Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

Forthcoming slow motion collapse of global neoliberal empire led by the USA

Analogies 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

News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism  Recommended Links Brexit Casino Capitalism Secular Stagnation Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult
Financial Crisis of 2008 as the Crisis of Neoliberalism Gangster Capitalism Anti-globalization movement Psychological Warfare and the New World Order Key Myths of Neoliberalism Globalization of Corporatism Greenwald US
Elite Theory Compradors Fifth column Color revolutions The Great Transformation Right to protect If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths
Super Capitalism as Imperialism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism America’s Financial Oligarchy Inverted Totalitarism Disaster capitalism Neoliberalism as a Cause of Structural Unemployment in the USA Neoliberalism and inequality
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Harvard Mafia Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Republican Economic Policy Monetarism fiasco Small government smoke screen The Decline of the Middle Class
Libertarian Philosophy Media domination strategy Neoliberalism Bookshelf John Kenneth Galbraith Globalization of Financial Flows Humor Etc

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).

As an ideology, consider profit-making to be the final arbiter and essence of democracy. And consumption is the only operable form of citizenship. With the related religious belief that the market can both solve all problems and serve as a model for structuring all social relations.

As the mode of governance, it produces the ways 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 morality of the right of ruling groups and institutions to exercise power ignoring issues of ethics and social costs (variant of "might is right" mentality).

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. From above. Although is  formally only 37 years old (if we could the edge of neoliberalism from the election of Reagan, which means from 1981) neoliberalism as ideology was born in 1947.  And 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 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 solders 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".  They also realized that The Iron Law of Oligarchy  in applicable to the USSR no less that to any Western country. If we 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. Any illusions of global Communist hegemony had evaporated with the collapse of Sino-Soviet relations in 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 U.S. 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 of even half a century (The USSR lasted another 28-46 years depending on the point at which you assume the ideology was completely discredited). But 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 too (with substantial lag).  

Neoliberal society probably has at least the same staying power after 2008 -- when the ideology was discredited and neoliberalism entered zombie stage. If not more, as 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. And that, paradoxically, includes the KGB brass, which was instrumental in transition of the xUSSR space from Brezhnev socialism to neoliberalism (with the first stage of gangster capitalism). 

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 two most notable events after 2008, that undermines "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.

We can envision  the same process of  the growing gap between ideology postulates and 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 nomenklarura in the USSR). Do let's make an unscientific estimate that another 40-50 years of neoliberalism from 2008 are probable. That gives are the estimate of probably disintegration as somewhere in 2050-2060.  "Plato oil" might speed this process up, as neoliberal globalization depends on cheap oil.

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 her promised are fake. Also neoliberalism  is still social system that is dominant globally. Not like Soviet Unit which existed in the hostile surrounding of major Western powers with their three letter agencies directly targeting this society, with huge money resources of Western financial system 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. 
  3. While Trump administration remind in its incompetence Brezhnev administration, the gap is still tremendous. While Trump is definitely a third  rate politician, Gorbachov as a politician was a naive idiot, in comparison with whom 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 populate 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-modernisation ):

    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.

  4. 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 are the largest in the world. The country still remains the magnet for immigration from other countries.

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. Actually analogies with Marxism are to numerous to list. "Dictatorship of "free markets"" instead of dictatorship of proletariat. With the same idea that 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.

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.

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 -- 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".

 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 niether self-regulating, not really 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 isa 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 probem is that while socialist experiment could be compared with the Western countries capitalism achivement, 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 facede.  Like in 20th failure the globalization and unrestrained financial markets (which produced the Great Depression)  the financial crisi of 2008 led to the dramic rise of nationalism, especially in Europe (France, Hundary, 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 Franko 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 dissaper, 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 int he 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 concensus 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 reports 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 "bastard neoliberalism (neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization) mixed with economic nationalism can be called "neoliberalism in name only". Trump foreign economic policies lookmore and more more like an economic aggression, economic racket, then a an economic platform. Nonetheless, that "neoliberalism in name only" is still a powerful global "brand" which the U.S. seeks to maintain at all costs for macro geopolitical reasons (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, Lybia 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 thier final day. 

As Napoleon noted "You can do anything with bayonets, but you can't sit on them". having first class military weakns is not everything when you face gurilla resisance 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 int he USA and the USSR collapse is demonstrably far from perfect. The USSR was always in far less favorable conditions   then 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.

Still it allows to point out some  alarming similarities. 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 sign indeed. .

There is still a chance that the US elite proves to be flexible 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. Some of them too closely correspond to the depiction of sociopaths to stay comfortable.  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. 

 


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Oct 09, 2018] Brexit Crunch Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself Is That Even Possible

Oct 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Brexit Crunch: Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself? Is That Even Possible? Posted on October 8, 2018 by Yves Smith The UK press is all over the map on the state of Brexit. That makes making sense of things even harder than usual.

At a minimum, it show that the EU's thumping of May at last month's Salzburg conference has led to an uptick in activity, as the EU27 leaders set an earlier deadline for the UK to serve up something realistic than the UK had previously thought it had (October versus November).

But it's far from clear that all the thrashing around and messaging amounts to progress. As we'll discuss, some press reports claim the EU is showing more flexibility, but the changes appear to be almost entirely cosmetic. If so, it would represent a cynical calculation that MPs are so illiterate about technical details that adept repackaging will get the dog to eat the dog food.

Another thing to keep in mind is that negotiators are always making progress until a deal is dead. The appearance of momentum can create actual momentum, or at least buy time. But here, time is running out, so the question is whether either side has made enough of a shift so as to allow for a breakthough.

One thing that may have happened, and again this is speculative, is that more key players in the EU are coming to realize that a crash out will inflict a lot of damage on the EU. A transition period is actually much more beneficial to the EU than the UK. It would not only allow the EU more time to prepare, but also enable it to better pick the UK clean of personnel and business activities that can move to the Continent in relatively short order.

By contrast (and not enough people in the UK appear to have worked this out), the UK will crash out with respect to the EU in either March 2019 or the end of December 2020. There's no way the UK will have completed a trade deal with the EU by then, unless it accedes to every EU demand. Recall that the comparatively uncomplicated Canada trade agreement took seven years to negotiate and another year to obtain provisional approval. And Richard North points out another impediment to negotiations: " .the Commission has to be re-appointed next year and, after Brexit, it will not be fully in operation until the following November." Now there are still some important advantages to securing a transition agreement, and they may be mainly political (who wants to be caught holding that bag?) but the differences may not be as significant for the EU as the UK. The UK will wind up having the dislocations somewhat spread out, first having to contend with falling out of all the trade deals with third countries that it now has through the EU in March 2019, and then losing its "single market" status with the EU at the end of 2020. But will the UK also be so preoccupied with trying to stitch up deals with the rest of the world that it loses its already not great focus on what to do with the EU?

That isn't to say there won't be meaningful benefits to the UK if it can conclude a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and win a transition period. For instance, it has a dim hope of being able to get its border IT systems upgraded so as to handle much greater transaction volumes, a feat that seems pretty much unattainable by March 2019.

Two more cautionary note regarding these divergent news stories. The first is that we've seen this sort of thing before and generally, the optimistic reports have not panned out. However, they have generally ben from unnamed sources. While we do have a very thin BBC article with Jean-Claude Junkcer saying the odds of a deal had improved and Tusk making cautiously optimistic noises, Leo Vardarkar was more sober and the piece even admitted, "However, there is still no agreement on some issues, including how to avoid new checks on the Irish border."

Second, they appear to be mainly about claimed progress or deadlocks on the trade front. Recall that Article 50 makes only a passing reference to "the future relationship," which is only a non-binding political declaration. However, these issue seems to have assumed more importance than it should on the UK end, because it has become a forcing device for the coalition to settle on what sort of Brexit it wants .and it remains fundamentally divided, as demonstrated by last week's Conservative Party conference. By contrast, there seems to be little news on the real sticking point, the Irish border.

So to the rumors:

The EU has offered the UK a "Canada plus plus plus" deal . Even if you take the Guardian story at face value, there is less there there than the breathless reactions in the UK would lead you to believe.

First, recall that "Canada plus plus plus" has long been derided by the EU as yet another way for the UK to try to cherry pick among the possible post-Brexit arrangements. Boris Johnson nevertheless talked it up as a preferred option to May's too-soft Chequers scheme at the Tory conference . and May did not mention Chequers . Did EU pols take that to mean May had abandoned Chequers to appease the Ultras?

However, as we read things (and we need to watch our for our priors), Donald Tusk appears to be mouthing a pet UK expression to convey a different idea:

Tusk said the EU remained ready to offer the UK a "Canada-plus-plus-plus deal" – a far-reaching trade accord with extra agreements on security and foreign policy.

That reads as a Canada style free trade agreement plus additional pacts on non-trade matters. That is not what "Canada plus plus plus" signified on the UK side: it meant the UK getting a free trade deal with other (typically not specified) goodies so as to make it "special" and more important, reduce friction.

The Ultras were over the moon to have Tusk dignify Johnson's blather, even as the very next paragraph of the Guardian story revealed the outtrade over what "Canada plus plus plus" stands for:

Boris Johnson and other hard Brexit Tories seized on Tusk's remarks, arguing they showed it was time for May to immediately switch tack and abandon her Chequers proposals for remaining in a customs union for food and goods. "Tusk's Canada-plus-plus-plus offer shows there is a superb way forward that can solve the Irish border problem and deliver a free-trade-based partnership that works well for both sides of the channel," Johnson said.

If you managed to get further into the story, it sounded more cautionary notes:

Some Brexiters overlook that the EU's version of a so-called Canada deal incorporates a guarantee to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, which would keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union and single market. "Canada plus-plus-plus" is also a fuzzy concept that has no formal status in EU negotiating documents. Michel Barnier, the bloc's chief negotiator, mentioned the idea in an interview with the Guardian and other papers last year.

"I don't know what Canada-plus-plus-plus means, it is just a concept at this stage," Varadkar said, adding that it did not negate the need for a "legally binding backstop" – a guarantee to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland if there is no agreement on the future trading relationship.

EU to let UK super fudge on "future relationship." Another Guardian story reported that the EU might let the UK sign an even less committal version of the "future relationship" section , allowing the UK to "evolve" [gah] its position during the transition period. Frankly, this seems to be allowing for a change in government. I don't see this as that meaningful a concession, since this statement was never legally binding. However, given that Parliament must ratify the final agreement, formally registering that that section isn't set in stone probably would facilitate passage as well as any future change in direction. And if you suspect this is a big dog whistle to Labour, you be right:

An EU source said: "The message to Labour is that the UK could move up Barnier's stairs if the British government changes its position in the transition period. Voting in favour of the deal now would not be the last word on it."

May whips Labour for Chequers . You thought May gave up on Chequers? Silly you! She just had the good sense to go into her famed submarine mode while Boris was having yet another turn in the limelight. From the Telegraph :

Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal risking open warfare with the party's own MPs.

The Government's whips' office has spent recent months making contact with the MPs as a back-up option for when Theresa May's Brexit deal is put to a vote in Parliament in early December, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

News of the wooing operation has infuriated Eurosceptic Tory MPs who are now threatening to vote against elements of the Budget and other "money bills" to force Mrs May to drop her Chequers plan.

If true, this is very high stakes poker. Brexit Central says there are 34 Tory MPs who have already declared they will oppose any "deal based on Chequers". And, to change metaphors, they appear ready to go nuclear if they have to. From the Times:

Brexiteers have issued a last-ditch threat to vote down the budget and destroy the government unless Theresa May takes a tougher line with Brussels -- amid signs that she is on course to secure a deal with the European Union.

Leading members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) last night vowed to vote down government legislation after it was claimed the prime minister will use Labour MPs to push her plan through the Commons.

I turned to Richard North's site after I had pretty much finished this post, and he finds the Telegraph story as peculiar as I do :

Reporting of the key issue of our times gets more bizarre by the day. The latest contribution to the cacophony is the Telegraph, telling us that Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs "to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal".

That approaches are being made to Labour MPs is not news, but the idea that attempts to sell them the Chequers deal confounds recent indications that the prime minister is preparing to roll out "Chequers II", with enough concessions to all the Commission to conclude a withdrawal agreement.

If we are looking at such a new deal, then it cannot be the case that anyone is attempting to convince Labour MPs of the merits of the old deal. And, even if Ministers succeeded in such a task, it would be to no avail. Chequers, as such, will never come to parliament for approval because it will never form the basis of a deal that can be accepted by Brussels.

That should consign the Telegraph story to the dustbin now piled high with incoherent speculation, joining the steady flow of reports which are struggling – and failing – to bring sense to Brexit.

EU to announce "minimalist" no-deal emergency plans . Interestingly, the Financial Times has not had any articles in the last few days on the state of UK/EU negotiations. It instead depicted the EU as about to turn up the heat on the UK by publishing a set of "no deal" damage containment plans. I've never understood the line of thought, which seems to be taken seriously on both sides of the table, that acting like a responsible government and preparing for a worst-case scenario was somehow an underhanded negotiation ploy. 1 The pink paper nevertheless pushes that notion:

Brussels is planning to rattle the UK by unveiling tough contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit that could force flight cancellations and leave exporters facing massive disruption if Britain departs the EU without an exit agreement in March.

Subtext: it's the EU's fault all those bad things could happen .when it is the UK that is suing for divorce. Back to the story:

Against expectations in London, the plan is likely to encompass a limited number of initiatives over a maximum of eight months, diplomats who have seen the document told the Financial Times.

Notably, the EU is not planning special arrangements for customs or road transport and only limited provisions for financial services -- a decision that, if seen through, would cause long queues and operational difficulties at ports and airports.

The minimalist emergency plan, designed to be rolled out should there be no breakthrough in Brexit talks, would increase the pressure over already fraught negotiations between the UK and the EU ahead of a summit on 17 October. EU plans would then be firmed up by December .

The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
https://www.ft.com/content/5606f710-c8ac-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9

The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated.

And then we have the stories that are head-scratchers. The Sun reports that Barnier says a deal is nigh .based on:

Hopes of progress have been fuelled by expectations that Theresa May has come forward with a compromise solution to the Irish border.

The PM will propose keeping the whole of the UK in a customs union as a final fallback but allowing Northern Ireland to stick to EU regulations.

The EU has rejected having the UK collect EU customs post Brexit. Moreover, a customs union, as we've said repeatedly, does not give the UK its keenly-sounght frictionless trade. Making Northern Ireland subject to EU regulations means accepting the jurisdiction of the ECJ, since compliance is not a matter of having a dusty rule book, but of being part of the same regulatory apparatus. Aside from the fact that this solution won't be acceptable to the DUP, it would also result in a hard land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. So are we to take this as incomprehension on the part of the Sun's reporters, or that the Government's negotiators continue to be as thick as a brick? Sadly, the Guardian tells a similar tale :

Ministers expect to discuss Brexit in a week's time when some hope that officials will have clarified how the UK proposes to handle cross-border regulatory checks if no progress is made on agreeing a free trade deal with the EU.

There has been speculation that this solution could involve the whole of the UK agreeing to be part of a common customs area with the EU in order to avoid the possibility of an invisible border separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain, in the event that no long-term deal is signed.

Richard North has the best take. He points the rumors from the UK side come from people who present themselves as being on the inside but probably aren't, or not enough to have a good feel, and continues :

Yet nothing seems to be leaking from No.10, with officials saying merely that proposals would emerge "soon". Says the Guardian, these are likely to form the basis of technical negotiations with Brussels "as officials scramble to find a form of words for the withdrawal agreement that the UK proposes to sign with the EU".

Any such timing will, of necessity, rule out any formal consideration by the October European Council. Those who understand the detail will know that, before anything can be considered by the European Council, it must first be agreed by the General Affairs Council, meeting as 27.

Currently, this is scheduled for 16 October (Tuesday week) – a day before the Article 50 European Council which starts its two-day session on the 17th. On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be enough time to factor in any last-minute proposals from London, especially as details must first be circulated to Member State capitals for comment.

This does nothing, though, but confirm that which we already know – that if there is to be a final showdown, then it is going to come at the special meeting in November (if this actually happens), or even the meeting scheduled for 13-14 December.

Even the rumor mills don't give much reason to think there is a solution to the Irish border. If May really hasn't abandoned Chequers, all the fudging to come up with a content-free "future relationship" section will be to the detriment of UK citizens, since the Government will keep holding on to a Brexit plan that the EU will never accept. But the best interests of ordinary people have gotten short shrift all along.

[Oct 08, 2018] The US neoliberal society is entering a deep, sustained political crisis and it is unclear what can bring us back from it other then the collapse

Oct 08, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

likbez

I think the US society is entering a deep, sustained political crisis and it is unclear what can bring us back from it other then the collapse, USSR-style. The USA slide into corporate socialism (which might be viewed as a flavor of neofascism) can't be disputed.

Looks like all democracies are unstable and prone to self-destruction. In modern America, the elite do not care about lower 80% of the population, and is over-engaged in cynical identity politics, race and gender-mongering. Anything to win votes.

MSM is still cheering on military misadventures that kill thousands of Americans, impoverish millions, and cost trillions. Congress looks even worse. Republican House leader Paul Ryan looks like 100% pure bought-and-paid-for tool of multinational corporations...

The scary thing for me is that the USA national problems are somewhat similar to the ones that the USSR experienced before the collapse. At least the level of degeneration of political elite of both parties (which in reality is a single party) is.

The only positive things is that there is viable alternative to neoliberalism on the horizon. But that does not mean that we can't experience 1930th on a new level again. Now several European countries such as Poland and Ukraine are already ruled by far right nationalist parties. Brazil is probably the next. So this or military rule in the USA is not out of question.

Ship of Fools is what the US empire and the US society looks like now. And that's not funny. Look at <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Ship-Fools-Selfish-Bringing-Revolution-ebook/dp/B071FFRJ48">"Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution"</a> by Tucker Carlson hits the mark when he says that the career politicians and other elites in this country have put the USA on a path of self-destruction.

Some other factors are also in play: one is that a country with 320 million population can't be governed by the same methods as a country of 76 million (1900). End of cheap oil is near and probably will occur within the next 50 years or so. Which means the end of neoliberalism as we know it.

Tucker states that the USA's neoliberal elite acquired control of a massive chunk of the country's wealth. And then successfully insulated themselves from the hoi polloi. They send their children to the Ivy League universities, live in enclosed compounds with security guards, travel in helicopters, etc. Kind of like French aristocracy on a new level ("Let them eat cakes"). "There's nothing more infuriating to a ruling class than contrary opinions. They're inconvenient and annoying. They're evidence of an ungrateful population... Above all, they constitute a threat to your authority." (insert sarcasm)

Donald Trump was in many ways an unappealing figure. He never hid that. Voters knew it. They just concluded that the options were worse -- and not just Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, but the Bush family and their donors and the entire Republican leadership, along with the hedge fund managers and media luminaries and corporate executives and Hollywood tastemakers and think tank geniuses and everyone else who created the world as it was in the fall of 2016: the people in charge. Trump might be vulgar and ignorant, but he wasn't responsible for the many disasters America's leaders created .

There was also the possibility that Trump might listen. At times he seemed interested in what voters thought. The people in charge demonstrably weren't. Virtually none of their core beliefs had majority support from the population they governed .Beginning on election night, they explained away their loss with theories as pat and implausible as a summer action movie: Trump won because fake news tricked simple minded voters. Trump won because Russian agents "hacked" the election. Trump won because mouth-breathers in the provinces were mesmerized by his gold jet and shiny cuff links.

From a reader review:

The New [Neoliberal] Elite speaks: "The Middle Class are losers and they have made bad choices, they haven't worked as hard as the New Elite have, they haven't gone to SAT Prep or LSAT prep so they lose, we win. We are the Elite and we know better than you because we got high SAT scores.

Do we have experience? Uh....well...no, few of us have been in the military, pulled KP, shot an M-16.... because we are better than that. Like they say only the losers go in the military. We in the New Elite have little empirical knowledge but we can recognize patterns very quickly."

Just look at Haley behavior in the UN and Trump trade wars and many things became more clear. the bet is on destruction of existing international institutions in order to save the USA elite. A the same time Trump trade wars threaten the neoliberal order so this might well be a path to the USA self-destruction.

On Capital hill rancor, a lack of civility and derisive descriptions are everywhere. Respect has gone out the window. Left and right wings of a single neoliberal party (much like CPSU was in the USSR) behave like drunk schoolchildren. Level of pettiness is simply amazing.

[Oct 02, 2018] >A Rational Backlash Against Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... By Lubos Pastor, Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Pietro Veronesi, Roman Family Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalization – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality. ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
"... Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor. ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 28, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. Haha, Lambert's volatility voters thesis confirmed! They are voting against inequality and globalization. This important post also explains how financialization drives populist rebellions.

By Lubos Pastor, Charles P. McQuaid Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Pietro Veronesi, Roman Family Professor of Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Originally published at VoxEU

The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalization – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality.

The ongoing pushback against globalization in the West is a defining phenomenon of this decade. This pushback is best exemplified by two momentous 2016 votes: the British vote to leave the EU ('Brexit') and the election of a protectionist, Donald Trump, to the US presidency. In both cases, rich-country electorates voted to take a step back from the long-standing process of global integration. "Today, globalization is going through a major crisis" (Macron 2018).

Some commentators question the wisdom of the voters responsible for this pushback. They suggest Brexit and Trump supporters have been confused by misleading campaigns and foreign hackers. They joke about turkeys voting for Christmas. They call for another Brexit referendum, which would allow the Leavers to correct their mistakes.

Rational Voters

We take a different perspective. In a recent paper, we develop a theory in which a backlash against globalization happens while all voters are perfectly rational (Pastor and Veronesi 2018). We do not, of course, claim that all voters are rational; we simply argue that explaining the backlash does not require irrationality. Not only can the backlash happen in our theory; it is inevitable.

We build a heterogeneous-agent equilibrium model in which a backlash against globalization emerges as the optimal response of rational voters to rising inequality. A rise in inequality has been observed throughout the West in recent decades (e.g. Atkinson et al. 2011). In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth. Over time, global growth exacerbates inequality, which eventually leads to a pushback against globalization.

Who Dislike Inequality

Agents in our model like consumption but dislike inequality. Individuals may prefer equality for various reasons. Equality helps prevent crime and preserve social stability. Inequality causes status anxiety at all income levels, which leads to health and social problems (Wilkinson and Pickett 2009, 2018). In surveys, people facing less inequality report being happier (e.g. Morawetz et al. 1977, Alesina et al. 2004, Ferrer-i-Carbonell and Ramos 2014). Experimental results also point to egalitarian preferences (e.g. Dawes et al. 2007).

We measure inequality by the variance of consumption shares across agents. Given our other modelling assumptions, equilibrium consumption develops a right-skewed distribution across agents. As a result, inequality is driven by the high consumption of the rich rather than the low consumption of the poor. Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor.

Besides inequality aversion, our model features heterogeneity in risk aversion. This heterogeneity generates rising inequality in a growing economy because less risk-averse agents consume a growing share of total output. We employ individual-level differences in risk aversion to capture the fact that some individuals benefit more from global growth than others. In addition, we interpret country-level differences in risk aversion as differences in financial development. We consider two 'countries': the US and the rest of the world. We assume that US agents are less risk-averse than rest-of-the-world agents, capturing the idea that the US is more financially developed than the rest of the world.

At the outset, the two countries are financially integrated – there are no barriers to trade and risk is shared globally. At a given time, both countries hold elections featuring two candidates. The 'mainstream' candidate promises to preserve globalization, whereas the 'populist' candidate promises to end it. If either country elects a populist, a move to autarky takes place and cross-border trading stops. Elections are decided by the median voter.

Global risk sharing exacerbates US inequality. Given their low risk aversion, US agents insure the agents of the rest of the world by holding aggressive and disperse portfolio positions. The agents holding the most aggressive positions benefit disproportionately from global growth. The resulting inequality leads some US voters, those who feel left behind by globalization, to vote populist.

Why Vote Populist?

When deciding whether to vote mainstream or populist, US agents face a consumption-inequality trade-off. If elected, the populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents. After a move to autarky, US agents can no longer borrow from the rest of the world to finance their excess consumption. But their inequality drops too, because the absence of cross-border leverage makes their portfolio positions less disperse.

As output grows, the marginal utility of consumption declines, and US agents become increasingly willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for more equality. When output grows large enough -- see the vertical line in the figure below -- more than half of US agents prefer autarky and the populist wins the US election. This is our main result: in a growing economy, the populist eventually gets elected. In a democratic society that values equality, globalization cannot survive in the long run.

Figure 1 Vote share of the populist candidate

Equality Is a Luxury Good

Equality can be interpreted as a luxury good in that society demands more of it as it becomes wealthier. Voters might also treat culture, traditions, and other nonpecuniary values as luxury goods. Consistent with this argument, the recent rise in populism appears predominantly in rich countries. In poor countries, agents are not willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for nonpecuniary values.

Globalization would survive under a social planner. Our competitive market solution differs from the social planner solution due to the negative externality that the elites impose on others through their high consumption. To see if globalization can be saved by redistribution, we analyse redistributive policies that transfer wealth from low risk-aversion agents, who benefit the most from globalization, to high risk-aversion agents, who benefit the least. We show that such policies can delay the populist's victory, but cannot prevent it from happening eventually.

Which Countries Are Populist?

Our model predicts that support for populism should be stronger in countries that are more financially developed, more unequal, and running current account deficits. Looking across 29 developed countries, we find evidence supporting these predictions.

Figure 2 Vote share of populist parties in recent elections

The US and the UK are good examples. Both have high financial development, large inequality, and current account deficits. It is thus no coincidence, in the context of our model, that these countries led the populist wave in 2016. In contrast, Germany is less financially developed, less unequal, and it runs a sizable current account surplus. Populism has been relatively subdued in Germany, as our model predicts. The model emphasises the dark side of financial development – it spurs the growth of inequality, which eventually leads to a populist backlash.

Who are the Populist Voters?

The model also makes predictions about the characteristics of populist voters. Compared to mainstream voters, populist voters should be more inequality-averse (i.e. more anti-elite) and more risk-averse (i.e. better insured against consumption fluctuations). Like highly risk-averse agents, poorer and less-educated agents have less to lose from the end of globalization. The model thus predicts that these agents are more likely to vote populist. That is indeed what we find when we examine the characteristics of the voters who supported Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum and Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The model's predictions for asset prices are also interesting. The global market share of US stocks should rise in anticipation of the populist's victory. Indeed, the US share of the global stock market rose steadily before the 2016 Trump election. The US bond yields should be unusually low before the populist's victory. Indeed, bond yields in the West were low when the populist wave began.

Backlash in a booming economy

In our model, a populist backlash occurs when the economy is strong because that is when inequality is high. The model helps us understand why the backlash is occurring now, as the US economy is booming. The economy is going through one of its longest macroeconomic expansions ever, having been growing steadily for almost a decade since the 2008 crisis.

This study relates to our prior work at the intersection of finance and political economy. Here, we exploit the cross-sectional variation in risk aversion, whereas in our 2017 paper, we analyse its time variation (Pastor and Veronesi 2017). In the latter model, time-varying risk aversion generates political cycles in which Democrats and Republicans alternate in power, with higher stock returns under Democrats. Our previous work also explores links between risk aversion and inequality (Pastor and Veronesi 2016).

Conclusions

We highlight the fragility of globalization in a democratic society that values equality. In our model, a pushback against globalization arises as a rational voter response. When a country grows rich enough, it becomes willing to sacrifice consumption in exchange for a more equal society. Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model. Our formal model supports the narrative of Rodrik (1997, 2000), who argues that we cannot have all three of global economic integration, the nation state, and democratic politics.

If policymakers want to save globalization, they need to make the world look different from our model. One attractive policy option is to improve the financial systems of less-developed countries. Smaller cross-country differences in financial development would mitigate the uneven effects of cross-border risk sharing. More balanced global risk sharing would result in lower current account deficits and, eventually, lower inequality in the rich world.

See original post for references


JTMcPhee , September 28, 2018 at 10:34 am

"rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth. " For which definition of growth? Or maybe, observing that cancer is the very model of growth, for any definition?

Nice model and graphs, though.

What kind of political economy is to be discerned, and how is one to effectuate it with systems that would have to be so very different to have a prayer of providing lasting homeostatic functions?

The Rev Kev , September 28, 2018 at 10:50 am

And what happens in a world where, due to depleted resources, growth is no longer an option and we start living in a world of slow contraction?

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 12:28 pm

Starvation pain and death absent some kind of (fair) rationing mechanisms.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Actually, I can hardly wait. If nothing else will get folks motivated to effect change – this could (let's hope).

drumlin woodchuckles , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

The global overclass can hardly wait too. They think they are in position to guide the change to their desired outcome. Targeted applied Jackpot Engineering, you know.

joey , September 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm

hoping for an alpha test tube environment or better soma in my next go round?

Bobby Gladd , September 28, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Frase's "Quadrant IV" – Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (see "Four Futures")

d , September 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

At some point if the majority dont think they get any benefit from the economy, they will put a stake through it, and replace it with some thing that works?now that could be some thing very different, but it will happen

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

I had the same thought – growth as defined in the current, neoliberal model. There is nothing inevitable about inequality – it is caused by political choices.

Tony Wikrent , September 28, 2018 at 10:44 am

It is painful to find these assumptions accepted at NC.

"the economy is strong"

Not from my perspective. Or from the perspectives of the work force or the industrial base replacing themselves. Or the perspective of a 4 to 5 trillion dollar shortfall in infrastructure funding.

"In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth."

Well, that simply did not happen 1946 to 1971.

"populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents."

REALLY? Consumption of WHAT? Designer handbags and jeans? What about consumption of mass public transit and health care services? I'm very confident that a populist government that found a way to put a muzzle on Wall Street and the banksters would increase consumption of things I prefer while also lessening inequality.

Reading through this summary of modeling, it occurred to me that the operative variable was not inequality so much as "high financial development."

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 12:32 pm

It is painful to find these assumptions accepted at NC.

"the economy is strong"

"In our model, rising inequality is a natural consequence of economic growth."

"populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents."

Agreed, BS but likely to be skewered as the comment section picks up steam.

There's a lot of skeptics lurking here.

JEHR , September 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for pointing out the weaknesses in the article.

a different chris , September 28, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Posting doesn't apply "acceptance" at NC. I think that has been made pretty darn clear on a number of occasions.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Yes and also, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. These days, just saying that globalisation leads to inequality and people act rationally, when they push back – even though choices are limited – is pretty revolutionary. We need other analyses along those lines, maybe with a few corrections. Thanks for posting!

shinola , September 28, 2018 at 1:01 pm

"Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model"

That's nice. But in what universe do these "frictionless, complete-markets" actually exist?

juliania , September 28, 2018 at 1:37 pm

" In our model, a populist backlash occurs when the economy is strong because that is when inequality is high. "

Yes to the above comments. This sentence really stuck in my throat. A strong economy to me is one that achieves balanced equality. Somehow this article avoids the manner in which the current economy became "strong". Perhaps a better word is "corrupt". (No 'perhaps' really; I'm just being polite.)

Otherwise some good points being made here.

juliania , September 28, 2018 at 1:41 pm

I also didn't like that the anti-neoliberalists are being portrayed as not having sympathy for the poor. Gosh, we are a hard-hearted lot, only interested in our own come-uppance and risk-adversity.

Robert Valiant , September 28, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Isn't equality just a value?

A "strong" economy is one that is growing as measured by GDP – full stop. Inequality looks to me like a feature of our global economic value system, not a bug.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Inequality is a problem of distribution. Is a strong economy one that provides the most to a few or a fair share to the many?

High GDP growth could reflect either but which is most important?

If your neighbor is out of work it looks like a recession, if you're out of work it feels like a depression.

Synoia , September 28, 2018 at 2:22 pm

Friction-less Markets exist in where there is much lube.

Trump is probably an expert in that area.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:30 pm

"Redistribution is of limited value in our frictionless, complete-markets model"

This is complete BS. So is your model.

Kit , September 28, 2018 at 5:36 pm

A universe with spherical consumers of uniform size and density.

Economics is like physics, or wants to be. If you want practicality, you need something more like engineering.

Andrew Watts , September 28, 2018 at 5:56 pm

I only read these articles to see what the enemy is thinking. The vast majority of economists are nothing more than cheerleaders for capitalism. I imagine anybody who strays too far from neoliberal orthodoxy is ignored.

Patrick , September 28, 2018 at 10:56 am

the Trump/Brexit populist thinking has nothing to do with equality. it has do do with who should get preferential treatment and why -- it's about drawing a tight circle on who get's to be considered "equal".

not sure how you can pull a desire for equality from this (except through statistics, which can be used to "prove" anything).

Outis Philalithopoulos , September 28, 2018 at 1:23 pm

I'm confused – so the evidence of statistics should be discounted, in favor of more persuasive evidence? Consisting of your own authoritative statements about the motives of other people?

In the future, please try to think about what sorts of arguments are likely to be persuasive to people who don't already agree with you.

paulmeli , September 28, 2018 at 3:35 pm

In the Trump/neoliberal world we get what we "deserve". Or do we deserve what we get?

The majority of the population believes the losers didn't try hard enough.

In a world full of Einsteins the bottom 20% would still live in poverty. Life is graded on a curve.

Louis Fyne , September 28, 2018 at 10:57 am

If you consider yourself an "environmentalist," then you have to be against globalization.

(From the easiest to universally agree upon) the multi-continental supply chain for everything from tube socks to cobalt to frozen fish is unsustainable, barring Star Trek-type transport tech breakthroughs.

(to the less easily to universally agree upon) the population of the entire developed (even in the US) would be stablized/falling/barely rising, but for migration.

mass migration-fueled population growth/higher fertility rates of migrants in the developed world and increased resource footprint is bad for both the developed world and developing world.

Jeremy Grimm , September 28, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The long, narrow, and manifold supply lines which characterize our present systems of globalization make the world much more fragile. The supply chains are fraught with single points of systemic failure. At the same time Climate Disruption increases the risk that a disaster can affect these single points of failure. I fear that the level of instability in the world systems is approaching the point where multiple local disasters could have catastrophic effects at a scale orders of magnitude greater than the scale of the triggering events -- like the Mr. Science demonstration of a chain-reaction where he tosses a single ping pong ball into a room full of mousetraps set with ping pong balls. You have to be against globalization if you're against instability.

The entire system of globalization is completely dependent on a continuous supply of cheap fuel to power the ships, trains, and trucks moving goods around the world. That supply of cheap fuel has its own fragile supply lines upon which the very life of our great cities depends. Little food is grown where the most food is eaten -- this reflects the distributed nature of our supply chains greatly fostered by globalization.

Globalization increases the power and control Corporate Cartels have over their workers. It further increases the power large firms have over smaller firms as the costs and complexities of globalized trade constitute a relatively larger overhead for smaller firms. Small producers of goods find themselves flooded with cheaper foreign knock-offs and counterfeits of any of their designs that find a place in the market. It adds uncertainty and risk to employment and small ventures. Globalization magnifies the power of the very large and very rich over producers and consumers.

I believe the so-called populist voters and their backlash in a "booming" economy are small indications of a broad unrest growing much faster than our "booming" economies. That unrest is one more risk to add to the growing list of risks to an increasingly fragile system. The world is configured for a collapse that will be unprecedented in its speed and scope.

Olga , September 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Actually, the way I see it – if one considers oneself an environmentalist, one has to be against capitalism, not just globalization. Capitalism is built on constant growth – but on a planet, with limited resources, that simply cannot work. Not long term unless we're prepared to dig up and/or pave over everything. Only very limited-scale, mom-and-pop kind of capitalism can try to work long term – but the problem is, it would not stay that way because greed gets in the way every time and there's no limiting greed. (Greed as a concept was limited in the socialist system – but some folks did not like that.)

tagyoureit , September 28, 2018 at 3:22 pm

"Capitalism is built on constant growth." I have a 'brand new' view of photosynthesis. Those plants (pun intended) are 'capitalist pigweeds'

John Wright , September 28, 2018 at 11:21 am

The paper posits:

" Given their low risk aversion, US agents insure the agents of the rest of the world by holding aggressive and disperse portfolio positions."

That low risk aversion could be driven by the willingness of the US government to provide military/diplomatic/trade assistance to US businesses around the word. The risk inherent in moving factories, doing resource extraction and conducting business overseas is always there, but if one's government lessens the risk via force projection and control of local governments, a US agent could appear to be "less risk averse" because the US taxpayer has "got their back".

This paper closes with

"If policymakers want to save globalization, they need to make the world look different from our model. One attractive policy option is to improve the financial systems of less-developed countries. Smaller cross-country differences in financial development would mitigate the uneven effects of cross-border risk sharing. More balanced global risk sharing would result in lower current account deficits and, eventually, lower inequality in the rich world."

Ah yes, to EVENTUALLY lower inequality, the USA needs to "improve the financial systems of less-well developed countries"

Perhaps the USA needs to improve its OWN financial system first?

Paul Woolley has suggested, the US and UK financial systems are 2 to 3 times they should be.

And the USA's various financial industry driven bubbles, the ZIRP rescue of the financial industry, and mortgage security fraud seem all connected back to the USA financial industry.

Inequality did not improve in the aftermath of these events as the USA helped preserve the elite class.

Maybe the authors have overlooked a massive home field opportunity?

That being that the USA should consider "improving" its own financial system to help inequality.

shinola , September 28, 2018 at 1:17 pm

In my model, eventually, we are all equally dead.

Lee , September 28, 2018 at 11:26 am

I'm glad to see that issues and views discussed pretty regularly here in more or less understandable English have been translated into Academese. Being a high risk averse plebe, who will not starve for lack of trade with China, but may have to pay a bit more for strawberries for lack of cheap immigrant labor, I count myself among the redistributionist economic nationalists.

jrs , September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

I suspect strawberries would be grown elsewhere than the U.S., without cheap immigrant labor (unless picking them is somehow able to be automated).

polecat , September 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm

Yes, it's called u-pickum @ home ..

Right now I'm making raisins from the grapes harvested here at home .. enough to last for a year, or maybe two. Sure, it's laborous to some extent, but the supply chain is very short .. the cost, compared to buying the same amount at retait rates, is minuscule, and they're as 'organic' as can be. The point I'm trying to make is that wth some personal effort, we can all live lighter, live slower, and be, for the most part, contented.
Might as well step into collapse, gracefully, and avoid the rush, as per J. M. Greer's mantra.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 12:45 pm

The UK had become somewhat dependent on Switzerland for wristwatches prior to WW2, and all of the sudden France falls and that's all she wrote for imports.

Must've been a mad scramble to resurrect the business, or outsource elsewhere.

My wife and I were talking about what would happen if say the reign of error pushes us into war with China, and thanks to our just in time way of life, the goods on the shelves of most every retailer, would be plundered by consumers, and maybe they could be restocked a few times, but that's it.

Now, that would shock us to our core consumerism.

Inode _buddha , September 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm

People might actually start learning how to fix stuff again, and value things that can be fixed.

polecat , September 28, 2018 at 5:39 pm

I recently purchased a cabinet/shelf for 20 tubmans, from a repurposing/recycling business, and, after putting a couple of hundred moar tubmans into it .. some of which included recycled latex paints and hardware .. transformed it into a fabulous stand-alone kitchen storage unit. If I were to purchase such at retail, it would most likely go for close to $800- $1000.00 easy !!
With care, this 'renewed' polecat heirloom will certainly outlive it's recreator, and pass on for generations henceforth.

Duck1 , September 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm

I thought a Tubman was a double sawbuck, or at least a Hamilton. Otherwise, you're doing it right kid.

HotFlash , September 28, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Oh well, Canada not on any of the charts. Again. We are most certainly chopped moose liver. Wonder what the selection criteria were?

JEHR , September 28, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Yes, thank goodness there was no mention of Canada's failure to negotiate a trade treaty with our best friend. All of a sudden, Canadians seem to be the target of a lot of ill will in other articles.

JTMcPhee , September 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm

I think it's just ill- informed jealousy. Us US mopes think Canadians are much better off than we Yanks, health care and such. You who live there have your own insights, of course. Trudeau and the Ford family and tar sands and other bits.

And some of us are peeved that you don't want us migrating to take advantage of your more beneficent milieu.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm

It's a different vibe up over, their housing bubble crested and is sinking, as the road to HELOC was played with the best intentions even more furiously than here in the heat of the bubble.

Can Canada bail itself out as we did in the aftermath, and keep the charade going?

Jonathan T McPhee , September 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Do they have a sovereign currency, and as yet not exhausted real world extractable resources?

And I guess by "Canada" you are talking about the elite and the FIRE, right? "There are many Canadas " https://www.youtube.com/user/RedGreenTV

Unna , September 28, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Feel free to fill out that 8 inch high pile of Canadian immigration documentation, so ya'all can come on up and join the party. Or just jump on your pony and ride North into the Land of the Grandmother. Trudeau wants more people and has failed to offer proper sacrifice to the god Terminus, the god of borders, so .

Just don't move to "Van" unless you have a few million to drop on a "reno'ed" crack shack. When the god Pluto crawls back into the earth, the housing bubble will burst, and it's not going to be pretty.

Wukchumni , September 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm

That's funny as our dam here is called the Terminus Reservoir, if the name fits

I'm just looking for an ancestral way out of what might prove to be a messy scene down under, i'd gladly shack up in one of many of my relatives basements if Max Mad breaks out here.

Unna , September 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Handwriting's been on the wall. Canada's very nice, not perfect, but what place is? And: It's not the imperial homeland.

JerryDenim , September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm

Great article, interesting data points, but besides placing tariffs on Chinese imports there is nothing populist about Trump, just empty rhetoric. Highly regressive tax cuts for the wealthy, further deregulation, wanton environmental destruction, extremist right-wing ideologues as judges, a cabinet full of Wall Street finance guys, more boiler-plate Neo-Lib policies as far as I can tell.

I fear Trump and the Brexiters are giving populism a bad name. A functioning democracy should always elect populists. A government of elected officials who do not represent the public will is not really a democracy.

feox , September 28, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Aversion to inequality thus reflects envy of the economic elites rather than compassion for the poor.

That's ridiculous. Indeed, the Brexit campaign was all about othering the poor and powerless immigrants, as well as the cultural, artistic, urban and academic elites, never the the moneyed elites, not the 1%. The campaign involved no dicussion what's so ever of the actual numbers of wealth inequality.

When deciding whether to vote mainstream or populist, US agents face a consumption-inequality trade-off. If elected, the populist delivers lower consumption but also lower inequality to US agents.

How can anyone possibly write such a thing? The multi-trillion tax cut from Donald Trump represents a massive long time rise in inequality. Vis-à-vis Brexit, the entire campaign support for that mad endeavor came from free-trader fundamentalists who want to be free to compete with both hands in the global race-to-the-bottom while the EU is (barely) restraining them.

Trump and Brexit voters truly are irrational turkeys (that's saying a lot for anyone who's met an actual turkey) voting for Christmas.

Jonathan T McPhee , September 28, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Some of us mopes who voted for Trump did so as a least-bad alternative to HER, just to try to kick the hornet's nest and get something to fly out: So your judgment is that those folks are "irrational turkeys," bearing in mind how mindless the Christmas and Thansgiving turkeys have been bred to be?

Better to arm up, get out in the street, and start marching and chanting and ready to confront the militarized police? I'd say, face it: as people here have noted there is a system in place, the "choices" are frauds to distract us every couple of years, and the vectors all point down into some pretty ugly terrain.

Bless those who have stepped off the conveyor, found little places where they can live "autarkically," more or less, and are waiting out the Ragnarok/Gotterdammerung/Mad Max anomie, hoping not to be spotted by the warbands that will form up and roam the terrain looking for bits of food and fuel and slaves and such. Like one survivalist I spotted recently says as his tag-line, "If you have stuff, you're a target. If you have knowledge. you have a chance–" this in a youtube video on how to revive a defunct nickel-cadmium drill battery by zapping it with a stick welder. (It works, by the way.)He's a chain smoker and his BMI must be close to 100, but he's got knowledge

precariat , September 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm

The papers's framing of the issues is curious: the populace has 'envy' of the well-off; and populism (read envy) rises when the economy is strong and inequality rises (read where's my yaht?).

The paper lacks acknowledgement of the corruption, fraud, and rigging of policy that rises when an overly financialized economy is 'good.' This contributes to inequality. Inequality is not just unequal, but extremely disproportionate distributions which cause real suffering and impoverishment of the producers. It follows (but not to the writer of this paper) that the citizens take offense at and objection to the disproprtionate takings of some and the meager receipts of the many. It's this that contributes to populism.

And the kicker: to save globalization, let's financialize the less developed economies to mitigate cross-border inequalities. Huh? Was not the discussion about developed nations' voters to rising inequality in face of globalization? The problem is not cross-border 'envy.' It's globalization instrinsically and how it is gamed.

Mark Pontin , September 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Short version: It's the looting, stupid.

Agreed.

knowbuddhau , September 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm

I'm with Olga. It's good to see that voting "wrong" taken seriously, and seen as economically rational. Opposing globalization makes sense, even in the idiosyncratic usage of economics.

The trouble, of course, is that the world of economics is not the world we live in.

Why does the immigrant cross the border? Is it only for "pecuniary interests," only for the money? Then why do so many send most of it back across the border, in remittances?

If people in poor countries aren't willing to sacrifice for "luxuries," like a dignified human life, who was Simon Bolivar, Che Guevara, or more recently, Berta Cáceres?

Seems to be a weakness of economic models in general: it's inconceivable that people do things for other than pecuniary interests. In the reductionist terms of natural science, we're social primates, not mechanical information engines.

