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Neoliberalism as a New, More Dangerous, Form of Corporatism

 The ideology that dare not speak it's name

Version 6.3

Skepticism and Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

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


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

- New York Times

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

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

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

The Kremlin Stooge

Greatly simplifying Neoliberalism = Casino Capitalism = "Transnational elites, Unite!"  It is a neo-Trotskyism with the word "proletarians" substituted by the word "elites"  in famous  slogan  "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" and permanent "Color revolutions" as a variation and enhancement of Trotsky idea of  "Permanent revolution"

Neoliberalism is a very interesting social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and socialism (and facilitated the dissolution of the USSR by buying out Soviet nomenklatura, including KGB brass). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow is prohibited by MSM to mention.  In this system, like under socialism, the state play the leading role in enforcing the social system upon the people, brainwashing them with wall-to-wall 24 x 7 USSR-style propaganda an, if necessary, by state violence. So instead of regulating predatory tendencies  of capitalism like under New Deal, state became just a corrupt policeman that serve large corporations and against the people. In this sense any neoliberal country is to certain extent is an "occupied country" and the neoliberal regime is occupying regime, much like Bolsheviks were in USSR space. Much like during Robber barons era, when the state helped to squash West Virginia miner upraising in 1912-21.

The neoliberal state justifies its decisions, policies and rules in terms that are commensurable with the logic of markets. Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms. A secular religion that makes market and competition new deities.

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

This social system can be viewed as dialectical denial of socialism and represents the other extreme in classic triad "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis". We do not know yet what the synthesis will be like, but neoliberalism as a social system after 2008 shows definite cracks. Much like the USSR after the second world war when people serving in Red Army discovered what the standard of living was in Central and Western European workers and ustart to understand that socialism can't deliver promise high standard of living. And that helped decimated communist propaganda once and for all, although Bolshevism as a social system still was around for another 40 years or so. Like Bolshevism before it, neoliberalism proved to be unstable social system, which is unable to deliver promised benefits to the common people, and which destabilizes capitalism in comparison with  New Deal capitalism, producing periodic crisis with increasing severity ("savings and loans" crisis, dot com bubble burst, and the financial  crisis in 2008 which led to the Great Recession.  In 2008 the large banks, which are the core of neoliberal economics,  were saved from facing consequnces of thier  "trasgressions" only by massive state intervention. All powerful market was unable to save those sick puppies. The consequences of 2008 crisis did buried neoliberal ideology which from this point looks like cruel and primitive hypocrisy designed to restore the power of financial oligarchy, which the latter enjoyed in 1930th. 

In the absece of alternatives neoliberalism managed somewhat recover, and even counterattacked in some countries (Argentina, Brazil, Greece),  but the Great Recession still left of huge and ugly scar on the neoliberal face. In any case glory days of triumphal march of neoliberalism all over globe are over. First of all die to decimation of middle class and lowering standard of living of people outside top 10-20% in the USA -- the citadel of neoliberalism.  Which led to impoverishment of lower 80% of the society, creating of a third world country within the USA,  and the rise of far right nationalism. After approximately 40 years of global dominance is shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became strong enough to provide upsets, albeit temporary, which demonstrated itself in Brexit, and election of Trump. Who, despite his election-time claims to be a fighter against neoliberal globalization, for restoration of local jobs, and against the wars for expanding neoliberal empire, folded in two-or three months  after the inauguration and morphed into Bush III.  

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

Neoliberalism is a somewhat  fuzzy concept which defy simple definition (and it does evolve, much like Bolshevism evolved from Leninism to Stalinism and then to Brezhnev's socialism  ). In various countries it can morph into quite different "regimes", despite common core.  The simplest way to define is is to view it as "socialism for the rich, feudalism for the poor" or, more correctly "Trotskyism for the rich" ("Elites of all countries unite !"  instead of “Proletarians of all countries, Unite! ...).  So Stalins's idea of socialism in a single country mutated into "socialism for the upper strata of population". In this sense neoliberals are as "internationalists" as communists were at their time, and may be even more. They just used the term "globalism" instead. And like "communist International", the  "Neoliberal International" accepts the elite from any country, but only a very narrow strata of the elite and only on a certain conditions, with the leading role reservied for the USA elite.  Much like in Comintern the role of Moscow as a leader was something that can't be even discussed.  Only taken for granted.  Although spying capabilities of "Neoliberal International" via "five eyes" are tremendously more powerful then the rudimentary capabilities of Comintern and the technology of staging color revolutions is more polished then Trotskyite approach to staging proletarian revolutions. Neoliberal also have more money and that matters.  and more powerful "fifth column" in countries other  then G7 who are on the receiving end of neoliberal expropriation of wealth to the top countries of Neoliberal International.  Like in Comintern, all pigs are created equal, but some pigs are more equal then others. 

The key idea of obtaining power by training the cadre of "professional revolutionaries" introduced by social-democratic parties and, especially, Bolsheviks  are replaced with no less effective the network of neoliberal think tanks. In other words neoliberalism borrowed and perverted almost all major ideas of social-democratic parties. The party core typical for Bolsheviks, and instrumental to the success of their coup d'état in October 1917 against Provisional government by Kerensky was essentially replaced by the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored. Monte Perelin society (the initial neoliberal think tank)  explicitly tried to adapt successful idea of western social democratic parties and Bolsheviks to neoliberal doctrine. One such "appropriations" is the level of secrecy and existence of "underground" part of the party along with "legal" parliamentary faction (a set of honorable (in a sense, what hey such politicians for example in the USA congress (honorable politician is the one who after he was bought stays bought) politicians are just a tip of the iceberg), . Some important work was also done by renegade Trotskyites in the USA (aka neoconservatives, especially by James Burnham as well as staunch neoliberals like James Buchanan (The Guardian)

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

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

It facilitates over-consumption and getting into the debt both on the country (neo-colonialism)  and on the individual workers (debt-slavery) levels, and has sophisticated mechanisms  of  enforcing this situation on unsuspecting population (IMF, World banks on the level of the countries), credit card companies, mortgages, student debt on individual level. And a worker with a large debt is, essentially,  a debt-slave. Atomization (neoliberalism is openly and forcefully anti-union) and enslavement of the workforce is exactly what neoliberalism is about: recreation of the plantation economy on a new technological and social levels. Not that unions are without problems in their own right, but crushing the union is the goal of every neoliberal government starting with Thatcher and Reagan. The same model that is depicted in famous song  Sixteen Tons. With replacement  of the company store debt and private corporate currencies with credit card debt. 

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

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

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


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(Research materials to the paper Neoliberalism: an Introduction)

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[Nov 16, 2017] Natural Rate Hypothesid is junk science. There is nothing natural in natural rate of empoyment

Notable quotes:
"... Controlling inflation solely by focusing on workers wages since 1980 but allowing monopoly power and economic rents to skyrocket since 1980 is the main reason for the extreme inequality that has developed ..."
"... Prima facie evidence of distorted labor market where buyers of labor have control. At the very least, the next democratic President should use their weekly address to point out the metrics relating economic gains, net wealth gains, productivity gains, to wage gains. The Presudent should remind employers to fairly share the gains. Once the metrics indicate distortion in the labor markets the President will then introduce corrective legislation using the public communications weight behind this free market notion of a fair labor market, using these metrics. Let us try this bully pulpit, public communications effort with the idea of building public momentum for correctives, and maybe we will return to the 1960s future when gains were more proportionally shared. Perhaps we wont need much legislation at all, afterall we had one generation comport with fairness, you know, rational expectations. ..."
"... if demand cannot be kept up by wages, then the only option is loans and we have seen in 2008 the catastrophic results of that ..."
Nov 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

djb , November 16, 2017 at 01:46 AM

non accelerating inflation rate of unemployment is a better term

there is nothing "natural" about that rate

there are many factors that play a role, but the most important are

1. monopoly power is the most important, without monopoly power, in a perfectly competitive market, excessive inflation is not possible

2. factors that affect bargaining power OF workers

Controlling inflation solely by focusing on workers wages since 1980 but allowing monopoly power and economic rents to skyrocket since 1980 is the main reason for the extreme inequality that has developed

Paine -> djb... , November 16, 2017 at 05:18 AM
These are important conjectures

We may indeed have chosen to repress wage rates while allowing Firms market power over output prices and wages.

And firms share of total Economic rents and E rent rates themselves and thus total gross profits to rise.

Largely unchecked by policy moves

JF -> djb... , November 16, 2017 at 08:26 AM
Prima facie evidence of distorted labor market where buyers of labor have control.

At the very least, the next democratic President should use their weekly address to point out the metrics relating economic gains, net wealth gains, productivity gains, to wage gains. The Presudent should remind employers to fairly share the gains.

Once the metrics indicate distortion in the labor markets the President will then introduce corrective legislation using the public communications weight behind this free market notion of a fair labor market, using these metrics.

Let us try this bully pulpit, public communications effort with the idea of building public momentum for correctives, and maybe we will return to the 1960s future when gains were more proportionally shared. Perhaps we wont need much legislation at all, afterall we had one generation comport with fairness, you know, rational expectations.

We can expect to do that again, especially as all new economists will be trained on the why and on how to accomplish this metric of shared gains. One can only hope.

djb -> JF... , November 16, 2017 at 01:59 PM
I know this may not exactly fit your MMT model

if we don't allow median wages to go up to match production/productivity

and if economic rents continue to go up disproportionally then we need to do a redistribution, ideally by taxes, to get the median wage to keep pace with production/productivity

otherwise demand for products will eventually falter, making us all poorer for it

if demand cannot be kept up by wages, then the only option is loans and we have seen in 2008 the catastrophic results of that

[Nov 16, 2017] Should We Reject the Natural Rate Hypothesis

Nov 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

15, 2017 Should We Reject the Natural Rate Hypothesis? Olivier Blanchard:

Should We Reject the Natural Rate Hypothesis?, by Olivier Blanchard, PIIE : Fifty years ago, Milton Friedman articulated the natural rate hypothesis. It was composed of two sub-hypotheses: First, the natural rate of unemployment is independent of monetary policy. Second, there is no long-run tradeoff between the deviation of unemployment from the natural rate and inflation. Both propositions have been challenged. Blanchard reviews the arguments and the macro and micro evidence against each and concludes that, in each case, the evidence is suggestive but not conclusive. Policymakers should keep the natural rate hypothesis as their null hypothesis but keep an open mind and put some weight on the alternatives. [ paper ]

Posted by Mark Thoma on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at 10:22 AM in Academic Papers , Economics , Macroeconomics | Permalink Comments (9)


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Paine , November 15, 2017 at 03:44 PM

"there is a strong case, although not an overwhelming case, to allow U.S. output to exceed potential for some time, so as to reintegrate some of the workers who left the labor force during the last ten years."

Blanchard calls for exploring the unknown regions
of lower and lower unemployment

Lower UE rates
Instead of accelerating output price inflation
Or even wage inflation
Given possible productivity pick ups
We may discover
We get a return to higher and higher participation
Not an unhappy result after all

Paine -> Paine ... , November 15, 2017 at 03:49 PM
The parting of the ways with the likes of Blanchard and krugman might come
When at long last wage rates do begin to rise faster then
Say
labor productivity plus three percent

But if the acceleration of the expected rate of change
of the rate of output price change
accelerates slowly

We'll have plenty of policy means and time to moderate the expansion of demand
Given the political will

Paine -> Paine ... , November 15, 2017 at 03:51 PM
Or better consider the imposition of a mark up warrant system
On selected firms and sectors
Paine -> Paine ... , November 15, 2017 at 03:58 PM
What is completely missed by looking at the impact of a slump on long run output capacity
Is the actual lost output out of existing capacity
And the misery this inflicts now
for many too many


Ten years of sub possible output
Contain How many weeks upon weeks
of reduced Welfare for too many souls ?

Paine -> Paine ... , November 15, 2017 at 04:01 PM
If average slack is now 7%
And could
with aggressive macro nautics
be reduced to 2%

We
each of us only live in the now
and for only a single all too brief life time

anne -> Paine ... , November 15, 2017 at 03:58 PM
This is arguing well, I agree and am grateful.
Paine -> anne... , November 15, 2017 at 04:08 PM
Blanchards uses the definition of potential output
That suggests over production has to be off set by under production

I.e. Potential output is not technical maximum output by any means

PO
Is more like a rate of output and consequent rate of existing factor utilization
That does not unduly
stress
the various institutional arrangements and practices
Or overly tax
the stability of existing social norms
Considered necessary
to sustaining the good of society
thru
It's gradual development over time

Paine -> Paine ... , November 15, 2017 at 04:11 PM
There is another set of conflicting visions
One of which
That any class pov might hatch

A vision
Perhaps too Faustian for most souls of that class
That is restless
to push faster
To Venture more
Face uncertainty with boldness even audacity

anne -> Paine ... , November 15, 2017 at 04:11 PM
Nice, nice.

[Nov 15, 2017] Alex Azar Can There Be Uglier Scenarios than the Revolving Door naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether ..."
"... So should Mr Azar be confirmed as Secretary of DHHS, the fox guarding the hen house appears to be a reasonable analogy. ..."
"... In this post, I'd like to add two additional factors to our consideration of Azar. The first: Democrat credentialism makes it hard for them to oppose Azar. The second: The real ..."
Nov 15, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Alex Azar: Can There Be Uglier Scenarios than the Revolving Door? Posted on November 15, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether

Clearly, Alex Azar, nominated yesterday for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services by the Trump Administration, exemplifies the case of the "revolving door," through which Flexians slither on their way to (or from) positions of public trust. Roy Poses ( cross-posted at NC ) wrote, when Azar was only Acting Secretary:

Last week we noted that Mr Trump famously promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington. Last week, despite his previous pledges to not appoint lobbyists to powerful positions, he appointed a lobbyist to be acting DHHS Secretary. This week he is apparently strongly considering Mr Alex Azar, a pharmaceutical executive to be permanent DHHS Secretary, even though the FDA, part of DHHS, has direct regulatory authority over the pharmaceutical industry, and many other DHHS policies strongly affect the pharmaceutical industry. (By the way, Mr Azar was also in charge of one lobbying effort.)

So should Mr Azar be confirmed as Secretary of DHHS, the fox guarding the hen house appears to be a reasonable analogy.

Moreover, several serious legal cases involving bad behavior by his company, and multiple other instances of apparently unethical behavior occurred on Mr Azar’s watch at Eli Lilly. So the fox might be not the most reputable member of the species.

So you know the drill…. The revolving door is a species of conflict of interest . Worse, some experts have suggested that the revolving door is in fact corruption. As we noted here , the experts from the distinguished European anti-corruption group U4 wrote ,

The literature makes clear that the revolving door process is a source of valuable political connections for private firms. But it generates corruption risks and has strong distortionary effects on the economy , especially when this power is concentrated within a few firms.

The ongoing parade of people transiting the revolving door from industry to the Trump administration once again suggests how the revolving door may enable certain of those with private vested interests to have excess influence, way beyond that of ordinary citizens, on how the government works, and that the country is still increasingly being run by a cozy group of insiders with ties to both government and industry. This has been termed crony capitalism.

Poses is, of course, correct. (Personally, I've contained my aghastitude on Azar, because I remember quite well how Liz Fowler transitioned from Wellpoint to being Max Baucus's chief of staff when ObamaCare was being drafted to a job in Big Pharma , and I remember quite well the deal with Big Pharma Obama cut, which eliminated the public option , not that the public option was anything other than a decreasingly gaudy "progressive" bauble in the first place.)

In this post, I'd like to add two additional factors to our consideration of Azar. The first: Democrat credentialism makes it hard for them to oppose Azar. The second: The real damage Azar could do is on the regulatory side.[1]

First, Democrat credentialism. Here is one effusive encomium on Azar. From USA Today, "Who is Alex Azar? Former drugmaker CEO and HHS official nominated to head agency" :

"I am glad to hear that you have worked hard, and brought fair-minded legal analysis to the department," Democratic Sen. Max Baucus said at Azar's last confirmation hearing.

And:

Andy Slavitt, who ran the Affordable Care Act and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during the Obama administration, said he has reason to hope Azar would be a good secretary.

"He is familiar with the high quality of the HHS staff, has real-world experience enough to be pragmatic, and will hopefully avoid repeating the mistakes of his predecessor," Slavitt said.

So, if Democrats are saying Azar is "fair-minded" and "pragmatic" -- and heaven forfend that the word "corruption"[2] even be mentioned -- how do they oppose him, even he's viscerally opposed to everything Democrats supposedly stand for? (Democrats do this with judicial nominations, too.) Azar may be a fox, alright, but the chickens he's supposedly guarding are all clucking about how impeccable his qualifications are!

Second, let's briefly look at Azar's bio. Let me excerpt salient detail from USA Today :

1. Azar clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia .

2. Azar went to work for his mentor, Ken Starr , who was heading the independent counsel investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton's Whitewater land deal.

3. Azar had a significant role in another major political controversy when the outcome of the 2000 presidential election hinged on a recount in Florida . Azar was on the Bush team of lawyers whose side ultimately prevailed [3]

For any Democrat with a memory, that bio provokes one of those "You shall know them by the trail of the dead" moments. And then there's this:

When Leavitt replaced Thompson in 2005 and Azar became his deputy, Leavitt delegated a lot of the rule-making process to Azar.

So, a liberal Democrat might classify Azar as a smooth-talking reactionary thug with a terrible record and the most vile mentors imaginable, and on top of it all, he's an effective bureaucratic fixer. What could the Trump Administration possibly see in such a person? Former (Republican) HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt explains:

"Understanding the administrative rule process in the circumstance we're in today could be extraordinarily important because a lot of the change in the health care system, given the fact that they've not succeeded legislatively, could come administratively."

We outlined the administration strategy on health care in "Trump Adminstration Doubles Down on Efforts to Crapify the Entire Health Care System (Unless You're Rich, of Course)" . There are three prongs:

1) Administratively, send ObamaCare into a death spiral by sabotaging it

2) Legislatively, gut Medicaid as part of the "tax refom" package in Congress

3) Through executive order, eliminate "essential health benefits" through "association health plans"

As a sidebar, it's interesting to see that although this do-list is strategically and ideologically coherent -- basically, your ability to access health care will be directly dependent on your ability to pay -- it's institutionally incoherent, a bizarre contraption screwed together out of legislation, regulations, and an Executive order. Of course, this incoherence mirrors to Rube Goldberg structure of ObamaCare itself, itself a bizarre contraption, especially when compared to the simple, rugged, and proven single payer system. ( Everything Obama did with regulations and executive orders, Trump can undo, with new regulations and new executive orders . We might compare ObamaCare to a child born with no immune system, that could only have survived within the liberal bubble within which it was created; in the real world, it's not surprising that it's succumbing to opportunistic infections.[2])

On #1, The administration has, despite its best efforts, not achieved a controlled flight into terrain with ObamaCare; enrollment is up. On #2, the administration and its Congressional allies are still dickering with tax reform. And on #3 . That looks looks like a job for Alex Azar, since both essential health benefits and association health plans are significantly affected by regulation.

So, yes, there are worse scenarios than the revolving door; it's what you leave behind you as the door revolves that matters. It would be lovely if there were a good old-fashioned confirmation battle over Azar, but, as I've pointed out, the Democrats have tied their own hands. Ideally, the Democrats would junk the Rube Goldberg device that is ObamaCare, rendering all of Azar's regulatory expertise null and void, but that doesn't seem likely, given that they seem to be doing everything possible to avoid serious discussion of policy in 2018 and 2020.

NOTES

[1] I'm leaving aside what will no doubt be the 2018 or even 2020 issue of drug prices, since for me that's subsumed under the issue of single payer. If we look only at Azar's history in business, real price decreases seem unlikely. Business Insider :

Over the 10-year period when Azar was at Lilly, the price of insulin notched a three-fold increase. It wasn't just Lilly's insulin product, called Humalog. The price of a rival made by Novo Nordisk has also climbed, with the two rising in such lockstep that you can barely see both trend lines below.

The gains came despite the fact that the insulin, which as a medication has an almost-century-long history, hasn't really changed since it was first approved.

Nice business to be in, eh? Here's that chart:

It's almost like Lilly (Azar's firm) and Novo Nordisk are working together, isn't it?

[2] Anyhow, as of the 2016 Clinton campaign , the Democrat standard -- not that of Poses, nor mine -- is that if there's no quid pro quo, there's no corruption.

[3] And, curiously, "[HHS head Tommy] Thompson said HHS was in the eye of the storm after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and Azar had an important role in responding to the resulting public health challenges, as well as the subsequent anthrax attacks "

MedicalQuack , November 15, 2017 at 10:31 am

Oh please, stop quoting Andy Slavitt, the United Healthcare Ingenix algo man. That guy is the biggest crook that made his money early on with RX discounts with his company that he and Senator Warren's daughter, Amelia sold to United Healthcare. He's out there trying to do his own reputation restore routine. Go back to 2009 and read about the short paying of MDs by Ingenix, which is now Optum Insights, he was the CEO and remember it was just around 3 years ago or so he sat there quarterly with United CEO Hemsley at those quarterly meetings. Look him up, wants 40k to speak and he puts the perception out there he does this for free, not so.

diptherio , November 15, 2017 at 11:25 am

I think you're missing the context. Lambert is quoting him by way of showing that the sleazy establishment types are just fine with him. Thanks for the extra background on that particular swamp-dweller, though.

a different chris , November 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Not just the context, it's a quote in a quote. Does make me think Slavitt must be a real piece of work to send MQ so far off his rails

petal , November 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm

Alex Azar is a Dartmouth grad (Gov't & Economics '88) just like Jeff Immelt (Applied Math & Economics '78). So much damage to society from such a small department!

sgt_doom , November 15, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Nice one, petal !!!

Really, all I need to know about the Trumpster Administration:

From Rothschild to . . . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Ross

Since 2014, Ross has been the vice-chairman of the board of Bank of Cyprus PCL, the largest bank in Cyprus.

He served under U.S. President Bill Clinton on the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. Later, under New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Ross served as the Mayor's privatization advisor.

Jen , November 15, 2017 at 7:56 pm

Or from a "small liberal arts college" (which is a university in all but name, because alumni).

Tim Geitner ('82 – Goverment)
Hank Paulson ('68 – English)

jo6pac , November 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Well it's never ending game in the beltway and we serfs aren't in it.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/15/trump-adds-to-washingtons-swamp/

Alfred , November 15, 2017 at 2:53 pm

I don't believe that the President's "swamp" ever consisted of crooked officials, lobbyists, and cronies I think it has always consisted of those regulators who tried sincerely to defend public interests.

It was in the sticky work of those good bureaucrats that the projects of capitalists and speculators bogged down. It is against their efforts that the pickup-driving cohort of Trumpism (with their Gadsden flag decals) relentlessly rails.

Trump has made much progress in draining the regulatory swamp (if indeed that is the right way to identify it), and no doubt will make considerably more as time wears on, leaving America high and dry. The kind of prevaricator Trump is may simply be the one who fails to define his terms.

Henry Moon Pie , November 15, 2017 at 4:13 pm

I think we've moved past the revolving door. We hear members of the United States Senate publicly voice their concerns about what will happen if they fail to do their employers' bidding (and I'm not talking about "the public" here). In the bureaucracy, political appointees keep accruing more and more power even as they make it clearer and clearer that they work for "the donors" and not the people. Nowhere is this more true than the locus through which passes most of the money: the Pentagon. The fact that these beribboned heroes are, in fact, setting war policy on their own makes the knowledge that they serve Raytheon and Exxon rather than Americans very, very troubling.

I suspect Azar's perception is that he is just moving from one post to another within the same company.

Watt4Bob , November 15, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Perfect cartoon over at Truthout

I'm amazed there is enough private security available on this planet to keep these guys safe.

Larry , November 15, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Big pharma indeed has so much defense from the supposed left. It combines their faith in technological progress, elite institutions, and tugs on the heart strings with technology that can save people from a fate of ill health or premature death. Of course, the aspect of the laws being written to line the pockets of corrupt executives is glossed over. While drug prices and medical costs spiral ever higher, our overall longevity and national health in the US declines. That speaks volumes about what Democrats really care about.

[Nov 15, 2017] Lenin's Legacy, Donald Trump and Russian Revolution at 100 Time

Notable quotes:
"... Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror, ..."
"... Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter ..."
Nov 15, 2017 | time.com

By Simon Shuster / Berlin November 7, 2017 To signal the storming of the Russian imperial palace, the revolutionary guards were supposed to raise a red lantern over the fortress they had occupied in Petrograd, the city now known as St. Petersburg. It was October 1917, and Vladimir Lenin, the leader of Russia's communist underground, was finally within reach of seizing power over the largest country in the world. Pacing around the musty rooms of his rebel headquarters, he demanded that his men raise the lantern onto the flagpole and begin the siege at once.

But there was a problem. They'd forgotten to bring a lantern.

One of Lenin 's henchmen went out to look for one. But he got lost, fell into some mud and returned with a purple lamp, which the insurgents could not figure out how to attach to the flagpole. Eventually they gave up on their idea for a signal and started the siege without it.

With a lot of luck, they were successful. But in Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror, a new biography of Lenin written by Victor Sebestyen and published on Tuesday -- the 100th anniversary of Russia's October Revolution -- it becomes clear that Lenin did not attain absolute power through meticulous planning or the ruthless efficiency of his men. Much of his success seems to have come through his ability to bluff, intimidate and improvise. It's a story that, for Sebestyen, still echoes a century later. On the eve of the anniversary of Lenin's revolution, TIME spoke to his biographer about the lucky breaks that helped bring Lenin to power, the legacy he left behind in Russia and the parallels that Sebestyen sees between Trumpism and Leninism.

TIME: The book sheds a lot of light on Lenin's understanding of good and evil. How would you describe the moral compass that he used?

Victor Sebestyen: It's all about the means justifying the ends. That's what it came down to. Anything you do for the cause is morally justifiable. It's similar to the religious idea of saving souls. It doesn't matter how many heretics you burn as long as you're serving that cause.

Didn't Lenin also see himself, in a sense, as saving mankind?

Yes, he was trying to create a new type of human being, a perfect Soviet person – homo sovieticus – who would get rid of slavery and exploitation. The trouble is that people often have a disappointing wish not to be perfected. They first have to be bullied and coerced and, in the end, terrorized. So that's what Lenin did. It was a giant experiment. The scale of its ambition was monumental. But that's what makes the scale of the failure so disastrous.

Your book also suggests that for Lenin, the Russian Revolution was part of a vendetta. He wanted to avenge the death of his older brother, who was executed at the age of 21 for plotting to kill the czar. How much of this was personal to Lenin rather than ideological?

I think there was an element of both. A lot of the legend of Lenin was that of a very cold, very calculating, icy and logical figure. But actually he was moved by emotion every bit as much as ideology. It wasn't only his brother's execution that drove him, but the fact that his whole family was shunned after that by the liberal middle class. Lenin never had a kind word to say about the bourgeois after that, and that drove him just as much as his belief in Marxist theory.

As you describe in the book, Lenin came to power by colluding with a hostile foreign power -- namely, Germany during World War I -- while at the same time making appeals to Russian patriotism and national pride. How did he reconcile these two?

I don't think it was hard for him to reconcile at all. He looked at the ultimate goal, which was power for him, the power to change the world. That was his morality. It didn't matter that he was colluding. He would have seen it as a perfectly reasonable political tactic. Of course he had to hide it, because it would have been embarrassing. But he wouldn't have found the morality troubling one bit. I don't suppose he thought about it for more than a minute.

Some of the early commentaries on your book have suggested that Lenin's tactics resemble those of the Donald Trump campaign during last year's elections. Don't you think such comparisons are a bit of a stretch?

Of course I didn't have Trump in mind when I started writing the book. But I did have in mind the power of demagoguery. So I don't think it's a stretch at all to make that comparison, especially when you look at [Trump's] personality. Some of the same things are said about him: He lies shamelessly; he promises anything and everything; he offers very simple solutions to complicated problems. This is very recognizable today.

When it came down to it, Lenin's messages were often very simple, very pithy, very direct. He would have been fantastic on Twitter. I mean, his slogan -- Peace, Land, Bread -- it's a lot less than 140 characters. I really do think he is the godfather of post-truth politics, and I think we're seeing Leninist stuff going on in our politics quite often.

Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, reportedly called himself a Leninist. Do you see a parallel there as well?

I think there's a big element of Leninism in wanting to destroy everything and start again. That's the parallel between them. [Bannon and his allies] also want to smash the old system, which to them doesn't work, and they want to build anew.

Get your history fix in one place: sign up for the weekly TIME History newsletter

Lenin was also obsessed with propaganda. What were his innovations on that front?

He was really obsessed with film and radio. But he would have used whatever the new technology was at the time. I dread to think how he would use the Internet. His style was always to look at the worst of his opponents and brand them that way. That was always in his argument: Exaggerate everything wrong that your opponent does, and then identify them only like that.

The Russian media haven't paid as much attention as one might expect to the 100th anniversary of the Revolution this week. Nor has President Vladimir Putin. Why is that?

Well, they can't write [Lenin] out completely, because that would basically mean that everything their parents or grandparents fought for is meaningless, that it's all wrong. You can't do that. But trying to come to terms with the communists is not an easy one for Putin. He hates the word revolution . It's appalling to him. For a leader like Putin, it's not a great message to send to your people: Hey, you can actually get rid of an autocratic leader quite easily if you want to.

Then why does the cult of Lenin's disciple and successor, Joseph Stalin, seem to be so much more alive among Russians today?

To them modern history begins in 1945, with victory in the Great Patriotic War, and you can almost forget the years before it. You can write Stalin's history as the great national leader while barely mentioning that he was a communist. But you can't ignore that with Lenin.

Lenin's embalmed corpse is still inside the mausoleum on Red Square, in the center of Moscow, and the question of whether or not to bury him is still a major controversy. Why does Putin seem uninterested in putting it to rest?

He had the chance in 2011, when the mausoleum was in such bad shape that there was a danger of it falling down. That was a chance to get rid of it and bury him. But he said, No. And in the end they spent quite a lot of money propping it up again. I don't know how much of Lenin's actual body is left in there. There may be much more wax than an embalmed body.

Last week Putin unveiled a monument in Moscow to the victims of political repressions. He didn't name and shame Stalin or Lenin during his speech at that ceremony. But what do you make of this step to at least acknowledge that these crimes and purges took place?

That was the first big [monument] with a big state unveiling. But I don't know how you can do that without mentioning the people who committed the repressions and how it happened. Still, the fact that they put up the monument at all is important. It would be churlish to dismiss it. People have been pressing for something like this to happen in Russia for a while, and even though it might not go as far as one might want, at least it's something. It was carefully scripted, carefully crafted. But the fact that it's there at all is a good step.

[Nov 10, 2017] annbeaker

Nov 10, 2017 | annbeaker.livejournal.com
http://bitecharge.com/play/advgram#q26 Congratulations, you are a grammar master! You have a superb understanding of even the trickiest grammar rules. Not only do you know the difference between affect and effect, but you also never confuse your tenses. You must be an English scholar because only 4% of Americans can get a perfect score on this test.

[Nov 08, 2017] Can Putin Survive by George Friedman

It is interesting to access George Friedman after two and half years since it was made. Looks like he is a bad forcaster.
The Us plot to move Ukraine to the "Baltic states model" was the major geopolitical victory of the Obama administration. and the EU has similar goals, so we can talk about joint invasion into traditional Russian geopolitical space by the USA and EU.
Notable quotes:
"... This week, we revisit a Geopolitical Weekly first published in July 2014 that explored whether Russian President Vladimir Putin could hold on to power despite his miscalculations in Ukraine, a topic that returned to prominence with his recent temporary absence from public view . While Putin has since reappeared, the issues highlighted by his disappearing act persist. ..."
"... Ukraine is, of course, the place to start. The country is vital to Russia as a buffer against the West and as a route for delivering energy to Europe, which is the foundation of the Russian economy. ..."
"... Part of the reason Putin had replaced Boris Yeltsin in 2000 was Yeltsin's performance during the Kosovo war. Russia was allied with the Serbs and had not wanted NATO to launch a war against Serbia. Russian wishes were disregarded. The Russian views simply didn't matter to the West. Still, when the air war failed to force Belgrade's capitulation, the Russians negotiated a settlement that allowed U.S. and other NATO troops to enter and administer Kosovo. As part of that settlement, Russian troops were promised a significant part in peacekeeping in Kosovo. But the Russians were never allowed to take up that role, and Yeltsin proved unable to respond to the insult. ..."
"... Putin also replaced Yeltsin because of the disastrous state of the Russian economy. Though Russia had always been poor, there was a pervasive sense that it been a force to be reckoned with in international affairs. Under Yeltsin, however, Russia had become even poorer and was now held in contempt in international affairs. Putin had to deal with both issues. ..."
"... The breaking point came in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution of 2004. Yanukovich was elected president that year under dubious circumstances, but demonstrators forced him to submit to a second election. He lost, and a pro-Western government took office. At that time, Putin accused the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies of having organized the demonstrations. Fairly publicly, this was the point when Putin became convinced that the West intended to destroy the Russian Federation, sending it the way of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The Ukrainian crisis has made things worse. Capital flight from Russia in the first six months stood at $76 billion, compared to $63 billion for all of 2013. Foreign direct investment fell 50 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. And all this happened in spite of oil prices remaining higher than $100 per barrel. ..."
"... The Politburo model is designed for a leader to build coalitions among factions. Putin has been very good at doing that, but then he has been very successful at all the things he has done until now. His ability to hold things together declines as trust in his abilities declines and various factions concerned about the consequences of remaining closely tied to a failing leader start to maneuver. Like Khrushchev, who was failing in economic and foreign policy, Putin could have his colleagues remove him. ..."
"... Ultimately, politicians who miscalculate and mismanage tend not to survive. Putin miscalculated in Ukraine, failing to anticipate the fall of an ally, failing to respond effectively and then stumbling badly in trying to recoup. His management of the economy has not been exemplary of late either, to say the least. He has colleagues who believe they could do a better job, and now there are important people in Europe who would be glad to see him go. He must reverse this tide rapidly, or he may be replaced. ..."
Mar 24, 2015 | Stratfor
Editor's Note: This week, we revisit a Geopolitical Weekly first published in July 2014 that explored whether Russian President Vladimir Putin could hold on to power despite his miscalculations in Ukraine, a topic that returned to prominence with his recent temporary absence from public view. While Putin has since reappeared, the issues highlighted by his disappearing act persist.

There is a general view that Vladimir Putin governs the Russian Federation as a dictator, that he has defeated and intimidated his opponents and that he has marshaled a powerful threat to surrounding countries. This is a reasonable view, but perhaps it should be re-evaluated in the context of recent events.

Ukraine and the Bid to Reverse Russia's Decline

Ukraine is, of course, the place to start. The country is vital to Russia as a buffer against the West and as a route for delivering energy to Europe, which is the foundation of the Russian economy. On Jan. 1, Ukraine's president was Viktor Yanukovich, generally regarded as favorably inclined to Russia. Given the complexity of Ukrainian society and politics, it would be unreasonable to say Ukraine under him was merely a Russian puppet. But it is fair to say that under Yanukovich and his supporters, fundamental Russian interests in Ukraine were secure.

This was extremely important to Putin. Part of the reason Putin had replaced Boris Yeltsin in 2000 was Yeltsin's performance during the Kosovo war. Russia was allied with the Serbs and had not wanted NATO to launch a war against Serbia. Russian wishes were disregarded. The Russian views simply didn't matter to the West. Still, when the air war failed to force Belgrade's capitulation, the Russians negotiated a settlement that allowed U.S. and other NATO troops to enter and administer Kosovo. As part of that settlement, Russian troops were promised a significant part in peacekeeping in Kosovo. But the Russians were never allowed to take up that role, and Yeltsin proved unable to respond to the insult.

Putin also replaced Yeltsin because of the disastrous state of the Russian economy. Though Russia had always been poor, there was a pervasive sense that it been a force to be reckoned with in international affairs. Under Yeltsin, however, Russia had become even poorer and was now held in contempt in international affairs. Putin had to deal with both issues. He took a long time before moving to recreate Russian power, though he said early on that the fall of the Soviet Union had been the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. This did not mean he wanted to resurrect the Soviet Union in its failed form, but rather that he wanted Russian power to be taken seriously again, and he wanted to protect and enhance Russian national interests.

The breaking point came in Ukraine during the Orange Revolution of 2004. Yanukovich was elected president that year under dubious circumstances, but demonstrators forced him to submit to a second election. He lost, and a pro-Western government took office. At that time, Putin accused the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies of having organized the demonstrations. Fairly publicly, this was the point when Putin became convinced that the West intended to destroy the Russian Federation, sending it the way of the Soviet Union. For him, Ukraine's importance to Russia was self-evident. He therefore believed that the CIA organized the demonstration to put Russia in a dangerous position, and that the only reason for this was the overarching desire to cripple or destroy Russia. Following the Kosovo affair, Putin publicly moved from suspicion to hostility to the West.

The Russians worked from 2004 to 2010 to undo the Orange Revolution. They worked to rebuild the Russian military, focus their intelligence apparatus and use whatever economic influence they had to reshape their relationship with Ukraine. If they couldn't control Ukraine, they did not want it to be controlled by the United States and Europe. This was, of course, not their only international interest, but it was the pivotal one.

Russia's invasion of Georgia had more to do with Ukraine than it had to do with the Caucasus. At the time, the United States was still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Washington had no formal obligation to Georgia, there were close ties and implicit guarantees. The invasion of Georgia was designed to do two things. The first was to show the region that the Russian military, which had been in shambles in 2000, was able to act decisively in 2008. The second was to demonstrate to the region, and particularly to Kiev, that American guarantees, explicit or implicit, had no value. In 2010, Yanukovich was elected president of Ukraine, reversing the Orange Revolution and limiting Western influence in the country.

Recognizing the rift that was developing with Russia and the general trend against the United States in the region, the Obama administration tried to recreate older models of relationships when Hillary Clinton presented Putin with a "reset" button in 2009. But Washington wanted to restore the relationship in place during what Putin regarded as the "bad old days." He naturally had no interest in such a reset. Instead, he saw the United States as having adopted a defensive posture, and he intended to exploit his advantage.

One place he did so was in Europe, using EU dependence on Russian energy to grow closer to the Continent, particularly Germany. But his high point came during the Syrian affair, when the Obama administration threatened airstrikes after Damascus used chemical weapons only to back off from its threat. The Russians aggressively opposed Obama's move, proposing a process of negotiations instead. The Russians emerged from the crisis appearing decisive and capable, the United States indecisive and feckless. Russian power accordingly appeared on the rise, and in spite of a weakening economy, this boosted Putin's standing.

The Tide Turns Against Putin

Events in Ukraine this year, by contrast, have proved devastating to Putin. In January, Russia dominated Ukraine. By February, Yanukovich had fled the country and a pro-Western government had taken power. The general uprising against Kiev that Putin had been expecting in eastern Ukraine after Yanukovich's ouster never happened. Meanwhile, the Kiev government, with Western advisers, implanted itself more firmly. By July, the Russians controlled only small parts of Ukraine. These included Crimea, where the Russians had always held overwhelming military force by virtue of treaty, and a triangle of territory from Donetsk to Luhansk to Severodonetsk, where a small number of insurgents apparently supported by Russian special operations forces controlled a dozen or so towns.

If no Ukrainian uprising occurred, Putin's strategy was to allow the government in Kiev to unravel of its own accord and to split the United States from Europe by exploiting Russia's strong trade and energy ties with the Continent. And this is where the crash of the Malaysia Airlines jet is crucial. If it turns out - as appears to be the case - that Russia supplied air defense systems to the separatists and sent crews to man them (since operating those systems requires extensive training), Russia could be held responsible for shooting down the plane. And this means Moscow's ability to divide the Europeans from the Americans would decline. Putin then moves from being an effective, sophisticated ruler who ruthlessly uses power to being a dangerous incompetent supporting a hopeless insurrection with wholly inappropriate weapons. And the West, no matter how opposed some countries might be to a split with Putin, must come to grips with how effective and rational he really is.

Meanwhile, Putin must consider the fate of his predecessors. Nikita Khrushchev returned from vacation in October 1964 to find himself replaced by his protege, Leonid Brezhnev, and facing charges of, among other things, "harebrained scheming." Khrushchev had recently been humiliated in the Cuban missile crisis. This plus his failure to move the economy forward after about a decade in power saw his closest colleagues "retire" him. A massive setback in foreign affairs and economic failures had resulted in an apparently unassailable figure being deposed.

Russia's economic situation is nowhere near as catastrophic as it was under Khrushchev or Yeltsin, but it has deteriorated substantially recently, and perhaps more important, has failed to meet expectations. After recovering from the 2008 crisis, Russia has seen several years of declining gross domestic product growth rates, and its central bank is forecasting zero growth this year. Given current pressures, we would guess the Russian economy will slide into recession sometime in 2014. The debt levels of regional governments have doubled in the past four years, and several regions are close to bankruptcy. Moreover, some metals and mining firms are facing bankruptcy. The Ukrainian crisis has made things worse. Capital flight from Russia in the first six months stood at $76 billion, compared to $63 billion for all of 2013. Foreign direct investment fell 50 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. And all this happened in spite of oil prices remaining higher than $100 per barrel.

Putin's popularity at home soared after the successful Sochi Winter Olympics and after the Western media made him look like the aggressor in Crimea. He has, after all, built his reputation on being tough and aggressive. But as the reality of the situation in Ukraine becomes more obvious, the great victory will be seen as covering a retreat coming at a time of serious economic problems. For many leaders, the events in Ukraine would not represent such an immense challenge. But Putin has built his image on a tough foreign policy, and the economy meant his ratings were not very high before Ukraine.

Imagining Russia After Putin

In the sort of regime that Putin has helped craft, the democratic process may not be the key to understanding what will happen next. Putin has restored Soviet elements to the structure of the government, even using the term "Politburo" for his inner Cabinets. These are all men of his choosing, of course, and so one might assume they would be loyal to him. But in the Soviet-style Politburo, close colleagues were frequently the most feared.

The Politburo model is designed for a leader to build coalitions among factions. Putin has been very good at doing that, but then he has been very successful at all the things he has done until now. His ability to hold things together declines as trust in his abilities declines and various factions concerned about the consequences of remaining closely tied to a failing leader start to maneuver. Like Khrushchev, who was failing in economic and foreign policy, Putin could have his colleagues remove him.

It is difficult to know how a succession crisis would play out, given that the constitutional process of succession exists alongside the informal government Putin has created. From a democratic standpoint, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin are as popular as Putin is, and I suspect they both will become more popular in time. In a Soviet-style struggle, Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov and Security Council Chief Nicolai Patryushev would be possible contenders. But there are others. Who, after all, expected the emergence of Mikhail Gorbachev?

Ultimately, politicians who miscalculate and mismanage tend not to survive. Putin miscalculated in Ukraine, failing to anticipate the fall of an ally, failing to respond effectively and then stumbling badly in trying to recoup. His management of the economy has not been exemplary of late either, to say the least. He has colleagues who believe they could do a better job, and now there are important people in Europe who would be glad to see him go. He must reverse this tide rapidly, or he may be replaced.

Putin is far from finished. But he has governed for 14 years counting the time Dmitri Medvedev was officially in charge, and that is a long time. He may well regain his footing, but as things stand at the moment, I would expect quiet thoughts to be stirring in his colleagues' minds. Putin himself must be re-examining his options daily. Retreating in the face of the West and accepting the status quo in Ukraine would be difficult, given that the Kosovo issue that helped propel him to power and given what he has said about Ukraine over the years. But the current situation cannot sustain itself. The wild card in this situation is that if Putin finds himself in serious political trouble, he might become more rather than less aggressive. Whether Putin is in real trouble is not something I can be certain of, but too many things have gone wrong for him lately for me not to consider the possibility. And as in any political crisis, more and more extreme options are contemplated if the situation deteriorates.

Those who think that Putin is both the most repressive and aggressive Russian leader imaginable should bear in mind that this is far from the case. Lenin, for example, was fearsome. But Stalin was much worse. There may similarly come a time when the world looks at the Putin era as a time of liberality. For if the struggle by Putin to survive, and by his challengers to displace him, becomes more intense, the willingness of all to become more brutal might well increase.

[Nov 08, 2017] Although most Americans today reject the official (lone gunman) account of the Kennedy assassination, they also have doubts about alternative versions involving CIA as the main culprit. This means the CIA program was successful, for its aim was not to sell the Warren Commission, but to sow uncertainty. Today, people are not only uncertain, they have given up ever learning the truth

Arlen Specter - Wikipedia Arlen Specter (February 12, 1930 – October 14, 2012) was an American lawyer and politician who served as United States Senator from Pennsylvania. Specter was a Democrat from 1951 to 1965,[1][2][3] then a Republican from 1965 until 2009, when he switched back to the Democratic Party. First elected in 1980, he represented his state in the Senate for 30 years.
Cyril Wecht - Wikipedia Cyril Harrison Wecht (born March 20, 1931) is an American forensic pathologist. He has been a consultant in numerous high-profile cases, but is perhaps best known for his criticism of the Warren Commission's findings concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy. See books: Into EVIDENCE: Truth, Lies and Unresolved Mysteries in the Murder of JFK; November 22, 1963: A Reference Guide to the JFK Assassination
Notable quotes:
"... "about 500 people gathered at Duquesne University for a JFK symposium sponsored by the university's Institute of Forensic Science and Law, which is named for Wecht. Appearances by Stone and a doctor who tended to Kennedy brought national attention. People sneered when they mentioned Specter's name or the single-bullet theory. ..."
"... (Specter has been useful to the deep state in other ways: he protected Zalman Shapiro, former head of NUMEC, from prosecution for his part in smuggling uranium to Israel. http://israellobby.org/numec/ ..."
Sep 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

anon, Disclaimer September 6, 2016 at 2:10 am GMT

deHaven Smith is not that impressive on several counts.

one example: book opens:

"Although most Americans today reject the official (lone gunman) account of the Kennedy assassination, they also have doubts about conspiracy theories and those who believe them. This means the CIA program was successful, for its aim was not to sell the Warren Commission, but to sow uncertainty about the commission's critics. Today, people are not only uncertain, they have given up ever learning the truth. "

At least one high-profile person and an entire community that supports him does not have doubts, has not given up. Cyril Wecht blasted holes in Arlen Specter's "one bullet" theory in 1965. He's still at it. In 2013, the fiftieth anniversary of JFK's assassination,

"about 500 people gathered at Duquesne University for a JFK symposium sponsored by the university's Institute of Forensic Science and Law, which is named for Wecht. Appearances by Stone and a doctor who tended to Kennedy brought national attention. People sneered when they mentioned Specter's name or the single-bullet theory.

Across the state, the Single Bullet exhibit opened on Oct. 21. It's the first exhibition in Philadelphia University's Arlen Specter Center for Public Policy. Willens, the former Kennedy aide, delivered a speech. The center's coordinator, Karen Albert, said he was looking forward to defending his conclusion on the 50th anniversary. " http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5017529-74/wecht-commission-specter

Smith did not even mention Wecht or Specter and the single-bullet theory in his book. The omission is important insofar as its inclusion would have demonstrated that for many years the populace has been aware of the dishonesty of the US government and some have been raising their voices against and continue to do so.

