and the high level of ideology/religion-based repression (compare with Iran and Islamic state jihadists.)

The degeneration started with the death of the last charismatic leader (Stalin) and the passing of the generation which remembers that actual warts of capitalism and could relate them to the "Soviet socialism" solutions.

So after the WWII the ideology of Bolshevism was dead as it became clear that Soviet style theocratic state is unable to produce standard of living which Western social democracies were able to produce for their citizens. Rapid degeneration of the theocratic Bolshevik elite (aka Nomenklatura) also played an important role.

With bolshevism as the official religion, which can't be questioned, the society was way too rigid and suppressed "entrepreneurial initiative" (which leads to enrichment of particular individuals, but also to the benefits to the society as whole), to the extent that was counterproductive. The level of dogmatism in this area was probably as close to the medieval position of Roman Catholic Church as we can get; in this sense it was only national that Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became a pope John Paul II -- he was very well prepared indeed ;-).

It is important to understand that the Soviet elite changed sides completely voluntarily. Paradoxically it was high level of KGB functionaries who were instrumental in conversion to neoliberalism, starting with Andropov. It was Andropov, who created the plan of transition of the USSR to neoliberalism, the plan that Gorbachov tried to implement and miserably failed.

So the system exploded from within because the Party elite became infected with neoliberalism (which was stupid, but reflects the level of degeneration of the Soviet elite).

The major USA contribution other then supplying the new ideology for the Soviet elite was via CIA injecting God know how much money to bribe top officials.

As Gorbachov was a second rate (if not the third rate) politician, he allowed the situation to run out of control. And the efforts to "rock" the system were fueled internally by emerging (as the result of Perestroika; which was a reincarnation of Lenin's idea of NEP) class of neoliberal Nouveau riche (which run the USSR "shadow economy" which emerged under Brezhnev) and by nationalist sentiments (those element were clearly supported by the USA and other Western countries money as well as via subversive efforts of national diaspora residing in the USA and Canada) and certain national minorities within the USSR.

Explosion of far right nationalist sentiments without "Countervailing ideology" as Bolshevism was not taken seriously anymore was the key factor that led to the dissolution of the USSR.

Essentially national movements allied with Germany that were defeated during WWII became the winners.

The brutal economic rape of the xUSSR space and generally of the whole former Soviet block by the "collective neoliberal West" naturally followed. Which had shown everybody that the vanguard of Perestroika were simply filthy compradors, who can't care less about regular citizens and their sufferings.

And the backlash created conditions for Putin coming to power.

BTW this huge amount of loot postponed the internal crisis of neoliberalism which happened in the USA in 2008 probably by ten years. And it (along with a couple of other factors such as telecommunication revolution) explain relative prosperity of Clinton presidency. Criminal Clinton presidency I should say.

BTW few republics in former USSR space managed to achieve the standard of living equal to the best years of the USSR (early 80th I think) See https://web.williams.edu/Economics/brainerd/papers/ussr_july08.pdf

The majority of the xUSSR space countries have now dismal standard of living and slided into Latin American level of inequality and corruption (not without help of the USA).

Several have civil wars in the period since getting independence, which further depressed the standard living. Most deindustrialize.

Generally when the particular ideology collapses, far right nationalism fills the void. We see this now with the slow collapse of neoliberalism in the USA and Western Europe.

Chinese learned a lot from Gorbachov's fatal mistakes and have better economic results as the result of the conversion to the neoliberalism ("from the above"), although at the end Chinese elite is not that different from Soviet elite and also is corruptible and can eventually change sides.

But they managed to survive the "triumphal march of neoliberalism" (1980-2000) and now the danger is less as neoliberalism is clearly the good with expired "use by" date: after 2008 the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited and entered "zombie" state.

So in the worst case it is the USA which might follow the path of the USSR and eventually disintegrate under the pressure of internal nationalist sentiments. Such a victor...

Even now there are some visible difference between former Confederacy states and other states on the issues such as immigration and federal redistributive programs.

[Sep 21, 2019] Secular Stagnation a prolonged period in which satisfactory growth can only be achieved by unsustainable financial conditions - may be the defining macro-economic challenge of our times

Notable quotes:
"... Never rely on corporate spending for a recovery. Negative interest rates are precisely an attempt to trigger corporate spending ..."
"... It is similar to the period of stagnation the USSR experienced in starting with 70th till its dissolution. The causes are systemic, stemming from a perverted way neoliberalism organizes the society ("Greed is good" "free market", "I am from the government... " "Individual responsibility", shareholder values and other pseudo-religious symbols of faith ) as well as hypertrophy, lack of control and the level of political power of the financial sector under neoliberalism. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, like Bolshevism before it is a Catch 22 and can't be reformed only abolished. In any case due to deregulation of the financial sector and decimation of New Deal safeguards (thanks to Clinton) the US society stepped on the same rake as before Great Depression. ..."
Sep 21, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Paine , September 20, 2019 at 06:12 AM

Delong

"confess that I am a profound skeptic about deep negative nominal interest rates. A slightly higher inflation target and policies to fight the asset price configuration called "secular stagnation" would largely obviate the need, and leave behind a problem easily and straightforwardly dealt with via expansionary fiscal policy.

And we really do not know how such an institutional reconfiguration would actually work.