If this model were a back patio cart, like the one I'm building right now, I wouldn't set my beer on it. Looks like a cart from a distance, though, esp when you're looking for one.

Darthbobber , September 28, 2018 at 6:02 pm

To the extent that the backlash has irrational aspects in the way it manifests, I would suspect that it relates to the refusal of the self-styled responsible people to participate in opening more rational paths to solutions, or even to acknowledge the existence of a problem. When the allegedly responsible and knowledgeable actors refuse to act, or even see a need to act, it's hardly surprising that the snake oil vendors grow in influence.

Charlie , September 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

I'm always leery of t-test values being cited without the requisite sample size being noted. You need that to determine effect size. While the slope looks ominously valid for the regression model, effects could be weak and fail to show whether current account deficits are the true source. Financialization seems purposely left out of the model.

[Sep 27, 2018] The power elites goal is to change its appearance to look like something new and innovative to stay ahead of an electorate who are increasingly skeptical of the neoliberalism and globalism that enrich the elite at their expense.

Highly recommended!
Sep 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
james , Sep 26, 2018 10:19:13 PM | link

Pft , Sep 26, 2018 9:58:02 PM | link

In my own words then. According to Cook the power elites goal is to change its appearance to look like something new and innovative to stay ahead of an electorate who are increasingly skeptical of the neoliberalism and globalism that enrich the elite at their expense.

Since they do not actually want change they find actors who pretend to represent change , which is in essence fake change. These then are their insurgent candidates

Trump serves the power elite , because while he appears as an insurgent against the power elite he does little to change anything

Trump promotes his fake insurgency on Twitter stage knowing the power elite will counter any of his promises that might threaten them

As an insurgent candidate Trump was indifferent to Israel and wanted the US out of Syria. He wanted good relations with Russia. He wanted to fix the health care system, rebuild infrastructure, scrap NAFTA and TTIPS, bring back good paying jobs, fight the establishment and Wall Street executives and drain the swamp. America First he said.

Trump the insurgent president , has become Israel's biggest cheerleader and has launched US missiles at Syria, relations with Russia are at Cold War lows, infrastructure is still failing, the percentage of people working is now at an all time low in the post housewife era, he has passed tax cuts for the rich that will endanger medicare, medicaid and social security and prohibit infrastructure spending, relaxed regulations on Wall Street, enhanced NAFTA to include TTIPS provisions and make US automobiles more expensive, and the swamp has been refilled with the rich, neocons , Koch associates, and Goldman Sachs that make up the power elites and Deep State Americas rich and Israel First

@34 pft... regarding the 2 cook articles.. i found they overly wordy myself... however, for anyone paying attention - corbyn seems like the person to vote for given how relentless he is being attacked in the media... i am not so sure about trump, but felt cook summed it up well with these 2 lines.. "Trump the candidate was indifferent to Israel and wanted the US out of Syria. Trump the president has become Israel's biggest cheerleader and has launched US missiles at Syria." i get the impression corbyn is legit which is why the anti-semitism keeps on being mentioned... craig murrary is a good source for staying on top of uk dynamics..

Piotr Berman , Sep 26, 2018 10:23:41 PM | link

For Trump to be "insurgent" he should

(a) talk coherently
(b) have some kind of movement consisting of people that agree with what is says -- that necessitates (a)

Then he could staff his Administration with his supporters rather than a gamut of conventional plutocrats, neocons, and hacks from the Deep State (intelligence, FBI and crazies culled from Pentagon). As it is easy to see, I am describing an alternate reality. Who is a Trumpian member of the Administration? His son-in-law?

karlof1 , Sep 26, 2018 11:42:43 PM | link
Pft @34--

Yes. just like Obama before him--another snake in the swamp!

Pft , Sep 27, 2018 12:53:59 AM | link
Karlof1@39

The swamps been filled with all kinds of vile creatures since the Carter administration. This is when the US/UK went full steam ahead with neoliberal globalism with Israel directing the war on terror for the Trilateral Empire (following Bibis Jerusalem conference so as to fulfill the Yinon plan). 40 years of terror and financial mayhem following the coup that took place from 1963-1974. After Nixons ouster they were ready to go once TLC Carter/Zbig kicked off the Trilateral era. Reagan then ran promising to oust the TLC swamp but broke his promise, as every President has done since .

div>
">link
">link

[Sep 27, 2018] Some have mentioned that Trump's actually working to undermine the efficacy of the Outlaw US Empire.

Sep 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Sep 26, 2018 3:15:48 PM | link

uuu @19--

The House organizes an investigation to arrive at a list known as Articles of Impeachment and votes to send them to Senate for Trial. Nixon was never Impeached. I think you meant to write that, but you didn't proofread.

Actually, the hypothetical outcome with Pence becoming POTUS is worth exploring for the wrongness of attempting to Impeach Trump as Pence is far more dangerous--although he keeps his mouth closed, Pence is very much like Bolton, and most agree Bolton as POTUS would be a disaster.

Some have mentioned that Trump's actually working to undermine the efficacy of the Outlaw US Empire. IMO, that would make an interesting thread topic. However, IMO, the Democrats, particularly Obama, Powers, Clinton, and Kerry did much prior to Trump to erode the Empire's Soft Power and empower the world's nations to begin resisting. The combination of BigLie Media and 100% unsubstantiated allegations powering Russiagate/Skripal has disgusted many and made the opportunities offered by China and Russia more attractive thanks to putting the arrogance of the Outlaw US Empire on full display--something BigLie Media cannot censor or spin to make disappear.

[Sep 27, 2018] Corbyn's Labour Party's aggressively on the move to end neoliberalism within UK

Sep 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Sep 26, 2018 3:55:10 PM | link

Yes, it's OT, yet it's germane just the same.

For those barflies not following what's happening politically in UK, you should know that Corbyn's Labour Party's aggressively on the move to end neoliberalism within UK. The best place to follow this show, IMO, is through Corbyn's Twitter , which currently has several short video ads at its top that I find compelling and powerful--the sort of ad campaigns that USA's Democrat Party would have run in the 1930s but won't today since it's 100% captured by neoliberal twats who'd rather help corporations than people. Indeed, if Trump's MAGA had produced its own version of My Town , he would have won even more handily (But he'd never be able to get Congress to pass any of his program since it's not Neoliberal--both Ds and Rs would vote it down).

IMO, once Labour regains control of UK government, much will also change within EU, and within the overall global order. Imagine an EU and UK having good relations with Russia and the changes that would generate.

[Sep 25, 2018] Marxian And Keynesian Critiques Of Neoliberalism Socialist Register by Alfredo Saad-Filho

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalism has lost much of its political legitimacy and nearly all its popular appeal during the last decade. Apologias of privatization, fiscal restraint, high interest rates, capital account liberalization, trade union-bashing and other policies overtly associated with the neoliberal reforms are in retreat. After sailing triumphantly to world domination in the eighties and nineties, neoliberalism has become a political liability. Its strident rhetoric has grown tired, and no longer brings votes - quite the contrary; neoliberal platforms must now be disguised. The political shriveling of neoliberalism has been especially evident since the East Asian crises and the collapse of the dot.com bubble. ..."
"... The political retreat of neoliberalism is startlingly evident in any reputable bookshop: the number of titles purporting to defend the neoliberal reforms has declined precipitously both in quality and in market appeal, while a large number of critical works have become available to growing numbers of readers.1 ..."
"... In spite of these political defeats, neoliberalism continues to be not only the dominant economic policy, but also the dominant modality of social and economic reproduction in most countries. ..."
"... And there is not even token recognition of the erosion of the political legitimacy of the capital relation in the sixties and seventies. Consequently, Keynesian analyses fail completely to realize that neoliberalism was a project of recomposition of the hegemony of capital under new conditions of accumulation. ..."
"... What is missing in Keynesian analysis is a methodologically structured account of the nature of capitalist accumulation, and an explanation of its intrinsic instability. ..."
"... But neoliberalism is not merely a set of economic and social policies, which can be easily replaced by an alternative set through the democratic process. Neoliberalism - just like the Keynesianism which it replaced - has a specific material basis.4 Neoliberalism combines an accumulation strategy, a mode of social and economic reproduction and a mode of exploitation and social domination based on the systematic use of state power to impose, under the ideological veil of non-intervention, a hegemonic project of recomposition of the rule of capital in all areas of social life. This project is guided by the current imperatives of the international reproduction of capital, which are represented most clearly by financial market interests and the global interests of US capital. ..."
"... Under neoliberalism, domestic politics has become tightly constrained by the need to insulate the process of accumulation (the 'market') from popular demands, especially the imperative to control labour in order to secure international competitiveness. ..."
"... In any case, neoliberalism has been able to support much higher standards of consumption for the top strata of the population, due to its concentrating dynamics and its promotion of consumer debt. ..."
"... The Keynesian claim that the neoliberal reforms have increased the returns of financial capital at the expense of industry is also a red herring. For the purpose of the neoliberal reforms is not to promote growth, reduce inflation or even to increase the portfolio choices of the financial institutions. The aim of the neoliberal reforms is to subordinate local working classes and domestic accumulation to international imperatives, promote the microeconomic integration of circuits of capital, mediated by finance, and expand the scope for financial system control of the three main sources of capital in the economy: state finance, the domestic savings pool, and the linkages between domestic and foreign capital. ..."
"... The transfer of the main levers of accumulation to international capital, mediated by tightly integrated US-led financial institutions, and regulated by US-controlled international financial organizations, has consolidated the material basis of neoliberalism globally. The prominence of finance expresses the subsumption of sectoral capitalist interests by the interests of capital as a whole. In policy terms, it ensures that accumulation is no longer regulated by contingent sectoral coalitions, especially in the poor countries, but by the capitalist class. ..."
"... First, Keynesians often argue that macroeconomic instability and frequent financial and balance of payments crises show that neoliberalism is fundamentally flawed. This is correct in exactly the same sense that, in the abstract, economic crises show that capitalism is a flawed mode of production. However, just as crises offer the opportunity to restore balance in capitalist accumulation, crises play a constructive - and even a constitutive - role under neoliberalism. ..."
"... Perversely, economic and financial crises show that the system works, and they help to make it work more smoothly in the long-term. ..."
"... Second, it is widely known that most governments promising to introduce alternative policies have failed. These failures clearly show that transcending neoliberalism is difficult and costly. At a deeper level, they also show that moving away from, or beyond, neoliberalism is not primarily a subjective problem of selecting the 'correct' industrial, financial or monetary policies. ..."
Jan 01, 2008 | socialistregister.com
Abstract

A Marxist examination of the material basis of neoliberalism throws light on several limitations of rival Keynesian critiques of neoliberalism. Two of these limitations are especially significant. First, Keynesians often argue that macroeconomic instability and frequent financial and balance of payments crises show that neoliberalism is fundamentally flawed. This is correct in exactly the same sense that, in the abstract, economic crises show that capitalism is a flawed mode of production. However, just as crises offer the opportunity to restore balance in capitalist accumulation, crises play a constructive--and even a constitutive--role under neoliberalism. They help to impose policy discipline on governments, and they compel both capitalists and workers to behave in ways that support the reproduction of neoliberalism. Perversely, economic and financial crises show that the system works, and they help to make it work more smoothly in the long-term. Second, it is widely known that most governments promising to introduce alternative policies have failed. These failures clearly show that transcending neoliberalism is difficult and costly. At a deeper level, they also show that moving away from, or beyond, neoliberalism is not primarily a subjective problem of selecting the 'correct' industrial, financial or monetary policies. Transcending neoliberalism will involve both economic and political transformations that can be addressed only through the construction of an alternative system of accumulation. These achievements cannot be resolved theoretically or through purely conceptual analysis: they are political problems, to be addressed strategically in the process of struggle for the emergence of a new working-class movement for the age of neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism has lost much of its political legitimacy and nearly all its popular appeal during the last decade. Apologias of privatization, fiscal restraint, high interest rates, capital account liberalization, trade union-bashing and other policies overtly associated with the neoliberal reforms are in retreat. After sailing triumphantly to world domination in the eighties and nineties, neoliberalism has become a political liability. Its strident rhetoric has grown tired, and no longer brings votes - quite the contrary; neoliberal platforms must now be disguised. The political shriveling of neoliberalism has been especially evident since the East Asian crises and the collapse of the dot.com bubble. The corruption scandals that came to light under Bush II have helped to unmask the regressive nature of the neoliberal project and its organic links with the reconstitution of US imperialism. The political retreat of neoliberalism is startlingly evident in any reputable bookshop: the number of titles purporting to defend the neoliberal reforms has declined precipitously both in quality and in market appeal, while a large number of critical works have become available to growing numbers of readers.1

In spite of these political defeats, neoliberalism continues to be not only the dominant economic policy, but also the dominant modality of social and economic reproduction in most countries. It could easily be argued that the economic grip of neoliberalism is becoming stronger even as its political legitimacy wanes. This disconnect is examined below, through a specific angle: the sources, significance and political implications of the Keynesian and Marxist critiques of neoliberalism. These are important questions for readers of the Register for two reasons. First, and quite obviously, Marxist theory loses much of its relevance if it is disconnected from political action. Clarification of the differences between Marxian and rival interpretations of neoliberalism can help to strengthen the former and enhance its political relevance and mass appeal. Second, the argument developed below suggests that neoliberalism is a resilient system of accumulation which will neither collapse spontaneously, nor be dislodged simply through the workings of the electoral process. Mass action remains the essential lever for social transformation in the age of neoliberalism. However, neoliberalism has transformed the modalities of reproduction of the working class and the scope for independent working-class action. New forms of political participation need to be found, and new modes of organization developed, in order to challenge its dominance.

KEYNESIANISM AND NEOLIBERALISM

In neoclassical economic theory and in neoliberal rhetoric, capitalist ('market') economies spontaneously gravitate towards full employment and the most efficient use of resources, unless the adjustment path is blocked by market imperfections. These imperfections can include misguided government policies, trade union activity, peculiarities of the industrial structure or technology, and a whole host of 'distortions' which, ultimately, separate the real world from the mirage conjured up by the apologists of unbridled capitalism.

One of the most significant intellectual achievements of John Maynard Keynes was his alternative conceptualization of the capitalist macroeconomy. For Keynes, the aggregate level of output and employment is limited by aggregate demand (subject to capacity limits). If demand is insufficient, for example because of adverse profit expectations on the part of the investors, or because the state fails to adopt sufficiently proactive fiscal and monetary policies, firms will reduce production and employment. This could trigger a recession from which the economy may not emerge spontaneously. Conversely, if aggregate demand is excessive, output will eventually hit capacity limits, leading to inflation and balance of payments deficits. Keynes developed this fundamental insight in the midst of the Great Depression. It led him to believe that, in an advanced capitalist economy, the level of activity could stabilize at any level of unemployment. If there is no spontaneous tendency towards full employment, the economy can find itself lumbered with high unemployment indefinitely, at great economic and social cost. This may also lead to political instability. Keynes's reasoning offers a sharp break with the logic and the policy implications of neoclassical economics. It suggests that government intervention is essential to stabilize the economy at the desired level of unemployment, which should not be too high (to avoid needless deprivation) or too low (because of the possibility of inflation).

Keynes believes that the government can secure full employment and low inflation simultaneously if it fine-tunes aggregate demand using fiscal, monetary and incomes policy instruments (for example, adjusting the level and structure of taxation and government spending, fiddling with interest rates, regulating industrial relations, and so on).

Inspired by Keynes, economists developed an impressive technical and institutional apparatus that enabled the Western economies to avoid a repetition of the Great Depression. Relative economic - and, therefore, social and political - stability has been a lasting triumph of Keynesianism. Keynesians claim that their preferred policies were largely responsible for the post war 'golden age', when most capitalist countries experienced high growth rates, near-full employment, rising income levels and unprecedented levels of social integration. But Keynesianism has been in retreat since at least the mid-seventies. The neoliberal transformations in the US, the UK and elsewhere have reversed significant aspects of the Keynesian consensus, for example, through the large-scale privatization of productive state assets, reduced tolerance for trade union activity, and the reintegration/subordination of the working class through policies of high unemployment, low economic growth, concentration of assets and income, and the partial rollback of the welfare state. The Keynesian consensus is long gone. Contemporary capitalism has shifted, instead, towards specific modalities of economic, social and political reproduction associated with neoliberalism. Keynesian economists typically account for the retreat of Keynesianism in terms of two key processes.2 First, the success of Keynesian management during the postwar era was so complete that it seemed that the problems of income distribution and mass unemployment in the advanced economies had been resolved once and for all.

With the disappearance of the most obvious symptoms of poverty and inequality, and the seemingly irreversible stabilization of capitalism, many people became convinced that Keynesian policies, institutions and economic management were no longer needed. Second, Keynesianism was deeply divided between relatively conservative US Keynesians and relatively left-wing British post-Keynesians. The latter were traditionally based at the University of Cambridge, where Keynes, Sraffa, Joan Robinson and their disciples once taught. The Cambridge Faculty of Economics is today viciously neoclassical. It is easier for a camel to stray into the White House than for a non-mainstream economist to be hired at Cambridge. These divisions among Keynesians hinged, to a large extent, on their differing theories of income distribution. US Keynesians were generally committed to the neoclassical theory of distribution based on the marginal product of labour (which was accepted by Keynes himself) which implied that the existing distribution of income in a competitive economy is fundamentally fair - governments need only tinker with distribution at the margins, and real wage flexibility can raise the level of employment. These policy conclusions were rejected by British post-Keynesians, for whom the distribution of income depends primarily on institutional variables and power relations. US Keynesians also focused much more narrowly on short run economic management, in which a stable environment is important to foster business confidence, while UK Keynesians tended to focus on long term dynamic stabilization and the amelioration of entrenched inequalities. The theoretical conflicts among Keynesians contributed to their growing paralysis and, ultimately, made it impossible for a clear Keynesian ideology to emerge and compete against the neoliberal rhetoric which became increasingly popular in the late sixties and seventies.

The internal disagreements among Keynesians became especially problematic when the world economy entered into a long downturn in the early seventies, which Keynesians could neither explain nor address adequately. In the end, their school of thought dissolved into confusion. Only five years separate Richard Nixon's 1971 statement that 'we are all Keynesians now' from Jim Callaghan's pathetic admission at the Labour Party Conference during the 1976 IMF crisis that 'We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candor that that option no longer exists'.

The retreat of Keynesianism opened the way to the neoliberal reforms, which Keynesians have always insisted can only lead to a significant rise in unemployment, a shift of the distribution of income and power towards business, and greater economic volatility. A Keynesian policy would instead increase state economic intervention to rebalance the distribution of income and social power, provide public goods and services in greater abundance and promote systemic competitiveness and diffuse new technologies to secure higher saving and investment rates and stabilize aggregate demand.

A MARXIAN ALTERNATIVE

The Keynesian analysis of neoliberalism outlined in the previous section includes important insights and several appropriate policy proposals. How ever, it does not go far enough, or deep enough. For these reasons, it offers misleading hopes, three of which are examined here: the level of analysis, the problem of agency, and the role of the state and the scope for alternative economic policies.

NEOLIBERALISM AND THE LEFT

1. Level of Analysis

The Keynesian account of the decline of the 'golden age' and the rise of neoliberalism outlined in the previous section is too abstract and indeterminate because it fails to contextualize the transformations in capitalist production and in economic and state institutions taking place between the mid-forties and the late seventies. Instead, the analysis focuses on horizontal distributive conflicts between rival social groups and between states. These conflicts include disputes between the US, Western Europe and Japan, and between governments and the private sector, between finance and industry, and between industrial capital and the workers. These conflicts are normally not explained in detail; they are usually merely described as disputes over shares of the national (or, in the case of states, global) income. This is insufficient because it bypasses completely the conditions of work and the distribution of power on the shop floor and in society. In summary, Keynesian analyses tend to describe conflicts around the process of accumulation, while obscuring or ignoring completely conflicts about the nature of capitalist accumulation.3

Consequently, little explanation is offered of the crisis of profitability in the sixties and seventies, except that wages were too high. There is no significant attempt to incorporate into the analysis the anti-systemic social struggles taking place in the rich countries, or the socialist and anti-imperialist struggles in the poor countries. And there is not even token recognition of the erosion of the political legitimacy of the capital relation in the sixties and seventies. Consequently, Keynesian analyses fail completely to realize that neoliberalism was a project of recomposition of the hegemony of capital under new conditions of accumulation.

Keynesians take the extraction of surplus value for granted: the cake must grow so everyone can have more. The rest is just a matter of detail: it is who gets more icing and how the crumbs are scattered, which can be discussed in a civilized manner whether in parliament, or in bilateral negotiations or through a social accord brokered by a 'neutral' state. Fundamentally, everyone can become happier at the same time. The need for social discipline in order to preserve the conditions for the production and accumulation of surplus value, and the necessity of legitimacy and social order for economic stabilization is completely obviated in Keynesian analyses.

What is missing in Keynesian analysis is a methodologically structured account of the nature of capitalist accumulation, and an explanation of its intrinsic instability. This is not because the future is unknown, or because of distributive conflicts in the sphere of exchange (both of which are transhistorical phenomena), but because of radical uncertainty in the sphere of production, which is created by conflicts over the extraction of surplus value under specific modalities of capitalist accumulation.

Keynesians generally fail to explain why and how their preferred policies interacted with the process of accumulation between the forties and the seventies, how their interaction released forces that would render Keynesianism itself obsolete, and leave the field open to the advance of neoliberalism.

2. Agency

The second problem concerns agency. In Keynesian analyses of the economy the main determinant of collective action is narrow economic interest, whether it is located at the level of the individual or an interest group. These competing interests play against each other in an institutional context in which the state is both separated from society and the market, and intrinsically neutral, even if it can be temporarily captured by specific interest groups (including, for example, the rival neoliberal and Keynesian camps). This supports the Keynesian commitment to the transformative power of democracy, as the best way to remove the grip of neoliberalism and restore the conditions for stable growth and development.

But neoliberalism is not merely a set of economic and social policies, which can be easily replaced by an alternative set through the democratic process. Neoliberalism - just like the Keynesianism which it replaced - has a specific material basis.4 Neoliberalism combines an accumulation strategy, a mode of social and economic reproduction and a mode of exploitation and social domination based on the systematic use of state power to impose, under the ideological veil of non-intervention, a hegemonic project of recomposition of the rule of capital in all areas of social life. This project is guided by the current imperatives of the international reproduction of capital, which are represented most clearly by financial market interests and the global interests of US capital.

Under neoliberalism, domestic politics has become tightly constrained by the need to insulate the process of accumulation (the 'market') from popular demands, especially the imperative to control labour in order to secure international competitiveness. This has reduced drastically the scope for social policy, and led to higher unemployment and job insecurity in most countries. It has also created an income-concentrating dynamics of accumulation that can be limited, but not reversed, by marginal Keynesian interventions.

When viewed from this angle, the notorious inability of the neoliberal reforms to support high levels of investment or high GDP growth rates is really irrelevant. In any case, neoliberalism has been able to support much higher standards of consumption for the top strata of the population, due to its concentrating dynamics and its promotion of consumer debt.

The Keynesian claim that the neoliberal reforms have increased the returns of financial capital at the expense of industry is also a red herring. For the purpose of the neoliberal reforms is not to promote growth, reduce inflation or even to increase the portfolio choices of the financial institutions. The aim of the neoliberal reforms is to subordinate local working classes and domestic accumulation to international imperatives, promote the microeconomic integration of circuits of capital, mediated by finance, and expand the scope for financial system control of the three main sources of capital in the economy: state finance, the domestic savings pool, and the linkages between domestic and foreign capital.

The transfer of the main levers of accumulation to international capital, mediated by tightly integrated US-led financial institutions, and regulated by US-controlled international financial organizations, has consolidated the material basis of neoliberalism globally. The prominence of finance expresses the subsumption of sectoral capitalist interests by the interests of capital as a whole. In policy terms, it ensures that accumulation is no longer regulated by contingent sectoral coalitions, especially in the poor countries, but by the capitalist class.

Specifically, there can be no presumption that there is an 'antagonic' relationship between production and finance under neoliberalism, and no expectation that industrial capital will 'rebel' against finance and push for the restoration of Keynesianism. Industrial capital has a stake in the neoliberal model, and it is structurally committed to its reproduction. The internationalization of the circuits of capital, and financial market control of state fund ing, have made investment and the realization of profits dependent on world market conditions and the interests of international capital. This would make any attempt to decouple from the neoliberal compact very costly indeed - this is an unattractive business proposition.

3. The Role of the State and the Scope for Economic Policy

The third problem concerns the role of the state and the scope for economic policy. In Keynesian analyses the state is disembedded from society, and a Keynesian government could rise above the sectional interests that have hijacked the state under neoliberalism in order to implement policies that are both more egalitarian, and more in tune with the interests of productive capital rather than finance.

This proposition is politically appealing but it is analytically flawed. If the state is disembedded from society, why should it select policies that maximize the rate of accumulation or employment generation, or avoid financial crises? In principle, anything goes; all that the progressive camp needs to do is get their electoral act together. But the state, and the institutions comprised within it, are shaped by technology and ideology, and by class relations, conflicts, and material interests. Under these complex circumstances, it is hopelessly naïve to expect that the social basis of the state can be transformed via the electoral process alone. Since neoliberalism has developed its own material basis, it cannot be undone simply through the electoral process.

The Keynesian prescription thus fails to realize that, given the strength of the material basis of neoliberalism, progressive policies will tend to consolidate and fine-tune the current order, rather than undermine it. For exam ple, open regionalism and liberal interventionism limit the scope for activist industrial and trade policies, membership of the IMF and the World Bank rule out the imposition of controls over finance and the balance of payments, and support for the WTO curtails the possibility of internalization of systems of provision, which is essential for macroeconomic stability and long-term sustainable growth. Since neoliberalism is the contemporary form of capitalism, stable accumulation has become synonymous with accumulation under neoliberalism. Any fundamental change to the dominant system of accumulation is always destabilizing. Such fundamental change is necessary - but it is going to be neither smooth nor costless.

CONCLUSION

A Marxist examination of the material basis of neoliberalism throws light on several limitations of Keynesianism. Two of these limitations are especially significant.

First, Keynesians often argue that macroeconomic instability and frequent financial and balance of payments crises show that neoliberalism is fundamentally flawed. This is correct in exactly the same sense that, in the abstract, economic crises show that capitalism is a flawed mode of production. However, just as crises offer the opportunity to restore balance in capitalist accumulation, crises play a constructive - and even a constitutive - role under neoliberalism. They help to impose policy discipline on governments, and they compel both capitalists and workers to behave in ways that support the reproduction of neoliberalism. Perversely, economic and financial crises show that the system works, and they help to make it work more smoothly in the long-term.

Second, it is widely known that most governments promising to introduce alternative policies have failed. These failures clearly show that transcending neoliberalism is difficult and costly. At a deeper level, they also show that moving away from, or beyond, neoliberalism is not primarily a subjective problem of selecting the 'correct' industrial, financial or monetary policies.

Transcending neoliberalism will involve both economic and political transformations that can be addressed only through the construction of an alternative system of accumulation. This project will require dismantling systematically the material basis of neoliberalism through a set of radically redistributive and democratic economic policy initiatives. These policies will support a decisive shift to less unequal distributions of income, wealth and power, as a fundamental condition for democracy. These policy measures cannot be simply entrusted to government initiatives. They must be driven by a politically re-articulated working class, as one of the main levers for its own economic recomposition.

The problem is that this virtuous circle cannot be wished into being. It requires the development of new structures of political representation corresponding to the mode of existence of the working class under neoliberalism, and supporting the development of new modalities of reproduction for this class. These achievements cannot be resolved theoretically or through purely conceptual analysis: they are political problems, to be addressed strategically in the process of struggle for the emergence of a new working-class movement for the age of neoliberalism.

NOTES

1 See, for example, D. Harvey, The New Imperialism, Oxford: Oxford Univer sity Press, 2005; D. Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005; D. Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a The ory of Uneven Geographical Development, London: Verso, 2006; K.S. Jomo, ed., Globalization under Hegemony: The Changing World Economy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006; K.S. Jomo and B. Fine, ed., The New Development Economics after the Washington Consensus, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006; R. Kiely, Empire in the Age of Globalisation: US Hegemony and Neoliberal Disorder, London: Pluto Press, 2005; R. Kiely, The New Political Economy of Development: Globalization, Imperialism, Hegemony, London: Palgrave, 2006; and J. Stiglitz, Globalization and Its Discontents, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2003.

2 See, for example, T. Palley, Keynesianism: What it is and why it still matters, 2005, available from http://www.thomaspalley.com.

3 For additional details, see A. Saad-Filho, 'Monetary Policy in the Neoliberal Transition: A Political Economy Review of Keynesianism, Monetarism and Inflation Targeting', in R. Albritton, B. Jessop and R. Westra, eds., Political Economy of the Present and Possible Global Futures, London: Anthem Press, 2007.

4 See A. Saad-Filho, 'Introduction' in Saad-Filho, ed., Anti-Capitalism: A Marxist Introduction, London: Pluto Press, 2003; and A. Saad-Filho and D. Johnston, 'Introduction' in Saad-Filho and Johnston, eds., Neoliberalism: A Critical Reader, London, Pluto Press, 2005.

[Sep 25, 2018] Tensions Grow As China, Russia, And Iran Lead The Way Towards A New Multipolar World Order Zero Hedge

Sep 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Logic and reason seem to have been abandoned long ago in Washington's decision-making, even more so given that Trump has completely renounced all his electoral promises regarding foreign policy. The rapprochement with Moscow is now a distant mirage; the special relationship between Xi Jinping and Trump is just the latter's propaganda, anxious as he is to reach an agreement with the DPRK and show some example of success to his base.

The logic of imposing more than $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese products, and then asking for strong support from Beijing in mediation with Pyongyang, seems more like the moves of a desperate person rather than those of an amateur. Even historical allies like South Korea, Pakistan, India and Turkey, as repeatedly stressed recently , fear Washington's irrationality and politics of "America First" and are running for cover. They are diversifying energy resources and ignoring American diktats, buying armaments from Russia, cooperating with China in large infrastructure projects to connect the vast Eurasian continent, and participating in economic and financial forums to diversify funding and cooperate on a new and industrial level.

Indeed, the strategic triangle that emerges between Tehran, Beijing and Moscow, seems to draw all the neighbouring countries into a large geopolitical waltz. A transition to a multipolar reality brings many advantages to Washington's allies, but it also brings many tensions with American oligarchs. The example of the sale of the S-400 in Ankara is an important wake-up call for the oligarchs of the American military-industrial complex, who see a potential loss in revenue. In the same way, the creation of an alternative system to SWIFT strongly reduces the centrality of American banking institutions and thus their political weight. We must also keep in mind Sino-Russian actions in Africa, which are progressively breaking the chains of Western neo-colonialism, thereby freeing African countries to pursue a more balanced foreign policy focused on their national interests.

This transition phase that we have been living in over the last few years will continue for some time. Like an already written script, the trend is easily discernible to a lucid mind free of Western propaganda. Erdogan certainly is not a person to be completely trusted, and the talks in Astana should be understood in this light, especially if viewed from the Russian-Iranian point of view. Yet such cooperation opens the door to an unprecedented future, although at present Astana seems more like an alternative to a bloody war between countries in Syria than a conversation between allies. Syria's future will unavoidably see the country's territorial integrity maintained, thanks to allies who are now disengaged from the Western system and are gravitating around centers of power opposed to Washington, namely Beijing, Moscow and Tehran.

The reconstruction of the country will bypass western sanctions and bring significant amounts of money to the country. In the same way Iraq, once under the rule of a dictator friendly to Washington, today openly and genuinely collaborates with Moscow, and especially Tehran, in defeating the Wahhabi proxies of Riyadh, an American ally.

The economic battle serves to complete the picture, with European allies forced to suffer huge economic losses as a result of sanctions against Russia and Iran . The tariffs on trade, especially to countries like Turkey, Japan and South Korea (although it seems that this proposal was intentionally sabotaged by a collaborator within the Trump administration), are further serving to push US allies to explore alternatives in terms of trust and cooperation.

China and Russia have seized the opportunities, offering through adroit diplomacy military, industrial and economic proposals that are drawing Washington's historical allies into a new political reality where there is less space for Washington's diktats.

The European establishment in some Western countries like Germany, France and the UK seems to have decided wait out Trump (this torture perhaps brought to an early end through a palace coup). But many others have instead intuited what is really happening in the West. Two factions are fighting each other, but still within the confines of a shared worldview that sees the United States as the only benevolent world power, and the likes of China and Russia as rivals that need to be contained. In such a difficult situation to manage, well-known leaders like Modi, Abe, Moon Jae-In and Erdogan are starting to take serious steps towards exploring possible alternatives to an exclusive alliance with the United States, that is, towards experiencing the benefits of a multipolar-world environment.

It is not just a question for these countries of breaking the strategic alliance with the United States. This aspect will probably not change for several years, especially in countries that have enormous military and economic ties with Washington. The path that South Korea, Turkey and Japan appear to be taking is deeply rooted in the concept of Multipolarity, which diversifies international relations, allowing countries to shop around to find the best opportunities. It is therefore not surprising to see the Japanese prime minister and the Russian president discussing at the economic forum in Vladivostok the possibility of signing a historic peace treaty. In the same way, if Turkey suffers a double political and economic attack from the US, it should not surprise us if they decide to purchase the S-400 defense system from Russia or start a full fledged campaign to de-dollarize. Such examples could be repeated, but the case of South Korea stands out. There is no need for Seoul to wait for Washington to mess things up diplomatically with Pyongyang before discussing the rebirth of relations between the two countries. Seoul is anxious to seize the opportunity for a renewed dialogue between leaders and solve the Korean impasse as much as possible. Finally, India, which has no intention of losing the opportunity for an economic partnership with Beijing and a military one with Moscow, launched the basis for a multi-party discussion between the Eurasian powers on the Afghan situation that has caused so much friction with Islamabad, especially with the new political phase that Imran Khan's victory as Pakistan's prime minister promises.

Washington faces all these scenarios with skepticism, annoyance and disgust, fearing losing important countries and its ability to determine the regional balance around the planet. What fascinates many analysts is the stubbornness and stupidity of US policy-makers. The more they try to prolong the US unipolar moment, the more incentive they give to other countries to jump on the multipolar bandwagon.

Even countries that probably have deep ties with the United States on an oligarchic level will have no alternative other than to modify and redesign their strategic alliances over the next 30 years. The United States continues along the path of diplomatic arrogance and strategic stupidity, mired in a civil war among its elites, with no end in sight.

Each scenario involving the US now has to be viewed with two factors in mind: not just the attempt to maintain an imperialist posture, but also an internal struggle involving its elites. This adds a further level of confusion for America's allies and the world in general, who strain to decipher the next moves of a deep state totally out of control.


WTFUD , 1 minute ago

To American Exceptionalism

Dearly Beloved

We are gathered here . . . . . to say **** You . . . . . .

Adolfsteinbergovitch , 3 minutes ago

Next thing you know, the once glorious USA have become the pariah of this world.

And nobody sees this as a bad thing. That's just the cycle of life.

turkey george palmer , 12 minutes ago

It's always the same. Stupid corrupt right wing blather about family values back in the 80's, still a winning line of ********. Trump took it to cartoonish levels and got the low informed vote to come out and git er done...
Course Hillary charged them up too, which is really surprising unless Ole bent pecker bill really told Lynch to launch the deep state overthrow of trump and was actually letting Hillary throw the election.

[Sep 23, 2018] European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed Theresa May appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

Sep 23, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/22/euro-s22.html

From the Super Schadenfreude Press:

"UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered political humiliation in Salzburg, when European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed her appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

May was given only 10 minutes to address EU heads of state Wednesday, after dinner at the informal summit, during which she appealed to her audience, "You are participants in our debate, not just observers."

She said she had counted on at least supportive noises for her "serious and workable" plan, given that she was seeking to head off a potential challenge from the "hard-Brexit"/Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party. She warned that the UK could be torn apart -- with respect to Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as by social tensions; that if her government fell, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party could win a general election; and cited the potential damage to the EU itself of lost trade, investment and military support from the UK.

Instead, her address was met with silence and her implied threats were stonewalled, as the main players within the EU combined the next day to declare her proposals to be "unworkable.

No matter how these conflicts play out, Britain and the whole of Europe face a worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU apart. The growth of both inter-imperialist and social antagonisms found dramatic form in Brexit, which the dominant sections of the City of London, big business, all the major parties and Britain's allies in the US and Europe all opposed. Yet two years later, May is fighting a desperate struggle against her anti-EU "hard-Brexit" faction, the US is led by a president who has declared his support for the breakup of the EU, and numerous far-right governments have taken power in part by exploiting popular hostility to EU-dictated austerity."

"worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU-(and hence NATO)- apart. " .

:O)

[Sep 23, 2018] Chris Hedges Are We Witnessing The Collapse Of The American Empire

Video
Sep 23, 2018 | www.realclearpolitics.com

Steve Paikin, host of the TVOntario (TVO) program The Agenda with Steve Paikin , speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, a vociferous public critic of presidents on both sides of the American political spectrum, and author of the new book, America, the Farewell Tour . Hedges delivers the biting assessment of the state of American democracy that our neighbors to the North are not polite enough to say on their own.

[Sep 22, 2018] The implications of US-China trade war - World Socialist Web Site

18 September 2018
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Popularity of National Socialism in capitalist country like Germany was exactly due to that process of corruption of working class who embassy stoped to question system as long as provided them with goods. ..."
"... Henceforth, most goods manufactured for US consumption were to be produced abroad, from Mexico to China. Once US based multinationals started down this road, European and even Japanese ones followed. This did not mean an increase in productive forces but a substitution of one labour force for another. ..."
"... Thus the rise of Chinese industry was as much a part of this process as the deindustrialisation of formerly prosperous parts of the US and the UK. This has nothing to do with the evolution of our species and everything to do with the evolution of capitalism. This is what I mean by globalisation. ..."
"... It has not eradicated national borders but is a major factor in the recent development of far right nationalism in Europe. It is a strong contributor to the restructuring of western economies so that only a minority of British workers have full time permanent jobs. It is also used as leverage to drive down wages in western economies. ..."
"... I do not believe what I mean by globalisation is progressive at all. It has been pushed by the most reactionary political forces in western societies as an integral part of what the WSWS calls a social counter revolution. As the WSWS again points out it makes the preservation of national welfare states or a decent standard of living for working class people impossible. I am not calling for this to be reversed under capitalism. ..."
"... "...globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries." ..."
"... As if domestic production were not the same thing. The author is essentially arguing for "lesser evil" exploitation in the interests of society as a whole. Reformists always do. ..."
"... "The crisis also exposed in full glare another of the central myths of the capitalist order -- that the state is somehow a neutral or independent organisation committed to regulating social and economic affairs in the interests of society as a whole." - Ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers ..."
"... "Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people." ..."
"... The most important theoretical source of his thinking is his own work "The General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest" which is available to read or download free online. ..."
"... The US wants to reinforce it's declining global hegemonic position at any cost. Now they started with economic war against countries they see as not cooperating to their demands, but under current conditions this could easily transform into Global war at some point in future. ..."
Sep 22, 2018 | www.wsws.org

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis ten years ago, the leaders of the world's major powers pledged that never again would they go down the road of protectionism which had such disastrous consequences in the 1930s -- deepening the Great Depression and contributing to the outbreak of world war in 1939.

Yesterday US President Donald Trump announced tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods in what the Washington Post described as "one of the most severe economic restrictions ever imposed by a US president."

A levy of 10 percent will be imposed starting from September 24 and will be escalated to 25 percent in 2019 if the US does not receive what it considers to be a satisfactory agreement. The new tariffs, which will cover more than 1,000 goods, come on top of the 25 percent tariff already imposed on $50 billion worth of industrial products. Trump has threatened further measures on the remaining Chinese exports to the US totalling more than $250 billion.

China has threatened retaliatory action including tariffs and other, as yet unspecified measures, against the US, meaning that the world's number one and number two economies are locked into a rapidly escalating trade war that will have global consequences.

Announcing the decision, Trump called on China to take "swift action" to end what he called its "unfair trade practices" and expressed the hope that the trade conflict would be resolved.

But there is little prospect of such an outcome because, while the US is demanding that the trade deficit with China be reduced, the conflict does not merely centre on that issue. China has made offers to increase its imports from the US, all of which have been rejected. The key US demand is that the Chinese government completely abandon its program of economic development and remain subservient to the US in high-tech economic sectors.

As the position paper issued by Washington in May put it: "China will cease providing market-distorting subsidies and other types of government support that can contribute to the creation or maintenance of excess capacity in industries targeted by the Made in China 2025 industrial plan."

In other words, China must completely scrap the foundational structures of its economy so that it presents no threat to the economic dominance of US capitalism, a dominance which the US intends to maintain, if it considers necessary, by military means. This was made clear earlier this year when Washington designated China as a "strategic competitor," that is, a potential military enemy. This is the inherent, objective, logic of the latest trade war measures.

Their full significance can only be grasped when viewed with the framework of the historical development of the global capitalist economy.

After the disastrous decade of the 1930s, and as the world plunged into war, leading figures within the Roosevelt administration recognised that this situation was due in no small measure to the division of the world into rival trade and economic blocs which tariff and other trade restrictions had played a major role in creating.

Post-war planning centred on trying to overcome this contradiction between the global economy and its division into rival great powers and blocs through the development of a mechanism that ensured the expansion of world trade. This was the basis of the series of measures set in place in the immediate aftermath of the war: the Bretton Woods monetary system which tied major currencies to the dollar in fixed exchange rates, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that sought to bring down tariff barriers and the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to ensure international economic collaboration.

These measures, however, did not overcome the inherent contradictions of capitalism, above all between the global economy and the nation-state system. Rather, they sought to contain and mitigate them within a system based on the overwhelming economic dominance of the US.

But the growth of the world capitalist economy and the strengthening of the other major powers undermined the very foundations on which they were based -- the absolute dominance of the US. Within the space of a generation, the weakening of the US position was revealed in August 1971 when it scrapped the Bretton Woods monetary system declaring that the dollar would no longer be redeemable for gold.

The period since then has seen the ongoing weakening of the position of the US, which was graphically revealed in the financial meltdown ten years ago when the US financial system was shown to be a house of cards based on rampant speculation and outright criminal activity. This situation has continued in the subsequent decade, threatening, another, even more disastrous, financial crisis.

The US is now not only confronted with the economic power of its European rivals but a major new one in the form of China. It is striving to reverse this situation. As Leon Trotsky explained some eighty years ago, the hegemony of the US would assert itself most powerfully not in conditions of boom but above all in a crisis when it would use every means -- economic and military -- against all rivals to maintain its position.

The trade war measures against China are only one expression of this process. The US has already carried out protectionist measures against Europe and Japan through the imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium and has threatened tariffs on cars and auto parts, which will be invoked unless they join its push on China.

And as the China tariffs are imposed, top officials of the European Union are meeting to discuss how they might overcome the financial sanctions the US will impose against European companies if they maintain economic ties with Iran after November 4 following the unilateral abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal.

The deal was not overturned because Iran had breached the agreement -- international agencies found that it had fully complied. Rather, the United States unilaterally abrogated the treaty in order to strengthen the strategic position of the US in the Middle East by countering the influence of Iran, and because European corporations stood to benefit from the opening up of new economic opportunities in that country at the expense of their US rivals.

Now the State Department has warned that European companies are "on the railroad tracks" if they defy US sanctions and firms that deal with the "enemy" will be barred from access to the US financial system.

Writing in the 1930s, Leon Trotsky explained that the interdependence of every country in the global economy meant that the program of economic nationalism, of the kind now being practised by the Trump administration, was a reactionary "utopia" insofar as it set itself the task of harmonious national economic development on the basis of private property.

"But it is a menacing reality insofar as it is a question of concentrating all the economic forces of the nation for the preparation of a new war," he wrote five years before the outbreak of World War II.

This "menacing reality" is now once again expressed in the fact that the trade war measures against China, as well as those against Europe and Japan, have all been invoked on "national security" grounds. Just as the US prepares for war, so too do all the other major powers. This drive does not arise from the heads of the capitalist politicians -- their actions are only the translation into politics of the objective logic and irresolvable contradictions of the capitalist system over which they preside.

But there is another more powerful logic at work. The very development of globalised production, which has raised the contradiction of the outmoded nation-state system with its rival great powers to a new peak of intensity, has laid the foundations for a planned world socialist economy. And it has created in the international working class, unified at an unprecedented level, the social force to carry it out.

The latest Trump trade war measures underscore the urgency for the political and theoretical arming of the working class with the program of world socialist revolution, fought for by the International Committee of the Fourth International, if civilisation is to go forward and the plunge into barbarism averted.

Nick Beams

ReplyShare › +

Warren Duzak4 days ago

Beams excellent piece included:
"As the position paper issued by Washington in May put it: "China will
cease providing market-distorting subsidies and other types of government support that can contribute to the creation or maintenance of excess capacity in industries targeted by the Made in China 2025 industrial plan."

This issue of "government support" in China is reflected in the U.S. but in a different way. Nashville and Tennessee governments alone have given hundreds of millions of dollars in "tax incentives," payment for worker training and outright "grants" to corporations in "government support."
Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) got millions for, of all things, furniture for new offices which included thousands of dollars for a guitar-shaped table.
Gaylord's Opryland Resort got almost $14 million from the city to build a $90 million hotel Waterpark that would only be open to hotel guests!
The state and its capitol are prepared to give Amazon more than $1.5 billion to have the corporation move is second U.S. headquarters here.
Like the Chinese government and oligarchs, neither state nor city will reveal the details or total amount.
As the WSWS has so correctly observed before, "the hypocrisy is breathtaking."