That knowledge should give encouragement to activists such as those who demand accountability for Israel's attack on the USS Liberty and the deliberate killing of 34 US sailors and other personnel.

(Specter has been useful to the deep state in other ways: he protected Zalman Shapiro, former head of NUMEC, from prosecution for his part in smuggling uranium to Israel. http://israellobby.org/numec/

[Nov 08, 2017] Russias Line in the Sand on Syria by Dmitri Trenin

This is from 2012 -- fives year from now.
Notable quotes:
"... That cannot be further from the truth, the western public is unsure and ambivalent about the situation in Syria, The West has no choice but to give lip service to the Syrian opposition, that too is a sure bet -- the lip service that is -- the Arab street is divided over the issue, and the conservative Gulf regimes for their own reasons -- are tacitly working and hoping for calm to return to Syria soon. They are very aware of the ramifications of any escalation or a protracted conflict there on their own national interests. ..."
"... While the existence of sectarian sentiments, even passions is undeniable in the Middle East, their characterization however is often overblown and misleading. For example, during the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980's a substantial segment of Iraqi Shiites- especially the educated, influential and affluent strata of society -- sided with the perceived Sunni dominated Saddam regime against Shiite Iran; that support for the regime even increased during the first Iraq war, it started waning -- like support among other Iraqis -- in the aftermath of that war. ..."
"... Secular Sunni power within the regime and within the country has been steadily on the rise for over a generation, and the majority of Sunnis does not see the need to fix what is not broken and what time will take care of in a peaceful and evolutionary manner. "A Sunni majority that feels oppressed" is not a true statement and is a gross mis-characterization of the situation in Syria. That is where the author and I disagree. ..."
"... Conditions and expectations in Syria now are NOT unlike conditions and expectations in the USSR during the Second World WAR! ..."
"... US might is depending on oil being traded in US$. ..."
"... The article starts from the strange assumption that Russia's foreign policy is motivated by cold Machiavellian motives while the US is motivated by sublime humanitarian motives. I believe the opposite could be argued with better arguments. ..."
"... Only a psychopath would argue that a mandate to protect Libyan civilians means a license to murder as much Gadaffi soldiers a you like. Yet that is how the West de facto explained its mandate. As if these soldiers didn't have civilian parents, wives and children... In the end we left Libya with 30,000 dead: much more than even the most pessimist had expected Gadaffi to kill. ..."
"... It is not true that the opposition in Syria does not want to negotiate with Assad. The fact is that just as in Libya we have composed our own opposition whereby we have selected those who don't want to negotiate. In fact the SNC has hardly any support among the protesters inside Syria and it is dominated by revengeful Brotherhood exiles who fled Syria after Assad sr. had squashed their murder campaign against his regime in the 1980s. In fact there was an attempt to negotiate between Assad and the internal opposition in Damascus. The reaction of the US ambassador was to sabotage it by going to Hama shortly before the talks and making there some radical statements. ..."
"... In a few years hence we all will be reading about the failure of a Syrian uprising with a valid cause that enjoyed considerable public support. ..."
"... One major reason will stand out: American open support that intuitively deprived it of many potential Syrian and Arab supporters and unveiled it as the conscious or unconscious open door to Syria for the USA &Co i.e. the EU and Israel and politically brought back Russia as an active major regional player to counter American presence and influence . ..."
"... I think that there is a huge danger of creating a new nuclear superpower in the middle east lead by an Iran-Turkey-Egypt-Pakistan axis, which will replace the States and finally cut them off from Eurasia. ..."
"... If the rest of the regimes were brought down, who can be sure that a similar thing could not happen in Saudi Arabia, even if the states never supported such a thing, because of similar reasons like the Russians still support Assad, neighbor countries' intelligence could efficiently support such an effort. ..."
"... My opinion in short way USA and Israel want attack Iran but because Syria is so close Jewish is a real dangers that they take revenge as Iran will be in a trouble. So is typical dirty game American and Israel politics? They not look after people from Syria because a moral principles. ..."
"... Events in SYRIA are NOT part of the Arab Spring as earlier conceived , conceptualized and supported by the Arab masses. Though clearly an intifada with considerable public support against an indisputably despotic sectarian and corrupt regime they are, never the less, part of an attempted come back by the USA to the crux of the Middle East in Syria. ..."
"... As a USA inspired, Saudi financed and Israel supported the Syrian intifada does not qualify being substantially an America conceived design and coordinated, Saudi financed and Qatar fronted effort targeting the Iran/Syria/Hizb Allah and Palestinian armed resistance common front against Israel and the USA. ..."
Feb 05, 2012 | Foreign Affairs

Nick C. (Feb. 15, 2011)

The author is certainly an expert on Russia, and he writes a brilliant article illustrating the history of the Soviet-Russian Syrian ties, and the reasons for the current Russian support for the regime in Syria; and I agree with him on all what he writes on these subjects; it is on his assessments on the situation in other spots where we disagree.

He writes: " Russia is not blameless: It lost too much time watching others and then criticizing them without shaping an active role for itself. Late last month, Moscow invited the Syrian government and the opposition for talks. This move came much too late. The opposition wants to hang Assad, not negotiate with him. Perhaps last year the response might have been different."

Well, I am glad he used the word "might" towards the end. Let me assure him the Syrian opposition would not have accepted Russia's invitation for negotiations with the regime then, just as it rejects it now; but the timing of the proposal was- to the contrary of what the author writes- actually perfect, because though the opposition would not in the past negotiate with the regime, and will not do it now; they might be inclined to do so in the future, under either Russian or Arab auspices; once they realize it is the only option left for them after they exhaust whatever remaining illusions they have about toppling the regime through a combination of protests and armed insurgency, plus whatever naive drum beating tactics and fabrications- that have become so obvious- they are using through the media . So, I would say the move was actually a master stroke for Russian diplomacy.

Then he writes: "And now it (meaning Russia) has maneuvered itself into a position in which it must bet on Assad's survival to protect its interests. Moscow needs to learn that saying no is not good enough and that in global politics timing is everything."

He and his country are both right, true, Russia has maneuvered itself into a position in which it must bet on Assad's survival to protect its interests, and that is a sure bet; and Moscow knows very well that saying no is not good enough, that is why she is doing much more. It was so necessary for Russia to say no, it also behooves us in the West as well as Turkey and Arab players to help the opposition by making sure they understand international realities. The West, Turkey and the Arabs, in addition to what they are doing -- which is politically understandable -- must help guide the opposition towards negotiations and compromise. The veto presents a reality check to the opposition and offers an opportunity for the West, Turkey and the Arabs to help coax the opposition into a pragmatic and responsible attitude. Russia also understands that in global politics timing is everything, and she is playing this card perfectly.

Then the author writes: "Over the last year, Russia has faced the simultaneous opprobrium of the Western public, the Arab street, and the conservative Gulf regimes"

That cannot be further from the truth, the western public is unsure and ambivalent about the situation in Syria, The West has no choice but to give lip service to the Syrian opposition, that too is a sure bet -- the lip service that is -- the Arab street is divided over the issue, and the conservative Gulf regimes for their own reasons -- are tacitly working and hoping for calm to return to Syria soon. They are very aware of the ramifications of any escalation or a protracted conflict there on their own national interests.

Let me add that I also believe the Syrian revolt is not a conspiracy. It started and continues by Syrian decisions; it however would not have been this intense had it not been for the interference of others. I just wish the Syrian protesters as well as the armed groups including defectors realize they are misguided and they lack political horizon, and the world knows that, and the world is waiting for them to understand they stand alone, and they are predestined to lose until they become pragmatic, and they need to comprehend that you do not get what you want by simply asking for it, or by blindly pursuing it. You need to make sure not to be reckless and not to jeopardize so much.

Now let me list some additional points on which the author and I disagree, Russia understands these points very well.

While the existence of sectarian sentiments, even passions is undeniable in the Middle East, their characterization however is often overblown and misleading. For example, during the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980's a substantial segment of Iraqi Shiites- especially the educated, influential and affluent strata of society -- sided with the perceived Sunni dominated Saddam regime against Shiite Iran; that support for the regime even increased during the first Iraq war, it started waning -- like support among other Iraqis -- in the aftermath of that war. It must also be noted that Iraqi Shiites were split over the Shiite revolt that ensued that war, and many Iraqi Shiites then strongly urged Saddam to put a quick and decisive end to it. During the second Iraq war the regime still had respectable support in the Shiite community in Iraq; some even fought coalition forces as volunteers during their advance into the country. It was in the environment after the regime fell, that sectarian divisions and passions started intensifying in Iraq and the region.

Now before I delve into the current Syrian situation, I would like to say the author chose his words very carefully when describing the situation there, he writes: "Iran, Syria's ally, is already being drawn into the fray, with the Assad regime's Alawite core coming under attack from mainly Sunni opposition. Syria is Bahrain in reverse -- a Sunni majority that feels oppressed by a relatively small sect that many believe is closer to the Shiites."

While it is true that some Alawites are a powerful component of the core of the Syrian regime, elements of other minorities, as well as Sunnis compliment the rest of the powerful core components of the regime. Also, Iran's entry into the fray is not predicated on sectarian lines; add to that the fact that while the opposition is mainly Sunni, the majority of Sunnis still, support the regime over the mainly Sunni opposition. So far, there is no contradiction in what the author and I write on the issue, he simply chooses his words carefully and leaves out some important details, while I bring these details back to the picture. Also while there is no disagreement the majority in Syria is Sunni and true many Sunnis are apprehensive about the perceived inordinate power of the Alawites in the country, the majority of Sunnis, let alone the whole Sunni majority, does not feel oppressed. Secular Sunni power within the regime and within the country has been steadily on the rise for over a generation, and the majority of Sunnis does not see the need to fix what is not broken and what time will take care of in a peaceful and evolutionary manner. "A Sunni majority that feels oppressed" is not a true statement and is a gross mis-characterization of the situation in Syria. That is where the author and I disagree.

It must be noted that - regardless of recent events -- secularism runs deep both in Iraq and in Syria, and both countries will become more secular in the future; same applies to Jordan, the Palestinians and Lebanon -- despite its current confessional political system. Add to the list the obvious secular nations of Israel and Turkey, it then becomes clear that betting on an Islamist movement in Syria- especially one that is so extremist and so different from other Islamist movements- is a losing proposition.

On a different subject, the author recounts the events of the1973 war between Israel on the one side and Egypt and Syria on the other. He writes: "Beginning in 1973, after Egypt's disastrous defeat in the war against Israel and Sadat's embrace of U.S. mediation"

Well, it is for certain that Egypt did not lose that war, let alone disastrously. By most expert accounts, including by Egyptian and Israeli generals in that war, it was militarily a close draw and politically a victory for Egypt, some even saw it as a narrow military victory for Egypt- let us not forget that the Camp David Accords came afterwards where Israel ceded the Sinai peninsula to Egypt though with Egypt signing a peace treaty with Israel.

He then writes: "In 1972, preparing for his political break with Moscow, Sadat sent home 20,000 Soviet military advisers and their dependents" True, he did, in part to exhibit self-confidence at military capability for his country, and in part to pressure the Soviets into helping him build the military he used to mount the war -- the soviets did not believe he could mount a war, let alone win one against Israel; especially only six years after the truly disastrous -- for Egypt -- six day war.

It was not until the last days of the 1973 war that Sadat -- watching the massive American military support for Israel in terms of Armament, munitions, and logistics; and after talking to both the Americans and the Soviets -- decided to break with Moscow.

Gerry Tighe

Once you understand that 9/11 was an inside job, suddenly all the USA actions make sense. Just give it a try and suppose it is true, you will see what I mean.

Gerry Tighe

What a joke -- You pretend to understand the in depth world politics, but you are either disengenguous or pushing the usual western media mind control propaganda. Do you really believe this? Surely you are intelligent enough to work out the real game for the world.

Omar N. (Mar. 20, 2009)

Conditions and expectations in Syria now are NOT unlike conditions and expectations in the USSR during the Second World WAR!

Each was/is living under the horrible yoke of a certain regime BUT faced with a much uglier prospect in case of change: the Nazi alternative for the Soviet Union and the USA/Gulf petroldom for Syria!

It is not only that the Syrian people intuitively and consciously rejects USA neo imperialist cum USA-Israeli alliance "New Middle East" vision of a new Syria but that events and outpourings of the Iraqi change, achieved through a similar alignment of external, regional and internal forces , are still too fresh in every body's mind to ignore.
Which throws everything and all back to the USA perennial regional dilemma of attempting to influence events and gain friends in the Middle while maintaining its strategic relations with and all out support of Israel.

The recent collapse of the Sadat/Mubarak regime in Egypt underscored the impossibility of that vision and the utter non feasibility of such a dual USA role in the region.

Valdi V. (Feb. 12, 2012)

Since Iraq war in 2003 the US has lost credibility. US might is depending on oil being traded in US$. Without it, the demand for the US currency would correspond only to the products it can manufacture.

It could not afford an army bigger than the rest of the world, thousands military bases worldwide, and its population being just 6% of the world population couldn't afford to consume 40% of world production.

For many years the West kept the dictators in oil producing countries in ruling positions to get the oil cheap and without resistance. It is fully responsible for the underdevelopment of the middle east.

When finally the Arabs in Tunesia have woken up, it was a surprise for the US, who was scared to death to loose its main provider for power - Saudi Arabia. As explained, without the connection of oil versus US$, US will become to a normal country, which will struggle as everybody else.

Thats why the Iraq war started, since Saddam Hussein started to trade oil for Euro. The very first administrative order after occupying Iraq was to change the trade to US$. Russia and China are the only powers who can stop US from becoming an unchallenged dictator of the world.

That's why the thief Chodorkovsky was more important in Russia, than millions of oppressed in Middle East, in Saudia Arabia, or in Bahrain. That's why US went 10000 miles to war to free the Kuwait dictator in the first Iraq war in 1991. In order to prevent the Tunesian revolt to jump over to Saudi Arabia, US scarified Mubarak, Libya, now Syria, and simultaneously violently silenced the protests in Bahrein,

Russua wouldn't mind, but since the US administration is pushing forward with it's rocket defense in Europe in encircling Russia, it has woken up the Russian bear. The Russians see the real threat of the shield, which is not defensive, but aggressive! It would allow to neutralize the nuclear response in case of a surpise attack from USA. Will not happen with Russia - US will chop of it's teeth on Russia, as Hitler did.

And yes, Russians drink vodka, are corrupt, and have not the nicest products - and still, they have rescued the world from Hitler and freed the whole Europe, which allowed Hitler to rape its population, with help of US corporations under full knowledge of US government. The West civilization is blinded by US media, and if it doesn't learn the lessons of history, there will be WWIII. It will come sudden, on a nice day, one like June 22 1941. Best.

Wim R. (Oct. 20, 2011)

The article starts from the strange assumption that Russia's foreign policy is motivated by cold Machiavellian motives while the US is motivated by sublime humanitarian motives. I believe the opposite could be argued with better arguments.

The basic principle of international law is non-interference in each other's affairs. Recently this principle has been nuanced by the "Responsibility to protect" argument but it stays the basic principle.

So when the UN gave a mandate for the protection of civilians in Libya this was with the implicit assumption that it would be done in a way that restricted the violation of the principle of non-interference to a minimum. The road was clear: make just enough pressure on Gadaffi that he doesn't conquer Benghazi and get instead a negotiated surrender where the rebels get amnesty. One might also aim for some political reform with more freedom and representation but that certainly was the limit. Instead the US refused all negotiations and went for a military conquest with one goal: total victory.

Only a psychopath would argue that a mandate to protect Libyan civilians means a license to murder as much Gadaffi soldiers a you like. Yet that is how the West de facto explained its mandate. As if these soldiers didn't have civilian parents, wives and children... In the end we left Libya with 30,000 dead: much more than even the most pessimist had expected Gadaffi to kill.

Russia was not alone in condemning this reasoning. China vetoed the Syria resolution too. India supported it only after all language aimed at facilitating a foreign intervention had been removed. Most of the rest of the world supports this line of reasoning. So the "West" is rather isolated in this. We still get a lot of votes from the South for our resolutions in this but that is more thanks to diplomatic pressure - sometimes open blackmail - than to them sharing our convictions.

With the present anarchy the faults of the Western approach in Libya become clearer and clearer. Yet Obama and the other Western leaders refuse to learn from their mistakes and pursue the same strategy in Syria.

It is not true that the opposition in Syria does not want to negotiate with Assad. The fact is that just as in Libya we have composed our own opposition whereby we have selected those who don't want to negotiate. In fact the SNC has hardly any support among the protesters inside Syria and it is dominated by revengeful Brotherhood exiles who fled Syria after Assad sr. had squashed their murder campaign against his regime in the 1980s. In fact there was an attempt to negotiate between Assad and the internal opposition in Damascus. The reaction of the US ambassador was to sabotage it by going to Hama shortly before the talks and making there some radical statements.

It is strange that hardly a Western newspaper pays attention to the reasons why the Russians vetoed the Syria resolution. Their wish to put more effort in negotiations and to ask the armed opposition too to stop with violence are far from outrageous. In fact every textbook on conflict resolution recommends such actions.

Aly-Khan S. (Mar. 28, 2009)

Given the Historical Relationship and the fact that Tartus represents the only Russian Asset in the Meditarranean, the Russian Veto is completely understood as a cold blooded Realpolitik Calculation.

Furthermore, it is now clear that it is the Counter Revolution which is in charge and therefore, Realpolitik Calculations surely trump any shattered Dreams about Greater Democracy and an Arab Spring.

Both China and Russia must be looking at the numbers and thinking that there but for the Grace of God, we too might find ourselves and we would not want held to this Threshold Level.

Aly-Khan Satchu
http://www.rich.co.ke
Nairobi

Omar N. (Mar. 20, 2009)

In a few years hence we all will be reading about the failure of a Syrian uprising with a valid cause that enjoyed considerable public support.

One major reason will stand out: American open support that intuitively deprived it of many potential Syrian and Arab supporters and unveiled it as the conscious or unconscious open door to Syria for the USA &Co i.e. the EU and Israel and politically brought back Russia as an active major regional player to counter American presence and influence .

ALEXANDROS S. (Jan. 9, 2012)

The article is pretty much correct in my opinion, Syria seems to be the last Russian outpost in the middle east. Well it is obvious that the Americans don't want Assad any more and they are doing anything to bring him down, is there a plan though? I mean does the US government have actually a plan of replacing this government or do they just leave this work to the Turks and Muslim brotherhood?

It seems like the US trusts these two players blindly. The past has shown that this kind of blind trust to other similar movements was wrong, Hamas is the best example. I am not quite sure if the US government has foreseen the emerging player of the middle east and this is no-one else than the middle east itself, under the guidance of the master mason, Turkey. I think that there is a huge danger of creating a new nuclear superpower in the middle east lead by an Iran-Turkey-Egypt-Pakistan axis, which will replace the States and finally cut them off from Eurasia.

People might think that i am exaggerating, that Egypt does not have a stable government that is difficult for these countries to agree, that there is Israel, Saudi Arabia and the emirates. Well these countries have a very strong bond, religion, and in Muslim countries this is a huge factor. If the rest of the regimes were brought down, who can be sure that a similar thing could not happen in Saudi Arabia, even if the states never supported such a thing, because of similar reasons like the Russians still support Assad, neighbor countries' intelligence could efficiently support such an effort.

Then it would be very difficult for Israel to stand on its own, even if in the past managed to do show, this kind of conflict would be very hard. Assad is a dictator and is hostile towards Israel and US, but perhaps he is the least bad thing right now. Of course the civil war is a curse to any nation, but if there is a change to happen, then it should be in a really democratic way and not in a way similar to the existing "democracies" of the Middle East. I know that my point of view might sound cynic or even a bit of difficult to happen, but i honestly believe that there are no humanitarian motives in current politics, unfortunately, and that my scenario is very possible.

Guest (Jan. 11, 2012)

My opinion in short way USA and Israel want attack Iran but because Syria is so close Jewish is a real dangers that they take revenge as Iran will be in a trouble. So is typical dirty game American and Israel politics? They not look after people from Syria because a moral principles.

Omar N. (Mar. 20, 2009) • 3 years ago

Events in SYRIA are NOT part of the Arab Spring as earlier conceived , conceptualized and supported by the Arab masses. Though clearly an intifada with considerable public support against an indisputably despotic sectarian and corrupt regime they are, never the less, part of an attempted come back by the USA to the crux of the Middle East in Syria.

As a USA inspired, Saudi financed and Israel supported the Syrian intifada does not qualify being substantially an America conceived design and coordinated, Saudi financed and Qatar fronted effort targeting the Iran/Syria/Hizb Allah and Palestinian armed resistance common front against Israel and the USA.

The Arab Spring had at inception a fundamental common platform that brought together the hitherto wary movements and uneasy relations of the Islamists, the Nationalists and the Progressives together in a joint anti despotism, anti corruption, anti Israel and anti USA alliance.

Events in Syria seem to have removed the Islamist corner stone of the said alliance!

An interesting development it had given birth to is the inescapable tacit alliance it has forged and brought to the forefront of the USA &Co and the Islamist major movement: the Moslem Brotherhood.

Its implications for the rank and file of the Islamist movements, hitherto die hard anti Israel and anti USA ,remains to be seen and may well lead to public disenchantment with the Moslem Brotherhood in particular and Islamist movements in general.

[Nov 08, 2017] Stephen Kotkin How Vladimir Putin Rules

Highly recommended!
This analysis is from 2015 or two years from now. It Is interesting to compare it (along with comments) with he current situation and new developments...
Notable quotes:
"... Russia is classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank (having a per capita GDP exceeding $14,000). Its unemployment remains low (around five percent); until recently, consumer spending had been expanding at more than five percent annually; life expectancy has been rising; and Internet penetration exceeds that of some countries in the European Union. ..."
"... it is the predatory West's efforts to enslave people to the European weltanschauung. ..."
"... This is no World Order: it a man eat man world that has been created. ..."
"... Before America decided to KILL Gadhafi by indiscriminatingly arming gangsters to carry out their will, the incipient-unity state of Libya did not have the sectarian violence that we presently hear about. ..."
"... Dear Jamil: As an American citizen, I take my hat off to you for telling the exact truth--that the terrorist state is the United States of America and our media's propaganda stream is now in overdrive, especially in regard to Russia, which is our latest target. ..."
"... The US State Department's Victoria Nuland and our CIA (+ Blackwater mercenaries) installed the puppet Yatsenyuk/Poroshenko govt. in Kiev (to do our bidding) and CIA Dir. James Brennan himself went to Kiev to launch the civil war against the Eastern provinces that Europeans, at least, are now trying to bring to a halt. The US does leave nothing but failed states behind it, and Western Ukraine will be the next failed state in a long list. Since the end of WWII, the best estimate is that the United States, in 67 military operations and countless covert CIA operations, has destroyed between 20 and 30 million people world-wide, largely in the interest of commandeering their resources or serving the interests of the banks to which they owe money--money they were usually cajoled into borrowing. ..."
"... I hold to my original point that Islamic terrorism has been created by unjustified Western interference. ..."
"... He advocates a world ruled by an elite (unspecified). ..."
"... Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin... :)) ..."
Mar 28, 2015 | Foreign Affairs
How did twenty-first-century Russia end up, yet again, in personal rule? An advanced industrial country of 142 million people, it has no enduring political parties that organize and respond to voter preferences. The military is sprawling yet tame; the immense secret police are effectively in one man's pocket. The hydrocarbon sector is a personal bank, and indeed much of the economy is increasingly treated as an individual fiefdom. Mass media move more or less in lockstep with the commands of the presidential administration. Competing interest groups abound, but there is no rival center of power. In late October 2014, after a top aide to Russia's president told the annual forum of the Valdai Discussion Club, which brings together Russian and foreign experts, that Russians understand "if there is no Putin, there is no Russia," the pundit Stanislav Belkovsky observed that "the search for Russia's national idea, which began after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is finally over. Now, it is evident that Russia's national idea is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin."

Russia is classified as a high-income economy by the World Bank (having a per capita GDP exceeding $14,000). Its unemployment remains low (around five percent); until recently, consumer spending had been expanding at more than five percent annually; life expectancy has been rising; and Internet penetration exceeds that of some countries in the European Union.

But Russia is now beset by economic stagnation alongside high inflation, its labor productivity remains dismally low, and its once-vaunted school system has deteriorated alarmingly. And it is astonishingly corrupt. Not only the bullying central authorities in Moscow but regional state bodies, too, have been systematically criminalizing revenue streams, while giant swaths of territory lack basic public services and local vigilante groups proliferate.

Across the country, officials who have purchased their positions for hefty sums team up with organized crime syndicates and use friendly prosecutors and judges to extort and expropriate rivals. President Vladimir Putin's vaunted "stability," in short, has turned into spoliation. But Putin has been in power for 15 years, and there is no end in sight. Stalin ruled for some three decades...

Jamil M Chaudri

Interesting but slanted and one-sided, myopic analysis. Why would the 1.6 billion Muslims spread over three continents, accept Mr Kotkin's concept of "World Order".

There is no World Order; it is the predatory West's efforts to enslave people to the European weltanschauung. It is an effort by the colonialists to prolong their hegemony over Muslim lands and people.

One of the biggest mistakes Pakia made was to join the West in destroying Soviet Russia. A bi-polar world was a better world than a unipolar world, where the west is destroying Muslim nations (one after the other).

This is no World Order: it a man eat man world that has been created.

Jamil M Chaudri -> JACK RICE

Before the invasion (and total destruction) of Afghanis there was no daily violence in Afghania. Before the invasion (and total destruction) of Iraqia, there is no daily violence in Iraqia. Before Pakia allied itself with America (leading to the further debasement of an evolving state) there were no (practically) daily suicide bombings in Pakia. Before America decided to aid Ethiopia (and joined it) in destroying Somalia, the state of Somalia had a pretty vibrant civil society, and no gangster precipitate violence.

Before America decided to KILL Gadhafi by indiscriminatingly arming gangsters to carry out their will, the incipient-unity state of Libya did not have the sectarian violence that we presently hear about. Before America decided to Destroy the Syrian State, by leading a crusade (guised as a push for, of all things, DEMOCRACY), Syria was a fast-developing state. ......... This list could be stretched back to the days of Pilgrim Fathers. But I am hoping you follow the drift.

If the hat fits, wear it! If the shoe fits, wear them!! From the top of the head to the sole of the shoes, everything is dyed deep in BLOOD.

At the moment with more than 2'000'000 deaths in Iraqia, and more than 250'000 deaths in Afgania and more than 10'000 deaths in Pakia,

Jamil M Chaudri -> BAKER ALLON

Take some smelling salts, and read what happened in North and South America, when whole nations were destroyed by the colonialists, and kept in RESERVATIONS; their children were taken to missions for conversion to Christianity, their dwellings were destroyed. Read about the Trail of Tears, when a whole nation was banished from their ancestral lands. Read about 2'000'000 deaths in Afghania. For you destruction of HUMAN LIFE is less important than destruction of statues? Shows the kind of person you are. There are many clips available on the internet showing the destruction of Human Life in most parts of Iraqia(including Mosel) by the blood thirsty invaders. Harping about statues and museums, and totally callus about human lives (millions of them) you are indeed a museum piece! Go back to the shelf you have come off.

Renee Barclay -> Jamil M Chaudri • 19 days ago

Bush was a moron but that doesn't change the fact that Saddam was a murderous dictator. And Saddam's sons were known rapists and murderers.
Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites turned on each other after Bush eliminated Saddam and that's the simple fact. And they're STILL killing each other to this day. Google it.

Jamil M Chaudri -> Renee Barclay

I do not have to Google such assertions. They are non sequitur, in nature. Even then, let us examine your assertion for a moment: Bush was a Moron but Saddam was a murderous dictator.

By your logic we American must be the epitome of Moron-ness, for we ELECTED Bush; Iraqis must be a gentle and good people who were overpowered by the Saddam, the Murderous Dictator..

By the way, how many Iraqis did Saddam murder? And then, how many Iraqis were murdered, at the command of Bush? Since the Iraqis were killed/murdered at the command of Bush, and Americans elected Bush, Americans are responsible for the murders. We Americans have blood on our hands!

My assertion is that America is responsible for 2'000'000 deaths in Iraq.

On your non-sequitur. If a good man has evils sons, does the man become evil? Again, Sunnis turned against Shias; so what? About the American Civil War, Google says: Though the number of killed and wounded in the Civil War is not known precisely, most sources agree that the total number killed was between 640,000 and 700,000.

There was no civil war in Iraq before American Invasion and destruction of Iraqi State and Society. Thus, America is TOTALLY responsible for 2'000'000 deaths in Iraq.

Vivienne Perkins -> Jamil M Chaudri

Dear Jamil: As an American citizen, I take my hat off to you for telling the exact truth--that the terrorist state is the United States of America and our media's propaganda stream is now in overdrive, especially in regard to Russia, which is our latest target.

The US State Department's Victoria Nuland and our CIA (+ Blackwater mercenaries) installed the puppet Yatsenyuk/Poroshenko govt. in Kiev (to do our bidding) and CIA Dir. James Brennan himself went to Kiev to launch the civil war against the Eastern provinces that Europeans, at least, are now trying to bring to a halt. The US does leave nothing but failed states behind it, and Western Ukraine will be the next failed state in a long list. Since the end of WWII, the best estimate is that the United States, in 67 military operations and countless covert CIA operations, has destroyed between 20 and 30 million people world-wide, largely in the interest of commandeering their resources or serving the interests of the banks to which they owe money--money they were usually cajoled into borrowing.

As for political corruption, I don't know much about Russian levels of corruption, but I know a lot about the total corruption of our system of government and the evisceration of all of our civil liberties, subsequent to the passage of the so-called and mis-named Patriot Act. By the provisions of the NDAA, any US citizen can be picked up and held in indefinite military detention without charge or trial. I wonder how much worse is Russia than that?

And since Citizens United, nearly every legislator in our Congress is absolutely bought and paid for. Maybe we should leave Russia alone and think about how to restore what we once thought of as a democratic system of governance h ere in the United States.

jlord37 -> Vivienne Perkins

One thing has nothing to do with the other. While I'm in agreement with you on the Ukrainian matter, lets not forget that Vladimir Putin's Russia also has a very big problem with Islamic extremists in their territories as does a number of countries around the world .

Vivienne Perkins -> jlord37

I'm not sure I get your point. Maybe we should think about why the West has trouble with Islamic extremists. Might it be because for over a hundred years the Western powers have chosen the dictatorial rulers of Muslim countries, drawn their boundaries, supported leaders or removed them at its own whim (as S. Hussein in Iraq, the Shah in Iran, Mubarak in Egypt, Khaddafi in Libya, etc.) and inserted Israel into Arab territory for its own reasons. Has it ever occurred to you that if Muslim nations had been allowed to develop according to their own preferences, we might possibly have a more rational and peaceful world today? I can't prove this obviously, but it does seem clear that the more the US attacks and interferes, the more hostile the Muslims become. As an American I would like to see my country behave in a more decent way and with less self-serving propaganda.

jlord37 -> Vivienne Perkins

And was America to blame for Jihadi activity thousands of years ago before its existence? Do you not realize that their actvity is given full sanction, and indeed commands them to go to war with the Kufar? Currently, there is Jihadi activity in countries stretching from India toChechnya and in several African countries. They all have to do with Islamic aggression against there neighbors and almost nothing to do with " western imperialism'

Vivienne Perkins -> jlord37

"Thousands of years ago" Islam did not exist. I hold to my original point that Islamic terrorism has been created by unjustified Western interference.

jlord37 -> Vivienne Perkins

Islam first appeared on the world stage in about the year 620 AD.

Vivienne Perkins -> jlord37

Which means it is now 1,395 years old (not thousands) and I doubt that it's legitimate to equate its idea that it was entitled to make forcible conversions to the present situation, which seems to me to have arisen fairly recently as a response to Western meddling in Arab lands.

Jamil M Chaudri -> jlord37

The answer to the one of your question is a LOWD Yes: It was the FIRST CRUSADES that brought religiosity into the GAME OF KINGS: enlarging kingdoms at the expense of neighbouring kingdoms. The First Crusade was indeed nearly a thousand years ago. The only differences between JIHAD and CRUSADE are:

1. CRUSADERS are more cruel, surreptitious, deceptive, etc.

2. Crusades have no moral component, the goal is political supremacy. Jihad is about moral supremacy, justice and equality.

Since you bring religion into the mix, try to re-read the bible (the new and the old, both of which) PRESCRIBE DEATH to heretics and non-believers. Here is a action in pursuance of such biblical dictate:

"A Spanish missionary, Bartolome de las Casas, described eye-witness accounts of mass murder, torture and rape. 2 Author Barry Lopez, summarizing Las Casas' report wrote:

"One day, in front of Las Casas, the Spanish dismembered, beheaded, or raped 3000 people. 'Such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight,' he says, 'as no age can parallel....' The Spanish cut off the legs of children who ran from them. They poured people full of boiling soap. They made bets as to who, with one sweep of his sword, could cut a person in half. They loosed dogs that 'devoured an Indian like a hog, at first sight, in less than a moment.' They used nursing infants for dog food." 3

Currently there is CRUSADING MISSIONARY activity in all non-Christian lands by religious warrior-fanatics (wearing the piety hat of the Christian hue). Read about the recent reaction local Hindu population in India against such activity.

First the Western nations used the RELIGION hat to subdue MORALLY SUPPERIOR but less BLOOD-THURSTY peoples; When that strategy ceased to work they rolled out a second version called DEMOCRACY. The second is as much of a sham as the earlier attempt.

Even internal to American, the "down trodden" masses are beginning to cry foul. The prevailing poverty rate in America is staggering. See the figures in most authoritative publications.

Reading does bring enlightenment. That is why I read from diverse sources.

jlord37 -> Jamil M Chaudri

Yes that's why millions of people are seeking to emigrate by any means necessary., and not the reverse. I can assure the " impoverished masses" in the west are in a lot better shape than they are in your neck of the woods.

But I think your trying to deflect once again. That Christianity ad well as other religions has had a bloody past, is no revelation, band I for one am no big fan. But steps have been taken since than, to temper the extremism that brought on these acts. One does not read of to many beheadings and or sucide bombings in the name of Jesus, Buddha, or Shiva. This is not meant as a criticism of Muslim people per se, or a put down of that particular of the world, it is merely mea by as a critique of some of the problems that I, and countless others see in the Islamic faith. There's no question that the leadership in the west, can be very corrupt and rapacious at times, but I think the general trend is towards an attempt at understanding and accommodation. Now, I think it is time for the Muslim world to attempt some sort of inner dialogue where they take steps towards a dressing and correcting their own problems. I enjoyed our discussion, and I hope we will be able to part in civil terms. Best wishes.

Jamil M Chaudri -> jlord37

First of all let me disabuse your notion of "my neck of the woods". In one of my earlier posting I have clearly stated that I am a proud American Citizen, living in a well wooded and watered part of the US of A. But as my country has gone wayward (essentially in pursuit of the buck) from its charter I am trying to bring America back to its promise.

You have levied accusation against me of "deflecting" arguments. Let me tell you what your problem is: you want to levy unsubstantiated accusations against others, and when they, with references, confront your falsehoods and soothsaying, you accuse the other of "deflecting" or "hijacking" the discussion! Pot calling the kettle black? Man, it is you who is unable to stick to the argument – but then, as you have no argument, of course, you have nothing to stick to. Your statements are based on your penchant for name-calling, bad mouthing, others. Perhaps your mind-set suggests that with such strategies, you will be the last "man standing" (?).
.
In my first posing on Dr Kotkin's article, I simply wanted to repudiate the so called "World Order". By what right have Great Britain and France seats at the Security Council. By definition in a democratic set-up, every unit has equal rights. What Dr Kotkins calls a World Order is therefore a sham democracy, created to benefit the West.

Under the guise of bringing democracy to Iraqia, Afghania, Libya, the Yemen, etc. the west is simply trying to prolong its hegemony. It is a sham democracy they impose on weak nations. Pliant regimes are being installed, and millions of people being killed. Any voice that is raised against such pseudo-democracy is silenced by force, by the thugs installed as "democratic" regimes. This is western patronage.

Presently, you read about EXCESSES done by the lunatic fringes of the Muslim Society (these groups, by the way, were created by and operate with the support of CIA – so that organisations like HOMELAND Security can get more dollars), because 90% of the news buzz is created by American media.

The USA is a state trying to improve its democracy on a continuous basis. In 1777 did America treat all people the same way? When was the promulgation of freedom (of SLAVES) passed in America? When was the voting rights acts passed? Are the economic developments of the Whites and Blacks (call it Afro-American, if you like) even TODAY at the same level?

I wish you and your, the very best. May Allah have his mercy on us as a Nation, so that we can STANDING TOGETHER still sing the Star-Spangled Banner.

jlord37 -> Jamil M Chaudri

We currently have a black president, black attorney General, a black director of homeland security, and a black national security adviser. That's not to mention the various statutes and regulations on the books that are strictly enforced to prevent discrimination and instances of inequality. Are these details of such small consequence? With regards to your observations of so called regime change, I am in complete agreement with you . I against such interventions wether it is Cairo or Kiev. It is up to the indigenous population of that country to determine the course that their country should take, and not have to be subjected to outside interference. However, I have to ask the question, do you really think that the CIA bears the sole responsibility for the for the existence of these groups? Could it be that they're trying to co opt them and use them for their own purposes? Im almost certain that the CIA didn't create the leaders who take certain texts and use them for recruitment purposes. All I'm suggesting is that we need to hear more from the moderate elements, and that some sort of reformation May have to be undertaken, much in the way it occurred in other religions. ( Christianity for example )

Finally, Im not sure where you got the idea that I " have a penchant of bad mouthing others" but nevertheless, I sincerely apologize if I have offended you in anyway. You are a worthy opponent, and it's been an enlightening discussion to say the least.

Robert Munro -> Jamil M Chaudri

Stephen Kotkin is a Jewish shill for the oligarchy.

Jamil M Chaudri -> Robert Munro

I only knew Dr Kotkin's background as a historian; his religious affiliation did not concern me. The only part of his writing that offended me was the concept of "World Order". I do not accept nor do I want anybody else to be suppressed by the unbridled-capitalists.

Unfortunately, to exercise unbridled capitalism, the underpinning is provided by exercise of power over others. It is the RAPE OF NATIONS.

Robert Munro -> Jamil M Chaudri

I've read Kotkin before. He advocates a world ruled by an elite (unspecified). However, from his background and affiliations, it's very possible that his mind-set matches that of Baruch Levy, below..........

"The Jewish people as a whole will become its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races, by the abolition of frontiers, the annihilation of monarchy and by the establishment of a world republic in which the Jews will everywhere exercise the privilege of citizenship.

In this New World Order, the children of Israel will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition. The Governments of the different peoples forming the world republic will fall without difficulty into the hands of the
Jews. It will then be possible for the Jewish rulers to abolish private property and everywhere to make use of the
resources of the state.

Thus will the promise of the Talmud be fulfilled, in which it is said that when the Messianic time is come, the Jews will have all the property of the whole world in their hands."

Baruch Levy, Letter to Karl Marx (1879), printed in La Revue de Paris, p. 574, June 1, 1928

Given the 3000 year history of Judaism, its religious writings, its possession of nuclear weapons and control of the American government/economy/media, it seems appropriate to take such claims very seriously.

Robert Munro -> BAKER ALLON

Here's some more "fantasy" about your barbaric cult............

http://www.haaretz.com/news/di...

http://www.richardsilverstein....

http://www.btselem.org/downloa...

BTW- All three of the links above are to Jewish web sites - civilized Jews.

Robert Munro -> BAKER ALLON

It is the cult for which you shill that is the disease.......for 3000 years you have been a malignant cancer trying to metastasize throughout our world.

Robert Munro -> BAKER ALLON

The disease that sickens and, hopefully, will kill your cult is truth...............

"To communicate anything with a Goy about our relations would be equal to the killing of all Jews, for if the Goyim knew what we teach about them, they would kill us openly." (found in both the Torah and Talmud)

Jamil M Chaudri -> ARJAN VELLEKOOP

Of course, of course. But then, there are even some people with eyes who do not see. For them it is a blessing, for they see no evil. It is really a mental condition due to aberrant eye. By the way, Yogi Berra is supposed to have said: "You can observe a lot just by watching". But perhaps street-walkers in Europe do not watch, because their game is different, and they are enjoying the benefits of their game.

I do not want to shatter your innocence, but slaves are not seen by street-walkers: Slaves are consigned to SLAVE QUARTERS. Present day, western world has built slave quarters in India, Pakistan, Sudan, Congo, etc. This is where the Western Worlds Slaves Live. If you want to read the whole report goto: http://www.globalslaveryindex....

India has the largest number of slaves in the world (14 million).

Mind you, A related concept is "wage slavery". To understand this concept requires sensibility.

Yet another but even more subtle concept is "mental slavery". A variation of this is known as the Stockholm Syndrome. Mental Slavery is a totally abject state where the person ceases to think eigenartig but assumes the likes and hates of the person/people who have programmed him/her.

From the last line in your post, I can only assume that deep programming has been done. Programmed consciousness is virtual reality.

ARJAN VELLEKOOP -> Jamil M Chaudri

So, now the west should care for what governments in other countries do with their citizens? I thought you hated imperialists! Your reference to India is just idiotic. Why should the west feel responsible for the condition India is in?! You are probably going to say the colonial past. Well, thats bullcrap since there are plenty of countries which have grown, since their liberty, into decent and reasonably wealthy states. The west is not responsible for India, India is responsible for itself.

Particularly the Middle Eastern countries have shown behaviour to shift the blame away from their own failures. Maybe it have to do with their Islamic background, in which so many actions are based/motivated from religious basis. And of course the prophet is never wrong, so it must be the fault of a imperialist outsider.

Get real. The countries which contain these so called slaves, can make their own choices. They dont have to be part of the capitalist terrible world order. They can make the better choice like you and other believe it. Sadly enough, that idea is, apparently, not that good. Because good ideas sell itself.

Jamil M Chaudri -> ARJAN VELLEKOOP

You seem unable to differentiate between an imperialist and a "good Samaritan". You had earlier written that, as a street walker in Europe you had not seen any slaves, my response to that posting simply told you where you could go to see slavery. And specific reference to India was simply to help you find slavery most easily - with 14 million slaves India is the centre of Modern Slavery. However, in my conversations with Indians, especially the demi-literate ones, instead of admitting to the prevailing REALITY in India, they do not admit to seeing it. With their eyes open, the street walkers do not see it.

There is absolutely no religious underpinning for State Government in any of the states where Muslims are in Majority. The Saudi Family are are there because of America; the present rule in Iran is a reaction to America (re-)installing the 2-cent "SHAH" to rule the Iranian Nation. The present excesses of the Iranian state are essentially defense postures against America intransigence, and mechanisms to harm (and if possible) destroy the Iranian Nation.

I experience reality every day. If you would just come out of your VIRTUAL REALITY, you might by just watching observe some. I know deprogramming is not easy, and self-deprogramming is even more difficult.

All the same, I suggest that you wake up and smell the Coffee; if not try some smelling salts.

Robert Munro -> ARJAN VELLEKOOP

And we have read the drivel of thousands of shills for the oligarchy and the Zionist/Fascist cult...............such as yourself.

Ivan Night Terrible

Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin-Putin... :))

Hmmm... oк, about Putin:

Look at Putin's foreign agenda this past year: Latin America just as the sanctions came in - an intentional finger in Washington's eye, as I read it - then China, China again recently, Turkey more recently, India just now. He has not been to Iran, but there, as in all these other places, he has forged or reiterated promising relations. The deals cut are too numerous to list.