Confronted with a choice between known and understood policies that would work, and new ones with unknown side effects and effects that might, I do not understand the enthusiasm for the second:"

Since kalecki progressives have been warned. Never rely on corporate spending for a recovery. Negative interest rates are precisely an attempt to trigger corporate spending

Forget about it. The government needs to borrow at zero real YES no need to go negative real. And either spend on real outputs or transfer to high marginal spenders ie credit constrained households. Btw trying to unconstrain household credit. Or reduce its cost ie rate reduction. Only restores a new higher debt ration equally subject to sudden stop credit flows in a system conducted by capitalists and for capitalists

Paine -> Paine... , September 20, 2019 at 06:46 AM
Policies to fight " asset price configuration " Answer uncle's safe rate set to zero real. That neutralizes the real burden of federal debt. Now output price trends. May require a coordinating mechanism imposed on corporate pricing decisions

Firms need autonomy to regulate their relative prices, not coincidentally determine absolute price levels. As firms do now in our output pricing free for all

Where system wide price changes on over all price level movements are not internalized

Paine -> Paine... , September 20, 2019 at 06:53 AM
Brad is pushing a change in macro management policy. To fiscal mobilization of social production level. And the FED manage the social burden of federal debt. Since the triumph of monetary first policy In 1979 on output level and employment management fiscal activism has become a robin to the feds Batman No more sez our dear .Brad
likbez -> Paine... , September 20, 2019 at 06:58 AM
"secular stagnation" is the result of systemic crisis of neoliberalism which started in 2008.

Larry Summers:

"Secular Stagnation – a prolonged period in which satisfactory growth can only be achieved by unsustainable financial conditions –- may be the defining macro-economic challenge of our times. "

It is similar to the period of stagnation the USSR experienced in starting with 70th till its dissolution. The causes are systemic, stemming from a perverted way neoliberalism organizes the society ("Greed is good" "free market", "I am from the government... " "Individual responsibility", shareholder values and other pseudo-religious symbols of faith ) as well as hypertrophy, lack of control and the level of political power of the financial sector under neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism, like Bolshevism before it is a Catch 22 and can't be reformed only abolished. In any case due to deregulation of the financial sector and decimation of New Deal safeguards (thanks to Clinton) the US society stepped on the same rake as before Great Depression.

As Galbraith aptly said "The man who is admired for the ingenuity of his larceny is almost always rediscovering some earlier form of fraud. The basic forms are all known, have all been practiced."

[Sep 21, 2019] Are the faults of neoliberalism curable, or are they instead symptoms of a chronic disease? This is the question posed by Martin Wolf:

Sep 21, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 19, 2019 at 07:37 AM

https://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2019/09/the-trouble-with-capitalism.html

September 18, 2019

The trouble with capitalism

Are the faults of capitalism curable, or are they instead symptoms of a chronic disease? This is the question posed by Martin Wolf:

What we increasingly seem to have is an unstable rentier capitalism, weakened competition, feeble productivity growth, high inequality and, not coincidentally, an increasingly degraded democracy.

There is much to admire in this piece. But I fear it understates the problem with capitalism.

The Bank of England has given us a big clue here. It points out that the rising profit share (a strong sign of increased monopoly) is largely confined to the US. In the UK, the share of profits in GDP has flatlined in recent years. Few, however, would argue that UK capitalism is less dysfunctional than its US counterpart. Which suggests that the problem with capitalism is not increased monopoly.

[Graph]

So what is it? Here, I commend some brilliant work by Michael Roberts. Many of the faults Martin discusses have their origin in a declining rate of profit – a decline which became acute in the 1970s but which was never wholly reversed.

The causes of this decline are many and debated: an over-accumulation of capital in the 1960s and again in the tech bubble; increased worker militancy in the 60s and 70s; greater competition both from overseas and internally (see for example William Nordhaus's work); a slower rate of innovation in many sectors; an inability of shareholder-owned firms to exploit potential profit opportunities; weak aggregate demand; and so on.

Granted, actually measuring the rate of profit is fraught with difficulty, due to myriad problems in measuring the capital stock. But the fact that capital spending has been weak for many years (before Brexit) suggests that incentives to invest are weak – one plausible reason for which is low profitability.

The financial crisis was a symptom of this. Imagine there had been an abundance of profitable investment projects in the real economy in the early 00s. The savings glut and fall in bond yields would then have financed these so we'd have seen a boom in investment, jobs and incomes. But there was no such abundance, so the savings glut instead financed a bubble in housing and credit derivatives which ended in crisis.

Many of the things social democrats like Martin deplore about capitalism are in fact responses since the late 70s to this crisis of profitability. The assertion of management power – a symptom of which is high CEO salaries – is a (successful) suppression of worker militancy. Privatizations are an attempt to expand the realm in which capitalists can make profits. Financialization is the result of a shift away from low-profit activities in the real economy. And rent-seeking and cronyism reflect attempts to sustain profits in the face of competition and crisis.

Stagnant productivity tells us that these measures have not wholly worked, in part perhaps because the same inequality * they have generated tends to depress productivity growth.

If all this is true, or roughly so, then the problems Martin describes are not so easily cured. When Martin says that "fixing this is a challenge for us all" he is understating the case.

But is it true? The way to find out is to see if attempts to reform capitalism actually succeed. Mirabile dictu, there are even some proposals here that do not come from the left.