Jerome_Stern5 days ago
I should say I do not agree that globalised production is a beneficial or positive economic development. I accept that as a by product there is a positive political result namely the creation and expansion of the international working class. But the only reason for globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries. If the cost of labour, taking into account currency exchange rates as well as wage levels, were the same in every country and region, there would be no advantage in producing most commodities in Asia for sale in North America or Europe (or vice versa). Also, I do not accept that free trade is in everyone's interest. The only argument ever advanced in it's favour by economists, the comparative advantage argument, is spurious. Even its originators, Adam Smith and David Ricardo, accepted that the benefits would only apply if capital was immobile across national boundaries, which hardly applies today. The US economy's industrial growth, though the result of several factors, was only possible because the US rejected free trade in favour of protective tariffs which protected its infant industries from foreign competition. What is the central fallacy in the comparative advantage argument is that the prosperity of the majority of a country's citizens under capitalism depends on a strong, capital intensive, manufacturing sector, but which also requires a large labour input. Only those jobs can pay a sufficiently high wage to workers. Their spending power also invigorates the whole economy.
Kalen Jerome_Stern4 days ago
Your quite reasonable concerns are partially addressed here with Quasi-Marxist analysis:

FALLACY OF FREE MARKET AND FREE TRADE: A THEORETICAL VIEW.
https://contrarianopinion.w...

Thy major point about this issue global or local is often completely missed namely that this dispute have nothing to do with Workers Socialist Revolution but to perhaps see ways how to save capitalism in a way of sharing more wealth with working class, how to suppress class struggle with Bread and Games or War, an old Roman method of divide and conquer.

Hence, capital controls, tarrifs , barriers, subsidies are instruments of having any possibility of real social policies in capitalism system making it more livable and longer lasting than in case of intensified pressure on working class and class struggle of globalism versus nationalism.

Popularity of National Socialism in capitalist country like Germany was exactly due to that process of corruption of working class who embassy stoped to question system as long as provided them with goods.

Little did they know, that they were in 1930 confronted with no permanent political solution to their class issues via improvement of standard of living and importance of their labor on the propaganda spectrum,but with dead end politics of submission to one political sellouts or another since their forced unity was just subordinated to capitalist imperative of ufettered economic and military growth via extreme exploitation.

And that is what's wrong with nationalism namely it is shutting down paths of class struggle toward class liberation, as it neuters this struggle.

Jerome_Stern Joe Williams4 days ago
There is a difference between the growth of global productive capacity and globalisation. Prior to the latter process, manufacturing capacity was increased including by western investment in developing countries, especially in Latin America. But production in those countries was for local regional and national markets.

The US accepted competition from the German economy as a price to be paid for avoiding the postwar threat of socialism. But the Japanese export driven model of growth was eventually unacceptable. The US demanded the Japanese destroy this model by raising their own currency to a level which made their exports much less competitive. The Japanese rich were given financial opportunities in the US as compensation.

However, when the South Koreans and other nations copied the Japanese model, the US government and US multinationals radically changed their economic policy. A conscious choice was made by the Reagon administration to export manufacturing jobs en masse to developing countries as well as attacking the incomes of US workers who had jobs.

Henceforth, most goods manufactured for US consumption were to be produced abroad, from Mexico to China. Once US based multinationals started down this road, European and even Japanese ones followed. This did not mean an increase in productive forces but a substitution of one labour force for another.

Thus the rise of Chinese industry was as much a part of this process as the deindustrialisation of formerly prosperous parts of the US and the UK. This has nothing to do with the evolution of our species and everything to do with the evolution of capitalism. This is what I mean by globalisation.

It has not eradicated national borders but is a major factor in the recent development of far right nationalism in Europe. It is a strong contributor to the restructuring of western economies so that only a minority of British workers have full time permanent jobs. It is also used as leverage to drive down wages in western economies.

Of course in recent years the Chinese and Indian economies have grown under these policies so that there is now an increase of global capacity. Nor do I believe this process has led to a genuinely more efficient system of production and distribution. To produce products in one part of the world for distribution to another part half way around the world is very inefficient, if the product could be made nearer to the point where it would be used. It however becomes profitable if the labour used to produce it is much cheaper than that available where the the object is to be sold.

I do not believe what I mean by globalisation is progressive at all. It has been pushed by the most reactionary political forces in western societies as an integral part of what the WSWS calls a social counter revolution. As the WSWS again points out it makes the preservation of national welfare states or a decent standard of living for working class people impossible. I am not calling for this to be reversed under capitalism.

That seems impossible. Only the overthrow of capitalism offers the possibility of positive change. But under international socialism, globalised production chains will finally be seen for what they are, an unnecessary and inefficient encumbrance on humanity.

Joe Williams Jerome_Stern3 days ago
I think you are largely confusing globalisation with imperialism. I think you are also misunderstanding the wsws position. The wsws does not call for xenophobic or nationalist policies to close borders and keep workers imprisoned in their home countries to be used as a captive labor force by the domestic bourgeoisie. The wsws calls for an internationalist and proletarian socialist movement in conformity with that advocated by the workers movement ever since the publication of the communist manifesto.
Hermit Crab Jerome_Stern3 days ago
profitability =/= efficiency
Hermit Crab Jerome_Stern2 days ago
I really could not care less what you call it. I just want people to start treating each other better. What makes those with sticky fingers think that they are so G.D. better than everyone else that they can condemn whole segments to poverty and even death, all for the sake of their bits of imaginary ego-boosts?

ALL of the "isms" in the world have never worked out a justification for greed and the lust for power. No matter what the system, crooked people always try to exploit others, and blame justify it all on their "good genes". (edited)

Capitalism is no better or worse because it just doesn't matter what the system is, the crooks will always cheat that system to get more than everyone else.

denis ross Joe Williams4 days ago
An interesting theory to describe what is essentially creation of a world customs union based on the model that created Germany in 1871, the Zollverein. Spreading the customs union (Zollverein) worldwide was the reason for the two world wars--instead of maintaining a world federation politically and economically. The United Nations was designed to be a federation, but under post-1945 changes in the USA and subsequent pressures on the UN and its member states, it began developing into a union, not a federation. This was accompanied with creation of a global Zollverein, tariff free borders and free trade.

The difference politically between a union and a federation is that in a federation the member states award limited operating powers to a central coordinating body which does what the members want; in a union the central body holds all the powers and tells the members what to do.

sumwunyumaynotno denis ross4 days ago
The United Nations "holds all the powers and tells the members what to do" ? That's news to me. As far as I can tell, the members do what they damn well please. The UN is more like a fractured federation with a nearly impotent central body - the so-called "Security Council" - which issues edicts but has no enforcement power. Same with the World Court.
Hermit Crab sumwunyumaynotnoa day ago
The UN was designed by the victors of WWII to be "crippled", mere window-dressing as a calming salve for the developing nations. From the start, it was meant to be largely ineffective as the world's policeman and justice system .

All the nation states with any significant power are still more interested in preserving as much their own power and hegemonic control as possible.

Greg Jerome_Stern4 days ago
"...globalised production is the exploitation of lower wage rates in developing countries."

As if domestic production were not the same thing. The author is essentially arguing for "lesser evil" exploitation in the interests of society as a whole. Reformists always do.

"The crisis also exposed in full glare another of the central myths of the capitalist order -- that the state is somehow a neutral or independent organisation committed to regulating social and economic affairs in the interests of society as a whole." - Ten years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers

Hermit Crab Greg3 days ago
I suppose the determination of what constitutes the "interests of society as a whole" depends on which end of the stick one's "society" is holding.
Greg Jerome_Sterna day ago
"However my fundamental advocacy of policy would be that of international socialism the result of which would be the handing of power to the working class to be exercised democratically ."

The "handing of power" from whom exactly?

As it is now, the minority holds the power. So it's reasonable to think you mean they would hand the power over to the majority.

Which would be silly. But whether or not that was your meaning, "the handing of power to the working class to be exercised democratically" besides being exactly backwards, is an opportunist "understanding" of Marxism. It implies a perspective where the state does not need to be destroyed.

"The crucial question for Marx was what was the social material force -- the class -- created by capitalist society itself, which would be the agency, the driving force, of this transformation." - A promotion of the "life-style" politics of the pseudo-left

It's a version of the frequently and historically repeated goal of replacing one petty bourgeoisie minority with another, betraying the material interests of the working class and the revolution every time.

It seems like you might have just mentioned that phrase as an aside but it might indicate the deeper problem.

Before you start analyzing which policies might be recommended (which seems to be mainly what interests you) you have to understand the class nature of the problem. That doesn't come down only to understanding that there are two classes in struggle in society and then applying your everyday petty bourgeois thinking to it.

Have you read David North's Lenin, Trotsky and the Marxism of the October Revolution ? It was written back in March yet it's still posted on the wsws main page--for a reason.

It provides a concise explanation of some of the fundamental ideas and way of thinking you have to understand if you want to have any kind of intelligent conversation about socialism.

sumwunyumaynotno Jerome_Stern4 days ago
Nick Beams did not say that "globalised production chains employed represent a genuinely beneficial development in some deep sense." He said that such an outcome is impossible under capitalism and the system of competing nation-states.

The only "deep sense" is that he said it would be possible for globalization to have a positive effect for humanity if the international working class were able to abolish capitalism, the pursuit of private profit, warring nation-states, and institute socialism.

imaduwa5 days ago
Thank you comrade Nick Beams. US's century is 20th and a bygone one. You finely point out on the basis of Trotskysm the mortal danger that humanity faces resulting from the inter-imperialist rivalry that is escalating by the day.

Besides, the US's taking up of its rival China, the second biggest economy, in trade war pose a military confrontation to which Russia could be attracted on to China side.

Also Russia has been taken up by American imperialism independently as a target. Brexit hard or soft would also confound economic nationalism that is gathering momentum hugely. US sanctions on Iran is bound to sharpen the conflict between European imperialists. Also India appears to be in crisis on whether to abide by US dictats as per its Iranian economic connection especially on oil purchase. US's increasing protectionism has already gone out of control as per its implications to global polity and military activity. In view of this critical situation the role of the working class, national and international, should determine the future of humanity. Role of the revolutionary triumvirate, ICFI/SEP/IYSSE, is of paramount importance. I appeal to national working classes to build SEP as your national party of the socialist revolution. I appeal to youth and students to build your national chapters of the IYSSE in schools, universities etc. as quickly as possible. World war is haunting. Very existannce of the humanity on this palnet is uncertain, if we unitedly as workers, youth and students fail to empower the party of the world revolution, ICFI. Victory to international socialist revolution. Death to protectionism whose major advocate is US capitalism/imperialism. Down with the psudo left and the trade unions.

Jerome_Stern5 days ago
Keynes, who designed the Bretton Woods system, also proposed an international banking system and currency (called the Bancor). The purpose was to prevent the kind of unbalanced world trade which now dominates the global economy. Under his proposed system, countries with chronic trade surpluses would be penalised, thus preventing a situation like the present with some nations being massive exporters and others massive importers. Instead, all countries would hover around balanced trade where their imports equaled their exports in value. The US government told Keynes to shut up about this plan or they would cancel their promised postwar loans to the UK. The reason was that at the time the US planned to be a net exporter. Incidentally, Keynes warned that if the system of managed currency exchange rates were abandoned, the financial markets would become a "virtual senate" which would have the power to dictate economic policies to nation states.
Greg Jerome_Stern4 days ago
"Keynes, who designed the Bretton Woods system, also proposed an international banking system and currency (called the Bancor). The purpose was to prevent the kind of unbalanced world trade which now dominates the global economy."

Perpetually caught in a "lesser evil" loop of some variety or another from which the reformist never escapes, applying the same failed (ruling class) logic over, and over and over and over...

"But this solves nothing because, as Marx's analysis showed, the crises of capitalism cannot be overcome by reforms to the monetary system because, while they necessarily express themselves there, they were rooted in the very foundations of the capitalist economy, in its DNA so to speak -- that is, in the social relations based on profit and the market system." -Ten years after Lehman: New financial crises in the making

Jerome_Stern Greg4 days ago
Keynes' suggestion would have "solved" or rather prevented one problem, but not every problem of capitalism. Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people.

He was consciously trying to save capitalism from itself and said so. But you rightly point out there is a major problem with this thinking, namely that it ignores the self interest of governments and capitalists alike, who ignore such concepts of "enlightened" self interest in favour of short term advantage.

Political reality intruded in Keynes' well-intentioned designs immediately as I've mentioned and the whole Bretton Woods edifice was knocked down as soon as it proved inconvenient for US interests.

Similarly, I strongly suspect Keynes would have disapproved of financial deregulation, but the underlying development of US capitalism led to unstoppable political pressure for its implementation.

Greg Jerome_Stern3 days ago
"Keynes was a reformist and capable of formulating policies which, if followed, would make capitalism more amenable to the interests of the majority of people."

For the life of me I can't figure why you'd praise a policy that more effectively persuades or controls the masses to their own detriment and to the economic benefit of a minority--other than to conclude that like Keynes and the rest of the petty bourgeoisie, you're a reformist.

Jerome_Stern Warren Duzak4 days ago
The most important theoretical source of his thinking is his own work "The General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest" which is available to read or download free online.

I only recently learned of his Bancor proposal in an article by George Monbiot originally published in the Guardian. I read it on the Znet website, but I can't remember when.

As for his quote about the financial markets becoming a virtual senate, I read that in some article about finance but don't remember the source. Sorry I can't be more helpful. There could be other books on his theories but he is somewhat unfashionable as mainstream economics has mostly reverted to a more ideologically driven right wing position.

Charlotte Ruse5 days ago
"In January, while Trump was requesting Congress to allocate funds for the US-Mexico border wall, China sent delegates to Chile, inviting Latin American leaders to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. Months later, as Trump bullied US allies at the NATO summit, China was wrapping up the "16+1 summit" in Bulgaria, where Chinese investment and diplomatic relations were marketed to Central and Eastern European leaders. And most recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his travels throughout Africa, where he was visiting with heads of state and deepening China's relationships with the continent of the future, while America picks a one-sided trade fight with Rwanda."

The US "makes war" while China makes business deals. Pick your poison--two capitalists countries controlled by oligarchs which can only offer the working-class continued exploitation.

https://www.geopoliticalmon...

Sebouh805 days ago
An Excellent piece of article that explains clearly the trajectory that got us into US-China trade war, and what this means for the Global Capitalist System going forward. If we remember when trade war topic was first brought into picture Trump administration officials were saying imposing tariffs on China and Europe were the only way to correct the unfair trade balances. However, as the months progressed it quickly became known that US officials were using unfair trade practices of China as a scapegoat to demand further concessions from the Chinese authorities. These concessions include complete dismantlement of Made in China 2025 program and put a hold to their Silk Road initiative. In other words, Donald Trump and the entire American ruling circles see China as an existential long term threat and they are using trade war as a weapon to contain China's rising political and economical ambitions.

For now Trump is increasing the tariffs so as to force the Chinese leadership to acquiesce to his conditions. Of course, I would expect in the coming days Chinese authorities to rebuff this latest round of sanctions and that they would retaliate their own tariffs.

On the other hand, the Trump administration has put Iran under severe sanctions, and they also warned all big European Multinational corporations like Total and others to stop doing business with Iran after November. So as we can see we are in a very precarious Global situation right now due to rising contradictions between the needs of Global economy and nation states.

The US wants to reinforce it's declining global hegemonic position at any cost. Now they started with economic war against countries they see as not cooperating to their demands, but under current conditions this could easily transform into Global war at some point in future.

[Sep 22, 2018] A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington

Sep 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al September 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Euractiv with AFP: Belgian inquest implicates UK in phone spying
https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/belgian-inquest-implicates-uk-in-phone-spying/

A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington, it was revealed on Thursday (20 September).

The report, which summarises a five-year judicial inquiry, is almost complete and was submitted to the office of Justice Minister Koen Geens, a source close to the case told AFP, confirming Belgian press reports

The matter will now be discussed within Belgium's National Security Council, which includes the Belgian Prime Minister with top security ministers and officials.

Contacted by AFP, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office and the cabinet of Minister Geens refused to comment .
####

NO. Shit. Sherlock.

So the real question is that if this has known since 2013, why now? BREXIT?

[Sep 21, 2018] On Brexit, UK Negotiators Have Adopted a Hard Bargaining Strategy

Notable quotes:
"... The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success. ..."
"... The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). ..."
"... You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf ..."
"... The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor. ..."
"... I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium. ..."
"... The NATO establishment is about "making war," ..."
"... All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers. ..."
"... In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way ..."
"... The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. ..."
"... I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum. ..."
"... Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something. ..."
"... Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers. ..."
"... The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway). ..."
"... The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil. ..."
"... I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. ..."
"... I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer. ..."
"... But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem. ..."
"... A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically . ..."
"... British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal. ..."
"... Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states. ..."
"... As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess? ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. While the specific observations in this post will be very familiar to readers (you've said the same things in comments!), I beg to differ with calling the Government's Brexit negotiating stance a strategy. It's bad habit plus lack of preparation and analysis.

And the UK's lack of calculation and self-awareness about how it is operating means it will be unable to change course.

By Benjamin Martill, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dahrendorf Forum where he focuses on Europe after Brexit. He is based at LSE IDEAS, the London School of Economics's foreign policy think tank. The Dahrendorf Forum is a joint research venture between LSE and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Originally published at openDemocracy

But is this the best strategy for advancing British interests? Here is the argument based on the findings of a recent Dahrendorf Forum working paper .

All eyes in British politics are on the negotiations between the UK and the EU over the terms of the forthcoming British withdrawal from the Union, or Brexit. Surprisingly, questions of bargaining strategy – once the preserve of diplomats and niche academic journals – have become some of the most defining issues in contemporary British politics.

The New Politics of Bargaining

Cabinet disagreements over the conduct of the negotiations led to the resignation of David Davis and Boris Johnson in early July 2018 and the issue continues to divide the ruling Conservative party. Theresa May's most recent statements have all addressed the question of how hard she has pushed Brussels in the talks.

But is the hard bargaining strategy appropriate, or will it ultimately harm the UK? The salience of this question should occasion deeper analysis of the fundamentals of international bargaining, given the extent to which the course of British politics will be determined by the government's performance (or perceived performance) in the Brexit talks.

Driving a Hard Bargain

A hard-bargaining strategy isn't necessarily a poor one. To the extent it is workable, it may even represent the sensible option for the UK.

Hard bargaining is characterised by negative representations of negotiating partners, unwillingness to make concessions, issuance of unrealistic demands, threats to damage the partner or exit the negotiations, representations of the talks in zero-sum terms, failure to provide argumentation and evidence, and withholding of information. From diplomats' portrayal of the EU as an uncooperative and bullying negotiating partner to a set of demands recognised as unrealistic in Brussels and Britain alike, the UK's approach to the Brexit negotiations scores highly on each of these measures.

The consensus in the academic literature is generally that hard bargaining works only where a given party has a relative advantage . Powerful states have an incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since by doing so they will be able to extract greater concessions from weaker partners and maximise the chance of achieving an agreement on beneficial terms.

But weaker actors have less incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since they stand to lose more materially if talks break down and reputationally if they're seen as not being backed by sufficient power,

So which is Britain?

Power Distribution

The success of hard bargaining depends on the balance of power. But even a cursory examination would seem to confirm that the UK does not hold the upper hand in the negotiations. Consider three standard measures of bargaining power: a country's economic and military capabilities, the available alternatives to making a deal, and the degree of constraint emanating from the public.

When it comes to capabilities, the UK is a powerful state with considerable economic clout and greater military resources than its size would typically warrant. It is the second-largest economy in the EU (behind Germany) and its GDP is equal to that of the smallest 19 member states. And yet in relative terms, the combined economic and military power of the EU27 dwarves that of the UK: the EU economy is five times the size of the UK's.

Next, consider the alternatives. A 'no deal' scenario would be damaging for both the UK and the EU, but the impact would be more diffuse for the EU member states. They would each lose one trading partner, whereas the UK would lose all of its regional trading partners. Moreover, the other powers and regional blocs often cited as alternative trading partners (the US, China, the Commonwealth, ASEAN) are not as open as the EU economy to participation by external parties, nor are they geographically proximate (the greatest determinant of trade flows), nor will any deal be able to replicate the common regulatory structure in place in the EU. This asymmetric interdependence strongly suggests that the UK is in greater need of a deal than the EU.

Finally, consider the extent of domestic constraints. Constraint enhances power by credibly preventing a leader from offering too generous a deal to the other side. On the EU side the constraints are clear: Barnier receives his mandate from the European Council (i.e. the member states) to whom he reports frequently. When asked to go off-piste in the negotiations, he has replied that he does not have the mandate to do so. On the UK side, by contrast, there is no such mandate. British negotiators continually cite Eurosceptic opposition to the EU's proposals in the cabinet, the Conservative party, and the public, but they are unable to guarantee any agreement will receive legislative assent, and cannot cite any unified position.

Perceptions of Power

But the real power distribution is not the only thing that matters. While the EU is the more powerful actor on objective criteria, a number of key assumptions and claims made by the Brexiteers have served to reinforce the perception that Britain has the upper hand.

First, on the question of capabilities, the discourse of British greatness (often based on past notions of power and prestige) belies the UK's status as a middle power (at best) and raises unrealistic expectations of what Britain's economic and military resources amount to. Second, on the question of alternatives, the oft-repeated emphasis on 'global Britain' and the UK's stated aim to build bridges with its friends and allies around the globe understates the UK's reliance on Europe, the (low) demand for relations with an independent Britain abroad, and the value of free trade agreements or other such arrangements with third countries for the UK. Third, on the question of domestic constraint, the post-referendum discourse of an indivisible people whose wishes will be fulfilled only through the implementation of the Brexit mandate belies the lack of consensus in British politics and the absence of a stable majority for either of the potential Brexit options, including the 'no deal', 'hard', or 'soft' variants of Brexit. Invoking 'the people' as a constraint on international action, in such circumstances, is simply not credible.

Conclusion

Assumptions about Britain's status as a global power, the myriad alternatives in the wider world, and the unity of the public mandate for Brexit, have contributed to the overstatement of the UK's bargaining power and the (false) belief that hard bargaining will prove a winning strategy.

Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power. This is not 'treasonous', as ardent Brexiteers have labelled similar nods to reality, but is rather the only way to ensure that strategies designed to protect the national interest actually serve this purpose. Power is a finite resource that cannot be talked into existence. Like a deflating puffer fish, the UK's weakness will eventually become plain to see. The risk is that before this occurs, all bridges will be burned, all avenues exhausted, and all feathers ruffled.

The arguments in this blog are based on the findings of a Dahrendorf Forum working paper by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger titled ' Cultures of Negotiation: Explaining Britain's Hard Bargaining in the Brexit Negotiations '.

The opinions expressed in this blog contribution are entirely those of the author and do not represent the positions of the Dahrendorf Forum or its hosts Hertie School of Governance and London School of Economics and Political Science or its funder Stiftung Mercator.


larry , September 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

I tend to agree that there is no real strategy on the UK's part. May resembles a broken record, where she says much the same thing over and over again, seemingly expecting a different response each time. Although Einstein said that he probably never made the claim about what insanity consists of, it is often attributed to him -- doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. How the government expects that this sort of behavior will bring desirable results is beyond me.

Schofield , September 20, 2018 at 10:35 am

Both UK and EU politicians are talking past each other. Neither side understands there are two key issues. Firstly, not understanding the economic effects stemming from the failure to understand how money is created and how it can be manipulated for global trading advantage. Secondly, that the UK is high up the list for "cultural tightness" and the reasons for this.

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6df109_a5da34d6a9ae4114be82ccf4b024a2b2.pdf

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 10:37 am

The other element of course of a negotiation is getting potential allies to roll up behind you. At the start of this the UK had a series of potential 'friends' it could call on – eurosceptics governments in Eastern Europe, close historic friends and political like minded governments in Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland. And of course non-EU countries like India or the US with historic links.

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those though its heavy handed negotiations or laughable lack of political empathy.

It must be emphasised that the current Irish government is ideologically and instinctively very pro-London. And yet, today RTE is reporting about the latest meeting between May and Varadkar:

The source said there was "an open exchange of views" between both sides, with the Irish delegation emphasising that the time was short and "we need to get to the stage where we can consider a legal text" on the backstop.

The source described British proposals so far as "only an outline, and we haven't seen specific proposals from the British side."

This can only be translated as 'what the hell are they playing at?'

The Indians of course were amusedly baffled by the British assumption that they would welcome open trade (without lots of new visas for Indian immigrants). Trump just smelt the blood of a wounded animal. The Russians are well

Jim A. , September 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

"an open exchange of views" Which is a diplomat's way of saying that there was a shouting match and no agreement.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm

I imagine it as being a little like this (not work safe if you have audio on).

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:27 pm

Mercy! I will save and share this. Thank you, Pu-kun.

Fazal Majid , September 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

The British cited the EU's inability to conclude a free-trade agreement with India as one example of the EU's failings a revitalized Global Britain would no longer be shackled by. That's quite rich considering the FTA was torpedoed when the British Home Secretary vetoed increased visas for the Indians. Her name was Theresa May.

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm

True? Comedy gold!

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 5:20 am

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those

Somehow?

The brits basically said: We are special people, much, much better, richer and stronger than you sorry lot of Peons to Brussels(tm), so now you shall see sense and give us what we want this week; you can call it your tribute if you like (because we don't care what you like :)

Half the Danes are fed up with the whole thing and the other half would be egging on a hard Brexit if only they could – knowing it will likely take out at least some of the worst and most overleveraged (and gorged with tax-paid subsidies) Anti-Environmentalist Danish industrial farmers, their bankers too. And diminish the power of their lobbyists: "Landbrug & Fødevarer"!

The good part is that: the British and the Danish governments have managed to make "being ruled by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels" look like a pretty much OK & decent deal, considering the alternative options: Being ruled by our local crazies, straight-up nutters and odious nincompoops (a word i like), half of whom, to top it up, are probably mere soulless proxies for those ghouls that are running Washington DC.

Tom Stone , September 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

Always bet on stupid.
Because human stupidity is infinite.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

Though it often fits neatly into one of four categories, described here:

"The basic laws of human stupidity,"

http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

Seems we humans are pretty good at inventing negative-sum games that we belieeeve are zero-sum

Watt4Bob , September 20, 2018 at 12:27 pm

It seems more and more to me, that never ending class warfare, and its current emphasis on austerity, leaves us unable to envision alternate routes to economic health.

The neo-liberal consensus mandates that our ruling class never questions its own tactics, ie dog-whistle racism to distract and divide the lower classes to enable all the looting.

So on both sides of the Atlantic, the rulers of English speakers stir up resentment amongst those at the bottom in order to secure votes, and maintain power, while never intending to follow through on promises to provide tangible material benefits to their constituents.

The looting goes on, the trail of broken promises grows longer, and the misery deepens.

The issue being ignored is that the folks at the bottom have reached the limit of their ability to maintain life and limb in the face of downward economic pressure.

We've finally reached the end game, we in America have been driven to Trumpism, and in Britain they've been driven to Brexit by the clueless efforts of pols to maintain power in the face of electorates who have decided they have had enough, and will absolutely not take the SOS anymore.

So we have the nonsensical situation of pols on both sides of the Atlantic flirting with economic collapse, and even civil war rather than moderate their irrational fixation on making the insanely rich even richer.

In both cases we have a cast of alternating villains robbing and beating us while waving flags and loudly complaining that we aren't showing the proper level of enthusiasm.

Which leaves me with one question for those villains;

Where you gonna hide.

Hayek's Heelbiter , September 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Yup.

Why no one, especially the punditocracy seems to realize this, is astonishing.

I also cannot believe the Old Gray Lady killing millions of trees in its shrill efforts to prove the Russians cost Hilary the election and nary a word about how totally fed up and voiceless (with the exception of a single presidential vote) are those in the Great Flyover.

Also find it amazing that the Beeb with rudimentary linguistic forensic analysis identified Mike Pence as almost certainly the author of the scathing anti-Trump memo the NYT published anonymously, without a single mention of this now widely-known fact.

disillusionized , September 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
That's what determines UK negotiating strategy, the ones who don't want to play hardball can't see the point in leaving, and the ones who wan't to leave, can't see the point of negotiating.
for all intents and purposes this is a accession negotiation in reverse, "then Sir Con O'Neill, the chief negotiator at official level in 1970-2, who commented that the only possible British approach to existing Community body of rules was 'Swallow the lot, and swallow it now'."

On a related note, while this was about the tactics of leaving, there has been some movement on the end state front, though not by the UK. Rather it seems that the EU has made up it's mind, and in my mind definitively scrapped the EEA option.
Several EU leaders (Pms of Malta and the Czech republic) have clearly stated that they wish to see a new referendum, and Macron said the following:
"Brexit is the choice of the British people pushed by those who predicted easy solutions. Those people are liars. They left the next day so they didn't have to manage it," Macron said on Thursday, vowing to "never" accept any Brexit deal, which would put the EU's integrity at risk.

I think the bridges have been burned, now it's surrender or revocation that's left to the UK, or stepping off the cliff edge.

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:49 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
from a very great distance this does seem to be the case

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

It is astonishing to see that the UK still does not accept that the EU doesn't want it to go on principle more than for practical reasons. May and the others cling to the notion that without Great Britain, the EU will collapse or something. This is the same nation that has been foot-dragging on everything about Europe and slagging off the continent at every turn while pretending they are a Great Power and the BFF of the US. Trump does not care about Great Britain unless he needs some sort of zoning permission for his gold course, in which case he will cut a deal on trade or arms with May.

The Irish Border, assuming it remains open, is a massive concession and likely to lead to future problems as other EU nations try to have open borders or trade with their pet countries.

Brits on the Continent are worried about many things ranging from driver's licenses to residency visas! Not every Brit wants to live on that damp little island! Some like the sun and Continental cuisine.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Is the EU a Great Idea to be Protected and Advanced, one that will inexorably result in ever greater benefits for the common people of the fainting nations that have been cat-herded into submitting to the "political union" that many very personally interested parties are always working toward? Like NATO is a Great Idea, not just a mechanism for global mischief and chaos? NATO gives "warfighters" a place to sit and play their games. Brussels gives "rules," at least some of which are sort of for public benefit, until the regulatory capturers work their magic. Profit and impunity, always for the few.

What is the organizing principle in all this? Likely can't be stated. Just a lot of interested parties squabbling over gobbets from the carcass torn from the planet

Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all? If one looks in "A Distant Mirror" at it, given where humanity seems to be, on the increasingly fleshed-out timeline of collapse?

OF course, one can always summon up the demoness TINA, to trump any efforts to take different paths

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 1:09 pm

NATO was created to make war. The EU was created to make peace and prosperity. Comparing one to the other is unjust.

The EU is not some sacrosanct construct that must be worshiped, but it has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). It has also promoted trade and prosperity. Europe has been even farther ahead of economic and regulatory integration than the US (phones and credit cards come to mind). Free movement of labor and travel have dropped costs for businesses and individuals immensely.

Now, whether or not human foibles enter into it is really another discussion. Is Brussels at times a giant Interest Machine and Bureaucratic Nightmare? Yes, but that is the negative face we see portrayed by anti-Europeans like the Brexiteers. The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their lives. Perhaps the EU is afraid of drawing attention to itself. But the people making up the EU are not extraterrestrials; they are Europeans who make the same mistakes and commit the same fraud on a national level.

Many Americans criticize Europe while vaunting their own Federation. Why should California and Alabama share a currency, a passport and a Congress? There are more differences between those states than between France and Belgium or Italy and Spain.

The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 6:54 pm

The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful).

You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf

The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor.

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

If you want to start accounting for economic death by economic war, we can look at the US as recently as the financial crisis, though I doubt there are studies on the Homeland of this sort. Or US embargoes of vital medication and food in Iraq which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. And so on.

My point is not that the EU is perfect, but there has not been a war in Western Europe since 1945. You are welcome to spin and fiddle and search for anything you like (Gosh, all that free travel led to increases in traffic deaths! Ban the EU!). Of course, we would also need to examine what the EU has done for Europe and how many lives have been saved by improved infrastructure and exchange of information.

I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. Let's see how Great Britain does and then we can discuss this in a few years.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium.

The NATO establishment is about "making war," largely now displaced to other Woggish and Hajji places where the huge number of refugees that are moving into Eurospace are coming from (as a result of the largely economically driven (oil and other extraction interests) and Israeli and Saudi-enhanced large scale destabilizing war prosecution.

All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers.

Yes, the EU notion of reducing the conflict generators of the past seems to be a good one. But surprise! In practice, you got your German hegemon and your French strutters and now of course the British bomb throwers pointing out, along with the renascent nationalism triggered in part by the hegemon's bleeding of other nations via Brussels and EU institutions, like Greece and Spain and Italy and so forth.

And of course the warring that the seamless economies of the EU (that includes their particpation in NATO) foster and participate in that drives the exodus of mopes from the Mideast and Africa. And how about the fun and games, with possible nuclear war consequences, that are playing out with EU and NATO and of course US Imperial Interests activity in Ukraine? And I see that the Krupp Werks has delivered a bunch of warships to various places (hasn't that happened a couple of times in the past? Thinking how particularly of Dolphin-class submarines paid for by Uncle Sucker, as in the US, and delivered to the Israel -ites who have equipped them with many nuclear-warhead cruise missiles? And thanks to the French, of course, and other Great Nations, the Israelis have nuclear weapons in the first place.

It's nice that the science parts of the EU structure are sort of working to keep US-made toxins and genetically modified crap and other bad stuff out of the Holy EU Empire. But hey, how many VW diesel vehicles on the road (thanks to some combination of corruption and incompetence on the part of the EU?) equals how much glyphosate and stacked-GM organisms barred by EU regulations? Lots of argument possible around the margins and into the core of the political economy/ies that make up the EU/NATO, and the Dead Empire across the Channel, and of course the wonderful inputs from the empire I was born into.

I guess the best bet would be to program some AI device to create a value structure (to be democratically studied and voted on, somehow?) and measure all the goods and bads of the EU, according to some kind of standard of Goodness to Mope-kind? Naw, power trumps all that of course, and "interests" now very largely denominated and dominated by supranational corporations that piss on the EU when not using its institutions as a means to legitimize their looting behaviors that sure look to me like an expression of a death wish from the human species.

There are always winners and losers in any human game, because at anything larger than the smallest scale, we do not appear wired to work from comity and commensalism. You sound from the little one can see of you from your comment as a person among the winners. Which is fine, all well and good, because of that "winners and losers" thing. Until either the mass vectors of human behavior strip the livability out of the biosphere, or some provocation or mischance leads to a more compendious and quicker, maybe nuclear, endpoint. Or maybe, despite the activities of the Panopticon and the various powers with forces in the polity to tamp it down, maybe there will be a Versailles moment, and "Aux Armes, Citoyens" will eventuate.

In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm

a worthy parlimentarian rant if I ever heard one

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:07 am

I suggest you read up on your recent European history. Czechoslovakia split entirely peacefully and it had exactly zero to do with either NATO or USA.

Yugoslavia had its problems ever since it was Yugoslavia in early 20th century – all Tito managed was to postpone it, and once he was gone, it was just a question of when, and how violent it would be. Serbian apologistas like to blame NATO, conveniently ignoring any pre-existing tensions between Croats and Serbs (not to mention ex-Yugoslavian muslims). Did NATO help? No. But saying it was the cause of the Serbo-Croat war and all the Yugoslavian fallout is ignorance.

What gets my goat is when someone blames everything on CIA, USA, NATO (or Russia and China for the matter), denying the small peoples any agency. Especially when that someone tends to have about zilch understanding of the regions in question, except from a selective reading.

Yep, CIA and NATO and the Illuminati (and Putin, to put it on both sides) are the all-powerful, all seeing, all-capable forces. Everyone else is a puppet. Right.

Lambert Strether , September 21, 2018 at 4:37 am

> I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:34 am

The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. From your lofty armchair, they might be the same but then again, perhaps you blame the socialists when your caramel latte is cold.

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 10:19 am

Lofty armchair? I actually volunteered and got the opportunity to go be a soldier in an actual war, the Vietnam one. So I have a darn good idea what War is in actuality and from unpleasant personal experience. And I don't have either the taste or the wealth for lattes. And forgive my aging failure of typing Czech instead of Yugo -- my point, too, is that the nations and sets of "peoples" living and involved in United Europe do in fact have "agency," and that is part of the fractiousness that the proponents of a federated Europe (seemingly under mostly German lead) are working steadily at suppressing. Not as effectively as a Federalist might want, of course.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 10:03 pm

TheScream wrote: I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it.

Wake up. I'm talking about what the European elite in the real world deliberately chose to do.

They chose to do a backdoor bailout of German and French banks specifically so Merkel, Sarkozy and Hollande and the governments they led didn't have to go to their electorates and tell them the truth. Thereby, they maintained themselves in power, and German and French wealth structures -- the frickin', frackin banks -- as they were. And they did this in the real world knowing that innocent people in Greece would die in substantial numbers consequently.

This is not a counterfactual. This happened.

There's a technical term for people who plan and execute policies where many thousands of people die so they themselves can benefit. That term is 'scum.'

Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum.

Don't get me started on people who defend such scum with threadbare waffle about 'I am not defending poor governance per blah blah it is facile and fun to criticize blah blah.' Nor interested in whataboutery about US elites, who as the main instigators of this 21st century model of finance as warfare are also scum.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:30 am

Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something.

My point is not that EU leaders are charming people working exclusively for the good of the people. My point is that the EU is not as bad as most of you believe and no worse than most other governments. It is simply an easy target because it is extra or supra-national. We can get all frothy at the mouth blaming Nazis and Frogs for our woes and ignore our personal failures.

I would love to insult you personally as you have insulted me, but I sense you are just ranting out of frustration. You hate the EU (are you even European or just some right-wing nutcase from America involving yourself in other's business?) and take it out on me. Go for it. Your arguments are irrelevant and completely miss the point of my comments.

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 7:09 am

The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their live

The EU is, very simplistically, set up like a shared Civil Service. Civil Services are to be seen rarely and never heard, less they take shine and glamour from the Government they serve.

What "Bruxelles" can do is to advise and create Directives, which are instructions to local government to create and enforce local legislation. The idea is that the legislation and enforcement will be similar in all EU member states.

Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers.

The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway).

ape , September 21, 2018 at 2:42 pm

"Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all?"

Hopefully sarcastic?

Dude -- black plague! 75 to 200 million dead! At a tie with a world population of 400 million, and 40 million of those may as well have been on Mars! China, ME, North Africa and Europe depopulated!

Time to really reconsider one's assumptions when one wonders whether the 14th century was "that bad".

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Dude, yes, sarcastic. And ironic. Doesn't change the horribleness of the present, does it now? Or the coming horrors (say some of us) that may have been inevitably priced in to the Great Global Market, does it

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 12:51 pm

And in todays news:

Chequers Plan is Dead, says Tusk as Macron calls Brexiters Liars.

Donald Tusk, the European council president, has ratcheted up the pressure on Theresa May by rejecting the Chequers plan and warning of a breakdown in the Brexit talks unless she delivers a solution for the Irish border by October – a deadline the British prime minister had already said she will not be able to meet.

The stark threat to unravel the talks came as the French president, Emmanuel Macron, broke with diplomatic niceties and accused those of backing Brexit of being liars. "Those who explain that we can easily live without Europe, that everything is going to be all right, and that it's going to bring a lot of money home are liars," he said.
"It's even more true since they left the day after so as not to have to deal with it."

The comments came at the end of a leaders' summit in Salzburg, where May had appealed for the EU to compromise to avoid a no-deal scenario. She had been hoping to take warm words over Chequers into Conservative party conference.
Tusk, who moments before his comments had a short meeting with the prime minister, told reporters that he also wanted to wrap up successful talks in a special summit in mid-November.

But, in a step designed to pile pressure on the prime minister, he said this would not happen unless the British government came through on its commitment to finding a "precise and clear" so-called backstop solution that would under any future circumstances avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

"Without an October grand finale, in a positive sense of this word, there is no reason to organise a special meeting in November," Tusk said. "This is the only condition when it comes to this possible November summit."

It seems the EU leaders aren't even pretending anymore. Its pretty clear they have run out of patience, and May has run out of options. I wonder if they'll even bother with having the November summit.

begob , September 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm

He didn't call May a liar, so we'll have to see how her life support algo in the Daily Mail responds to this new input.

vlade , September 20, 2018 at 2:05 pm

If there's no November summit (which would make no-deal Brexit almost certainty), then the game becomes fast a and furious, as sterling will drop like a stone – with all sorts of repercussions. TBH, that can already be clear after the Tory party conference, it's entirely possible that that one will make any October Brexit discussions entirely irrelevant.

I think that EU overestimated May in terms of sensibility, and now accept that there's no difference between May and Johnson (in fact, with Johnson or someone like that, they will get certainy, so more time to get all ducks in row. Entirely cynically, clear no-deal Brexit Johnson would be better for EU than May where one has no idea what's going to happen).

Either way, this crop of politicians will make history books. Not sure in the way they would like to though.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Announced post-summit in Salzburg: no November summit absent a binding exit deal on the table by the end of October. So no: no November dealing.

I don't know that EU politicos overestimated May. She is what they had, and all they had, so they did their absolute best to prop up Rag Sack Terry as a negotiating partner, hoping that they could coax her to toddle over their red lines with enough willingness to listen to her hopeless twaddle first. She just shuffled and circled in place. So they've given up on her ability to deliver anything of value to them. One could see this coming in June, when she couldn't even get the sound of one hand clapping to her chipper nonsense over dinner.

I think that deciding heads in Europe have accepted the probability that crashout is coming. That was clear also in June. If something better happens, I suppose that they would leap at it. Nothing in the last two years engenders any hope in that regard, so hard heads are readying the winches to hoist the drawbridge on We're Dead to You Day.

If the Tories fall, which I think and have long thought is probable, it would be up to a 'unity government' to either initial a settlement surrender and keep the sham going, or flinch. My bet has been on pulling together some kind of flinch mechanism on aborting exit. It's the kind of year, as I model these, where wild swings of such kind are possible, but I couldn't predict the outcome anymore than anyone else.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

My feeling for a while is that the government would never fall, whatever happened, simply because the Tories (and DUP) fear a Corbyn government too much, so would never, ever pull the trigger, no matter how bad things got. But if May falls at the Party Conference and is replaced with a hard Brexiter, I don't think its impossible that there may be a temptation that to see if they could whip up a nationalistic mood for a snap election. Some of them are gamblers by instinct. Anything could happen then.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:52 pm

I think Tory Remainers bolt, choosing keeping their own wallets rather than handing those over to the worst of their lot with everything else. But they would find a unity coalition more palatable than passing the microphone to Jerry the Red, yeah, so that's a bit sticky. A snap election is the worst kind of crazy town, and wolldn't improve negotiating or decision outcomes in the slightest -- so of course that may be the likeliest near term course! Won't get settled in a few weeks. Probably not until 20 March 2019.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:06 pm

This is just wowsers. Tusk, Macron, and Merkel baldly state that Chequers is mated -- "unacceptable" -- and furthermore gave the Tories a drop-dead date of 31 October to initial the divorce settlement. The process is a flat abandonment of Theresa May, concluding the obvious, that she and her government are incapable of negotiating exit. Going over her head to Parliament and public, in fact if not in pre-consisdered intent. -- And about time. I was worried that the EU would eat fudge in November with the Brits again on another pretend-to-agree accord like that of December 2017, which, as we have seen did nothing to induce the Tories to negotiate a viable outcome.

What was May's reaction? That she's perfectly prepared to lead Britain over the crashout cliff if the EU doesn't see fit to capitulate. I'd roll on the floor laughing but I can't catch my breath.

The next two weeks are going to be lively times in Britain indeed. I can't see how 'Suicide Terry's' government can survive this situation. -- And about high time. Put the poor brute out of her misery; she's delusional, can't they see how she's suffering? Push has come, so it's time to shove. Crashout or Flinch, those are the outcomes, now plainer than ever. All May can do is thrash and fabulate, so time to bag the body and swear in another fool; lesser or greater, we shall see.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Yes, I wonder was that planned, or (as is suggested in the latest Guardian articl e), motivated by anger at Mays criticism of Barnier?

EU sources said the move had been made on the bidding of Macron, who urged taking a hard line over lunch. The French president had been infuriated by May's warning earlier in the day to Varadkar that she believed a solution on the issue could not be found by October, despite previous promises to the contrary.

The tone of the prime minister's address to the EU leaders on Wednesday night, during which she attacked Michel Barnier, is also said by sources to have been the cause of irritation.

This obviously makes her very vulnerable at the party conference. Its hard to see what she can do now. She is toast I think.

I can only think of two reasons that they've closed the door firmly in her face. Either they have simply lost patience and now accept there is nothing can be salvaged, or they have lost patience with May personally, and hope that a new leader might do a deal out of desperation. The latter seems highly unlikely – a sudden Tory challenge is more likely to bring a hardliner into power.

Whichever way you look at it, things look certain to come to a head very soon now. The EU may have a hope that the UK will blink when staring into the abyss and agree to the backstop, but I don't see how politically this a capitulation is possible, at least with the Tories in power.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:44 pm

The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil.

I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. Macron looked at his watch and the date said, non on that. Just looking at his ambitions and how he operates, I would think he wanted to go this route quite some time ago, but the 'softly, softly' set such as the Dutch and Merkel wouldn't back that, and he was too smart to break ranks alone. That the Germans have given up on May is all one really needs to know. This was May's no confidence vote by the European Council, and she lost it over lunch.