A couple are worth mentioning. The twin gas deals with China, worth nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars, are historic all by themselves. In six years' time China will be buying more gas from Russia than the latter now sells to Europe. And do not miss this: My sources tell me that this gas can be priced such as to crowd the U.S. at least partially out of the Asian market. Other side of the world: Putin has just canceled a planned pipeline to southeastern Europe, the South Stream. This is the defeat Western media put it over as, surely: Russia loses some customers. But two points:

[Nov 08, 2017] Learning to Love McCarthyism by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
Russiagate witch hunt is destroying CIA franchise in Facebook and Twitter, which were used by many Russians and Eastern Europeans in general.
One telling sign of the national security state is "demonizing enemies of the state" including using neo-McCarthyism methods, typically for Russiagate.
In the beginning, "Russiagate" was about alleged actions by Russian secret services. Evidence for these allegations has never emerged, and it seems that the Russiagate conspiracy theorists largely gave up on this part (they still sometimes write about it as if it was an established fact, but since the only thing in support of it they can adduce is the canard about the 17 intelligence services, it probably is not that interesting any more).
Now, they have dropped the mask, and the object of their hatred are openly all Russian people, as the new Undermensch. If these people and US MSM recognized the reality that they are now a particularly rabid part of the xenophobic far right in the United States
Notable quotes:
"... Buried in the story's "jump" is the acknowledgement that Milner's "companies sold those holdings several years ago." But such is the anti-Russia madness gripping the Establishment of Washington and New York that any contact with any Russian constitutes a scandal worthy of front-page coverage. On Monday, The Washington Post published a page-one article entitled, "9 in Trump's orbit had contacts with Russians." ..."
"... The anti-Russian madness has reached such extremes that even when you say something that's obviously true – but that RT, the Russian television network, also reported – you are attacked for spreading "Russian propaganda." ..."
"... We saw that when former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile disclosed in her new book that she considered the possibility of replacing Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket after Clinton's public fainting spell and worries about her health. ..."
"... In other words, the go-to excuse for everything these days is to blame the Russians and smear anyone who says anything – no matter how true – if it also was reported on RT. ..."
"... The CIA has an entire bureaucracy dedicated to propaganda and disinformation, with some of those efforts farmed out to newer entities such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or paid for by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). NATO has a special command in Latvia that undertakes "strategic communications." ..."
"... Israel is another skilled player in this field, tapping into its supporters around the world to harass people who criticize the Zionist project. Indeed, since the 1980s, Israel has pioneered many of the tactics of computer spying and sabotage that were adopted and expanded by America's National Security Agency, explaining why the Obama administration teamed up with Israel in a scheme to plant malicious code into Iranian centrifuges to sabotage Iran's nuclear program. ..."
"... And, if you're really concerned about foreign interference in U.S. elections and policies, there's the remarkable influence of Israel and its perceived ability to effect the defeat of almost any politician who deviates from what the Israeli government wants, going back at least to the 1980s when Sen. Chuck Percy and Rep. Paul Findley were among the political casualties after pursuing contacts with the Palestinians. ..."
"... The answer seems to be the widespread hatred for President Trump combined with vested interests in favor of whipping up the New Cold War. That is a goal valued by both the Military-Industrial Complex, which sees trillions of dollars in strategic weapons systems in the future, and the neoconservatives, who view Russia as a threat to their "regime change" agendas for Syria and Iran. ..."
"... After all, if Russia and its independent-minded President Putin can be beaten back and beaten down, then a big obstacle to the neocon/Israeli goal of expanding the Mideast wars will be removed. ..."
"... Right now, the neocons are openly lusting for a "regime change" in Moscow despite the obvious risks that such turmoil in a nuclear-armed country might create, including the possibility that Putin would be succeeded not by some compliant Western client like the late Boris Yeltsin but by an extreme nationalist who might consider launching a nuclear strike to protect the honor of Mother Russia. ..."
"... The likely outcome from the anti-Russian show trials on Capitol Hill is that technology giants will bow to the bipartisan demand for new algorithms and other methods for stigmatizing, marginalizing and eliminating information that challenges the mainstream storylines in the cause of fighting "Russian propaganda." ..."
"... America's Stolen Narrative, ..."
"... witch hunt by congressional Democrats, working with the intelligence agencies and leading media outlets, to legitimize censorship and attack free speech on the Internet. ..."
"... The aim of this campaign is to claim that social conflict within the United States arises not from the scale of social inequality in America, greater than in any other country in the developed world, but rather from the actions of "outside agitators" working in the service of the Kremlin. ..."
"... The McCarthyite witch hunts of the 1950s sought to suppress left-wing thought and label all forms of dissent as illegitimate and treasonous. Those who led them worked to purge left-wing opinion from Hollywood, the trade unions and the universities. ..."
"... Likewise, the new McCarthyism is aimed at creating a political climate in which left-wing organizations and figures are demonized as agents of the Kremlin who are essentially engaged in treasonous activity deserving of criminal prosecution. ..."
"... Danny there was a time not to long ago, I would have said of how we are 'moving towards' to us becoming a police state, well instead replace that prediction of 'moving towards' to the stark reality to be described as 'that now we are', and there you will have it that we have finally arrived to becoming a full blown 'police state'. ..."
"... Thanks to Mr. Parry for this very fair and complete review of the latest attempts to generate a fake foreign enemy. The tyrant over a democracy must generate fake foreign enemies to pose falsely as a protector, so as to demand domestic power and accuse his opponents of disloyalty, as Aristotle and Plato warned thousands of years ago. ..."
"... The insanity of the entire "Russian hacking" narrative has been revealed over and over, including this past weekend when +/-100 Clinton loyalists published a screed on Medium saying Donna Brazile had been taken in by Russian propaganda. ..."
"... I have come to expect just about anything when it comes to Russia-Gate, but I was taken aback by the Hillary bots' accusation that videos of Hillary stumbling and others showing her apparently having a fit of some kind and also needing to be helped up the steps to someone's house -- which were taken by Americans and shown by Americans and seen by millions of shocked Americans -- were driven by Russia-Gate. ..."
"... Now, since the extremist xenophobic idea that contact with *any* Russians is a scandal has taken hold in the United States, people are probably not too eager to mention these contacts in these atmosphere of extreme xenophobic anti-Russian hatred in today's United States. Furthermore, people who have contact with large numbers of people probably really have difficulties remembering and listing these all. ..."
"... Their contacts are with Russian business and maybe the Russian mob, not the Russian state. There is really not question that Trump and his cronies are crooks, but they are crooks in the US and in all the other countries where they do business, not just Russia. I'm sure Mueller will be able to tie Trump directly to some of the sleeze. But there is no evidence that the Russian government is involved in any of it. "Russia-gate" implies Russian government involvement, not just random Russians. There is no evidence of that and moreover the logic is against. ..."
"... Mr. Cash . I think George Papadopoulis, Trump's young Aide, was an inside mole for neocon pro-Israel interests. Those interests needed to knock the unreliable President Trump out of the way to get the "system" back where it belonged – in their pocket. Papadopoulis, on his own, was rummaging around making Trump/Russian connections that finally ended with the the William (Richard?) Browder (well-known Washington DC neocon)/Natalia Veselnitskaya/Donald Trump, Jr. fiasco. The Trumps knew nothing of those negotiations, and young Trump left when he realized Natalia was only interested in Americans being allowed to adopt Russian children again and had no dirt on Hillary. ..."
"... It was never my impression that Cold War liberals opposed McCarthy or the anti-Communist witch hunt. Where they didn't gleefully join in, they watched quietly from the sidelines while the American left was eviscerated, jailed, driven from public life. Then the liberals stepped in when it was clear things were going a little too far and just as the steam had run out of McCarthy's slander machine. ..."
"... At that point figures like Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy found the path clear for their brand of political stagecraft. They were imperialists to a man, something they proved abundantly when given the chance. Liberals supplanted the left in U.S. life- in the unions, the teaching profession, publishing and every other field where criticism of the Cold War and the enduring prevalence of worker solidarity across international lines threatened the new order. ..."
"... The book concludes that by equating dissent with disloyalty, promoting guilt by association, and personally commanding loyalty programs, ""Truman and his advisors employed all the political and programmatic techniques that in later years were to become associated with the broad phenomenon of McCarthyism."" ..."
"... Formed by Google in June 2015 with Eliot Higgins of the Atlantic Council's Bellingcat as a founding member, the "First Draft" coalition includes all the usual mainstream media "partners" in "regime change" war propaganda: the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, the UK Guardian and Telegraph, BBC News, the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensics Research Lab and Kiev-based Stopfake. ..."
"... In the beginning, "Russiagate" was about alleged actions by Russian secret services. Evidence for these allegations has never emerged, and it seems that the Russiagate conspiracy theorists largely gave up on this part (they still sometimes write about it as if it was an established fact, but since the only thing in support of it they can adduce is the canard about the 17 intelligence services, it probably is not that interesting any more) ..."
"... Now, they have dropped the mask, and the object of their hatred are openly all Russian people, anyone who is "Russian linked" by ever having logged in to social networks from Russia or using Cyrillic letters. If these people and their media at least recognized the reality that they are now a particularly rabid part of the xenophobic far right in the United States ..."
"... The interview of Roger Waters on RT is one of the best I have seen in a long while. I wish some other artists get the courage to raise their voices. The link to the Roger Waters interview is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7jcvfbLoIA This Roger Waters interview is worth watching. ..."
"... It would seem that everyone on the US telivision , newspaper and internet news has mastered the art of hand over mouth , gasp and looking horrified every time Russia is mentioned. It looks to me that the US is in the middle of another of it´s mid life crises. Panic reigns supreme every where. If it was not so sad it would be funny. i was born in the 1940s and remember the McCarthy witch hunts and the daily shower of people jumping out of windows as a result of it. ..."
"... In The Fifties (1993), American journalist and historian David Halberstam addressed the noxious effect of McCarthyism: "McCarthy's carnival like four year spree of accusation charges, and threats touched something deep in the American body politic, something that lasted long after his own recklessness, carelessness and boozing ended his career in shame." (page 53) ..."
"... Halberstam specifically discussed how readily the so-called "free" press acquiesced to McCarthy's masquerading: "The real scandal in all this was the behavior of the members of the Washington press corps, who, more often than not, knew better. They were delighted to be a part of his traveling road show, chronicling each charge and then moving on to the next town, instead of bothering to stay behind and follow up. They had little interest in reporting how careless McCarthy was or how little it all meant to him." (page 55) ..."
"... Why have they not investigated James Comey? Why has the MSM instead created a Russian Boogeyman? Why was he invited to testify about the Russian connection but never cross examined about his own influence? Why is the clearest reason for election meddling by James Comey not even spoken of by the MSM? This is because the MSM does not want to cover events as they happened but wants to recreate a alternate reality suitable to themselves which serves their interests and convinces us that the MSM has no part at all in downplaying the involvement of themselves in the election but wants to create a foreign enemy to blame. ..."
Nov 08, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Special Report: Many American liberals who once denounced McCarthyism as evil are now learning to love the ugly tactic when it can be used to advance the Russia-gate "scandal" and silence dissent, reports Robert Parry.

The New York Times has finally detected some modern-day McCarthyism, but not in the anti-Russia hysteria that the newspaper has fueled for several years amid the smearing of American skeptics as "useful idiots" and the like. No, the Times editors are accusing a Long Island Republican of McCarthyism for linking his Democratic rival to "New York City special interest groups." As the Times laments, "It's the old guilt by association."

Yet, the Times sees no McCarthyism in the frenzy of Russia-bashing and guilt by association for any American who can be linked even indirectly to any Russian who might have some ill-defined links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Monday, in the same edition that expressed editorial outrage over that Long Island political ad's McCarthyism, the Times ran two front-page articles under the headline: "A Complex Paper Trail: Blurring Kremlin's Ties to Key U.S. Businesses."

The two subheads read: " Shipping Firm Links Commerce Chief to Putin 'Cronies' " and " Millions in Facebook Shares Rooted in Russian Cash ." The latter story, which meshes nicely with the current U.S. political pressure on Facebook and Twitter to get in line behind the New Cold War against Russia, cites investments by Russian Yuri Milner that date back to the start of the decade.

Buried in the story's "jump" is the acknowledgement that Milner's "companies sold those holdings several years ago." But such is the anti-Russia madness gripping the Establishment of Washington and New York that any contact with any Russian constitutes a scandal worthy of front-page coverage. On Monday, The Washington Post published a page-one article entitled, "9 in Trump's orbit had contacts with Russians."

The anti-Russian madness has reached such extremes that even when you say something that's obviously true – but that RT, the Russian television network, also reported – you are attacked for spreading "Russian propaganda."

We saw that when former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile disclosed in her new book that she considered the possibility of replacing Hillary Clinton on the Democratic ticket after Clinton's public fainting spell and worries about her health.

Though there was a video of Clinton's collapse on Sept. 11, 2016, followed by her departure from the campaign trail to fight pneumonia – not to mention her earlier scare with blood clots – the response from a group of 100 Clinton supporters was to question Brazile's patriotism: "It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda, spread by both the Russians and our opponents about our candidate's health."

In other words, the go-to excuse for everything these days is to blame the Russians and smear anyone who says anything – no matter how true – if it also was reported on RT.

Pressing the Tech Companies

Just as Sen. Joe McCarthy liked to haul suspected "communists" and "fellow-travelers" before his committee in the 1950s, the New McCarthyism has its own witch-hunt hearings, such as last week's Senate grilling of executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google for supposedly allowing Russians to have input into the Internet's social networks. Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google hauled before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism on Oct. 31, 2017. Trying to appease Congress and fend off threats of government regulation, the rich tech companies displayed their eagerness to eradicate any Russian taint.

Twitter's general counsel Sean J. Edgett told the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism that Twitter adopted an "expansive approach to defining what qualifies as a Russian-linked account."

Edgett said the criteria included "whether the account was created in Russia, whether the user registered the account with a Russian phone carrier or a Russian email address, whether the user's display name contains Cyrillic characters, whether the user frequently Tweets in Russian, and whether the user has logged in from any Russian IP address, even a single time. We considered an account to be Russian-linked if it had even one of the relevant criteria."

The trouble with Twitter's methodology was that none of those criteria would connect an account to the Russian government, let alone Russian intelligence or some Kremlin-controlled "troll farm." But the criteria could capture individual Russians with no link to the Kremlin as well as people who weren't Russian at all, including, say, American or European visitors to Russia who logged onto Twitter through a Moscow hotel.

Also left unsaid is that Russians are not the only national group that uses the Cyrillic alphabet. It is considered a standard script for writing in Belarus, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbo-Croatia and Ukraine. So, for instance, a Ukrainian using the Cyrillic alphabet could end up falling into the category of "Russian-linked" even if he or she hated Putin.

Twitter's attorney also said the company conducted a separate analysis from information provided by unidentified "third party sources" who pointed toward accounts supposedly controlled by the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), totaling 2,752 accounts. The IRA is typically described in the U.S. press as a "troll farm" which employs tech-savvy employees who combat news and opinions that are hostile to Russia and the Russian government. But exactly how those specific accounts were traced back to this organization was not made clear.

And, to put that number in some perspective, Twitter claims 330 million active monthly users, which makes the 2,752 accounts less than 0.001 percent of the total.

The Trouble with 'Trolling'

While the Russia-gate investigation has sought to portray the IRA effort as exotic and somehow unique to Russia, the strategy is followed by any number of governments, political movements and corporations – sometimes using enthusiastic volunteers but often employing professionals skilled at challenging critical information or at least muddying the waters.

Those of us who operate on the Internet are familiar with harassment from "trolls" who may use access to "comment" sections to inject propaganda and disinformation to sow confusion, to cause disruption, or to discredit the site by promoting ugly opinions and nutty conspiracy theories.

As annoying as this "trolling" is, it's just a modern version of more traditional strategies used by powerful entities for generations – hiring public-relations specialists, lobbyists, lawyers and supposedly impartial "activists" to burnish images, fend off negative news and intimidate nosy investigators. In this competition, modern Russia is both a late-comer and a piker.

The U.S. government fields legions of publicists, propagandists, paid journalists, psy-ops specialists , contractors and non-governmental organizations to promote Washington's positions and undermine rivals through information warfare.

The CIA has an entire bureaucracy dedicated to propaganda and disinformation, with some of those efforts farmed out to newer entities such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) or paid for by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). NATO has a special command in Latvia that undertakes "strategic communications."

Israel is another skilled player in this field, tapping into its supporters around the world to harass people who criticize the Zionist project. Indeed, since the 1980s, Israel has pioneered many of the tactics of computer spying and sabotage that were adopted and expanded by America's National Security Agency, explaining why the Obama administration teamed up with Israel in a scheme to plant malicious code into Iranian centrifuges to sabotage Iran's nuclear program.

It's also ironic that the U.S. government touted social media as a great benefit in advancing so-called "color revolutions" aimed at "regime change" in troublesome countries. For instance, when the "green revolution" was underway in Iran in 2009 after the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Obama administration asked Twitter to postpone scheduled maintenance so the street protesters could continue using the platform to organize against Ahmadinejad and to distribute their side of the story to the outside world.

During the so-called Arab Spring in 2011, Facebook, Twitter and Skype won praise as a means of organizing mass demonstrations to destabilize governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Back then, the U.S. government denounced any attempts to throttle these social media platforms and the free flow of information that they permitted as proof of dictatorship.

Social media also was a favorite of the U.S. government in Ukraine in 2013-14 when the Maidan protests exploited these platforms to help destabilize and ultimately overthrow the elected government of Ukraine, the key event that launched the New Cold War with Russia.

Swinging the Social Media Club

The truth is that, in those instances, the U.S. governments and its agencies were eagerly exploiting the platforms to advance Washington's geopolitical agenda by disseminating American propaganda and deploying U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations, which taught activists how to use social media to advance "regime change" scenarios.

A White Helmets volunteer pointing to the aftermath of a military attack.

While these uprisings were sold to Western audiences as genuine outpourings of public anger – and there surely was some of that – the protests also benefited from U.S. funding and expertise. In particular, NED and USAID provided money, equipment and training for anti-government operatives challenging regimes in U.S. disfavor.

One of the most successful of these propaganda operations occurred in Syria where anti-government rebels operating in areas controlled by Al Qaeda and its fellow Islamic militants used social media to get their messaging to Western mainstream journalists who couldn't enter those sectors without fear of beheading.

Since the rebels' goal of overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad meshed with the objectives of the U.S. government and its allies in Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Western journalists uncritically accepted the words and images provided by Al Qaeda's collaborators.

The success of this propaganda was so extraordinary that the White Helmets, a "civil defense" group that worked in Al Qaeda territory, became the go-to source for dramatic video and even was awarded the short-documentary Oscar for an info-mercial produced for Netflix – despite evidence that the White Helmets were staging some of the scenes for propaganda purposes.

Indeed, one argument for believing that Putin and the Kremlin might have "meddled" in last year's U.S. election is that they could have felt it was time to give the United States a taste of its own medicine.

After all, the United States intervened in the 1996 Russian election to ensure the continued rule of the corrupt and pliable Boris Yeltsin. And there were the U.S.-backed street protests in Moscow against the 2011 and 2012 elections in which Putin strengthened his political mandate. Those protests earned the "color" designation the "snow revolution."

However, whatever Russia may or may not have done before last year's U.S. election, the Russia-gate investigations have always sought to exaggerate the impact of that alleged "meddling" and molded the narrative to whatever weak evidence was available.

The original storyline was that Putin authorized the "hacking" of Democratic emails as part of a "disinformation" operation to undermine Hillary Clinton's candidacy and to help elect Donald Trump – although no hard evidence has been presented to establish that Putin gave such an order or that Russia "hacked" the emails. WikiLeaks has repeatedly denied getting the emails from Russia, which also denies any meddling.

Further, the emails were not "disinformation"; they were both real and, in many cases, newsworthy. The DNC emails provided evidence that the DNC unethically tilted the playing field in favor of Clinton and against Sen. Bernie Sanders, a point that Brazile also discovered in reviewing staffing and financing relationships that Clinton had with the DNC under the prior chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The purloined emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta revealed the contents of Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street (information that she was trying to hide from voters) and pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.

A Manchurian Candidate?

Still, the original narrative was that Putin wanted his Manchurian Candidate (Trump) in the White House and took the extraordinary risk of infuriating the odds-on favorite (Clinton) by releasing the emails even though they appeared unlikely to prevent Clinton's victory. So, there was always that logical gap in the Russia-gate theory.

Since then, however, the U.S. mainstream narrative has shifted, in part, because the evidence of Russian election "meddling" was so shaky. Under intense congressional pressure to find something, Facebook reported $100,000 in allegedly "Russian-linked" ads purchased in 2015-17, but noted that only 44 percent were bought before the election. So, not only was the "Russian-linked" pebble tiny – compared to Facebook's annual revenue of $27 billion – but more than half of the pebble was tossed into this very large lake after Clinton had already lost.

So, the storyline was transformed into some vague Russian scheme to exacerbate social tensions in the United States by taking different sides of hot-button issues, such as police brutality against blacks. The New York Times reported that one of these "Russian-linked" pages featured photos of cute puppies , which the Times speculated must have had some evil purpose although it was hard to fathom. (Oh, those devious Russians!).

The estimate of how many Americans may have seen one of these "Russian-linked" ads also keeps growing, now up to as many as 126 million or about one-third of the U.S. population. Of course, the way the Internet works – with any item possibly going viral – you might as well say the ads could have reached billions of people.

Whenever I write an article or send out a Tweet, I too could be reaching 126 million or even billions of people, but the reality is that I'd be lucky if the number were in the thousands. But amid the Russia-gate frenzy, no exaggeration is too outlandish or too extreme.

Another odd element of Russia-gate is that the intensity of this investigation is disproportionate to the lack of interest shown toward far better documented cases of actual foreign-government interference in American elections and policymaking.

For instance, the major U.S. media long ignored the extremely well-documented case of Richard Nixon colluding with South Vietnamese officials to sabotage President Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam War peace talks to gain an advantage for Nixon in the 1968 election. That important chapter of history only gained The New York Times' seal of approval earlier this year after the Times had dismissed the earlier volumes of evidence as "rumors."

In the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan's team – especially his campaign director William Casey in collaboration with Israel and Iran – appeared to have gone behind President Jimmy Carter's back to undercut Carter's negotiations to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran and essentially doom Carter's reelection hopes.

There were a couple of dozen witnesses to that scheme who spoke with me and other investigative journalists – as well as documentary evidence showing that President Reagan did authorize secret arms shipments to Iran via Israel shortly after the hostages were freed during Reagan's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1981.

However, since Vice President (later President) George H.W. Bush, who was implicated in the scheme, was well-liked on both sides of the aisle and because Reagan had become a Republican icon, the October Surprise case of 1980 was pooh-poohed by the major media and dismissed by a congressional investigation in the early 1990s. Despite the extraordinary number of witnesses and supporting documents, Wikipedia listed the scandal as a "conspiracy theory."

Israeli Influence

And, if you're really concerned about foreign interference in U.S. elections and policies, there's the remarkable influence of Israel and its perceived ability to effect the defeat of almost any politician who deviates from what the Israeli government wants, going back at least to the 1980s when Sen. Chuck Percy and Rep. Paul Findley were among the political casualties after pursuing contacts with the Palestinians.

If anyone doubts how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued to pull the strings of U.S. politicians, just watch one of his record-tying three addresses to joint sessions of Congress and count how often Republicans and Democrats jump to their feet in enthusiastic applause. (The only other foreign leader to get the joint-session honor three times was Great Britain's Prime Minister Winston Churchill.)

So, what makes Russia-gate different from the other cases? Did Putin conspire with Trump to extend a bloody war as Nixon did with the South Vietnamese leaders? Did Putin lengthen the captivity of U.S. hostages to give Trump a political edge? Did Putin manipulate U.S. policy in the Middle East to entice President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and set the region ablaze, as Israel's Netanyahu did? Is Putin even now pushing for wider Mideast wars, as Netanyahu is?

Indeed, one point that's never addressed in any serious way is why is the U.S. so angry with Russia while these other cases, in which U.S. interests were clearly damaged and American democracy compromised, were treated largely as non-stories.

Why is Russia-gate a big deal while the other cases weren't? Why are opposite rules in play now – with Democrats, many Republicans and the major news media flogging fragile "links," needling what little evidence there is, and assuming the worst rather than insisting that only perfect evidence and perfect witnesses be accepted as in the earlier cases?

The answer seems to be the widespread hatred for President Trump combined with vested interests in favor of whipping up the New Cold War. That is a goal valued by both the Military-Industrial Complex, which sees trillions of dollars in strategic weapons systems in the future, and the neoconservatives, who view Russia as a threat to their "regime change" agendas for Syria and Iran.

After all, if Russia and its independent-minded President Putin can be beaten back and beaten down, then a big obstacle to the neocon/Israeli goal of expanding the Mideast wars will be removed.

Right now, the neocons are openly lusting for a "regime change" in Moscow despite the obvious risks that such turmoil in a nuclear-armed country might create, including the possibility that Putin would be succeeded not by some compliant Western client like the late Boris Yeltsin but by an extreme nationalist who might consider launching a nuclear strike to protect the honor of Mother Russia.

The Democrats, the liberals and even many progressives justify their collusion with the neocons by the need to remove Trump by any means necessary and "stop fascism." But their contempt for Trump and their exaggeration of the "Hitler" threat that this incompetent buffoon supposedly poses have blinded them to the extraordinary risks attendant to their course of action and how they are playing into the hands of the war-hungry neocons.

A Smokescreen for Repression

There also seems to be little or no concern that the Establishment is using Russia-gate as a smokescreen for clamping down on independent media sites on the Internet. Traditional supporters of civil liberties have looked the other way as the rights of people associated with the Trump campaign have been trampled and journalists who simply question the State Department's narratives on, say, Syria and Ukraine are denounced as "Moscow stooges" and "useful idiots."

The likely outcome from the anti-Russian show trials on Capitol Hill is that technology giants will bow to the bipartisan demand for new algorithms and other methods for stigmatizing, marginalizing and eliminating information that challenges the mainstream storylines in the cause of fighting "Russian propaganda."

The warning from powerful senators was crystal clear. "I don't think you get it," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, warned social media executives last week. "You bear this responsibility. You created these platforms, and now they are being misused. And you have to be the ones who do something about it. Or we will."

As this authoritarian if not totalitarian future looms and as the dangers of nuclear annihilation from an intentional or unintentional nuclear war with Russia grow, many people who should know better are caught up in the Russia-gate frenzy.

I used to think that liberals and progressives opposed McCarthyism because they regarded it as a grave threat to freedom of thought and to genuine democracy, but now it appears that they have learned to love McCarthyism except, of course, when it rears its ugly head in some Long Island political ad criticizing New York City.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

Joe Tedesky , November 6, 2017 at 3:12 pm

I watched the C-Span 'Russian/2016 Election Investigation Hearings' in horror, as each congressperson grilled the Hi-Tech executives in a way to suggest that our First Amendment Rights are now on life support, and our Congress is ready to pull the plug at any moment. I thought, of how this wasn't the America I was brought up to believe in. So as I have reached the age in life where nothing should surprise me, I realize now how fragile our Rights are, in this warring nation that calls itself America.

When it comes to Israel I have two names, Jonathan Pollard & the USS Liberty, and with that, that is enough said.

Danny Weil , November 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

This week's congressional hearings on "extremist content" on the Internet mark a new stage in the McCarthyite witch hunt by congressional Democrats, working with the intelligence agencies and leading media outlets, to legitimize censorship and attack free speech on the Internet.

One after another, congressmen and senators goaded representatives of Google, Twitter and Facebook to admit that their platforms were used to sow "social divisions" and "extremist" political opinions. The aim of this campaign is to claim that social conflict within the United States arises not from the scale of social inequality in America, greater than in any other country in the developed world, but rather from the actions of "outside agitators" working in the service of the Kremlin.

The hearings revolved around claims that Russia sought to "weaponize" the Internet by harnessing social anger within the United States. "Russia," said Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, promoted "discord in the US by inflaming passions on a range of divisive issues." It sought to "mobilize real Americans to sign online petitions and join rallies and protests."

The McCarthyite witch hunts of the 1950s sought to suppress left-wing thought and label all forms of dissent as illegitimate and treasonous. Those who led them worked to purge left-wing opinion from Hollywood, the trade unions and the universities.

Likewise, the new McCarthyism is aimed at creating a political climate in which left-wing organizations and figures are demonized as agents of the Kremlin who are essentially engaged in treasonous activity deserving of criminal prosecution.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/03/pers-n03.html

Joe Tedesky , November 7, 2017 at 12:32 am

Thanks for the informative link Danny.

Watching this Orwellian tragedy play out in our American society, where our Congress is insisting that disclaimers and restrictions be placed upon suspicious adbuys and editorial essays, is counterintuitive to what we Americans were brought up to belief. Why, all my life teachers, and adults, would warn us students of reading the news to not to believe everything we read as pure fact, but to research a subject before coming to a conclusion toward your accepting an opinion to wit. And with these warnings of avoiding us being suckered into a wrong belief, we were told that this was the price we were required to pay for having a free press society. This freedom of speech was, and has always been the bedrock of our hopes and wishes for our belief in the American Dream.

Danny there was a time not to long ago, I would have said of how we are 'moving towards' to us becoming a police state, well instead replace that prediction of 'moving towards' to the stark reality to be described as 'that now we are', and there you will have it that we have finally arrived to becoming a full blown 'police state'. Little by little, and especially since 911 one by one our civil liberties were taken away. Here again our freedom of speech is being destroyed, and with this America is now where Germany had been in the mid-thirties. America's own guilty conscience is rapidly doing some physiological projections onto their imaginary villain Russia.

All I keep hearing is my dear sweet mother lecturing me on how one lie always leads to another lie until the truth will finally jump up and bite you in the ass, and think to myself of how wise my mother had been with her young girl Southside philosophy. May you Rest In Peace Mum.

Martin , November 7, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Yankees chicks are coming home to roost. So many peoples rights and lives had to be extinguished for Americans to have the illusion of pursuing their happiness, well, what goes around comes around.

Gregory Herr , November 7, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Gee wiz Adam Schiff you make it sound as if signing petitions and rallying to causes and civil protests are unamerican or something. And Russians on the internet are harnessing social anger! Pathetic. These jerks who would have us believe they are interested in "saving" democracy or stopping fascism have sure got it backward.

Geoffrey de Galles , November 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Joe, Allow me please, respectfully, to add Mordecai Vanunu -- Israel's own Daniel Ellsberg -- to your two names.

Erik G , November 6, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Thanks to Mr. Parry for this very fair and complete review of the latest attempts to generate a fake foreign enemy. The tyrant over a democracy must generate fake foreign enemies to pose falsely as a protector, so as to demand domestic power and accuse his opponents of disloyalty, as Aristotle and Plato warned thousands of years ago.

It is especially significant that the zionists are the sole beneficiaries of this scam as well as the primary sponsors of the DNC, hoping to attack Russia and Iran to support Israeli land thefts in the Mideast. It is well established that zionists control US mass media, which never examine the central issue of our times, the corruption of democracy by the zionist/MIC/WallSt influence upon the US government and mass media. Russia-gate is in fact a coverup for Israel-gate.

Those who would like to petition the NYT to make Robert Parry their senior editor may do so here:
https://www.change.org/p/new-york-times-bring-a-new-editor-to-the-new-york-times?recruiter=72650402&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink
While Mr. Parry may prefer independence, and we all know the NYT ownership makes it unlikely, and the NYT may try to ignore it, it is instructive to them that intelligent readers know better journalism when they see it. A petition demonstrates the concerns of a far larger number of potential or lost subscribers.

mike k , November 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Why did we ever believe that the democrat party was a defender of free speech? These bought and paid for tools of the economic elites are only interested in serving their masters with slavish devotion. Selfishness and immorality are their stock in trade; betraying the public their real intention.

Cratylus , November 6, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Great essay.

But one disagreement. I may agree with Trump on very, very few things, among them getting rid of the horrible TPP, one cornerstone of Hillary's pivot; meeting with Putin in Hamburg; the Lavrov-Tillerson arranged cease-fire in SE Syria; the termination of the CIA's support for anti-Assad jihadis in Syria; a second meeting with Putin at the ASEAN conference this week; and in general the idea of "getting along with Russia" (a biggie) which Russia-gate is slowing to a crawl as designed by the neocons.

But Trump as an "incompetent buffoon" is a stretch albeit de rigueur on the pages of the NYT, the programs of NPR and in all "respectable" precincts. Trump won the presidency for god's sake – something that eluded the 17 other GOP primary candidates, some of them considered very"smart" and Bernie and Jill, and in the past, Ralph Nader and Ron Paul – and the supposedly "very smart" Hillary for which we should be eternally grateful. "Incompetent" hardly seems accurate. The respectable commentariat has continually underestimated Trump. We should heed Putin who marveled at Trump's seemingly impossible victory.

Bill Cash , November 6, 2017 at 4:13 pm

How do you explain all the connections between Trump acolytes and Russia and their lying about it. I think they've all lied about their contacts. Why would they do that?I lived through the real McCarthyism and, so far, this isn't close to what happened then.

Bill , November 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Probably because they are corruptly involved. Thing is, the higher priority is to avoid another decades-long cold war risking nuclear war. Do you remember how many close calls we had in the last one?

I'm more suspicious of Trump than most here, but even I think we need some priorities. Far more extensive corruption of a similar variety keeps occurring and no one cares, as Mr. Parry points out here yet again.

As for McCarthyism, whatever the current severity, the result is unfolding as a new campaign against dissenting voices on the internet. That's supremely not-okay with me.

Gregory Herr , November 7, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Right. Just because we don't yet have another fulll-fledged HUAC happening doesn't mean severe perils aren't attached to this new McCarthyism. Censorship of dissent is supremely not-okay with me as well.

Elizabeth Burton , November 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm

That class of people lie as a matter of course; it's standard procedure. If you exacerbate it by adding on the anti-Russia hysteria that was spewed out by the Democrats before the ink was dry on the ballots, what possible reason would they have for being truthful?

The insanity of the entire "Russian hacking" narrative has been revealed over and over, including this past weekend when +/-100 Clinton loyalists published a screed on Medium saying Donna Brazile had been taken in by Russian propaganda.

Litchfield , November 6, 2017 at 7:10 pm

I have come to expect just about anything when it comes to Russia-Gate, but I was taken aback by the Hillary bots' accusation that videos of Hillary stumbling and others showing her apparently having a fit of some kind and also needing to be helped up the steps to someone's house -- which were taken by Americans and shown by Americans and seen by millions of shocked Americans -- were driven by Russia-Gate.

Obviously, Brazile, like millions of voters, saw these films and made appropriate inferences: that Hillary's basic health and stamina were a question mark. Of course, Hillary also offered Americans nothing in her campaign rhetoric. She came across as the mother-in-law from hell.

Was it also a Russia-Gate initiative when Hillary hid from her supporters on election night and let Podesta face the screaming sobbing supporters? Too much spiked vodka or something? Our political stage in the USA is a madhouse.

Adrian Engler , November 6, 2017 at 6:20 pm

These people probably have "connections" with a relatively large number of people, and only very small fraction of the people they have contact with are probably Russians. Now, since the extremist xenophobic idea that contact with *any* Russians is a scandal has taken hold in the United States, people are probably not too eager to mention these contacts in these atmosphere of extreme xenophobic anti-Russian hatred in today's United States. Furthermore, people who have contact with large numbers of people probably really have difficulties remembering and listing these all.

Today's political atmosphere in the United States probably has a lot in common with the Soviet Union. There, people got in trouble if they had contacts with people from Western, capitalist countries – and if they were asked and did not mention these contacts in order to avoid problems, they could get in trouble even more.

I think it is absolutely clear that no one who takes part in this hateful anti-Russian campaign can pretend to be liberal or progressive. The kind of society these xenophobes who detest pluralism and accuse everyone who has opinions outside the mainstream of being a foreign agent is absolutely abhorrent, in my view.

Leslie F , November 6, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Their contacts are with Russian business and maybe the Russian mob, not the Russian state. There is really not question that Trump and his cronies are crooks, but they are crooks in the US and in all the other countries where they do business, not just Russia. I'm sure Mueller will be able to tie Trump directly to some of the sleeze. But there is no evidence that the Russian government is involved in any of it. "Russia-gate" implies Russian government involvement, not just random Russians. There is no evidence of that and moreover the logic is against.

occupy on , November 7, 2017 at 12:47 am

Mr. Cash . I think George Papadopoulis, Trump's young Aide, was an inside mole for neocon pro-Israel interests. Those interests needed to knock the unreliable President Trump out of the way to get the "system" back where it belonged – in their pocket. Papadopoulis, on his own, was rummaging around making Trump/Russian connections that finally ended with the the William (Richard?) Browder (well-known Washington DC neocon)/Natalia Veselnitskaya/Donald Trump, Jr. fiasco. The Trumps knew nothing of those negotiations, and young Trump left when he realized Natalia was only interested in Americans being allowed to adopt Russian children again and had no dirt on Hillary.

In the meantime, Trump Jr. was connected with an evil Russian (Natalia), William Browder was able to link the neocon-hated Trump Sr with neocon-hated, evil Russians (who currently have a warrant out for Browder's arrest on a 15 [or 50?] million dollar tax evasion charge), and neocons have a good chance of claiming victory out of chaos (as is their style and was their intent for the Middle East [not Washington DC!] in the neocon Project For a New American Century – 1998). Clinton may have lost power in Washington DC, but Clinton-supporting neocons may not have – thanks to George Papadopoulis. We shall see. Something tells me the best is yet to come out of the Mueller Investigations.

Roy G Biv , November 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm

You are seeing it clearly Bill. This site was once a go-to-source for investigative journalism. Now it is a place for opinion screeds, mostly with head buried in the sand about the blatant Russian manipulation of the 2016 election. The dominant gang of posters here squash any dissent and dissenting comments usually get deleted within a day. I don't understand why and how it came to be so, but the hysterical labeling of Comey/Mueller investigations as McCarthyism by Parry has ruined his sterling reputation for me.

Stygg , November 7, 2017 at 2:24 pm

If this "Russian manipulation" was as blatant as everyone keeps telling me, how come it's all based on ridiculous BS instead of evidence? Where's the beef?

anon , November 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Unable to substantiate anything you say nor argue against anything said here, you disgrace yourself. Do you think anyone is fooled by your repeated lie that you are a disaffected former supporter of this site? And you made the "Stygg" reply above.

Tom Hall , November 6, 2017 at 4:46 pm

It was never my impression that Cold War liberals opposed McCarthy or the anti-Communist witch hunt. Where they didn't gleefully join in, they watched quietly from the sidelines while the American left was eviscerated, jailed, driven from public life. Then the liberals stepped in when it was clear things were going a little too far and just as the steam had run out of McCarthy's slander machine.

At that point figures like Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy found the path clear for their brand of political stagecraft. They were imperialists to a man, something they proved abundantly when given the chance. Liberals supplanted the left in U.S. life- in the unions, the teaching profession, publishing and every other field where criticism of the Cold War and the enduring prevalence of worker solidarity across international lines threatened the new order.

So it's no surprise that liberalism is the rallying point for a new wave of repression. The dangerous buffoon currently occupying the White House stands as a perfect foil to the phony indignation of the liberal leadership- Schumer, Pelosi et al.. The jerk was made to order, and they mean to dump him as their ideological forebears unloaded old Tail Gunner Joe. In fact, Trump is so odious, the Democrats, their media colleagues and major elements of the national security state believe that bringing down the bozo can be made to look like a triumph of democracy. Of course, by then dissent will have been stamped out far more efficiently than Trump and his half-assed cohorts could have achieved. And it will be done in the name of restoring sanity, honoring the constitution, and protecting everyone from the Russians. I was born in the fifties, and it looks like I'm going to die in the fifties.

Danny Weil , November 6, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Truman started it. And he used it very well.

THE TRUMAN DOCTRINE AND ORIGINS OF ""McCARTHYISM
By Richard M. Freeland

This book argues that Truman used anti-Communist scare tactics to force Congress to implement his plans for multilateral free trade and specifically to pass the Marshall Plan. This is a sound emphasis, but other elements of postwar anti-Communist campaigns are neglected, especially anti-labor legislation; and Freeland attributes to Truman a ""go-soft"" attitude toward the Soviets, which is certainly not proven by the fact that he restrained the ultras Forrestal, Kennan, and Byrnes -- indeed, some of Freeland's own citations confirm Truman's violent anti-Soviet spirit.

The book concludes that by equating dissent with disloyalty, promoting guilt by association, and personally commanding loyalty programs, ""Truman and his advisors employed all the political and programmatic techniques that in later years were to become associated with the broad phenomenon of McCarthyism."" Freeland's revisionism is confined and conservative: he deems the Soviets most responsible for the Cold War and implies that ""subversion"" was in fact a menace.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/richard-m-freeland/the-truman-doctrine-and-origins-of-mccarthyism/

Howard Mettee , November 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Bob,

You are one of the very few critical journalists today willing to print objective measures of the truth, while the MSM spins out of control under the guise of "protecting America" (and their vital sources), while at the same time actually undermining the very principles of a working democracy they sanctimoniously pretend to defend. It makes me nostalgic for the McCarthy era, when we could safely satirize the Army-McCarthy Hearings (unless you were a witness!). I offer the following as a retrospective of a lost era.:

Top-Ten Criteria for being a Putin Stooge, and a Chance at Winning A One Way Lottery Ticket:to the Gala Gitmo Hotel:
:
(1) Reading Consortium News, Truth Dig, The Real News Network, RT and Al Jeziera
(2) Drinking Starbucks and vodka at the Russian Tea Room with Russian tourists (with an embedded FSS agent) in NYC.
(3) Meeting suspicious tour guides in Red Square who accept dollars for their historical jokes.
(4) Claiming to catch a cell phone photo of the Putin limousine passing through the Kremlin Tower gate.
(4) Starting a joint venture with a Russian trading partner who sells grain to feed Putin's stable of stallions. .
(5) Catching the flu while being sneezed upon in Niagara Falls by a Russian violinist.
(6) Finding the hidden jewels in the Twelfth Chair were nothing but cut glass.
(7) Reading War and Peace on the Brighton Beach ferry.
(8) Playing the iPod version of Rachmaninoff's "Vespers" through ear buds while attending mass in Dallas, TX..
(9) Water skiing on the Potomac flying a pennant saying "Wasn't Boris Good Enough?"
(10) Having audibly chuckled even once at items (1) – (9). Thanks Bob, Please don't let up!

Lisa , November 6, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Howard,

I chuckled loudly more than once – but luckily, no one heard me! No witnesses! So you are acquainted with the masterpiece "12 chairs"? Very suspicious.

David G , November 6, 2017 at 8:42 pm

I've heard that's Mel Brooks favorite among his own movies.

David G , November 6, 2017 at 8:48 pm

I always find it exasperating when I have to remind the waiter at the diner to bring Russian dressing along with the reuben sandwich, but these days I wonder if my loyalty is being tested.

Dave P. , November 6, 2017 at 10:27 pm

David G –

They will change the name of dressing very soon. Remember 2003 when French refused to endorse the invasion of Iraq. I think they unofficially changed the name of "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries".

It is just the start. The whole History is being rewritten – in compliance with Zionist Ideology. Those evil Russkies will be shown as they are!

Elizabeth Burton , November 6, 2017 at 4:53 pm

Clearly, since I've published one book by a Russian, one by a now-deceased US ex-pat living in Russia, and have our catalog made available in Russia via our international distributor, I am a traitor to the US. If you add in my staunch resistance to the whole Russiagate narrative AND the fact I post links to stories in RT America, I'm doomed.

I wish I could think I'm being wholly sarcastic.

Danny Weil , November 6, 2017 at 6:38 pm

You are not alone. Many of us live outside the open air prison and feel the same way

Abe , November 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Robert Parry has described "the New McCarthyism" having "its own witch-hunt hearings". In fact "last week's Senate grilling of executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google" was merely an exercise in political theatre because all three entities already belong to the "First Draft" coalition:

http://fortune.com/2016/09/13/facebook-twitter-join-first-draft-coalition/

Formed by Google in June 2015 with Eliot Higgins of the Atlantic Council's Bellingcat as a founding member, the "First Draft" coalition includes all the usual mainstream media "partners" in "regime change" war propaganda: the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, the UK Guardian and Telegraph, BBC News, the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensics Research Lab and Kiev-based Stopfake.

In a remarkable post-truth declaration, the "First Draft" coalition insists that members will "work together to tackle common issues, including ways to streamline the verification process".

In the "post-truth" regime of US and NATO hybrid warfare, the deliberate distortion of truth and facts is called "verification".

The Washington Post / PropOrNot imbroglio, and "First Draft" coalition "partner" organizations' zeal to "verify" US intelligence-backed fake news claims about Russian hacking of the US presidential election, reveal the "post-truth" mission of this new Google-backed hybrid war propaganda alliance.

Abe , November 6, 2017 at 5:45 pm

The Russia-gate "witch-hunt" has graduated from McCarthyism to full Monty Pythonism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3jt5ibfRzw

Dan Kuhn , November 6, 2017 at 6:41 pm

You get the gold star for best comment today.

Abe , November 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Hysterical demonization of Russia escalated dramatically after Russia thwarted the Israeli-Saudi-US plan to dismember the Syrian state.

With the rollback of ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorist proxy forces in Syria, and the failure of Kurdish separatist efforts in Iraq, Israel plans to launch military attacks against southern Lebanon and Syria.

South Front has presented a cogent and fairly detailed analysis of Israel's upcoming war in southern Lebanon.

Conspicuously absent from the South Front analysis is any discussion of the Israeli planned assault on Syria, or possible responses to the conflict from the United States or Russia.

Israeli propaganda preparations for attack are already in high gear. Unfortunately, sober heads are in perilously short supply in Israel and the U.S., so the prognosis can hardly be optimistic.

"Scenarios for the Third Lebanon War

Over time, IDF's military effectiveness had declined. [ ] In the Second Lebanon War of 2006 due to the overwhelming numerical superiority in men and equipment the IDF managed to occupy key strong points but failed to inflict a decisive defeat on Hezbollah. The frequency of attacks in Israeli territory was not reduced; the units of the IDF became bogged down in the fighting in the settlements and suffered significant losses. There now exists considerable political pressure to reassert IDF's lost military dominance and, despite the complexity and unpredictability of the situation we may assume the future conflict will feature only two sides, IDF and Hezbollah. Based on the bellicose statements of the leadership of the Jewish state, the fighting will be initiated by Israel.

"The operation will begin with a massive evacuation of residents from the settlements in the north and centre of Israel. Since Hezbollah has agents within the IDF, it will not be possible to keep secret the concentration of troops on the border and a mass evacuation of civilians. Hezbollah units will will be ordered to occupy a prepared defensive position and simultaneously open fire on places were IDF units are concentrated. The civilian population of southern Lebanon will most likely be evacuated. IDF will launch massive bombing causing great damage to the social infrastructure and some damage to Hezbollah's military infrastructure, but without destroying the carefully protected and camouflaged rocket launchers and launch sites.

"Hezbollah control and communications systems have elements of redundancy. Consequently, regardless of the use of specialized precision-guided munitions, the command posts and electronic warfare systems will not be paralysed, maintaining communications including through the use of fibre-optic communications means. IDF discovered that the movement has such equipment during the 2006 war. Smaller units will operate independently, working with open communication channels, using the pre-defined call signs and codes.

"Israeli troops will then cross the border of Lebanon, despite the presence of the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, beginning a ground operation with the involvement of a greater number of units than in the 2006 war. The IDF troops will occupy commanding heights and begin to prepare for assaults on settlements and actions in the tunnels. The Israelis do not score a quick victory as they suffer heavy losses in built-up areas. The need to secure occupied territory with patrols and checkpoints will cause further losses.

"The fact that Israel itself started the war and caused damage to the civilian infrastructure, allows the leadership of the movement to use its missile arsenal on Israeli cities. While Israel's missile defence systems can successfully intercept the launched missiles, there are not enough of them to blunt the bombardment. The civilian evacuation paralyzes life in the country. As soon IDF's Iron Dome and other medium-range systems are spent on short-range Hezbollah rockets, the bombardment of Israel with long-range missiles may commence. Hezbollah's Iranian solid-fuel rockets do not require much time to prepare for launch and may target the entire territory of Israel, causing further losses.

"It is difficult to assess the duration of actions of this war. One thing that seems certain is that Israel shouldn't count on its rapid conclusion, similar to last September's exercises. Hezbollah units are stronger and more capable than during the 2006 war, despite the fact that they are fighting in Syria and suffered losses there.

"Conclusions

"The combination of large-scale exercises and bellicose rhetoric is intended to muster Israeli public support for the aggression against Hezbollah by convincing the public the victory would be swift and bloodless. Instead of restraint based on a sober assessment of relative capabilities, Israeli leaders appear to be in a state of blood lust. In contrast, the Hezbollah has thus far demonstrated restraint and diplomacy.

"Underestimating the adversary is always the first step towards a defeat. Such mistakes are paid for with soldiers' blood and commanders' careers. The latest IDF exercises suggest Israeli leaders underestimate the opponent and, more importantly, consider them to be quite dumb. In reality, Hezbollah units will not cross the border. There is no need to provoke the already too nervous neighbor and to suffer losses solely to plant a flag and photograph it for their leader. For Hezbollah, it is easier and safer when the Israeli soldiers come to them. According to the IDF soldiers who served in Gaza and southern Lebanon, it is easier to operate on the plains of Gaza than the mountainous terrain of southern Lebanon. This is a problem for armoured vehicles fighting for control of heights, tunnels, and settlements, where they are exposed to anti-armor weapons.

"While the Israeli establishment is in a state of patriotic frenzy, it would be a good time for them to turn to the wisdom of their ancestors. After all, as the old Jewish proverb says: 'War is a big swamp, easy to go into but hard to get out'."

Israeli Defense Forces: Military Capabilities, Scenarios for the Third Lebanon War
https://southfront.org/israeli-defense-forces-military-capabilities-scenarios-for-the-third-lebanon-war/

Realist , November 6, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Yes, the latest "big fish" outed yesterday as an agent of the Kremlin was the U.S. Secretary of Commerce (Wilbur Ross) who was discovered to hold stock in a shipping company that does business with a Russian petrochemical company (Sibur) whose owners include Vladimir Putin's son-in-law (Kirill Shamalov). Obviously the orders flow directly from Putin to Shamalov to Sibur to the shipping company to Ross to Trump, all to the detriment of American citizens.