PlutoniumKun , September 21, 2018 at 4:19 am

I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer.

But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem.

ChrisPacific , September 20, 2018 at 5:20 pm

At this point it might actually be a blessing if that happened. There is likely to be a great deal of practical difference between a no-deal Brexit with six months of planning and preparation and a no-deal Brexit that takes everyone by surprise at the very last minute. (Yes, they will both be a nightmare, but some nightmares are worse than others). All this pretense that the other side is bluffing and will roll over at the 11th hour is starting to look like a convenient excuse for not facing reality. I don't think either side is bluffing.

Comments like "Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power" might very well be true, but they're also irrelevant at this point. Certainly it would have been very useful if it had happened two years ago. Right now it's time to break out the life jackets.

Richard Kline , September 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm

Most Brits don't seem capable of mentally accepting how irrelevant they actually are internationally. They are NOT a 'power' in any other respect than that they have nuclear weapons under their launch authority (which they are never going to use). They have no weight. The City is, really other people's money that predominantly foreign nationals at trading desks play with, loose, steal, hide, and occasionally pay out. The UK economy isn't of any international consequence. Brits are embedded in the international diplomatic process, in a dead language speakers kind of way, which makes them seem important. But they are not.

So there was never going to be a reassessment of the weaknesses of Britain's negotiating position, nor will there be now exactly, because most in Britain cannot get their heads around the essential premise to such a discussion, the Britain is now essentially trivial on the power scale rather than of any real consequence. The Kingdom of Saud has more real power. Turkey is a more consequential actor. Mexico has more people. &etc.

orange cats , September 20, 2018 at 12:53 pm

If one is to accept the convictions of master bloviator Niall Ferguson and other Brexiteers, the issue is issue. Brexit is about immigration, period. The EU claims it will not bend on free movement of people, Brexiteers will not accept anything less. There was such a huge outcry when May mentioned the possibility of 'preferential' treatment for EU citizens back in July she threatened any further public dissent in the party would result in sackings. The EU insists there can be no trade deals, no freed movement of goods without free movement of people, for good reasons. Hard to imagine them climbing down.

vlade , September 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm

No.

There's about as many reasons why people voted Brexit as there's different Brexits they wanted. Immigration is just one of the convenient scapegoats peddled by both sides, although for different reasons.

If you want a better (but still not complete) reason, try decreasing real income.

orange cats , September 20, 2018 at 2:27 pm

I'd like to know what those "many different reasons" are. Sovereignty? Well, that rolls off the tongue more easily than "immigration" which, leavers know, sounds a bit racist. "Control of borders" works for leavers like Nigell, although he went on at great length about how it's all about immigration, after talking to all the 'real' folks in the provinces.

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:08 am

I don't do other people's homework – the unwilligness to do so tends to be a reliable indicator of not being open to aruments in the first place.

begob , September 20, 2018 at 4:47 pm

My Irish/Brit family's Own Private Brexit: the grandparents are entitled to naturalisation and voted Leave, the children are subjects/citizens and voted Remain (and almost all vote Tory), the grandchildren are compromised subjects/citizens and didn't have a vote. Everyone's happy to be entitled to an EU passport. The Pakistan offshoot has a less complex variation (fewer rights), but I believe their family voted Leave on balance. Life.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 5:31 pm

A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically .

Mike Barry , September 21, 2018 at 3:37 am

Not that immigration has anything to do with that,

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 8:27 am

Majority of the drop in real income is NOT driven by immigration. You may find it surprising, but there were times with large (relatively speaking) immigration and the real incomes going up.

orange cats , September 21, 2018 at 10:25 am

I don't believe it is either, you seem to think these views are my own. I am speculating, with some basis, that a majority of leavers think so. Anti-immigration attitudes are entrenched and growing. Just the other day a teacher, no less, spouted off about how immigrants were causing crime and stealing jobs. This is in a blue city in a blue state. I was shocked.

ape , September 21, 2018 at 2:49 pm

People come up with fantasy explanations when they've been reduced from realistic assessments to fantastic ideologies. If there's a clear answer but you are ideologically constrained from considering it, you need to invent some answer, the nuttier the better.

Detlef , September 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

I think a major part of the problem is that British politicians and media seem to believe that Brexit is mainly (or exclusively) a British topic.
One British politician publishes one proposal, another British politician shoots it down. With the British media reporting about it gleefully for days. Newspaper articles, opinion pieces. Without even mentioning what the EU might think about it. The EU seems to not exist in this bubble.

Just remember the more than 60 "notices to stakeholders" published by the EU months ago. And freely available for reading on the Internet. I´ve read British media online for a long time now but somehow these notices never made any impact. It was only when the first British impact assessments were published (not that long ago) that British media started to report about possible problems after a no-deal Brexit. Problems / consequences that were mentioned in the EU notices months ago.
It´s almost unbelievable. It looks like if something isn´t coming from London (or Westminster) then it doesn´t exist in the British media.

And it´s the same with British politicians.

David Davis and the back-stop deal in late 2017?. He agreed with it during the negotiations, returned home and then said that it wasn´t binding, just a letter of intent. Or Michael Gove a few days ago? Regardless of what agreement PM T. May negotiates now with the EU, a new PM can simply scrap it and negotiate a new deal? Or send government members to the EU member states to try and undermine Barnier as reported in British media? How exactly is that building trust?

Have they never heard about the Internet? And that today even foreigners might read British media?

Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg might be the MP for the 18th century but surely they know that today there are faster methods for messages than using pigeons?

What about foreign investment in the UK? The gateway to the EU? Japanese car companies?
The drop in foreign investment was reported, to be sure. But after a few days it was immediately forgotten.

T. May according to British media articles apparently developed her Brexit strategy (and her red lines) together with her two closest political advisers back in late 2016 / early 2017. No cabinet meeting to discuss the strategy, no ordering of impact assessments which might have influenced the strategy (and the goals). And apparently – in my opinion – no detailed briefing on how the EU actually works. What might be realistically possible and what not.

The resignation of Ivan Rogers seems to support my speculations. Plus the newspaper articles in early 2017 which mentioned that visitors to certain British government ministries were warned not to criticize Brexit or warn about negative consequences. Such warnings would result in no longer being invited to visit said ministry and minister.

If they actually went through with that policy they created an echo chamber with no dissenting voices allowed.

Which might explain why they had no plan to deal with the EU.

British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal.

And now when the EU hasn´t followed the script they don´t know what to do?

I´m not an expert but it was pretty clear to me that the Chequers deal would never work. It was pretty obvious even when EU politicians were somewhat polite about it when T. May proposed it.

It might have been a good starting point for negotiations if she had introduced it in 2017. But in July 2018? Just a few months before negotiations were supposed to be concluded? And then claiming it´s the only realistic proposal? It´s my way or the highway?

It was obvious.

Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states.

I really think the EU member states have finally concluded that T. May is incapable of producing (and getting a majority in the House of Commons) for any realistic solution. Therefore helping her with statements to keep her politically alive doesn´t make sense any longer. The EU would probably really, really like a solution that gives them at least the transition period. Another 21 months to prepare for Brexit. But fudging things only get you that far .

The UK apparently never understood that it´s one thing to bend rules or fudge things to get the agreement of a member state. It´s quite another thing with a soon -to-be ex-member state.

I am a German citizen, living in Germany.
The (German weekly printed newspaper) Zeit Online website did have three articles about Brexit in the last few days. Which is noteworthy since they normally have 1-2 articles per month.

And the comments were noteworthy too.

Almost all of them now favor a hard-line approach by the EU.

The UK lost a lot of sympathy and support in the last two years. Not because of the referendum result itself but because of the actions and speeches of British politicians afterwards.

The UK had a rebate, opt-outs and excemptions. All because successive British governments pointed to their EU-sceptic opposition. Now the population voted for Brexit the British want a deal that gives them all (or most) of the advantages of EU membership without any of the obligations. To reduce the economic consequences of their decision.

No longer. Actions have consequences. And if it means we´ll have to support Ireland, we´ll do it. The German commentators quite obviously have lost their patience with the UK.

Anonymous2 , September 21, 2018 at 3:22 am

As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess?

Yves Smith Post author , September 21, 2018 at 3:25 am

Yes, Nicola Sturgeon has comported herself vastly better than anyone in the Tory or Labour leadership not that this is a high bar.

VietnamVet , September 20, 2018 at 7:45 pm

This is the first article that I have seen that talks about power. The ability to influence or outright control the behavior of people. Money has power. It is needed to eat, heal and shelter in the West. But, it is never talked about. This is because it would raise inconvenient truths. The wealthy are accumulating it and everyone else in the West is losing it. The neo-liberal/neo-conservative ideologies are the foundation of this exploitation. It is the belief that markets balance and there is no society. "Greed is good. Might is right." Plutocrats rule the west. Democracy died. There are two versions of similar corporate political parties in the USA. The little people matter not. Politicians are servants of the oligarchs. Global trade is intertwined and not redundant. What will happen will be to the benefit of the very few in power. Donald Trump is raising the price of all Chinese goods shipped into the USA and sold at Walmart and Amazon. A Brexit crash seems inevitable.

Buckeye , September 20, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Amen! It is ALWAYS about power. And the only way to deal with the elites is "Lord of the Rings" style:
their money must be cast into a financial version of Mount Doom, breaking their power once and for all. You folks in the UK need to make douchebag Brexiteers like Nigel Farrage suffer total loss of power for forcing this disaster on you.

RBHoughton , September 20, 2018 at 10:47 pm

There is a huge source of wealth that UK monopolises from Treasure Islands that operate the City's tax havens. That money goes straight back to City banks and flows into the market economy, independently of trade and commerce. It underwrites the derivatives biz that keeps the market economy afloat, paying pensions and profits and Directors' options.

Leaving the EU might have an effect but not a big one. Is that why UK seems so blithely unconcerned?

PlutoniumKun , September 21, 2018 at 4:13 am

The offshore wealth is certainly why the core hard Brexiters are unconcerned, because thats where they store their cash. They don't care if the UK goes down.

But in the longer term, they are under threat – within the EU the UK consistently vetoed any attempts to crack down on internal tax havens. The internal political balance of the EU is now much more firmly anti tax avoidance with the UK gone, so there would be little to stop a series of Directives choking off the Channel Island/Isle of Man option for money flows.

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 8:59 am

Split Brain Syndrome: They seem think that the EU is Lucifer's Army Incarnate and then they apparently also think at the same time, that "The Army of Darkness" once unleashed from the responsible British leadership into the hands of those per-definition also demonic French and Germans will still "play cricket" and not come after their tax-havens ASAP, like in 2020 or so.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

May now demanding that the EU respect Great Britain. We are back to the beginning again. May has no leverage beyond the EU wanting Britain to stay in . But if Britain goes out, then it's out. The only way for May to get any concessions would be to offer to stay in! And even then I am not sure the EU would accept since it would simply open the way for any member to have a tantrum and demand better terms.

GB should leave, wallow in their loneliness a while and then ask to come back. I suspect that the EU would reinstate them fully without the usual processes. Check back here in 24-36 months.

[Sep 18, 2018] Neoliberal EU faces the same crisis as the USA -- rejection of globalization by the majority of population

Neoliberalism like Bolshevism in 60 tries to crush dissenters.
Sep 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

the obligatory four freedoms of the EU are free movement of goods, services, persons and capital throughout the Union. Open borders. That is the essence of the European Union, the dogma of the Free Market.

The problem with the Open Border doctrine is that it doesn't know where to stop. Or it doesn't stop anywhere. When Angela Merkel announced that hundreds of thousands of refugees were welcome in Germany, the announcement was interpreted as an open invitation by immigrants of all sorts, who began to stream into Europe. This unilateral German decision automatically applied to the whole of the EU, with its lack of internal borders. Given German clout, Open Borders became the essential "European common value", and welcoming immigrants the essence of human rights.

Very contrasting ideological and practical considerations contribute to the idealization of Open Borders. To name a few:

This combination of contrasting, even opposing motivations does not add up to a majority in every country. Notably not in Hungary.

It should be noted that Hungary is a small Central European country of less than ten million inhabitants, which never had a colonial empire and thus has no historic relationship with peoples in Africa and Asia as do Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. As one of the losers in World War I, Hungary lost a large amount of territory to its neighbors, notably to Romania. The rare and difficult Hungarian language would be seriously challenged by mass immigration. It is probably safe to say that the majority of people in Hungary tend to be attached to their national identity and feel it would be threatened by massive immigration from radically different cultures. It may not be nice of them, and like everyone they can change. But for now, that is how they vote.

In particular, they recently voted massively to re

Like the Soviet Union, the European Union is not merely an undemocratic institutional framework promoting a specific economic system; it is also the vehicle of an ideology and a planetary project. Both are based on a dogma as to what is good for the world: communism for the first, "openness" for the second. Both in varying ways demand of people virtues they may not share: a forced equality, a forced generosity. All this can sound good, but such ideals become methods of manipulation. Forcing ideals on people eventually runs up against stubborn resistance.

There are differing reasons to be against immigration just as to be for it. The idea of democracy was to sort out and choose between ideals and practical interests by free discussion and in the end a show of hands: an informed vote. The liberal Authoritarian Center represented by Verhofstadt seeks to impose its values, aspirations, even its version of the facts on citizens who are denounced as "populists" if they disagree. Under communism, dissidents were called "enemies of the people". For the liberal globalists, they are "populists" – that is, the people. If people are told constantly that the choice is between a left that advocates mass immigration and a right that rejects it, the swing to the right is unstoppable.


Johnny Rottenborough , says: Website September 17, 2018 at 11:17 pm GMT

Orban's reputation in the West as dictator is unquestionably linked to his intense conflict with Hungarian-born financier George Soros

And not only Soros, of course:

'I know that this battle is difficult for everyone. I understand if some of us are also afraid. This is understandable, because we must fight against an opponent which is different from us. Their faces are not visible, but are hidden from view; they do not fight directly, but by stealth; they are not honourable, but unprincipled; they are not national, but international; they do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs.' -- Viktor Orbán

Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 18, 2018 at 4:30 am GMT
Watch the great Hungarian foreign minister repel attacks by the BBCs arrogant open borders propagandist, rudely treating him like an ignorant child and calling him a racist for defending his nation.
Anonymous , [224] Disclaimer says: September 18, 2018 at 5:34 am GMT

Economic liberals maintain that because Europe is aging, it needs young immigrant workers to pay for the pensions of retired workers.

Not gonna happen. Their 80 IQ skills are uncompetitive and useless in Europe even before Automation erases those low-skilled positions in the coming decade or two. Meanwhile, (real) European youth unemployment rate is 20%. Young Europeans are not making babies because they don't have a stable future. This can only get worse as the hostile invaders get preferential, Affirmative Action treatment, in schools and workplaces. None of this is accidental.

... ... ...

jilles dykstra , says: September 18, 2018 at 7:19 am GMT
There are, in my opinion, two reasons for letting the mass immigration happen:
- the Brussels belief, expressed in a 2009 official document, not secret, that the EU needs 60 million immigrants.
- a Merkel belief dat the Germans are bad, they caused two world wars and perpetrated the holocaust, so the German people must be changed through mass immigration.

The Brussels belief seems to be based mainly on the increasing average age in the EU.
It is incomprehensible to me, at the same time fear that robots slowly will do all simple jobs.

The Merkel belief, on the other side of the Atlantic, where few understand German, and cannot or do not watch German tv, I wonder how many understand that the 20th century propaganda of the victors still is decisive in German daily life and politics.
The danger of neonazi's and fascism is everywhere.
Nationalism, the equivalent of building gas chambers.

The EU also is based on the 20th century fairy tales, only the EU prevented wars in Europe after WWII.
The idea that Germans were victims in two world wars, and, until Hitler became power in 1933, also between the world wars, in unthinkable.
The idea that Endlösung meant deportation to Madagaskar, even more unthinkable.

That jews, as one Rothschild wrote to another around 1890, have and had but one enemy, themselves, the world unthinkable is too weak.
Yet
'From prejudice to destruction', Jacob Katz, 1980, Cambridge MA
explains it, things as 'close economic cooperation, intermarriage, ostentious behaviour'.
In this respect
'Christianity and the Holocaust of the Hungarian Jewry', Moshe Y Herclz, 1993 New York University press
also is a very interesting book, after jews in the thirties had been banned from many intellectual professions not a single Hungarian newspaper could be published any more.

Soros trying to force Muslim immigrants on deeply catholic Hungary, he was born in Hungary, experienced anti semitism, revenge ?

John Siman , says: September 18, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
I was recently in Budapest on business and will likely be returning soon: It is the most beautiful city I have ever seen, with stunning architectural restoration projects, almost non-existent police and military presence, food and wines that rival those of Paris, and a very friendly, non-bureaucratic and non-obsese (as opposed to the USA) population. I would like to hear from others who have recently visited and have knowledge of the country. Viszlát! -- John
Felix-Culpa , says: September 18, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
When the fort of folly that Globalism is finally falls, Diana Johnstone's article will be cited as exemplary in exposing its hidden grammar. That fall cannot be far off now given that psy-ops can only work if people are ignorant of the manipulation afoot.

Great opening, Diana. For forty years the presstitude media have leaned on the use of implication as argument to have the ninety-nine percent buy what they are selling. What was not pointed out very well until now, is that their implications are all false. Now, only a dummy among the dumbed-down cannot see it.

Buzz Mohawk , says: September 18, 2018 at 11:46 am GMT
For those who have the patience to read the English subtitles, here is an excellent speech given by Orbán in July. Here he outlines his thinking on the issues facing Hungary and the world.

Viktor Orbán is a very intelligent leader, and he has the vast majority of the Hungarian people behind him. History has taught those people many things, and they have had enough. They are not fools. Look to them as an example for all of us.

https://youtu.be/RfU-SVsGpsc

Hans Vogel , says: September 18, 2018 at 12:36 pm GMT
@John Siman I was recently in Budapest on business and will likely be returning soon: It is the most beautiful city I have ever seen, with stunning architectural restoration projects, almost non-existent police and military presence, food and wines that rival those of Paris, and a very friendly, non-bureaucratic and non-obsese (as opposed to the USA) population. I would like to hear from others who have recently visited and have knowledge of the country. Viszlát! -- John Wherever US influence is not yet overwhelming (and such places are becoming fewer every day, unfortunately), you will still find "old-fashioned" ways of interaction, few fatties, and decent food and drink.

People may become fat for many reasons, but most fatties these days in the Anglosphere belong to the underclass. These wretches get fat from eating expensive trash at McDonald's and other fast food outlets, and drinking Coca Cola and similar sugar-saturated garbage. Their behavior may seem strange because their brains have largely withered away through endless TV watching (mainly US or US-inspired visual trash), their hearing impaired by ear- and mind numbing noise passing for music.

I am afraid the way out of that prison is long and tortuous for all victims of US neoliberalism.

Michael Kenny , says: September 18, 2018 at 1:44 pm GMT
The usual anti-EU propaganda that Ms Johnstone has been peddling for at least a dozen years, although she has recently moved from claiming to be a far-leftist to claiming to be a far-rightest. Whatever pretext "proves" the EU to be evil is trotted out! However, she points out very clearly Viktor Orban's dilemma. The choice for Hungary is between the EU and Putin's tanks. After 40 years of occupation by a Soviet Union in which the ethnic Russians acted as colonial overlords and the general contempt which Hungarians have for Slavs, choosing the latter option would be political suicide for any Hungarian leader. Thus, Orban is stuck with the EU whether he likes it or not and the other Member States are stuck with Orban whether they like it or not. In addition, two of Ms Johnstone's factual claims need to be corrected. The "EU" is taking no step whatsoever to strip Hungary of its political rights. The (according to Ms Johnstone, "largely rubber stamp") European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on the Member States to sanction Hungary. The EP always does something attention-grabbing in the run up to elections and since Ms Johnstone once worked for the European Parliament (as a far-leftist!), I'm sure she knows that. Imposing sanctions, as always in the EU, is a matter for the sovereign Member States and the decision has to be unanimous. Poland has already said it will not vote for sanctions, so the whole thing is a dead letter. Secondly, the claim that Hungary "never had a colonial empire" is untrue. It never had a colonial empire outside Europe but before 1918, it ruled over Slovakia, most of Croatia, Transylvania, now part of Romania, and the Vojvodina, now part of Serbia (so much for Ms Johnstone's supposed "expertise" on ex-Yugoslavia!). In general, the frantic, almost hysterical, tone of the article suggests that Ms Johnstone doesn't believe that Viktor Orban is going to be the cause of the imminent and inevitable demise of the hated EU that she has been predicting for as long as I have been reading her articles (and that goes back at least 14 years!).
Hans Vogel , says: September 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny The usual anti-EU propaganda that Ms Johnstone has been peddling for at least a dozen years, although she has recently moved from claiming to be a far-leftist to claiming to be a far-rightest. Whatever pretext "proves" the EU to be evil is trotted out! However, she points out very clearly Viktor Orban's dilemma. The choice for Hungary is between the EU and Putin's tanks. After 40 years of occupation by a Soviet Union in which the ethnic Russians acted as colonial overlords and the general contempt which Hungarians have for Slavs, choosing the latter option would be political suicide for any Hungarian leader. Thus, Orban is stuck with the EU whether he likes it or not and the other Member States are stuck with Orban whether they like it or not. In addition, two of Ms Johnstone's factual claims need to be corrected. The "EU" is taking no step whatsoever to strip Hungary of its political rights. The (according to Ms Johnstone, "largely rubber stamp") European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on the Member States to sanction Hungary. The EP always does something attention-grabbing in the run up to elections and since Ms Johnstone once worked for the European Parliament (as a far-leftist!), I'm sure she knows that. Imposing sanctions, as always in the EU, is a matter for the sovereign Member States and the decision has to be unanimous. Poland has already said it will not vote for sanctions, so the whole thing is a dead letter. Secondly, the claim that Hungary "never had a colonial empire" is untrue. It never had a colonial empire outside Europe but before 1918, it ruled over Slovakia, most of Croatia, Transylvania, now part of Romania, and the Vojvodina, now part of Serbia (so much for Ms Johnstone's supposed "expertise" on ex-Yugoslavia!). In general, the frantic, almost hysterical, tone of the article suggests that Ms Johnstone doesn't believe that Viktor Orban is going to be the cause of the imminent and inevitable demise of the hated EU that she has been predicting for as long as I have been reading her articles (and that goes back at least 14 years!). Judging by your name, you are not a European, but an Englishman, or from somewhere else in the Anglosphere. It is a good thing for England and especially the English to be leaving the EuSSR, which is more of a prison than commonly realized. Ruled by a greedy class of corrupt and, to make it worse, utterly mediocre, politicians, incompetent and stupid bureaucrats (yes, I know this is an oxymoron) in the exclusive interest of ruthless big corporations, human rights do not exist in the EuSSR.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe has seen a wave of privatizations on a scale only comparable to what happened in the former USSR. Nevertheless, taxation has increased to a point where today, the average EuSSR "citizen" pays between 75% and 80% taxes on every Euro he earns. The middle class is on its way to extinction. The judiciary is a joke, education has been dismantled or stupidified, health care is a disaster, save in Southern Europe where many doctors and nurses still have a sense of humanity.

The piece by Mrs. Johnstone may not be flawless, but it says what needs to be said.

anonymous , [739] Disclaimer says: September 18, 2018 at 3:26 pm GMT
Lots of important things switch sides.

70 years ago the Democrat party in the American South was the party of regular working class White Southerners and promoted Southern heritage and Southern history including Confederate history.

Then things change.

Now the national Democrat party and the Democrat party in the South hates Whites Southerners, hates Southern heritage and Southern history and are promoting the desecration of Confederate monuments and confederate graves.

60 years ago Hungarian was under Soviet Communist domination and Hungarian patriots looked to the West – especially American and Great Britain to help them achieve some personal freedom from Communism.

Now things have completely changed. It's the Wester (EU) UK BBC, American mass media that restricts freedom and National Christianity in Hungary and pretty much everywhere else. Russia is once again a health European Christian nation. Nobody in Hungary, Eastern Europe or Russia wants to allow their countries to be invaded by millions of 3rd world Muslim rapists.

So I living in Chicago IL (Obama was my neighbor) look to Hungary, Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe for any small dose of freedom.

Things change.

[Sep 16, 2018] What is neoliberalism

Sep 16, 2018 | anotherangryvoice.blogspot.com

Origins

The economic model that the word "neoliberalism" was coined to describe was developed by Chicago school economists in the 1960s and 1970s based upon Austrian neoclassical economic theories, but heavily influenced by Ayn Rand's barmy pseudo-philosophy of Übermenschen and greed-worship .

The first experiment in applied neoliberal theory began on September 11th 1973 in Chile , when a US backed military coup resulted in the death of social-democratic leader Salvador Allende and his replacement with the brutal military dictator General Pinochet (Margaret Thatcher's friend and idol). Thousands of people were murdered by the Pinochet regime for political reasons and tens of thousands more were tortured as Pinochet and the "Chicago boys" set about implementing neoliberal economic reforms and brutally reppressing anyone that stood in their way. The US financially doped the Chilean economy in order to create the impression that these rabid-right wing reforms were successful. After the "success" of the Chilean neoliberal experiment, the instillation and economic support of right-wing military dictatorships to impose neoliberal economic reforms became unofficial US foreign policy.

The first of the democratically elected neoliberals were Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US. They both set about introducing ideologically driven neoliberal reforms, such as the complete withdrawal of capital controls by Tory Chancellor Geoffrey Howe and the deregulation of the US financial markets that led to vast corruption scandals like Enron and the global financial sector insolvency crisis of 2007-08 .

By 1989 the ideology of neoliberalism was enshrined as the economic orthodoxy of the world as undemocratic Washington based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the US Treasury Department signed up to a ten point economic plan which was riddled with neoliberal ideology such as trade liberalisation, privatisation, financial sector deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy. This agreement between anti-democratic organisations is misleadingly referred to as "The Washington Consensus".

These days, the IMF is one of the most high profile pushers of neoliberal economic policies. Their strategy involves applying strict "structural adjustment" conditions on their loans. These conditions are invariably neoliberal reforms such as privatisation of utilities, services and government owned industries, tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, the abandonment of capital controls, the removal of democratic controls over central banks and monetary policy and the deregulation of financial industries.

[Sep 14, 2018] The entire neoliberal system is disintegrating fast. The world is already a completely different place from a year ago. The elite are in such a panic that everything they do makes things worse and increases the speed of the collapse.

Sep 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Sep 13, 2018 12:04:12 PM | 23 ">link

The insane things that are happening these days are a manifestation of the dire status of Empire.

The Skripal farce is the perfect microcosm of everything that is happening in the world geopolitically. The UK have now accused two innocent and naive tourists, and probably soon it will be proved beyond doubt that they were innocent tourists.

Erdogan is being blackmailed by the US into falling on his own sword, and will continue to flip-flop between the US and Russia. He obviously knows that siding with the US is suicide, but the US are trying to ensure that siding with Russia will also be suicide.

In their insane panic, the US, UK and Israel are all committing suicide. Everything they do is massively and comprehensively non-viable. Probably the top elite refuse the advice of their top advisors; it's even possible some of the top advisors themselves have decided to hasten the fall because they are so fed up with the scale of the degeneration.

The primordial goal of Russia and China is to dampen the bang as the West implodes and try to prevent global nuclear war.

The entire western system is disintegrating fast. The world is already a completely different place from 3 months ago. The elite are in such a panic everything they do makes things worse and increases the speed of the collapse. They are virtually in freefall (and perhaps soon will be).

[Sep 10, 2018] Trump was able to harness and give voice to some very important forces working against classic neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Serious border enforcement, demanding our wealthy allies do more for their own security, infrastructure investment, the (campaign's) refutation of Reaganomics, acknowledging the costs of globalism, calling BS on all of the dominant left PC pieties and lies, were themes of Trump's campaign that were of value. ..."
Sep 10, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

EarlyBird September 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Serious border enforcement, demanding our wealthy allies do more for their own security, infrastructure investment, the (campaign's) refutation of Reaganomics, acknowledging the costs of globalism, calling BS on all of the dominant left PC pieties and lies, were themes of Trump's campaign that were of value.

Trump was able to harness and give voice to some very important energies. But being Trump, he's poisoned these issues for a couple of generations. No serious leader will be able to touch these things.

Add this to all the institutional and political ruin he has created.

[Sep 07, 2018] Scientists Warn the UN of Capitalism's Imminent Demise

Sep 07, 2018 | news.slashdot.org

a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General . From a report: The main reason? We're transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet's environmental resources.

Climate change and species extinctions are accelerating even as societies are experiencing rising inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, rising debt levels, and impotent governments.

Contrary to the way policymakers usually think about these problems, the new report says that these are not really separate crises at all.

Rather, these crises are part of the same fundamental transition to a new era characterized by inefficient fossil fuel production and the escalating costs of climate change.

Conventional capitalist economic thinking can no longer explain, predict, or solve the workings of the global economy in this new age, the paper says [PDF] .

[Sep 07, 2018] Latin America- Rightwing Interlude and the Death Rattle of Neoliberalism by James Petras

Notable quotes:
"... By the beginning of 2015 and extending to 2018 a series of rightwing neo-liberal regimes came to power in some of the most important countries of Latin America. These included Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. They joined a cluster of existing 'free market' regimes in Mexico, Peru, Honduras and Paraguay. ..."
"... Neo-liberal regimes take power with Wall Street cheers and collapse with barely a whimper. ..."
"... While financial journalists and private investment consultants express surprise and attribute the ensuring crises to regime 'mistakes' and 'mismanagement', the real reasons for the predictable failure of neo-liberal regimes is a result of fundamental flaws. ..."
"... De-regulation undermines local industries which cannot compete with Asian, US and EU manufacturers. Increases in the costs of utilities bankrupt small and medium producers. Privatization deprives the state of revenues for public financing. Austerity programs lower deficits, undermining domestic consumption and eliminate fiscal financing. ..."
Sep 04, 2018 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Business writers, neo-liberal economists and politicians in North America and the EU heralded Latin America's embrace of a 'new wave of free markets and free elections'. Beginning in 2015 they predicted a new era of growth, stability and good government free of corruption and run by technocratic policy-makers.

By early 2018 the entire neo-liberal edifice was crumbling, the promises and predictions of a neo-liberal success story were forgotten. The 'naysayers' were in ascendancy.

This paper will discuss the recent rise of a so-called 'neo-liberal wave' or right turn and the regimes directing it.

We will critically re-evaluate the initial claims – and their fragile foundation.

We will outline the promise and program which were promoted by the neo-liberal elite.

We will then evaluate the results which ensured and the ultimate debacle.

We will conclude by examining why neo-liberalism has always been a crisis ridden project, a regime whose fundamentals are structurally unstable and based on capitalisms easy entry and fast departures.

The Neo-liberal 'Wave'

By the beginning of 2015 and extending to 2018 a series of rightwing neo-liberal regimes came to power in some of the most important countries of Latin America. These included Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia. They joined a cluster of existing 'free market' regimes in Mexico, Peru, Honduras and Paraguay.

Wall Street, the financial press and the White House hailed the regime changes as a 'rightwing wave', a return to 'normalcy' and a rejection of 'populism', corruption and economic mismanagement.

Leading investment houses looked forward to technocratic economists' intent on following the precepts of neo-liberalism.

Bankers and investors looked forward to long-term stability, dynamic growth and lucrative opportunities.

The Neo-liberal Program

The formulae uniformly applied by the neo-liberal regimes included de-regulation of the economy – lowering tariffs, elimination of subsidies on energy, fuels and public utilities; the firing of thousands of public employees and the privatization of entire sectors of the mining, energy telecoms and infrastructure sectors.

Debt moratoriums ended and bankers were rewarded with lucrative billion dollar payments for loans they had purchased, pennies on a dollar.

The neo-liberal rulers promised that foreign investors would flock through the 'open doors' with long-term large-scale investments. Lucrative capital gains , benefiting from tax exemptions, would encourage the return of overseas holdings of domestic speculators.

Neo-liberal regimes claimed privatized firms could end corruption, increase employment and mass consumption. They argued that deficits and unemployment, would decline and the 'neo-liberal wave' would last a generation or two.

Neo-liberalism: Wave or Wash-out?

Within a year of coming to power, the neo-liberal regimes entered a terminal crisis.

In the first place most regimes came to power through authoritarian paths. In Brazil, Michel Temer took-over the presidency via a congressional coup, based on President Dilma Rousseff's supposed administrative mismanagement. In Honduras a US backed military coup ousted the progressive liberal government of President Jose Manuel Zelaya, as was the case in Paraguay with President Fernando Lugo. In Argentina, Mauricio Macri exploited the provincial patronage machine, capitalized by a banker-media-agro-mineral alliance, to take power based on a Mexican-style 'electoral' process.

In Ecuador newly elected President Lenin Moreno followed a "Trojan Horse" ploy – pretended to follow in the footsteps of national populist President Rafael Correa, but once elected, embraced the Guayaquil oligarchs- Wall Street bankers.

Neo-liberalism's democratic credentials are of dubious legitimacy.

The socio-economic policies quickly undermined optimistic promises and led to social-economic disasters. The neo-liberal regime in Argentina multiplied unemployment and under-employment twice over while living standards declined precipitously. Tens of thousands of public employees were fired. Interest rates rose to world highs at 65% – effectively eliminating business loans and financing.

Initially business enterprises which were eager to back the neo-liberal regime; but faced with devaluation, debt and depression, investors fled to safer havens after pocketing windfall profits.

In Brazil trucker strikes paralyzed activity and forced the Temer regime to retract its petrol prices.

Popular discord has blocked Temer's regressive privatization and pension program.

Michel Temer's popularity fell to single digits. The orthodox economic presidential replacements to Temer lag the Workers' Party popular leader Lula Da Silva by 30% .The highly neoliberalized judiciary , faced with repudiation, has framed and barred and jailed Lula

In Colombia regime corruption led to a popular referendum, opposed by the far right. Social movements charge the new neo-liberal President Ivan Duque of ignoring and encouraging the assassination of over three hundred social activists over the past three years.

In Honduras and Paraguay, economic stagnation and social regression has driven tens of thousands to flee abroad or engage in militant movements occupying fallow fields.

In Ecuador the fake reform regime's embrace of the business elite and IMF style 'adjustments' has led to wide spread disillusionment. President Moreno's austerity program has reduced GDP to 1% and has dismantled public programs, as he lays the groundwork for privatizing mines, telecoms and banks.

As the neo-liberal regimes face the abyss, they increasingly rely on a militarized state. In Brazil the military has taken over the favelas; in Argentina military operations have proliferated -- - while formerly productive capital has fled, replaced by speculative swindlers.

Conclusion

Neo-liberal regimes take power with Wall Street cheers and collapse with barely a whimper.

While financial journalists and private investment consultants express surprise and attribute the ensuring crises to regime 'mistakes' and 'mismanagement', the real reasons for the predictable failure of neo-liberal regimes is a result of fundamental flaws.

De-regulation undermines local industries which cannot compete with Asian, US and EU manufacturers. Increases in the costs of utilities bankrupt small and medium producers. Privatization deprives the state of revenues for public financing. Austerity programs lower deficits, undermining domestic consumption and eliminate fiscal financing.

Capital flight and rising interest rates increases the cost of borrowing and devalues the currency.

Devaluations and capital flight deepen the recession and increase inflation. Finance ministers raid reserves to avoid a financial crash.

Austerity, stagnation, unemployment and social regression provokes labor interest and public-sector strikes. Consumer discontent, bankruptcies lead to deep decline of regime popularity.

As the crises unfolds, the regime reshuffles ministers, increases repression and seeks salvation with IMF financing.

Financiers balk sending good money after bad. The neo-liberal regimes enter in a terminal crisis.

While current neo-liberal regimes appear moribund, they still retain state power, a modicum of elite influence and a capacity to exploit internal divisions among their adversaries.

The anti-neoliberal opposition demonstrates its strength in challenging socio-economic policies but have difficulty in formulating an alternative political economic strategy for state power.Financial editors worry that pressure is building for a social explosion –a reply of Argentina 2001,when the President fled in a helicopter.

[Sep 04, 2018] Kunstler Warns -Some Kind Of Epic National Restructuring Is In The Works

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The shale oil "miracle" was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates, i.e. Federal Reserve policy. Even The New York Times said so yesterday ( The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground ). ..."
"... As with shale oil, they depend largely on dishonest financial legerdemain. They are also threatened by the crack-up of globalism, and its 12,000-mile supply lines, now well underway. Get ready for business at a much smaller scale. ..."
"... Hard as this sounds, it presents great opportunities for making Americans useful again, that is, giving them something to do, a meaningful place in society, and livelihoods. ..."
"... Pervasive racketeering rules because we allow it to, especially in education and medicine. Both are self-destructing under the weight of their own money-grubbing schemes. ..."
"... A lot of colleges will go out of business. Most college loans will never be paid back (and the derivatives based on them will blow up) ..."
"... The leviathan state is too large, too reckless, and too corrupt. Insolvency will eventually reduce its scope and scale. Most immediately, the giant matrix of domestic spying agencies has turned on American citizens. ..."
"... It will resist at all costs being dismantled or even reined in. One task at hand is to prosecute the people in the Department of Justice and the FBI who ran illegal political operations in and around the 2016 election. These are agencies which use their considerable power to destroy the lives of individual citizens. Their officers must answer to grand juries. ..."
"... As with everything else on the table for debate, the reach and scope of US imperial arrangements has to be reduced. ..."
Sep 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

And so the sun seems to stand still this last day before the resumption of business-as-usual, and whatever remains of labor in this sclerotic republic takes its ease in the ominous late summer heat, and the people across this land marinate in anxious uncertainty.

What can be done?

Some kind of epic national restructuring is in the works. It will either happen consciously and deliberately or it will be forced on us by circumstance. One side wants to magically reenact the 1950s; the other wants a Gnostic transhuman utopia. Neither of these is a plausible outcome.

Most of the arguments ranging around them are what Jordan Peterson calls "pseudo issues." Let's try to take stock of what the real issues might be.

Energy

The shale oil "miracle" was a stunt enabled by supernaturally low interest rates, i.e. Federal Reserve policy. Even The New York Times said so yesterday ( The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground ).

For all that, the shale oil producers still couldn't make money at it. If interest rates go up, the industry will choke on the debt it has already accumulated and lose access to new loans. If the Fed reverses its current course - say, to rescue the stock and bond markets - then the shale oil industry has perhaps three more years before it collapses on a geological basis, maybe less. After that, we're out of tricks. It will affect everything.

The perceived solution is to run all our stuff on electricity, with the electricity produced by other means than fossil fuels , so-called alt energy. This will only happen on the most limited basis and perhaps not at all. (And it is apart from the question of the decrepit electric grid itself.) What's required is a political conversation about how we inhabit the landscape, how we do business, and what kind of business we do. The prospect of dismantling suburbia -- or at least moving out of it -- is evidently unthinkable. But it's going to happen whether we make plans and policies, or we're dragged kicking and screaming away from it.

Corporate tyranny

The nation is groaning under despotic corporate rule. The fragility of these operations is moving toward criticality. As with shale oil, they depend largely on dishonest financial legerdemain. They are also threatened by the crack-up of globalism, and its 12,000-mile supply lines, now well underway. Get ready for business at a much smaller scale.

Hard as this sounds, it presents great opportunities for making Americans useful again, that is, giving them something to do, a meaningful place in society, and livelihoods.

The implosion of national chain retail is already underway. Amazon is not the answer, because each Amazon sales item requires a separate truck trip to its destination, and that just doesn't square with our energy predicament. We've got to rebuild main street economies and the layers of local and regional distribution that support them. That's where many jobs and careers are.

Climate change is most immediately affecting farming. 2018 will be a year of bad harvests in many parts of the world. Agri-biz style farming, based on oil-and-gas plus bank loans is a ruinous practice, and will not continue in any case. Can we make choices and policies to promote a return to smaller scale farming with intelligent methods rather than just brute industrial force plus debt? If we don't, a lot of people will starve to death. By the way, here is the useful work for a large number of citizens currently regarded as unemployable for one reason or another.

Pervasive racketeering rules because we allow it to, especially in education and medicine. Both are self-destructing under the weight of their own money-grubbing schemes. Both are destined to be severely downscaled.

A lot of colleges will go out of business. Most college loans will never be paid back (and the derivatives based on them will blow up).

We need millions of small farmers more than we need millions of communications majors with a public relations minor. It may be too late for a single-payer medical system. A collapsing oil-based industrial economy means a lack of capital, and fiscal hocus-pocus is just another form of racketeering. Medicine will have to get smaller and less complex and that means local clinic-based health care. Lots of careers there, and that is where things are going, so get ready.

Government over-reach

The leviathan state is too large, too reckless, and too corrupt. Insolvency will eventually reduce its scope and scale. Most immediately, the giant matrix of domestic spying agencies has turned on American citizens.

It will resist at all costs being dismantled or even reined in. One task at hand is to prosecute the people in the Department of Justice and the FBI who ran illegal political operations in and around the 2016 election. These are agencies which use their considerable power to destroy the lives of individual citizens. Their officers must answer to grand juries.

As with everything else on the table for debate, the reach and scope of US imperial arrangements has to be reduced. It's happening already, whether we like it or not, as geopolitical relations shift drastically and the other nations on the planet scramble for survival in a post-industrial world that will be a good deal harsher than the robotic paradise of digitally "creative" economies that the credulous expect.

This country has enough to do within its own boundaries to prepare for survival without making extra trouble for itself and other people around the world. As a practical matter, this means close as many overseas bases as possible, as soon as possible.

As we get back to business tomorrow, ask yourself where you stand in the blather-storm of false issues and foolish ideas, in contrast to the things that actually matter.

[Sep 02, 2018] Most of the premises of traditional imperialist power politics including forced globalization are simply blown away

Notable quotes:
"... At least neither Russia nor China are bombing hospitals, schools and bus full of children for oil ..."
Sep 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Jim in MN -> Majestic12 Fri, 08/31/2018 - 20:30 Permalink

Not Pepe's best sauce, but always worth a read. He's best when he's reporting from the field. His armchair geopolitics aren't that much better than anyone else's.

That said, Eurasian integration, Western Hemispheric energy independence, the populist revolt against forced globalization/sovereignty elimination/kleptocracy and the outbreak of global peace are all changing the chessboard profoundly. Most of the premises of traditional imperialist power politics are simply blown away. Instead, a new 'Chinese Peace with Russian Muscle' is the de facto hegemony in the vast bulk of the world, including parts of South American and most of Africa. With the Brits and French too slow and stupid to react, the Germans as weaselly and venal as ever, and the Japanese comatose, the hulk known as the G7 is heeling over into full capsize mode. And, good riddance.

Now the G20 has to either stand up or collapse. Much depends on which outcome develops.

However it works out, we can all stand and cheer that it is not a US dependent historical course any more. We've ceded our moral and military leadership. Perhaps we can reform, even if by bloody revolution, and re-emerge with something to give the rest of the world. Free markets, liberty, democracy, freedom of thought......the future is now really a question of whether any of these ideas will have a chance in a remade global order dominated, so far, by dictatorship, corruption, and moral crime.

So, we tend to our own house now. Anyone got a pack of matches?

Ace006 -> Jim in MN Sat, 09/01/2018 - 03:36 Permalink

** We've ceded our moral and military leadership **

Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Benghazi, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Georgia, NATO expansion, the Clintoons, the Bush dynasty of mediocrity, our open border, offshoring, Muslim ass kissing, free-ranging Antifa filth, media monopoly and lies, foreigners taking university slots, sexual confusion, ass kissing homosexuals, groveling before bat shit crazy feminists, destruction of our basic legal document through judicial usurpation, diseased leftists spouting lies and delusion, excusing black dysfunction, fiscal incontinence, unaddressd monopolies, attacks on free speech, criminal immunity for elites, a president who won't exercise his authority and tolerates insubordination, an unaccountable bureaucracy, a loose cannon prosecutor, Jewish political domination, slobbering over Israel as though Jerusalem is our capitol not Washington, denigration of the white majority culture, celebration of miscegenation, degradation of marriage, our diseased educational establishment, rampant vote fraud, illegal and unconstitutional wars, chest beating about "exceptionalism," and a generally crap culture all say you're right.

DEDA CVETKO -> Majestic12 Fri, 08/31/2018 - 21:57 Permalink

There will be no sudden and dramatic collapse. There will only be a slow, painful, never-ending, degrading decay into nothingness, a death from one million pundits, a process readily apparent (literally) all around us. Tune in to CNN, see for yourself.

hongdo -> Conscious Reviver Sat, 09/01/2018 - 15:37 Permalink

I see your point, but I am not convinced bankers work independently. Bankers do not have a monopoly on psychotics. The psychotics in gov have as much greed and craving for power as the bankers and I believe they work around, with, and against each other for various reasons just like everything else in the world works. Thus a one dimensional theory will not be complete - and maybe that is what you are arguing: to include bankers in geopolitics. I agree the bankers are a big part of the rotten problem but like when I am overseas - I watch the guys with the guns.

sarz -> shuckster Sat, 09/01/2018 - 05:59 Permalink

Most of the planet has put up with a lot of shit from America It's good that it's finally coming to an end.

"We have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population... Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming, and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction... We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."

George Kennan, State Department memo, 1948

America never gave up on the idealistic slogans -- the figleaf for the Empire of Chaos. Finally shutting the fuck up after the game is over will be welcome.

me or you Fri, 08/31/2018 - 20:14 Permalink

At least neither Russia nor China are bombing hospitals, schools and bus full of children for oil.