From RT (another tainted source!): "US Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. has a stake in a shipping firm that receives millions of dollars a year in revenue from a company whose key owners include Russian President Vladimir Putin's son-in-law and a Russian tycoon sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department as a member of Putin's inner circle," says the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the main publisher of the Paradise Papers. After the report was published, some US lawmakers accused Ross of misleading Congress during his confirmation hearings." Don't go mistaking the "International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for "Consortium News." These guys are dedicated witch hunters, searching for anyone with six degrees of separation to Vladimir Putin and his grand plan to thwart the United States and effect regime change within its borders.

In a clear attempt to weasel out of his traitorous transgression, Ross stated "In a separate interview with CNBC, that Sibur [which is NOT the company he owned stock in] was not subject to US sanctions." 'A company not under sanction is just like any other company, period. It was a normal commercial relationship and one that I had nothing to do with the creation of, and do not know the shareholders who were apparently sanctioned at some later point in time,' he said." Since when can we start allowing excuses like that? Not knowing that someone holds stock in a company that does business with a company in which you own stock may at some later point in time become sanctioned by the all-wise and all-good American federal government?

I can't wait till they make the first Ben Stiller comedy based on this fiasco twenty years from now. It will be hilarious slap-stick, maybe titled "Can You Believe these Mother Fockers?" President Chelea Clinton of our great and noble idiocracy will throw out the first witch on opening day of the movie.

Danny Weil , November 6, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Let's be honest. Most Americans think McCarthy is a retail store. No education. And they think Russia is the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Trump is in Japan to start war with N. Korea to hide the blemishes or the canker on his ass. America is rapidly collapsing.

Adrian Engler , November 6, 2017 at 6:34 pm

In the beginning, "Russiagate" was about alleged actions by Russian secret services. Evidence for these allegations has never emerged, and it seems that the Russiagate conspiracy theorists largely gave up on this part (they still sometimes write about it as if it was an established fact, but since the only thing in support of it they can adduce is the canard about the 17 intelligence services, it probably is not that interesting any more).

Now, they have dropped the mask, and the object of their hatred are openly all Russian people, anyone who is "Russian linked" by ever having logged in to social networks from Russia or using Cyrillic letters. If these people and their media at least recognized the reality that they are now a particularly rabid part of the xenophobic far right in the United States

But when people daily spew hate against anything and anyone "Russia linked" and still don't recognize that they have gone over to the far right and even claim they are liberal or progressive, this is completely absurd.

McCarthyism, as terrible as it was, at least originally was motivated by hatred against a certain political ideology that also had its bad sides. But today's Russiagate peddlers clearly are motivated by hatred against a certain ethnicity, a certain country, and a certain language. I don't think there is any way to avoid the conclusion that with their hatred against anyone who is "Russia linked", they have become right-wing extremists.

Litchfield , November 6, 2017 at 6:46 pm

"Israel is another skilled player in this field, tapping into its supporters around the world to harass people who criticize the Zionist project."

Yes, very well organized.
In fact virtually every synagogue is a center for organizing people to harass others who are exercising their First Amendment rights to diseminate information about Israel's occupation of Palestine. The link below is to a protest and really, personal attack, against a Unitarian minister in Marblehead, Mass., for daring to screen the film ""The Occupation of the American Mind, Israel's Public Relations War in the United States." In other words, for daring to provide an dissenting opinion and, simply, to tell the truth. Ironic is that the protesters' comment actually reinforce the basic message of the film.
No other views on Israel will be allowed to enter the public for a good airing and discussion and debate. The truth about the illegal Israeli occupation will be shouted down, and those who try to provide information to the public on this subject will be vilified as "anti-semites." Kudos to this minister for screening the film.

http://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/screening-of-film-sparks-protest-in-marblehead/article_0b075cbc-c2ae-5d46-916a-24eed79d30cd.html

http://cdn.field59.com/SALEMNEWS/ebb60114f782c4213f068bf0a39a4a46451ed871_fl9-360p.mp4

Abe , November 7, 2017 at 1:03 am

The Occupation of the American Mind: Israel's Public Relations War in the United States (2016) examines pro-Israel Hasbara propaganda efforts within the U.S.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD7mOyfclIk

This important documentary, narrated by Roger waters, exposes how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel Lobby join forces to shape American media coverage in Israel's favor.

Documentary producer Sut Jhally is professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, and a leading scholar on advertising, public relations, and political propaganda. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the Media Education Foundation, a documentary film company that looks at issues related to U.S. media and public attitudes.

Jhally is the producer and director of dozens of documentaries about U.S. politics and media culture, including Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land: U.S. Media & the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.

The Occupation of the American Mind provides a sweeping analysis of Israel's decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people – a battle that has only intensified over the past few years in the face of widening international condemnation of Israel's increasingly right-wing policies.

Dave P. , November 7, 2017 at 2:45 am

Abe –

The interview of Roger Waters on RT is one of the best I have seen in a long while. I wish some other artists get the courage to raise their voices. The link to the Roger Waters interview is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7jcvfbLoIA This Roger Waters interview is worth watching.

Dan Kuhn , November 6, 2017 at 6:57 pm

It would seem that everyone on the US telivision , newspaper and internet news has mastered the art of hand over mouth , gasp and looking horrified every time Russia is mentioned. It looks to me that the US is in the middle of another of it´s mid life crises. Panic reigns supreme every where. If it was not so sad it would be funny. i was born in the 1940s and remember the McCarthy witch hunts and the daily shower of people jumping out of windows as a result of it.

As a Canadian I could not get over, even though I was just a teenager back then, just how a people in a supposedly advanced country could be so collectively paniced. I think back then it was just a scam to get rid of unions and any kind of collective action against the owners of the country, and this time around I think it is just a continuation of that scam, to frighten people into subservience to the police state. I heard a women on TV today commenting on the Texas masscre, she said " The devil never sleeps", well in the USA the 1/10 of 1% never sleeps when it comes to more control, more pwoer and more wealth, in fact I think they are after the very last shekle still left in the pockets of the bottom 99.9 % of the population. Those evil Russians are just a ploy in the scam.

Litchfield , November 6, 2017 at 6:58 pm

"The Democrats, the liberals and even many progressives justify their collusion with the neocons by the need to remove Trump by any means necessary and "stop fascism." But their contempt for Trump and their exaggeration of the "Hitler" threat that this incompetent buffoon supposedly poses have blinded them to the extraordinary risks attendant to their course of action and how they are playing into the hands of the war-hungry neocons."

And they are driving more and more actual and potential Dem Party members away in droves, further weakening the party and depriving it of its most intelligent members. Any non-senile person knows that this is all BS and these people are not only turning their backs on the Dem Party but I think many of them are being driven to the right by their disgust with this circus and the exposure of the party's critical weaknesses and derangement.

Paolo , November 6, 2017 at 6:59 pm

You correctly write that "the United States intervened in the 1996 Russian election to ensure the continued rule of the corrupt and pliable Boris Yeltsin". The irony is that a few years later Yeltsin chose Putin as his successor, and presumably the 'mericans gave him a hand to win his first term.
How extremely sad it is to see the USA going totally nuts.

Abe , November 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm

In The Fifties (1993), American journalist and historian David Halberstam addressed the noxious effect of McCarthyism: "McCarthy's carnival like four year spree of accusation charges, and threats touched something deep in the American body politic, something that lasted long after his own recklessness, carelessness and boozing ended his career in shame." (page 53)

Halberstam specifically discussed how readily the so-called "free" press acquiesced to McCarthy's masquerading: "The real scandal in all this was the behavior of the members of the Washington press corps, who, more often than not, knew better. They were delighted to be a part of his traveling road show, chronicling each charge and then moving on to the next town, instead of bothering to stay behind and follow up. They had little interest in reporting how careless McCarthy was or how little it all meant to him." (page 55)

Abe , November 6, 2017 at 9:15 pm

On March 9, 1954, Edward R. Murrow and a news team at CBS produced a half-hour See It Now special titled "A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy".

Murrow interspersed his own comments and clarifications into a damaging series of film clips from McCarthy's speeches. He ended the broadcast with a warning:

"As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves–as indeed we are–the defenders of freedom, what's left of it, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies, and whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn't create the situation of fear; he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right: 'The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.'"

CBS reported that of the 12,000 phone calls received within 24 hours of the broadcast, positive responses to the program outnumbered negative 15 to 1. McCarthy's favorable rating in the Gallup Poll dropped and was never to rise again.

Gary , November 6, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Sad to see so many hypocrites here espousing freedom from McCarthyism while they continue to vote for capitalist candidates year in year out. Think about the fact that in 2010 when Citizens United managed to get the Supreme Court to certify corporations as people the fear among many was that this would open US company subsidiaries to be infiltrated by foreign money. I guess it is happening in spades with collusion between Russian money & Trump's organization along with Facebook, Twitter & many others. How Mr. Parry can maintain that this parallels the 1950s anti-communist crusade is quite ingenuous. When libertarians, the likes of Bannon, Mercer, Trump et al, with their "destruction of the administrative state" credo are compared to the US communists of the 50s we know progressives have become about as disoriented as can be.

geeyp , November 7, 2017 at 3:30 am

I guess these "Paradise Papers" were released just yesterday, i.e., Sunday the 5th. Somehow I didn't get to it.

john wilson , November 7, 2017 at 6:01 am

So it looks like Hillary will be crossing Putin off her Xmas card list this year! I sometimes wonder if all we posters on here and other similar sites are on a list somewhere and when the day of reckoning comes, the list will be produced and we will have to account for our treasonous behaviour? Of course, one man's treason is another man's truth. I suppose in the end it boils down to the power thing. If you have a perceived enemy you can claim the need for an army. If you have an army you have power and with that power you can dispose of anyone who disagrees with you simply by calling them the enemy.

Lisa , November 7, 2017 at 9:38 am

John, your post made me wonder whether I would be on a list of traitors. I've written three posts, starting yesterday, and tried to explain something about the background of Yuri Milner, mentioned in the article. After "your comment has been posted, thank you" nothing has appeared on this thread.
Well, once more: Milner is known to me as a well-educated physicist from Moscow State University, and the co-founder and financier of The Breakthrough Prize, handing out yearly awards to promising scientists, with a much larger sum than the humble Nobel Prize. The awarding ceremony is held in December in Silicon Valley.

john wilson , November 7, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Hi Lisa, I have just looked up Milner on Wiki and he appears to be into everything including investment in internet companies. He is the co-founder of the "break through prize" that you mention and seems to have backed face book and twitter in their start up. I don't see why you posts haven't appeared as anyone can look Milner up on Wiki and elsewhere in great detail. You don't say where you have tried to post, but I would have thought on this site you would have no trouble whatever. If you have watched the last episode of 'cross talk' on RT you will see that anyone who as ever mentioned Russia in a public place is regarded as some kind of traitor. I guess you and me are due for rendition anytime now!! LOL

Lisa , November 7, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Hi John,
Naturally I had been trying to post on this site. First I tried three times in the comment space below all other posts, and they never went through. Only when I posted a reply to someone else's comment, my reply appeared. Maybe some technical problem on the site.

My motive was to show that Milner is doing worthwhile things with his millions, even if he is an "evil Russian oligarch". The mentioned prize has its own website: breakthroughprize.org. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) is a board member.

The prize is certainly a "Putin conspiracy", as it has links to Russia. (sarc)

Zachary Smith , November 7, 2017 at 8:05 pm

Maybe some technical problem on the site.

Possibly that's the case. Disappearing-forever posts happen to me from time to time. For at least a while afterwards I cut/paste what I'm about to attempt to "post" to a WORD file before hitting the "post comment" button.

In any event, avoid links whenever possible. By cut/pasting the exact title of the piece you're using as a reference, others can quickly locate it themselves without a link.

K , November 7, 2017 at 9:44 am

I'm a lifelong Democrat. I was a Bernie supporter. But logic dictates my thinking. The Russia nonsense is cover for Hillary's loss and a convenient hammer with which to attack Trump. Not biting. Bill Maher is fixated on this. The Rob Reiner crowd is an embarrassment. The whole thing is embarrassing. The media is inept. Very bizarre times.

Patricia Schaefer , November 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

Excellent article which should shed light on the misunderstandings manifested to manipulate and censor Americans. Personally, it's ludicrous to imply that Russia was the primary reason I could not vote for Hillary. My interest in Twitter peaked when Sidney Blumenthal's name popped up selling arms in Libya. He was on The Clinton Foundation's Payroll for $120K, while the Obama Administration specifically told HRC Sidney Blumenthal was not to work for the State Department.

Further research showed Chris Stevens had no knowledge of Sidney Blumenthal selling arms in Libya. Hillary NEVER even gave Chris Stevens, a candidate with an outstanding background for diplomatic relations in the Middle East, her email. Chris Stevens possessed a Law Degree in International Trade, and had previously worked for Senator Lugar (R). Senator Lugar had warned HRC not to co-mingle State Department business with The Clinton Foundation.

To add salt to the wound Hillary choose to put a third rate security firm in Libya, changing firms a couple of short weeks before the bombing. I think she anticipated the bombing, remarking "What difference does it make? " at the congressional hearings.

If you remember Guccifer (that hacker) he said he'd hacked both Hillary and Sidney Blumenthal. He also said he found Sidney Blumenthal's account more interesting.

That's just one reason why I started surfing the internet. Sidney Blumenthal was a name that hung in the cobwebs of my memory, and I wanted to know what this scum-job of a journalist was doing!

Then there was Clinton Cash, BoysonTheTracks, Clinton Chronicles, the outrageous audacity of the Democrats Superdelegates voting before a single primary ballot had been cast, MSM bias to Hillary, Kathy Shelton's video "I thought you should know." and maybe around September 2016, wondering what dirty things Hillary had done with Russia since 1993?

So I guess it's true. In the end after witnessing what has transpired since the election I would not vote for Hillary because she'd rather risk WWIII, than have the TRUTH come out why she lost.

Gary , November 7, 2017 at 3:16 pm

After living in Europe much of the last three years we've recently returned to the U.S. I must say that life here feels very much like I'm living within a strange Absurdist theatre play of some sort (not that Europe is vastly better). Truth, meaning, rationality, mean absolutely nothing at this juncture here in the United States. Reality has been turned on its head. The only difference between our political parties runs along identity politics lines: "do you prefer your drone strikes, illegal invasions, regime change black-ops, economic warfare and massive government spying 'with' or 'without' gender specific bathrooms?" MSM refer to this situation as "democracy" while of course any thinking person knows we are actually living within a totalitarian nightmare. Theatre of the Absurd as a way of life. I must admit it feels pretty creepy being home again.

Realist , November 7, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Should this give us hope? https://sputniknews.com/us/201711071058899018-trump-cia-meet-whistleblower-russian-hacking/ Trump ordered Pompeo to meet with Binney of VIPS re "Russian hacking." Is it time for the absurd Russia-gate narrative to finally be publicly deconstructed? Or is that asking too much?

Skip Scott , November 8, 2017 at 9:04 am

I wish it wasn't asking too much, but I suspect it is. If the NYT was reporting it, I'd feel better about our chances. But the Deep State controls the narrative, and thus controls Pompeo, Trump's order notwithstanding. I hope I'm wrong.

Dave P. , November 7, 2017 at 4:17 pm

Yes Joe. It is rather painful to watch as you said this Orwellian Tragedy playing out in the Country which has just about become a police state. For those of us who grew up admiring the Western Civilization starting with the Greeks and Romans, and then for its institutions enshrining Individual Rights; and its scientific, literary, and cultural achievements, it is as if it still happening in some dream, though it has been coming for some time now – more than two decades now at least. The System was not perfect but I think that it was good as it could get. The system had been in decline for four decades or so now.

From Robert Parry's article:

"The warning from powerful senators was crystal clear. "I don't think you get it," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, warned social media executives last week. "You bear this responsibility. You created these platforms, and now they are being misused. And you have to be the ones who do something about it. Or we will."

Diane Feinstein's multi-billionaire husband was implicated in those Loan and Savings scandals of Reagan and G.H.W. Bush Era and in many other financial scandals later on but Law did not touch him. He has a dual residency in Israel. These are very corrupt people.

Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, Perle, Nulad-Kagan clan, Kristol, Gaffney . . . the list goes on; add Netanyahu to it. In the Hollywood Harvey Weinstein, Rob Reiner. and the rest . . . In Finance and wall Street characters like Sandy Weiss and the gang. The Media and TV is directly or indirectly owned and controlled by "The Chosen People". So, where would you put the blame for all what is going on in this country, and all this chaos, death, and destruction going on in ME and many countries in Africa.

Any body who points out their role in it or utters a word of criticism of Israel is immediately called an anti-semite. Just to tell my own connections, my wife youngest sister is married to person who is Jewish (non-practicing). In all the relatives we have, they are closest to us for more than thirty five years now. They are those transgender common restroom liberals, but we have many common views and interests. In life, I have never differentiated people based on their ethnic or racial backgrounds; you look at the principles they stand for.

As I see it, this era of Russia-Gate and witch hunt is hundred times worse than McCarthy era. It seems irreversible. There is no one in the political establishment or elsewhere in Media or academia left for regeneration of the "Body Politic". In fact, what we are witnessing here is much worse than it was in the Soviet Union. It is complete degeneration of political leadership in this country. It extends to Media and other institutions as well. People in Soviet Union did not believe the lies they were told by the government there. And there arose writers like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Soviet Union. What is left here now except are these few websites?

Maedhros , November 7, 2017 at 4:27 pm

If there is evidence, you should be able to provide some so that readers can analyze and discuss it. Exactly what evidence has been provided that the Russian government manipulated the 2016 election?

CitizenOne , November 7, 2017 at 10:42 pm

Robert Parry You Nailed It!!!

I need to do a little research to see how far back you used the term "New McCarthyism" to describe the next cold war with Russia. It was about the same time the first allegations of a Trump-Russia conspiracy was floated by the MSM. I do not pretend to know how much airtime they spent covering their coverup for all that the MSM did to profit from SuperPacs. They have webed a weave that conspires to conceive to the tunes of billions of dollars spent to reprieve their intent to deceive us and distract us away from their investment in Donald Trump which was the real influence in the public spaces to gain mega profits from extorting the SuperPacs into spending their dollars to defeat the trumped up candidate they created and boosted. One has to look no further than the Main Stream Press (MSM) to find the guilty party with motive and opportunity to cash in on a candidacy which if not for the money motive would not pass any test of journalistic integrity but would make money for the Media.

The Russian Boogeyman was created shortly after the election and is an obvious attempt to shield and defend the actions of the MSM which was the real fake news covered in the nightly news leading up to the election which sought to get money rather than present the facts.

This is an example of how much power and influence the MSM has on us all to be able to upend a National election and turn around and blame some foreign Devil for the results of an election.

The Russians had little to do with Trumps election. The MSM had everything to do with it. They cast blame on the Russians and in so doing create a new Cold War which suits the power establishment and suitably diverts all of our attention away from their machinations to influence the last presidential election.

Win Win. More Nuclear Weapons and more money for the MIC and more money for all of the corporations who would profit from a new Cold War.

Profit in times of deceit make more money from those who cheat.

CitizenOne , November 7, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Things not talked about:

1. James Comey and his very real influence on the election has never entered the media space for an instant. It has gone down the collective memory hole. That silence has been deafening because he was the person who against DOJ advice reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton and the Servergate investigation after it had been closed by the FBI just days before the election.

The silence of the media on the influence on the election by the reopening of James Comey's Servergate investigation and how the mass media press coverage implicating Hillary Clinton (again) in supposed crimes (which never resulted in an indictment) influenced the National Election in ways that have never been examined by the MSM is a nail in the coffin of media impartiality.

Why have they not investigated James Comey? Why has the MSM instead created a Russian Boogeyman? Why was he invited to testify about the Russian connection but never cross examined about his own influence? Why is the clearest reason for election meddling by James Comey not even spoken of by the MSM? This is because the MSM does not want to cover events as they happened but wants to recreate a alternate reality suitable to themselves which serves their interests and convinces us that the MSM has no part at all in downplaying the involvement of themselves in the election but wants to create a foreign enemy to blame.

It serves many interests. The MSM lies to all of us for the benefit of the MIC. It serves to support White House which will deliver maximum investments in the Defense Industry. It does this by creating a foreign enemy which they create for us to fear and be afraid of.

It is obvious to everyone with a clear eyed history of how the last election went down and how the MSM and the government later played upon our fears to grab more cash have cashed in under the present administration.

It is up to us to elect leaders who will reject this manipulation by the media and who will not be cowed by the establishment. We have the power enshrined in our Constitution to elect leaders who will pave the path forward to a better future.

Those future leaders will have to do battle with a media infrastructure that serves the power structure and conspires to deceive us all.

Jessica K , November 8, 2017 at 9:43 am

Clear critical thinking must accompany free speech, however, and irrationality seems to have beset Americans, too stuck in the mud of identity politics. Can they get out? I have hopes that a push is coming from the new multipolar world Xi and Putin are advocating, as well as others (but not the George Soros NWO variety). The big bully American government, actually ruled by oligarchy, has not been serving its regular folks well, so things are falling apart. Seems like the sex scandals, political scandals especially of the Democrat brand, money scandals are unraveling to expose underlying societal sickness in the Disunited States of America.

It is interesting that this purge shakeup in Saudi Arabia is happening in 2017, one hundred years since the shakeup in Russia, the Bolshevik Revolution. So shake-ups are happening everywhere. I think a pattern is emerging of major changes in world events. Just yesterday I read that because "Russia-gate" isn't working well, senators are looking to start a "China-gate", for evidence of Trump collusion with Chinese oligarchs. Ludicrous. As Seer once said, "The Empire in panic mode".

Patricia, thanks for the info on Sid Blumenthal, HRC and the selling of arms from Libya to ME jihadists, which seems to exonerate Chris Stevens from those dirty deeds and lays blame squarely at Blumenthal's and Clinton's doorstep; changes my thinking. And thanks to Robert Parry for continuing to push back at the participation of MSM and government players in the Orwellian masquerade being pulled on the sheeple.

Truther , November 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Just the facts for those of you who have minds still open. suggest you bookmark it quickly as the moderator will delete it within the hour.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/a-timeline-of-the-trump-russia-scandal-w511067

[Nov 08, 2017] Harvey Weinstein's Stasi by Rod Dreher

Notable quotes:
"... Perhaps men and women who enter into service in a national military or intelligence agency should be required to sign a life-time oath NOT to accept employment in any investigative or paramilitary outfit in the private sector, enforceable by a life prison sentence? ..."
"... The two are by and large antithetical. Now the weakness of socialism, to date, is that without a sense of community and ethics, it looks an awful lot like monopoly capitalism. Fidel Castro understood that, but his error was thinking he could inculcate community and ethics by decree (and if necessary force). ..."
"... There are all kinds of reasons why Harvey W. was not outed earlier, some having to do with the culture at large, some having to do with the extreme insecurity of anyone in show business. But I am a little uneasy with the frenzy of accusations across the country that have followed. Some have got to be opportunistic rather than real. ..."
"... Anybody who goes to the show right now, knowing what we know or will eventually discover – Weinstein is just the tip of the iceberg – is simply subsidizing evil. ..."
"... Anybody who's lived in Hollywood, knows that the lure of fame is such that any compromise will be acceded to as the cost of obtaining it. Of course, those who prostituted themselves and violated their consciences, won't mind getting revenge if the opportunity someday arises. ..."
"... What David Boies did was just about the worse thing a lawyer can do which is to betray a client. Not even a former client, a current one, and not by accident either. This was intentional betrayal made with a sober mind. This Harvey guy is so important to him that Boies has basically thrown away his integrity, hopefully his law license, and his reputation forever just to stop some rumors. ..."
"... The Mossad (or "ex-Mossad") angle brings in the hint of state action on behalf of individuals. Groups like that one do not work for everyone, and how do we know if those agents really are "ex-" or not. ..."
Nov 07, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Here's more reporting by Ronan Farrow that suggests a good reason why people were afraid to speak out about Harvey Weinstein's sexual assaults:

In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women. He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world's largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives "highly experienced and trained in Israel's elite military and governmental intelligence units," according to its literature.

Two private investigators from Black Cube, using false identities, met with the actress Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, to extract information from her. One of the investigators pretended to be a women's-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan. The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press. In other cases, journalists directed by Weinstein or the private investigators interviewed women and reported back the details.

The explicit goal of the investigations, laid out in one contract with Black Cube, signed in July, was to stop the publication of the abuse allegations against Weinstein that eventually emerged in the New York Times and The New Yorker . Over the course of a year, Weinstein had the agencies "target," or collect information on, dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories. Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.

Weinstein's lawyer, the cream-of-the-croppy David Boies, knew a lot about this. Farrow also reports about how Weinstein allegedly conspired with the owner of the National Enquirer to dig up dirt on those who accused him.

Read the whole thing.

Harvey Weinstein is a monster. After reading this piece, it is easier to understand why people stayed quiet about his behavior.

Centralist ,, November 7, 2017 at 10:22 am

The sins of capitalism without ethics and a man without ethics, in perfect harmony.

The joke that this brings to mind is "What is the worst thing for capitalism?" "A pure capitalist". To have a good capitalist system you need sense of community and ethics to guide them. The sense of only "I" is the greatest cause of such abuse. Sadly though this is more in line with a return to old power politics of city states that use to dominate the Italy, Greece, and the Mideast. While often apart of larger empires with their own security forces individual wealth magnates and nobles had their own private forces to keep the rift raft in check because of legal grey area and coupled with official leadership to weak or to in the pocket of the rich to do anything about it.

The further forward we go, the more we go back. I think Mr. Dreher and interesting idea for a novel from you would be a Benedict Option Society in a cyberpunk post nation-state world. Just an idea.

Siarlys Jenkins , says: November 7, 2017 at 10:43 am
The monstrosity is hardly unique to Weinstein. After all, Black Cube must have quite a few other well-heeled clients with similar needs or it wouldn't be in business on several continents. That seems to be more of a threat to peace and freedom and democracy and liberty and public morality than one man's particular sins, or his desires to cover them up.

Perhaps men and women who enter into service in a national military or intelligence agency should be required to sign a life-time oath NOT to accept employment in any investigative or paramilitary outfit in the private sector, enforceable by a life prison sentence?

To have a good capitalist system you need sense of community and ethics to guide them.

The two are by and large antithetical. Now the weakness of socialism, to date, is that without a sense of community and ethics, it looks an awful lot like monopoly capitalism. Fidel Castro understood that, but his error was thinking he could inculcate community and ethics by decree (and if necessary force).

TR , says: November 7, 2017 at 10:53 am
I suggest opening the TAC link to Joseph Epstein's take-down of Leon Wieseltier in the Weekly Standard. A masterpiece.

There are all kinds of reasons why Harvey W. was not outed earlier, some having to do with the culture at large, some having to do with the extreme insecurity of anyone in show business. But I am a little uneasy with the frenzy of accusations across the country that have followed. Some have got to be opportunistic rather than real.

For those interested in tales of the cssting couch of old, check out the life of Harry Cohn, the longtime head of Columbia Pictures.

Potato , says: November 7, 2017 at 11:05 am
I am concerned about the part in all this played by attorney David Boies, and I think the Bar should initiate an investigation into his involvement. This falls seriously short of the ethical behavior we expect of people who are, after all, officers of the Court.

I also believe that any claim of attorney-client privilege as to these materials, in a situation where Boies is claiming that he and his firm did not direct the investigative agencies involved and did not know much about their findings, is farcical, and would never have held up in court. Assuming that he is telling the truth about this ignorance of his, Mr. Boies should surely have known that a claim of privilege would not hold up, and should so have advised his client at the beginning of this entire transaction.

Or, alternatively, he is lying his head off about how much he knew, which is worse.

David Boies is now very understandably backing quickly away from this whole situation, but I believe that it may be too late for him to be in the clear.

One wonders, or I do, why Mr. Boies consented to be involved in the first place. Surely he personally and his firm both have plenty of money, so financial desperation cannot play a part. Is a man in his position so blinded by Fame and Fortune that his good judgment was compromised to this degree? He seems to be at least marginally good, at this late date, at naming all the reasons this was a bad idea for him. One wonders why all this did not occur to him sooner.

Another possibility is that Weinstein or someone closely connected to Weinstein "has the goods" on Mr. Boies, and was able to in effect blackmail him. Weinstein and his associates seem uncommonly good at that.

Or, I wonder, is it just One Of Those Things? You do things, then you do something that is a tiny bit questionable (but hugely profitable), and then the next thing is a tiny bit more questionable until, without really thinking about it, you find yourself in the position David Boies is now in, or worse, in commission of a felony. This kind of thing happens all the time, sadly, when someone like Boies has a moral compass which is a bit out of adjustment.

Jason , says: November 7, 2017 at 11:23 am
Anybody who goes to the show right now, knowing what we know or will eventually discover – Weinstein is just the tip of the iceberg – is simply subsidizing evil.
charles cosimano , says: November 7, 2017 at 11:43 am
Seems he did everything right except the execution. He never would have made it in the mafia.
Sam M , says: November 7, 2017 at 11:54 am
"After reading this piece, it is easier to understand why people stayed quiet about his behavior."

But also easier to believe that, "I didn't know."

This matters. It's one thing for a young aspiring starlet getting off a bus in Hollywood with $20 in her pocket to fall in line. But it's quite another for multi-millionaire power brokers who worked with Weinstein to sit back and watch him abuse one such aspiring starlet after another for 20 years.

There were plenty of producers and actors and directors who knew plenty and never raised a finger, despite having the financial and professional wherewithal to take that risk.

Captain P , says: November 7, 2017 at 1:07 pm
Potato

> I am concerned about the part in all this played by attorney David Boies, and I think the Bar should initiate an investigation into his involvement. This falls seriously short of the ethical behavior we expect of people who are, after all, officers of the Court.

Sounds like the NYT is going to be suing Boies for his unethical behavior:

"We learned today that the law firm of Boies Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm's lawyers were representing us in other matters," Eileen Murphy, a New York Times spokesperson, told TheWrap.

"We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe," she continued. "It is inexcusable, and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies."

https://www.thewrap.com/new-york-times-david-boies-harvey-weinstein/

Fran Macadam , says: November 7, 2017 at 1:08 pm
Anybody who's lived in Hollywood, knows that the lure of fame is such that any compromise will be acceded to as the cost of obtaining it. Of course, those who prostituted themselves and violated their consciences, won't mind getting revenge if the opportunity someday arises.

And whatever happens on casting couches, is simply the behind the scenes sideplay of the same things acted out onscreen.

In a way, it's consensual if that is the bargain you agreed with yourself to make to get what you wanted.

We've already determined what you are, now we're just negotiating about the price.

theMann , says: November 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm
Weinstein is stone cold via RICO on extortion, multiple times. Any prosecutor worth his salt (very few of them actually, but another subject) can and should start rolling out the counts. All the people covering up for him, launch discovery and see just how far their accessory goes, also prosecutable under RICO.

hum .Hollywood. Lets all hold our breath until it happens.

ludo , says: November 7, 2017 at 1:47 pm
At least he didn't have anybody disappeared, unlike routinely happens in Mexico and so many other increasingly neo-medieval places in the world, so credit for that.
pitchfork , says: November 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm
"The monstrosity is hardly unique to Weinstein. After all, Black Cube must have quite a few other well-heeled clients with similar needs or it wouldn't be in business on several continents. That seems to be more of a threat to peace and freedom and democracy and liberty and public morality than one man's particular sins, or his desires to cover them up."

Indeed. And a common tactic seems to be to run everything through a law firm, thereby putting it all under attorney-client privilege. The cyber-security team that Bank of America hired to take down Glenn Greenwald a few years back was apparently organized through Hunton and Williams. At the DOJ's suggestion, no less.

https://wikileaks.org/hbgary-emails/emailid/13730

And this kind of thing isn't confined to media moguls and banks, either. When I was a PhD student I was involved in organizing against certain development plans at my university. On one of the emails between myself, other organizers, and the university vice president, the VP had copied some university employees that had nothing apparent to do with the issue we were protesting. When I researched who _they_ were, one of them had just been hired away from Booz Allen Hamilton. Later on, after the protests were over (we lost, by the way), an insider in the administration told me directly, in great detail, that I, my wife, and other organizers had been carefully watched the whole time. Lucky for me, I'm a good boy with a squeaky clean past, but that's how this university VP rolled.

Lllurker , says: November 7, 2017 at 2:19 pm
Shades of Roger Ailes. One more story that shows how ignorant some of us who live out our lives in flyover country can be about this sort of thing. Until the Roger Ailes thing broke I pretty much assumed that hiring "security firms" of this nature was something that just took place in spy novels and westerns.

I wonder if these hired guns who stalk and intimidate people for a living are ever convicted of crimes like stalking and intimidating.

Countme-a-Demon , says: November 7, 2017 at 2:20 pm
Odd that the title of the article reads "Harvey Weinstein's Stasi", when "Harvey Weinstein's Mossad" was right there for the picking. Is Mossad a different kind of Stasi? Those agents should be arrested and charged as well. Then deported, if ICE isn't too overworked.
JCM , says: November 7, 2017 at 3:20 pm
I wonder why Mr. Weinstein didn't save himself the trouble and hooked himself up with A-list call girls. I can't imagine that a sense of morality would have kept him from consorting with prostitutes. He would have saved himself a word of trouble and money if he had been inclined to pay for services from the outset. Perhaps, he felt the need to denigrate the women that he so callously approached. Not a nice man, this Mr. Weinstein.
Potato , says: November 7, 2017 at 3:49 pm
a common tactic seems to be to run everything through a law firm, thereby putting it all under attorney-client privilege.

Allegedly. Actually you have to do more than just get a lawyer involved somehow, or other in some capacity or other, to invoke the privilege. I haven't researched this transaction specifically, but it sounds to me like the assertion of privilege in this Weinstein business would have had more holes in it than a colander.

Sounds like the NYT is going to be suing Boies for his unethical behavior:

"We learned today that the law firm of Boies Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm's lawyers were representing us in other matters," Eileen Murphy, a New York Times spokesperson, told TheWrap. "We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe," she continued. "It is inexcusable, and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies."

Good, they have it coming. Among everything else that was wrong with it, this business was a very serious conflict of interest, and worse, Boies was well aware of the conflict at the time. (Actually the Bar will whap you good for conflicts of interest whether you were aware of them or not, taking the position that attorneys are supposed to keep track of such things. But doing it knowingly is worse.)

More cause for head-shaking. Why why why did David Boies consent to become involved?? What did these people have to threaten him with, if that's what happened?

xx

As an irrelevancy, may I say yet again that Harvey Weinstein is one of the most physically unattractive men I have ever seen or seen pictures of. To call him a "pig" is an insult to pigs everywhere.

Dan Green , says: November 7, 2017 at 4:35 pm
Hooray for Hollywood, is anybody really surprised what goes on in that fantasy world?
cka2nd , says: November 7, 2017 at 4:38 pm
TR "But I am a little uneasy with the frenzy of accusations across the country that have followed. Some have got to be opportunistic rather than real."

I agree, some are. Corey Haim's mom is calling out Corey Feldman for trying to raise a millions of dollars for some documentary instead of just naming the names of those he claims abused him and her son, who she says was abused by just one person, not the hordes Feldman alleges.

By the way, I'm with Luke and Conewago on being careful about using the dehumanizing term "monster."

Our Thing , says: November 7, 2017 at 8:42 pm
"After all, Black Cube must have quite a few other well-heeled clients with similar needs or it wouldn't be in business on several continents. "

Anybody who hires a company called "Black Cube" deserves whatever bad things happen to them. And what stupid ex-Mossad hack chose the name? I can't imagine one better calculated to call forth an all-out international investigation. I mean, why not just call it SPECTRE and have done with it?

Philly guy , says: November 7, 2017 at 10:29 pm
Am pretty sure Uncle Chuckie said something about Weinstein's henchmen on a previous thread. In 2017 this must be outsourced i.e. Black cube. The words "private" and "security" when used together, make me cringe.
Ben H , says: November 7, 2017 at 10:41 pm
This story just gets more and more extraordinary.
Elijah , says: November 8, 2017 at 7:33 am
"Why why why did David Boies consent to become involved?? What did these people have to threaten him with, if that's what happened?"

You really have to wonder if the lure of Weinstein's fund-raising prowess was that strong or if he was investigating and blackmailing hundreds of people all over the nation.

The more you read about this wretched Weinstein, the less outlandish the conspiracy theories sound.

[Nov 08, 2017] Labour coercion and outside options

Notable quotes:
"... Coercion of the worker can be quite simply introduced into this setup by allowing firms to pay a 'negative wage' if the bad outcome occurs. This is simply the more cost-effective flipside of paying a higher wage if the good outcome occurs. Negative wages describe a world in which workers can be 'punished' (i.e. a world with coercion). ..."
www.theamericanconservative.com

Christian Dippel, Daniel Trefler 05 November 2017

One way employers can compel workers to accept contracts they otherwise would not accept is by limiting the outside options for those workers...

Related

Labour coercion is arguably as old human civilisation. In the words of Acemoglu and Wolitzky (2011), "the majority of labour transactions throughout much of history and a significant fraction of such transactions in many developing countries today are coercive".

Indeed, labour coercion is at the heart of much of the literature on long run development and institutional change (Domar 1970, Acemoglu et al. 2001, Engerman and Sokoloff 2002, Nunn 2008, Dell 2010, Naidu and Yuchtman 2013, Bobonis and Morrow 2014, Ashraf et al. 2017). Despite this, rigorous empirical evidence on labour coercion is scarce and is mostly focused on relating present-day outcomes to historical labour coercion.

The term 'labour coercion' is used quite broadly to describe the use of, or threat of, force in convincing workers to accept labour contracts they otherwise would not.

However, labour coercion can take two quite distinct forms, and this important distinction is often not well articulated. The distinction is best seen by imagining a standard principal-agent framework. In broad terms, a firm (the principal) offers a labour contract to a worker (the agent). If effort is not observable, it can only be inferred from the outcome, which can be 'good' or 'bad' (e.g. high output or low output). The firm can incentivise its workers to exert effort by offering them a higher wage if the good outcome materialises. The difference in the wages the firm pays in the good and bad state needs to be sufficiently high that workers exert effort (i.e. the 'incentive compatibility constraint' binds). The second constraint on the contract is that workers may walk away from it if they can earn a higher expected wage elsewhere. The expected wage (averaging over the effort-dependent outcome probabilities) thus needs to exceed the worker's outside option (i.e. the 'participation constraint' binds).

Coercion of the worker can be quite simply introduced into this setup by allowing firms to pay a 'negative wage' if the bad outcome occurs. This is simply the more cost-effective flipside of paying a higher wage if the good outcome occurs. Negative wages describe a world in which workers can be 'punished' (i.e. a world with coercion). In this way, slavery, serfdom, or indenture can be nested inside a standard economic framework and, indeed, there is a long tradition in economics that does this (Chwe 1990). However, the participation constraint still binds when there is coercion. Even in the extreme case of slavery, outside options were usually not zero so long as slaves could run away and had a chance of evading capture. The interaction of the two constraints implies that there is complementarity in coercive activities – firms can punish workers more severely if they can also reduce their outside options.

In many modern-day labour markets, it may be entirely impossible for a firm to reduce a worker's outside options and the complementarity between coercion that punishes workers and coercion that reduces outside options can therefore safely be ignored. However, for countries at the early stages of structural transformation – where workers' outside options are not to work for a different firm or in a different sector, but to be self-employed in the informal sector as a yeoman farmer or artisan (a state that describes most of modern economic history and many developing countries today) 1 – coercion that reduces workers' outside options was and still is critical.

This was recognised by early development economists, as attested, for example, by Arthur Lewis' famous quote that "the fact that the wage level in the capitalist sector depends upon earnings in the subsistence sector is of immense political importance, since its effect is that capitalists have a direct interest in holding down the productivity of the subsistence workers. Thus the owners of plantations, if they are influential in government, are often found engaged in turning the peasants off their lands" (Lewis 1954).

[Nov 07, 2017] Upward mobility in the United States is largely an illusion, and the living standard for the middle class has hardly moved in decades; it has declined, if anything, relative to progress in the 1960's.

Notable quotes:
"... Seventy per cent of people born into the bottom quintile of income distribution never make it into the middle class, and fewer than ten per cent get into the top quintile. Forty per cent are still poor as adults. ..."
Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , November 7, 2017 at 6:39 pm

Upward mobility in the United States is largely an illusion , and the living standard for the middle class has hardly moved in decades; it has declined, if anything, relative to progress in the 1960's.

Seventy per cent of people born into the bottom quintile of income distribution never make it into the middle class, and fewer than ten per cent get into the top quintile. Forty per cent are still poor as adults.

You are correct, though, that economics is immensely complicated and turns on almost-infinite variables. People who don't like the way things are turning out often just re-define the metrics, or pick a different set.

[Nov 05, 2017] Matt Taibbi Exposes The Great College Loan Swindle

Nov 05, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Matt Taibbi via RollingStone.com,

How universities, banks and the government turned student debt into America's next financial black hole...

On a wind-swept, frigid night in February 2009, a 37-year-old schoolteacher named Scott Nailor parked his rusted '92 Toyota Tercel in the parking lot of a Fireside Inn in Auburn, Maine. He picked this spot to have a final reckoning with himself. He was going to end his life.

Beaten down after more than a decade of struggle with student debt, after years of taking false doors and slipping into various puddles of bureaucratic quicksand, he was giving up the fight. "This is it, I'm done," he remembers thinking. "I sat there and just sort of felt like I'm going to take my life. I'm going to find a way to park this car in the garage, with it running or whatever."

Nailor's problems began at 19 years old, when he borrowed for tuition so that he could pursue a bachelor's degree at the University of Southern Maine. He graduated summa cum laude four years later and immediately got a job in his field, as an English teacher.

Bu t he graduated with $35,000 in debt, a big hill to climb on a part-time teacher's $18,000 salary. He struggled with payments, and he and his wife then consolidated their student debt, which soon totaled more than $50,000. They declared bankruptcy and defaulted on the loans. From there he found himself in a loan "rehabilitation" program that added to his overall balance. "That's when the noose began to tighten," he says.

The collectors called day and night, at work and at home. "In the middle of class too, while I was teaching," he says. He ended up in another rehabilitation program that put him on a road toward an essentially endless cycle of rising payments. Today, he pays $471 a month toward "rehabilitation," and, like countless other borrowers, he pays nothing at all toward his real debt, which he now calculates would cost more than $100,000 to extinguish. "Not one dollar of it goes to principal," says Nailor. "I will never be able to pay it off. My only hope to escape from this crushing debt is to die."

After repeated phone calls with lending agencies about his ever-rising interest payments, Nailor now believes things will only get worse with time. "At this rate, I may easily break $1 million in debt before I retire from teaching," he says.

Nailor had more than once reached the stage in his thoughts where he was thinking about how to physically pull off his suicide. "I'd been there before, that just was the worst of it," he says. "It scared me, bad."

He had a young son and a younger daughter, but Nailor had been so broken by the experience of financial failure that he managed to convince himself they would be better off without him. What saved him is that he called his wife to say goodbye. "I don't know why I called my wife. I'm glad I did," he says. "I just wanted her or someone to tell me to pick it up, keep fighting, it's going to be all right. And she did."

From that moment, Nailor managed to focus on his family. Still, the core problem – the spiraling debt that has taken over his life, as it has for millions of other Americans – remains.

Horror stories about student debt are nothing new. But this school year marks a considerable worsening of a tale that ought to have been a national emergency years ago. The government in charge of regulating this mess is now filled with predatory monsters who have extensive ties to the exploitative for-profit education industry – from Donald Trump himself to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who sets much of the federal loan policy, to Julian Schmoke, onetime dean of the infamous DeVry University, whom Trump appointed to police fraud in education.

Americans don't understand the student-loan crisis because they've been trained to view the issue in terms of a series of separate, unrelated problems.

They will read in one place that as of the summer of 2017, a record 8.5 million Americans are in default on their student debt, with about $1.3 trillion in loans still outstanding.

In another place, voters will read that the cost of higher education is skyrocketing, soaring in a seemingly market-defying arc that for nearly a decade now has run almost double the rate of inflation. Tuition for a halfway decent school now frequently surpasses $50,000 a year. How, the average newsreader wonders, can any child not born in a yacht afford to go to school these days?

In a third place, that same reader will see some heartless monster, usually a Republican, threatening to cut federal student lending. The current bogeyman is Trump, who is threatening to slash the Pell Grant program by $3.9 billion, which would seem to put higher education even further out of reach for poor and middle-income families. This too seems appalling, and triggers a different kind of response, encouraging progressive voters to lobby for increased availability for educational lending.

But the separateness of these stories clouds the unifying issue underneath: The education industry as a whole is a con. In fact, since the mortgage business blew up in 2008, education and student debt is probably our reigning unexposed nation-wide scam.

It's a multiparty affair, what shakedown artists call a "big store scheme," like in the movie The Sting : a complex deception requiring a big cast to string the mark along every step of the way. In higher education, every party you meet, from the moment you first set foot on campus, is in on the game.

America as a country has evolved in recent decades into a confederacy of widescale industrial scams. The biggest slices of our economic pie – sectors like health care, military production, banking, even commercial and residential real estate – have become crude income-redistribution schemes, often untethered from the market by subsidies or bailouts, with the richest companies benefiting from gamed or denuded regulatory systems that make profits almost as assured as taxes. Guaranteed-profit scams – that's the last thing America makes with any level of consistent competence. In that light, Trump, among other things, the former head of a schlock diploma mill called Trump University, is a perfect president for these times. He's the scammer-in-chief in the Great American Ripoff Age, a time in which fleecing students is one of our signature achievements.

It starts with the sales pitch colleges make to kids. The thrust of it is usually that people who go to college make lots more money than the unfortunate dunces who don't. "A bachelor's degree is worth $2.8 million on average over a lifetime" is how Georgetown University put it. The Census Bureau tells us similarly that a master's degree is worth on average about $1.3 million more than a high school diploma.

But these stats say more about the increasing uselessness of a high school degree than they do about the value of a college diploma. Moreover, since virtually everyone at the very highest strata of society has a college degree, the stats are skewed by a handful of financial titans. A college degree has become a minimal status marker as much as anything else. "I'm sure people who take polo lessons or sailing lessons earn a lot more on average too," says Alan Collinge of Student Loan Justice, which advocates for debt forgiveness and other reforms. "Does that mean you should send your kids to sailing school?"

But the pitch works on everyone these days, especially since good jobs for Trump's beloved "poorly educated" are scarce to nonexistent. Going to college doesn't guarantee a good job, far from it, but the data show that not going dooms most young people to an increasingly shallow pool of the very crappiest, lowest-paying jobs. There's a lot of stick, but not much carrot, in the education game.

It's a vicious cycle. Since everyone feels obligated to go to college, most everyone who can go, does, creating a glut of graduates. And as that glut of degree recipients grows, the squeeze on the un-degreed grows tighter, increasing further that original negative incentive: Don't go to college, and you'll be standing on soup lines by age 25.

With that inducement in place, colleges can charge almost any amount, and kids will pay – so long as they can get the money. And here we run into problem number two: It's too easy to find that money.

Parents, not wanting their kids to fall behind, will pay every dollar they have. But if they don't have the cash, there is a virtually unlimited amount of credit available to young people. Proposed cuts to Pell Grants aside, the landscape is filled with public and private lending, and students gobble it up. Kids who walk into financial-aid offices are often not told what signing their names on the various aid forms will mean down the line. A lot of kids don't even understand the concept of interest or amortization tables – they think if they're borrowing $8,000, they're paying back $8,000.