[Sep 02, 2018] Escobar- Get Ready For A Major Geopolitical Chessboard Rumble

Notable quotes:
"... No wonder one of the side effects of progressive Eurasia integration will be not only a death blow to Bretton Woods but also to "democratic" neoliberalism. ..."
Sep 02, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Alastair Crooke took a great shot at deconstructing why Western global elites are terrified of the Russian conceptualization of Eurasia.

It's because "they 'scent' a stealth reversion to the old, pre-Socratic values: for the Ancients the very notion of 'man', in that way, did not exist. There were only men: Greeks, Romans, barbarians, Syrians, and so on. This stands in obvious opposition to universal, cosmopolitan 'man'."

So it's Heraclitus versus Voltaire – even as "humanism" as we inherited it from the Enlightenment, is de facto over.

Whatever is left roaming our wilderness of mirrors depends on the irascible mood swings of the Goddess of the Market.

No wonder one of the side effects of progressive Eurasia integration will be not only a death blow to Bretton Woods but also to "democratic" neoliberalism.

What we have now is also a remastered version of sea power versus land powers. Relentless Russophobia is paired with supreme fear of a Russia-Germany rapprochement – as Bismarck wanted, and as Putin and Merkel recently hinted at. The supreme nightmare for the U.S. is in fact a truly Eurasian Beijing-Berlin-Moscow partnership.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has not even begun; according to the official Beijing timetable, we're still in the planning phase. Implementation starts next year. The horizon is 2039.

[Sep 02, 2018] Trump Drops the Value of the EU as an Ally -- to Zero by ALASTAIR CROOKE

Notable quotes:
"... " One of the worst things that can happen to our country, is when Russia ever gets driven to China. We have driven them together – with the big oil deals that are being made. We have driven them together. That's a horrible thing for this country. We have made them friends because of incompetent leadership. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin – okay? And, I mean [that] where we [the US] have the strength. I don't think we need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well." ..."
"... Art of the Deal ..."
"... Identify a big goal (tax cuts, balanced trade, the wall, etc.). ..."
"... Identify your leverage points versus anyone who stands in your way (elections, tariffs, jobs, etc.). ..."
"... Announce some extreme threat against your opponent that uses your leverage. ..."
"... If the opponent backs down, mitigate the threat, declare victory and go home with a win. ..."
"... If the opponent fires back, double down. If Trump declares tariffs on $50 billion of good from China,and China shoots back with tariffs on $50 billion of goods from the U.S., Trump doubles down with tariffs on $100 billion of goods, etc. Trump will keep escalating until he wins." ..."
"... Eventually, the escalation process can lead to negotiations with at least the perception of a victory for Trump (North Korea) -- even if the victory is more visual than real. ..."
"... "The position of Europe is clear. It isn't a coincidence that Trump, while enumerating the enemies of the US (the EU, China, and Russia), made it clear that he considers Russia to be a smaller problem [than the EU], because there are practically no economic contradictions ("Nord Stream-2" doesn't count) with it. It's not China, with which the US has the biggest negative trade balance, but the EU, which Trump fairly defined as the main trade competitor, receiving unjustified economic benefits from political agreements with the US, and which is the main 'foe' of the US. ..."
"... "[Thus Trump] resolves his military-political contradictions with Russia, [and consequently] reduces the value of the EU as an ally for Washington, to zero Europe was accustomed to (and hoped to continue to use) its role of a springboard for the fight against Russia as [the primordial] argument that was supposed to keep Trump away from making the last step (complete separation with the EU). ..."
"... In recent days, Merkel, after the NATO summit, started talking literally [that Trump's hostility towards Europe is unjustified], because Europe battles with Russia for the interests of the US. ..."
"... "For the EU it was crucial that this argument continued to work. Otherwise, Washington indeed, would have more common ground with Moscow than with Brussels. And Europe isn't ready for a sharp confrontation with the US. Having rested on its laurels [i.e. on its conviction that it occupied, as it were, some 'moral high ground of values']. Europe wasn't engaged (in difference, for example, from China), in the diversification of economic ties and appeared to be strongly dependent on access to the American market. ..."
"... "Without having risked to be ahead of Trump in the question of normalising relations with Russia, EU leaders were fatally afraid that Trump and Putin, despite all difficulties, will do the impossible and reach an agreement, especially as both proved to be people who are ready to instantly make decisions that change the destiny of the world. ..."
"... "The position taken by the EU raised the value of the summit for Russia too. Moscow can wait until Washington is ready for reconciliation. But, taking into account the obvious intention of Europe to manoeuvre between Russia and the US, trying to preserve the geopolitical configuration that is profitable for itself, but doesn't suit either Trump nor Putin, Russia was also interested in showing to the whole world the success of the summit and good prospects for achieving definitive and comprehensive agreements." ..."
"... The latent hatred for Russia is unmistakeably revealed. This animosity will not be a surprise to Putin – though the extremity of the elite language used towards Trump will make Russians aware of their ..."
"... What does such language portend? The roots of American Russo-phobia go deep. It starts with American Trotskyist activists' on ground participation in the initial Trotskyist Bolshevik revolution – largely financed, and orchestrated by Wall Street. ..."
"... Of course, what rankles most in America, and amongst European liberal elites, is the apparent according of moral equivalence of Putin to America, and to America's intelligence capabilities. America believes it WON – it won the Cold War culturally, and in terms of its systems of government and economics. ..."
"... The western Establishment anger stems ultimately from Russia's refusal to acquiesce to their merited 'defeatism' (in this view): Putin rejected to merge Russia into the American-led global order, preferring Russia to remain somehow 'Russian', in its own Russian cultural way. ..."
"... And for Trump? The 'smart money' says that he will be indicted, or impeached, after the midterms. I doubt it. For all John Brennan's talk of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" (the precise legal language of impeachment), there is no crime. If any, crimes per se ..."
Jul 23, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

Maybe we are misreading things. Not a small number of commentaries have suggested that President Trump intended for Helsinki to re-set the Kissinger-esque triangulation between the US, Russia and China. And there are good grounds for making such a hypothesis. At a 2015 press conference, Trump, himself, took the Kissinger line -- that the US should always try to keep Russia and China divided, and never allied together against America):

" One of the worst things that can happen to our country, is when Russia ever gets driven to China. We have driven them together – with the big oil deals that are being made. We have driven them together. That's a horrible thing for this country. We have made them friends because of incompetent leadership. I believe I would get along very nicely with Putin – okay? And, I mean [that] where we [the US] have the strength. I don't think we need the sanctions. I think that we would get along very, very well."

This makes a lot of sense, but maybe in Helsinki Trump was doing something a little less strategic and more down-to-earth – something more in line with his Art of the Deal philosophy.

We have, over the decades, developed a fairly precise mental model of how "Presidents are supposed to behave; and how the policymaking process is supposed to be carried out. Obviously, Trump does not fit their model", Jim Rickards writes . "[GW] Bush and Obama were totally process-driven. You could see events coming a mile away as they wound their way through the West Wing and Capitol Hill deliberative processes." With Trump, Rickards continues, "there is a process, but it does not adhere to a timeline or existing template. Trump seems to be the only process participant most of the time. No one else in Washington thinks this way. Washington insiders try to avoid confrontation, avoid escalation, compromise from the beginning, and finesse their way through any policy process."

"Here's the Trump process:

Eventually, the escalation process can lead to negotiations with at least the perception of a victory for Trump (North Korea) -- even if the victory is more visual than real.

So, if we reframe the Helsinki meeting through this Art of the Deal lens, what do we get? Seeing that thedivergencies of vision between Russia and the US are so substantial, and the common ground is so small, there is very little prospect for a 'strategic global deal'. In fact, President Trump has little that he can offer Russia: sanctions relief is not in his gift (it is in the maw of Congress), and he could not – at this stage – relinquish Ukraine, even if Trump understands that the US and Europe bought a 'pig in a poke' with its Maidan coup in Kiev.

"So", as Russian commentator, Rostislav Ishchenko, writes (in Russian, translation here ): "We have a situation where both parties even prior to negotiations, knew that they wouldn't be able to come to some arrangement, and they didn't even prepare for such a thing (it wasn't planned to sign anything following the results of negotiations). At the same time, both parties needed the event to be successful". Ishchenko continues: "Trump obviously blackmails the European Union with a possible agreement with Russia. But Putin also needs to show Europe that there are other fish in the sea besides them."

"The position of Europe is clear. It isn't a coincidence that Trump, while enumerating the enemies of the US (the EU, China, and Russia), made it clear that he considers Russia to be a smaller problem [than the EU], because there are practically no economic contradictions ("Nord Stream-2" doesn't count) with it. It's not China, with which the US has the biggest negative trade balance, but the EU, which Trump fairly defined as the main trade competitor, receiving unjustified economic benefits from political agreements with the US, and which is the main 'foe' of the US.

"[Thus Trump] resolves his military-political contradictions with Russia, [and consequently] reduces the value of the EU as an ally for Washington, to zero Europe was accustomed to (and hoped to continue to use) its role of a springboard for the fight against Russia as [the primordial] argument that was supposed to keep Trump away from making the last step (complete separation with the EU).

In recent days, Merkel, after the NATO summit, started talking literally [that Trump's hostility towards Europe is unjustified], because Europe battles with Russia for the interests of the US.

"For the EU it was crucial that this argument continued to work. Otherwise, Washington indeed, would have more common ground with Moscow than with Brussels. And Europe isn't ready for a sharp confrontation with the US. Having rested on its laurels [i.e. on its conviction that it occupied, as it were, some 'moral high ground of values']. Europe wasn't engaged (in difference, for example, from China), in the diversification of economic ties and appeared to be strongly dependent on access to the American market.

"Without having risked to be ahead of Trump in the question of normalising relations with Russia, EU leaders were fatally afraid that Trump and Putin, despite all difficulties, will do the impossible and reach an agreement, especially as both proved to be people who are ready to instantly make decisions that change the destiny of the world.

"The position taken by the EU raised the value of the summit for Russia too. Moscow can wait until Washington is ready for reconciliation. But, taking into account the obvious intention of Europe to manoeuvre between Russia and the US, trying to preserve the geopolitical configuration that is profitable for itself, but doesn't suit either Trump nor Putin, Russia was also interested in showing to the whole world the success of the summit and good prospects for achieving definitive and comprehensive agreements."

In short, Trump was using Helsinki to leverage "an extreme threat against your opponent" (Europe), by voiding the European 'card' of its 'usefulness' to America through its constant battling against Russia. Indeed the recent NATO final comunique, reads almost precisely as an legal indictment of Russia and its behavior.

Both Trump and Putin took a big political risk by staging this 'end to Cold War – coup de théâtre'. Trump has unleashed extraordinary hysteria in parts of the US, provoking numerous Washington Post op-eds to language such as characterising Trump's words (at the press conference) as 'apostasy' and 'a cancer amongst us'. (Apostasy is the language used by violent jihadists against non-believers.)

The latent hatred for Russia is unmistakeably revealed. This animosity will not be a surprise to Putin – though the extremity of the elite language used towards Trump will make Russians aware of their risks – what might ensue were Trump somehow be removed from office?

What does such language portend? The roots of American Russo-phobia go deep. It starts with American Trotskyist activists' on ground participation in the initial Trotskyist Bolshevik revolution – largely financed, and orchestrated by Wall Street.

Not only did New York bankers provide money, they also facilitated safe passage to Russia for revolutionaries such as Trotsky and others. Stalin's ultimate killing of the Trotskyist killers in the 1930s (and many others) is at the root of the Russian 'thuggery' language still circulating in US (even if some have forgotten its origins). Stalin's cleansing has never been forgiven by certain circles in the US.

Of course, what rankles most in America, and amongst European liberal elites, is the apparent according of moral equivalence of Putin to America, and to America's intelligence capabilities. America believes it WON – it won the Cold War culturally, and in terms of its systems of government and economics. This 'End to History' hubris voided – in this ecstatic state – the need to treat Russia as other than a psychologically 'defeated people', (which they were not).

The western Establishment anger stems ultimately from Russia's refusal to acquiesce to their merited 'defeatism' (in this view): Putin rejected to merge Russia into the American-led global order, preferring Russia to remain somehow 'Russian', in its own Russian cultural way.

What are the implications for Europe? For Europe this is a catastrophe. It means that US dialogue with Putin will continue. Where to run for the EU – to Washington or to Moscow? To remain loyal to an old suzerain or to try to adhere to a new one, before others get there first?

Moreover, unlike Russia, Europe can't wait. By meeting Putin, Trump brought the US out of zugzwang, having handed over to the European Union the right to make this same move, which only risks complicating Euro politics – beyond its existing challenges.

And for Trump? The 'smart money' says that he will be indicted, or impeached, after the midterms. I doubt it. For all John Brennan's talk of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" (the precise legal language of impeachment), there is no crime. If any, crimes per se may emerge out from a very different quarter. And Trump likely will survive the current hysterics.

Tags: European Union

[Sep 01, 2018] The Suicidal American Empire Is Collapsing Fast, But Its Death Now Would Cause Unacceptable Collateral Damage. Which is why its vassals and even rivals are forced, for now, to try and keep it afloat

The destiny of the US empire is interlined with destiny of neoliberalism. This is important point that Orlov misses. As long as neoliberal social system is the only game in town, I think attempt of Russia and china to depose the US empire will be futile.
Trump just represents an evolution of neoliberalism toward what can be called "national neoliberalism", where classic neoliberal globalization is thrown out of the windows (or somewhat diminished) in favor of bilateral treaties and sanctions for non-compliant vassals, one country at a time.
Notable quotes:
"... There are a lot of behaviors being exhibited by those in positions of power in the US that seem disparate and odd. We watch Trump who is imposing sanctions on country after country, dreaming of eradicating his country's structural trade deficit with the rest of the world. ..."
"... A lengthening list of countries are set to ignore or compensate for US sanctions, especially sanctions against Iranian oil exports. In a signal moment, Russia's finance minister has recently pronounced the US dollar "unreliable." Meanwhile, US debt keeps galloping upwards, with its largest buyer being reported as a mysterious, possibly entirely nonexistent "Other." ..."
"... the key point: if this were to happen today, it would cause unacceptable levels of political and economic collateral damage around the world. Does this mean that the US is indispensable? ..."
"... Empires do all sorts of evil things -- up to and including genocide -- but they also provide a level playing field and a method for preventing petty grievances from escalating into tribal conflicts ..."
"... The American empire is a bit more nuanced: it uses the US dollar as a weapon for periodically expropriating savings from around the world by exporting inflation while annihilating anyone who tries to wiggle out from under the US dollar system. ..."
"... What we have in permanent surplus is revolutionaries: if they have their way, look out for a Reign of Terror, followed by the rise of a Bonaparte. That's what happens every time. ..."
"... est you think that the US isn't an empire -- a collapsing one -- consider the following. The US defense budget is larger than that of the next ten countries combined, yet the US can't prevail even in militarily puny Afghanistan ..."
"... It claims the entire planet as its dominion : no matter where you go, you still have to pay US income taxes and are still subject to US laws ..."
"... It controls and manipulates governments in numerous countries around the world, always aiming to turn them into satrapies governed from the US embassy compound, but with results that range from unprofitable to embarrassing to lethal. It is now failing at virtually all of these things, threatening the entire planet with its untimely demise. ..."
"... None of the old methods of maintaining imperial dominance are working; all that remains is the threat of falling down and leaving a huge mess for the rest of the world to deal with. The rest of the world is now tasked with rapidly creating a situation where the US empire can be dealt a coup de grâce safely, without causing any collateral damage -- and that's a huge task, so everyone is forced to play for time. ..."
Sep 01, 2018 | www.newyorker.com

There are a lot of behaviors being exhibited by those in positions of power in the US that seem disparate and odd. We watch Trump who is imposing sanctions on country after country, dreaming of eradicating his country's structural trade deficit with the rest of the world.

We watch pretty much all of US Congress falling over each other in their attempt to impose the harshest possible sanctions on Russia. People in Turkey, a key NATO country, are literally burning US dollars and smashing iPhones in a fit of pique.

Confronted with a new suite of Russian and Chinese weapons systems that largely neutralize the ability of the US to dominate the world militarily, the US is setting new records in the size of its already outrageously bloated yet manifestly ineffectual defense spending. As a backdrop to this military contractor feeding frenzy, the Taliban are making steady gains in Afghanistan, now control over half the territory, and are getting ready to stamp "null and void," in a repeat of Vietnam, on America's longest war.

A lengthening list of countries are set to ignore or compensate for US sanctions, especially sanctions against Iranian oil exports. In a signal moment, Russia's finance minister has recently pronounced the US dollar "unreliable." Meanwhile, US debt keeps galloping upwards, with its largest buyer being reported as a mysterious, possibly entirely nonexistent "Other."

Although these may seem like manifestations of many different trends in the world, I believe that a case can be made that these are all one thing: the US -- the world's imperial overlord -- standing on a ledge and threatening to jump, while its imperial vassals -- too many to mention -- are standing down below and shouting "Please, don't jump!" To be sure, most of them would be perfectly happy to watch the overlord plummet and jelly up the sidewalk. But here is the key point: if this were to happen today, it would cause unacceptable levels of political and economic collateral damage around the world. Does this mean that the US is indispensable?

No, of course not, nobody is. But dispensing with it will take time and energy, and while that process runs its course the rest of the world is forced to keep it on life support no matter how counterproductive, stupid and demeaning that feels.

What the world needs to do, as quickly as possible, is to dismantle the imperial center, which is in Washington politically and militarily and in New York and London financially, while somehow salvaging the principle of empire. "What?!" you might exclaim, "Isn't imperialism evil." Well, sure it is, whatever, but empires make possible efficient, specialized production and efficient, unhindered trade over large distances. Empires do all sorts of evil things -- up to and including genocide -- but they also provide a level playing field and a method for preventing petty grievances from escalating into tribal conflicts.

The Roman Empire, then Byzantium, then the Tatar/Mongol Golden Horde, then the Ottoman Sublime Porte all provided these two essential services -- unhindered trade and security -- in exchange for some amount of constant rapine and plunder and a few memorable incidents of genocide. The Tatar/Mongol Empire was by far the most streamlined: it simply demanded "yarlyk" -- tribute -- and smashed anyone who attempted to rise above a level at which they were easy to smash. The American empire is a bit more nuanced: it uses the US dollar as a weapon for periodically expropriating savings from around the world by exporting inflation while annihilating anyone who tries to wiggle out from under the US dollar system.

All empires follow a certain trajectory. Over time they become corrupt, decadent and enfeebled, and then they collapse. When they collapse, there are two ways to go. One is to slog through a millennium-long dark age -- as Western Europe did after the Western Roman Empire collapsed. Another is for a different empire, or a cooperating set of empires, to take over, as happened after the Ottoman Empire collapsed. You may think that a third way exists: of small nations cooperating sweetly and collaborating successfully on international infrastructure projects that serve the common good. Such a scheme may be possible, but I tend to take a jaundiced view of our simian natures.

We come equipped with MonkeyBrain 2.0, which has some very useful built-in functions for imperialism, along with some ancillary support for nationalism and organized religion. These we can rely on; everything else would be either a repeat of a failed experiment or an untested innovation. Sure, let's innovate, but innovation takes time and resources, and those are the exact two things that are currently lacking. What we have in permanent surplus is revolutionaries: if they have their way, look out for a Reign of Terror, followed by the rise of a Bonaparte. That's what happens every time.

Lest you think that the US isn't an empire -- a collapsing one -- consider the following. The US defense budget is larger than that of the next ten countries combined, yet the US can't prevail even in militarily puny Afghanistan. (That's because much of its defense budget is trivially stolen.)

The US has something like a thousand military bases, essentially garrisoning the entire planet, but to unknown effect. It claims the entire planet as its dominion : no matter where you go, you still have to pay US income taxes and are still subject to US laws.

It controls and manipulates governments in numerous countries around the world, always aiming to turn them into satrapies governed from the US embassy compound, but with results that range from unprofitable to embarrassing to lethal. It is now failing at virtually all of these things, threatening the entire planet with its untimely demise.

What we are observing, at every level, is a sort of blackmail: "Do as we say, or no more empire for you!" The US dollar will vanish, international trade will stop and a dark age will descend, forcing everyone to toil in the dirt for a millennium while mired in futile, interminable conflicts with neighboring tribes.

None of the old methods of maintaining imperial dominance are working; all that remains is the threat of falling down and leaving a huge mess for the rest of the world to deal with. The rest of the world is now tasked with rapidly creating a situation where the US empire can be dealt a coup de grâce safely, without causing any collateral damage -- and that's a huge task, so everyone is forced to play for time.

There is a lot of military posturing and there are political provocations happening all the time, but these are sideshows that are becoming an unaffordable luxury: there is nothing to be won through these methods and plenty to be lost. Essentially, all the arguments are over money. There is a lot of money to be lost. The total trade surplus of the BRICS countries with the West (US+EU, essentially) is over a trillion dollars a year. SCO -- another grouping of non-Western countries -- comes up with almost the same numbers. That's the amount of products these countries produce for which they currently have no internal market. Should the West evaporate overnight, nobody will buy these products. Russia alone had a 2017 trade surplus of $116 billion, and in 2018 so far it grew by 28.5%. China alone, in its trade just with the US, generated $275 billion in surplus. Throw in another $16 billion for its trade with the EU.

Those are big numbers, but they are nowhere near enough if the project is to build a turnkey global empire to replace US+EU in a timely manner. Also, there are no takers. Russia is rather happy to have shed its former Soviet dependents and is currently invested in building a multilateral, international system of governance based on international institutions such as SCO, BRICS and EAEU. Numerous other countries are very interested in joining together in such organizations: most recently, Turkey has expressed interest in turning BRICS into BRICTS. Essentially, all of the post-colonial nations around the world are now forced to trade away some measure of their recently won independence, essentially snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The job vacancy of Supreme Global Overlord is unlikely to attract any qualified candidates.

What everyone seems to want is a humble, low-budget, cooperative global empire, without all of the corruption and with a lot less life-threatening militarism. It will take time to build , and the resources to build it can only come from one place: from gradually bleeding US+EU dry. In order to do this, the wheels of international commerce must continue to spin. But this is exactly what all of the new tariffs and sanctions, the saber-rattling and the political provocations, are attempting to prevent: a ship laden with soya is now doing circles in the Pacific off the coast of China; steel I-beams are rusting at the dock in Turkey

But it is doubtful that these attempts will work. The EU has been too slow in recognizing just how pernicious its dependence on Washington has become, and will take even more time to find ways to free itself, but the process has clearly started. For its part, Washington runs on money, and since its current antics will tend to make money grow scarce even faster than it otherwise would, those who stand to lose the most will make the Washingtonians feel their pain and will force a change of course.

As a result, everyone will be pushing in the same direction: toward a slow, steady, controllable imperial collapse. All we can hope for is that the rest of the world manages to come together and build at least the scaffolding of a functional imperial replacement in time to avoid collapsing into a new post-imperial dark age.


Source: Club Orlov

Orlov is one of our favorite essayists on Russia and all sorts of other things. He moved to the US as a child, and lives in the Boston area.

He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile, along with James Howard Kunstler, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.

He is best known for his 2011 book comparing Soviet and American collapse (he thinks America's will be worse). He is a prolific author on a wide array of subjects, and you can see his work by searching him on Amazon.

He has a large following on the web, and on Patreon, and we urge you to support him there , as Russia Insider does.

His current project is organizing the production of affordable house boats for living on. He lives on a boat himself.

If you haven't discovered his work yet, please take a look at his archive of articles on RI . They are a real treasure, full of invaluable insight into both the US and Russia and how they are related.

[Aug 31, 2018] The globalists would find use for a Trump presidency, more so in fact than a Clinton presidency

Notable quotes:
"... I was not sure whether Trump was controlled opposition or simply a useful scapegoat for the economic crisis that globalists are clearly engineering. Now it appears that he is both. ..."
"... Many businessmen end up dealing with elitist controlled banks at some point in their careers. But when Trump entered office and proceeded to load his cabinet with ghouls from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, the Council on Foreign Relations and give Wilber Ross the position of Commerce Secretary, it became obvious that Trump is in fact a puppet for the banks. ..."
"... If one examines the history of fake coups, there is ALWAYS an element of orchestrated division, sometimes between the globalists and their own puppets. This is called 4th Generation warfare, in which almost all divisions are an illusion and the real target is the public psyche. ..."
"... the overall picture is not as simple as "Left vs. Right." Instead, we need to look at the situation more like a chess board, and above that chess board looms the globalists, attempting to control all the necessary pieces on BOTH sides. Every provocation by leftists is designed to elicit a predictable response from conservatives to the point that we become whatever the globalists want us to become. ..."
"... Therefore it is not leftists that present the greatest threat to individual liberty, but the globalist influenced Trump administration. A failed coup on the part of the left could be used as a rationale for incremental and unconstitutional "safeguards." And conservatives may be fooled into supporting these measures as the threat is overblown. ..."
Aug 31, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

... ... ...

At that time I was certain that the globalists would find great use for a Trump presidency, more so in fact than a Clinton presidency. However, I was not sure whether Trump was controlled opposition or simply a useful scapegoat for the economic crisis that globalists are clearly engineering. Now it appears that he is both.

Trump's history was already suspicious. He was bailed out of his considerable debts surrounding his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City in the early 1990s by Rothschild banking agent Wilber Ross , which saved him from embarrassment and possibly saved his entire fortune . This alone was not necessarily enough to deny Trump the benefit of the doubt in my view.

Many businessmen end up dealing with elitist controlled banks at some point in their careers. But when Trump entered office and proceeded to load his cabinet with ghouls from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, the Council on Foreign Relations and give Wilber Ross the position of Commerce Secretary, it became obvious that Trump is in fact a puppet for the banks.

Some liberty movement activists ignore this reality and attempt to argue around the facts of Trump's associations. "What about all the media opposition to Trump? Doesn't this indicate he's not controlled?" they say. I say, not really.

If one examines the history of fake coups, there is ALWAYS an element of orchestrated division, sometimes between the globalists and their own puppets. This is called 4th Generation warfare, in which almost all divisions are an illusion and the real target is the public psyche.

This is not to say that leftist opposition to Trump and conservatives is not real. It absolutely is. The left has gone off the ideological deep end into an abyss of rabid frothing insanity, but the overall picture is not as simple as "Left vs. Right." Instead, we need to look at the situation more like a chess board, and above that chess board looms the globalists, attempting to control all the necessary pieces on BOTH sides. Every provocation by leftists is designed to elicit a predictable response from conservatives to the point that we become whatever the globalists want us to become.

... ... ...

As this is taking place, conservatives are growing more sensitive to the notion of a leftist coup, from silencing of conservative voices to an impeachment of Trump based on fraudulent ideas of "Russian collusion."

To be clear, the extreme left has no regard for individual liberties or constitutional law. They use the Constitution when it suits them, then try to tear it down when it doesn't suit them. However, the far-left is also a paper tiger; it is not a true threat to conservative values because its membership marginal, it is weak, immature and irrational. Their only power resides in their influence within the mainstream media, but with the MSM fading in the face of the alternative media, their social influence is limited. It is perhaps enough to organize a "coup," but it would inevitably be a failed coup.

Therefore it is not leftists that present the greatest threat to individual liberty, but the globalist influenced Trump administration. A failed coup on the part of the left could be used as a rationale for incremental and unconstitutional "safeguards." And conservatives may be fooled into supporting these measures as the threat is overblown.

I have always said that the only people that can destroy conservative principles are conservatives. Conservatives diminish their own principles every time they abandon their conscience and become exactly like the monsters they hope to defeat. And make no mistake, the globalists are well aware of this strategy.

Carroll Quigley, a pro-globalist professor and the author of Tragedy and Hope, a book published decades ago which outlined the plan for a one world economic and political system, is quoted in his address ' Dissent: Do We Need It ':

"They say, "The Congress is corrupt." I ask them, "What do you know about the Congress? Do you know your own Congressman's name?" Usually they don't. It's almost a reflex with them, like seeing a fascist pig in a policeman. To them, all Congressmen are crooks. I tell them they must spend a lot of time learning the American political system and how it functions, and then work within the system. But most of them just won't buy that. They insist the system is totally corrupt. I insist that the system, the establishment, whatever you call it, is so balanced by diverse forces that very slight pressures can produce perceptible results.

For example, I've talked about the lower middle class as the backbone of fascism in the future. I think this may happen. The party members of the Nazi Party in Germany were consistently lower middle class. I think that the right-wing movements in this country are pretty generally in this group."

Is a "failed coup" being staged in order to influence conservatives to become the very "fascists" the left accuses us of being? The continuing narrative certainly suggests that this is the game plan.

* * *

If you would like to support the publishing of articles like the one you have just read, visit our donations page here . We greatly appreciate your patronage.

[Aug 31, 2018] Big Money refuses to return to reality as its addicted to Smoke Mirrors since that s what was used to gain its power and will now double-down

Notable quotes:
"... For dessert today, I offer Russia's Grand Strategy Revisited published on the 24th. The Outlaw US Empire is in the midst of a Seldon Crisis but lacks the means to even recognize the spectacular mess its made for itself, much of which is quite visibly articulated in its NDS I linked to above. ..."
"... By every metric I've observed, the USA's citizenry from all political POVs wants a return to Reality for that's the only basis from which to address and solve the many domestic problems. ..."
Aug 31, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Aug 30, 2018 5:38:27 PM | 34

Too Funny! Trump whines, threatens pullout from WTO again! After decades of bullying nations and impoverishing their people, other nations are using the Outlaw US Empire's WTO as a weapon against it, so Trump cries Unfair! As I wrote above, Big Money's trapped within its own web.

The "Softies" are yet another entity in the Smoke & Mirrors Fun House designed to fool and gain citizenry's consent to be robbed blind.

Russians already went through that and are very wary as illustrated by the very sensitive nature of the recent Pension System Reform Debate and legislation that Putin had to solve using his political capital.

As with all politicians, you won't know what you elected until you learn how your rep votes issues, although some can be anticipated by examining their past behavior as with our pseudo Democrat-Socialist.

For dessert today, I offer Russia's Grand Strategy Revisited published on the 24th. The Outlaw US Empire is in the midst of a Seldon Crisis but lacks the means to even recognize the spectacular mess its made for itself, much of which is quite visibly articulated in its NDS I linked to above.

By every metric I've observed, the USA's citizenry from all political POVs wants a return to Reality for that's the only basis from which to address and solve the many domestic problems.

Big Money refuses as its addicted to Smoke & Mirrors since that's what was used to gain its power and will now double-down.

[Aug 30, 2018] There are tons of corrupted Party elites who've enriched themselves brazenly and shamelessly as their counterparts in iFUKUS. But you shouldn't simply equate the whole Chinese party elites to "MIC banksters and its minions" because of some fundamental differences

Aug 30, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

lulu , Aug 29, 2018 10:48:35 AM | 49

Oft@45

There are tons of corrupted Party elites who've enriched themselves brazenly and shamelessly as their counterparts in iFUKUS. But you shouldn't simply equate the whole Chinese party elites to "MIC & banksters and its minions" because of the following fundamental difference:

CPC kicked out all the Britons, Frenchs, Germans and Japanese who had hold the top and senior positions of China's Maritime Customs Service . Can you imagine the Inspector-General of US/US/France/Germany's Custom had been a Chinese for almost 100 years to serve China's interests?

(This is why Mao is so hated by US & Western ruling elites, and CPC has got so much smearing campaigns going on against it.)

"MIC & banksters and its minions" won't ever give up their pursuit of profits for the sake of national interests. The best example is their continuing of unjustified and useless wars for profits: Afghanistan (17-year), Iraq (14-year), Syria (7-year), Iran (in planning). The trillions of $$$ could be well spent for debt cancellations for the ordinary American people!

- CPC has set the " Targeted Poverty Alleviation " as its government short-term (2021) and mid-term (2049) goals, and requires all party cadres from village/county/province/central government to go the poorest areas in their respective regions with financial aids, training and economic incentives to help the poorest and weakest people to be able to live a decent lives on their in long term.

Their annual appraisal is linked with how the living standards of the poor people under their responsibility is improved. Anyone who wants to climb the career ladder to become a mayor, governor of a province or member of politburo (the final power center), he/she has to show the scorecard for his/her working.

I haven't heard any such initiatives taken by any "MIC & banksters and its minions" to help the poor in FUKUS. Maybe I am not enlightened on this topic? You are welcome to educate me.


- Contrary to Fed, the Central Bank (People's Bank of China) is controlled by the government not some private bankers. Don't believe the nonsense about NWO taking control of China.


- Bribery is crimes in China, not legalized as lobbying in iFUKUS . IF it were legalized as in the US, then the corruption number in China would be dramatically reduced.


As I said in our previous discussion on last Wednesday, of course, some of the party elites, rich Chinese and their minions (in media and academy) have been pushing very hard for 30+ years to completely adopt the "advanced US systems" to secure their gains and powers. Xi is trying to reverse the trends. (That's why you read/saw the uproars from MSM and online social media, both inside and outside China when the two-term limits were deleted from the constitution.)


There are still ongoing corruptions in China; CPC has made some big mistakes and is still tumbling here and there. But it is too simple to think the Party elites = "MIC & banksters and its minions," because they know as we know that people will throw them off when they behave like "MIC & banksters and its minions", who put their own interest above everything and everyone.


Every Chinese knows " Water can carry the boat but can also turn it upside down. "(水能载舟,亦能覆舟 - by Xun Zi, 313 BC -238 BC), a famous Chinese philosopher and educator). CPC elites probably know it much better than average citizen.

lulu , Aug 29, 2018 10:59:16 AM | 50
To understand how and why CPC thinks and acts the way it is, maybe you should know a little bit about the fundamental Chinese (ancient) governing philosophy and ethics.

China has been a secular country since Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC), the Emperor and Central Government did not need to rely on a religion body/head to justify his legitimacy as a ruler, rather it depended on the Mandate of Heaven :

The people are of supreme importance; the altars of the gods of earth and grain come next; last comes the ruler . That is why he who gains the confidence of the multitudinous people will be Emperor... When a feudal lord endangers the altars of the gods of earth and grain, he should be replaced. When the sacrificial animals are sleek, the offerings are clean and the sacrifices are observed at due times, and yet floods and droughts come [by the agency of heaven], then the altars should be replaced.

--  Mencius (372–289 BC or 385–303 or 302 BC)

Different to the Western's definition of legitimacy of government, which I think the Western put great emphasis on the process legitimacy , Chinese defines legitimacy via the final governing results . CPS' mandate is to improve the lives of Chinese and safeguard the sovereignty. This is where its legitimacy comes from.

If CPC elites behaves the way the MIC/Bankter & their minions do, it will be thrown off.

[Aug 25, 2018] In The New -Multipolar World- The Globalists Still Control All The Players - Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... These wars, no matter what form they take, are a circus for the public. They are engineered to create controlled chaos and manageable fear. They are a means to influence us towards a particular end, and that end, in most cases, is more social and economic influence in the hands of a select few. In each instance, people are being convinced to believe that the world is being divided when it is actually being centralized. ..."
"... Globalists themselves are drawn together by an ideology. They have no common nation, they have no common political orientation, they have no common cultural background or religion, they herald from the East just as they herald from the West. They have no true loyalty to any mainstream cause or social movement. ..."
"... What do they have in common? They seem to exhibit many of the traits of high level narcissistic sociopaths, who make up a very small percentage of the human population. These people are predators, or to be more specific, they are parasites. They see themselves as naturally superior to others, but they often work together if there is the promise of mutual benefit. ..."
"... Contrary to popular belief in the liberty movement, Putin DID NOT kick out international banks or remove their power structures during his presidential rise. In fact, Rothschild banks still operate in Russia to this day, while Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan continue to act as the largest investment banks in the country. ..."
"... The globalist presence in Russia is perhaps why the nation developed such a close relationship with the IMF after the fall of the Soviet Union , why they continue their ties to the IMF an the Bank for International Settlements to this day and why the Kremlin has in the past called for a new global currency system controlled by the IMF. ..."
"... Trump has also had extensive dealings with the globalists, including Rothschild connected banking elites for the past 25 years. Wilber Ross , an investment banker working for the Rothschilds, was the primary agent that bailed Trump out of his considerable debts surrounding his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. After Trump's rise to the White House, he made Wilber Ross commerce secretary and Ross now heavily promotes the developing trade war. ..."
"... Clearly, there is no "division" between the world's political leaders when it comes to who they are allied with. International banks and globalist think tanks are involved with ALL of them. But what about the rest of the world in general? Isn't the trade war causing division and decentralization among nations and economies? When you look at the very top of the pyramid, the divisions vanish. ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.com,

The greatest tool at the disposal of globalists is the use of false paradigms to manipulate public perception and thus public action . The masses are led to believe that at the highest levels of geopolitical and financial power there is such a thing as "sides." This is utter nonsense when we examine the facts at hand.

We are told the-powers-that-be are divided by "Left" and "Right" politics, yet both sides actually support the same exact policy actions when it comes to the most important issues of the day and only seem to differ in terms of rhetoric, which is meaningless and cosmetic anyway. That is to say, it's nothing but Kabuki theater.

https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=2381

We are told that corporate power must be balanced by government power and that government power must be balanced by "free markets," when in reality corporations are chartered and protected by governments and free markets simply don't exist in today's economy. In the case of social media "censorship," we are told that the solution is to use government power to enforce "fairness" instead of simply launching our own alternative platforms. Yet, social media corporations exist in the form of monopolies exactly because of government power and intervention in business. The abuses of one "side" are being used to push us into the arms of the other side, which is just as abusive.

In terms of geopolitics, we are told that national powers stand "at cross-purposes;" that they have different interests and different goals, which has led to things like "trade wars" and sometimes shooting wars. Yet, when we look at the people actually pulling the strings in most of these countries, we find the same names and institutions. Whether you are in America, Russia China, the EU, etc., globalist think tanks and international banks are everywhere, and the leaders in all of these countries call for MORE power for such institutions, not less.

These wars, no matter what form they take, are a circus for the public. They are engineered to create controlled chaos and manageable fear. They are a means to influence us towards a particular end, and that end, in most cases, is more social and economic influence in the hands of a select few. In each instance, people are being convinced to believe that the world is being divided when it is actually being centralized.

The key to any magic show is to get the audience to participate in the lie; to get them to focus on the distracting hand , to assume that what they are seeing is actually what is really happening - to suspend their skepticism.

Make no mistake, what we are seeing in geopolitics today is indeed a magic show. The false East/West paradigm is as powerful if not more powerful than the false Left/Right paradigm. For some reason, the human mind is more comfortable believing in the ideas of division and chaos, and it often turns its nose up indignantly at the notion of "conspiracy." But conspiracies and conspirators can be demonstrated as a fact of history. Organization among elitists is predictable.

Trending Articles 'Rich' Americans Have Never Been More Comfortable Relative

The last few months have seen a dramatic divergence between the 'comfort' of the haves and the have-notes.

Globalists themselves are drawn together by an ideology. They have no common nation, they have no common political orientation, they have no common cultural background or religion, they herald from the East just as they herald from the West. They have no true loyalty to any mainstream cause or social movement.

What do they have in common? They seem to exhibit many of the traits of high level narcissistic sociopaths, who make up a very small percentage of the human population. These people are predators, or to be more specific, they are parasites. They see themselves as naturally superior to others, but they often work together if there is the promise of mutual benefit.

The closest thing I can relate narcissistic sociopaths (and thus globalists) to in mythology would be vampires. I have often wondered if the concept of "vampires" was created as a way for the peasants of the dark ages to explain the soulless and monstrous behavior of the elites of their time. The notion that any person is capable of that kind if evil, let alone organized evil in the form of a cabal, is hard for people to accept to this day.

Vampires in mythology are usually depicted as elites, hiding in plain site as leaders of communities in the upper echelons of society. They seek out a village, insert themselves as upstanding patrons and aristocrats, then feed until that village is destroyed. Afterward, they move on to the next village. This is what they are. This is what they do, and they do it in organized fashion to make the process more efficient.

It takes a village to feed a vampire, or a narcissistic sociopath.

I relate this metaphor because I think it's important for the average person to understand what we are really dealing with here. When some people recoil at the notion of a syndicate at the highest levels of finance and politics working towards nefarious purposes, they should know that this is easily explained not only in terms of historic myths and archetypes, but in well documented psychological study.

Analysts and activists within the liberty movement have proven impressively immune to many of the narratives and lies of conspiratorial globalists, which is why they are now the main target of multiple propaganda campaigns. Globalists don't feel comfortable climbing into their coffins to sleep during the day while so many Van Helsings are lurking about exposing their activities.

The latest propaganda effort I have seen is the narrative of the "multipolar world" developing in the wake of what the IMF refers to as the "global economic reset." In fact, the term "multipolar world" is being used in alternative media circles a lot these days, and this is once again a ploy designed to con us into believing that centralization is no longer a threat and that the divisions we see are real rather than fabricated.

Under the multipolar narrative, we are told that the shift away from the U.S. dollar as the world reserve is now happening and that this is being led by Eastern political powers seeking alternatives. This is true, to a point.

The lies surrounding this development are many, though. We are told that Eastern political powers are at odds with globalists and globalism -- this is false. We are told that BRICS nations are seeking a decentralized system to replace dollar hegemony -- this is false. We are told that Eastern leaders like Putin and Xi are countering the globalist power grab and are being targeted by the elites as if they are "rebelling" against the empire -- this is also false. We are told that the trade war is a means for Donald Trump to disrupt globalization and throw a monkey wrench into the globalists plans -- this is fantasy.

Liberty activists and analysts are particularly susceptible to the idea because it plays on our desire to see the longstanding dollar-based empire of the Federal Reserve fall into the oblivion it deserves. The problem is that the narrative is based on the fraudulent assumption that the globalist empire is rooted in the "American empire."

Here are the facts :

Globalist influences are hyper-present in eastern nations. For example, Vladimir Putin, who is often depicted as some kind of anti-globalist hero in liberty movement discussions, is not anti-globalist at all. Putin was "discovered" by vocal new world order proponent Henry Kissinger decades ago in the early 1990s before he took on the role as acting president of Russia. Putin relates his first meeting with Kissinger and their longstanding friendship in the book First Person , his autobiographical account of his early career.

Contrary to popular belief in the liberty movement, Putin DID NOT kick out international banks or remove their power structures during his presidential rise. In fact, Rothschild banks still operate in Russia to this day, while Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan continue to act as the largest investment banks in the country.

The globalist presence in Russia is perhaps why the nation developed such a close relationship with the IMF after the fall of the Soviet Union , why they continue their ties to the IMF an the Bank for International Settlements to this day and why the Kremlin has in the past called for a new global currency system controlled by the IMF.

China has also called for the same new monetary system , not decentralized, but completely centralized under the IMF. China has been under the influence of the Rockefeller Foundation since around 1915, when they opened a university in the country based on the University of Chicago. China continues its ties to the globalists through the BIS and IMF, and Goldman Sachs is heavily involved in Chinese government activities and business arrangements. Only last year, Goldman established a $5 billion deal with an arm of the Chinese government to make it easier to purchase companies and assets within the United States. Donald Trump praised the deal as beneficial to the U.S., which is not surprising considering the number of Goldman Sachs alumni Trump has involved in his cabinet.

Trump has also had extensive dealings with the globalists, including Rothschild connected banking elites for the past 25 years. Wilber Ross , an investment banker working for the Rothschilds, was the primary agent that bailed Trump out of his considerable debts surrounding his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. After Trump's rise to the White House, he made Wilber Ross commerce secretary and Ross now heavily promotes the developing trade war.

Clearly, there is no "division" between the world's political leaders when it comes to who they are allied with. International banks and globalist think tanks are involved with ALL of them. But what about the rest of the world in general? Isn't the trade war causing division and decentralization among nations and economies? When you look at the very top of the pyramid, the divisions vanish.

Consider Russia's ongoing oil pipeline deal with Germany , or Russia's latest deal to allow China to farm over 2.5 million acres of Russian land , helping directly combat U.S. sanctions. Or what about the Caspian Sea deal between Russia, Iran and multiple other countries to end the dispute over the region? And how about China's defiance of sanctions on Iranian oil ? Or the EU's growing protests over US interference in their oil trade with both Iran and Russia?

These are just some of the latest examples of the rest of the world melding into a larger conglomerate in the wake of the trade war. The trade war is bringing all these supposedly disparate countries together in a way that is rather convenient for globalists. If we take into account the reality of globalist influence in all major economies, then we have to also take into account the possibility that the "global economic reset" is not about a "multipolar world," but an even more centralized unipolar world. A world which sacrifices the U.S. model along with the dollar as world reserve and replaces it with something EVEN WORSE.

In the meantime, liberty activists are lately being told that they should rally around the death of dollar and the global reset as if it is the end of globalism. In other words, we are supposed to stupidly believe that the shift to the new world order is "decentralization" simply because they call it "multipolar." Just because the U.S. is no longer the face of the beast does not mean the beast is gone.

* * *

If you would like to support the publishing of articles like the one you have just read, visit our donations page here . We greatly appreciate your patronage.

[Aug 24, 2018] The establishment are shocked that the ordinary people want out of the European Union (EU). They just don't realize that people are fed up being used, abused, dictated to, lied to, manipulated

Aug 24, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Stephen J. , August 18, 2018 at 9:57 am

The powerful always want more power.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
June 26, 2016

"Brexit: Are The Serfs Finally Rebelling"?

The establishment are shocked that the ordinary people want out of the European Union (EU). They just don't realize that people are fed up being used, abused, dictated to, lied to, manipulated, and forced into an EU dictatorship by treacherous politicians.

These are some of the same politicians who scurry to the meetings of the so-called elites in Davos, and also attend Bilderberg meetings. And many of them, when they leave politics, finish up on the boards of banks and multi-national corporations with the rest of the money-manipulating bandits that got bailed out with taxpayers' dollars, some of whom, I believe, should be in jail .

[much more info at link below]

https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2016/06/brexit-are-serfs-finally-rebelling.html

[Aug 23, 2018] The crisis of the US empire and the crisis of neolibral globalization

There are two main sign of th current crisis of neoliberalism: (1) delitimization of the ruling neoliberal elite; (2) crash of the US led global neoliberal empire due to internal contradictions between states which compose it (including paradoxically the imperial center -- the USA)
In addition the costs of maintaining the American empire became way too big. Here's what TOM ENGELHARDT wrote about Afghanistan in 2009, while considering the metrics of "a war gone to hell": "While Americans argue feverishly and angrily over what kind of money, if any, to put into health care, or decaying infrastructure, or other key places of need, until recently just about no one in the mainstream raised a peep about the fact that, for nearly eight years (not to say much of the last three decades), we've been pouring billions of dollars, American military know-how, and American lives into a black hole in Afghanistan that is, at least in significant part, of our own creation."
Notable quotes:
"... Yet in our time, the condition of liberal centrism, in the U.S. and in the West more broadly, has been weakened. The big reason, Siegel argues, is that the last quarter century has "been an era in which national and global economies were remade in ways that have allowed wealthy capital owners to capture the large majority of economic productivity gains, creating in-country inequalities not seen since the late 19th century." ..."
"... Still, as recent election results -- from Donald Trump 2016 shock to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's more recent victory -- show us, the political toll on the status quo is evident: the Vital [Neoliberal] Center has been de-vitalized. ..."
"... the argument was made that U.S. military interventions, most notably in Iraq, were inevitably stirring up the forces of backlash. ..."
"... Turning to the West, the question on the table is this: should today's backlash against centrist [neo]liberalism -- including the revolt against such isms as globalism and neoliberalism -- be seen in such stark terms? Are the socioeconomic forces that have been unleashed in our midst today in any way comparable to the counter-enlightenments of Mittel ..."
"... For his part, Siegel seems pessimistic. He laments that "a hard-won American ethos of tolerance and respect for the individual [has] devolved into a progressive-plutocrat alliance that characterizes the worst of the neoliberal dispensation, and is loathed by much of the country. It produces a backlash." ..."
"... For instance, in Europe, there's the gathering political rebellion against the dictates of the European Union, most notably on immigration. That rebellion, we might note, has extended beyond the Visegrád countries; it now includes Austria, Italy, and Malta . ..."
Aug 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Originally from: Are We in the Midst of Another Counter-Enlightenment- - The American Conservative By JAMES P. PINKERTON

As socialists and nationalists gain strength, the question of whether the [neoliberal] center can hold is once again being asked. August 22, 2018

Can what remains of the status quo survive? Does it deserve to? These are always pertinent questions, of course, and recently the brooding dynamics of change were posed in a thoughtful way by Jacob Siegel , writing in Tablet.

In his piece, "The Dirtbag Convergence," Siegel argues, "Behind the convulsions and confusion of the Western political landscape there is an unspoken alliance between two seemingly hostile camps. Populists and anti-humanists have entered into an ad hoc coalition in their fight against the liberal establishment."

Of course, the "alliance" is more of what political scientists call an "objective alliance," that is, two sides that hate each other nonetheless find themselves working against a common enemy -- which they hate even more.

As Siegel notes, in 2017, an alt-right blog , The Daily Stormer, accused an alt-left podcast, Chapo Trap House, of ripping off its material. The two antithetical portals, Siegel explains, actually shared much in common, even beyond their splenetic hostility to Hillary Clinton and other establishmentarians. That is, they shared a style, which Siegel described as "antic cleverness and vitriol with a bleaker undercurrent." Thus "the far left and far right converge around an axial opposition to hegemonic [neo]liberalism."

Siegel's argument summons to mind a famous 1948 op-ed by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., "The Vital Center." Taking aim at both fascists and communists, Schlesinger wrote, "Right and Left should be conceived, not in terms of a line, but in terms of a circle." Indeed, he added, "the main target of both totalitarian extremes must be the Center -- the group which holds society together." Schlesinger ended with a hopeful conclusion: the path forward was a "democratic middle way, which unites hopes of freedom and of economic abundance."

We might observe that back in the '40s, Schlesinger was fully confident that his brand of New Deal/Fair Deal liberalism was up to the task of upholding the Vital Center against all comers. (The following year, he enlarged his article into a book.) And indeed, the strong economy of that era, broadly shared among the classes, energized small-d democrats in both parties.

Yet in our time, the condition of liberal centrism, in the U.S. and in the West more broadly, has been weakened. The big reason, Siegel argues, is that the last quarter century has "been an era in which national and global economies were remade in ways that have allowed wealthy capital owners to capture the large majority of economic productivity gains, creating in-country inequalities not seen since the late 19th century."

To be sure, such declarations are hotly disputed in many quarters. Yes, it's true that inequality has risen, and yes, it's also true that many areas have been de-industrialized, depopulated, and demoralized. Yet at the same time, the standard of living for all has vastly improved. Mere statistics don't begin to capture the value of -- to name just three examples -- the polio vaccine, air conditioning, and GPS.

Has Liberalism Failed? We Should Hope Not Classical Illiberals

Still, as recent election results -- from Donald Trump 2016 shock to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's more recent victory -- show us, the political toll on the status quo is evident: the Vital [Neoliberal] Center has been de-vitalized. And here Siegel is helpful -- maybe even a bit gleeful -- in laying the blame at the feet of the once-vital [neoliberal] establishmentarians. As he puts it, a "hyperliberal, oppositional politics of the New Left has captured much of the Western ruling class," thereby vitiating its ability to do good. Such a ruling class, we might add, seems less interested in Schlesingerian "freedom and economic abundance" for all, and more interested in punitive political correctness and green-inspired austerity -- at least for the dreaded working class.

Moreover, this curdled leftism has a mirror on the right. That is, the black-identity politics championed by, say, Ta-Nehesi Coates finds its doppelgänger in the "identitarian" movement. (And if you haven't heard anywhere near as much about right-identity politics as left-identity politics, well, that could change.)

As a result of its own self-negation, the [neo]liberal establishment, Siegel says, "is uniquely unprepared to defend itself at a moment of massive transformation of the basic material conditions on which [neo]liberalism is based."

So where does all this lead? Interestingly, Siegel makes brief mention of Isaiah Berlin, the 20th-century Oxford don who wrote much about an earlier backlash against liberalism, what became known as the Counter-Enlightenment.

If we can decamp back a couple of centuries, we will remember that the Enlightenment of the 18th century gave us such towering Age of Reason figures as Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, and Voltaire. Yet in life, as in physics, every action has an opposite reaction, and so it was with the Enlightenment. And if the Counter-Enlightenment of the 19th century is less well known, that's in part because it's often known by other names, such as romanticism or, more broadly, nationalism. These are heavy terms, bearing much historical weight: our reckoning of nationalism, of course, is hopelessly tangled up with memories of the world wars of the 20th century.

So now, from the perspective of the 21st century, we have to wonder whether rough beasts have been loosed. And as it happens, years ago, this author also wrote about Isaiah Berlin and the Counter-Enlightenment, albeit in a different context -- the Middle East. In the Jerusalem Post in 2003 and in the Huffington Post in 2006, the argument was made that U.S. military interventions, most notably in Iraq, were inevitably stirring up the forces of backlash. That is, instead of promoting democracy, as the Bush 43 administration had hoped to do, the U.S. was instead summoning nationalist and religious demons. Not long thereafter, the rise of ISIS and anti-democratic fervor in countries such as Turkey vindicated that foreboding. (Alas, both articles seem to have been lost in their original form; here's a new link to the text of both.)

Turning to the West, the question on the table is this: should today's backlash against centrist [neo]liberalism -- including the revolt against such isms as globalism and neoliberalism -- be seen in such stark terms? Are the socioeconomic forces that have been unleashed in our midst today in any way comparable to the counter-enlightenments of Mittel Europe or the Middle East?

Alas, Isaiah Berlin is no longer around to help render a judgment; he died in 1997.

For his part, Siegel seems pessimistic. He laments that "a hard-won American ethos of tolerance and respect for the individual [has] devolved into a progressive-plutocrat alliance that characterizes the worst of the neoliberal dispensation, and is loathed by much of the country. It produces a backlash."

Some would say that the backlash is already here. In the U.S., we've had plenty of rumblings, and yet the D.C.-based conventional wisdom still insists that the center will hold, that the Democrats will stymie Trumpian Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections, even as they simultaneously put a lid on Ocasio-Cortezian leftists. Are the Democrats -- joined, of course, by the mainstream media and other allies -- really strong enough to do all that? We'll know soon enough.

In the meantime, whatever one thinks of populist insurgents on the right and left -- and whether they are seen as paradigm shifters or just hiccups -- there are other phenomena around the world to be considered.

For instance, in Europe, there's the gathering political rebellion against the dictates of the European Union, most notably on immigration. That rebellion, we might note, has extended beyond the Visegrád countries; it now includes Austria, Italy, and Malta .

So can the center hold? That exact question was asked back in 1919 by the poet William Butler Yeats. In "The Second Coming," Yeats offered his dire answer, and he was soon enough vindicated, calamitously and tragically.

A century later, the centrists of today will have to see whether they can do better -- if, that is, they are able to see at all.

James P. Pinkerton is an author and contributing editor at TAC. He served as a White House policy aide to both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

[Aug 19, 2018] Will Iran war be a final nail in the US neoliberal empire?

Aug 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anon [425] Disclaimer , August 17, 2018 at 5:38 am GMT

Yeah, but Trump's tweets are bluster like calling Assad an 'animal'.

It's red meat to the morons, and it is one thing that MSM won't be too harsh on him for because MSM is run by Zionists.

Haxo Angmark , Website August 17, 2018 at 5:52 am GMT
yes, ZOG will attack Iran on behalf

of Israhell and the petrdollar.

only question is, how bloody

the false flag

which (((they))) use to trigger the war.

Many of us continue to wonder

what was in that container offloaded from a Zionist aircraft during the Atlanta airport shut-down.

I hope we don't find out.

Quartermaster , August 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm GMT

In fact, all the western demands towards Russia (admitting that Russia is guilty for the Skripal case, that Russia shot down MH-17, that Russia hand over Crimea to the Ukronazis, etc.) are carefully crafted to make absolutely sure that Russia will not negotiate.

The US doesn't have to do anything to make negotiations impossible with Putin (and it is Putin you have to deal with as he's the head of the Kleptocracy masquerading as a country). Putin is too stupid to see what he's doing to his country, or he knows (more likely) and doesn't care.

Like it or not, the evidence is incontrovertible that MH-17 was shot down by a Russian AD unit. Even the fascists Putin inserted into the Donbas have admitted as much on video.

The Skripal case is a wonder. It is known that a nerve agent was used against the man and his daughter. The Swiss lab that tested their blood said the murder attempt was done with an agent that was used in the west. The only serious question is where it would have come from as both the US and the UK destroyed their chemical weapons years ago. The only people with motive and opportunity is Putin's regime. The murder would not have been first for Putin's regime either.

Putin is an invader in both the Donbas and Crimea. Sooner or later, Russia will disgorge both. Both are a very large drain on the Russian treasury and are not affordable.

see their words about the US being "non-agreement capable"

Russia has long proven it is impossible to make an agreement with them and realistically expect them to live by it. It has been so since the Bolshevik Revolution, and once again since the mafia state put Putin at its head. Putin's behavior invading Ukraine shows he can't be trusted as Russia is one of the signatories of the Budapest memorandum guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Ukraine. This after Putin's regime stated that Crimea is Ukraine's. The man is simply a jumped up criminal that Saker loves.

I have been predicting such an attack since 2007 and, so far, I have been completely wrong (and thank God for that!).

We can be thankful that Saker has a good record about being wrong. OTOH, the US has no desire to attack Iran. Why should the US? Iran is in the process, just like Russia, of rotting from within.

bluedog , August 17, 2018 at 12:48 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

What a load of bullshit as we weave our tangled web,but then again that's what trolls do,for everything you claim Russia's doing is exactly what we the U.S. are doing,or as the man said "we are incapable of making any agreement and sticking to it" .

Renoman , August 17, 2018 at 1:10 pm GMT
What a huge steaming pile that was QM, you must ave been constipated a long time.
Anon [344] Disclaimer , August 17, 2018 at 4:34 pm GMT
Iran will probably get the former and not the latter. Trump screwed up in abrogating that Iran deal. Now, the deep state will have no choice but to force him to annihilate Iran, either through shock and awe or clandestine regime change. Trump was warned, but he foolishly didn't listen. Shame that we're doing Israel's foreign policy instead of our own. He may even end up bringing himself down in Saudi Arabia and Israel's war.

Where are all the competent American leaders? What happened to them?

Si1ver1ock , August 17, 2018 at 5:04 pm GMT
An interesting column as usual. What I find intriguing is that it's the United States that seems desperate. It's the United States that seems to be going through a nervous breaking down, crisis of confidence, whatever you want to call it.

Maybe Chinese, Iranians and Russians are right. All they really have to do is make their countries better while the US destroys itself, flailing around trying to keep its empire together.

I wonder is Assad is thinking about renting the Turkish army to get back Syria's stolen territories. Turkey was stealing oil from Syria via ISIS which the Russians stopped by bombing ISIS. Assad could offer Erdogan part of the oil profits from a united Syria for X number of years to pay for helping unite Syria.

It would allow Erdogan a way to monetize his investment in the Turkish military.

This part:

"Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business".

Venezuela is supposed to start using the Petro soon. Pompeo has been running around Latin America trying to organize the Brute Squad.

ThreeCranes , August 17, 2018 at 5:32 pm GMT
@Si1ver1ock

"All they really have to do is make their countries better while the US destroys itself, flailing around trying to keep its empire together."

This seems right. Given immigration trends, the US will find itself without not just an Empire but a country as well.

eyesfrontmen , August 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm GMT
PMAFT remarked that all religions plus atheism had been infested by feminism. He also discussed the deep penetration of feminism into Islam, with particular reference to Iran.
This bears on the current conundrum of Iran.
It is self evidently true that any country possessing sufficient resources to feed itself and sustain an industrial economy can enjoy reasonable prosperity without much foreign trade. It needs only a sufficient population of people smart enough, educated enough, and willing to work hard.
Iran has all of that.
It is also a self evident fact that intact family based society is the breeding ground of both prosperity and harmonious society.
It is also a self evident fact that an organically growing population is the only true engine of sustained economic vitality.
The real problem Iran has right now is that its women are not home, producing and raising children.
If they were, there would be more than enough jobs for all the men, and the internal demand for goods and services which could be primarily produced from internal resources and trade from those still willing to trade with it.
War for Blair Mountain , August 17, 2018 at 7:20 pm GMT
Well nuking Japan with two nukes did in fact shorten the war. The decision to nuke Japan was based upon what was understood at the time about the war with Japan. It is wrong to view the nuking of Japan from a revisionist perspective.

Just go look at the photos from Life Magazine in 1945 photos of mothers kneeling in churches wearing prayer veils and clutching rosary beads praying for their teenage sons to come home alive. The war had to be brought to an end as soon as possible by any means necessary.

If the nuking of Japan saved the lives of only 10 American Soldiers who otherwise would have died if two nukes had not been dropped on Japan .it was worth it.

When actor Eddie Albert filmed the bloated bodies of American Teenagers floating off the beaches of Iwoa Jima and Guadalcanal .it was a 100 percent foregone conclusion that Japan was gonna be nuked Millions of American Mothers viewed Eddie Albert's film footage in theaters across America in 1945.

War for Blair Mountain , August 17, 2018 at 7:46 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

More specifically those were the bloated bodies of NATIVE BORN WHITE CHRISTIAN AMERICAN TEENAGERS floating lifeless off the beaches of Iwoa Jima and Guadalcanal .and don't forget the Sullivan Brothers ..this is why two nukes were dropped on Japan.

I am massively opposed to bombing Shia Muslim Iran .I generally have a "WAR IS A RACKET!!! General Smedley Butler View of the US Military .having said that, I am for the mass deportation of every Iranian off of Native Born White American LIVING AND BREEDING SPACE .along with every Israeli National such as Michael Chertoff

The Cleaner , August 17, 2018 at 8:57 pm GMT
War with Iran? Within a week Saudi Arabia would be a smoldering cinder, the whole infrastructure around Ghawar oil field in flames. The Saudi sultans would lose power never to get it back again. There is a large Shi'ite population in Saudi Arabia and there is a good chance that the country, once the royal family was booted, would change sides.

Meanwhile, any American ships in the Perisn Gulf would be scrap.

My opinion is that every time the knuckleheads get together in the same room to gin up the illusion that they can go to war with Iran they look into one another's eyes and realize that they are a bunch of total assholes. Somehow, somewhere, there is a glimmer of non-stupidity, though don't ask me where.

Philip Owen , August 17, 2018 at 11:45 pm GMT
White man speak with forked tongue.
SolontoCroesus , August 18, 2018 at 12:33 am GMT
@The Cleaner

The Cleaner wrote:

"Somehow, somewhere, there is a glimmer of non-stupidity"

"Don't fire 'til you see the glimmer of non-stupidity ."

"Give me the glimmer of non-stupidity or give me death."

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the glimmer of non-stupidity ."

"O -oh say can you see
The glimmer of non-stupidity?"

My country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Look in each other's eyes
And realize
The glimmer of the prize:
Non-stupidity!

Wally , August 18, 2018 at 2:47 am GMT
@Anon

said:
"Where are all the competent American leaders? What happened to them?"

They sold out to the fake '6,000,000 Jews' propaganda, which, BTW, Jews have been slinging since at least 1823.

That is what causes so many "American leaders" knees to buckle.

That is what allows Jews & "that shitty little country" to get away with their hateful, violent ways.

http://www.codoh.com

Colin Wright , Website August 18, 2018 at 5:40 am GMT
@The Cleaner

' My opinion is that every time the knuckleheads get together in the same room to gin up the illusion that they can go to war with Iran they look into one another's eyes and realize that they are a bunch of total assholes. Somehow, somewhere, there is a glimmer of non-stupidity, though don't ask me where.'

That would be my hope . I lack the confidence in it to label it my opinion.

The troubling bit is that for the purposes of the neo-cons and Zionists, it's not necessary that the United States win its war with Iran -- just that it starts it. As to Saudi Arabia being wrecked -- explain to me how that harms Israel.

peterAUS , August 18, 2018 at 6:43 am GMT
First, as always, a bit of dopamine fix for the Team Russia and USA haters in general:

Ukronazi .. the leaders of the Empire have apparently have given up on their plans to launch a Reconquista . their hysterical rhetoric .. the failed US cruise missile strike .. for all its hysterical barking the Empire has to back down when the opponent does not cower away in fear .. the kindergarten-level low-IQ bumbling hot air and threats coming out of the White House . in his typical ignorance, Trump fails to realize some stupid kid the level of hubris, arrogance and stupidity of the US leadership . US could be dismissed as a particularly obnoxious country led by ignorant leaders with bloated and mostly ineffective armed forces .. a megalomaniac infused with a sense of messianic superiority . their messianism is in no way less delusional than the one of their Nazi predecessors (or, for that matter, the one of the Popes of the past 1000 years),

and a couple more
The above also creates an atmosphere for .. healthy ..discussion. More online therapy and, all in all, a positive contribution to well being of a certain minuscule substrata of Internet presence.
Commendable.

A bit of reality check, finally (pun intended) at last:

Finally, history is full of examples of wars which were started in spite of all objective factors indicating that they would end up in disaster.

A disaster being much, much bigger for the regime in Tehran than for the US administration. That's all what matters.

And:

The truth is that in terms of aggregate national power, the US still remains the most powerful country on the planet (even if we don't include nuclear weapons).

to me it very much looks like an attack is pretty much inevitable.

A bit of cold shower after main session. Back to real world. Till next week.
Nice.

A smooth operator.

Erebus , August 18, 2018 at 10:03 am GMT
@eyesfrontmen

It is also a self evident fact that an organically growing population is the only true engine of sustained economic vitality.

It certainly doesn't seem to been self-evident to economists, though they're apparently getting it now. The incredible step-function in the historical growth curve over the last century can largely be accounted for by the fact that the earth's population grew 3.6x. That was in turn fuelled by the discovery and harnessing of the chemical energy in hydrocarbons.

It is also a self evident fact that intact family based society is the breeding ground of both prosperity and harmonious society.

Up to a point, and we reached it some time ago. The discovery of hydrocarbon energy had a price we ignored because it seemed we'd never have to pay it.
Then the bills started coming in.
Beyond a certain point, prosperity breeds not children, but decadence (in its widest sense), and eventually dystopia.
Hydro-carbon energy accelerated resource extraction at such a rate as to run the planet dry in a century. All the low-hanging fruit, whether it's more hydrocarbons, or the minerals and crops that we require in ever increasing amounts is at, or beyond peak extraction. We're now digging up ores our fathers viewed as not worth the trouble, and our grandfathers scarcely recognized as ores. Industrialized agriculture depends on hydrocarbon based fertilizers juicing up half-dead topsoils to grow flavourless, nutrient-free crops.

We stopped breeding at roughly the same time we lost confidence, however subliminally, in our and the planet's ability to give future generations a shot at the same brass ring our great-grandfathers grabbed. Somehow, something deep down in our brain stems told us it was a one-shot deal, and we'd taken it. The opportunity will never come 'round again, and it's all downhill from here.

How that ties in to Iran is that the last great expanse of land and resources is the Eurasian continent. China and Russia want to integrate it into an economic block that can extend modern civilization for its population a little longer. Iran is critical to it as it sits at the geographical and geopolitical fulcrum of the continent. A glance at a map of the ancient silk roads shows them converging at Tehran and branching out from there as they traverse the continent. Today's BRI likewise envisages Iran in its ancient role as the focal point of trade and transport between East and West. Then as now, the continent needs Tehran.

The Imperial Imperative facing the Emperor today is that Eurasian integration must be stopped, or at least prevented from achieving its full potential. Attacking Russia or China guarantees destruction of the Empire itself, but Iran remains Eurasia's most vulnerable important node.

That's why every POTUS since Bush the First has found himself echoing Cato the Elder's famous meme: "Tehran delenda est!". Cato died before Carthage laid waste. So will Bush the Elder and all his successors.

Rome was on the rise, and went on to greatness with the destruction of Carthage called for by Cato. America is entering its dotage and Trump, should he act on the call will achieve the opposite.

Dave from Oz , August 18, 2018 at 10:36 am GMT
@Quartermaster

Putin is an invader in both the Donbas and Crimea. Sooner or later, Russia will disgorge both.

Far from being an "invader", Russia has owned Sevastapol on the Crimean Penninsula since the Tsars who built it in the first place. "The Ukraine"? How can you invade a place that has only existed for 50 years, on territory that was annexed from your own country?

Russia will never willingly surrender Sevastopol . Never. A simple look at google maps will explain why. It is a major military asset, it is their sea-lane to the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. Their other ports are on the Baltic Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and way to the east on the Pacific.

No geopolitics makes any sense at all until you look at a map.

The Swiss lab that tested their blood said the murder attempt was done with an agent that was used in the west. The only serious question is where it would have come from as both the US and the UK destroyed their chemical weapons years ago.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Are you serious? Really? You can't possibly be!

Dave from Oz , August 18, 2018 at 10:45 am GMT
The Ayatollah didn't mention the #1 reason that negotiating with the USA is pointless: the USA does not keep to its agreements. Ask the Blackfoot Indians. Ask the Canadian softwood industry. For that matter – ask the Japanese-Americans herded into concentration camps during WWII.
Tulips , August 18, 2018 at 1:12 pm GMT
The US has always been ready and comfortable to violate its treaties, despite the US Constitution declaring that treaties are the supreme law of the land. Our first treaty, signed with France, was violated. Canada and the US have 2 free trade treaties (FTA, NAFTA), but the US always puts tariffs on lumber, never mind that the treaties' trade tribunal rule against the US . The UN Charter was written by the US and passed into law as a treaty. There it says that the US agrees it is a crime to attack or threaten to attack a fellow UN member. No one ever notices that "all options on the table" threats are treaty violations and thus domestic crimes under our Constitution. Has there ever been a post-war President who did not violate the UN treaty?
FB , August 18, 2018 at 1:19 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

' Like it or not, the evidence is incontrovertible that MH-17 was shot down by a Russian AD unit '

So how about showing us this 'incontrovertible' evidence, Fartermaster ? LOL

FB , August 18, 2018 at 1:22 pm GMT
@Dave from Oz

Yes I see you have discovered the entertainment value of 'Fartermaster' and his delusions it is always useful to know that many mentally retarded adults are still not yet institutionalized

FB , August 18, 2018 at 1:55 pm GMT
As usual, this author's meandering narrative fails to leave any kind of impression what is he arguing anyway ? it is impossible to tell

Frankly the 'analysis' of Khamenei's statement that there will be no war is completely retarded why would Khamenei say anything other than what he meant ? Is that what the supreme leader of a considerable country as well as spiritual leader to many around the world does play word games and toss out cryptic riddles ?

I don't think so

Khamenei is saying there will be no war simply because there won't be Iran is not Afghanistan or Iraq or Serbia or Grenada

The US military has shown itself to be a paper tiger in all its recent conflicts the men in charge of the military understand this attacking Iran would be like trying to crack a walnut with your teeth the teeth will break long before the walnut

The war threat is pure bluff and Khamenei knows this [as do many observers] the economic pressure is the only tool that the US has left and that may work to inflict some pain on the Iranian people in the short term, but the world economy is no longer dominated by the West the Brics now account for 40 percent of the global economy there are options, to paraphrase Erdogan

So even the economic card is not what it used to be in fact it is getting weaker by the day the entire Western Ponzi economy is teetering like a house of cards and the economic warfare that the US is unleashing on half the world could in fact blow up in their faces

The 'there will be no war' part is not what is even interesting in all this it is simply a no-brainer

What is interesting is the fact that Iran is rejecting negotiations this was in fact the point of the bluff to begin with the Iran nuclear deal is a political hobby horse for Trump who wants to look like a big man who is keeping his word and undoing the Obama 'legacy' it's obvious now that the game plan was always simply to redo the Iran deal [probably in some cosmetic way] so that Trump gets the political points

But the Iranians aren't going to play that game and Trump is now shown to have miscalculated badly let's remember here that the US is now in violation of the Security Council resolution on the JCPOA it is in breach of the supreme international law

Iran can simply sit back and let the rogue nation be a rogue nation until it no longer can

Bliss , August 18, 2018 at 10:59 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

If the nuking of Japan saved the lives of only 10 American Soldiers who otherwise would have died if two nukes had not been dropped on Japan .it was worth it.

So you calculate that the lives of 10 white soldiers is worth more than the lives of hundreds of thousands of non-white civilians (mostly women and children) from the opposing side in a war?

ohmy , August 18, 2018 at 11:29 pm GMT
@Haxo Angmark

Haxo, congratulations. I read international news daily, and from many and varied sources. Your remark; "what was in that container offloaded from a Zionist aircraft during the Atlanta airport shut-down.", is the first comment, since that day when the inbound Israeli plane tripped the rad measuring equipment at Atlanta International. I too want to know what was in the container. My guess it was ferrying to the ME one or all of the nukes detonated since that day. You know the ones I'm talking about, Ankara, Yemen, Damascas, and/or China.

ohmy , August 18, 2018 at 11:33 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Are you f'n brain dead, or just a troll? The UK and US have not destroyed their chemical weapons, but oddly Russia has.

Sergey Krieger , August 18, 2018 at 11:38 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Team Russia vs team USA. You seem to always fight shadows. Also, I find it hilarious your American tendency to bring sport terms to things that can turn very deadly. Seems like a lack of healthy historical experience related to interstate violence with you are being on receiving end. Also, please state any reason why usa should not be hated? USA national character is that of a psycho. Who like psychos?

Sergey Krieger , August 18, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
@Erebus

You seem to follow Olduvai theory predictions. Basically the earth being a limited system this outcome is inevitable. The only way to avoid it is through space resources exploration which is impossible with economy and technologies based on hydro carbons and requires energy revolution and then technological breakthrough in space and other technologies. However, thanks to USA policies and world mess we are wasting time, human resources and natural resources to fight each other and waste everything to produce means of mutual annihilation. There was ussr socialism which was aimed towards stars but it was killed. I see little optimism for our future. If things are not done in timely manner that there will be no resources to proceed.

War for Blair Mountain , August 19, 2018 at 3:43 am GMT
@Bliss

Yes .

Erebus , August 19, 2018 at 4:40 am GMT
@Sergey Krieger

You seem to follow Olduvai theory predictions.

I had to look it up, but no, I don't think we're headed back to the stone age except perhaps in some distant future.

What I do think is that, barring some extraordinary "extinction event", the right side of the bell curve will tend to look similar to the left.
Over the next ~100 yrs or so we'll retrace our steps back to ~100yrs ago – a population of 2-3B and resource consumption on the scale of the 1920s. There may an overshoot, of course, before population and economic activity recovers and stabilizes from what will be a socio-political shock an order of magnitude greater even than the plagues that decimated Europe.

That makes for a couple of long tough centuries ahead, but the first decade or two are likely to be the most dramatic.

AnonFromTN , August 19, 2018 at 4:46 am GMT
The key strategic weakness of the neocon-run US is that it requires unquestioning obedience from its vassals. As only a hopeless nonentity can be unquestioningly obedient, the US brings to power total shit. However, shit is always cowardly. Ukraine is a good example: there was no offensive in Donbass not because of the kindness of heart of the "president" Poroshenko or others in power now in Kiev. There was no offensive because all this scum are, first and foremost, cowards. One might say that their cowardice is the only redeeming quality of current Ukrainian "rulers" (they don't rule, puppet masters rule them; hence quotation marks).

Thus, the US always fails to use vassals as a battering ram, and has to resort to its own military force. Despite strong negative selection, the US military commanders do have an idea what combat really is. That is why they do their best to avoid it. Under orders of the US politicians several US aircraft carriers sailed in general direction of North Korea. They lost two planes in the process, and sailed right back: nobody was willing to stick his neck out, as they knew that Un's noose is ready. Khamenei is right: the repeat of this farce, possibly with a loss of a few more planes, is all the US bluster will produce: Iranians also have their noose and, just like Un, won't hesitate to use it. Hence "no war".

"No negotiations" is even simpler: look what the US did with the negotiated agreement with Iran, which Iran was adhering to. This makes it clear to anyone with a brain that agreements with the US are worthless.

AnonFromTN , August 19, 2018 at 4:50 am GMT
@Quartermaster

the US and the UK destroyed their chemical weapons years ago

Trolls should be taught at least the most basic facts. The US never destroyed its chemical weapons, citing lack of funding. In contrast, Russia destroyed them all in full view of international observers.

Ilyana_Rozumova , August 19, 2018 at 5:54 am GMT
Lets not be children here. If somebody thinks that when Iranians went to into Syria to help the legitimate Syrian government, did not realize consequences must have a really small mind.
US has no proxy state in Levant anymore, except Saudi Arabia. And if expeditionary US forces will start to land in Saudi Arabia, Iranians will torch all Saudi Arabia to cinder. Much much worse than those California forest fires. Trust me please on this one Iranians are very eager to do it. All they only wait for an excuse.
Jeff Stryker , August 19, 2018 at 6:11 am GMT
@The Cleaner

"Non-stupidity"

Look at the 90′s and look at the United States AFTER Bush left office. Gasoline was 4 x higher 5 years after Iraq then it had been before.

When stupid hicks elect a moron like Bush they end up in a war that visits its worst after-effects on THEM. It is not the Leftist Jews on the East Coast hit the hardest by the post-War Recession or their kids getting short-changed by the VA.

The US cannot afford another war in the middle east and only a dumb moron from the sticks of Podunk regions who has never been overseas would actually think that the US economy would not finally sink into absolute ruins.

Afghanistan is a shithole after 17 years into which billions have been pissed long after the threat was gone.

A war with Iran, a country much wealthier and more powerful than some toilet bowl in the Hindu Kush, would bankrupt the US. Iran has far less to lose.

But with China doing business with Iran (And ultimately with Iraq and Pakistan) the Iranians don't want to go to war anyhow.

None of them are going to parachute into Iowa and invade the US. They can bottleneck the Persian Gulf for maybe a week before the US navy wiped them out. Otherwise, they pose no threat.

The morons are the ones who vote for a George Bush in an attempt to turn the clock back to the 1950′s when white Americans ran the world after World War II and were an uncontested Superpower.

It will never happen again, much as I would like it too. Jews began to organize draft-resistance and males will no longer go to war when "their country calls them". You cannot get a country to surrender with drone strikes-Afghanistan proved that.

Hick morons from the sticks might believe anything, but too much of the US public just doesn't give a shit about their values and is far too cynical to be convinced that a war with Iraq would be anything more than a disaster.

Wally , August 19, 2018 at 6:20 am GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

The two bombs were dropped on civilian, not military targets, a massive war crime per international law which the US signed onto.

said: "Well nuking Japan with two nukes did in fact shorten the war."

No, it did not.

It was the Soviet Union that got Japan to surrender, not US bombs.

Here is how General Dwight D. Eisenhower reacted when he was told by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson that the atomic bomb would be used:
"During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."

General Curtis LeMay, the tough cigar-smoking Army Air Force "hawk," was also dismayed. Shortly after the bombings he stated publically: "The war would have been over in two weeks. . . . The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all."

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, went public with this statement: "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. . . . The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan."
Combined U.S.-U.K. Chiefs of Staff during the war -- William D. Leahy:

"[T]he use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender. . . . [I]n being the first to use it, we . . . adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."

https://www.counterpunch.org/2011/08/05/the-decision-to-bomb-hiroshima/

Wally , August 19, 2018 at 6:32 am GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

also see:
The Bomb Didn't Beat Japan Stalin Did
Have 70 years of nuclear policy been based on a lie?

https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/05/30/the-bomb-didnt-beat-japan-stalin-did/

RealAmericanValuesCirca1776Not1965 , August 19, 2018 at 6:38 am GMT
What Trump really is remains to be seen. Could he turn out to be a neocon? Sure, it's possible. But so is the opposite outcome. That he actually is trying to drain the swamp. But one thing is for certain, Trump easily COULD have had us in a war with Syria or Iran by now, if he wanted. That he has not signed Americans up for another trip through the meat grinder for Israel (yet) speaks volumes about his unspoken intentions.

That said, this article makes it abundantly clear that this whole concept is going clear over Saker's head. So I'll go ahead and spell it out: Hyperbole is the goal with Trump's rhetoric about Israel's enemies .

His ALL CAPS rhetoric is tantamount to table scraps being tossed to the (((insatiable warmongers))) while he keeps his attention squarely focused on America. They NEED to be hyperbolic, he can't seem like he's half-assing them, as their goal is to serve as a substitute for the ACTUAL acts of war that the Zionists WANT. He needs to keep the yet-to-be-red-pilled masses who still ignorantly support Israel on his side, as they constitute a considerable portion of his domestic MAGA support base. The caps help to sell that impression. That he's all super serious and stuff.

[MORE]

And OF COURSE the Left is going to have a field day with those comments. He could be celebrating the cure for cancer in all caps and they'd still react the same way. How do you not know that by now? The extra nuggets one isn't half bad either, considering the left really can't meme at all. Humorless lot that they are.

Anyway. Surely you understand what a sudden, hard break with the "AngloZionists" after taking office would have done for his support at home? In the ZIONIST OCCUPIED GOVERNMENT of the USA. They'd simultaneously eviscerate him on the left and right. The pro-Israel evangelical and other layman Zionist demographics would turn on him in a heartbeat. Rabblerabblerabble antisemitism rabblerabblerabble. And, at a few million strong, they constitute enough of a force to sway an election if they did.

To be sure, I don't think we will have a clear picture of exactly what's in Trump's soul until his 2nd term. That's when he will make use of the stage he is setting to either go full neocon or full MAGA. But the man's unprecedented war on the media and swamp have already done irreparable damage to the status quo. The boot that has been firmly held on the throat of whites in America and the broader West has been lifted. Our long silenced voice restored. And before we were made minorities in our own lands, no less. The Overton Window is moving, rapidly, in our favor. The genie is out of the bottle and it's not going back. Even if Trump goes down.

None of this would have ever happened under Hillary or Jeb or any other candidate. And none of this benefits the "AngloZionists" or their agenda in the slightest. I don't think they foresaw a Trump presidency at all. For all intents and purposes, Trump appears to be expertly outmaneuvering their every effort to control his administration's foreign policy. And I think that it could turn out to be the case that surrounding himself with neocon stooges was a ploy to sell a specific image to certain demographics that he needed to have supplementing and reinforcing his base, but still have yet to realize that Israel is a part of the swamp too. Yes, there are millions of low information voters who are THAT dense.

Again. Could I be wrong? YES. But until I know for sure I'd rather continue to hope for the best and prepare for the worst instead of descending into borderline leftist brand hysterics here, comparing tweets and judging who is classier and whatnot.

Art , August 19, 2018 at 6:58 am GMT

And yet, 11 years later, the AngloZionist attack which looked so imminent in 2007 has not happened yet. Could it be that this time again an attack on Iran can be avoided? Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appears to be very confident that it will not happen. I am not so sure, but I fervently hope that he is right.

War or peace?

Hmm -- here are the leading minds on war and peace in this administration.

Donald Trump – Jared Kushner, Gina Haspel, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mad Dog Mattis, and John Bolton.

Feeling sick – everyone?

Think Peace -- Do No Harm -- Art

Anon [257] Disclaimer , August 19, 2018 at 7:04 am GMT
@eyesfrontmen

How do you know so much about Iranian women and their lives.?
What's PFMAT?

nettles , August 19, 2018 at 7:34 am GMT
@ Colin Wright

As to Saudi Arabia being wrecked -- explain to me how that harms Israel.

Explain why,

it's not necessary that the United States win its war with Iran -- just that it starts it.

Art , August 19, 2018 at 7:39 am GMT
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has summed up Iran's stance in the following words "there will be no war and no negotiations".

Saying that "there will be No War" is an implicit warning. Saying, that if there is a war – then everyone in the world will suffer -- therefor there will be no war – therefor no one will start a war.

Of course, the most dangerous man on the planet, wants an Iran war – the Israeli Jew – Netanyahu.

Think Peace -- Do No harm -- Art

p.s. Could Trump be sucked into an Iran war by a Mossad false flag operation – YES!

Akbar Ali , August 19, 2018 at 7:53 am GMT
Dear Saker,

There is a video on unz.com where Putin says the following about Israel:

Putin Goes Off Script: "the Deep State Is Ready to Sacrifice Israel"

http://www.unz.com/video/sayedhasan_putin-goes-off-script-the-deep-state-is-ready-to-sacrifice-i/

Saker, is it possible that you do a thread on the above video and share your thoughts on it?

To me it is very explosive!

Best regards,

Akbar Ali

The Alarmist , August 19, 2018 at 10:01 am GMT
@Quartermaster

Are you a State Department bot? At least Heather Nauert flashes a bit of cleavage while spouting her nonsense.

Dorian , August 19, 2018 at 10:52 am GMT
@Quartermaster

@QarterMaster the bigot:

Two can play at your game. I raise your ignorant words with facts:

Your words:

The US doesn't have to do anything to make negotiations impossible with Putin (and it is Putin you have to deal with as he's the head of the Kleptocracy masquerading as a country). Putin is too stupid to see what he's doing to his country, or he knows (more likely) and doesn't care.

The facts:

- The disintegration of US's discretion to manipulating international law to its own bias

- The saving of Russia from disintegration, as opposed to how Yeltsin, a US obsequious coolie nearly destroyed it.

- Ending the Chechnya war. Something no US administration has been able to do (that is, ending a war) successfully since the end of hostilities of the Second Word War.

- The development of social liberation principles and to back them up with funding in the Russian budget. Putin immediately raised all the pensions in the Crimea -a legally and justly voted return to the Russian Federation as opposed to how Stalin cynically and illegally gave it away to the Ukraine – to the same level as the rest of Russia. In fact, Putin has advanced many social support mechanics like FDR did during the 1930′s.

- Paying down the state debt. Not just paying it down, he is paying the debt down EARLIER than required. Something the US has NEVER done!

- Implementation of a multi-trillion dollar Stabilization and Wealth Fund for the country. Something the US has never done.

- Reform the Military Industrial Complex and the Military par se. Putin has got rid of the corrupt actors (many supported by the US) that were destroying the Russian military and Military research labs and turned them now into not only the best in the world, but Russia has now the most formidable weapons systems that Mankind has ever seen.

- Introduction of the economic cooperation union between independent states. Unlike the USSR the entire area is now buzzing with activity. With China, India, Iran and others starting to realize the West are not longer the economic centre of the world, but Asia is.

- The success of the Sochi Olympics and the World Cup. In fact, it is globally recognized that the last World Cup in Russia was the best ever.

- The return of the Crimea. It was always Russian -98% Russian population- and always will be.

- Fighting crime. Crime rates are at record lows, since the end of the USSR.

Your words:

Like it or not, the evidence is incontrovertible that MH-17 was shot down by a Russian AD unit. Even the fascists Putin inserted into the Donbas have admitted as much on video.

Now for the facts:

It is now becoming evident that the MH-17 plane was SHOT down by machine-gun fire
read: <a title="" https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-suppressed-evidence-machine-gun-like-holes-malaysian-airlines-mh17-was-not-brought-down-by-a-buk-missile/5648099"&#8221 ; href=" https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-suppressed-evidence-machine-gun-like-holes-malaysian-airlines-mh17-was-not-brought-down-by-a-buk-missile/5648099&quot ; MH-17 machine gun holes

In fact documentary evidence is now surfacing that is was Ukraine's Air Force that shot the plane down <a title="" http://thesaker.is/sbu-orders-to-destroy-all-evidence-of-the-conducted-special-operation-mh17/&quot ; http://thesaker.is/sbu-orders-to-destroy-all-evidence-of-the-conducted-special-operation-mh17/&quot; Evidence that Ukraine shot MH-17 down with Jet Fighters

Your words:

The Skripal case is a wonder. It is known that a nerve agent was used against the man and his daughter. The Swiss lab that tested their blood said the murder attempt was done with an agent that was used in the west. The only serious question is where it would have come from as both the US and the UK destroyed their chemical weapons years ago. The only people with motive and opportunity is Putin's regime. The murder would not have been first for Putin's regime either.

The facts:

Russia has destroyed all its chemical agents as it was inspected by the OPCW. But the US and UK have still theirs read: <a title="" https://new.euro-med.dk/20180316-the-skripal-novochok-affair-is-an-nwo-bogus-concoction-abusing-scientists-against-principles-of-secret-war-dooming-to-have-ww3-soon-russia-unforgivable.php"&#8221 ; href=" https://new.euro-med.dk/20180316-the-skripal-novochok-affair-is-an-nwo-bogus-concoction-abusing-scientists-against-principles-of-secret-war-dooming-to-have-ww3-soon-russia-unforgivable.php&quot ; US has Novichok, Russia doesn't

Your words:

Russia has long proven it is impossible to make an agreement with them and realistically expect them to live by it. It has been so since the Bolshevik Revolution, and once again since the mafia state put Putin at its head. Putin's behavior invading Ukraine shows he can't be trusted as Russia is one of the signatories of the Budapest memorandum guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Ukraine. This after Putin's regime stated that Crimea is Ukraine's.

The truth:

You are confusing the USSR with Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution was a revolution to depose a Monarchy, while the new Russia Federation was the out growth of the fall of communism. Putin NEVER invaded the Ukraine. The fighting that is going on in the Donbass (that's the part of Ukraine you are referring to, I suggest you learn something here), is between Ukrainian and Russian locals. Some 60% percent identify themselves as Ukrainian, and the rest as Russian. It is those Russians in the Donbass that are fighting, they are not invaders, they are locals.

It is quite clear that you're a Russia hater, Quartermaster. But not just a bigot but also very ignorant of the facts. Its because of people like you, there is war in the world. Intolerant, selfish, and bigots like you cause this evil we the rest have to live with.

I am only sorry to say, for people like you never change your hatred. That's why we have wars, because of the selfish bigots like you.

Herald , August 19, 2018 at 10:56 am GMT
@ohmy

As mentioned by someone else, whatever Quartermaster says is the opposite of reality, which is the classic hallmark of a troll. The first amendment can be the only reason that Quartermaster would be allowed to post such uneducated drivel.

Anonymous [221] Disclaimer , August 19, 2018 at 10:57 am GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

Problem being, White Christian Americans themselves identify as Israeli citizens.

• But our citizenship is in Jewheaven. And we eagerly await a Jewsavior. (((Philippians 3:20)))

• So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of Jewgod's holy Jew people. (((Ephesians 2:19)))

Jewheaven being Jerusalem. And the Jewsavior being a Jew.

" We worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews ." John 4:22

American isn't deporting back to the middle-east what it worships.

Moi , August 19, 2018 at 11:15 am GMT
@Philip Owen

Always!

NoseytheDuke , August 19, 2018 at 11:21 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker

Afghanistan never was a threat to the US and had no more involvement in 9/11 than you or I did. The same people who are reaming you at the gas pump showed the same level of greed when negotiating with the Taliban over a pipeline so the Talibs said no and the invasion was the result. It was planned before 9/11 and the "Pearl Harbour" event provided the excuse for the sheeple.