Nailor certainly was unaware of what he was getting into when he was 19. "I had no idea [about interest]," he says. "I just remember thinking, 'I don't have to worry about it right now. I want to go to school.' " He pauses in disgust. "It's unsettling to remember how it was like, 'Here, just sign this and you're all set.' I wish I could take the time machine back and slap myself in the face."

The average amount of debt for a student leaving school is skyrocketing even faster than the rate of tuition increase.

In 2016, for instance, the average amount of debt for an exiting college graduate was a staggering $37,172. That's a rise of six percent over just the previous year. With the average undergraduate interest rate at about 3.7 percent, the interest alone costs around $115 per month, meaning anyone who can't afford to pay into the principal faces the prospect of $69,000 in payments over 50 years.

So here's the con so far.

You must go to college because you're screwed if you don't.

Costs are outrageously high, but you pay them because you have to, and because the system makes it easy to borrow massive amounts of money

The third part of the con is the worst: You can't get out of the debt.

Since government lenders in particular have virtually unlimited power to collect on student debt – preying on everything from salary to income-tax returns – even running is not an option. And since most young people find themselves unable to make their full payments early on, they often find themselves perpetually paying down interest only, never touching the principal. Our billionaire president can declare bankruptcy four times, but students are the one class of citizen that may not do it even once.

October 2017 was supposed to represent the first glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel. This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, one of the few avenues for wiping out student debt. The idea, launched by George W. Bush, was pretty simple: Students could pledge to work 10 years for the government or a nonprofit and have their debt forgiven. In order to qualify, borrowers had to make payments for 10 years using a complex formula. This month, then, was to start the first mass wipeouts of debt in the history of American student lending. But more than half of the 700,000 enrollees have already been expunged from the program for, among other things, failing to certify their incomes on time, one of many bureaucratic tricks employed to limit forgiveness eligibility. To date, fewer than 500 participants are scheduled to receive loan forgiveness in this first round.

Moreover, Trump has called for the program's elimination by 2018, meaning that any relief that begins this month is likely only temporary. The only thing that is guaranteed to remain real for the immediate future are the massive profits being generated on the backs of young people, who before long become old people who, all too often, remain ensnared until their last days in one of the country's most brilliant and devious moneymaking schemes.

Everybody wins in this madness, except students. Even though many of the loans are originated by the state, most of them are serviced by private or quasi-private companies like Navient – which until 2014 was the student-loan arm of Sallie Mae – or Nelnet, companies that reported a combined profit of around $1 billion last year (the U.S. government made a profit of $1.6 billion in 2016!). Debt-collector companies like Performant (which generated $141.4 million in revenues; the family of Betsy DeVos is a major investor), and most particularly the colleges and universities, get to prey on the desperation and terror of parents and young people, and in the process rake in vast sums virtually without fear of market consequence.

About that: Universities, especially public institutions, have successfully defended rising tuition in recent years by blaming the hikes on reduced support from states. But this explanation was blown to bits in large part due to a bizarre slip-up in the middle of a controversy over state support of the University of Wisconsin system a few years ago.

In that incident, UW raised tuition by 5.5 percent six years in a row after 2007. The school blamed stresses from the financial crisis and decreased state aid. But when pressed during a state committee hearing in 2013 about the university's finances, UW system president Kevin Reilly admitted they held $648 million in reserve, including $414 million in tuition payments. This was excess hidey-hole cash the school was sitting on, separate and distinct from, say, an endowment fund.

After the university was showered with criticism for hoarding cash at a time when it was gouging students with huge price increases every year, the school responded by saying, essentially, it only did what all the other kids were doing. UW released data showing that other major state-school systems across the country were similarly stashing huge amounts of cash. While Wisconsin's surplus was only 25 percent of its operating budget, for instance, Minnesota's was 29 percent, and Illinois maintained a whopping 34 percent reserve.

When Collinge, of Student Loan Justice, looked into it, he found that the phenomenon wasn't confined to state schools. Private schools, too, have been hoarding cash even as they plead poverty and jack up tuition fees. "They're all doing it," he says.

While universities sit on their stockpiles of cash and the loan industry generates record profits, the pain of living in debilitating debt for many lasts into retirement. Take Veronica Martish. She's a 68-year-old veteran, having served in the armed forces in the Vietnam era. She's also a grandmother who's never been in trouble and consid?ers herself a patriot. "The thing is, I tried to do everything right in my life," she says. "But this ruined my life."

This is an $8,000 student loan she took out in 1989, through Sallie Mae. She borrowed the money so she could take courses at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Connecticut. Five years later, after deaths in her family, she fell behind on her payments and entered a loan-rehabilitation program. "That's when my nightmare began," she says.

In rehabilitation, Martish's $8,000 loan, with fees and interest, ballooned into a $27,000 debt, which she has been carrying ever since. She says she's paid more than $63,000 to date and is nowhere near discharging the principal. "By the time I die," she says, "I will probably pay more than $200,000 toward an $8,000 loan." She pauses. "It's a scam, you see. Nothing ever comes off the loan. It's all interest and fees. And they chase you until you're old, like me. They never stop. Ever."

And that's the other thing about lending to students: It's the safest grift around.

There's probably no better symbol of the bankruptcy of the education industry than Trump University. The half-literate president's effort at higher learning drew in suckers with pathetic promises of great real-estate insights (for instance, that Trump "hand-picked" the instructors) and then charged them truckfuls of cash for get-rich-quick tutorials that students and faculty later described as "almost completely worthless" and a "total lie." That Trump got to settle a lawsuit on this matter for $25 million and still managed to be elected president is, ironically, a remarkable testament to the failure of our education system. About the only example that might be worse is DeVry University, which told students that 90 percent of graduates seeking jobs found them in their fields within six months of graduation. The FTC found those claims "false and unsubstantiated," and ordered $100 million in refunds and debt relief, but that was in 2016 – before Trump put DeVry chief Schmoke, of all people, in charge of rooting out education fraud. Like a lot of things connected to politics lately, it would be funny if it weren't somehow actually happening.?"Yeah, it's the fox guarding the henhouse," says Collinge. "You could probably find a worse analogy."

But the real problem with the student-loan story is that it's so poorly understood by people not living the nightmare. There's so much propaganda that blames the borrowers for taking on the debt in the first place that there's often little sympathy for people in hopeless situations. To make matters worse, band-aid programs that supposedly offer help hypnotize the public into thinking there are ways out, when the "help" is usually just another trick to add to the balance.

"That's part of the problem with the narrative," says Nailor, the schoolteacher. "People think that there's help, so what are you complaining about? All you got to do is apply for help."

But the help, he says, coming from a for-profit predatory system, often just makes things worse. "It did for me," he says. "It does for a lot of people."

[Nov 05, 2017] Explaining the Spread of White Anger by Robert Weissberg

Please buy Robert Weissberg book Bad Students, Not Bad Schools
Affirmative action in education also applies to children of the elite. This is the way to limit vertical mobility and entrench the existing elite structures making the elite status inheritable, like under feudalism.
Notable quotes:
"... As the barriers between the overpopulated third world and the United States continue to be swept away, it may soon be the children of liberal upper-middle class white Americans who are clamoring for affirmative action – or at least, for less reliance on standardized test scores. ..."
"... That law should have had a sunset built into it, though. To keep it "forever" invites abuse that grows over time. ..."
"... As always, identifiers of the main murderous, narcissitic, psychopaths making this anti-merit based agenda happen is necessary. They've used the old divide and conquer strategy of group blame for millennia, "It's them whites, or it's them blacks, or Jews, or etc.etc etc. ..."
Nov 05, 2017 | www.unz.com

Whether this anger is somehow justified is, of course, a question of immense complexity but let me offer three observations that explain its scope regardless of its justification. My point is that affirmative action and other egalitarian social engineering nostrums inescapably spreads antagonisms beyond those immediately affected by the policies. And the anger will only grow as government keeps pushing the egalitarian fantasy.

First, violating the merit principle, whether in college admissions or hiring police officers guarantees disgruntled white males far in excess of its true victims. Consider hiring five firefighters strictly according to civil service exam scores. Let's assume that a hundred men apply for the position and can be ranked by test scores. The top four are white and are hired. Now, thanks to a Department of Justice consent decree, the fire department must hire at least one African American from the list and if the highest ranking black scores at 20 in the array he will be hired despite his middling score.

How many white males have actually lost their job to a black? The correct answer is exactly one, the fifth ranking applicant. But how many whites will mistakenly believe that they lost out to an affirmative action candidate? The answer is 14 since this is the number of rejected white candidates between 6 and 19 and, to be honest, all can make a legitimate claim of being passed over to satisfy the diversity bean counters. Further fueling this anger is that each of those fourteen "unfairly" rejected applicants may complain to family and friends and thus tales of the alleged injustice multiply though, in fact, only a single white applicant lost out to a less qualified black.

Affirmative action is thus a white grievance multiplier if this information is public (as is often the case in university admissions and in reverse discrimination litigation). No doubt, every Spring when colleges and professional schools such as law and medicine mail out their acceptance/rejection letters, millions of white males can honestly complain that they would have been admitted to their first choice if they had only been black or Hispanic and judged exclusively by test scores. Of course, if the university admitted all those whites who exceeded the scores of the least qualified black, the university would have to dramatically increase the freshman class, a policy that possibly tantamount to admitting nearly every white applicant.

Second, the greater the pressure to increase "diversity" via adding additional under-qualified blacks and Hispanics and not expanding enrollment, the greater the visible gap between affirmative action admittees and all others. Again, everything is purely statistical. For example, in the pre-affirmative action era only a few blacks attended college, nearly all of whom got there on merit. Whites (and Asians) would likely view them as equals, no small benefit in a society obsessed with expunging "racist stereotypes" regarding black intellectual ability.

Now imagine that due to government pressure the number of blacks admitted substantially grew and, unless overall enrollment correspondently expanded, fewer academically borderline whites would be admitted so college life became an experience where smart whites encountered lots of intellectually challenged blacks.

Ironically, as per claims that campus racial diversity provides wonderful learning experiences, what might a white student with, say, a total SAT reading/math score of 1350 learn from his black dorm mate who scored 1150? (This is the average white/black SAT gap.) I'd guess that the white student would learn that it's good to be a favored minority in terms of obtaining full-ride scholarships, internship programs, and job offers from top firms. Try to imagine a better way of teaching about white privilege.

Third, as the political pressure for yet more diversity increases, coercion will correspondingly become more draconian and thus more odious since it takes extra effort to force employers or universities to dig deeper into a thinner and thinner talent pool. A parallel is a parent faced with a child reluctant to eat vegetables. The pressure may begin softly -- enticing junior to eat a few French fries but it will grow stronger as Mom adds disliked turnips, lima beans and cauliflower. At some point, promoting "good nutrition" may require force feeding.

I have personally observed this escalating pressure to diversify college faculty, pressure that even liberal faculty find objectionable. During the 1970s the emphasis was on relatively painless voluntary measures: recruitment committees would append "applicants from previously under-represented groups are encouraged to apply" on job postings, tweaking teaching responsibilities to attract minority candidates, or Deans providing extra funds for the job slot if a black or Hispanic could be hired. Gradually, however, as these benign tactics failed to make the numbers, the apparatchiki tightened the screws -- Provosts would independently scour the market for minority job candidates or appoint a non-departmental "political commissar" to monitor faculty recruitment committee deliberations to insure that no promising minority candidate was overlooked.

Hiring discussions were soon filled with euphemisms such as "targets" or "goals" since quotas were illegal under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Increasingly, the push for faculty diversity has come to resemble Chinese political indoctrination where even the term "affirmative action" is verboten since it implies unequal ability. At the University of California -- Riverside, for example, all candidates for faculty jobs (including the sciences) must submit a statement describing how they've worked to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in previous positions as graduate students or professors and how they planned to continue to do so once on campus. And guess what? Those who give superior answers to these questions surprisingly turn out to be from historically under-represented groups! Cynthia Larive, Riverside's interim provost, said that avoiding numerical targets "gets people out of thinking about a quota system. We want to hire outstanding faculty members who can help the institution continue to be successful and, most importantly, who can mentor students."

Needless to say, the diversity apparatchiki assume that all liberal white faculty, even those in the hard sciences, are debilitated by implicit bias so they have to be pushed to overcome their doubts about possibly hiring a black physicist from a third-tier school. At Boston College faculty receive special training through the Office of Institutional Diversity to develop strategies to promote diversity and are thus instructed, for example, to avoid "narrow professional networks" (i.e., contacting colleagues at other schools) in seeking out top job candidates. After all, why assume that the next Richard Feynman will have been trained at a MIT or Princeton?

What makes this coerced diversity so hard to swallow is that its purpose rests on a plain-to-see but impossible to express fraud -- the alleged benefits of diversity. Indeed, the elite's obsessive proclamations of this lie far more closely resemble propaganda than celebrating a cliché-like truth. Simply put, if diversity is so wonderful, and in the self-interest of universities and businesses, why must it be imposed forcefully? Surely if it was as beneficial as advertised, there would be no need for disparate impact lawsuits, training to overcome implicit bias and similar measures that resemble mothers punishing junior for not eating his lima beans. Does government and the social justice camp followers really believe that diversity is akin to chocolate or red wine whose consumption hardly needs coercion?

Now for what really fuels the anger over coerced diversity: it is one thing to demand sacrifices

geokat62 , November 5, 2017 at 4:59 am GMT

What makes this coerced diversity so hard to swallow is that its purpose rests on a plain-to-see but impossible to express fraud -- the alleged benefits of diversity. Indeed, the elite's obsessive proclamations of this lie far more closely resemble propaganda than celebrating a cliché-like truth and it is hard to imagine a bigger lie than "Diversity is Our Strength."

Why the use of the nebulous term "elites"? Why not call a spade a spade and admit that "Diversity is Our Strength" is a tagline of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)?

Why not tell your readers that, after working away at it for 100 years, it was the domestic wing of The Lobby that was responsible for getting the non-restrictionist immigration act passed in 1965, which is the biggest reason the US has become such a multicultural society?

This information would have been a useful backdrop to this article.

mr.wiffle , November 5, 2017 at 9:24 am GMT
The real problem with AA isn't the occasional less competitive white applicant losing out to an even lower scoring minority. It's the subjective aspects of AA that cause constant inconvenience, conflict and even ridiculous manipulations to level the playing field. The most recent and ridiculous example being the expansion of gender categories along with custom pronouns.
Stephen Paul Foster , Website November 5, 2017 at 10:58 am GMT
"Racism" is he lynch-pin of this massive shake-down. Proposal: make an operational definition of "racism" and punish anyone who misuses it. Suddenly, the accusations would stop.

See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/07/against-anti-racism-and-hemeneutics-of.html

TonyVodvarka , November 5, 2017 at 12:28 pm GMT
When I became a New York City firefighter in 1962, the entrance exam was a multiple choice test on civics and science. The physical exam was a rigorous challenge that most people would have to train for months before, for instance, to get the top score, one had to lift ninety pounds with one arm and seventy pounds with the other. Both tests were graded and the average of the two determined your place on the list. Nowadays, because of a court order to diversify, the written exam tests are largely questions supposedly probing the psychological makeup of the applicant that one would have to be an idiot not to recognize the response wanted. The physical has been largely degraded so that more women can pass it and it is not graded, one simply has to do the minimum to pass. Recently, a black recruit failed probationary school three times and was given a fourth chance. Make of it what you will.
OilcanFloyd , November 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm GMT
You are making a huge mistake if you limit the effects of affirmative action to elite college hiring and admissions. Affirmative action cuts through every level of society, and I argue that it's far more of an issue at the lower and middle rungs of society, where most Americans work and live. In many companies, this is the level where you will find their black employees, supervisors, and managers. It's not exactly pleasant to be white in such a situation, and your chances of working your way up from the bottom are slim, no matter how competent or willing to work you are. You could also examine how whites are treated in minority majority cities. Reverse discrimination is just the tip of the iceberg.

To gloss over the full scope and scale of affirmative action is to mock the situation of many of the victims of affirmative action. If you really wish to be honest about "white anger," you would look at the racial violence and rapes directed at whites, and ignored or justified, by the elites and media, as well as the completely unwarranted, unwanted, and undemocratic cultural and demographic changes forced upon the nation/whites over the last 50 years.

JackOH , November 5, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

Good points, js. You put a good brake on some of the arguments made here, including my own. Reality is that an unknown percentage of people who are hired by irregular means, such as crony and patronage practices, including ethnic affinity and family relations, do okay, grow into their jobs, and earn the reasonable respect of their peers, superiors, and subordinates. Likewise, the determination of quality of applicant by ordinary standards of merit and seniority can be a bear.

TG , November 5, 2017 at 1:21 pm GMT
Indeed – but be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

India has a terrible educational system – about half the country is illiterate. But the other half is still bigger than the entire United States, they are desperately poor, and there are tens if not hundreds of millions of children who have been trained from birth only to excel at standardized tests for just the slim change of escaping that overpopulated land. And unlike the much more prosperous Chinese, they speak English and there is no language barrier! All by themselves, Indian nationals could soon fill every academic position in the United States with people who have perfect test scores.

As the barriers between the overpopulated third world and the United States continue to be swept away, it may soon be the children of liberal upper-middle class white Americans who are clamoring for affirmative action – or at least, for less reliance on standardized test scores.

vera , November 5, 2017 at 1:36 pm GMT
@animalogic

I was once one of those women who were hired into and trained for a job that had been reserved for males. I was so proud, and so happy the system was changing. My male colleagues were a mix -- some supported me, some less so. But I think all accepted that changes needed to be made.

That law should have had a sunset built into it, though. To keep it "forever" invites abuse that grows over time.

Joe Hide , November 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm GMT
As always, identifiers of the main murderous, narcissitic, psychopaths making this anti-merit based agenda happen is necessary. They've used the old divide and conquer strategy of group blame for millennia, "It's them whites, or it's them blacks, or Jews, or etc.etc etc.

Cell phone aps which identify these creeps with retinal scanning, pulse rate changes, facial and body language indicators is an easy & cheap development given today's level of technological advancement. Guess who will oppose its inevitable adoption the most?

macilrae , November 5, 2017 at 2:07 pm GMT
@Nepemnr

Two others I can think of are the other firemen who must now suffer him, and the community who feels less secure (I personally avoid black doctors, sorry).

Just so – reminds my of how my mom, presenting at emergency with a partially paralyzed left arm and leg, was told "I don't think this is a stroke" by the African resident – and left to wait it out until the CT confirmation the following day.

It would be instructive to see how some of the hardened advocates of affirmative action would behave if given the black-or-white choice on a critical medical issue.

[Nov 05, 2017] China and the US Rational Planning and Lumpen Capitalism by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Please buy the author books Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire Bankers, Zionists and Militanta and The Politics of Empire The US, Israel and the Middle East both book contain material which the US corporate media will never tell you. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand world economics and current problem with neoliberalism in the USA
Notable quotes:
"... "China is the world leader in payments made by mobile devices", ..."
"... 80% recognize that the Congress is dysfunctional and 86% believe that Washington is dishonest. Never has an empire of such limitless power crumbled and declined with so few accomplishments. ..."
Nov 05, 2017 | www.unz.com

Lumpen Capitalism refers to an economic system in which the financial and military sector exploits the state treasury and productive economy for the 1% of the population.)

Introduction

US journalists and commentators, politicians and Sinologists spend considerable time and space speculating on the personality of China's President Xi Jinping and his appointments to the leading bodies of the Chinese government, as if these were the most important aspects of the entire 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (October 18-24, 2017) .

(The 19th National Congress was attended by 2,280 delegates representing 89 million members.)

Mired down in gossip, idle speculation and petty denigration of its leaders, the Western press has once again failed to take account of the world-historical changes which are currently taking place in China and throughout the world.

World historical changes, as articulated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, are present in the vision, strategy and program of the Congress. These are based on a rigorous survey of China's past, present and future accomplishments.

The serious purpose, projections and the presence of China's President stand in stark contrast to the chaos, rabble-rousing demagogy and slanders characterizing the multi-billion dollar US Presidential campaign and its shameful aftermath.

The clarity and coherence of a deep strategic thinker like President Xi Jinping contrasts to the improvised, contradictory and incoherent utterances from the US President and Congress. This is not a matter of mere style but of substantive content.

We will proceed in the essay by contrasting the context, content and direction of the two political systems.

China: Strategic Thinking and Positive Outcomes

China, first and foremost, has established well-defined strategic guidelines that emphasize macro-socio-economic and military priorities over the next five, ten and twenty years.

China is committed to reducing pollution in all of its manifestations via the transformation of the economy from heavy industry to a high-tech service economy, moving from quantitative to qualitative indicators.

Secondly, China will increase the relative importance of the domestic market and reduce its dependence on exports. China will increase investments in health, education, public services, pensions and family allowances.

Thirdly, China plans to invest heavily in ten economic priority sectors. These include computerized machinery, robotics, energy saving vehicles, medical devices, aerospace technology, and maritime and rail transport. It targets three billion (US) dollars to upgrade technology in key industries, including electrical vehicles, energy saving technology, numerical control (digitalization) and several other areas. China plans to increase investment in research and development from .95% to 2% of GDP.

Moreover, China has already taken steps to launch the 'petro-Yuan', and end US global financial dominance.

China has emerged as the world's leader in advancing global infrastructure networks with its One Belt One Road (Silk Road) across Eurasia. Chinese-built ports, airports and railroads already connect twenty Chinese cities to Central Asia, West Asia, South-East Asia, Africa and Europe. China has established a multi-lateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (with over 60 member nations) contributing 100 billion dollars for initial financing.

China has combined its revolution in data collection and analysis with central planning to conquer corruption and improve the efficiency in credit allocation. Beijing's digital economy is now at the center of the global digital economy. According to one expert, "China is the world leader in payments made by mobile devices", (11 times the US). One in three of the world's start-ups, valued at more than $1 billion, take place in China ( FT 10/28/17, p. 7). Digital technology has been harnessed to state-owned banks in order to evaluate credit risks and sharply reduce bad debt. This will ensure that financing is creating a new dynamic flexible model combining rational planning with entrepreneurial vigor (ibid).

As a result, the US/EU-controlled World Bank has lost its centrality in global financing. China is already Germany's largest trading partner and is on its way to becoming Russia's leading trade partner and sanctions-busting ally.

China has widened and expanded its trade missions throughout the globe, replacing the role of the US in Iran, Venezuela and Russia and wherever Washington has imposed belligerent sanctions.

While China has modernized its military defense programs and increased military spending, almost all of the focus is on 'home defense' and protection of maritime trade routes. China has not engaged in a single war in decades.

China's system of central planning allows the government to allocate resources to the productive economy and to its high priority sectors. Under President Xi Jinping, China has created an investigation and judicial system leading to the arrest and prosecution of over a million corrupt officials in the public and private sector. High status is no protection from the government's anti-corruption campaign: Over 150 Central Committee members and billionaire plutocrats have fallen. Equally important, China's central control over capital flows (outward and inward) allows for the allocation of financial resources to high tech productive sectors while limiting the flight of capital or its diversion into the speculative economy.

As a result, China's GNP has been growing between 6.5% – 6.9% a year – four times the rate of the EU and three times the US.

As far as demand is concerned, China is the world's biggest market and growing. Income is growing – especially for wage and salaried workers. President Xi Jinping has identified social inequalities as a major area to rectify over the next five years.

The US: Chaos, Retreat and Reaction

In contrast, the United States President and Congress have not fashioned a strategic vision for the country, least of all one linked to concrete proposals and socio-economic priorities, which might benefit the citizenry.

The US has 240,000 active and reserve armed forces stationed in 172 countries. China has less than 5,000 in one country – Djibouti. The US stations 40,000 troops in Japan, 23,000 in South Korea, 36,000 in Germany, 8,000 in the UK and over 1,000 in Turkey. What China has is an equivalent number of highly skilled civilian personnel engaged in productive activity around the world. China's overseas missions and its experts have worked to benefit both global and Chinese economic growth.

The United States' open-ended, multiple military conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Niger, Somalia, Jordan and elsewhere have absorbed and diverted hundreds of billions of dollars away from productive investments in the domestic economy. In only a few cases, military spending has built useful roads and infrastructure, which could be counted a 'dual use', but overwhelmingly US military activities abroad have been brutally destructive, as shown by the deliberate dismemberment of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya.

The US lacks the coherence of China's policy making and strategic leadership. While chaos has been inherent in the politics of the US 'free market' financial system, it is especially widespread and dangerous during the Trump regime.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans, united and divided, actively confront President Trump on every issue no matter how important or petty. Trump improvises and alters his policies by the hour or, at most, by the day. The US possesses a party system where one party officially rules in the Administration with two militarist big business wings.

US has been spending over 700 billion dollars a year to pursue seven wars and foment 'regime changes' or coups d'état on four continents and eight regions over the past two decades. This has only caused disinvestment in the domestic economy with deterioration of critical infrastructure, loss of markets, widespread socioeconomic decline and a reduction of spending on research and development for goods and services.

The top 500 US corporations invest overseas, mainly to take advantage of low tax region and sources of cheap labor, while shunning American workers and avoiding US taxes. At the same time, these corporations share US technology and markets with the Chinese.

Today, US capitalism is largely directed by and for financial institutions, which absorb and divert capital from productive investments, generating an unbalanced crisis-prone economy. In contrast, China determines the timing and location of investments as well as bank interest rates, targeting priority investments, especially in advanced high-tech sectors.

Washington has spent billions on costly and unproductive military-centered infrastructure (military bases, naval ports, air stations etc.) in order to buttress stagnant and corrupt allied regimes. As a result, the US has nothing comparable to China's hundred-billion-dollar 'One Belt-One Road' (Silk Road) infrastructure project linking continents and major regional markets and generating millions of productive jobs.

The US has broken global linkages with dynamic growth centers. Washington resorts to self-defecating, mindless chauvinistic rhetoric to impose trade policy, while China promotes global networks via joint ventures. China incorporates international supply linkages by securing high tech in the West and low cost labor in the East.

Big US industrial groups' earnings and rising stock in construction and aerospace are products of their strong ties with China. Caterpillar, United Technologies 3M and US car companies reported double-digit growth on sales to China.

In contrast, the Trump regime has allocated (and spent) billions in military procurement to threaten wars against China's peripheral neighbors and interfere with its maritime commerce.

US Decline and Media Frenzy

The retreat and decline of US economic power has driven the mass media into a frenzy of idiotic ad hominem assaults on China's political leader President Xi Jinping. Among the nose pickers in print, the scribes of the Financial Times take the prize for mindless vitriol. Mercenaries and holy men in Tibet are described as paragons of democracy and 'victims' of a flourishing modernizing Chinese state lacking the 'western values' (sic) of floundering Anglo-American warmongers!

To denigrate China's system of national planning and its consequential efforts to link its high tech economy with improving the standard of living for the population, the FT journalists castigate President Xi Jinping for the following faults:

For not being as dedicated a Communist as Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaopeng For being too 'authoritarian' (or too successful) in his campaign to root out corrupt officials. For setting serious long-term goals while confronting and overcoming economic problems by addressing the 'dangerous' level of debt.

While China has broadened its cultural horizon, the Anglo-Saxon global elite increases possibility of nuclear warfare. China's cultural and economic outreach throughout the world is dismissed by the Financial Times as 'subversive soft power'. Police-state minds and media in the West see China's outreach as a plot or conspiracy. Any serious writer, thinker or policymaker who has studied and praised China's success is dismissed as a dupe or agent of the sly President Xi Jinping. Without substance or reflection, the FT (10/27/17) warns its readers and police officials to be vigilant and avoid being seduced by China's success stories!

China's growing leadership in automobile production is evident in its advance towards dominating the market for electric vehicles. Every major US and EU auto company has ignored the warnings of the Western media ideologues and rushed to form joint ventures with China.

China has an industrial policy. The US has a war policy. China plans to surpass the US and Germany in artificial intelligence, robotics, semi-conductors and electric vehicles by 2025. And it will -- because those are its carefully pronounced scientific and economic priorities.

Shamelessly and insanely, the US press pursues the expanding stories of raging Hollywood rapists like the powerful movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, and the hundreds of victims, while ignoring the world historic news of China's rapid economic advances.

The US business elites are busy pushing their President and the US Congress to lower taxes for the billionaire elite, while 100 million US citizens remain without health care and register decreased life expectancy! Washington seems committed to in State-planned regression.

As US bombs fall on Yemen and the American taxpayers finance the giant Israeli concentration camp once known as 'Palestine', while China builds systems of roads and rail linking the Himalayas and Central Asia with Europe.

While Sherlock Holmes applies the science of observation and deduction, the US media and politicians perfect the art of obfuscation and deception.

In China, scientists and innovators play a central role in producing and increasing goods and services for the burgeoning middle and working class. In the US, the economic elite play the central role in exacerbating inequalities, increasing profits by lowering taxes and transforming the American worker into poorly-paid temp-labor – destined to die prematurely of preventable conditions.

While Chinese President Xi Jinping works in concert with the nation's best technocrats to subordinate the military to civilian goals, President Trump and his Administration subordinate their economic decisions to a military-industrial-financial-Israeli complex. Beijing invests in global networks of scientists, researchers and scholars. The US 'opposition' Democrats and disgruntled Republicans work with the giant corporate media (including the respectable Financial Times ) to fund and fabricate conspiracies and plots under Trump's Presidential bed.

Conclusion

China fires and prosecutes corrupt officials while supporting innovators. Its economy grows through investments, joint ventures and a great capacity to learn from experience and powerful data collection. The US squanders its domestic resources in pursuing multiple wars, financial speculation and rampant Wall Street corruption.

China investigates and punishes its corrupt business and public officials while corruption seems to be the primary criteria for election or appointment to high office in the US. The US media worships its tax-dodging billionaires and thinks it can mesmerize the public with a dazzling display of bluster, incompetence and arrogance.

China directs its planned economy to address domestic priorities. It uses its financial resources to pursue historic global infrastructure programs, which will enhance global partnerships in mutually beneficial projects.

It is no wonder that China is seen as moving toward the future with great advances while the US is seen as a chaotic frightening threat to world peace and its publicists as willing accomplices.

China is not without shortcomings in the spheres of political expression and civil rights. Failure to rectify social inequalities and failure to stop the outflow of billions of dollars of illicit wealth, and the unresolved problems with regime corruption will continue to generate class conflicts.

But the important point to note is the direction China has chosen to take and its capacity and commitment to identify and correct the major problems it faces.

The US has abdicated its responsibilities. It is unwilling or unable to harness its banks to invest in domestic production to expand the domestic market. It is completely unwilling to identify and purge the manifestly incompetent and to incarcerate the grossly corrupt officials and politicians of both parties and the elites.

Today overwhelming majorities of US citizens despise, distrust and reject the political elite. Over 70% think that the inane factional political divisions are at their greatest level in over 50 years and have paralyzed the government.

80% recognize that the Congress is dysfunctional and 86% believe that Washington is dishonest. Never has an empire of such limitless power crumbled and declined with so few accomplishments.

China is a rising economic empire, but it advances through its active engagement in the market of ideas and not through futile wars against successful competitors and adversaries. As the US declines, its publicists degenerate.

The media's ceaseless denigration of China's challenges and its accomplishments is a poor substitute for analysis. The flawed political and policy making structures in the US and its incompetent free-market political leaders lacking any strategic vision crumble in contrast to China's advances.

[Nov 05, 2017] China's Great Leap Forward Western Frogs Croak Dismay

China is a neoliberal country which plays by the rules of neoliberalism. that means tremendous level of corruption within Communist Party. So the levers remains in Washington hands. I think the article is too optimistic. Washington definitely can put same sand into China industrial wheels. Right now they simply concentrate on "regime change" in Russia as the weakest link in Russo-Chinese alliance and leave China alone. China growing class of billionaires now represent a potent fifth column within the country and can be played. Attempt to do this were already evident in Hong Hong failed color revolution. Hong Cong remain is heir lines of US color revolution specialist and intelligence agencies.
Notable quotes:
"... The 'China doomsters' with 'logs in their own eyes' have systematically distorted reality, fabricated whimsical tales and paint vision, which, in truth, reflect their own societies. ..."
"... As each false claim is refuted, the frogs alter their tunes: When predictions of imminent collapse fail to materialize, they add a year or even a decade to their crystal ball. When their warnings of negative national social, economic and structural trends instead move in a positive direction, their nimble fingers re-calibrate the scope and depth of the crisis, citing anecdotal 'revelations' from some village or town or taxi driver conversation. ..."
Nov 05, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction:

From their dismal swamps, US academic and financial journal editorialists, the mass media and contemporary 'Asia experts', Western progressive and conservative politicians croak in unison about China's environmental and impending collapse.

They have variably proclaimed (1) China's economy is in decline; (2) the debt is overwhelming; a Chinese real estate bubble is ready to burst; (3) the country is rife with corruption and poisoned with pollution; and (4) Chinese workers are staging paralyzing strikes and protests amid growing repression -- the result of exploitation and sharp class inequality. The financial frogs croak about China as an imminent military threat to the security of the US and its Asian partners. Other frogs leap for that fly in the sky -- arguing that the Chinese now threatens the entire universe!

The 'China doomsters' with 'logs in their own eyes' have systematically distorted reality, fabricated whimsical tales and paint vision, which, in truth, reflect their own societies.

As each false claim is refuted, the frogs alter their tunes: When predictions of imminent collapse fail to materialize, they add a year or even a decade to their crystal ball. When their warnings of negative national social, economic and structural trends instead move in a positive direction, their nimble fingers re-calibrate the scope and depth of the crisis, citing anecdotal 'revelations' from some village or town or taxi driver conversation.

As long-predicted failures fail to materialize, the experts re-hash the data by questioning the reliability of China's official statistics.

Worst of all, Western 'Asia' experts and scholars try 'role reversal': While US bases and ships increasingly encircle China, the Chinese become the aggressors and the bellicose US imperialists whine about their victim-hood.

Cutting through the swamp of these fabrications, this essay aims to outline an alternative and more objective account of China's current socio-economic and political realty.

China: Fiction and Fact

We repeatedly read about China's 'cheap wage' economy and the brutal exploitation of its slaving workers by billionaire oligarchs and corrupt political officials. In fact, the average wage in China's manufacturing sector has tripled during this decade. China's labor force receives wages which exceed those of Latin America countries, with one dubious exception. Chinese manufacturing wages now approach those of the downwardly mobile countries in the EU. Meanwhile, the neo-liberal regimes, under EU and US pressure, have halved wages in Greece, and significantly reduced incomes in Brazil, Mexico and Portugal. In China, workers wages now surpass Argentina, Colombia and Thailand. While not high by US-EU standards, China's 2015 wages stood at $3.60 per hour -- improving the living standards of 1.4 billion workers. During the time that China tripled its workers 'wages, the wages of Indian workers stagnate at $0.70 per hour and South African wages fell from $4.30 to $3.60 per hour.

This spectacular increase in Chinese worker's wages are largely attributed to skyrocketing productivity, resulting from steady improvements in worker health, education and technical training, as well as sustained organized worker pressure and class struggle. President Xi Jinping's successful campaign for remove and arrest of hundreds of thousands of corrupt and exploitative officials and factory bosses has boosted worker power. Chinese workers are closing the gap with the US minimum wage. At the current rate of growth, the gap, which had narrowed from one tenth to one half the US wage in ten years, will disappear in the near future.

China is no longer merely a low-wage, unskilled, labor intensive, assembly plant and export-oriented economy. Today twenty thousand technical schools graduate millions of skilled workers. High tech factories are incorporating robotics on a massive scale to replace unskilled workers. The service sector is increasing to meet the domestic consumer market. Faced with growing US political and military hostility, China has diversified its export market, turning from the US to Russia, the EU, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Despite these impressive objective advances, the chorus of 'crooked croakers' continue to churn out annual predictions of China's economic decline and decay. Their analyses are not altered by China's 6.7% GNP growth in 2016; they jump on the 2017 forecast of 'decline' to 6.6% as proof of its looming collapse! Not be dissuaded by reality, the chorus of 'Wall Street croakers' wildly celebrate when the US announces a GNP increase from 1% to 1.5%!

While China has acknowledged its serious environmental problems, it is a leader in committing billions of dollars (2% of GNP) to reduce greenhouse gases -- closing factories and mines. Their efforts far exceed those of the US and EU.

China, like the rest of Asia, as well as the US, needs to vastly increase investments in rebuilding its decaying or non-existent infrastructure. The Chinese government is alone among nations in keeping up with and even exceeding its growing transportation needs -- spending $800 billion a year on high speed railroads, rail lines, sea- ports, airports subways and bridges.

While the US has rejected multi-national trade and investment treaties with eleven Pacific countries, China has promoted and financed global trade and investment treaties with more than fifty Asia-Pacific (minus Japan and the US), as well as African and European states.

China's leadership under President Xi Jinping has launched an effective large-scale anti-corruption campaign leading to the arrest or ouster of over 200,000 business and public officials, including billionaires, and top politburo and Central Committee members. As a result of this national campaign, purchases of luxury items have significantly declined. The practice of using public funds for elaborate 12 course dinners and the ritual of gift giving and taking are on the wane.

Meanwhile, despite the political campaigns to 'drain the swamp' and successful populist referenda, nothing remotely resembling China's anticorruption campaign have taken root in the US and the UK despite daily reports of swindles and fraud involving the hundred leading investment banks in the Anglo-American world. China's anti- corruption campaign may have succeeded in reducing inequalities. It clearly has earned the overwhelming support of the Chinese workers and farmers.

Journalists and academics, who like to parrot the Anglo-American and NATO Generals, warn that China's military program poses a direct threat to the security of the US, Asia and indeed the rest of world.

Historical amnesia infects these most deep diving frogs. Forgotten is how the post WW2 US invaded and destroyed Korea and Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) killing over nine million inhabitants, both civilian and defenders. The US invaded, colonized and neo-colonized the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century, killing up to one million inhabitants. It continues to build and expands its network of military bases encircling China, It recently moved powerful, nuclear armed THADD missiles to the North Korean border, capable of attacking Chinese and even Russian cities. The US is the worlds' largest arms exporter, surpassing the collective production and sale of the next five leading merchants of death.

In contrast, China has not unilaterally attacked, invaded or occupied anyone in hundreds of years. It does not place nuclear missiles on the US coast or borders. In fact, it does not have a single overseas military base. Its own military bases, in the South China Sea, are established to protect its vital maritime routes from pirates and the increasingly provocative US naval armada. China's military budget, scheduled to increase by 7% in 2017, is still less than one-fourth of the US budget.

For its part, the US promotes aggressive military alliances, points radar and satellite guided missiles at China, Iran and Russia, and threatens to obliterate North Korea. China's military program has been and continues to be defensive. Its increase is based on its response to US provocation. China's foreign imperial thrust is based on a global market strategy while Washington continues to pursue a militarist imperial strategy, designed to impose global domination by force.

Conclusion

The frogs of the Western intelligentsia have crocked loud and long. They strut and pose as the world's leading fly catchers -- but producing nothing credible in terms of objective analyses.

China has serious social, economic and structural problems, but they are systematically confronting them. The Chinese are committed to improving their society, economy and political system on their own terms. They seek to solve immensely challenging problems, while refusing to sacrifice their national sovereignty and the welfare of their people.

In confronting China as a world capitalist competitor, the US official policy is to surround China with military bases and threaten to disrupt its economy. As part of this strategy, Western media and so-called 'experts' magnify China's problems and minimize their own.

Unlike China, the US is wallowing at less than 2% annual growth. Wages stagnate for decades; real wages and living standards decline. The costs of education and health care skyrocket, while the quality of these vital services decline dramatically. Costs are growing, un-employment is growing and worker suicide and mortality is growing. It is absolutely vital that the West acknowledge China's impressive advances in order to learn, borrow and foster a similar pattern of positive growth and equity. Co-operation between China and the US is essential for promoting peace and justice in Asia.

Unfortunately, the previous US President Obama and the current President Trump have chosen the path of military confrontation and aggression. The two terms of Obama's administration present a record of failing wars, financial crises, burgeoning prisons and declining domestic living standards. But for all their noise, these frogs, croaking in unison, will not change the real world.

WorkingClass , March 24, 2017 at 6:07 pm GMT

China is ascendant. The Anglo/Zio Empire is in steep decline. The frogs bark. The caravan moves on.
Robert Magill , March 24, 2017 at 7:15 pm GMT
There is about as much Communism in the Peoples Communist Party of China as there is Democracy in the US Democratic Party. Therein lies the problem. Old words and slogans are used to obfuscate power plays by willful participants and to pretend the US is still vital in the world. Empire stops at the bottom line which was broached in about 1986 when we became a Debtor Nation. When China tires of lending us the money to build bases to harass them, it all ends. Our troops will have to find their own way home to put down all the incredible unrest here, then join the bread lines.

http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

Gross Terry , March 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm GMT

In contrast, China has not unilaterally attacked, invaded or occupied anyone in hundreds of years. It does not place nuclear missiles on the US coast or borders. In fact, it does not have a single overseas military base. Its own military bases, in the South China Sea, are established to protect its vital maritime routes from pirates and the increasingly provocative US naval armada. China's military budget, scheduled to increase by 7% in 2017, is still less than one-fourth of the US budget.

lol whats the sino-Vietnamese war?

Si1ver1ock , March 25, 2017 at 12:23 am GMT
One solution to China's "ghost cities" is to put a university there. China is also leading the way on LFTR reactors. So you combine the two with a major college or university that has a LFTR based industry like an advanced ceramics or solar cells or fuels manufacturing facility and you have recipe for growth.

Modular LFTR reactors will allow China to replace coal burning with nuclear reactors.

Astuteobservor II , March 25, 2017 at 12:52 am GMT

It recently moved powerful, nuclear armed THADD missiles to the North Korean border, capable of attacking Chinese and even Russian cities.

isn't this wrong? isn't THAAD a missile defense system? reason china is pissed off about it is because it can scan 2000km into china.

Astuteobservor II , March 25, 2017 at 12:55 am GMT
@Si1ver1ock

The ghost cities is mostly propaganda. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/world/asia/chinas-great-uprooting-moving-250-million-into-cities.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 250 million people is going to need alot of "ghost cities"

DB Cooper , March 25, 2017 at 4:02 am GMT
@Gross Terry

The 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war occurred during the cold war. From the beginning China made it clear that the war will be short and it is meant to punish Vietnam. The war has several objectives. First it is to demonstrate the then Soviet Union's impotency. Soviet Union and Vietnam signed a mutual defense agreement several months before the war. Soviet Union did nothing when the war happened. Second the war is meant to put pressure on Vietnam to withdrew from Cambodia. Third it is a reaction to Vietnam's belligerence border aggression. Before the war Vietnam constantly lobbed grenade across the border into China. After the war peace and tranquility at the border restored.

After China made its point, China swiftly withdrew its troops back to its border. China and Vietnam has no land border disputes but China and Vietnam has maritime boundary disputes. Vietnam is the most aggressive of all the parties in the South China Sea disputes by a wide margin.

China's Great Leap Forward: Western Frogs Croak Dismay • Zhi Chinese , March 25, 2017 at 6:39 am GMT
[ ] by /u/Hbd-investor [link] [comments] Source: Reddit Permalink: China's Great Leap Forward: Western Frogs Croak [ ]
Anonymous , Disclaimer March 25, 2017 at 6:50 am GMT
@Astuteobservor II

It is an offensive system in the sense that it will allow first strike capability without fear or with less fear of being hit back.

Anonymous , Disclaimer March 25, 2017 at 6:54 am GMT
@Gross Terry

Yeah, I guess that is a legit war. But to compare that to what America does is highly suspect.

Lots of countries have skirmishes along their border, but only America has encircled the world in bases and is always at war.

That is the gist of heat he was saying.

Renoman , March 25, 2017 at 2:24 pm GMT
I buy a lot of stuff from China, mostly aliexpress.com and I have noticed that since the American election the delivery times on most items have doubled or worse. I live in Canada, how did he do that? I don't see the bargains that I did previously as well. All very spooky.
anonymous , Disclaimer March 25, 2017 at 9:07 pm GMT
"Vietnam is the most aggressive of all the parties in the South China Sea disputes by a wide margin."

Curious about this. How do you draw that conclusion.

Separately, while I agree with the tone of the article and general direction, a few comments:

- China has an overseas military base under construction in Djibouti. Brigade strength force will be deployed there.
- China's national (not provincial or locally published GDP numbers) GDP growth figures are approximately correct. However, currently there is lots of state directed lending to keep the growth up. The credit bubble might not pop but down the line dealing with so many bad loans will prevent fresh loans and that will slow down growth.
- While the economy is a miracle for blue collar workers, for non-workers in the most hard up parts of the country, social conditions are horrendous for a middle income country with lots of central revenue and administrative ability. In the western hills of Guangxi 10% of the kids are malnourished.
- China hasn't been expansionist in 250 years (not since Qing Empire into present day southwest Xinjaing in the 1760s) however there are still a few black marks: Sino-Vietnamese War, supporting nuclear proliferation in Pakistan, not doing enough to control North Korea (this is the stupidest blunder of all and leaves Beijing vulnerable to nuclear attack one day if the Kim family is about to go), and threatening war publicly against Philippines at one point during the South China Sea crisis of the past several years (all forms of pressure are permitted but its uncivilized to outright threaten war).

DB Cooper , March 26, 2017 at 1:12 am GMT
@anonymous

"Vietnam is the most aggressive of all the parties in the South China Sea disputes by a wide margin."
Curious about this. How do you draw that conclusion.

I draw my conclusion on this article and here is the excerpt:

"In 1996, Vietnam occupied 24 features in the Spratly Islands (source). At that time, according to the same source, China occupied nine. By 2015, according to the United States government, Vietnam occupied 48 features, and China occupied eight.
On May 13, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, David Shear, said this to the Senate Foreign relations Committee: "Vietnam has 48 outposts; the Philippines, 8; China, 8; Malaysia, 5, and Taiwan, 1."
In the past 20 years, according to the United States, China has not physically occupied additional features. By contrast, Vietnam has doubled its holdings, and much of that activity has occurred recently. The Vietnamese occupations appear to have increased from 30 to 48 in the last six years.

Shear also pointed out that as of his speech, China did not have an airfield as other claimants did. He said:
All of these same claimants have also engaged in construction activity of differing scope and degree. The types of outpost upgrades vary across claimants but broadly are comprised of land reclamation, building construction and extension, and defense emplacements. Between 2009 and 2014, Vietnam was the most active claimant in terms of both outpost upgrades and land reclamation, reclaiming approximately 60 acres. All territorial claimants, with the exception of China and Brunei, have also already built airstrips of varying sizes and functionality on disputed features in the Spratlys."

Here is the source.

http://thediplomat.com/2015/06/who-is-the-biggest-aggressor-in-the-south-china-sea/

RobinG , March 27, 2017 at 4:07 am GMT
@Fran Macadam

How droll. Your characteristic pessimism works better as dark humor.