The American people have lost far more than the Afghanis over this, they were dirt poor before and are dirt poor now. They had no freedoms before and have non now. They have Allah and for them it seems to be enough. Life in the US is far worse now for most than it was before the invasion.

Moi , August 19, 2018 at 11:22 am GMT
@Art

Quite a Confederacy of Dunces.

Anonymous [257] Disclaimer , August 19, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
@Quartermaster

In for a penny, in for a pound, eh? Might as well make every statement in your post an egregious lie. You must work at a Burger King franchise and selling whoppers is your day job.

jacques sheete , August 19, 2018 at 11:36 am GMT

The contrast between the kindergarten-level low-IQ bumbling hot air and threats coming out of the White House and the words of Ali Khamenei could not be greater

That'd certainly be a very accurate diagnosis of a major source of the long standing problem, and Varoufakis said as much about the EU, ECB, and EC, and described it well in "Adults in the Room."

Another yooge problem is that the public in the West has been subjected to lopsided brainwashing via mass media, skooling (not education), and group pressure for decades if not centuries, and that they themselves are far from acting as adults ( i.e., responsible, thinking) as well.

In the US, our "leadership" has,with few exceptions, sucked from the beginning (yes, Washington was a first class jerk) and has steadily degenerated with no end in sight, yet some of our resident geniuses blame the world's woes on the "laziness" and "viciousness" of other people. This article is a fine antidote to that sort of mindless garbage.

It seems the leadership of Iran understands that one of the most effective ways to deal with bullies is to stand up to them. One does not negotiate with them, nor does one trust them and above all, one does not appease them. Our "leadership" could learn something from them, but will fail at that too.

battle of manchuria , August 19, 2018 at 11:39 am GMT
@Wally

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Manchuria

did the american atomic bombs were thrown to scare te soviets from invading Japan ? the soviets had just defeated the remnants of the japanese imperial army in Manchuria , in the battle of manchuria , and could have easily invaded japan

Jake , August 19, 2018 at 11:40 am GMT
@AnonFromTN

"The key strategic weakness of the neocon-run US is that it requires unquestioning obedience from its vassals."

The same was true of the British Empire. It was a strength until the bottom fell out.

The WASP mentality is one of totally self-righteous imperialism. It assumes that it must rule the world, no matter the cost to 'others', including non-Elites of the host nation ruled by WASP Elites.

Jake , August 19, 2018 at 11:41 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

TRUE!

Jake , August 19, 2018 at 11:46 am GMT
@Dorian

"You are confusing the USSR with Russia. The Bolshevik Revolution was a revolution to depose a Monarchy, while the new Russia Federation was the out growth of the fall of communism. Putin NEVER invaded the Ukraine. The fighting that is going on in the Donbass (that's the part of Ukraine you are referring to, I suggest you learn something here), is between Ukrainian and Russian locals. Some 60% percent identify themselves as Ukrainian, and the rest as Russian. It is those Russians in the Donbass that are fighting, they are not invaders, they are locals.

It is quite clear that you're a Russia hater, Quartermaster. But not just a bigot but also very ignorant of the facts. Its because of people like you, there is war in the world. Intolerant, selfish, and bigots like you cause this evil we the rest have to live with.

I am only sorry to say, for people like you never change your hatred. That's why we have wars, because of the selfish bigots like you."

Quartermaster may be fully knowledgable. He may be a Jew with the very deep and wide hatred for Russia and Russians so common among Jews. He could be a foreign policy product of the 19th century Brit WASP desire to cripple Russia as a key part of grasping The One Ring To Rule Them All.

Those 2, of course, coalesced to become the heart of Neconism.

Jake , August 19, 2018 at 11:48 am GMT
@Akbar Ali

US Deep State sacrifice Israel? First, it would sacrifice all non-Elite white Gentiles in the world.

Biff , August 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

They had no freedoms before and have non now.

I've always have had a hard time figuring out what the heck people mean when they talk about "freedoms"?

jacques sheete , August 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm GMT
@Quartermaster

Iran is in the process, just like Russia, of rotting from within.

Maybe, but it's much more likely that the US is rotting from within, like this.:

The only plots against us are within our own walls, -- the danger is within, -- the enemy is within. We must war with , with madness, with wickedness

But why are we speaking so long about one enemy; and about that enemy who now avows that he is one and are saying nothing about those who dissemble, who remain at Rome

-Cicero, Second Catiline Oration, 63 BC

SolontoCroesus , August 19, 2018 at 12:10 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova

Trust me please on this one

Why?

jacques sheete , August 19, 2018 at 12:13 pm GMT
@Anonymous

You must work at a Burger King franchise and selling whoppers is your day job.

I doubt he'd ever be trusted near the till; he no doubts spends his time cleaning up after the "guests" have digested and discharged their whoppers.

jacques sheete , August 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm GMT
@Wally

BTW, Jews have been slinging since at least 1823.

Wally, I distinctly remember that yo attempted to mock me for bringing up history from the 1930s, saying that was "ancient" history and not relevant. Why is it now OK to go back even further?

Seraphim , August 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm GMT
I simply cannot believe that "Of course, Iran has been preparing for war with the US for almost 40 years now whereas the Russians only woke up to reality comparatively recently". 2014

Could you possibly believe that the wonder weapons Putin revealed to the stunned world took only four years to develop? Russians might be genial but they are not magicians who pull them from the hat. Such things require time to design, test, produce. Russians were preparing for war for much longer. I am always puzzled by the assumption that Russians are naive politicians, when thousand years of history shows that they have been anything but.

anon [317] Disclaimer , August 19, 2018 at 12:34 pm GMT
Saker gets an A+ for the article, a text book example of pure unadulterated propaganda. No corners cut, its 99% and 99.9% pure, not a trace of reality anywhere.
The CIA, M16, Mossad and Saudi Commission on Human Rights couldn't do better.
jacques sheete , August 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm GMT
@Erebus

Beyond a certain point, prosperity breeds not children, but decadence (in its widest sense), and eventually dystopia.

Good comment. Even fake prosperity, that based on debt, can have similar if not the same results.

Here's Cicero, again.:

There is one class of [internal enemies], who, with enormous debts , have still greater possessions, and who can by no means be detached from their affection to them. Of these men the appearance is most respectable, for they are wealthy, but their intention and their cause are most shameless. if they had been willing to struggle on against usury with the profits of their farms, we should have them now richer and better citizens.

There is another class of them, who, altho they are harassed by debt , yet are expecting supreme power; they wish to become masters. They think that when the republic is in confusion they may gain those honors which they despair of when it is in tranquillity

There is a third class who boast themselves extravagantly and insolently; these men, while they build like rich men, while they delight in farms, in litters, in vast families of slaves, in luxurious banquets, have incurred such great debts , that, if they would be saved, they must raise Sulla from the dead; and they have even excited some countrymen, poor and needy men, to entertain the same hopes of plunder as themselves. And all these men, O Romans, I place in the same class of robbers and banditti. But, I warn them, let them cease to be mad, and to think of proscriptions and dictatorships; for such a horror of these times is ingrained into the city, that not even men, but it seems to me that even the very cattle would refuse to bear them again.

There is a fourth class, various, promiscuous and turbulent; who indeed are even now overwhelmed; who will never recover themselves; who, partly from indolence, partly from managing their affairs badly, partly from extravagance, are embarrassed by old debts ; and worn out with bail bonds, and judgments and seizures of their goods, are said to be betaking themselves in numbers to that camp both from the city and the country. These men I think not so much active soldiers as lazy insolvents

There is a fifth class, of patricides, assassins, in short of all infamous characters, whom I do not wish to recall from Catiline, and indeed they can not be separated from him. Let them perish in their wicked war, since they are so numerous that a prison can not contain them.

There is a last class, last not only in number but in the sort of men and in their way of life: the especial bodyguard of Catiline, of his levying; aye, the friends of his embraces and of his bosom, whom you see with carefully combed hair, glossy, beardless, or with well-trimmed beards; with tunics with sleeves, or reaching to the ankles, and clothed with veils, not with robes; all the industry of whose life, all the labor of whose watchfulness, is expended in suppers lasting till daybreak.

-Cicero, Second Catiline Oration, 63 BC

jacques sheete , August 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

The key strategic weakness of the neocon-run US is that it requires unquestioning obedience from its vassals.

True, and unfortunately for the US, it's an unquestioningly obedient vassal of Israel, and so this applies as well.:

As only a hopeless nonentity can be unquestioningly obedient, the US brings to power total shit, and speaking of that,

At the time, I didn't realize that the expertise on Middle East policy was not only being removed, but was also being exchanged for that from various agenda-bearing think tanks, including the Middle East Media Research Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

-Jim Lobe, How neo-cons influence the Pentagon

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EH08Ak01.html

skrik , August 19, 2018 at 1:11 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

the bloated bodies of American Teenagers floating off the beaches of Iwoa [sic] Jima

See wiki, Atrocity propaganda [mentions 'to make people hate;' hmmm.] Then, see 'war porn.' Now, to 'nuts & bolts,' part repeat:

1. The US A-bombs cost a real motser; there'd be hell to pay if they weren't 'cashed in' for 'best' value. Hence the '½mio' [give or take; ymmv] US casualty estimate for invading = a filthy lie.

2. The US wanted to 'send a signal' to the USSR: 'You could very well be next!'

3. But most acutely, the US rogue-regime really, really wanted to get data from *live* targets.

It is not unlikely that the estimates of killed and wounded in Hiroshima (150,000) and Nagasaki (75,000) are over conservative

Mostly innocents, note; the 3 target cities were kept 'pristine' in reserve; had they been 'legitimate' war targets, not to attack them [like US did most other cities, only possible excuse = 'material war supporters!'] would be seen as 'aiding the enemy.'

Now, up close and personal: All are entitled to their own opinions, BUT: When an opinion 'parallels' the rogue regime narrative [almost = 99,9% in error], then one may ask "Hello-o-o?!" Others [Bliss, Wally, Wally] have given some other counter-arguments, *now* what's your excuse?

Paul's Comment , August 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm GMT
Your statement is racist/supremacist and in support of war crimes.
Michael Kenny , August 19, 2018 at 1:29 pm GMT
The now standard "Sunday roast"! The sneering tone of this week's sauce suggests a sense of defeat. For Europe, the priority is to remove Putin from Ukraine and, ideally, from power altogether, although the latter is probably the corollary of the former. Iran, like Syria, is a means to that end. The lesson of European history is that revisionists can only be dealt with by war. The lesson of American history, going all the way back to the war of 1812, is that, try as it might, the US cannot avoid being dragged into a general European war. By the way, I doubt if God needed to intervene during the World Cup. Any disruption of the event, from any quarter, would have made people furious all over Europe. That the author doesn't seem to be aware of role of soccer football in European society suggests that he is out of touch with the realities of Europe.
Avery , August 19, 2018 at 1:40 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

{ nobody was willing to stick his neck out, as they knew that Un's noose is ready. }

What UN noose?

anonymous [112] Disclaimer , August 19, 2018 at 1:48 pm GMT
The Iranians are probably right in that there'll be no war or negotiation. Iran is a large country of 80M people and can't be handled the way smaller, less organized countries have been. When one looks at the price tag for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan one can see the staggering sums involved in just trying to control that weak, disorganized area that's barely even a country. War with Iran would certainly be a drawn-out affair likely to deplete the public till and end up dividing the American public. And the precise war aims would be what, exactly? Whether one likes or dislikes the Iranians is immaterial; they're there and aren't going to go away. They intend to be a regional presence and nothing can deter this in the longer run. Insofar as negotiation goes they are saying the US doesn't engage in it but rather attempts to dictate to others. This is apparently true but depends on the level of pressure the US can exert which in this case isn't particularly strong, allowing them to remain defiant. Things may have simply shifted to the point where the US ability to actually do something about Iran has passed and all that's left is the anger and rhetoric.
Jeff Stryker , August 19, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
@Biff

So do they.

Avery , August 19, 2018 at 1:49 pm GMT
@Herald

{The first amendment can be the only reason that Quartermaster would be allowed to post such uneducated drivel.}

There is _no_ First Amendment protection in a private enterprise forum.
That should be obvious to anyone: Youtube, Twitter, etc, etc ban anyone they want, the most recent target being Alex Jones. There were lots before him.

unz.com can ban anyone anytime they choose to.
unz.com allows me, you, everybody to pos,t because they choose to allow.
No more, no less.

skrik , August 19, 2018 at 1:51 pm GMT
@Colin Wright

Somehow, somewhere, there is a glimmer of non-stupidity

Possibly, in the pentagon – as odd as that may seem. IIRC, Fallon said something very much like: 'No attack on Iran on my watch!' And there was a 'war-game' that the 'Iran' team would have won, if the game hadn't been stopped, all the 'sunk' ships re-floated, then the 'goodies' team was 'allowed' to fudge a win. Seriously, it may well be that Iran is just too tough a nut for even the retarded militaristic idiots running the pentagon – because their 'best advice' = a lose/lose for the US/Z attackers.

explain to me how that harms Israel

Simple: Since Nixon took the US off gold, the US has 'run on fumes,' namely the petro-$. IF that crashes THEN so does the US and its empire – leaving the Zs 'out in the cold.' Wa-a-ay out in the cold; so McCain: "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran!" Yay! rgds

Jeff Stryker , August 19, 2018 at 1:52 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke

"Life is worse"

I find it unbelievable how far the standard of living has gone down since the 90′s. Oh sure, we have wireless internet and better phones but in the 90′s middle-class Americans lived in McMansions.

Today Gen Y is still living at home at age 30. In 1994 30 year old males OWNED a house.

DESERT FOX , August 19, 2018 at 2:00 pm GMT
The U.S. is a captive nation of Zionist bankers and the Zionist NWO and so is Trump who is just the latest in a long line of POTUS who are puppets of the Zionist cabal, JFK was his own man and they assassinated him and they thought RFK would become POTUS so they assassinated him also.

Proof of the captive state of America is the fact that Israel tried to sink the USS LIBERTY and killed 34 and wounded 174 and the attack was only called off when a Russian destroyer came upon the scene , and then there is the Israeli and Zionist controlled deep state attack on 911 where some 3000 Americans were killed and in each case Israel got away with it, and that is the definition of a captive nation, not to mention all the wars the U.S. has been involved in at the instigation of the Zionist bankers and the MIC.

Therefore as America is under zionist control for Irans leaders to say there will not be a war is wishful thinking for when the zionist give the order to go to war the U.S. will go to war and no matter what logic says that it is a mistake, the zionists rule and if they want the U.S. to attack Iran, the U.S. will attack Iran, it is a sure as grass is green.

Proof of this is Afghanistan/ Iraq/ Libya/ Syria/ Yemen/ Ukraine/Georgia/ etc., etc, America is under zionist control and the zionists are destroying America.

isthatright , August 19, 2018 at 2:01 pm GMT
Good article until you attacked the Church. Completely unnecessary.
AnonFromTN , August 19, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT
@Avery

No UN noose, of course: the UN is neutered in general, with the Security Council neutered in particular by the fact that the members with veto powers include the Empire, two of its sidekicks, and two competitors.

I meant King Jong-Un's noose: he won't hesitate to sink an aircraft carrier or two, if he feels threatened. Besides, he has nowhere to run: he is in his country, whereas the US is thousands of miles away.

AnonFromTN , August 19, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

Do you think that's why we have exclusively shit for president for decades? You may be right. The establishment does all the choosing in rigged primaries, and when it comes to general voting, you have a choice between shit and even bigger shit. We are perfectly free to decide which shit is bigger – we call it democracy. Deep State rules either way.

War for Blair Mountain , August 19, 2018 at 2:57 pm GMT
@Wally

Your point is irrelevant as are the comments of the people you quoted. The only point of view that mattered in 1945 were the US Soldiers who were going to die in a US Military Invasion of Japan and their mothers millions of whom saw actor Eddie Albert's film footage in theaters across America of the floating bloated bodies of Native Born White Christian Teenage Males off the beaches of Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal kneeling in Christian Churches across the US wearing prayer veils and clutching rosary beads praying for their teenage sons to come home alive from the Pacific.

Everyone knew Japan was going to be defeated and was on its last Military legs so to speak. But this is beside the point. The war had gone on long enough and now how to be ended as soon as possible to minimize US casualities ..Hiroshima was nuked first no surrender a young Japanese officers coup was occuring to keep the war going to the bitter end .4 days later Nagasaki was nuked two days later Japan surrendered War over

skrik , August 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm GMT
@ohmy

My guess it was ferrying to the ME one or all of the nukes detonated since that day. You know the ones I'm talking about, Ankara, Yemen, Damascas, and/or China

At 1st, 2nd and still after the nth glance, this is either sheer [but hitherto unknown] genius – or [fa-a-ar more likely] sheer, bloody rubbish – please explain?!

[Aug 19, 2018] End of "classic neoliberalism": to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... But to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare. This global trade war is spearheaded by the Trump White House, which sees trade sanctions and tariffs, such as the onslaught it launched against Turkey, as an integral component of its drive to secure the United States' geopolitical and economic interests at the expense of friend and foe alike. ..."
"... But while they are deeply divided as to their economic and geo-political objectives, the capitalist ruling classes are united on one essential question. However the next stage of the ongoing breakdown of world capitalism proceeds, they will all strive by whatever means considered necessary to make the working class the world over pay for it. ..."
"... In 2008, capitalist governments around the world, above all in the US, derived enormous benefit from the decades-long suppression of the class struggle by the trade unions and the parties of the political establishment. The rescue operation they carried out on behalf of parasitic and criminal finance capital would not have been possible without it ..."
Aug 19, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star August 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/16/pers-a16.html

"But to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare. This global trade war is spearheaded by the Trump White House, which sees trade sanctions and tariffs, such as the onslaught it launched against Turkey, as an integral component of its drive to secure the United States' geopolitical and economic interests at the expense of friend and foe alike.

The character of world economy has undergone a major transformation in the past decade in which economic growth, to the extent it that it occurs, is not driven by the development of production and new investments but by the flow of money from one source of speculative and parasitic activity to the next."

"But while they are deeply divided as to their economic and geo-political objectives, the capitalist ruling classes are united on one essential question. However the next stage of the ongoing breakdown of world capitalism proceeds, they will all strive by whatever means considered necessary to make the working class the world over pay for it.

This is the lesson from the past decade which, in every country, has seen a deepening attack on wages, social conditions and living standards as wealth is redistributed up the income scale, raising social inequality to unprecedented heights.

In 2008, capitalist governments around the world, above all in the US, derived enormous benefit from the decades-long suppression of the class struggle by the trade unions and the parties of the political establishment. The rescue operation they carried out on behalf of parasitic and criminal finance capital would not have been possible without it."

[Aug 18, 2018] Declining America Is Setting up Itself for Terrible Revenge After the Fall by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy. ..."
"... One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules. ..."
www.unz.com
Aug 17, 2018 | russia-insider.com
"As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge." 145 There has been a dramatic shift in how the United States government carries out its business internationally. Admittedly, Washington has had a tendency to employ force to get what it has wanted ever since 9/11, but it also sometimes recognized that other countries had legitimate interests and accepted there was a place for diplomacy to resolve issues short of armed conflict.

The Bush Administration reluctance to broaden its engagement in the Middle East after it recognized that it had blundered with Iraq followed by Obama's relaxation of tensions with Cuba and his negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran demonstrated that sanity sometimes prevailed in the West Wing.

That willingness to be occasionally accommodating has changed dramatically , with the State Department under Mike Pompeo currently more prone to deliver threats than any suggestions that we all might try to get along.

It would be reasonable enough to criticize such behavior because it is intrinsically wrong, but the truly frightening aspect of it would appear to be that it is based on the essentially neoconservative a ssumption that other countries will always back down when confronted with force majeure and that the use of violence as a tool in international relations is, ultimately, consequence free.

I am particularly disturbed with the consequence free part as it in turn is rooted in the belief that countries that have been threatened or even invaded have no collective memory of what occurred and will not respond vengefully when the situation changes.

There have been a number of stunningly mindless acts of aggression over the past several weeks that are particularly troubling as they suggest that they will produce many more problems down the road than solutions.

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th.

The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia , leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner.

Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey is also feeling America's wrath over the continued detention of an American Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson by Ankara over charges that he was connected to the coup plotters of 2016, which were allegedly directed by Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim religious leader, who now resides in Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump has made the detention the centerpiece of his Turkish policy, introducing sanctions and tariffs that have led in part to a collapse of the Turkish lira and a run on the banking system which could easily lead to default and grave damage to European banks that hold a large party of the country's debt.

And then there is perennial favorite Iran, which was hit with reinstated sanctions last week and is confronting a ban on oil sales scheduled to go into effect on November 4th. The US has said it will sanction any country that buys Iranian oil after that date, though a number of governments including Turkey, India and China appear to be prepared to defy that demand. Several European countries are reportedly preparing mechanisms that will allow them to trade around US restrictions.

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common? All are on the receiving end of punitive action by the United States over allegations of misbehavior that have not been demonstrated. Nobody has shown that Russia poisoned the Skripals, Turkey just might have a case that the Reverend Brunson was in contact with coup plotters, and Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear arms agreement signed in 2015.

One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules.

Given Washington's diminishing clout worldwide, it is a situation that is unsustainable and which will ultimately only really punish the American people as the United States becomes more isolated and its imperial overreach bankrupts the nation.

As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge. To avoid that, a dramatic course correction by the US is needed, but, unfortunately, is unlikely to take place.

[Aug 18, 2018] Neoliberalism illness can't be cures other then by a "regime change"

Aug 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

Virgile , August 17, 2018 at 3:36 pm GMT

That is the true face of America that has emerged after having been hidden behind good manners success and glamour.
Trump is only a catalyst to that revelation. The illness have been there for long time disguised in a motto "We are a great democratic nation'. It is now showing its real and ugly face.
The USA's illness cannot be cured other than by a 'regime change'.
Maybe that is what is brewing..

[Aug 17, 2018] US sanctions mean the crisis of comprador capitalism in Russia

Substantially edited for clarity Google translation.
Aug 12, 2018 | pravdoiskatel77.livejournal.com

The US is preparing a new package of sanctions aimed not only against Russian banks, corporations, businessmen, but also against those who do business with them. The full list of Russian companies is in print, and I do not want to retell for the hundredth time what everyone already knows almost by heart: the names of companies and people's names. The main thing is that all of them are cut off from dollar payments, including financing of new Russian government bonds.

For senior managers of these companies, sitting between two chairs now ended in disaster. Poor Gref (Sberbank chairman) in vain so many years showed loyalty to the USA by not recognizing the Crimea. It did not help. He is in the list. The USA cut Gref with his Bank from the American financial market and does not care one bit that they hurt a deeply pro-American neoliberal comprador.

The Russian financial system, the core of which was that it is a part of world neoliberal financial system run from New York and London, the severing of its connection to the dollar market is a knockdown, if not knockout. And the question is not whether the sanctions will be approved "as is" or somewhat soften, it is clear what size of the suspended axe. Which can sooner or later fall on the heads of our neoliberals, because they are not neoliberal enough and did not depose President Putin. The neoliberal establishment of the USA can press, twist and simultaneously emasculate Trump even more. Trump is very weak, in spite of all the bravado and somewhat improved popularity ratings.

The neoliberal establishment of the USA proved that it can eats even popular presidents. If Trump survives the November midterm Congressional elections, he is highly likely will face even more fierce opposition at the next Presidential election. The "deep state" does not make the same mistake twice.

And then the successor will finish all that Trump failed to finish as for Russian suctions. Russia is facing the complete financial isolation with a ban on the import of modern equipment and export of oil and gas. Ahead drugs and consumer electronics, computers and other products. Those who do not believe in it, do not understand what is happening. Neoliberalism is wounded and like wounded animal attack on its enemies or even detractors with fierce force and determination.

How strong is the shock in the Russian elites from what is happening, shows the performance of Peskov. His reaction reminds us the beginning of the Patriotic war: everyone was waiting for it, but preparations are actually blocked "not to provoke Germans" and no one want to believe when it is started. Remember our pre-war military doctrines? "Fight in a foreign land and with little blood! " In life it turned out a little differently. And only thanks to the fact that sobering up happened quickly, the enemy was stopped near Moscow six months later.

Peskov looks like Molotov of our time. He spoke cautiously in the sense that we do not yet see the react to premature actions. Somebody in the USA really spoke in favor of severe sanctions. When (on August 22) there will be an official decision of our "American partners", then we will talk. And he added that should reassure everyone: "Russia's Financial system is quite stable, it is well known. It has proved its stability in quite difficult times. Against the background of the continuing unpredictability of our overseas partners, of course, we must and we keep our financial system in good condition. It's obvious". It would be better if he said another, very simple idea -- that Russia will adequately respond on all the attacks on its financial system.

Because the tense optimism does not bring calm. What is financial stability, when the rubble dropped more then 10% on the news. Just waiting for the sanctions? Essentially threat to impose those from the State Department on August 22. The ruble as a part of international financial system considerably dropped on the news. Speculators, dominant on the stock exchange and holding this market, began to massively withdraw from ruble assets.

Of course Peskov is still not Putin, he just is the spokesman for the President. Everyone understands that Russian financial system was stable until it was seriously hit. The" tough times" in the past about which Peskov talked were in comparison not that thought. Now we are facing a complete blockade similar to imposed on Japan before Pearl harbor. the design is to provoke us while Russia is still weak after the economic rape of 1990th. The same type of ideas that were behind operation Barbarossa. With the color revolution instead of armed invasion. So why there are people who do not understand this?

Sanctions are just one piece of the puzzle. Background of other action by CIA and NGO. The goal was voiced by some members of the US political elite. Rabid ex-head of the CIA Michael Morell of course behaves much like Zhirinovsky in Russia. With far less originality. But those reservations aside, he probably voiced real intentions of the USA ruling class when he called for "orange revolution" Russia in a manner of EuroMaydan in Ukraine. Which supposedly can be provoked by anti-Russian economic sanctions and economic blockade, which the Congress is in a hurry to adopt.

Everything is very open: sanctions will affect standard of living including decline of real value of pensions (and increase of pension age, already planned), increase is some taxes and prices of staples and communal services. Kind of Ukraine "after-Maydan" scenario without Maydan. At some point this really might take people to the streets. Unpopular reforms are often a desperate reaction of the government to sanctions. All sanctions since Obama's time are aimed at raising the middle class to revolt, and Morell is sure that this is what "Putin is afraid of most." He writes about it in the newspaper the Washington Post in the article "Putin is afraid of one single thing. Let's make him think it can happen." The uprising in Russia might also followed by establishing of another Yeltsin-style puppet regime. Round two of what happened after the dissolution of the USSR. One real problem here is that Putin will last just another six years. Then what? There is no clear mechanism of succession in Russian elite and it can step on the same rake.

That is, the US openly uses the attack on the Russian financial system to organize a coup, a yet another color revolution and bring to power Yeltsin-style puppets. The assurance that our financial system is reliable is an attempt to hide for us the fact how unreliable it is if hit by the USA hard. But if Putin spokesman Peskov does not say it right now, it does not mean that Putin does not see and does not take some actions.

The first step in right direction, forced by the previous round of sanctions was creation of a payment system MIR and an analogue of the SWIFT system. The second is a sharp drop of holding of US treasures. I think that the third necessary step will be the transition step-by-step manner to the nationalization of the top level banks of the Russian financial system -- a measure completely forced by the USA behavior and quite obvious. this can be hidden operation about which nobody should speak too loudly.

I recently wrote that the main feature of the Soviet budget was that it was formed as a result of the confiscation of the free retained earnings balance that arose after the distribution of the planned profit of enterprises, according to the established standards. Thanks to this system, the Soviet budget pulled not only the USSR and its republics, but also half of the world including a dozens of vassals and semi or temporary allies. And the collapse of the USSR happen due to betrayal of the elite, not because of financial problems, although they did existed and at the end of Brezhnev rule became acute. Still it happened mainly because the Soviet nomenklatura wanted privatization, wanted to change sides. It they did not became turncoats, despite all weakness and warts of the Soviet system we probably would still be living in the USSR.

The Soviet financial system was really very stable, because it was protected from the influence of sabotage of the West. Inflation did exist and ruble gradually lost it value during Brezhnev's reign, but that was it. Of course, famous Soviet "deficit" was also a form of inflation, but it was mainly visible in the area of "conspicuous consumption" -- luxury good, electronics and such. With the exception of meat (but not fish) staples were "mostly" available, although "real" prices on "black market" for them often did no correspond to the official prices. The Soviet Union has always, throughout its history lived under the sanctions, if not blockade by the West, but since 1960th population felt the effects only indirectly with severely limited access to Western consumer electronics, low quality and availability of domestic electronics, and such. I am not defending the Soviet system here, I just try to understand the situation.

Unlike the current situation with the ruble in the USSR, the current sanctions are instantly felt, as the exchange rate of the ruble changed and people see that: they feel that they became more poor even if consumer prices did not react. Also the fluctuations of the ruble cause price hikes on imported goods and the risk of bankruptcy of banks. The country's budget to a considerable extent depends on revenues from exports of raw materials such as oil and gas as well (to much lesser extent) as sales of Russian bonds to finance large infrastructure projects. It is wrong to believe that the new US sanctions will hit only the pockets of bankers and top managers. Real economy will also be hit. We are too dependent on imports and the dollar.

I write this to stress that the fact that the nationalization of financial system can take various forms, including the return to the Soviet style limitations on profit of financial institutions and some branches of economics. One step in this direction would be taking 500 billion rubles from the metallurgical and chemical businesses to the state budget. Just like that, no taxes. Advisor to the President Andrei Belousov wrote a letter to President Vladimir Putin, in which he pointed out that in metallurgy and chemistry for 2017, super-profits have accumulated due to the price situation, and not as a result of the actions of the management of companies. The market excess over the average price was 20.8%. Since similar excessive profits in oil industry are withdrawn to the budget in the form of super-income rents, why not do the same with metallurgists and chemists? Putin agreed in writing with Belousov by put a resolution "I Agree" on his memo. This is a socialist redistribution of the state profits of private capitalist enterprises. The NEP in its purest form.

Neoliberals are sad -- not good, they say, not the way "market economy" should work. F*ck them. Shareholders will receive less dividends. But what dividends consideration should be when the country is at war? During the war it should be war economics and it might make sense to return to some USSR practices, as the USSR economics was close to war economics all the time (and it was one on the major drawbacks of "socialist economy").

It is possible, as in the USSR, to take money from business in the form of confiscation by the state of the all of the profits, as many countries do during the war. Of course, this can be only temporary solution, but for several years it will definitely work.

In war, the country, one way or another, puts its economic wagon on the rails of the socialism. First of all, it is the principle of priority of national goals over personal ones. Neoliberals and financial oligarchy during the war are removed from power and, if they resist, of property. So far, they have been removed from part of the profits in two industries. The financial oligarchy is still intact. That needs to change.

But back to neoliberal financial system and banks. Those who are cut off from the dollar-or threaten to cut off with a high degree of probability of this event are now screaming. Let then scream. Sooner or later, but this should happen anyway, and that was clear to anybody expect to comprador financial oligarchy themselves, who enjoyed buying castles, football teams at the West and move their families. Now west will confiscate all those goodies without hesitation as assets created by stealing property in Russia and they can do nothing about it. In the famous film " Liberation " at the end there is a question: "What did fascism bring to the world?". We should also ask ourselves, "What has neoliberalism brought to Russia?".

Neoliberalism impoverished the majority of the Russian population and created a tiny strata of loyal to the USA Russian elite and professionals -- Russian compradors, which preferred to store money in the Western banks. Which currently should be bribed by Putin regime with some possibilities of continued unfair enrichment to keep them quite, so that they do not ally with the USA in case of color revolution, like some Ukrainian oligarchs such as Poroshenko and Kolomoysky did. But this bribery has not turned compradors from fifth column of the West in Russia, into Russian nationalists. They did refrain from revolt in 2011-2012, the USA attempt to stage "white color revolution" in Russia, but they do hate Russia. The problem is that they reproduce themselves, taking control in the field of education, training and placement of personnel in the economy. They also control media.

Neoliberalism has brought Russia's dependence on the export of oil and gas and import of sophisticated production technologies. The raw material elite despises mechanical engineering. Controlling raw materials and finances, she buys equipment in the West, sharing with him part of national resources for the technologies they need. And they take out loans in the West. And move their families to the West. And try to transfer the companies outside Russian jurisdiction. They believe that the elite of the West will be so closely tied to themselves -- here, they say, we will not only share in oil and gas, but we will use your money, your technologies, and we will support your engineering we will not try to replicate them domestically.

Neoliberalism has made Russia dependent on the supply of equipment even for space industry. The dependence is decreasing, but it has become so great that it is not yet possible to get rid of it. Nevertheless, our corporations and key banks for some reason are stuck to the ears in the schemes of pumping money through the United States. What are our military-industrial enterprises doing in the USA? Why they have offshore accounts? What part of this is played by our major banks? As we have recently learned, RosCosmos was stealing money from the state on a truly cosmic scale, and not only money. A lot of components were also bought from Western corporations and sometimes from shady dealers with low quality. And this situation lasts two decades during which it would be possible to create import substitution productions for major components, if desired.

Our civil airliner Superjet, includes a lot of Western components including engines. They can cut supply of them anytime. And no matter how the Ministry of industry and trade is trying to avoid this trap, the neoliberal financial model of Russia does not allow to quickly maneuver resources. It was easy to cut whole plants for scrap metal during economic rape of Russia in the 1990s. But to built a new factory, especially for producing high technology components is much more difficult, especially operating on the destroyed technical and personnel base and brain drain to the West. In the budget formed within the neoliberal paradigm, money for new technologies that is imported from the Wast are never allocated, as this situation is considered "normal". And its normal until the USA decided to put sanctions. After that it nothing close to normal. Also different industries are treated by the state differently. There is huge preference for extractive industries as they bring currency to the budget. When our oil and gas companies suffered financially in 2014-2017, the state came to their aid. Machine builders are not so lucky.

this technological dependence on the west is the most humiliating thing that neoliberals do with the country, that managed to put a man in space just 12 years after the end of the most terrible war. And the USSR did produce some "high-tech" components that now we are buying from the West such as large turbines. Add to this the the US defense specialists freely grazed on our military industrial complex, the crown jewels of Soviet technology, like sheep on a grass common for more then a decade (from 1991 till 2001)

Conversion to Neoliberalism now can turn be very expensive for Russia. How now to buy spare parts for imported aircraft ? How we can lease new aircraft? We have a country in six time zones. All that Putin can now-it is administrative measures to support the remnants of the industry, giving them orders from the Ministry of defense and helping with loans to produce narrow body passenger jets.

But small volumes of narrow body midrange passenger planes are not very profitable and always lose to foreigners who dominate the international market and control most of its volume. Add to this the possibility of kickbacks, corruption, unwillingness to use our own components such as engine. Although we do have aircraft engines are as reasonably quiet and as economical as those we buy in the West.

for example, the newspaper "Argumenty Nedeli" for years writes about the bitter fate of our aircraft engine NK-93, which is competitive with best Western engines and which at all exhibitions are always carefully hidden from Putin somewhere in the distant hangars. The reason is simple -- it is cheap. When you put on a Superjet imported engine you not only simply maintenance of those place in foreign airports, you can launder large sums of budget money. The scheme is simple: the money from the budget -- a contract with a foreign partner via some offshore company and some amounts are rolled back. Minimum of persons involved, maximum benefit. This way from budget to offshore is the shortest. What will happen now with Superjet is unknown. The lion's share of the components are French. It is logical to think about the fate of the Mistral. Or at least supply disruptions.

It is clear that no matter how heavy the costs of us sanctions are for the country, Russian financiers will not give up power they got due to neoliberalization. They will go out of their way to prove that their fate is the fate of Russia, and their death is the death of Russia. And it is necessary to first save them and then Russia. We have seen it many times and we will see it this scenario again and again.

Our largest sectors -- oil, gas, aviation and rocket industry -- also will suffer from the imposition of sanctions. Certainly shipbuilding will suffer. One thing is good that equipment to produce them still can bought in china. But some western technologies are out of reach. China itself buys technologies in America. So we are facing difficult times.

... ... ...

America with its sanctions directly pushes Russia even out of colonial peripheral capitalism. Let's hope that the new unique mixture of capitalism and socialism that will arise in Russia as a result of American sanctions will be a completely different system with completely different elites, whose hatred and distrust of everything Anglo-Saxon will be inherited through genes. And any attempt to bring unnnesary western technologies or products into Russia will be despised. It is reasonable to expect that the new generation of Russian elite is acutely anti-American. Every action generates a reaction. Hopefully sanctions will destroy the "neoliberal intelligentsia" and "neoliberal business elite" in Russia. First of all, the neoliberal financial system will be reformed.

As China under socialist slogans builds capitalism with the Chinese specifics, so Russia under neoliberal slogans will begin to build state capitalism with some socialist component -- with the Russian specifics. And it's not a matter of taste, it's a conscious necessity. Otherwise we simply might not survive. The foundations of the new system will be laid by Vladimir Putin in the struggle for the implementation of the May decrees in conditions for acute geopolitical tension.

I hope that from now on we should not pay any attention to the neoliberal rhetoric of the authorities -- it is the rhetoric of the smoke screen. The usual smoke screen to calm those who will be gradually removed from power and property. Whether they want it or not, Russia has already embarked on this path and hopefully will not be able to get off the neoliberal track. The collapse of neoliberalism in the form of the collapse of its financial system is probably inevitable, and ithe repretition of 2008 is coming. this might help gradually dismantled and change the financial system in the coming years. The global crisis will only help us in this task. The trend is clearly indicated and it can only change speed, but not the direction. Until this moment we need to accept the reality which the USA created with new round of sanctions and do our best to defeat them. They are no longer our partners. They are something else.

[Aug 17, 2018] Young Americans have soured on capitalism, and that's what got Trump elected Slavoj i ek

That's incorrect. They have soured on neoliberalism, and, especially, neoliberal globalization. Many want a return of New Deal capitalism in some form.
Neoliberal ideology is now discredited and the process of de-legitimization of the ruling neoliberal elite started when voters rejected Hillary.
15 Aug, 2018
Notable quotes:
"... "The roots of this disappointment can be easily identified" he told RT. "The working class, but also the middle class feels betrayed. Generally, there's widespread awareness that the American system doesn't function the way people expected it to function." ..."
"... "The message is very hopeful," ..."
"... a large part of the US population "no longer identifies with the American dream." He described the drop in support for Capitalism as the "beginning of the end of what in learned terms we call ideological hegemony." ..."
"... With more Americans feeling left behind, the only candidate who capitalized on this dissatisfaction in 2016 was Donald Trump. However, Zizek doesn't see Trump as the solution to America's problems. Even as the economic good times roll, recovery has not touched everyone equally. 40 million US citizens still live in poverty, and five million of these live in "third world conditions," according to a UN report released this June. ..."
"... "The only thing that can save the US is a stronger, more radical left," ..."
"... "should look at their own Democratic Party, how they totally ignored a clear, more leftist, anti-capitalist signal from Bernie Sanders and his movement." ..."
"... "failed the expectations of the American people" ..."
"... "I would ask her to remember how long I had to wait to get here," ..."
"... "I don't think that even those who spread this fear, that they take it seriously," ..."
"... "That's pure fear-mongering" ..."
"... "panicky reaction" ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | www.rt.com
Get short URL Anti-capitalist protesters in Washington DC © David S. Holloway / AFP Support for capitalism among younger voters has dropped drastically, a new Gallup poll reveals. The US establishment's refusal to see this shift has resulted in Trump's election, philosopher Slavoj Zizek tells RT. According to the poll , 57 percent of Democrats view socialism positively. Only 47 percent view capitalism positively, down from 56 percent in 2010.

Across political lines, young Americans (aged 18-29) in general are split on capitalism and socialism. 51 percent of Americans aged 18-29 view socialism positively, while 45 percent view capitalism positively, down 12 points in just two years.

Slavoj Zizek sees the shift as a realization that for some, the American Dream just isn't real.

"The roots of this disappointment can be easily identified" he told RT. "The working class, but also the middle class feels betrayed. Generally, there's widespread awareness that the American system doesn't function the way people expected it to function."

Curiously, the drop in satisfaction comes at a time when the US economy is booming. Unemployment is at its lowest point in half a century at just over three percent, wages are increasing, and if President Trump is to be believed, all manner of companies are clamoring to bring their manufacturing operations back to the USA from overseas.

In 2010, when more Democrats still trusted capitalism, things were objectively worse. Unemployment stood at a dismal nine percent, wages had stagnated since the great recession, and recovery was still a distant glimmer.

"The message is very hopeful," Zizek said about the poll, which he said shows that quite a large part of the US population "no longer identifies with the American dream." He described the drop in support for Capitalism as the "beginning of the end of what in learned terms we call ideological hegemony."

TV Anchor: It is inexplicable that so many voters have a problem with capitalism considering that for so many Americans

[pauses to check stats]

housing is unaffordable, student debt is skyrocketing & you need a GoFundMe page to afford medical care https://t.co/JxIIZYZ2Du

-- David Sirota (@davidsirota) August 13, 2018

With more Americans feeling left behind, the only candidate who capitalized on this dissatisfaction in 2016 was Donald Trump. However, Zizek doesn't see Trump as the solution to America's problems. Even as the economic good times roll, recovery has not touched everyone equally. 40 million US citizens still live in poverty, and five million of these live in "third world conditions," according to a UN report released this June.

"The only thing that can save the US is a stronger, more radical left," Zizek claims.

Where is the left?

The radical left Zizek talks about exists, but has been muscled out by the Democratic party's more centrist establishment. The establishment, he argues, "should look at their own Democratic Party, how they totally ignored a clear, more leftist, anti-capitalist signal from Bernie Sanders and his movement."

Sanders was a popular figure, particularly with young voters. By running Hillary Clinton instead, the centrist establishment "failed the expectations of the American people"

However, since Clinton's miserable performance in 2016, the 'progressive' movement championed by Sanders has slowly seeped into the mainstream. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the Bronx this June, when self-professed 'democratic socialist' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez snatched a stunning primary victory, ousting ten-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, a more centrist, suit-and-tie Democrat.

Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform that includes Medicare for all, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wage, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement – some of these points the Clinton camp of the Democrat party would have considered anathema.

Ocasio-Cortez' victory appeared to lay out a clear roadmap for Democrats in the Trump age: embrace the public's demand for a more radical left and win elections, or continue to blame Russia and continue to lose. The Democratic establishment didn't listen however, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) playing down her victory, reminding voters that it happened in "one district" and warning people not to get "carried away" with progressive ideas.

Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (South Carolina) embodied the establishment mentality when he said in an interview that Ocasio-Cortez needs to wait her turn before joining the Democratic party's leadership.

"I would ask her to remember how long I had to wait to get here," the 78-year-old Congressman said.

After her victory, Ocasio-Cortez jetted around the country to drum up support for like-minded progressive candidates ahead of primary elections. Her stumping fell short however, as four out of the six candidates endorsed by the socialist upstart lost their elections.

Some critics put this failure down to an inbuilt 'fear of socialism' among Americans. Zizek disagrees emphatically.

"I don't think that even those who spread this fear, that they take it seriously," he said, adding that the US is unlikely to turn into Venezuela any time soon. "That's pure fear-mongering" and "panicky reaction" at the newfound popularity of socialism, he said.

If the trend revealed by the latest Gallup poll is correct, embracing a socialist message could soon be the Democratic party's only means of survival.

Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won't tell you.

[Aug 15, 2018] Talking Turkey: In essence this is an emerging market financial crisis, much like the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis

Notable quotes:
"... So why should you care? Why does that matter to you or me? Well, like most emerging market financial crisis there is the danger of contagion . ..."
"... Turkey's economy is four times the size of Greece, and roughly equal in size to Lehman Brothers circa 2008. ..."
"... Turkey's other borders face six nations: Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, and Nakhchivan, a territory affiliated with Azerbaijan. Five of those are involved in ongoing armed conflicts or outright war. ..."
"... NATO has long outlived its' usefulness. Cancel its' stipend and bring our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen and women home! Put them to work here. Fighting fires. ..."
"... NATO only seems to be useful to the hegemony that supports it. Peace is not it's mission. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 3:46pm

By now you've probably heard that Turkey is having a financial crisis, and Trump appears to be pouring gasoline on it.
But you may not understand what is happening, or you may not know why it's important.
So let's do a quick recap .

Turkey's currency fell to a new record low today. Year to date it's lost almost half its value, leading some investors and lenders inside and outside of Turkey to lose confidence in the Turkish economy.
...
"Ninety percent of external public and private sector debt is denominated in foreign currencies," he said.

Here's the problem. Because of the country's falling currency, that debt just got a lot more expensive.
A Turkish business now effectively owes twice as much as it did at the beginning of the year. "You are indebted in the U.S. dollar or euro, but your revenue is in your local currency," explained Lale Akoner, a market strategist with Bank of New York Mellon's Asset Management business. She said Turkey's private sector currently owes around $240 billion in foreign debt.

In essence this is an emerging market financial crisis, much like the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis.

This is all about hot money that has been washing around in a world of artificially low interest rates, and now, finally, an external shock happened. As it always happens .

The bid-ask spread, or the difference between the price dealers are willing to buy and sell the lira at, has widened beyond the gap seen at the depth of the global financial crisis in 2008, following Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s collapse.