Alfa158 , March 27, 2017 at 5:23 am GMT
@Robert Magill

Seems like they are operating as a National Socialist system now. The means of production are owned by corporations but a powerful government keeps close control and directs business activities to the benefit of the nation. The owners are rewarded with wealth and the government advances their mutual interests for national progress.
They also place a heavy emphasis on cultural and racial pride.
Downside of course is that the types of civil liberties we enjoy are constricted and getting out of line gets you smacked real good, sometimes supposedly up to the point of bullet to the back of your head, and your family gets billed for the bullet.
A tough system to compete against unless the powers-that-be lacking effective external checks and balance do something stupid like invade Russia or bomb Pearl Harbor.

Backwoods Bob , March 27, 2017 at 7:17 am GMT
Well done.

The USA is character disordered. Demonize, belittle, bellicosity, and outright war. All we need is liberty and enforcement of property rights and we'd be leaving the Chinese and everyone else in the dust.

With the strangulation of our economy at home through the unconstitutional regulatory/administrative law colossus, instead of outgrowing our competitors we wish to shoot them down.

The term "Contain China" aptly demonstrates our stupidity insofar as forward thinking is concerned. You don't improve your lot by dedicating yourself to holding others down. It doesn't work in athletics, education, in relationships, or in free enterprise.

So it is odd to see nary a whit of protest to the idea when it should be ridiculed on the face of it.

I do of course see the same worn-out playbook of demonize, demonize, demonize being used by the Washington establishment. We have to "do something" about China. Not do something to our appalling education performance, savings and capital formation, strangulatory laws, etc.

I married into a Filipino family and have a house there. The Filipinos were fond of saying that the USA wanted to fight to the last Filipino over the South China Sea. They've been smart enough to work with the Chinese, who are investing billions of dollars there developing hydrocarbons and ports for transhipment like Singapore instead of launching a foolhardy war with China.

When I encounter people screeching about Chinese aggression against the poor little Filipinos or fiction about threats to international shipping it really strikes me how out of their minds people can be. We want to see our family working on ships there, not dying in a foolhardy confrontation. The Chinese have a long history of trading and running businesses in the Philippines. It is only our invincible ignorance, arrogance, and narcissism that results in a failure to see why the Philippines has turned towards China.

I go through Shanghai Pudong a lot and over the years it has been obvious how the people have become wealthier, how the infrastructure has stepped up to first world standards, and how smart/snappy the people are. We are really underestimating the Chinese and making a lot of self-serving rationalizations for their success.

We need to fix our own failings instead of trying to cut others down. China is already larger in GDP and can easily be twice ours before 2030 with relative growth rates the way they are.

Ram , March 27, 2017 at 8:52 am GMT
@Gross Terry

It succeeded in ending the killing machine in Laos.

Sergey Krieger , March 27, 2017 at 8:58 am GMT
@DB Cooper

China showed own impotence and lack of serious military capabilities in that war. Vietnamese forces were not even participating while local militia was kicking Chinese military back side. They obviously had to withdraw telling they gave a lesson. It is typical Chinese way to cut losses and avoid total loss of face aka du lian.

Ram , March 27, 2017 at 8:59 am GMT
@anonymous

Djibouti already "hosts" a US military base used against Yemen today.

Sergey Krieger , March 27, 2017 at 9:05 am GMT
It looks like lots of people think that country with 1.4 billion population can prosper long term and keep rising living standards of her population in the future on limited planet. They so far have managed to achieve improvements but at a cost of long term sustainability. Their ecological troubles are of huge magnitude and so are debt and demographic issues. We are already at each other throats fighting for diminishing resources, so it is highly doubtful Chinese or Indian projects can last.
Kimppis , March 27, 2017 at 9:26 am GMT
To be fair, comparing nominal military budgets can be very misleading and just dumb.

Sure, they are an easy way to rank different different militaries, but when you compare Western vs. Emerging powers and their military budgets, or countries with their large-scale MICs (which to be fair, there are only a few USA, Russia, China, France to some extent, India in the future, but certainly not today) vs. weapons exporters, the results are largely BS. Price levels are so different. Not to mention that the maintenance costs in the US military are absolutely massive.

Currently Russia is a great example. The devaluation is basically irrelevant for the Russian military. It should be obvious that Saudi Arabian military doesn't have a higher budget. The US certainly doesn't have 10-15 times more resources at its disposal. Russia spends rubles, it doesn't import weapons. So in reality the difference vs. the US something like 4x at most.

China is the same. The yuan has devalued vs. the dollar, so in dollar terms their growth has stagnated, which doesn't have anything to do with reality.

So overall, in comparable terms, let's say that the US spends $600 billion. In that case:
Russia spends atleast 120-150 billion
China spends atleast 250 billion, probably closer to 300 billion
And whereas the US capabilities are spread all around the world, Russia and China are focused on their backyards.

So in reality China's "real" military spending is atleast something like 40% of the US level already, not less than 1/4,.

The Alarmist , March 27, 2017 at 10:41 am GMT
The Sovs or the Chicoms would have sent Petras to the gulag ages ago. In the enlightened West, we merely consign him to places like UR, thus marginalising him and making it increasingly difficult to eke out a living. See Fred Reed's piece on columnists and wonder why more of them don't end up sucking on the business end of a firearm when they fail to toe the party line.
Brabantian , Website March 27, 2017 at 10:50 am GMT
Hard to get balance on this topic because it is human nature to favour false champions & heroes & rivals fake 'opposition' Don't like USA-Nato? Why then, plenty of fanboys to offer you Russia, China, Iran etc James Petras as above, André Vltchek, Andrei 'The Saker' Raevsky, Dick Cheney's hoaxer friend 'Edward Snowden', Netanyahu's hoaxer friend Julian Assange etc all selling 'opposition hero' tickets

The West has lots of stupid anti-China rubbish, sure but let's recall the Chinese official who said they learned how to do fake statistics & propaganda from Yank Americans The China reality is as follows:

China was the prime beneficiary of the global credit bubble 1990s-2000s, they will crash along with the rest of the world when all blows up, but crash worse because bad China debt is so huge think USA 1929, it won't stop China's long-term rise, but they will have a horrible decade & maybe ChiComs will lose power in the upheaval

China is a huge US-style bully, ask ASEAN people privately, or other Asians but as seen with the USA, other countries feel they must kiss up to the bully whilst e.g., Vietnam has been a bully to Cambodia on smaller scale

China, Russia, Iran do some things right, principally working to see that middle classes rise & expand & most people are better off economically, for as long as they were able to do this, Turkey's Erdogan too, it is a magic formula, like Hitler's 1930s Germany economic success

But all of these US 'rivals' have skeletons in the closet, hundreds of slow-torture hangings & killing women by stones annually in Iran, China's thousands of executions & ethnic repression & sea-lane bullying, Russia's past killing of perhaps 100,000 Muslims just to keep Chechnya-Dagestan oil & gas income

But pundits need someone to love & admire & promote the fake 'hero' the fake 'opposition' in the West the mafia gangsterism we know best is the US-Nato kind, so we go gaga over fake 'dissident' or foreign 'heroes' served up to us There are 'good things' in the West despite the bullying mass-killing horrors ditto with China Russia etc,, & people ignore the bad when they hero-worship, either East or West

The fake 'hero opposition' is the most successful of all oligarch memes It's plain as day, for example, that Dick Cheney's little friend, anti-9-11-truth, nothing-really-new 'Edward Snowden' is a fraud along with Rothschild employee & ex-gay-p-rnographer Glenn Greenwald Snowden maybe already having helped identify, silence, kill real dissidents duped into contacting Greenwald or his NY Times or UK Guardian pumpers yet most still eagerly hold on to fake 'opposition hero' themes, China or Russia, or Assange or 'Snowden' -

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/09/21/russia-govt-report-snowden-greenwald-are-cia-frauds/

Randal , March 27, 2017 at 12:07 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Yes that's true, but Astuteobservor is also correct that the paragraph as written is inaccurate and misleading. It should be amended, imo, as it's a blot on an otherwise very good and timely piece. It's an anti-missile system, not one that can attack cities, and it's kinetic not nuclear armed.

Ilyana_Rozumova , March 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm GMT
I love prof. Petraus. But wages itself do not reflect reality. (Growth of the wages maybe)
Wages must be accompanied by price of bread and price of rent.
Volume of production allows larger engineering and research and development sections.
That is the most significant factor in the competition in the world.
Joe Wong , March 27, 2017 at 12:57 pm GMT
@Gross Terry

After the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese claimed they were the 3rd strongest nation in the world based on the the amount of military hardware left behind by the US, and the Vietnamese started to invade China to reclaim their "entitled land, " and conqure Laos and Cambodia to build their Great Indo-China Federation. The Sino-Vietnam war was the war Chinese repelled Vietnamese invadors just like war in 1962, China repelled Indian invadors in Tibet.

jacques sheete , March 27, 2017 at 1:00 pm GMT
@Alfa158

Downside of course is that the types of civil liberties we enjoy are constricted and getting out of line gets you smacked real good

Where do people get the romantic notion that we enjoy civil liberties?

Anyone who reads of Lincoln's, Wilson's, FDR's and GWB's ( to name a few) wholesale dismissal of civil liberties could write a book on the subject.

I'd like to know how we can possibly have much by way of said liberties in a centralized, bureaucratized, militarized, police state effectively owned and ruled by vicious oligarchs.

Our loss of civil liberties began long ago.

"But while I beheld with pleasure the dawn of liberty rising in Europe, I saw with regret the lustre of it fading in America

But a faction, acting in disguise, was rising in America; they had lost sight of first principles. They were beginning to contemplate government as a profitable monopoly, and the people as hereditary property ."

THOMAS PAINE TO THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES,
And particularly to the Leaders of the Federal Faction.
LETTER I, Nov 15,1802

"The enlightened part of Europe have given us the greatest credit for inventing the instrument of security for the rights of the people and have been not a little surprised to see us so soon give it up."

Thomas Jefferson letter to Francis Hopkinson of March 13, 1789

Men haven't got the freedom today that they had when the Constitution was written. The men in the West had a great deal of freedoms more than the men in the East who copied the traditions of Europe.

-Jeanette Rankin, interview ~1977

Rankin, running as a Republican Progressive, was the first woman voted to congress

http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt758005dx/

Alfa158 , March 27, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

Well, I suppose I might say "relative" civil liberties. To your point, yes, as soon as we started exercising our inherent, inalienable liberties, State and commercial actors started working to turn them from natural rights to licenses that may be granted by the State only as long as it served the purposes of the State.

Tulip , March 27, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT
It is hard not to imagine that the Chinese system, in contrast to Western Liberal-Democracy, is the wave of the future. What is more is that China will invariably increase its geopolitical influence in the coming decades.
ThatDamnGood , March 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT
Most comments on the Sino Vietnamese War reveals quite a lot of ignorance about it.

When Deng Xiaopeng and Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore first met, Lee Kuan Yew began with thanking him for the China's kinetic military R2P mission

Why?

Lee Kuan Yew had operational plans to deploy a Singapore military force to Thailand and their army was manned largely by conscripted teenagers mostly. He had to sell the public to send their sons to war because it be too late if they had to fight the Vietnamese when they were across in Malaysia, so fight now. The Vietnamese were already having skirmishes the Thais across the Mekong.

Next, the PLA was pretty dismissive of Vietnam, told Deng, we would not need to use no stinking air power. Just the army would suffice. Why? Giap was "assisted" by a couple of Chinese generals through the Vietnam War. Walk in the park.

Turned out it wasn't a walk in the park but it was comfortable enough that the PLA got themselves into artillery range of Hanoi and deployed and use their arty units but not hitting Hanoi. Then while being not a walk in the park and thus egg in their face operation which Deng then used as leverage over the generals about PLA reform, it remained comfy enough that the PLA began a sure and steady scorch earth withdrawal.

And those Vietnamese troop concentrations across the Mekong were gone and Lee Kuan Yew was one happy camper alright.

The sight of those artillery units with range of Hanoi and the scorch earth withdrawal left quite an impression on Giap who till his death warned the rest of the Vietnamese elite never to go to war with China.

And it didn't end with the withdrawal. Deng may have been so taken by Lee Kuan Yew's words that he scheduled regular border incursions to keep the Vietnamese on their toes thru the 80s. Or maybe he didn't like the subsequent pogroms against the Hoa and who inspite of this are now the lords of commerce in Vietnam.

But all these are old musty stuff.

And the anti China propaganda never really worked and doesn't really matter as FDI into China grew and grew with years passing. Heck even Netanyahu knows who is buttering his toast. Cut ties over the UNSC vote? Nah smoke and mirrors probably for local politics reasons.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-21/netanyahu-asks-xi-to-exempt-israel-from-investment-restrictions-j0jra02r

More useful to get info on the impact on OBOR in the Stans and elsewhere.

ThatDamnGood , March 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm GMT
Also, if you look at the map of Vietnam up close, bow if you think Israel suffers from a lack of strategic depth

So that probably explains why they were moving west and their infantry got to do some fishing on the Mekong river.

Shoe Thrower , March 27, 2017 at 4:55 pm GMT
@Astuteobservor II

Note: it's not "THADD". It's "THAAD" : Theater High Altitude Area Defense.

Gross Terry , March 27, 2017 at 6:26 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

the chinaman cries out in pain as he invades your country

attilathehen , March 27, 2017 at 7:29 pm GMT
@WorkingClass

The conservative estimates of Chinese abortions since the mid-1970s is over 400 million. China is the fastest, aging country in the world. The Chinese were never that smart to begin with (contra propaganda from Jews and white degenerates who marry the Chinese). In the 1980s Japan was going to take over the world. Place your bets on Caucasian/European Christians, pagans.

eah , March 27, 2017 at 8:22 pm GMT
Get back to us when the rule of law in China is such that China is considered a safe haven for capital -- when Chinese with money stop voting with their feet about that -- when Chinese women stop 'birth tourism' to the US -- when Chinese students desperate to gain entry to a good US university stop cheating on the SAT -- also, perhaps talk to the numerous victims of Chinese 'reverse merger' etc stock scams, people who have no recourse because the Chinese government refuses to cooperate.
Joe Wong , March 27, 2017 at 10:01 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Two elite Vietnamese divisions that kicked the American out of South Vietnam were destroyed by the PLA in that short period of time. The Vietnamese central government had to vacate Hanoi before the PLA's bombardment of Hanoi. Without Deng's order PLA would divide Vietnam in two again. Finally the American was on China's side on the war to punish the Vietnamese; the American was so grateful that Chinese took vengeance against the Vietnamese for them.

Russian should know Russia is not USSR, and they should not be upset when USSR's incompetence is mentioned and troll fake news with boiling blood neck.

Thomas J , March 27, 2017 at 10:04 pm GMT
Wei ni hao Petras-da,

so just how much has Mr. Xi paid you for this piece?

1) Actual salaries are irrelevant as you ought to know because in the end it boils down to PPP.
2) Mr. Xi "remove" – ought to be "removal" btw is simply political battle for survival using "corruption" as an excuse. Should Mr. Xi be serious about fighting real corruption, 99% or more of entire politburo incl. himself ought to have been executed or in jail.
3) How about PRC destruction of Philippine's corrals (from another left wing publication – http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35106631 )
4) Artificial islands (weaponized) in South China sea?

Look US is as much war criminal as PRC – it is just that your Goebbels-like (or should I say Lev Davidovic like) propaganda makes me want to throw up.

I really enjoy UNZ for offering different – usually independent and critical – platform.

Your article is beyond disgrace a la New York Times / WaPo / Pravda /Rt.com / Spiegel / Xinhua and other "news" sources. Perhaps you might consider publishing there and stop polluting independent websites.

Thomas

PS I have visited PRC and Taiwan about 20 times, speak passable Mandarin and live with a Chinese born partner FYI.

Joe Wong , March 27, 2017 at 10:43 pm GMT
@anonymous

It seems here is another insect in the US dismal swamps trolling zero-sum cold war mentality wet dream. You should know Chinese lend RMB to the locals to bust growth and Chinese can print RMB thru the thin air just like the Fed, in addition China has already set up state owned funds to offload banks' debt load in exchange for their equity ownership, so the banks are back to healthy books and do the lending again just like the Fed, it is puzzling why such sophisticate safety mechanism will allow bad loans preventing fresh loans to be made.

Not doing the American bidding is black mark? Wow, this is surely an example of American exceptionalism without bound.

Joe Wong , March 27, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT
@Alfa158

Would you accept that the USA is a 'God-fearing' morally defunct evil 'puritan' nation? If you don't then you should not take what you are fed from cradle to grave the propaganda cooked up by those insects with a mindset belonging to the past, stalled in the old days of colonialism and constrained by the zero-sum cold war mentality from their dismal swamps.

Debbie Menon , March 27, 2017 at 11:49 pm GMT
China has not engaged the rest of the world in military confrontation, colonialist adventurism and wars while establishing itself on the world stage. Perhaps they have learned something from Western History (or the failures of), or the teachings of Confucius. I suspect the latter, for they have not done very well when practicing the forceful and brutal ways of the West.

They are on a roll, and it looks like they will get there, and probably stay there, for some time to come.

I do not like the way Newsweek Columnist, F. Zakaria

(the neocon ? I don't know exactly what to call him, but I am sure the Indians have a term for one of their own who joined the British Raj, put on their pretty uniforms, took their pay, and began to see himself as one of them, pure, high and mighty in his new white skin, topee and title, ever the S'arn't Major, never the Brigadier!, with riding crop and bayonet, and boots with which to downtrod!)

writes, or the things he usually writes about, but his article "Does the Future Belong to China?" was right on the money to me. I'll give credit to the support he seems to have had from other writers worldwide, which may be, perhaps, what makes it so good and, in my opinion, prophetic.

He writes: "When historians look back at the last decades of the 20th century, they might well point to 1979 as a watershed. That year the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, digging its grave as a superpower. It was also the year that China began its economic reforms. They were launched at a most unlikely gathering, the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, held in December 1978. Before the formal meetings, at a working-group session, the newly empowered party boss, Deng Xiaoping, gave a speech that turned out to be the most important one in modern Chinese history. He urged that the regime focus on development and modernization, and let facts-not ideology-guide its path. "It doesn't matter if it is a black cat or a white cat," Deng often said. "As long as it can catch mice, it's a good cat." Since then, China has done just that, pursued a modernization path that is ruthlessly pragmatic and non-ideological. The results have been astonishing. China has grown around 9 percent a year for more than 25 years, the fastest growth rate for a major economy in recorded history. In that same period it has moved 300 million people out of poverty and quadrupled the average Chinese person's income. And all this has happened, so far, without catastrophic social upheavals. The Chinese leadership has to be given credit for this historic achievement. There are many who criticize China's economic path. They argue that the numbers are fudged, that corruption is rampant, that its banks are teetering on the edge, that regional tensions will explode, that inequality is rising dangerously and that things are coming to a head. For a decade now they have been predicting, "This cannot last, China will crash, it cannot keep this up." So far at least, none of these prognoses has come true. And while China has many problems, it also has something any Third World country would kill for-consistently high growth."

We are living in changing times, and the times are changing at an ever increasing exponential rate!

Escher , March 28, 2017 at 1:03 am GMT
@DB Cooper

How many RMB did that post net you?

JoaoAlfaiate , March 28, 2017 at 1:54 am GMT
Tibet?
DB Cooper , March 28, 2017 at 2:37 am GMT
@JoaoAlfaiate

What about it?

denk , March 28, 2017 at 4:19 am GMT
*Worst of all, Western 'Asia' experts and scholars try 'role reversal':

While US bases and ships increasingly encircle China, the Chinese become the aggressors and the bellicose US imperialists whine about their victim-hood.*

Like i say,
ROBBER CRYING OUT ROBBERY.
Of all the slimy traits of the unitedsnake, this one takes the cake !

Washington has just invaded Syria, its 500th victim since 1785.
To Assad's protest of illegal invasion, Centcom commander Votel sniffs,
'We'r going after the ISIS , we dont need no stinking permission from nobody'

The hubris befitting the world's no 1 rogue state !

Monsul in Iraq is being 'turned to shards' ala Fallujah.
this time 'no more stinking rule of engagement that tie one hand behind our back, this time we fight to win' ,
promised Trump the
'anti establishment' prez ! [1]
Already civilian casualties have runned into the hundreds.

In Yemen, the Washington sponsored genocidal war waged by Saudis rages on.
Its another gigantic shooting fish in a barrel slaughter where the
coalition of killing [usa/saudi/UAE] seal off the whole country then pummel the trapped populace with F16, Apache gunships and artillery.
Its Fallujah x 1000 . !

Meanwhile in Oz where permier Li Ke Qiang is visiting,
the ever so santimonous press/ pundits ponder,
' We already have our friends in Washington who share our values in human rights and rule of law ,
why should we engage this 'human rights abuser and SCS bully,?'

What fucked up mind,
What a fucked up world !

[1]
Nam/Iraq were 'restrained' wars ?
Only in the USA,
Where the inmates are running the asylum !

Uncle Dan , March 28, 2017 at 4:51 am GMT
Has there ever been a communist regime that Prof Petra has not adored?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Petras

Mouren , March 28, 2017 at 6:57 am GMT
Nuclear armed THADD? This sentence alone betrays a lot of the authors ignorance. Ignoring the fact that the name of the weapons system is THAAD (Terminal High Altidude Area Defense), which could be a simple typo, even a short Google search would have shown the author that THAAD-missiles do not even carry explosives, much less nuclear bombs.

THAAD missiles are basically bullets that rely on kinetic impact alone to destroy incoming ballistic missiles. Even if they somehow could be nuclear armed, their range is only 200 kms which is nowhere near enough to reach China from South Korea.
China's objection to the system being stationed in Korea is not that the missiles are an offensive threat, but that THAAD's powerful radar could be used to see deep into Chinese territory.

interesting , March 28, 2017 at 8:51 am GMT
@Sergey Krieger

It took until 22 comments for anyone to really take a look at reality. These article always only look at one side of the balance sheet. China has gone on a MASSIVE printing spree to achieve the "growth" they currently have, the US is no better but for some reason facts matter for the US.

China also has a demographic (as was mentioned in another comment) time bomb waiting in the wings (just like all western nations) and yet it's also never mentioned in these "China = great, USA = lame" hit pieces.

A market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

And finally, what is the author really saying? That socialism or quasi communism is a better economic system? It appears so

p.s. And apparently China economic statistics are honest and accurate at least to this author.

TG , March 28, 2017 at 3:08 pm GMT
Well said.

One is reminded that, contrary to popular propaganda, Malthus was right. It is an iron law of development that no nation has become prosperous until AFTER fertility rates moderated. (it is mostly the RATE of population increase, not absolute numbers).

Under Mao the government deliberately created a massive population explosion – and when that was (predictably) a disaster did an about face. It was ugly – and would not have been needed at all except for the initial pro-natalist policies – but it has given China a chance to progress.

India has seen economic growth higher than China's – and all swallowed up by ever more people.

Mexico, the United States, and South America all have aggressive policies aimed at maximizing population growth – with, again, predictable results. Wages for the many go down and profits for the few go up.

Yes there is more to it than just demographics. But demographics are nevertheless powerful. And the Chinese government has apparently decided not to cancel out the effects of high wages by increasing the supply of people. At least for now.

skrik , March 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm GMT
@interesting

but for some reason facts matter for the US

Me: Haw. In the 'universe of swindlers,' the US has but one peer, otherwise known as 'the tail that wags the dog.'

Joe Wong , March 28, 2017 at 7:10 pm GMT
@interesting

In the USA. a war of opposing certitudes and denunciations is waged day to day between the long-ruling US corporate media and the White House. Both continuously proclaim ringing recriminations of the other's 'fake news'. Over months they both portray each other as malevolent liars.

To the Americans anything does not fit their liking is fake news, malevolent liars, even including their elected president.

Joe Wong , March 28, 2017 at 7:18 pm GMT
@Uncle Dan

Shouldn't all the governments be "Government of the people, by the people, for the people" regardless their ideology? It seems you have been brainwashed from cradle to grave and are so deep in the ideology that you don't know what a government is for.

woodNfish , March 28, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT
@Astuteobservor II

Yes, it is another Petras lie.

Sergey Krieger , March 28, 2017 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

I know it hurts, but China failed to achieve war objectives hence masquerading as lesson given and withdrawal. Chinese army lost lost about 10% of total army strength and had to withdraw. While USSR did not participate directly Soviet advisors were helping with military operational planning.

http://izvestia.ru/news/288083

Sergey Krieger , March 28, 2017 at 11:25 pm GMT
@interesting

I also forgot to mention that what we see in China is US manufacturing moved there. USA can blame only herself for creating her geopolitical rival. Avarice is a mortal sin. It was never enough for US propertied classes. As Marx told that for 100% returns capitalist are ready to break own neck and there is no crime capitalists would not commit for 300% annual returns. So, destroying own country's future, I mean USA, is a small pickle.
When I first time came to China in 1988, many steal wore Mao suits and the country was dirt poor. China with or without Deng did not have resources and know hows to rise without outside investments on massive scale.

Stonehands , March 29, 2017 at 3:06 am GMT
@Thomas J

and live with a Chinese born partner FYI.

Material domination has supplanted spiritual development as the primary goal of western society, when everyone else despises that approach to life.

I don't think shacking up with your partner without marriage plans, or the glamorization of homosexuality and pornography will ever gain approval in traditionalist China.

denk , March 29, 2017 at 3:24 am GMT
@Kimppis

Since you'r such accounting genius may be
they should appoint you to audit the Pentagon for that $70000000000 MIA fund,

Oops, the Pentagon hasnt been audited for decades cuz murkkans so trust those four* generals minding their tax monies. !

hehehehe

denk , March 29, 2017 at 3:58 am GMT
@Joe Wong

murkkans like to bleat about their 'freedom' to choose their leaders.

Well every four/eight years that vaunted system offers them a choice bet the likes of Bush senior/Bush junior/Clinton the sex fiend/Clinton the witch/Obomber/Donald *The swamp thing* Trump,
the end result being a continuous streak of 45 war criminals in the WH.

Well if thats something to be proud about,
good luck to them !

hehehe

anonymous , Disclaimer March 29, 2017 at 12:55 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

"Chinese can print RMB thru the thin air just like the Fed"

Explain how a high rate of inflation will not disrupt economic stability and therefore growth.

"China has already set up state owned funds to offload banks' debt load in exchange for their equity ownership"

The equity ownership is in companies that are troubled is not worth much. What you are therefore talking about is not an exchange but write downs equivalent to hundreds of billions of dollars. To put it in the most elementary way, the depletion of resources to write down hundreds of billions of dollars of bad loans diverts finite resources that would otherwise be used for new lending.

"Not doing the American bidding is black mark"

Do you recognize there are various positions besides against us or with us? So not supporting China publicly using threats of war to settle disputes (e.g. a general appearing on state tv threatening war against the Philippines during the height of the diplomatic dispute in 2014), in your mind means being pro-American, anti-Chinese. Do you recognize there are several other positions than simply either being this or that?

Anon , Disclaimer March 30, 2017 at 5:25 pm GMT
@Gross Terry

Tibet ! ? Wuzz this guy smoking ?

alan2102 , April 1, 2017 at 10:22 pm GMT
@Alfa158

http://chinarising.puntopress.com/

http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/03/25/china-rising-capitalist-roads-socialist-destinations-is-now-available-in-paperback/

CHINA RISING
Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations
THE TRUE FACE OF ASIA'S ENIGMATIC COLOSSUS

alan2102 , April 1, 2017 at 10:27 pm GMT
@TG

"Under Mao the government deliberately created a massive population explosion – and when that was (predictably) a disaster did an about face."

What?! Under Mao, well BEFORE the 1-child policy of the late 1970s, fertility had dropped off to ~3. That would be from ~6 around the time of the revolution.

alan2102 , April 1, 2017 at 10:37 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova

"wages itself do not reflect reality"

Perhaps you are unaware that, globally, serious poverty has declined dramatically over the last 20 years -- and it is ALL (yes, 100%) due to the lifting of hundreds of millions of Chinese poor people out of poverty. The wages of those formerly-poor people reflect a new, much-improved reality.

Lue-Yee Tsang , Website April 6, 2017 at 12:37 am GMT
@Randal

The clearest way to articulate what's going on with placing a 'missile defence' system next to North Korea (and thus close to China) is that it's (1) tactically defensive, to be used against any incoming missiles, and (2) strategically aggressive, being used close to someone else's borders to enable an aggressive strike. The same is true of 'missile defence' systems set up in Poland against Russia.

K , May 24, 2017 at 9:09 am GMT
@Joe Wong

"China repelled Indian invadors in Tibet."

*facepalm*

Dont rewrite history! Stick to discussing china-vietnam. You know nothing about the sino-indian war.

[Nov 04, 2017] Who's Afraid of Corporate COINTELPRO by C. J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
These tactics do not just suppress information. They enforce conformity at much deeper level.
Notable quotes:
"... I am using the Orwellian verb "unperson" playfully, but I'm also trying to be precise. What's happening isn't censorship, technically, at least not in the majority of cases. While there are examples of classic censorship (e.g., in the UK, France, and Germany), apart from so-called "terrorist content," most governments aren't formally banning expressions of anti-corporatist dissent. This isn't Czechoslovakia, after all. This is global capitalism, where the repression of dissent is a little more subtle. The point of Google unpersoning CounterPunch (and probably many other publications) and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists like Hedges is not to prevent them from publishing their work or otherwise render them invisible to readers. The goal is to delegitmize them, and thus decrease traffic to their websites and articles, and ultimately drive them out of business, if possible. ..."
"... Another objective of this non-censorship censorship is discouraging writers like myself from contributing to publications like CounterPunch, Truthdig, Alternet, Global Research, and any other publications the corporatocracy deems "illegitimate." Google unpersoning a writer like Hedges is a message to other non-ball-playing writers. The message is, "this could happen to you." This message is meant for other journalists, primarily, but it's also aimed at writers like myself who are making a living (to whatever degree) writing and selling what we think of as "literature." ..."
"... These tactics do not just suppress information. They enforce conformity at much deeper level. ..."
"... Chomsky explains how this system operates in What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream . It isn't a question of censorship the system operates on rewards and punishments, financial and emotional coercion, and subtler forms of intimidation. Making examples of non-cooperators is a particularly effective tactic. Ask any one of the countless women whose careers have been destroyed by Harvey Weinstein, or anyone who's been to graduate school, or worked at a major corporation. ..."
"... C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org . ..."
Nov 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

On November 30, 2016, presumably right at the stroke of midnight, Google Inc. unpersoned CounterPunch. They didn't send out a press release or anything. They just quietly removed it from the Google News aggregator. Not very many people noticed. This happened just as the "fake news" hysteria was being unleashed by the corporate media, right around the time The Washington Post ran this neo-McCarthyite smear piece vicariously accusing CounterPunch, and a number of other publications, of being "peddlers of Russian propaganda." As I'm sure you'll recall, that astounding piece of "journalism" (which The Post was promptly forced to disavow with an absurd disclaimer but has refused to retract) was based on the claims of an anonymous website apparently staffed by a couple of teenagers and a formerly rabidly anti-Communist, now rabidly anti-Putin think tank. Little did most people know at the time that these were just the opening salvos in what has turned out to be an all-out crackdown on any and all forms of vocal opposition to the global corporate ruling classes and their attempts to quash the ongoing nationalist backlash against their neoliberal agenda.

Almost a year later, things are much clearer. If you haven't been following this story closely, and you care at all about freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and that kind of stuff, you may want to take an hour or two and catch up a bit on what's been happening. I offered a few examples of some of the measures governments and corporations have been taking to stifle expressions of dissent in my latest piece in CounterPunch , and there are many more detailed articles online, like this one by Andre Damon from July, and this follow-up he published last week (which reports that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges has also been unpersoned). Or, if you're the type of soul who only believes what corporations tell you, and who automatically dismisses anything published by a Trotskyist website, here's one from last December in The Guardian , and an op-ed in The New York Times , both of which at least report what Google, Twitter, and Facebook are up to. Or you could read this piece by Robert Parry , who also has "legitimate" (i.e., corporate) credentials, and who hasn't been unpersoned just yet, although I'm sure they'll get around to him eventually.

I am using the Orwellian verb "unperson" playfully, but I'm also trying to be precise. What's happening isn't censorship, technically, at least not in the majority of cases. While there are examples of classic censorship (e.g., in the UK, France, and Germany), apart from so-called "terrorist content," most governments aren't formally banning expressions of anti-corporatist dissent. This isn't Czechoslovakia, after all. This is global capitalism, where the repression of dissent is a little more subtle. The point of Google unpersoning CounterPunch (and probably many other publications) and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists like Hedges is not to prevent them from publishing their work or otherwise render them invisible to readers. The goal is to delegitmize them, and thus decrease traffic to their websites and articles, and ultimately drive them out of business, if possible.

Another objective of this non-censorship censorship is discouraging writers like myself from contributing to publications like CounterPunch, Truthdig, Alternet, Global Research, and any other publications the corporatocracy deems "illegitimate." Google unpersoning a writer like Hedges is a message to other non-ball-playing writers. The message is, "this could happen to you." This message is meant for other journalists, primarily, but it's also aimed at writers like myself who are making a living (to whatever degree) writing and selling what we think of as "literature."

Yes, as you've probably guessed by now, in addition to writing political satire, I am, as rogue journalist Caitlin Johnstone so aptly put it once, an "elitist wanker." I've spent the majority of my adult life writing stage plays and working in the theater, and it doesn't get any more elitist than that. My plays are published by "establishment" publishers, have won a few awards, and have been produced internationally. I recently published my "debut novel" (which is what you call it if you're an elitist wanker) and am currently trying to promote and sell it. I mention this, not to blow my little horn, but to the set the stage to try to illustrate how these post-Orwellian intimidation tactics (i.e., unpersoning people from the Internet) work. These tactics do not just suppress information. They enforce conformity at much deeper level.

The depressing fact of the matter is, in our brave new Internet-dominated world, corporations like Google, Twitter, and Facebook (not to mention Amazon), are, for elitist wankers like me, in the immortal words of Colonel Kurz, "either friends or they are truly enemies to be feared." If you are in the elitist wanker business, regardless of whether you're Jonathan Franzen, Garth Risk Hallberg, Margaret Atwood, or some "mid-list" or "emerging" author, there is no getting around these corporations. So it's kind of foolish, professionally speaking, to write a bunch of essays that will piss them off, and then publish these essays in CounterPunch. Literary agents advise against this. Other elitist literary wankers, once they discover what you've been doing, will avoid you like the bubonic plague. Although it's perfectly fine to write books and movies about fictional evil corporations, writing about how real corporations are using their power to mold societies into self-policing virtual prisons of politically-correct, authoritarian consumers is well, it's something that is just not done in professional elitist wanker circles.

Normally, all this goes without saying, as these days most elitist wankers are trained how to write, and read, and think, in MFA conformity factories, where they screen out any unstable weirdos with unhealthy interests in political matters. This is to avoid embarrassing episodes like Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize lecture (which, if you haven't read it, you probably should), and is why so much of contemporary literature is so well-behaved and instantly forgettable. This institutionalized screening system is also why the majority of journalists employed by mainstream media outlets understand, without having to be told, what they are, and are not, allowed to report. Chomsky explains how this system operates in What Makes Mainstream Media Mainstream . It isn't a question of censorship the system operates on rewards and punishments, financial and emotional coercion, and subtler forms of intimidation. Making examples of non-cooperators is a particularly effective tactic. Ask any one of the countless women whose careers have been destroyed by Harvey Weinstein, or anyone who's been to graduate school, or worked at a major corporation.

Or let me provide you with a personal example.

A couple weeks ago, I googled myself (which we elitist wankers are wont to do), and noticed that two of my published books had disappeared from the "Knowledge Panel" that appears in the upper right of the search results. I also noticed that the people "People Also Search For" in the panel had changed. For years, consistently, the people you saw there had been a variety of other elitist literary wankers and leftist types. Suddenly, they were all rather right-wing types, people like Ilana Mercer and John Derbyshire, and other VDARE writers. So that was a little disconcerting.

I set out to contact the Google Search specialists to inquire about this mysterious development, and was directed to a series of unhelpful web pages directing me to other unhelpful pages with little boxes where you can write and submit a complaint to Google, which they will completely ignore. Being an elitist literary wanker, I also wrote to Google Books, and exchanged a number of cordial emails with an entity (let's call her Ms. O'Brien) who explained that, for "a variety of reasons," the "visibility" of my books (which had been consistently visible for many years) was subject to change from day to day, and that, regrettably, she couldn't assist me further, and that sending her additional cordial emails was probably a pointless waste of time. Ms. O'Brien was also pleased to report that my books had been restored to "visibility," which, of course, when I checked, they hadn't.

"Whatever," I told myself, "this is silly. It's probably just some IT thing, maybe Google Books updating its records, or something." However, I was still perplexed by the "People Also Search For" switcheroo, because it's kind of misleading to link my writing to that of a bunch of serious right-wingers. Imagine, if you were a dystopian sci-fi fan, and you googled me to check out my book and see what else I had written, and so on, and my Google "Knowledge Panel" popped up and displayed all these far-right VDARE folks. Unless you're a far-right VDARE type yourself, that might be a little bit of a turn-off.

At that point, I wondered if I was getting paranoid. Because Google Search runs on algorithms, right? And my political satire and commentary is published, not only in CounterPunch, but also in The Unz Review, where these far-right-wing types are also published. Moreover, my pieces are often reposted by what appear to be "Russia-linked" websites, and everyone knows that the Russians are all a bunch of white supremacists, right? On top of which, it's not like I'm Stephen King here. I am hardly famous enough to warrant the attention of any post-Orwellian corporate conspiracy to stigmatize anti-establishment dissent by manipulating how authors are displayed on Google (i.e., subtly linking them to white supremacists, anti-Semites, and others of that ilk).

So, okay, I reasoned, what probably happened was over the course of twenty-four hours, for no logical reason whatsoever, all the folks who had been googling me (along with other leftist and literary figures) suddenly stopped googling me, all at once, while, more or less at the exact same time, hundreds of right-wingers started googling me (along with those white supremacist types they had, theoretically, already been googling). That kind of makes sense when you think about it, right? I mean, Google couldn't be doing this intentionally. It must have been some sort of algorithm that detected this sudden, seismic shift in the demographic of people googling me.

Or, I don't know, does that possibly sound like a desperate attempt to rationalize the malicious behavior of an unaccountable, more or less god-like, global corporation that wields the power of life and death over my book sales and profile on the Internet (a more or less god-like global corporation that could do a lot of additional damage to my sales and reputation with complete impunity once the piece you're reading is published)? Or am I simply getting paranoid, and, in fact, I've developed a secret white supremacist fan base without my knowledge? Only Google knows for sure.

Such are the conundrums elitist literary wankers have to face these days that is, those of us wankers who haven't learned to keep our fucking mouths shut yet. Probably the safest course of action, regardless of whether I'm being paranoid or Google does have me on some kind of list, is to lay off the anti-corporatist essays, and definitely stop contributing to CounterPunch, not to mention The Unz Review, and probably also give up the whole dystopian satire novel thing, and ensure that my second novel conforms to the "normal" elitist wanker rules (which every literary wanker knows, but which, technically, do not exist). Who knows, if I play my cards right, maybe I can even sell the rights to Miramax, or okay, some other corporation.

Once that happens, I assume that Google will want to restore me to normal personhood, and return my books to visibility, and I will ride off into the Hollywood sunset with the Clintons, Clooneys, and Pichais, and maybe even Barack Obama himself, if he isn't off jet skiing with Richard Branson, or having dinner with Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, who just happen to live right down the street, or hawking the TPP on television. By that time, CounterPunch and all those other "illegitimate" publications will have been forced onto the dark web anyway, so I won't be giving up all that much. I know, that sounds pretty cold and cynical, but my liberal friends will understand I just hope all my new white supremacist fans will find it in their hearts to forgive me.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. He can reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

anonymous , • Disclaimer November 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm GMT

Thank you for mustering the courage and then taking the time to spell out these outrages in a straightforward, unemotional way. I've appreciated the humor that centers your other essays, but there's not a damned thing funny about this.

But why are things as they are? With billions aplenty, our rulers must be driven by their libido dominandi. We're left to wonder only whether they get off more on ostracizing the Hopkinses, on buying the politicians, or on herding the sheep from bathrooms to statues to flags.

[Nov 01, 2017] The Political Organization Men

Notable quotes:
"... The Organization Man ..."
"... What Whyte ran across was the sub-culture of the workplace as followed by those who set themselves upon a "career path" within a specific organization. The stereotypical examples are those, to quote Whyte , "who have left home spiritually as well as physically, to take the vows of organization life. [They adopt an ethic that] rationalizes the organization's demand for fealty and gives those who offer it wholeheartedly a sense of dedication." ..."
"... Today, some private-sector organizations have moved away from the most extreme demands of such conformity, but some other career lines have not, two examples being the military and career party politics. ..."
"... The Power Elite ..."
"... The Organization Man. ..."
"... hose who make their careers within these entities, especially the military and the government, are ideologically conditioned to identify their well-being with the specific goals of their chosen organizations. That means they must bind themselves not only to the goals, but also to the ethics of their workplace. ..."
"... Those who balk are eventually punished and cast out of the organizations. Those who guide these organizations, and essentially decide how rules and ethics will be interpreted and applied, are Mills's "power elite." ..."
"... It may come as a surprise to the reader that party politics as practiced by many of the Western democracies is quite similar. The "power elites" who reside at the top of the so-called greasy pole, holding positions as the head of ruling and contesting parties, are likely to demand the same sort of obedience to orders as any military officer. ..."
"... Rafe explained it this way ..."
"... Leaders of political parties can control their organizations in dictatorial fashion. They have power to reward or punish their party's cohorts in a fashion that can make or break careers. For instance, they control the dispersal of party funds from monies for elections right down to one's office budget; they determine whether a candidate will have to face a primary challenge; they make all committee assignments; they can promote and demote within the party ranks. ..."
"... As Rafe Mair observed, the possibilities for both reward and punishment are almost endless. In this way elected officials become bound to the diktats of their party's leaders. They cannot normally vote their conscience or reliably represent their constituency unless doing so coincides with the desires of their party's leadership. ..."
"... Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest ..."
"... America's Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood ..."
"... This is an excellent summary of the basis in mentality of what is factually a 21st century version of a fascist regime. Even though two political parties and the shell forms of republican government may exist, the reality is that the parties are factions and the way things operate is via conformity and loyalty to an authoritarian power structure. ..."
Nov 01, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Many working-class Americans voted for Donald Trump believing he would address their needs, not those of rich Republicans. But all pols, it seems, end up conforming to their political group's priorities, as Lawrence Davidson explains.

By Lawrence Davidson

In 1956, William H. Whyte published a book entitled The Organization Man about America's societal changes in the post-World War II economy. Basing his findings on a large number of interviews with CEOs of major American corporations, Whyte concluded that, within the context of modern organizational structure, American "rugged individualism" had given way to a "collectivist ethic." Economic success and individual recognition were now pursued within an institutional structure – that is, by "serving the organization."

Whyte's book was widely read and praised, yet his thesis was not as novel as it seemed. "Rugged individualism," to the extent that it existed, was (and is) the exception for human behavior and not the rule. We have evolved to be group-oriented animals and not lone wolves. This means that the vast majority of us (and certainly not just Americans) live our lives according to established cultural conventions. These operate on many levels – not just national patriotism or the customs of family life.

What Whyte ran across was the sub-culture of the workplace as followed by those who set themselves upon a "career path" within a specific organization. The stereotypical examples are those, to quote Whyte , "who have left home spiritually as well as physically, to take the vows of organization life. [They adopt an ethic that] rationalizes the organization's demand for fealty and gives those who offer it wholeheartedly a sense of dedication."

Today, some private-sector organizations have moved away from the most extreme demands of such conformity, but some other career lines have not, two examples being the military and career party politics.

For insight in this we can turn to the sociologist C. Wright Mills , whose famous book The Power Elite was published the same year as Whyte's The Organization Man. Mills's work narrows the world's ruling bureaucracies to government, military and top economic corporations. T hose who make their careers within these entities, especially the military and the government, are ideologically conditioned to identify their well-being with the specific goals of their chosen organizations. That means they must bind themselves not only to the goals, but also to the ethics of their workplace.

Those who balk are eventually punished and cast out of the organizations. Those who guide these organizations, and essentially decide how rules and ethics will be interpreted and applied, are Mills's "power elite."

How this works out in the military is pretty obvious. There is a long tradition of dedication to duty. At the core of this dedication is a rigid following of orders given by superiors. This tradition is upheld even if it is suspected that one's superior is incompetent.

It may come as a surprise to the reader that party politics as practiced by many of the Western democracies is quite similar. The "power elites" who reside at the top of the so-called greasy pole, holding positions as the head of ruling and contesting parties, are likely to demand the same sort of obedience to orders as any military officer.

The Organization Man or Woman in Politics

Running for and holding office in countries like the United States and Canada often requires one to "take the vows of organization life." Does this support democracy or erode it? Here is one prescient answer: the way we have structured our party politics has given us "an appalling political system which is a step-by-step denial of democracy and a solid foundation for a 'soft' dictatorship."

One of the elegant rooms at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. (Photo from maralagoclub.com)

Those are the words of the late Rafe Mair , a Canadian politician, broadcaster, author and a good friend of this writer. Rafe spent years in Canadian politics, particularly in his home province of British Columbia, and his experience led him to the conclusion expressed above. How does this translate into practice?

Rafe explained it this way : "In a parliamentary [or other form of representative] democracy the voter transfers his rights to his member of parliament [congressperson, senator or state legislator] to exercise on his behalf – the trouble is, by running for his political party the [elected person, in turn, is led to] assign your [the voter's] rights to the [party] leader for his exclusive use!"

There is no law that makes the elected official do this. However, the inducements to do so are very powerful.

Leaders of political parties can control their organizations in dictatorial fashion. They have power to reward or punish their party's cohorts in a fashion that can make or break careers. For instance, they control the dispersal of party funds from monies for elections right down to one's office budget; they determine whether a candidate will have to face a primary challenge; they make all committee assignments; they can promote and demote within the party ranks.

As Rafe Mair observed, the possibilities for both reward and punishment are almost endless. In this way elected officials become bound to the diktats of their party's leaders. They cannot normally vote their conscience or reliably represent their constituency unless doing so coincides with the desires of their party's leadership.

... ... ...

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest ; America's Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood ; and Islamic Fundamentalism . He blogs at www.tothepointanalyses.com .

Stephen J. , October 30, 2017 at 9:19 am

I believe we are prisoners of a corrupted "democracy."
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
July 13, 2017
The Prisoners of "Democracy"

Screwing the masses was the forte of the political establishment. It did not really matter which political party was in power, or what name it went under, they all had one ruling instinct, tax, tax, and more taxes. These rapacious politicians had an endless appetite for taxes, and also an appetite for giving themselves huge raises, pension plans, expenses, and all kinds of entitlements. In fact one of them famously said, "He was entitled to his entitlements." Public office was a path to more, and more largesse all paid for by the compulsory taxes of the masses that were the prisoners of "democracy."
[more info on this at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/07/the-prisoners-of-democracy.html

Sam F , October 30, 2017 at 11:42 am

Yes, our ertswhile democracy has been completely corrupted. Thanks to Lawrence Davidson, William Whyte, C. Wright Mills, and Rafe Mair for this consideration of the systemic corruption of political parties. The diseases of conformity within party organizations are a nearly inherent problem of democracy.

The improper influence which determines the policies conformed to by parties is the central problem, and stems largely from influence of the economic Power Elite, directing the policies to which the Organization Man must be obedient to be chosen. This distortion can be eliminated by Amendments to the Constitution to restrict funding of mass media and elections to limited individual contributions.

Our problem is that we cannot make such reforms because those tools of democracy are already controlled by oligarchy, which never yields power but to superior force. Talk of justice and peace is not in their language of might makes right, and has no effect whatsoever. They yielded to the 1964 Civil Rights Act only because their fear of riots in the streets led them to pretend that MLK et al had been persuasive.

The foreign wars may be stopped by the defeat, isolation, and embargo of the US by foreign powers. But within the US, the full price of democracy must again be paid the People of the US. The oligarchy must be defeated by superior force: only those who deny enforcement to oligarchy and terrify the rich will bring them to yield any power. That is likely to await more severe recessions and inequities caused by the selfish and irresponsible rich.

mike k , October 30, 2017 at 3:42 pm

You are exactly right Sam F. Unfortunately time is quickly running out for our corrupt "civilization." The time to cultivate and practice wisdom has passed. The sad truth is that our goose is cooked; there will be no cavalry showing up to save us. We are now "eating our karma" and will reap our just deserts. Not because I or anyone say so, but because implacable laws of nature will now play out. Dominant intellectual species occupy a precarious position in planetary evolution, and we are on the verge of a great fall – and all the King's horses and all the King's men will not be able to put our extincting species together again ..

Sam F , October 30, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Your reply touches a responsive chord, in that humanity seems to have made so little permanent progress in its million years or so, mostly in its last few hundred years, an insignificant fraction of planetary history. But the history and literature of temporary progress lost is significant as the repository of ideas for future democracies, at those rare moments when they are designed.

Our diseased society is but one tree in the forest of democracies. The US is or will be like the apparently healthy tree that took down my power lines last night, a pretty red oak with brilliant autumn leaves, but sideways now and blocking the road. But like the leaves on that tree, we can see the problem and still hope to be as happy as this year's leaves on healthier trees.

As in what I like to call the universal mind of humanity, individuals may have foresight and thoughts beyond their apparent functions, which survive in that greater mind of their thoughts recorded or just passed along, and in that way their learning is not in vain.

Drew Hunkins , October 30, 2017 at 10:34 am

Trump did nix out the TPP and did desire a rapprochement of sorts with Moscow. He also regularly asserted that he wanted to re-build American manufacturing in the heartland and wanted to rein in Washington's footprint across the globe. Of course Trump ultimately capitulated to the militarist Russophobes. One can only put so much stock in campaign pronouncements, but he did come off as less bellicose than Killary, that was clear to any fair minded observer.

Trump's also been a nightmare as it comes to workers' rights in general, consumer and environmental protections and fair taxation as it relates to regressive vs progressive rates. He was also an Islamophobe when it comes to Iran and fell right in line with Adelson and the other ZIonist psychopaths.

The most welcoming aspect of Trump was his desire to make peace with Russia, this has been completely sabotaged by the deep state militarists. This is the reason the Corkers, Flakes and much of the establishment mass media browbeat and attack him relentlessly. Most of them ignore what he actually should be admonished for opting for nuclear brinkmanship instead.

exiled off mainstreet , October 30, 2017 at 11:25 am

This is the best description I have seen about Trump's role.

Bob Van Noy , October 30, 2017 at 10:37 am

Thank you CN and Lawrence Davidson for what I think is a accurate explanation of the failure of our Democracy. I especially like the reference to C. Wright Mills who is a heroic character for me. I think Mr. Mill's book on the Power Elite was prescient, as was his thinking in general. He published a little known book "Listen, Yankee" (1960) that was very insightful about the then current Cuban Revolution. It seems in retrospect that there was plenty of warning at the time for America to wake up to the goals of Big Government and Big Business but it was either successfully repressed or ignored by those who might have made a difference, like Labor. At any rate, C. Wright Mills died too early, because he seemed uniquely suited to make a difference. His writing remains current, I'll add a link.

http://www.cwrightmills.org

mike k , October 30, 2017 at 3:47 pm

I am a big CW Mills fan too. We have had many warnings – now we are going to experience the fate of those who ignore wisdom.

tina , October 30, 2017 at 10:31 pm

Hey, college UWM 1984- 1987 Mass Comm, I did not graduate , but we studied Mills, Lewis Mumford, and my favorite, Marshall McLuhan. Also, first time I was introduced to Todd Gitlin and IF Stone. While I did not pursue a life in journalism, I so appreciate all those who did the hard work. I still have all my college required reading books from these people, it is like a set of encyclopedias, only better. And better than the internet. Keep up the work CN , I am not that talented, but what you do is important.

BobH , October 30, 2017 at 12:04 pm

First, let me commend Lawrence Davidson for his selection of two of the most insightful writers of the sixties to use as a springboard for his perceptive essay. A third(John Kenneth Galbraith) would complete a trilogy of the brilliant academic social analysis of that time. Galbraith's masterpiece(The Affluent Society) examined the influence of the heavy emphasis corporate advertising had on American culture and concluded that the economic/social structure was disproportionately skewed toward GDP(gross domestic product) at the expense of educational investment. This was in direct contrast with the popular novels and essays of Ayn Rand, the goddess of greed whose spurious philosophy had come to epitomize the mindset that continues to plague the globe with the neoliberal ideals that have been reinvented under many names over time; i.e. laissez faire, trickle down,the Laffer curve, free market economics and monetarism.

Zachary Smith , October 30, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Usually such claims are themselves no more than campaign hot air. However, in their ignorance, voters may well respond to such hot air, and the result can be a jump from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. U.S. voters seem to have taken just such a leap when they elected Donald Trump president.

Nowhere in this essay are either of the terms "Hillary" or "Clinton" mentioned. U.S. voters had the choice of a known evil on the "D" side of the ballot, or another person well understood to be a shallow, self-centered, rich *****. They were going to end up with an unqualified person either way the voting went. Quite possibly the nod went to Trump because 1) his promises were surely more believable than those of Clinton and 2) Trump wasn't yet the known destroyer of entire nations.

Describing the predicament of the voters as "ignorance" just isn't fair when looking at the overall picture.

mike k , October 30, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Yes. Voters were put in a no win situation. That's why I did not participate in the "show" election.

Realist , October 31, 2017 at 4:33 am

What were Obama's reasons for failing to take a stand, once elected, on all the promises he made during his campaigns? He mostly gave away the store to the other side, and insulted his supporters while doing so. Talk about progressives not getting a "win" even after carrying the elections. Two terms earlier, the media called the contest one of two "moderates" between Bush and Gore. If that was "moderation" practiced by Dubya, I need a new dictionary. Most recent elections have been pointless, especially when the Supreme Court doesn't allow a complete recount of the votes. In a field of 13(!) primary candidates last year, the GOP could not provide one quality individual. The Dems cheated to make sure the worst possible of theirs would get the nomination. I see nothing but mental and moral midgets again on the horizon for 2020. I don't expect Trump to seek re-election. He will have had a bellyful should he even survive.

Stephen J. , October 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm

I believe what has happened to all of us is: "The Imposition of a New World Order." This plan has been helped by puppet politicians. Therefore the question must be asked: "Is There An Open Conspiracy to Control the World'?
[More info on this at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2014/12/is-there-open-conspiracy-to-control.html

john wilson , October 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Stephen: why do you ask the question to which you already know the answer? Yes, we're all screwed and have been for years. The bankers already control the world and the military make sure its stays that way.

Stephen J. , October 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Very true john wilson. Questions beget answers and information.
cheers Stephen J.

mike k , October 30, 2017 at 3:52 pm

It's like the Purloined Letter by Poe – the truth of our enslavement is so obvious, that only the deeply brainwashed can fail to see it.

Zachary Smith , October 30, 2017 at 12:48 pm

The parts of The Organization Man I found most interesting were the chapters about "Testing The Organization Man". The companies were deliberately selecting for people we currently label Corporate Psychopaths. Whyte suggested memorizing some "attitudes" before taking one of the tests. Among them:

I loved my father and my mother, but my father a little bit more
I like things pretty much the way they are
I never worry much about anything
I don't care for books or music much
I love my wife and children
I don't let them get in the way of company work

You can substitute any number of things that you won't allow to get in the way of company work .

Ecology. Laws. Regulations. Integrity. Religion.

"Screw planet Earth. Exxon comes first!" Or "screw Jesus and the horse he rode in on. We need to cut taxes and balance the budget. People are poor because they're too lazy to get a job."

mike k , October 30, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Good points. Brainwashing in action revealed.

john wilson , October 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Democracy is another word for consensual slavery. In a communist system or a dictatorship etc you are told you are a slave because you have no voice or choice. In a democracy you do have a choice and its between one salve master and another. If you vote Democrat you are just as much a slave to the system as you are if you vote Republican. The possibility of a third choice which might just free you from your chains, is a fantasy and only there as window dressing to give democracy some credibility. The term for this dilemma is called being TOTALLY SCREWED!!

mike k , October 30, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Amen John. You got it right brother.

exiled off mainstreet , October 31, 2017 at 11:01 am

This is an excellent summary of the basis in mentality of what is factually a 21st century version of a fascist regime. Even though two political parties and the shell forms of republican government may exist, the reality is that the parties are factions and the way things operate is via conformity and loyalty to an authoritarian power structure.

[Nov 01, 2017] How the US Aristocracy Deceive the US Public

Notable quotes:
"... Another year has passed with no one from a Wall Street bank going to jail for the criminal behavior everyone knows helped cause the financial crisis. Fines against Wall Street banks are reaching $100 billion, but all will be paid by stockholders. Bank CEOs and managers pay no fines and face no prison. ..."
"... There has been no reform -- zilch, nada -- of the credit-rating agencies. They are right back rating securities from issuers who pay them for their ratings. ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq ..."
"... the betrayal of the Sunnis by the Baghdad government the Americans left behind has been crucial to recruiting by the self-­proclaimed caliphate. Many of those who had helped crush Al Qaeda in Iraq eight years ago have concluded that no one except ISIS will protect them from Suleimani's fighters and flunkies. ..."
"... To counter Iran in Iraq and prevent the alienation that created ISIS would have required a better ambassador than Hill and a more attentive State Department than the one run by Hillary Clinton. It would have required, perhaps, a thousand Emma Skys. But there was only one of those. And it would have meant many more years of enormous involvement on the ground, but the American people had no taste for that. ..."
Nov 01, 2017 | www.strategic-culture.org

The progressive former Democratic US Senator Ted Kaufman wrote at Forbes , on 22 July 2014

Another year has passed with no one from a Wall Street bank going to jail for the criminal behavior everyone knows helped cause the financial crisis. Fines against Wall Street banks are reaching $100 billion, but all will be paid by stockholders. Bank CEOs and managers pay no fines and face no prison.

There has been no reform -- zilch, nada -- of the credit-rating agencies. They are right back rating securities from issuers who pay them for their ratings.

If you still can't trust the credit-rating on a bond, and if Wall Street's bigs still stand immune from the law even after the 2008 crash they had played a huge role to cause, then in what way can the US Government itself be called a 'democracy'?

Kaufman tries to get the American public interested in overcoming the US Government's profound top-level corruption, but few US politicians join with him on that, because only few American voters understand that a corrupt government (especially one that's corrupt at the very top) cannot even possibly be a democratic government.

However, America's aristocracy are even more corrupt than Wall Street itself is, and they control Wall Street, behind the scenes. And their 'news'media are under strict control to portray America as being still a democratic country that somehow lives up to its anti-aristocratic and anti-imperialistic Founders' intentions and Constitution. Maybe all that remains of those Founders' intentions today is that Britain's aristocracy no longer rules America -- but America's aristocracy now does, instead. And, this isn't much, if any, of an improvement.

Although the US aristocracy -- America's billionaires and centi-millionaires -- are the principals, and Wall Street are only their financial representatives (rather t than the aristocracy itself), Wall Street was blamed by liberals for the 2008 economic crash; and, of course, Wall Street did do lots of dirty work deceiving outside investors and many home buyers and others in order to extract from the public (including those much smaller investors) the hundreds of billions of dollars that the US aristocracy and its big-finance agents drew in pay and bonuses and other ways, from these economic extractions. But the aristocrats themselves emerged unscathed, even in their reputations, and were mainly financially enriched by the scams, which had been set-up by Wall Street in order to enrich the investment-insiders (the aristocrats themselves) at the expense of investment-outsiders, and of the public-at-large. Conservatives blamed the Government for the crash (as if the Government didn't represent only the aristocracy , but instead represented the American public). However, liberals blamed Wall Street (the financial agents of America's aristocracy). And, nobody blamed the aristocracy itself.

America's entire political system, the liberal and the conservative politicians and press, thus hid, from the public, the role that the principals, the aristocrats themselves, had played, demanding these crimes from and by their agents. In other words: the top people who had caused the 2008 crash, didn't only -- and all of them did -- avoid prison entirely, but the worst that some of them suffered, was only that the financial firms that some of them had headed, became hit by wrist-slap fines, and that some of their lower-level employees who had actually executed or carried out the scams are being prosecuted and might someday be fined or even sent to prison . But neither the aristocrats nor their financial agents who run Wall Street were punished, either by the law, nor by their personal reputations. They still are treated in their 'news'media as sages and 'philanthropists', instead of as the nation's most-successful organized gangsters.

US President Barack Obama himself protected the top Wall Street people, but, because he was a liberal -- i.e., a conservative who is hypocritical enough to damn conservatism in public; or, in other words, a conservative who misrepresents what he is -- he publicly condemned, in vague terms, "the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis" , even while he had his Administration prosecute none of them , and even while he assured Wall Street's top people privately "I'm protecting you." Obama had told the Wall Street bigs, near the start of his regime, on 27 March 2009, in private, inside the White House: "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. I'm not out there to go after you. I'm protecting you. I'm going to shield you." And that's what he did. To him, the public were just "pitchforks," like the KKK bigots who had chased Blacks with pitchforks and lynched them during the early 20th Century were. The heads of Wall Street firms that were being bailed-out by US taxpayers were persecuted victims of the public, in that US President's eyes. To them, the public are merely a mob.

And, on 20 September 2016, Dave Johnson of the Campaign for America's Future, headlined "Banks Used Low Wages, Job Insecurity To Force Employees To Commit Fraud" ; so, there was no way that the employees could keep their jobs except to do the crimes that they were being virtually forced by their bosses to do. The criminality was actually at the very top -- even above where Obama had promised "I'm protecting you," which was directed instead only to the Wall Street bigs, and not to the billionaires they served. And even those people mainly weren't billionaires at all; they were mainly just top financial agents for the billionaires, grasping to join the aristocracy. Obama, like they, represented the billionaires, though as a politician; and, so, he talked publicly against some of these agents, basically against Republican ones, in order to keep the votes of Democrats -- he just kept suckering the liberals, the Democratic Party of the US aristocracy's voters.

The aristocracy's 'news'media present the storyline that the billionaires and centi-millionaires were merely among the many victims of the scams that had produced the 2008 crash; but there is a problem with that storyline: the Government bailed-out those giant investors, because those were overwhelmingly the investors in "Strategically Important Financial Institutions" -- not in medium and small-sized ones, not in merely community banks, but in the giant banks and insurers.

These mega-investors were the controlling interests in America's international corporations. They consequently controlled US Government politics and political fundraising.

Cheated investors, and illegally foreclosed home-owners, were nominally protected in the laws, but even the federal Government's own studies of actual results showed that almost all of these people, the real direct victims, were simply being ignored -- even while Wall Street and its mega-investors got bailed-out by taxpayers .

The entire system, both private and public, was thus controlled by the aristocracy; and, so, even now a decade after the crash, the responsible aristocrats remain at the very top, both financially and in terms of prestige, and the statutes-of-limitations on possible prosecutions of decisions they had made which had actually produced the crash, have expired, so that these individuals can't be prosecuted, not even if an honest person were elected to the White House and were to become supported by an honest Congress. "Equal Justice Under Law" -- this certainly isn't that, nor anything close to it. In fact, America has the world's highest percentage of its population in prison of any country, but aristocrats never end up there unless the aristocrat is a drug-kingpin, and even those are rarely prosecuted, even though their underlings are. And, how can such a nation as this, be called a "democracy"? But it's not only a dictatorship ; it is an imperial one: Obama himself said many times, such as on 28 May 2014 , "The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation," which means that every other nation was "dispensable" to him; and, any foreign aristocracy -- and any democracy (if such any longer exists) -- will therefore be either a vassal-nation, or else "the enemy," and thus be destroyed, at the sole discretion of America's (and its allied) aristocracies.

For example, to George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein was "the enemy" and Iraq was "dispensable" (to use Obama's term); and, to Obama, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad, and Viktor Yanukovych, were "enemies," and those nations also were "dispensable." During earlier eras, Mohammed Mosaddegh, and Jacobo Arbenz, and Salvador Allende, were "enemies," whose governments were, in their own times, "dispensable," and so the US aristocracy replaced them by US-Government-selected tyrants. (Assad, however, was able to stay in power, not only because he had the support of the majority of Syrians, but because Russia decided to protect Syria's national sovereignty -- to make its firm stand, there, not allow that ally, too, to fall by means of an American invasion, as Ukraine had fallen by means of an American coup in 2014.) Trump seems to think that Iran and North Korea are especially "dispensable" (again, using Obama's term).

Trump came to power promising opposition against the US aristocracy; but, instead, he's on the attack against Obama's least-bad policies, while trying to out-do Obama's worst policies (such as by his cancelling the Iran deal, and by his trying to destroy Obamacare and the Paris Climate Agreement). If Obama turned out to be a Democratic George W. Bush, then perhaps Trump will turn out to be a Republican Barack Obama, and this will be the 'bipartisanship' that US voters say they want. But the polls don't show that America's electorate actually want the type of 'bipartisanship' that the US aristocracy are delivering, via the nonstop neoconservatism of Bush, and then of Obama, and then (perhaps too) of Trump. The aristocracy are neoconservative (or "imperialistic," to employ the Continental term for it); and, though the public don't even know what that means, bipartisan neoconservatism always bring on yet more invasions and wars, which lower the welfare of the public, even while the welfare of the aristocrats goes up from it. The public just don't know this.

A good example, recently, of how the US aristocracy deceive the US public, to accept such a barbaric Government (a neoconservative regime) is the uniform neoconservatism of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties, and of their respective 'news'media, this uniform neoconservatism that's being reflected by the almost simultaneous publication in the Establishment's own Foreign Affairs (from the Council on Foreign Relations), and from the British Guardian that's now controlled by George Soros and US and-affiliated international corporations, and also from the US military-industrial complex's bipartisan neoconservative propaganda-organ The Atlantic , and also from the neoconservative Vox online 'news'-site . In all of these 'news'media, almost on the very same day, are being published articles by, and interviews of, Ms. Emma Sky, a thoroughly undistinguished and undistinguishable neoconservative "intellectual" (CFR, Yale, Harvard, Oxford, Officer of the British Empire, etc.), who, with no demonstrated outstanding abilities, but only with the hypocrisy and callousness that aristocrats tend to seek out in those whom they select to execute their dirty-work, graduated from an elite college and then (without needing to obtain any higher academic or other degree, and with no record of personal achievement at anything) went virtually straight into advising governments and serving as the US invading and occupying General David Petraeus 's (the US torture-meister 's) right-hand political advisor in Iraq, with the title of "Governorate Co-ordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003-2004" , and, then, ultimately, as "advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq from 2007-2010," before bec oming widely published in the US empire's various 'news'media, with not only these hypocritical articles from her that were linked-to at those four publications, but also books, all of them being standard discreet neoconservative fare, 'compassionately' gung-ho on the US empire, and especially rabid against Iran, because Iranians in 1953 had voted for Mohammed Mosaddegh as Prime Minister, who promptly passed a land-reform act, and nationalized the UK aristocracy's Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, after which the US CIA engineered a coup overthrowing him, grabbing Iran's oil, and establishing in Iran the Pahlevi Shah's brutal dictatorship with torture-chambers, which dictatorship Ms. Sky evidently wants restored in some form to Iran, perhaps as punishment to the Iranian people, for having stood up against the American invaders and occupiers, in 1953. Such people are PR agents, not really journalists or historians -- of anything. But, apparently, readers find their misrepresentations to be tolerable; so, at least her propaganda isn't amateurish. If only readers would just ask themselves the type of question that the victims of these invasions might likely ask, then the true character of such writers would become horrendously and immediately clear: "What right do you have to be invading and occupying our land?"

No one can understand the reality on the basis of the West's honored 'historians' and 'journalists', because they're propagandists for the imperial system, which used to be British but now is American. The neoconservative New York Times Sunday Book Review section published, on 12 July 2015, a review from the neoconservative Christopher Dickey, the Foreign Editor of the neoconservative The Daily Beast 'news'-site, of the neoconservative Emma Sky's book The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq . He presented Iran as being America's enemy-in-chief, and presented especially "Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran's Quds Force, the section of the Revolutionary Guards responsible for covert and overt operations in Lebanon, Syria and, above all, Iraq" as being America's enemy; and he wrote that:

the betrayal of the Sunnis by the Baghdad government the Americans left behind has been crucial to recruiting by the self-­proclaimed caliphate. Many of those who had helped crush Al Qaeda in Iraq eight years ago have concluded that no one except ISIS will protect them from Suleimani's fighters and flunkies.

To counter Iran in Iraq and prevent the alienation that created ISIS would have required a better ambassador than Hill and a more attentive State Department than the one run by Hillary Clinton. It would have required, perhaps, a thousand Emma Skys. But there was only one of those. And it would have meant many more years of enormous involvement on the ground, but the American people had no taste for that.

... ... ...

[Oct 31, 2017] The threat of offshored jobs and outsourced supply chains is wielded to discipline the domestic workforce in the United States, and Zucman points out that tax havens have effectively allowed the wealthy to choose their own tax system and regulatory regime

Oct 31, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Class Warfare

"The Unseen Threat of Capital Mobility" [ The Boston Review ]. "Two new books link rising inequality to unseen forces: tax havens in economist Gabriel Zucman's case, and overseas labor and environmental exploitation in historian Erik Loomis's. The adverse consequences of the free movement of capital suffuse both narratives. Loomis recognizes that the threat of offshored jobs and outsourced supply chains is wielded to discipline the domestic workforce in the United States, and Zucman points out that tax havens have effectively allowed the wealthy to choose their own tax system and regulatory regime. They each question received wisdom and ideologically charged models in which "globalization" is an inexorable force innocent of politics or power, which operates to either universal benefit or at worst whose ill effects can be compensated. In fact, thanks to globalization, the economic body -- what its ideological affiliates call 'The Market' -- is able to transcend the national body politic, to the benefit of multinational corporations and the wealthy individuals who own them."

"Why You're Not Getting a Raise" [ The Minskys ]. "A sure way to speed up wage growth again is fiscal stimulus. Government spending lifts aggregate demand directly and effectively. If enough spending is injected into the economy, it will create enough jobs to bring full employment. The momentum and labor scarcity created by the stimulus will force wages up and give workers and labor unions more bargaining power. A Job Guarantee Program , if ever implemented, would effectively set a wage floor in the economy, since any person working at a lower wage than the Job Guarantee offers will be given work in the public sector.:

"One of Arkansas' top politicians relies on unpaid workers from a local drug rehabilitation center at his plastics company, which makes dock floats sold at Home Depot and Walmart" [ Review News ]. "Hendren Plastics, owned by Arkansas State Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren, partners with a rehab program under scrutiny for making participants work grueling jobs for free, under the threat of prison, according to interviews with former workers and a new lawsuit." That reminds me of something

"What makes me tired when organising with middle class comrades" [ Guardian ].

"What I've observed over and over again is this inherent need for middle class people to censor, control and mediate emotions. There's a deep fear of conflict, loosing status and control. I've been told to be less angry on demos, less emotional at events and more serious. Stop telling me how to feel. When you've had a life of teachers, social workers and probation officers telling you how you should act, you don't need the same mediating middle class behaviour in your collectives."

[Oct 31, 2017] It is easy to imagine neoliberalism leading to the same despotic conditions in mirror image of the old communist states. Crushing individuals in the name of Market Rights and neoliberal market philosophy

Notable quotes:
"... It's easy to imagine neoliberalism leading to the same despotic conditions in mirror image of the old communist states. Crushing individuals in the name of Market Rights and neoliberal market philosophy, from an unchecked Marketism. ..."
"... Dictatorship is a bad and an immoral form of government – whether from the left (communists) or the right (Marketists). Hayek and neoliberals only consider the danger from the left, not from the right. This is moral philosophy, as Adam Smith knew. A technical claim for efficiency is not a moral claim to justice or the good. There is no moral claim in neoliberalism that withstands examination. imo. ..."
Oct 31, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

flora , October 29, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Economic philosophies come down to questions of morals and ethics: what is 'good' and why; what is 'bad' and why? (These questions often come down to the philosophical questions about "the one and the many"*)

Some (brief) history of moral philosophy in business, or markets:

"Plato is known for his discussions of justice in the Republic, and Aristotle explicitly discusses economic relations, commerce and trade under the heading of the household in his Politics. His discussion of trade, exchange, property, acquisition, money and wealth have an almost modern ring, and he makes moral judgments about greed, or the unnatural use of one's capacities in pursuit of wealth for its own sake, and similarly condemns usury because it involves a profit from currency itself rather than from the process of exchange in which money is simply a means. .

"John Locke developed the classic defense of property as a natural right. For him, one acquires property by mixing his labor with what he finds in nature.7 Adam Smith is often thought of as the father of modern economics with his An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Smith develops Locke's notion of labor into a labor theory of value. In modern times commentators have interpreted him as a defender of laissez-faire economics, and put great emphasis on his notion of the invisible hand. Yet the commentators often forget that Smith was also a moral philosopher and the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments. For him the two realms were not separate."
-Dr. Richard T. DeGeorge
https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/business-ethics/resources/a-history-of-business-ethics/

Now to this article:

"The great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek didn't favor mathematical modeling, but he had clear philosophical models in his head. One of his most famous statements is related to the slippery road to dictatorships: ."

This is a moral claim or ethical claim: Dictatorships are bad.** Well, I accept that statement. I judge dictatorships bad. I do not want a dictatorship oppressing me or my fellow citizens for any reason.

Hayek feared oppression from an unchecked left, imo.

Again, from De George:

"Marx claimed that capitalism was built on the exploitation of labor. Whether this was for him a factual claim or a moral condemnation is open to debate; but it has been taken as a moral condemnation since 'exploitation' is a morally charged term and for him seems clearly to involve a charge of injustice. Marx's claim is based on his analysis of the labor theory of value, according to which all economic value comes from human labor." (ibid- from link above)

No doubt the old USSR became despotic, supposedly in the name of ending exploitation of labor. (Gulags?)

Back to Olah's paper and definitions. The following line could be rewritten to fit the Marxist USSR moral claims with no loss in accuracy.

"But this leads to the main paradox of neoliberalism communism. Its economic system needs a strong state, even at the expense of constraining democracy, to guarantee property worker rights and the working of the free market communal, while actively maintaining the rule of neoliberal Marxist social philosophy."

It's easy to imagine neoliberalism leading to the same despotic conditions in mirror image of the old communist states. Crushing individuals in the name of Market Rights and neoliberal market philosophy, from an unchecked Marketism.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –

* "The question which haunts the dialectical culture is this: how to have unity without totally undifferentiated and meaningless oneness? If all things are basically one, the differences are meaningless, divisions false, and definitions are sophistications, in that the tyranny, or destiny, of oneness is the truth of all being. [my aside: neoliberalism]But, if all things are basically many, and if plurality is ultimate, then the world dissolves into unrelated particulars and becomes, as some thinkers insist, not a universe but a multiverse, and every atom is in a sense its own law and being. [communism] The first leads to the breakdown of differences and the liberty of atomistic individualism and particularity; the second is the breakdown of fundamental law into nihilism and the retreat of men and their arts into isolated and private universes"
― Rousas John Rushdoony, The One And The Many: Studies In The Philosophy Of Order And Ultimacy

flora , October 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm

corrections in footnote *paragraph: [My aside: neoliberalism communism]
and [ communism neoliberalism]

flora , October 29, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Longer comment in moderation.
Shorter comment:

"The great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek didn't favor mathematical modeling, but he had clear philosophical models in his head. One of his most famous statements is related to the slippery road to dictatorships: "

Dictatorship is a bad and an immoral form of government – whether from the left (communists) or the right (Marketists). Hayek and neoliberals only consider the danger from the left, not from the right. This is moral philosophy, as Adam Smith knew. A technical claim for efficiency is not a moral claim to justice or the good. There is no moral claim in neoliberalism that withstands examination. imo.

[Oct 30, 2017] The power of the neoliberal order is that it has beguiled the masses into believing that satisfying short term personal wants with crappy mass-produced goods constitutes increase in the standard of living. This is like European colonists exchanged gold for glass jewelry with American Indians

Notable quotes:
"... The neoliberal mandate quoted above "The point for neoiberalism is not to make a model that is more adequate to the real world, but to make the real world more adequate to its model" is pure hubris. ..."
"... And also too what if nobody wants to become a worked-to-death entrepreneur with a crappy idea just to make a profit and keep running the squirrel wheel? We don't have to be a capitalist, socialist, or free market society at all. The only thing we are required to be is just. Constitutionally. ..."
"... love your commentaries, STO, but are we really avoiding the American imperialism aspect, the "total global military domination" neocon "Project for A New American Century" aspect of imposing economic exploitation, as described here, by John Perkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1IvMLTQ6ew and here, with regard to Dulles CIA historical documentation?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORapPwla7fs ..can we really be surprised it has "come home to roost?" ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Norb , October 29, 2017 at 12:13 pm

The kleptocrats of the world are struggling to find a workable power sharing solution to keep their rule intact. The power of the neoliberal order is that it has beguiled the masses into believing that satisfying short term personal wants constitutes a meaningful social order. The constant churn and turnover of consumer goods is the purpose of life instead of participating in the construction and maintenance of lasting, stable social institutions and customs. This is the culmination of turning citizens into consumers. It is a different form of bondage and slavery. The perfect system of enslaving oneself.

The trouble with the neoliberal order its that the old tools in maintaining its power and relevance are reaching limits. As technology democratizes the use of force, it is more difficult to impose ones will. Also, as the weapons become more devastating, their use would instantly disrupt the entire network supporting the political structure. Imagine the consequence of a nuclear exchange. Neoliberalism needs an existing social structure upon which to deploy its parasitic ideology and methods. As Michael Hudson aptly described in his Killing the Host, once that social structure is weakened or destroyed, neoliberalism will be incapable of functioning. It would have to become naked totalitarianism in order to survive.

The question has always been how do you justify and deal with inequality. With human stupidity, climate change, and planetary resource depletion bearing down on every society, how that question is answered rises to the fore and cannot be papered over with greater reams of propaganda. It seems we are once again on the verge of a truly Revolutionary era- like it or not.

Susan the other , October 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Since the 60s all of our Big Boondoggles like Star Wars were embezzlements. The neoliberal mandate quoted above "The point for neoiberalism is not to make a model that is more adequate to the real world, but to make the real world more adequate to its model" is pure hubris.

And it has finally run its course by serving us all up a big fat mess. It is very encouraging to see this essay cite so many recent analysts. It's beginning to look like critical mass.

Most of us are thinking about the stock market these days and anticipating a downturn if not a crash. But what if they triggered a crash and nobody came? What if the stock market just stagnates and sits there?

The only buyer these days is the Fed but the Fed might refuse to "expand its balance sheet". And in perfect circular logic, this prevents the stock market from crashing because nobody's buying. And where does this leave neoliberal economies and their governments? It will be a tad embarrassing.

And also too what if nobody wants to become a worked-to-death entrepreneur with a crappy idea just to make a profit and keep running the squirrel wheel? We don't have to be a capitalist, socialist, or free market society at all. The only thing we are required to be is just. Constitutionally.

nonclassical , October 29, 2017 at 1:57 pm

love your commentaries, STO, but are we really avoiding the American imperialism aspect, the "total global military domination" neocon "Project for A New American Century" aspect of imposing economic exploitation, as described here, by John Perkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1IvMLTQ6ew and here, with regard to Dulles CIA historical documentation?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORapPwla7fs ..can we really be surprised it has "come home to roost?"

[Oct 30, 2017] The founders of neoliberalism sufferws for a nostalgia for pre-war absolutism that capitalists have been happy with. In this sense neoliberal ideology is nothing but attempt to restore absolutism -- absolutism of wealth, shoved down the throats of its victims via simplistic but well-funded propaganda. Neoliberalism's false premise of the benevolence of the absolutism of wealth is quite literally the road to serfdom for the rest of humanity.

Notable quotes:
"... Interesting point. Von Mises was born in 1881, so his formative years were definitely under Habsburg rule. Hayek was younger, born in 1899, so he started out under the Habsburg thumb, too. Rand is a little more complex. She was born in 1905, and came to the U.S. in 1926, so she experienced both Tsarist absolutism, Communist absolutism, and sheer chaos. ..."
"... As you point out, none of the three had any early experience with democracy. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Sluggeaux , October 29, 2017 at 12:04 pm

As flora points out in yesterday's George Monbiot/Gaius Publius neoliberalism thread, Hayek and Mieses grew up under Habsburg absolutism; Ayn Rand grew up under Romanov absolutism. All that they knew of the actual non-theoretical experience of democracy and free markets came from the insecurity of coming of age under the chaos of the collapse of those two empires during the break to re-arm during 1919-1939 in what should be seen as a single 1914-1945 European war.

The founders of neoliberalism appear in these descriptions to suffer for a nostalgia for pre-war absolutism that self-interested western capitalists have been happy anoint themselves to fill. Their alien neoliberal ideology is nothing but absolutist-nostalgic garbage, shoved down the throats of its victims via simplistic but well-funded propaganda. Neoliberalism's false premise of the benevolence of the absolutism of wealth is quite literally the road to serfdom for the rest of humanity.

Vatch , October 29, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Interesting point. Von Mises was born in 1881, so his formative years were definitely under Habsburg rule. Hayek was younger, born in 1899, so he started out under the Habsburg thumb, too. Rand is a little more complex. She was born in 1905, and came to the U.S. in 1926, so she experienced both Tsarist absolutism, Communist absolutism, and sheer chaos.

As you point out, none of the three had any early experience with democracy.

[Oct 30, 2017] Neoliberalism is the ideology of the current US elite and serves to uphold and expand its power. Making "little people" more miserable as an international side effect.

Notable quotes:
"... I also share a similar outlook on human society and have always found the classical and neoliberal hagiography of entrepreneurs risible from the very moment I started to acquaint myself with this pseudo-science called economics. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm

I found this post very confusing and it stimulated what to me is a confusing maelstrom of comments. I'll stick with the title of this post rephrasing it as "How Economic Theories Serve the Power Elite". I don't believe the Rich and Big Business are equivalent to the entirety of the Power Elite but I do believe they have achieved a degree of prominence -- perhaps as a result of sponsoring Neoliberalism. I think of Neoliberalism as an ideology rather than a school of economic theories. So I should rephrase the title again as "How Ideologies Serve the Power Elite."

I believe Phillip Mirowski captures the most complete and accurate depiction of Neoliberal Ideology. I also believe the C. Wright Mills and his successor G. William Domhoff have captured the essential structures of Political Power in their characterization of the Power Elite.

So -- How do Ideology and Political Power interact? What is their dynamic? Altandmain pointed to a very troubling paragraph in the Michal Kalecki essay in yesterday's comments. Looking at that essay once more I am troubled also by its conclusion. Kalecki concludes the potential for a rise of Fascism -- as in the political/economic definition of the term -- in 1943 America was slight and would be mitigated by the progressive politics in sway during those times. I would argue that the Ideology of Nazi Fascism achieved dominion over the existing Power Elites in Germany [as well as the business interests in the US who supplied money and expertize to the German Reich]. I also believe the Ideology of Soviet Communism achieved dominion over the Power Elites in Russia. In both cases Ideology drove the State toward horrendous actions I cannot reconcile as providing any service to a Power Elite.

The Power Elites of much of the world embrace and bolster the Ideologies of Neoliberalism using them as tools to consolidate their power and line their pockets. What is the chance Neoliberalism might cast off its leash and what kind of world might we see as a result?
Does the ascendance of an Ideology represent a cusp -- a singularity -- not well accounted for in the structural analysis of Political Power?

JIm , October 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm

It may be time to revisit the socialist calculation debate of the mid-1930 where, over a period of vears, von Mises and von Hayek debated socialist economists like Oskar Lange and A.P. Lerner.

Mises argued that capitalism allowed for a much broader participation in decision-making than that permitted by the cult of nationalization and planning. At that time much of the Left chose to ignore this critique by pointing to the evidence of capitalist failure and apparent Soviet success in rehabilitating the Soviet economy and embarking on a road to industrialization.

Lange responded to Mises's challenge by conceding that planning, even carried out by the most democratic of governments would lack proper economic criteria and that to prevent a relapse into more authoritarian solutions, socialist planning authorities would need to develop a simulated market with a system of shadow prices that could be used to compare different paths to development

Hayek, in the early 1940s, further developed the Austrian critique through his argument that collectivist ownership would erase responsibility for investment decisions making it impossible to accurately assess the responsibility for mistakes.

Hayek also pointed to the fragmented and dispersed character of economic knowledge, and as as Mirowski has argued in his new book "The Knowledge We Have Lost in Information,"– managed to establish the first commandment of neo-liberalism "that markets's don't so much exist to allocate given physical resources so much as to integrate and disseminate something called knowledge." and " that the market ceased to look like a mechanical conveyor belt and instead began to take on the outlines of a computer."

Mirowski adds that It was this new image of markets as superior information processors that has apparently swept everyone along from-neoclassical theorists to market socialists."

Is it true that the Austrian critique can only be met by a case for socialist self-management and .public enterprise that bases itself on the dispersed character of economic knowledge and refuses the tempting delusion of a totally planned economy?

How does the Left today respond to the Hayek/Mises arguments of the 1940s, with their attempted vindication of entrepreneurship, risk-taking, innovation and the need to make economic agents responsible in the use of resources?

nonclassical , October 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm

by historical documentation of what has come of their own postulations:

(Monbiot):

"Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that "the market" delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers. Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone. Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances."

("neoliberalism" has been u$ed to destabilize relative economic and social stability of FDR "New Deal" 60+ years )

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 3:23 pm

"How does the Left today respond ?" Very good question! I would add to that "How does the Left respond to the Market as an epistemology?"

I'll attempt a half-assed answer to the question of " attempted vindication of entrepreneurship, risk-taking, innovation and the need to make economic agents responsible in the use of resources?" [The question I posed is highly problematic for me. Once I accepted Mirowski's assertion that Neoliberals really truly believe this nonsense of the Market as an information processor -- an arbiter of the Truth -- I was flummoxed. I cannot argue with what to me is absurd. However Mirowski convincingly argues that addressing the central absurdity of the Neoliberal Ideology is crucial to any argument with its true believers.]

I'm very old fashioned I admit. I believe humankind has a number of personality types each suited to select and fill various niches in society. There are builders and makers of things. There are those who empathize and care for others. There are those who like to grow things and raise and care for animals. There are those who invent and make new things and think new ways. There are those who teach. There are those who conserve -- and those who break away and cast out in new directions -- pathfinders. There are those who like to decide and direct as well as those quite happy to follow reasonable direction. This is the merest thumbnail sketch but you should see the flesh of a very old concept of human society.

The entrepreneur is but one more type of individual in human society. Entrepreneurs are neither special not specially deserving of acclaim or riches. However what they do is useful. Society benefits by sharing a small portion of resources to entrepreneurs while also absorbing some of their risks of failure so that both gain. If an entrepreneur achieves success that benefits society and there is little cost in sharing a somewhat greater part of that gain with the entrepreneur as an encouragement. I have met and known some I regard as "true" entrepreneurs. They did indeed hope to make a financial gain from their efforts and risk -- but that was NOT what motivated them. That was not their core.

The classic Liberal notion that an entrepreneur deserves and has right to all of the gain from their actions is very difficult for me to argue. Like the Neoliberal notion of the Market as epistemology this Liberal notion strikes me as an absurdity. I am again flummoxed.

nonclassical , October 29, 2017 at 9:04 pm

the "entrepreneur" (Ernst Becker's "innovator" – "Structure of Evil") has at his disposal great social contract, supply of "the commons" to base his agency upon. He is completely aware of this. That he refuses indulge, evaluate, or socially consider said reality, defines actual intention.

St Jacques , October 30, 2017 at 3:44 pm

I also share a similar outlook on human society and have always found the classical and neoliberal hagiography of entrepreneurs risible from the very moment I started to acquaint myself with this pseudo-science called economics.

[Oct 30, 2017] Democrats Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them

Notable quotes:
"... The Republican Party is home to many a vile reactionary, but its principal function is, and long has been, to serve the most odious wing of the American ruling class. ..."
"... Being unfit and unprepared for the office he suddenly found himself holding, Trump had no choice but to call on seasoned Republican apparatchiks for help. Thus he ended up empowering the very people he had beaten into submission months before. ..."
"... Thus the Republican Party and the Donald became locked together in a bizarre marriage of convenience. Their unholy aliance has by now become a nightmare for all concerned. ..."
"... Moreover, with each passing day, the situation becomes more fraught – to the point that even Republican Senators, three of them so far, have already said "enough." ..."
"... Vice President Mike Pence, his constitutionally prescribed successor, is an opportunist too, but he is also a dedicated theocrat and a thoroughgoing reactionary. A skilled casting director could not have come up with a more suitable vector for spreading the plagues that Republican donors like the Koch brothers seek to let loose upon the world. ..."
"... With Pence in the Oval Office, the chances of nuclear annihilation would diminish, but everything else would be worse. Trump is temperamentally unable to play well with the denizens of the "adult daycare center" that official Washington has become. On the other hand, because his effect on people is more soporific than terrifying, and because he is, by nature, a "pragmatic" conservative -- a mirror image of what Clinton purported to be -- Pence could end up doing more to undermine progress than Trump could ever imagine. ..."
"... Therefore, Trump's demise, though necessary, would be a mixed blessing, at best. ..."
"... After all, Democrats are part of the problem too -- arguably, the major part – and they can hardly remain entirely indifferent to the concerns of voters who lean left. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

The Republican Party is home to many a vile reactionary, but its principal function is, and long has been, to serve the most odious wing of the American ruling class.

Before Hillary Clinton threw away a sure victory last November, Donald Trump was well on the way to blowing that dreadful party apart.

No credit is due him, however. The harm he was on track for causing was unintended. Trump was not trying to do the GOP in; he was only promoting his brand and himself.

However, by stirring up longstanding rifts between the party's various factions, he effectively put himself on the side of the angels. Without intending anything of the sort, and without even trying, Trump turned himself into a scourge upon America's debilitating duopoly party system.

As Election Day approached, it was unclear whether the GOP's Old Guard would ever be able to put their genteel thing -- their WASPish Cosa Nostra -- back together again.

With Hillary Clinton in the White House, their odds were maybe fifty-fifty. Had the Democrats nominated a less inept Clintonite like Joe Biden or an old school liberal like Bernie Sanders, their odds would have been worse.

But then, to nearly everyone's surprise, including his own, Trump won -- or, rather, Clinton lost, taking many a Democrat down with her. The debacle wasn't entirely her fault. For years, the Democratic National Committee had been squandering its resources on getting Democratic presidents elected, leaving down ticket Democrats wallowing in malign neglect.

And so, for a while, it looked like the GOP would not only survive Trump, but would thrive because of him.

Even so, Republicans were not exactly riding on Trump's coattails. The party's grandees had problems with the Donald, as did comparatively sane Republican office holders and office seekers; so did Republican-leaning voters in the broader electorate. But with Clinton flubbing so badly, none of this mattered.

Being unfit and unprepared for the office he suddenly found himself holding, Trump had no choice but to call on seasoned Republican apparatchiks for help. Thus he ended up empowering the very people he had beaten into submission months before.

Thus the Republican Party and the Donald became locked together in a bizarre marriage of convenience. Their unholy aliance has by now become a nightmare for all concerned.

Moreover, with each passing day, the situation becomes more fraught – to the point that even Republican Senators, three of them so far, have already said "enough."

Republicans continue to run the House and the Senate, and they occupy hosts of other top government offices, but the Republican Party has gone into damage control mode. It had little choice, inasmuch as its Trump induced, pre-election trajectory is back on track.

After only a brief hiatus, the chances are therefore good once again that if the country and the world survive Trump, he will be remembered mainly for destroying the party that Abraham Lincoln led a century and a half ago.

This is therefore a good time to give Republicans space to destroy themselves and each other, cheering them on from the sidelines – especially as they turn on Trump and he turns on them.

Saving the world from that menace is plainly of paramount importance, but it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the alternative is arguably even more unpalatable. Trump is an accidental malefactor; he goes where self-interest leads him. Vice President Mike Pence, his constitutionally prescribed successor, is an opportunist too, but he is also a dedicated theocrat and a thoroughgoing reactionary. A skilled casting director could not have come up with a more suitable vector for spreading the plagues that Republican donors like the Koch brothers seek to let loose upon the world.

With Pence in the Oval Office, the chances of nuclear annihilation would diminish, but everything else would be worse. Trump is temperamentally unable to play well with the denizens of the "adult daycare center" that official Washington has become. On the other hand, because his effect on people is more soporific than terrifying, and because he is, by nature, a "pragmatic" conservative -- a mirror image of what Clinton purported to be -- Pence could end up doing more to undermine progress than Trump could ever imagine.

Therefore, Trump's demise, though necessary, would be a mixed blessing, at best.

Trump is not likely to "self-impeach" any time soon; and. at this point, only persons who have the ear of Republican bigwigs can do much of anything to hasten his departure from the scene. But there are other ways to "deconstruct" the duopoly party system -- as Trump's fascisant, pseudo-intellectual (formerly official, now unofficial) advisor, Steve Bannon might infelicitously put it.

After all, Democrats are part of the problem too -- arguably, the major part – and they can hardly remain entirely indifferent to the concerns of voters who lean left. ... ... ... ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press

[Oct 30, 2017] In Capitalizing on Crisis, Greta Krippner shows that the financialization of the U.S. economy was not a deliberate outcome sought by policymakers, but rather an inadvertent result of the state's attempts to solve other problems.