So why should you care? Why does that matter to you or me? Well, like most emerging market financial crisis there is the danger of contagion .

The turmoil follows a similar currency crash in Argentina that led to a rescue by the International Monetary Fund. In recent days, the Russian ruble, Indian rupee and South African rand have also tumbled dramatically.

Investors are waiting for the next domino to fall. They're on the lookout for signs of a repeat of the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis that began when the Thai baht imploded.

A minor currency devaluation of the Thai baht in 1997 eventually led to 20% of the world's population being thrust into poverty. It led to Russia defaulting in 1998, LTCM requiring a Federal Reserve bailout, and eventually Argentina defaulting in 2001.

Turkey's economy is four times the size of Greece, and roughly equal in size to Lehman Brothers circa 2008.

The markets want Turkey to run to the IMF for a loan, but that would require a huge interest rate hike and austerity measures that would thrust Turkey into a long depression. However, that isn't the biggest obstacle .

The second is that Erdogan would have to bury his hatchet with the United States, which remains the IMF's largest shareholder. Without U.S. support, Turkey has no chance of securing an IMF bailout program.

There is another danger, a political one and not so much an economic one, that could have dramatic implications.
If Erdogan isn't overthrown, or humbled, then there is an ironclad certainty that Turkey will leave NATO and the West.

Turkey, unlike Argentina, does not seem poised to turn to the International Monetary Fund in order to stave off financial collapse, nor to mend relations with Washington.

If anything, the Turkish President looks to be doubling down in challenging the US and the global financial markets -- two formidable opponents.
...
Turkey would probably no longer view the US as a reliable partner and strategic ally. Whoever ends up leading the country, a wounded Turkey would most likely seek to shift the center of gravity away from the West and toward Russia, Iran and Eurasia.

It would make Turkey less in tune with US and European objectives in the Middle East, meaning Turkey would seek to assert a more independent security and defense policy.

Erdogan has warned Trump that Turkey would "seek new friends" , although Russia and China haven't yet stepped up to the plate to bat for him.
Russia, Iran and China do have a common interest when in comes to undermining the petrodollar . Pulling Turkey into their sphere of influence would be a coup.

Turkey lies at a historic, strategic crossroad. The bridge between the peaceful West and the war-ridden dictatorships of the East that the West likes to bomb.

On its Western flank, Turkey borders Greece and Bulgaria, Western-facing members of the European Union. A few years ago, Turkey -- a member of NATO -- was preparing the join Europe as a full member.

Turkey's other borders face six nations: Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, and Nakhchivan, a territory affiliated with Azerbaijan. Five of those are involved in ongoing armed conflicts or outright war.

Losing Turkey would be a huge setback for NATO, the MIC, and the permanent war machine.

QMS on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 4:59pm

IMF = Poison

more struggling economies are starting to get it. Trade wealth for the rulers (IMF supporters) to be paid by the rest of us. Fight back. Squeeze the bankers balls. Can't have our resources, now way, no how, without a fight.

enhydra lutris on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 6:26pm
Can the BRICS get by without Brazil, perhaps by pulling

in a flailing Turkey? Weren't there some outside potential takers encouraging China when it floated its currency proposal?

Nastarana on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:41pm
NATO has long outlived its' usefulness. Cancel its' stipend and bring our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen and women home! Put them to work here. Fighting fires.

Patrolling our shores for drug running and toxic dumping. Teaching school, 10 kids per class maximum. Refurbishing buildings and housing stock. Post Cold War, an military alliance with Turkey makes no sense.

QMS on Tue, 08/14/2018 - 9:22pm
NATO only seems to be useful to the hegemony that supports it. Peace is not it's mission.

[Aug 15, 2018] Lira Surges After Turkey Crushes Shorts, Imposes New US Sanctions, Denies Brunson Appeal For Release

Aug 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Meanwhile going back to the ongoing escalation in political tensions between the US and Turkey, one day after Erdogan vowed to boycott US electronics products, including the iPhone, Ankara slapped an additional tax on imports of a broad range of American goods. Turkey announced it would impose an additional 50% tax on U.S. rice, 140% on spirits and 120% on cars.

There are also additional charges on U.S. cosmetics, tobacco and some food products. The was Erdogan's latest retaliation for the Trump administration's punitive actions over the past few weeks to pressure Turkey into releasing an American pastor.

Bloomberg calculated that the items listed in the decree accounted for $1 billion of imports last year, similar to the amount of Turkish steel and aluminum exports that were subjected to higher tariffs by President Donald Trump last week.

The decision shows Turkey giving a proportionate response to American "attacks" on the Turkish economy, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in tweets this morning.

[Aug 14, 2018] No matter how globalism is repackaged, it always smells the same way in the end.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,

No matter how globalism is repackaged, it always smells the same way in the end.

For decades, the globalists have subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) been moving us toward a world in which national borders have essentially been made meaningless . The ultimate goal, of course, is to merge all the nations of the world into a "one world socialist utopia" with a global government, a global economic system and even a global religion.

The European Union is a model for what the elite hope to achieve eventually on a global scale . The individual nations still exist, but once inside the European Union you can travel wherever you want, economic rules have been standardized across the Union, and European institutions now have far more power than the national governments.

Liberty and freedom have been greatly restricted for the "common good", and a giant horde of nameless, faceless bureaucrats constantly micromanages the details of daily life down to the finest details.

With each passing day the EU becomes more Orwellian in nature, and that is why so many in Europe are completely fed up with it.

Rich Monk Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

The (((Money Changers))) have always been Humanity's greatest threat!

taketheredpill Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

I would support TERM LIMITS on Congress and Senate...

[Aug 14, 2018] Pope Francis and the Caring Society

Book review
Notable quotes:
"... not all forms of economic liberalization are equally good: some reforms can be so inadequately designed as to harm the interests of the poor, especially in the short term. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.independent.org

Societies marked by oligarchy, that is, rigged to help the privileged elites at the expense of everyone else, require more than merely the removal of anti-competitive rules and regulations. The reason, according to Martinez, is that not all forms of economic liberalization are equally good: some reforms can be so inadequately designed as to harm the interests of the poor, especially in the short term.

This raises the questions: Are the poor better off under a market economy? Is the invisible hand conducive to giving people a hand? Pope Francis's assessment is often negative. "[U]nbridled capitalism," he has claimed, "has taught the logic of profit at any cost, of giving in order to receive, of exploitation without looking at the person."

...Although the pope is on target in his admonition against worshipping the false god of a "deified market," according to Waterman, his encyclical Laudato si' is flawed, due in no small measure to its failure to acknowledge the good that markets do by channeling self-interest to serve the common good.

[Aug 14, 2018] Trump's Trade War with China Undermining China's Dependence on Neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Trump in fact was not the consensus candidate of the American capitalist class back to the 2016 election. So with respect to these economic policies, especially about his trade protectionist measures, these new tariffs imposed on the Chinese goods, let's put it this way: These are not, certainly not the traditional kind of neoliberal economic policy as we know it. So some sections of the American manufacturing sector [capitalists] may be happy about this. But I would say the majority of the American capitalists probably would not approve this kind of trade war against China. ..."
"... So on the Chinese part, ironically, China very much depends on these overall what Martin Wolf called liberal global order, which might better be called the model of global neoliberal capitalism. So China actually much more depends on that. ..."
"... despite whatever happened to the U.S., China would still be committed to the model of openness, committed to privatization and the financial liberalization. The Chinese government has declared new measures to open up a few economic sectors to foreign investment. ..."
"... for China to rearrange towards this kind of domestic consumption-led model of economic development, the necessary condition is that you have income, wealth redistribution towards the workers, towards poor people. And that is something that the Chinese capitalists will resist. And so that is why and so far China has not succeeded in transforming itself away from this export-led model based on exploitation of cheap labor. ..."
"... first of all, China is not socialist at all today. So income of economic sector, the [space] sector accounts for a small number, a small fraction of the overall economy, by various measurements. ..."
"... And so it's expected China will also become the world's largest importer of natural gas by the year 2019. So you are going to have China to be simultaneously the largest importer of oil, natural gas, and coal. ..."
"... let's say the Chinese government right now, even though is led by the so-called Communist Party, is actually much more committed to the neoliberal global order that the Trump administration in the U.S. ..."
"... The Trump administration of this trade protectionist policy, although not justified, it reflects fundamental social conflicts within the U.S. itself, and that probably cannot be sorted out by the Americans' current political system. ..."
"... So the overall neoliberal regime has become much more unstable. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | therealnews.com

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.

The Financial Times chief economic columnist Martin Wolf has called Trump's trade wars with Europe and Canada, but obviously the big target is China, he's called this a war on the liberal world order. Well, what does this mean for China? China's strategy, the distinct road to socialism which seems to take a course through various forms of state hypercapitalism. What does this mean for China? The Chinese strategy was developed in what they thought would be a liberal world order. Now it may not be that at all.

Now joining us to discuss what the trade war means for China, and to have a broader conversation on just what is the Chinese model of state capitalism is Minqi Li, who now joins us from Utah. Minqi is the professor, is a professor of economics at the University of Utah. He's the author of The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy, and the editor of Red China website. Thanks for joining us again, Minqi.

MINQI LI: Thank you, Paul.

PAUL JAY: So I don't think anyone, including the Chinese, was expecting President Trump to be president Trump. But once he was elected, it was pretty clear that Trump and Bannon and the various cabal around Trump, the plan was twofold. One, regime change in Iran, which also has consequences for China. And trade war with China. It was declared that they were going to take on China and change in a fundamental way the economic relationship with China and the United States. And aimed, to a large extent, trying to deal with the rise of China as an equal, or becoming equal, economy, and perhaps someday in the not-too-distant future an equal global power, certainly as seen through the eyes of not just Trumpians in Washington, but much of the Washington political and economic elites.

So what does this mean for China's strategy now? Xi Jinping is now the leader of the party, leader of the government, put at a level virtually equal to Mao Tse-tung. But his plan for development of the Chinese economy did not, I don't think, factor in a serious trade war with the United States.

MINQI LI: OK. As you said, Trump was not expected. Which meant that Trump in fact was not the consensus candidate of the American capitalist class back to the 2016 election. So with respect to these economic policies, especially about his trade protectionist measures, these new tariffs imposed on the Chinese goods, let's put it this way: These are not, certainly not the traditional kind of neoliberal economic policy as we know it. So some sections of the American manufacturing sector [capitalists] may be happy about this. But I would say the majority of the American capitalists probably would not approve this kind of trade war against China.

Now, on the Chinese part, and we know that China has been on these parts, there was capitalist development, and moreover it has been based on export-led economic growth model and with exploitation of cheap labor. So on the Chinese part, ironically, China very much depends on these overall what Martin Wolf called liberal global order, which might better be called the model of global neoliberal capitalism. So China actually much more depends on that.

And so you have, indeed there are serious trade conflicts between China and U.S. that will, of course, undermine China's economic model. And so far China has responded to these new threats of trade war by promising that China, despite whatever happened to the U.S., China would still be committed to the model of openness, committed to privatization and the financial liberalization. The Chinese government has declared new measures to open up a few economic sectors to foreign investment.

Now, with respect to the trade itself, at the moment the U.S. has imposed tariffs on, 25 percent tariffs on the worth of $34 billion of Chinese goods. And then Trump has threatened to impose new tariffs on the additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. But this amount at the moment is still a small part of China's economy, about 3 percent of the Chinese GDP. So the impact at the moment is limited, but certainly has created a lot of uncertainty for the global and the Chinese business community.

PAUL JAY: So given that this trade war could, one, get a lot bigger and a lot more serious, and/or even if they kind of patch it up for now, there's a lot of forces within the United States, both for economic and geopolitical reasons. Economic being the discussion about China taking American intellectual property rights, becoming the new tech sector hub of the world, even overpassing the American tech sector, which then has geopolitical implications; especially when it comes to the military. If China becomes more advanced the United States in artificial intelligence as applied to the military, that starts to, at least in American geopolitical eyes, threaten American hegemony around the world.

There are a lot of reasons building up, and it's certainly not new, and it's not just Trump. For various ways, the Americans want to restrain China. Does this start to make the Chinese think that they need to speed up the process of becoming more dependent on their own domestic market and less interested in exporting cheap labor? But for that to happen Chinese wages have to go up a lot more significantly, which butts into the interests of the Chinese billionaire class.

MINQI LI: I think you are right. And so for China to rearrange towards this kind of domestic consumption-led model of economic development, the necessary condition is that you have income, wealth redistribution towards the workers, towards poor people. And that is something that the Chinese capitalists will resist. And so that is why and so far China has not succeeded in transforming itself away from this export-led model based on exploitation of cheap labor.

PAUL JAY: You know, there's some sections of the left in various parts of the world that do see the Chinese model as a more rational version of capitalism, and do see this because they've maintained the control of the Chinese Communist Party over the politics, and over economic planning, that do see this idea that this is somehow leading China towards a kind of socialism. If nothing else, a more rational planned kind of capitalism. Is that, is there truth to this?

MINQI LI: Well, first of all, China is not socialist at all today. So income of economic sector, the [space] sector accounts for a small number, a small fraction of the overall economy, by various measurements.

And then regarding the rationality of China's economic model, you might put it this way: The Chinese capitalists might be more rational than the American capitalists in the sense that they still use most of their profits for investment, instead of just financial speculation. So that might be rational from the capitalist perspective. But on the other hand, regarding the exploitation of workers- and the Chinese workers still have to work under sweatshop conditions- and regarding the damage to the environment, the Chinese model is not rational at all.

PAUL JAY: My understanding of people that think this model works better, at least, than some of the other capitalist models is that there's a need to go through this phase of Chinese workers, yes, working in sweatshop conditions, and yes, wages relatively low. But overall, the Chinese economy has grown by leaps and bounds, and China's position in the world is more and more powerful. And this creates the situation, as more wealth accumulates, China is better positioned to address some of the critical issues facing China and the world. And then, as bad as pollution is, and such, China does appear to be out front in terms of developing green technologies, solar, sustainable technology.

MINQI LI: OK. Now, Chinese economy has indeed been growing rapidly. It used to grow like double-digit growth rate before 2010. But now China's growth rate has slowed down just under 7 percent in recent years, according to the official statistics. And moreover, a significant part of China's growth these days derives rom the real estate sector development. And so there has been this discussion about this growing housing market bubble. And it used to be that this housing price inflation was limited to a few big cities. But for the first half of 2018, according to the latest data, the national average housing price has grown by 11 percent compared to the same period last year. And that translates into a pace of doubling every six years.

And so that has generated lots of social resentment. And so not only the working class these days are priced out of the housing market. Moreover, even the middle class is increasingly priced out of the housing market. So that is the major concern. And in the long run, I think that China's current model of accumulation will also face the challenge of growing social conflicts. Worker protests. As well as resources constrained and environmental damage. And regarding the issue of China's investment in renewable energy, it is true. China is the largest investor in renewable energy development, in the solar panels. And although China is of all the largest investor in about everything.

And so China is still the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, accounting for almost 30 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in the world every year. And then China's own oil production in decline, but China's oil consumption is still rising. So as a result, China has become the world's largest oil importer. That could make the Chinese economy vulnerable to the next major oil price shock.

PAUL JAY: And how seriously is climate change science taken in China? If one takes the science seriously, one sees the need for urgent transformation to green technology. An urgent reduction of carbon emission. Not gradual, not incremental, but urgent. Did the Chinese- I mean, it's not, it's so not taken seriously in the United States that a climate denier can get elected president. But did the Chinese take this more seriously? Because you don't get the same, any sense of urgency about their policy, either.

MINQI LI: Well, yeah. So like many other governments, the Chinese government also pays lip service to the obligation of climate stabilization. But unfortunately, with respect to policy, with respect to mainstream media, it's not taken very seriously within China. And so although China's carbon dioxide emissions actually stabilized somewhat over the past few years, but is starting to grow again in 2017, and I expect it will continue to grow in the coming year.

PAUL JAY: I mean, I can understand why, for example, Russia is not in any hurry to buy into climate change science. Its whole economy depends on oil. Canada also mostly pays lip service because the Alberta tar sands is so important to the Canadian economy. Shale oil is so important to the American economy, as well as the American oil companies own oil under the ground all over the world. But China is not an oil country. You know, they're not dependent on oil income. You'd think it'd be in China's interest to be far more aggressive, not only in terms of how good it looks to the world that China would be the real leader in mitigating, reducing, eliminating the use of carbon-based fuels, but still they're not. I mean, not at the rate scientists say needs to be done.

MINQI LI: Not at all. Although China does not depend on all on oil for income, but China depends on coal a lot. And the coal is still something like 60 percent of China's overall energy consumption. And so it's still very important for China's energy.

PAUL JAY: What- Minqi, where does the coal mostly come from? Don't they import a lot of that coal?

MINQI LI: Mostly from China itself. Even though, you know, China is the world's largest coal producer, on top of that China is either the largest or the second-largest coal importer in the world market as well. And then on top of that, China is also consuming an increasing amount of oil and natural gas, especially natural gas. And so although natural gas is not as polluting as coal, it's still polluting. And so it's expected China will also become the world's largest importer of natural gas by the year 2019. So you are going to have China to be simultaneously the largest importer of oil, natural gas, and coal.

PAUL JAY: The Chinese party, just to get back to the trade war issue and to end up with, the idea of this Chinese nation standing up, Chinese sovereignty, Chinese nationalism, it's a powerful theme within this new Chinese discourse. I'm not saying Chinese nationalism is new, but it's got a whole new burst of energy. How does China, if necessary to reach some kind of compromise with the United States on the trade war, how does China do that without looking like it's backing down to Trump?

MINQI LI: Well, yes, difficult task for the Chinese party to balance. What they have been right now is that on the one hand they promise to the domestic audience they are not going to make concessions towards the U.S., while in fact they are probably making concessions. And then on the other hand the outside world, and they make announcement that they will not change from the reform and openness policy, which in practice means that they will not change from the neoliberal direction of China's development, and they will continue down the path towards financial liberalization. And so that is what they are trying to balance right now.

PAUL JAY: I said finally, but this is finally. Do the Americans have a case? Does the Trump argument have a legitimate case that the Chinese, on the one hand, want a liberal world order in terms of trade, and open markets, and such? On the other hand are not following intellectual property law, property rights and law, the way other advanced capitalist countries supposedly do. Is there something to that case?

MINQI LI: Well, you know, let's say the Chinese government right now, even though is led by the so-called Communist Party, is actually much more committed to the neoliberal global order that the Trump administration in the U.S. - but I don't want to make justifications for the neoliberal global order. But let's put it this way: The Trump administration of this trade protectionist policy, although not justified, it reflects fundamental social conflicts within the U.S. itself, and that probably cannot be sorted out by the Americans' current political system.

PAUL JAY: So the crisis- you know, when you look at the American side and the Chinese side, including the deep debt bomb people talk about in China, there really is no sorting out of this crisis.

MINQI LI: So the overall neoliberal regime has become much more unstable.

PAUL JAY: All right. Thanks for joining us, Minqi. I hope we can pick this up again soon.

MINQI LI: OK. Thank you.

PAUL JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

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

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

World acclaimed Marxist thinker Samir Amin dies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

[Aug 13, 2018] The Self-Imposed Impotence of the Russian and Chinese Governments by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The key problem is technological dependence on the West and the fact thet there no viable alternative to neoliberalism yet. Resotration of New Deal is impossible as management and professional classes are now allied with capital owners. So while those Philippics are entertaining, in reality Russian needs to suffer and try to grow its economics and raise the standard of living of people without rocking the boat too much. China too.
Notable quotes:
"... The Russian and Chinese governments are puzzling. They hold all the cards in the sanction wars and sit there with no wits whatsoever as to how to play them. ..."
"... The Russians are also convinced that they should freely trade their currency, thereby subjecting the ruble to manipulation on foreign exchange markets. If Washington wants to bring a currency crisis to Russia, all the Federal Reserve, its vassal Japanese, EU, and UK central banks have to do is to short the ruble. Hedge funds and speculators join in for the profits. ..."
"... Why don't the Russian and Chinese play their winning hands? The reason is that neither government has any advisers who are not brainwashed by neoliberalism. The brainwashing that Americans gave Russia during the Yeltsin years has been institutionalized in Russian institutions. Trapped in this box, Russia is a sitting duck for Washington. ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The Russian and Chinese governments are puzzling. They hold all the cards in the sanction wars and sit there with no wits whatsoever as to how to play them.

The Russians won't get any help from the Western media which obscures the issue by stressing that the Russian government doesn't want to deprive its citizens of consumer goods from the West, which is precisely what Washington's sanctions intend to do.

The Russian and Chinese governments are in Washington's hands because Russia and China, thinking that capitalism had won, quickly adopted American neoliberal economics, which is a propaganda device that serves only American interests. For years NASA has been unable to function without Russian rocket engines. Despite all the sanctions, insults, military provocations, the Russian government still sends NASA the engines. Why? Because the Russian economists tell the government that foreign exchange is essential to Russia's development.

Europe is dependent on Russian energy to run its factories and to keep warm in winter. But Russia does not turn off the energy in response to Europe's participation in Washington's sanctions, because the Russian economists tell the government that foreign exchange is essential to Russia's development.

As Michael Hudson and I explained on a number of occasions, this is nonsense. Russia's development is dependent in no way on the acquisition of foreign currencies.

The Russians are also convinced that they need foreign investment, which serves only to drain profits out of their economy.

The Russians are also convinced that they should freely trade their currency, thereby subjecting the ruble to manipulation on foreign exchange markets. If Washington wants to bring a currency crisis to Russia, all the Federal Reserve, its vassal Japanese, EU, and UK central banks have to do is to short the ruble. Hedge funds and speculators join in for the profits.

Neoliberal economics is a hoax, and the Russians have fallen for it.

So have the Chinese.

Suppose that when all these accusations against Russia began -- take the alleged attack on the Skirpals for example -- Putin had stood up and said:

"The British government is lying through its teeth and so is every government including that of Washington that echoes this lie. Russia regards this lie as highly provocative and as a part of a propaganda campaign to prepare Western peoples for military attack on Russia. The constant stream of gratuitous lies and military exercises on our border have convinced Russia that the West intends war. The consequence will be the total destruction of the United States and its puppets."

That would have been the end of the gratuitous provocations, military exercises, and sanctions.

Instead, we heard about "misunderstandings" with out "American partners," which encouraged more lies and more provocations.
Or, for a more mild response, Putin could have announced:

"As Washington and its servile European puppets have sanctioned us, we are turning off the rocket engines, all energy to Europe, titanium to US aircraft companies, banning overflights of US cargo and passenger aircraft, and putting in place punitive measures against all US firms operating in Russia."

One reason, perhaps, that Russia does not do this in addition to Russia's mistaken belief that it needs Western money and good will is that Russia mistakenly thinks that Washington will steal their European energy market and ship natural gas to Europe. No such infrastructure exists. It would take several years to develop the infrastructure. By then Europe would have mass unemployment and would have frozen in several winters.

What about China? China hosts a large number of major US corporations, including Apple, the largest capitalized corporation in the world. China can simply nationalize without compensation, as South Africa is doing to white South African farmers without any Western protest, all global corporations operating in China. Washington would be overwhelmed with global corporations demanding removal of every sanction on China and complete subservience of Washington to the Chinese government.

Or, or in addition, China could dump all $1.2 trillion of its US Treasuries. The Federal Reserve would quickly print the money to buy the bonds so that the price did not collapse. China could then dump the dollars that the Fed printed in order to redeem the bonds. The Fed cannot print the foreign currencies with which to purchase the dollars. The dollar would plummet and not be worth a Venezuelan bolivar unless Washington could order its pupper foreign central banks in Japan, UK, and EU to print their currencies in order to purchase the dollars. This, even if complied with, would cause a great deal of stress in what is called "the Western alliance," but what is really Washington's Empire.

Why don't the Russian and Chinese play their winning hands? The reason is that neither government has any advisers who are not brainwashed by neoliberalism. The brainwashing that Americans gave Russia during the Yeltsin years has been institutionalized in Russian institutions. Trapped in this box, Russia is a sitting duck for Washington.

Turkey is a perfect opportunity for Russia and China to step forward and remove Turkey from NATO. The two countries could offer Turkey membership in BRICS, trade deals, and mutual security treaties. China could easily buy up the Turkish currency off foreign exchange markets. The same could be done for Iran. Yet neither Russia nor China appear capable of decisive action. The two countries, both under attack as Turkey is from Washington, sit there sucking their thumbs. (See this )

See also

This article was originally published on the author's blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Aug 12, 2018] Economics, Trumpism and Migration

Aug 12, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

nastywoman 08.12.18 at 4:11 am 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@Not Henry Kissinger

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

[Aug 08, 2018] "How Liberalism Self-Destructed"

Aug 08, 2018 | eand.co

[Umair Haque, Medium ].

"Liberalism, once a great and noble philosophy, split into three factions  --  neoliberalism, libertarianism, and "classical liberalism" (I'll come back to that one). These factions, like stone age tribesmen gleefully performing a lobotomy, hacked and chopped away at liberalism, blow by crushing blow, until all that was left was a drooling, snarling, spitting, twitching zombie: predatory capitalism [P]redatory capitalism created a class of oligarchs richer than the kings of yore  --  and in many ways, more powerful, too. Untouchable, above the law, beyond reproach. The wealthier this class of ultra-rich got, the more that the middle and working class collapsed. Inequality spiraled out of control. People lost faith in all the great liberal institutions  --  law, rights, constitutions, knowledge, democracy itself  --  because it seemed that the only real purpose of those institutions was to allow the ultra-rich to prey on the poor, exacting crippling tribute for the most basic of things. Not paid in wheat or silver, but cold, hard, cash. Insulin that costs $1000? Childbirth that costs $30K? These three factions made liberalism self-destruct  --  by turning it into a mechanism for the one exact thing, a millennium or so ago, it was created to destroy: feudal, dynastic, untouchable, predatory elites skimming off an economy's surplus, amassing all a society's wealth for themselves." • Not the sort of thing one expects from the one-time most popular author at the Harvard Business Review . The waters must have risen higher than I thought.

[Aug 08, 2018] US corps have bought out UK and EU corps and then outsource the work to India and China. US Corps = Globalisation.

Aug 08, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

DancehallStyle -> AgainstDarkness , 6 Aug 2018 20:02

US corps have bought out UK and EU corps and then outsource the work to India and China. US Corps = Globalisation.
DancehallStyle -> AnthonyFlack , 6 Aug 2018 19:57
IT tech and even intricate clothing are too fiddly for automata.

Americans view is if other countries like China make too much money and will overtake them then they will take it all back.

They did that with Japan. They also destroyed Soviet's economy.

ID4355982 , 6 Aug 2018 19:52
trump has wrecked environmental policy, trade policy and domestic social policy....the upshots will be: 1- a much more toxic environment & much higher level of respiratory disease and cancerous related ailments; overall poorer health & health care for the average citizen 2- higher prices for imported goods, lower level of trade exports, fewer US based jobs and more off-shoring of US jobs 3- a substantial increase in the homeless population in the urban areas of this country; increased rates of poverty for the poor, lower economic prosperity for the lower and lower middle class income brackets; wage stagnation for the middle & upper middle income brackets; less advanced education & lower worker productivity and innovation to name just a few of the impacts created by this idiot....in simple in English, Trump and his so-called initiatives are shafting this country in almost every way possible
Ilya Grushevskiy -> RepaTea , 6 Aug 2018 19:17
What part of international law is not just pissed on toiler paper strewn over the floors of a urinal? Which post WWII president respected this law?

None.

International law, since WWII failed. It failed in '47 when no referendum was held in Palestine - against Chapter 1, Article 1 paragraph 2 of the UN Charter. It failed in Crimea, when the results of such a referendum was spat on by the previous war criminal to sit in the Oval Office. It fails now as sanctions are used unilaterally - being equivalent to the use of force in result, they should be

But then let's not stop at after the war. The US is the only country to nuke civilians. 6/7 US four star generals at the time said the action had no strategic or tactical purpose whatsoever.

The US is what ISIS dreams to be, the sooner it falls into obscurity the better.

Brian Black -> bobthebuilder2017 , 6 Aug 2018 19:13
Pure nonsense. The Great Depression began on October 29, 1929. FDR was inaugurated on March 4, 1933 nearly 4 years after it began. Hoover had actually only been in office for just over 6 months before Black Tuesday. GDP began growing and unemployment began falling in 1933 shortly after FDR took office. The Depression officially came to an end in 1939 when GDP returned to pre-Depression levels.
Ilya Grushevskiy , 6 Aug 2018 19:09
There is no long term US growth. There is a debt default after people realize the fact that the top of the whole US government is incompetent. That it has chained itself to such astronomic liabilities for useless wars (as the Empire has not succeeded in world hegemony), is even sadder. It coould have spent the $5tn of Iraq and Afghanistan on building shit, but instead it bombed shit.

Trump doesn't matter for US long run - in 5-10 years time the country will be only found in history books.

gmiklashek950 , 6 Aug 2018 17:59
Remember Kruschev's (sp?) last words on leaving office, and I'm paraphrasing: "Don't worry about America, they'll spend themselves to death (just like we have)". Continued economic growth is a wet dream of Wall Street origin. We are massively overpopulated and rapidly using up earth's natural resources at an increasingly unsustainable rate. We must begin to reduce our growth, not keep increasing it. Population density stress is killing us now and only increasing every day along with the 220,000 new mouths to feed that we are turning out into a world that has no room for 28,000,000 homeless migrants already. Just how crazy are we really. If this article is to be believed, we are nuts. E.F. Schumacher is rolling in his grave! Stress R Us
AgainstDarkness , 6 Aug 2018 16:56
Trump/the US is attempting to renegotiate globalisation.

It is time for the rest of the western world to follow suit.

Levente Tanka -> plakias , 6 Aug 2018 16:34
The contribution of a president to the national debt depends a bit on how you calculate it. You could simply look at rhe dates of inauguration or go a step further and look at the fiscal years. For the latter see :

https://www.thebalance.com/us-debt-by-president-by-dollar-and-percent-3306296

In absolute terms Obama is indeed at the top of the list, percentagewise his predecessor played a larger part. No matter how you look at it or what the causes were, under Bush and Obama the U.S. debt seems to have spiralled out of of control and Trump is doing bugger all to stop that trend.

[Aug 07, 2018] Pat Buchanan Are Globalists Plotting A Counter-Revolution

Aug 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

For consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years : the frozen wages of U.S. workers, $12 trillion in U.S. trade deficits, 55,000 factories lost, 6 million manufacturing jobs gone, China surpassing the U.S in manufacturing, all causing a backlash that pushed a political novice to the Republican nomination and into the presidency.

To maintain a belief in the superiority of free trade to economic patriotism, in the face of such results, is to recognize that this belief system is impervious to contradictory proof.


Brazen Heist II -> brushhog Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:51 Permalink

The sad reality that I see all around is that Western civilization has been hijacked by degenerate hyenas like Rome was sacked from within first before being sacked externally. The institutions that once made the West a leader and a model, have been corrupted, tainted and filled with anti-humanists and crony corporatists. Greed is out of control and "popular culture" is spreading decay. The hollowing out will continue until these parasites find another host to leech off. Will it be China? Will it be a global government? Will it be another planet? Who knows.

Once upon a time figures like Rosenstein, Mueller, Brennan, Browder, Clapper, Clinton etc would be just fucking taken out or punished. Instead of that, they get to wander their toxic asses around like protected peacocks, all on tax payers dime, with their shitty agendas, and their shitty handlers cheering on the degeneracy and assault on the truth and the people.

If this is what "civilization" has boiled down to, count me the fuck out of it. The 5000 year old human farming experiment is merely switching straight jackets. Its the same old story that ever was, ever since we gave up the nomadic lifestyle. In a way, its probably an inevitability, given our flawed human nature, and the size of the population....and average intellect. The desire to be 'lead' by some ruling class, no matter what flavour of 'ism' it is, eventually all turns to the same end result....shit. Unless this global awakening can muster into a force to be reckoned with, and not be swayed by divide and conquer tactics, nothing will change. So far with the toxic Left vs Right divide, and countless other divides, the only beneficiaries of this are the ones at the top of the pyramid.

sarcrilege -> Brazen Heist II Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:12 Permalink

nature will take care of all this in due time...we just may not like the outcome

HopefulCynical -> sarcrilege Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:28 Permalink

Pat Buchanan: Are Globalists Plotting A Counter-Revolution?

HopefulCynical : Is the sky blue? Is water wet? Is fire hot?

FFS, look at the goddamn purge on (((Social media))). Of COURSE the (((globalists))) are attempting a counter-revolution.

We all need to move to alt-tech: Minds , Gab , Bitchute . Even if you don't have a (((social media))) presence, consider getting an alt-media presence. We've been wondering when the next phase would begin, whewn it would be time to take further action. Well, it's here.

First step in this next phase is to set up multiple lines of communication not under (((establishment))) control. Even if you seldom use them, set up accounts; advise those you know to do likewise. Wanna see the establishment panic? If they see the subscriber count for the alt-tech sites suddenly quadruple (or more) in response to their purge, they'll shit themselves. They'll probably attempt to pull domain registrars and financial processing services from those sites.

Then - the motherfucking games begin, bitchez.

[EDIT:] According to Styx, the alt-tech sites are already seeing a surge in membership. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZP1fwkdupg Let the (((establishment))) diaper-filling begin!

Endgame Napoleon -> Big Creek Rising Tue, 08/07/2018 - 12:14 Permalink

But will "negotiations" and regulatory loosening on issues like the environment and worker safety, which have gotten out of hand in the US to the disadvantage of underemployed citizens, offset the extremely low wages offered to Asian and Latin American workers in the countries where American-owned companies shipped over 6 million jobs, canceling out the SS-retirement fund contributions that would have been made by American workers [and] employers if the jobs had been kept here?

Cheap labor seems to TRUMP everything with US employers.

Running from the SS trust fund might be another reason for their abandonment of America.

Cheap labor Trumps everything here in the USA, too, and the cheap-labor pool is aided and abetted by the welfare system. That is why US employers prefer an often extremely absentee welfare and progressive-tax-code-subsidized labor market, receiving .gov-financed monthly bills and up to $6,431 in refundable child-tax-credit cash for US-born instant-citizen kids.

Contrary to myth, hard work, daily and all-day attendance and even work productivity, like every-month quota meeting, is NOT preferred by American employers for most of the jobs left here in the USA.

The welfare-eligible 42 million are (on the books) not hard workers, but part-time workers, staying under the income limits for welfare programs. I KNOW that from working at the Department of Human Services, where single moms and the womb-productive girlfriends of illegal and legal immigrants MUST submit proof of a single-breadwinner's part-time, traceable earnings to get the free stuff.

The earnings must fall below the income limits for welfare programs that ALWAYS reward part-time work in womb-productive single-breadwinner households of citizens and noncitizens. You cannot work full time in a minimum-wage job while meeting the income limits. When I worked at DHS, both the EBT and monthly cash assistance income limits were BELOW $900 per month......

Even if Trump eventually lures US corporations back here with looser regulations and tax cuts, rather than just unleashing a stock buy-back spree, it will not matter to the 101 million American citizens of working age who are out of the labor force and the 78 million gig pieceworkers, not if this welfare-rigged labor market of citizens and noncitizens continues to be the norm.

You cannot compete with a bigly labor market full of welfare-fetching citizens & noncitizens who do not need pay sufficient to cover rent due to their womb production.

Only a Deplorables First immigration reform would address that issue, including a big reduction in the number of welfare-eligible legal immigrants let in each year. The number 1.5 million is too many. This -- no more and no less than illegal immigration -- keeps wages down, but the illegal immigration has the added bonus of making America more dangerous.

The impasse on the immigration issue is the reason why I am skeptical of the value of current trade-war maneuvering, even though I am glad that Trump is addressing that general issue.

The other thing that complicates this trade war is the way that globalist elites have sold America out over the years, not just destroying the middle class with all of this offshoring and welfare-supported illegal labor, but also getting the US economy 1) waist-deep in debt, 2) dependent on foreign investment and 3) subject to getting jerked around by Machiavellian currency manipulation that non-math people, like me, really don't understand.

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/3463-trade-war-provides-perfect-cover-for-the-elitist-engineered-global-reset

It sounds kind of dangerous, though, even just the argument that Stockman makes about China being a house of cards that, if it came down, could have unintended consequences for the US.

I have no idea. But I do know that many of the people who voted for Trump are pretty adamant about the immigration issue, first and foremost, regarding it as an easier and less risky thing to get done as well.

Maybe, the children-at-the-border Movie of the Week has convinced most Trump voters to stay on the train, thinking something permanent has been done to contain the flow of welfare-rewarded illegal immigration.

I think many of the teenagers, released into the country to live with extended family or in foster care, will, in a few years, be entering the labor force as part-time workers, producing instant-citizen kids and getting free monthly bills and refundable child-tax-credit cash from .gov, while citizens like me will still face rent that eats up over half of our monthly, earned-only income from low-wage churn jobs.

As much of an enthusiastic Trump voter as I have been, going back a long way, I am not sure that I am going to vote in the mid-term general election. I am not going to vote for this Tammany Hall II Democratic Party, but I may just stay home.

There are many populists out there, not just on the right either, who are disgruntled for very real reasons, like this interesting article explains, so there will likely be wave after wave of non-centrist populism until globalism's shoreline has been redefined.

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/07/26/centrism-is-dead-and-it-never-really-existed/

Hmmm, weird, when I loaded the other link, it conformed to the format of this text box, but then when I loaded the link above this last paragraph, it reverted to cutting off the text on the side. Until I post it, I cannot see the full text after links are added.

Chupacabra-322 -> Brazen Heist II Tue, 08/07/2018 - 12:36 Permalink

@ Brazen,

"The few who understand the system, will either be so interested in its profits, or so dependent on it favors that there will be no opposition from that class, while on the other hand, the great body of people mentally incapable of comprehending the tremendous advantages...will bear its burden without complaint and perhaps without suspecting that the system is inimical to their best interests."

-Rothschild Brothers of London communique' to associates in New York June 25th, 1863.

The Difference.

J. Speer-Willams

June 16, 2010.

New-Cons. Love War & torture, increased regulations, tyranny and taxes; with our taxes going to the plutocrats of the private banking community. They support governmental destruction of our environment, under the pretender of protecting it. They, also, overtly support corporatism (Fascism for Oligarchs) and any measures supported by the Republican Party that enrich the private International Monetary / Banking Cartel at the expensive of the. American People.

New- Libs. Love War & torture, increased regulations, tyranny and taxes; with our taxes going to the plutocrats of the private banking community. They support governmental destruction of our environment, under the pretender of protecting it. They, also, overtly support corporatism (Socialism for Oligarchs) and any measures supported by the Democratic Party that enrich the private International Monetary / Banking Cartel at the expensive of the. American People.

Batman11 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:08 Permalink

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

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

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

The damage is done.

The economics of the neoliberal era had a fundamental flaw.

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

Same economics, same problem, globally.

TeethVillage88s -> Batman11 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:55 Permalink

I think Pat also gets this sentence wrong and if so I say he misses details we would like to see

This is truly economics uber alles, economy before country.

The University Economist programs/studies were more oriented toward people in the old days. Economics today is used to justify Wall Street type finance and ideology. Economic study was hijacked to serve only those looking to get rich any way they can. CFR agenda comes to mind. Globalism comes to mind also and is an attack on all nations constitutions.

Batman11 -> TeethVillage88s Tue, 08/07/2018 - 10:04 Permalink

The Americans have been discovering the problems of running an economy with bad economics.

Economics was always far too dangerous to be allowed to reveal the truth about the economy.

The Classical economist, Adam Smith, observed the world of small state, unregulated capitalism around him.

"The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers."

How does this tie in with the trickledown view we have today?

Somehow everything has been turned upside down.

The workers that did the work to produce the surplus lived a bare subsistence existence.

Those with land and money used it to live a life of luxury and leisure.

The bankers (usurers) created money out of nothing and charged interest on it. The bankers got rich, and everyone else got into debt and over time lost what they had through defaults on loans, and repossession of assets.

Capitalism had two sides, the productive side where people earned their income and the parasitic side where the rentiers lived off unearned income. The Classical Economists had shown that most at the top of society were just parasites feeding off the productive activity of everyone else.

Economics was always far too dangerous to be allowed to reveal the truth about the economy.

How can we protect those powerful vested interests at the top of society?

The early neoclassical economists hid the problems of rentier activity in the economy by removing the difference between "earned" and "unearned" income and they conflated "land" with "capital". They took the focus off the cost of living that had been so important to the Classical Economists to hide the effects of rentier activity in the economy.

The landowners, landlords and usurers were now just productive members of society again.

It they left banks and debt out of economics no one would know the bankers created the money supply out of nothing. Otherwise, everyone would see how dangerous it was to let bankers do what they wanted if they knew the bankers created the money supply through their loans.

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

The powerful vested interests held sway and economics was corrupted.

Now we know what's wrong with neoclassical economics we can put the cost of living back in.

Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

Employees want more disposable income (discretionary spending)

Employers want to pay lower wages for higher profits

The cost of living = housing costs + healthcare costs + student loan costs + food + other costs of living

The neoliberals obsessed about reducing taxes, but let the cost of living soar.

The economists also ignore the debt that is papering over the cracks and maintaining demand in the economy. This can never work in the longer term as you max. out on debt.

Felix da Kat Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:12 Permalink

The problem is the US has lost citizenry-control. A shadow-government along with media operatives work unseen to manipulate sentiment and events in-line with an overall globalist, world-government objective (Neo-Marxism). The so-called elites behind the curtain are after total control which is why we will continue toward totalitarian dictatorship. It will not be a one-man show nor will it be readily recognizable as such, rather there will be a secretive Cabal of select ultra-wealthy liberals who will negotiate with each other as to which levers to pull and valves to turn in order to "guide" culture and civilization. But the tightknit Cabal has more work to do to infiltrate deeper into US (and world) government. The EU's Parliament is a proto-type test to tweak how they must proceed. As the Cabal coalesces their power, more draconian rulership will become apparent. The noose will tighten slowly so as to be un-noticeable and unstoppable. Certain events are planned that will cause citizenry to demand totalitarianism (for safety reasons). For the Cabal, it'll be like taking candy from a baby. This, in a nutshell, is the outline of how the US (and Western civilization) loses its democracy.

Winston Smith 2009 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:22 Permalink

"...consider the fruits of free trade policy during the last 25 years..."

The point is that THAT is not "free trade," you idiot. Globalists just incorrectly call it that intentionally. HERE is what it is:

The Myth of Modern "Global Markets"

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/08/16/the-myth-of-modern-glob

Understanding how trillions of trade dollars influence geopolitical policy we begin to understand the three-decade global financial construct they seek to protect.

That is, global financial exploitation of national markets. FOUR BASIC ELEMENTS :

♦Multinational corporations purchase controlling interests in various national outputs and industries of developed industrial western nations.

♦The Multinational Corporations making the purchases are underwritten by massive global financial institutions, multinational banks.

♦The Multinational Banks and the Multinational Corporations then utilize lobbying interests to manipulate the internal political policy of the targeted nation state(s).

♦With control over the targeted national industry or interest, the multinationals then leverage export of the national asset (exfiltration) through trade agreements structured to the benefit of lesser developed nation states – where they have previously established a proactive financial footprint.

SJ158 Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:34 Permalink

Pat must suffer from some kind of cognitive dissonance. There is no free trade, nor there was before Trump. In a world of flexible exchange rates and central banking backed-inflationary credit trade wars are the status quo. He willfully ignores all the effects of credit inflation, unsound money, tax structures, subsidies, regulatory burdens created internally and by those "trade deals" and last but not least the reserve status of the fiat dollar which basically turned the US in a huge nothing-for-something economy relative to its imports.

[Aug 07, 2018] Trump To Slap $16 Billion In New Tariffs On Chinese Imports Starting August 23

Aug 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Completing the latest round of tariffs pledged against China, the US Trade Representative announced on Tuesday (after the close of course) it will impose 25% tariffs on $16 billion-worth of Chinese imports starting August 23. The new round of tariffs completes Trump's previously disclosed threat to impose $50 billion of import taxes on Chinese goods. The first $34 billion-worth went into effect on July 6th.

According to the USTR statement, customs will collect duties on 279 product lines, down from 284 items on the initial list; as Bloomberg notes, this will be the second time the U.S. slaps duties on Chinese goods in about the past month, overruling complaints by American companies that such moves will raise business costs, tax US consumers and raise prices.

On July 6, the U.S. levied 25% duties on $34 billion in Chinese goods prompting swift in-kind retaliation from Beijing.

Of course, China will immediately retaliate, having vowed before to strike back again, dollar-for-dollar, on the $16 billion tranche.

The biggest question is whether there will be a far bigger tariff in the near future: as a reminder, the USTR is currently also reviewing 10% tariffs on a further $200 billion in Chinese imports, and may even raise the rate to 25%. Those tariffs could be implemented after a comment period ends on Sept. 5. President Donald Trump has suggested he may tax effectively all imports of Chinese goods, which reached more than $500 billion last year.

Over the weekend, Trump boasted that he has the upper hand in the trade war, while Beijing responded through state media by saying it was ready to endure the economic fallout. Judging by the US stock market, which has risen by $1.3 trillion since Trump launched his trade war with China, which has crushed the Shanghai Composite, whose recent drop into a bear market has been duly noted by Trump, the US president is certainly ahead now, even if the market's inability, or unwillingness, to push US stocks lower has led many traders and analysts to scratch their heads.

[Aug 05, 2018] Canadians Begin Boycotting US Goods

Aug 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Exposing the growing backlash against Trump's trade policies, the