Oct 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Winston , October 29, 2017 at 9:49 pm

This may also have to do with postwar prosperity stalling by 1960s!
See:
"thinking about the policy environment that made the turn to finance possible. And, in a nutshell, the argument of the book is that there were a number of discrete policy decisions that were quite influential in shaping this outcome, but those policies decisions were not made with the goal or objective of creating a financialized economy. They were really ad hoc, inadvertent responses to unresolved distributional conflict in US society as growth rates in the economy slowed. And one of the interesting things to me about the financial crisis of 2008-2009 is that those distributional dilemmas came right back to the surface. Financialization was not a resolution of these problems, but a displacement of them into the future. It was a kind of deferral."
http://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1380&context=disclosure
Financialization and Social Theory: An Interview with Dr. Greta Krippner

See her paper also:
https://www.slideshare.net/conormccabe/greta-krippner-2005-the-financialization-of-the-american-economy

And video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9X1hD1aGsQ
In Capitalizing on Crisis, Greta Krippner shows that the financialization of the U.S. economy was not a deliberate outcome sought by policymakers, but rather an inadvertent result of the state's attempts to solve other problems. Krippner traces the ways in which policies conducive to financialization allowed the state to avoid a series of economic, social, and political dilemmas that confronted policymakers as postwar prosperity stalled beginning in the late 1960s.

[Oct 30, 2017] The think-tank topics and views tend to dominate discussions and steal the oxygen from outside ideas

Milton Friedman and George Stigler – with the help of corporate and political support – found the adequate tool to empower their ideas, which was the network of think-tanks, the use of scholarships provide by them, and the intensive use of media. This think-tank network wasn't for creating new ideas, but for being a gatekeeper and disseminating the existing set of ideas, and the "philosophy of freedom".
Notable quotes:
"... the successful businessmen created The Atlas Economic Research Foundation in 1981, which established 150 think-tanks around the globe. These institutions were set up based on the model of Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank founded in 1955 by Fisher, which is a good example how the marginalized group of neoliberal thinkers got into intellectual and political power. ..."
"... Today, "more than 450 free-market organizations in over 90 countries" serve the "cause of liberty" through the network. The network of Fisher was largely directed by the members of Mont Pelerin Society (Djelic, 2014). ..."
"... This think-tank network wasn't for creating new ideas, but for being a gatekeeper and disseminating the existing set of ideas, and the „philosophy of freedom". ..."
"... Awareness of gatekeeper roles and their ramifications is one issue of grave concern to many citizens. There are variations of the role playing in different parts of society whether in the Ivory Tower, Think Tanks (self-designated with initial capitals), media or other areas. Recently, that role in media has come under scrutiny as seen during and after the US campaign and election. Who gets to control what appears as news ..."
"... The increasing impact of social media in dissemination of information and use of influencers represents a type of Barbarians at the Literal Gate. The boards and think tanks won't easily relinquish their positions, any more than the gatekeepers of prior eras would willingly do so. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Not only Backhouse (2005) , but also Adam Curtis(2011) , the British documentary film-maker also researched how Fisher created his global think-tank network, spreading the libertarian values of individual and economic – but never social and political – freedom, and also the freedom for capital owners from the state.

According to Curtis (2011) , the „ideologically motivated PR organisations" intended to achieve a technocratic, elitist system, which preserves actual power structures. As he notes, the successful businessmen created The Atlas Economic Research Foundation in 1981, which established 150 think-tanks around the globe. These institutions were set up based on the model of Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank founded in 1955 by Fisher, which is a good example how the marginalized group of neoliberal thinkers got into intellectual and political power.

Today, "more than 450 free-market organizations in over 90 countries" serve the "cause of liberty" through the network. The network of Fisher was largely directed by the members of Mont Pelerin Society (Djelic, 2014).

Enquiring Mind , October 29, 2017 at 10:48 am

This think-tank network wasn't for creating new ideas, but for being a gatekeeper and disseminating the existing set of ideas, and the „philosophy of freedom".

Awareness of gatekeeper roles and their ramifications is one issue of grave concern to many citizens. There are variations of the role playing in different parts of society whether in the Ivory Tower, Think Tanks (self-designated with initial capitals), media or other areas. Recently, that role in media has come under scrutiny as seen during and after the US campaign and election. Who gets to control what appears as news , and will the NY Times editorial board cede any of that, for example?

The increasing impact of social media in dissemination of information and use of influencers represents a type of Barbarians at the Literal Gate. The boards and think tanks won't easily relinquish their positions, any more than the gatekeepers of prior eras would willingly do so.

This era is unsettling to the average person on the street, and particularly to those living on the street, because they have been told one thing with certainty and gravitas and then found out something else that was materially opposed. In the meantime, truth continues to seek an audience.

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm

The assertion you selected from today's post seems clearly false to me. The think-tank organizations definitely create new ideas and often conflict with each other. Their topics and views also tend to dominate discussions and steal the oxygen from outside ideas.

They are schools of agnotology flooding discussion of every policy with their "answers" and contributing to the Marketplace of ideas.

[Oct 30, 2017] The close ties between the elderly Hayek and Chile's Augusto Pinochet.

Oct 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jeremy Grimm , October 30, 2017 at 4:16 pm

... ... ...

Scanning through Corey Robin's lengthy discussion of Hayek at the Nation -- linked to from the Angry Bear copy of Dorman's post right above the link to the Corey Robin 'Coase' link was much more interesting given Corey Robins characterization of the elitism and anti-democratic content of Hayek's writings and particularly interesting where Corey Robins identified the close ties between the elderly Hayek and Chile's Augusto Pinochet.

[Oct 29, 2017] The elte is continuing globalization push. S>heeple are too mesmerized by TV, weed, games, phones, sports, booze, food, the internet and their shitty jobs to ever realize they are in a cage.

Oct 29, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

In other parts in this series, I have discussed the tools that the elite are using to achieve their goals. In part I, I talked about how debt is used as a tool of enslavement, and in part II I explained how central banking is a system of financial control that literally dominates the entire planet ( Part III and Part IV here) Professor Quigley also mentioned this system of financial control in his book

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole."

Today, a system of interlocking global treaties is slowly but surely merging us into a global economic system. The World Trade Organization was formed on January 1, 1995, and 164 nations now belong to it. And every time you hear of a new "free trade agreement" being signed, that is another step toward a one world economy.

Of course economics is just one element of their overall plan. Ultimately the goal is to erode national sovereignty almost completely and to merge the nations of the world into a single unified system of global governance.

... ... ...

Once you start looking into these things, you will see that the elite are very openly telling us what they intend to do.

One of my favorite examples of this phenomenon is a quote from David Rockefeller's book entitled Memoirs

Some even believe we are a part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that's the charge, I stand guilty and I am proud of it

As David Rockefeller openly admitted, they are "internationalists" that are intent on establishing a one world system.

... ... ...

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho's First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website . His new book entitled "Living A Life That Really Matters" is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com .

[Oct 29, 2017] If You Look Behind Neoliberal Economists, You'll Discover the Rich: How Economic Theories Serve Big Business

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Dániel Oláh, a macroeconomic analyst at Hungary's Ministry for National Economy, Forecasting and Modeling Unit. He received his master's degree in economics from Central European University. Originally published at Evonomics . ..."
"... But what if modeling is just an euphemism for modern ideologies? Think of the efforts of neoclassical macroeconomics – for instance, DSGE models – to find the philosophical notion of equilibrium, irrespective of the non-equilibrium nature of the real world, let alone income inequalities. (But also think of Mannheim's paradox that the critique of an ideology – like this article – is also ideological.) ..."
"... Hayek's model was working as an ideology in real life, not at all different from that of the Soviet side. At least we get this impression if we take a look at the cartoon version of Hayek's Road to Serfdom ..."
"... So, Hayek's well-written piece of social philosophy was turned into a black-and-white, stylized world, where keeping the wartime planning roles of the government deterministically leads to the planning of thinking, recreation and disciplining of all individuals. ..."
"... The support for neoliberal policies by one of the largest companies presents how economic theory is embraced – and transformed – by the big business in the 20 th century. ..."
"... The intellectual revolution against the state was building on several new theories, arguing for the ineffectiveness of economic policies. These theories were needed to convince academicians of the intellectual merits of neoclassical economics, allowing them to sympathesize with the neoliberal framework. Milton Friedman argued that active discretionary fiscal and monetary policies are harmful or ineffective because of timing problems among others. As for fiscal policy, the permanent income hypothesis also tried to argue that short-term demand management is ineffective because if they think it to be temporary people save their additional income from the government instead of spending it. New classical macroeconomics was building on the Ricardian equivalence theory to show the same – that a temporary tax cut won't boost consumption, since people know that they have to cover the costs of that policy later. Friedman also explained the new phenomena of stagflation, stating that people adjust their expectations so that an increasing money supply results in only higher inflation, but unemployment remains the same. ..."
"... But this leads to the main paradox of neoliberalism. Its economic system needs a strong state, even at the expense of constraining democracy, to guarantee property rights and the working of the free market, while actively maintaining the rule of neoliberal social philosophy. At the same time some of its proponents tend to dismiss strong states (Mirowski, 2013). In fact, laissez faire was the last thing neoliberals wanted to achieve. This paradoxical stance towards the state led Milton Friedman, the policy entrepreneur to become an advisor of the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet to transform Chile into a policy playground. ..."
"... The Road to Serfdom ..."
"... "I share all your worries and concerns as expressed in The Road to Serfdom and I'm going to go into politics and put it all right." ..."
"... "No you're not! Society's course will be changed only by a change in ideas. First you must reach the intellectuals, the teachers and writers, with reasoned argument. It will be their influence on society which will prevail, and the politicians will follow" (Hayek, 2001: p. 19) . ..."
"... Without Fisher, no IEA; without the IEA and its clones, no Thatcher and quite possibly no Reagan; without Reagan, no Star Wars; without Star Wars, no economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Quite a chain of consequences for a chicken farmer! ..."
"... The neoliberal ideology was successful from the perspective of the big business. The eighties is marked by the start of declining wage shares all over the world, as the distribution of produced added value reflected the strenghtening of global capital. ..."
"... Source: Haldane (2015) ..."
"... The point for neoliberalism is not to make a model that is more adequate to the real world, but to make the real world more adequate to its model ..."
"... Sources in the original ..."
Oct 29, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on October 29, 2017 by Lambert Strether Lambert here: I'm hoisting this one paragraph:

But this leads to the main paradox of neoliberalism. Its economic system needs a strong state, even at the expense of constraining democracy, to guarantee property rights and the working of the free market, while actively maintaining the rule of neoliberal social philosophy. At the same time some of its proponents tend to dismiss strong states (Mirowski, 2013). In fact, laissez faire was the last thing neoliberals wanted to achieve. This paradoxical stance towards the state led Milton Friedman, the policy entrepreneur to become an advisor of the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet to transform Chile into a policy playground.

If there should be "markets in everything," it follows there should be markets in selling off bits of the state. That works until it doesn't, as (I would argue) the Tory heirs of Maggie Thatcher are discovering.

By Dániel Oláh, a macroeconomic analyst at Hungary's Ministry for National Economy, Forecasting and Modeling Unit. He received his master's degree in economics from Central European University. Originally published at Evonomics .

Social classes have always embraced ideas and social philosophies. Not only to understand and interpret the real world, but most importantly to change it to their benefit. These theories (primarily in social science) have become beweaponed ideas called ideologies, as they are used to influence rather than to understand the human universe. Of course the two are related: the nature of our understanding, i.e. what we consider important and what we leave out from our theoretical framework, is called modelling.

But what if modeling is just an euphemism for modern ideologies? Think of the efforts of neoclassical macroeconomics – for instance, DSGE models – to find the philosophical notion of equilibrium, irrespective of the non-equilibrium nature of the real world, let alone income inequalities. (But also think of Mannheim's paradox that the critique of an ideology – like this article – is also ideological.)

The great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek didn't favor mathematical modeling, but he had clear philosophical models in his head. One of his most famous statements is related to the slippery road to dictatorships: if you introduce a little bit of state involvement in the economy, you have already stepped on this messy road to serfdom. The main intention of this model was to call for action and to raise awareness against the increasing governments in an era when the battle between the West and the East hadn't yet been decided.

Hayek's model was working as an ideology in real life, not at all different from that of the Soviet side. At least we get this impression if we take a look at the cartoon version of Hayek's Road to Serfdom . This was his main work on social philosophy and economics, arguing for individualism and liberalism. Hayek's argumentation in defense of a minimal state was so powerful that General Motors decided to sponsor the production of the comic version.

So, Hayek's well-written piece of social philosophy was turned into a black-and-white, stylized world, where keeping the wartime planning roles of the government deterministically leads to the planning of thinking, recreation and disciplining of all individuals.

The support for neoliberal policies by one of the largest companies presents how economic theory is embraced – and transformed – by the big business in the 20 th century.

Theoretical Innovations as Part of an Anti-State Ideology

The Keynesian era lasted for a long time, providing stability and increasing real wages for workers. In the seventies, a seismic paradigm shift happened with the returning of pre-Keynesian neoclassical ideas. Roger E. Backhouse (2005) took the numerous reasons for this change into account. The period of full employment lasted for so long that it was easy to forget that it wasn't a natural order, but the result of conscious policies. In this world, the disadvantages of the market was hidden by active governments, which opened the possibility to turn the critical attention towards the state. Especially in the wake of the new economic crisis that brought stagflation. Keynesian economics wasn't prepared for such new economic environment just like its neoclassical counterpart was shocked by the 1929 crisis.

The intellectual revolution against the state was building on several new theories, arguing for the ineffectiveness of economic policies. These theories were needed to convince academicians of the intellectual merits of neoclassical economics, allowing them to sympathesize with the neoliberal framework. Milton Friedman argued that active discretionary fiscal and monetary policies are harmful or ineffective because of timing problems among others. As for fiscal policy, the permanent income hypothesis also tried to argue that short-term demand management is ineffective because if they think it to be temporary people save their additional income from the government instead of spending it. New classical macroeconomics was building on the Ricardian equivalence theory to show the same – that a temporary tax cut won't boost consumption, since people know that they have to cover the costs of that policy later. Friedman also explained the new phenomena of stagflation, stating that people adjust their expectations so that an increasing money supply results in only higher inflation, but unemployment remains the same.

These theories traced the stagflation phenomena back to policy errors of the government. The rational expectations hypothesis argued that economic policy can't fool people for long since citizens use all new available information rationally when they react to activist government policies. The time inconsistency of governments also meant that discretionary policies may lead to economic harm, so long-term, rule-based policies and commitment to these will be credible and efficient.

Another direction of theories focused directly on the sins of politicians and the government. Public choice theories applied the standard economic theories to politicians and politics, desanctualizing the sphere of politics and transforming it to the area of market forces, emphasizing that decision makers are also just as rational self-interested actors as everyone else. The conclusion was that we can't expect politicians to determine and follow the public interest. It's better to restrict them as much as we can – argues James M. Buchanan, Gordon Tullock and George Stigler, who were committed members of the Hayekian, neoliberal Mont Pelerin Society, the cradle of neoliberalism founded in 1947. Tullock developed another theory as well: the concept of rent-seeking to call the attention to the capture of the state by interest groups.

In parallel, new macroeconomic models, like most versions of the real-business cycle theory, visioned an economy where the government has no role to play any more: economic fluctuations don't mean that there is a problem with the economy. No government, no cry (and always equilibrium) – sings the RBC model of the time.

Neoclassical theorists offered an alternative: the introduction of market forces and property rights in all walks of life. Eugene Fama developed the efficient market hypothesis in Chicago, meaning that prices on the financial market always reflect all relevant, available information. The implication is that the market should be left to itself, allowing company managers to maximize shareholder value for the sake of the whole economy. The impossibility theorem of Kenneth Arrow also proved that the perfect, general economic equilibrium exists, which implies the efficiency of competitive markets.

Arrow developed his theories at RAND Corporation, the Cold War think tank established by the US government, which was a main actor on the theoretical battlefield between the US and the Soviet Union. As Sonja Amadae (2003) argues, several of the theories mentioned above – the rational choice framework – provided the theoretical empowerment of Western liberal democracy with a limited state. She shows that there was considerable governmental efforts in the US after World War II to create new ideas, proving the validity and superiority of liberal democracy in a world where socialist planning was admired also by Western intellectuals and societies.

It's not surprising that Francis Fukuyama, who was also a member of RAND Corporation, made the political statement in 1989 that the liberal democracy with its neoliberal economic system is the best and final one in our history.

Empowered Ideas in Action

The Keynesian era was ended by an economic crisis, but also by political factors. The big business wanted to achieve a policy change because labor gained strong political positions between 1950 and 1970 (Harvey, 2007). Keynesian employment policies provided strong power to labor unions, which were primary allies in determining economic policies. But this led to the decrease of profit rates. A new globalization, based on the neoliberal thought collective was the reaction of business to its relatively marginalized position in governance to increase its bargaining power (Backhouse, 2005 ; Skidelsky, 2010). And business groups strongly supported the intellectual revolution (Mirowski & Plehwe 2009), which created the attracting utopia of the market, where the government is a needless actor. In this world, the entrepreneur is the value-creating hero, a completely perfect economic actor, and needs to be strongly supported – by a passive and small state, and also by the rest of the society.

But this leads to the main paradox of neoliberalism. Its economic system needs a strong state, even at the expense of constraining democracy, to guarantee property rights and the working of the free market, while actively maintaining the rule of neoliberal social philosophy. At the same time some of its proponents tend to dismiss strong states (Mirowski, 2013). In fact, laissez faire was the last thing neoliberals wanted to achieve. This paradoxical stance towards the state led Milton Friedman, the policy entrepreneur to become an advisor of the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet to transform Chile into a policy playground.

The paradox appears when Hayek accepts sponsorship of General Motors. This is so, because he was the main opposition to any kind of planning in the economy. These issues were known by the core intelligentsia of the Mont Pelerin Society – as Mirowski (2013) argues –, but weren't communicated through the media. The communication that the society is a theoretical descendant of the classical school was clearly false.

This paradox didn't prevent the Hayekian thought collective to become an ideology. They declared that the main objective was to change the way people think: the main goal of the society wasn't to develop scientific theories – many different schools of thought were represented in the society – but to save and promote values they believe in. The conscious strategy to become the mainstream was a distinctive feature of the neoliberals.

The appearance of the successful businessmen Antony Fisher symbolized how the big business embraced neoliberal ideas. He was amazed by The Road to Serfdom , so much that he approached Hayek in 1945 at the London School of Economics. Just like David Ricardo more than hundred years before, Fisher wanted to go into politics to influence policy.

Fisher commented to Hayek:

"I share all your worries and concerns as expressed in The Road to Serfdom and I'm going to go into politics and put it all right."

The response of Hayek was:

"No you're not! Society's course will be changed only by a change in ideas. First you must reach the intellectuals, the teachers and writers, with reasoned argument. It will be their influence on society which will prevail, and the politicians will follow" (Hayek, 2001: p. 19) .

Although eight society members won Nobel prize in economics, the society hadn't set high academic standards for its members in order to attract representatives of the big business and other influencers.

To change the ideas of the public, neoliberals created a theoretical building of several floors. The basis is the methodology of positive economics, upon which the economic theories rest. And the final floor is the neoliberal ideology – as Claude Hillinger (2006) argues (this is what Mirowski (2013) calls a Russian doll).

Milton Friedman and George Stigler – with the help of corporate and political support – found the adequate tool to empower their ideas, which was the network of think-tanks, the use of scholarships provide by them, and the intensive use of media. This think-tank network wasn't for creating new ideas, but for being a gatekeeper and disseminating the existing set of ideas, and the „philosophy of freedom". Not only Backhouse (2005) , but also Adam Curtis (2011) , the British documentary film-maker also researched how Fisher created his global think-tank network, spreading the libertarian values of individual and economic – but never social and political – freedom, and also the freedom for capital owners from the state.

According to Curtis (2011) , the „ideologically motivated PR organisations" intended to achieve a technocratic, elitist system, which preserves actual power structures. As he notes, the successful businessmen created The Atlas Economic Research Foundation in 1981, which established 150 think-tanks around the globe. These institutions were set up based on the model of Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank founded in 1955 by Fisher, which is a good example how the marginalized group of neoliberal thinkers got into intellectual and political power. Today, "more than 450 free-market organizations in over 90 countries" serve the "cause of liberty" through the network. The network of Fisher was largely directed by the members of Mont Pelerin Society (Djelic, 2014).

So we could add an imaginary upper floor to the neoliberal building, through which the commentators of seemingly independent think tanks represented very similar ideas – without informing the public that in terms of ideologies, it's not free to choose. At the same time, as Mirowski (2013) shows, the network promoted itself towards investors arguing that companies should invest in the production of transformative ideas, becoming policy products for final consumption in the end. (These investors are called edupreneurs by Rob Johnson ( 2017 ), who gives a revealing account of how philantrophists recreated the new parton-client model of the Renaissance in modern science.)

The second-hand dealers of ideas could indeed make a political difference. As Oliver Letwin British MP argued : " Without Fisher, no IEA; without the IEA and its clones, no Thatcher and quite possibly no Reagan; without Reagan, no Star Wars; without Star Wars, no economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Quite a chain of consequences for a chicken farmer! ".

Achieving a Successful Upward Redistribution

The neoliberal ideology was successful from the perspective of the big business. The eighties is marked by the start of declining wage shares all over the world, as the distribution of produced added value reflected the strenghtening of global capital. These years also meant the start of opening of the real wage-productivity gap , resulting in a previously unseen phenomena, the stagnating incomes of the middle class. At the same time, as a result of tax decreases inspired by the neoliberal political program the income of the top 10 percent started to increase dramatically in Great Britain and in the US, which were the homeland of the neoliberal counterrevolution (Alvaredo et al., 2013; Piketty-Saez, 2014).

Source: Haldane (2015)

The policy mistakes, arising from the philosophical and ideological nature of the neoliberal economics to achieve deregulation, were reflected in the increasing number of financial and economic crises. Margaret Thatcher, who once contributed to the development of libertarian think-tanks personally, having seen the soaring unemployment rates despite the implementation of neoliberal set of policies, argued in 1985 that she never believed in monetarist theories. The Washington Consensus, based on static neoclassical economics, turned a blind eye to the dynamic phenomena of institutions, thus contributed to the deep recessions in post-socialist countries in Central Europe. " The point for neoliberalism is not to make a model that is more adequate to the real world, but to make the real world more adequate to its model " – argues Simon Clarke (2005) . Meanwhile, according to David Colander (2004) , neoliberal economics reversed the attitude of classical thinkers, concluding that markets are the best, while their predecessors in the 18-19 th centuries were stating that markets are the least of all evils.

Neoliberalism created the (econo)mist of scientism and economism, decreasing pluralism in economics. These mechanisms to indoctrinate young scholars into the simplistic but often irrelevant models are needed to stabilize the scientific paradigm and the social-economic system built on it ( Earle et. al, 2016 ; Kwak, 2016 ). This distinctive feature of this system – as Dean Baker (2016) shows – is the protectionism of the capital owners and the maintenance of upward redistribution towards them, at the expense of wage growth of the labor force – this is why neoliberalism needs to capture the state.

But what is behind the neoliberal (econo)mist? Let's hope that it's not the road to serfdom.

Sources in the original .

oaf , October 29, 2017 at 7:04 am

neoliberalism is neofeudalism. Savings defeats rent-gathering. Savings bad. Bad consumer. Need more debt.

Also, parton-client? Suspect a typo.

Samuel Conner , October 29, 2017 at 9:10 am

He surely meant "patron-client" relationships, which were very important to science in Europe the 16th-19th centuries when there were no funding agencies of the kind we have today, such as NSF, NIH, etc. It's a bit disheartening to think that we are moving back in that direction.

Eustache De Saint Pierre , October 29, 2017 at 8:08 am

Good to see Adam Curtis getting a mention – a trawl through his history of documentaries catches most of the rotten fish, particularly for the UK.

BillC , October 29, 2017 at 8:28 am

In the seventies, a seismic paradigm shift happened with the returning of pre-Keynesian neoclassical ideas.

The "Backhouse (2005)" link in the first paragraph of the section "Theoretical Innovations as Part of an Anti-State Ideology" is no longer valid. Although its 2009 publication shows it's not the precise article Oláh cites, it appears that this article by the same author nicely summarizes the same material . It's an interesting read and not too long given the history it covers.

nonsense factory , October 29, 2017 at 10:41 am

From that perspective, all one has to do is look at the gross failures of the 'econometric models' that neoliberal economists embraced.

Exhibit A is those economists who ran around in the early 1990s waving the output of econometric models that 'proved' that NAFTA would raise wages and living standards for workers in both Mexico and the United States.

Exhibit B is those economists who promoted deregulation of the California electricity market in the late 1990s, again based on neoliberal ideas such as the one cited in the article:
The impossibility theorem of Kenneth Arrow also proved that the perfect, general economic equilibrium exists, which implies the efficiency of competitive markets.

Exhibit C is deregulation of the financial industry in the late 1990s, elimination of Glass-Steagall rules on separation of investment and commercial banking, which set the stage for the 2008 economic collapse, again based on neoliberal economic ideology.

The conclusion, really, is that today's academic economic discipline is highly flawed – it is barely descriptive, with zero predictive value. The above quote about the 'impossibility theorem' – this is the kind of thing that ecological sciences examined and dispensed with many decades ago. For example, theories about 'ecological equilibrium' gave rise to fire suppression strategies; today ecologists recognize these were flawed, that natural disturbances (fire, landslides, etc.) are a fundamental feature of ecological systems.

Incidentally, isn't this why economists are sequestered away in business departments in academic system, so that they don't have to face real scientific criticism? Econometric modeling is nothing but garbage based on false assumptions – but how many academic economic careers are built on such dissertations?

Synoia , October 29, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Exhibit A is those economists who ran around in the early 1990s waving the output of econometric models that 'proved' that NAFTA would raise wages and living standards for workers

That's the objective of a well paid economist. Produce the correct form of mumbo-jumbo which suits you clients' end, and retire into a well paid environment, such as President of Harvard.

Economics is for "might makes right," not about truth in the "scientific method" sense.

But what is behind the neoliberal (econo)mist? Let's hope that it's not the road to serfdom.

Yes and I also believe in the tooth fairy.

flora , October 29, 2017 at 4:30 pm

About Exhibit B – California energy deregulation: did someone say 'Enron'?

https://www.creators.com/read/molly-ivins/05/06/molly-ivins-may-30-03b7ab17

Collins , October 29, 2017 at 9:37 am

"Benevolent dictatorships" involoving some form of serfdom (actual or virtual) are the norm through human history and can be quite stable and productive (England, various Chinese dynasties, Italian city-states). Time will tell if present day benevolent dictatorships such as Russia, China or Vietnam will also be. Non-benevolent dictatorships (Aztec, Mayan, Mongol, Stalinist) did not. Syria is a toss-up, but illustrates the unpredictability of human behavior; the govt there largely left you alone if you kept quiet (as opposed to the extreme example of say N. Korea ), but look what happened.
Here in America the Neoliberal BeneDicta is Wall St/Global Cap, and the Young Turks of that class (the Fang & other tech billionaires – and it is a class ) lead the charge for the universal basic income, similar to free bread for Roman citizens 2000 years ago. And is the universal hand-held device (free in America if you're poor), used primarily for distraction, gossip and entertainment really all that different than free admission to the Coluseum?

But will it work?

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm

as was written on a Roman drinking cup from the late 3rd Century Rome:
"VITA BONA FRVARVR FELICES".

ape , October 29, 2017 at 9:48 am

"But what if modeling is just an euphemism for modern ideologies?"

If the model is fuzzy, say 70 pages of words with signs of 2nd derivatives and no fixed points, you can guarantee you're curve fitting and thus just mathematizing ideology.

If you give yourself a hard problem, with clear values and only a few words where you can really check whether you're fooling yourself, then it's not. Ask Feynmann about this.

But a lot of economics papers look like the first -- I see pages and pages of words, then a curve that would fit almost anything, then words and word, finally a few tables and an exercise in curve fitting.

That's the issue with soft sciences -- people tend to cheat with math.

nonsense factory , October 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

Ha Joon Chang wrote an exellent book, "Economics: The User's Guide" which has a few choice quotes on that issue:

[Unquestioning acceptance of economic pronouncements] exists mainly because, especially in the last few decades, people have been led to believe that, like physics or chemistry, economics is a 'science', in which there is only one correct answer to everything; thus non-experts should simply accept the 'professional consensus' and stop thinking about it.

Economics can never be a science in the sense that physics or chemistry is. There are many different types of economic theory, each emphasizing different aspects of complex reality, making different moral and political value judgements and drawing different conclusions. Moreover, economic theories constantly fail to predict real-world developments even in areas on which they focus, not least because human beings have their own free will, unlike chemical molecules or physical objects.

If we take ecology, for example, the recolonization of an area destroyed by volcanism, it's very hard to predict the exact species composition that will eventually result. We generally don't think of plants, insects, birds, etc. as having much 'free will', either. So predicting what humans will do is clearly more difficult. A comparable economic problem is what the recovery from war or depression will end up looking like. Anyone claiming to have 'hard mathematical forecasts' for such future outcomes – well, they're just trying to sell you something. "We base everything on hard math" is just a marketing tactic. As Ha Joon Chang further notes:

In the run-up to the 2008 economic crisis, the majority of the economics profession was preaching to the world that markets are rarely wrong and that modern economics has found ways to iron out those few wrinkles that markets may have; Robert Lucas, the 1995 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics [*the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel] had declared in 2003 that the 'problem of depression prevention has been solved.' So most economists were caught by surprise by the 2008 global financial crisis. Not only that, they have not been able to come up with decent solutions to the ongoing aftermaths of that crisis.

Thuto , October 29, 2017 at 11:18 am

I would suggest they are engaging in a form of intellectual subterfuge. They know that a pretentious sprinkling of math on anything tends to limit mainstream critique, and hardens claims into "indisputable facts" (facts that, by implication, were arrived at with scientific rigor as the guiding principle). Pull out a paper with some curves and formulas in it, present its contents as "laws of economics" and yourself as an expert, then you've gone a long way towards quietening dissent and extracting consent. It's when such unquestioning consent comes from our ruling classes that we run into trouble.

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Long ago when I took a course on the calculus of variations [a topic I never really understood and never used -- but which I believe to be extremely important as an area of knowledge and study -- one of many I regret having ignorance of] the professor -- in the mathematics department -- often commented about how frequently he encountered bad mathematics and false reasoning used in the mathematics he reviewed in economics papers -- papers he had sometimes scoured looking for examples to use for the textbook he'd written [a truly excellent textbook now available from Dover Books]. He said the economists seemed intent on mis-using Hamiltonians where a more simple use of the calculus of variations [simple for him -- ugh!] would have more easily provided an answer and also revealed the errors in their models.

RN , October 29, 2017 at 10:09 am

I see at least 3 internal contradictions or logical inconsistencies in the so called neo-liberal policies.

1. State is essential to protect "the interests" , but not to the extent of promoting "the rest". It is a delicate balancing act in framing the laws and regulations. Sometimes, these laws come back to haunt "the interests" themselves. – unintended consequences.

2. interests of Oligopolies are to be protected as the cost of perfect competition – in the name of free markets and market competition !!!

3. These policies result in monotonically increasing level of concentration of wealth and power. The end result will be only a handful of people will ultimately own the entire wealth in the world. The top 10 percenters will end up being losers to the top 1 percenters and the top 1 percenters will also end up being losers to the top 0.1 percenters and so on. It is like killing the goose laying the golden eggs.

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Simplify -- the Market knows All. If at first policies fail -- build a better Market -- and if that requires the coercion of the State how is that a problem?

If the top 0.1 percenters own the entire wealth in the world -- how is that a problem? As for geese laying golden eggs -- who cares as long as you have enough golden eggs to make all the ducks stand in line and march to your songs.

Synoia , October 29, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Simplify -- the Market knows All.

Deflects blame, shifts criticism, and avoids responsibility. It's as factual as saying "its god's will," and equally effective at dismissing any attempt for change.

ape , October 29, 2017 at 10:09 am

"The impossibility theorem of Kenneth Arrow also proved that the perfect, general economic equilibrium exists, which implies the efficiency of competitive markets."

Cite? I thought Arrow's impossibility proves that all general voting system can fail to satisfy perfect justice, by his axioms of perfect justice for voting (transitivity, et al). I don't see how that proves general economic equilibrium, given that in general most theoretical systems fail to have a stable equilibrium -- steady state is an exception, not a general condition. Or is there another Arrow's impossibility theorem?

EoH , October 29, 2017 at 10:16 am

Too much passive voice, a little shy on agency. Think tanks, for example, were not "found", but created by the patrons of neoliberal academics, rather like taking their ribs and forming new partners, whose utterances needn't survive the rigors and self-criticism of traditional academic life.

As Mirowski and others contend at length, neoliberalism is a political tool for those desiring the outcomes it espouses. A "self-regulating" market, a contradiction in terms, is a market substantially controlled by its strongest actors. By neoliberal definition, that excludes government. As Klein argues, its policy experiments sometimes had to be implemented at the point of a gun (Friedmanites in Chile, Argentina, Brazil), owing to their consequences being so obviously against the interests of so many.

Now that neoliberalism has become the established church, it will take a reformation to dislodge it. The predictable response will be that we should follow a diet of worms.

Steve Ruis , October 29, 2017 at 10:23 am

The phrase "the road to serfdom" implies we are still on it. I suggest instead, that for most people, we are already "there." We may not be "tied to the land" but we are tied to a pre-existing "job," one that pays just enough to keep us alive and not too disgruntled. (If you don't work, you don't eat. We can own land, but not enough to be self-sufficient.) The option of living off the land no longer exists because all of the land is "owned" now. So, like serfs, there is nowhere to go where the options are different. There is no road out of serfdom. As much as the elites like to beat the drum of entrepreneurism and social mobility, these things do not exist for huge swaths of our society.

Civilization was created so the many could serve the few. Civilizations were created by religious elites and carried on by a coalition of religious coercion and physical coercion: the basic equation was to get the "subjects" to produce a surplus which the elites would confiscate so they could live (usually as lavishly as possible). Slavery and war were upscaled to feed the system.

Has all of this changed because iPhones? I suggest not. Slavery still exists, wage slavery exists, poverty is still prevalent, and the rich keep getting richer. Is this what civilization is for? Any outside observer would have to conclude that any other goal for civilization is not yet observable.

Collins , October 29, 2017 at 11:41 am

But advances in energy, nutrition, public health and other sciences have made life much easier and actually occasionally enjoyable for untold millions whose ancestors were truly dirt poor.
The question is, will the advances be enough to prevent violent revolution? England, Spain, Japan, Argentina, Thailand dodged violent class-based revolution, while France, Russia, China, Bolivia, Haiti, Vietnam, Cambodia and Iran did not. I don't think it's truly predictable for a given society.

Carolinian , October 29, 2017 at 10:39 am

Re the above and yesterday's discussion of neoliberalism–while it's been a long time I recall many of the arguments put forth by the Washington Monthly crowd who became the journalistic spearhead for the revival of neoliberalism–Democratic party version. Charlie Peters and his acolytes saw what they called neoliberalism as a reform movement. Some had also been involved in Ralph Nader's consumer groups and the thrust was that large institutions in both government and business had become ossified and inefficient. The Big Three auto makers were the poster children for this with their exploding Pintos and low quality cars made by supposedly indifferent but union protected laborers. From this perspective the reduction of regulations was a way of encouraging competition that would make entrenched bureaucracies accountable. Kahn's airline deregulation for example was promoted as a boon that would benefit travelers by reducing airline ticket prices (and it did for a time). I'm not sure the movement could simply be put down as a plot by business interests. The Washington Monthly's Peters claimed to be an old style FDR liberal.

But as in Orwell's Animal Farm, the revolutionaries quickly became overlords and as corrupt as the institutions they were criticizing. Many moved to Peretz' New Republic -- not exactly a hotbed of idealism.

Perhaps the takeaway is that theories matter less than the quality of the individuals involved. These days the leadership ranks of both parties and the academics who support them very much need the boot.

Enquiring Mind , October 29, 2017 at 10:48 am

This think-tank network wasn't for creating new ideas, but for being a gatekeeper and disseminating the existing set of ideas, and the "philosophy of freedom".

Awareness of gatekeeper roles and their ramifications is one issue of grave concern to many citizens. There are variations of the role playing in different parts of society whether in the Ivory Tower, Think Tanks (self-designated with initial capitals), media or other areas. Recently, that role in media has come under scrutiny as seen during and after the US campaign and election. Who gets to control what appears as news, and will the NY Times editorial board cede any of that, for example?

The increasing impact of social media in dissemination of information and use of influencers represents a type of Barbarians at the Literal Gate. The boards and think tanks won't easily relinquish their positions, any more than the gatekeepers of prior eras would willingly do so.

This era is unsettling to the average person on the street, and particularly to those living on the street, because they have been told one thing with certainty and gravitas and then found out something else that was materially opposed. In the meantime, truth continues to seek an audience.

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 3:50 pm

The assertion you selected from today's post seems clearly false to me. The think-tank organizations definitely create new ideas and often conflict with each other. Their topics and views also tend to dominate discussions and steal the oxygen from outside ideas.

They are schools of agnotology flooding discussion of every policy with their "answers" and contributing to the Marketplace of ideas.

Sluggeaux , October 29, 2017 at 12:04 pm

As flora points out in yesterday's George Monbiot/Gaius Publius neoliberalism thread, Hayek and Mieses grew up under Habsburg absolutism; Ayn Rand grew up under Romanov absolutism. All that they knew of the actual non-theoretical experience of democracy and free markets came from the insecurity of coming of age under the chaos of the collapse of those two empires during the break to re-arm during 1919-1939 in what should be seen as a single 1914-1945 European war.

The founders of neoliberalism appear in these descriptions to suffer for a nostalgia for pre-war absolutism that self-interested western capitalists have been happy anoint themselves to fill. Their alien neoliberal ideology is nothing but absolutist-nostalgic garbage, shoved down the throats of its victims via simplistic but well-funded propaganda. Neoliberalism's false premise of the benevolence of the absolutism of wealth is quite literally the road to serfdom for the rest of humanity.

Norb , October 29, 2017 at 12:13 pm

The kleptocrats of the world are struggling to find a workable power sharing solution to keep their rule intact. The power of the neoliberal order is that it has beguiled the masses into believing that satisfying short term personal wants constitutes a meaningful social order. The constant churn and turnover of consumer goods is the purpose of life instead of participating in the construction and maintenance of lasting, stable social institutions and customs. This is the culmination of turning citizens into consumers. It is a different form of bondage and slavery. The perfect system of enslaving oneself.

The trouble with the neoliberal order its that the old tools in maintaining its power and relevance are reaching limits. As technology democratizes the use of force, it is more difficult to impose ones will. Also, as the weapons become more devastating, their use would instantly disrupt the entire network supporting the political structure. Imagine the consequence of a nuclear exchange. Neoliberalism needs an existing social structure upon which to deploy its parasitic ideology and methods. As Michael Hudson aptly described in his Killing the Host, once that social structure is weakened or destroyed, neoliberalism will be incapable of functioning. It would have to become naked totalitarianism in order to survive.

The question has always been how do you justify and deal with inequality. With human stupidity, climate change, and planetary resource depletion bearing down on every society, how that question is answered rises to the fore and cannot be papered over with greater reams of propaganda. It seems we are once again on the verge of a truly Revolutionary era- like it or not.

Susan the other , October 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Since the 60s all of our Big Boondoggles like Star Wars were embezzlements. The neoliberal mandate quoted above "The point for neoliberalism is not to make a model that is more adequate to the real world, but to make the real world more adequate to its model" is pure hubris. And it has finally run its course by serving us all up a big fat mess. It is very encouraging to see this essay cite so many recent analysts. It's beginning to look like critical mass.

Most of us are thinking about the stock market these days and anticipating a downturn if not a crash. But what if they triggered a crash and nobody came? What if the stock market just stagnates and sits there? The only buyer these days is the Fed but the Fed might refuse to "expand its balance sheet". And in perfect circular logic, this prevents the stock market from crashing because nobody's buying. And where does this leave neoliberal economies and their governments? It will be a tad embarrassing. And also too what if nobody wants to become a worked-to-death entrepreneur with a crappy idea just to make a profit and keep running the squirrel wheel? We don't have to be a capitalist, socialist, or free market society at all. The only thing we are required to be is just. Constitutionally.

Synoia , October 29, 2017 at 4:33 pm

And in perfect circular logic, this prevents the stock market from crashing because nobody's buying.

Or selling. If nobody's buying, and some are selling, that trend is like going over a waterfall. One starts slowly, but does not die until the bottom.

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 3:34 pm

I wish you were right that " the neoliberal order [is] reaching [its] limits" but I am afraid your observation: "It would have to become naked totalitarianism in order to survive" -- may be all too true and all too likely. I've been trying to come to grips with what a " truly Revolutionary era- like it or not" -- could mean.

Frederick1337 , October 29, 2017 at 12:39 pm

The Keynesian truth seems highly classified top secret material. That the first two postulates of the Ricardian theory are flawed, should not be spoken of. Neo-liberal mantra dictates life and evolution itself at some point, wealth dictates the ability to procreate.

Unfortunately for the neo-liberal elite, the end of the "endless" expansionary period of the "new" industrial age ( globalism ) has come, just as it had at the end of the development of the United States. Demand, it seems, once again, can no longer equal supply. The reward ( wage unit ) no longer far outweighs the disutility of labor, no more is it marginal, and gone is the efficiency of capital. The great casinos in the sky have crashed and burned, replaced with a hollow shell of freedom, or perhaps it is only the lie of it. A rich man gambled greatly on those casinos falling down and it is an even more rich man who gambles with him on ever greater portions of real estate, blood, slavery and tax cuts. Perhaps savings indeed should equal investment. Investment in our children and society. Critical thinking, our greatest unit of trade value, even until disposable neo-liberal ideology has been washed away by the ever changing tide of common sense.

flora , October 29, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Economic philosophies come down to questions of morals and ethics: what is 'good' and why; what is 'bad' and why? (These questions often come down to the philosophical questions about "the one and the many"*)

Some (brief) history of moral philosophy in business, or markets:
"Plato is known for his discussions of justice in the Republic, and Aristotle explicitly discusses economic relations, commerce and trade under the heading of the household in his Politics. His discussion of trade, exchange, property, acquisition, money and wealth have an almost modern ring, and he makes moral judgments about greed, or the unnatural use of one's capacities in pursuit of wealth for its own sake, and similarly condemns usury because it involves a profit from currency itself rather than from the process of exchange in which money is simply a means. .

"John Locke developed the classic defense of property as a natural right. For him, one acquires property by mixing his labor with what he finds in nature.7 Adam Smith is often thought of as the father of modern economics with his An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Smith develops Locke's notion of labor into a labor theory of value. In modern times commentators have interpreted him as a defender of laissez-faire economics, and put great emphasis on his notion of the invisible hand. Yet the commentators often forget that Smith was also a moral philosopher and the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments. For him the two realms were not separate."
-Dr. Richard T. DeGeorge
https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/business-ethics/resources/a-history-of-business-ethics/

Now to this article:
"The great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek didn't favor mathematical modeling, but he had clear philosophical models in his head. One of his most famous statements is related to the slippery road to dictatorships: ."

This is a moral claim or ethical claim: Dictatorships are bad.** Well, I accept that statement. I judge dictatorships bad. I do not want a dictatorship oppressing me or my fellow citizens for any reason.

Hayek feared oppression from an unchecked left, imo.

Again, from De George:
"Marx claimed that capitalism was built on the exploitation of labor. Whether this was for him a factual claim or a moral condemnation is open to debate; but it has been taken as a moral condemnation since 'exploitation' is a morally charged term and for him seems clearly to involve a charge of injustice. Marx's claim is based on his analysis of the labor theory of value, according to which all economic value comes from human labor." (ibid- from link above)

No doubt the old USSR became despotic, supposedly in the name of ending exploitation of labor. (Gulags?)

Back to Olah's paper and definitions. The following line could be rewritten to fit the Marxist USSR moral claims with no loss in accuracy.

"But this leads to the main paradox of neoliberalism communism. Its economic system needs a strong state, even at the expense of constraining democracy, to guarantee property worker rights and the working of the free market communal, while actively maintaining the rule of neoliberal Marxist social philosophy."

It's easy to imagine neoliberalism leading to the same despotic conditions in mirror image of the old communist states. Crushing individuals in the name of Market Rights and neoliberal market philosophy, from an unchecked Marketism.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –

* "The question which haunts the dialectical culture is this: how to have unity without totally undifferentiated and meaningless oneness? If all things are basically one, the differences are meaningless, divisions false, and definitions are sophistications, in that the tyranny, or destiny, of oneness is the truth of all being. [my aside: neoliberalism]But, if all things are basically many, and if plurality is ultimate, then the world dissolves into unrelated particulars and becomes, as some thinkers insist, not a universe but a multiverse, and every atom is in a sense its own law and being. [communism] The first leads to the breakdown of differences and the liberty of atomistic individualism and particularity; the second is the breakdown of fundamental law into nihilism and the retreat of men and their arts into isolated and private universes"
― Rousas John Rushdoony, The One And The Many: Studies In The Philosophy Of Order And Ultimacy

flora , October 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm

corrections in footnote *paragraph: [My aside: neoliberalism communism]
and [ communism neoliberalism]

flora , October 29, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Longer comment in moderation.
Shorter comment:

"The great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek didn't favor mathematical modeling, but he had clear philosophical models in his head. One of his most famous statements is related to the slippery road to dictatorships: "

Dictatorship is a bad and an immoral form of government – whether from the left (communists) or the right (Marketists). Hayek and neoliberals only consider the danger from the left, not from the right. This is moral philosophy, as Adam Smith knew. A technical claim for efficiency is not a moral claim to justice or the good. There is no moral claim in neoliberalism that withstands examination. imo.

JIm , October 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm

It may be time to revisit the socialist calculation debate of the mid-1930 where, over a period of vears, von Mises and von Hayek debated socialist economists like Oskar Lange and A.P. Lerner.

Mises argued that capitalism allowed for a much broader participation in decision-making than that permitted by the cult of nationalization and planning. At that time much of the Left chose to ignore this critique by pointing to the evidence of capitalist failure and apparent Soviet success in rehabilitating the Soviet economy and embarking on a road to industrialization.

Lange responded to Mises's challenge by conceding that planning, even carried out by the most democratic of governments would lack proper economic criteria and that to prevent a relapse into more authoritarian solutions, socialist planning authorities would need to develop a simulated market with a system of shadow prices that could be used to compare different paths to development

Hayek, in the early 1940s, further developed the Austrian critique through his argument that collectivist ownership would erase responsibility for investment decisions making it impossible to accurately assess the responsibility for mistakes.

Hayek also pointed to the fragmented and dispersed character of economic knowledge, and as as Mirowski has argued in his new book "The Knowledge We Have Lost in Information,"– managed to establish the first commandment of neo-liberalism "that markets's don't so much exist to allocate given physical resources so much as to integrate and disseminate something called knowledge." and " that the market ceased to look like a mechanical conveyor belt and instead began to take on the outlines of a computer."

Mirowski adds that It was this new image of markets as superior information processors that has apparently swept everyone along from-neoclassical theorists to market socialists."

Is it true that the Austrian critique can only be met by a case for socialist self-management and .public enterprise that bases itself on the dispersed character of economic knowledge and refuses the tempting delusion of a totally planned economy?

How does the Left today respond to the Hayek/Mises arguments of the 1940s, with their attempted vindication of entrepreneurship, risk-taking, innovation and the need to make economic agents responsible in the use of resources?

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 3:23 pm

"How does the Left today respond ?" Very good question! I would add to that "How does the Left respond to the Market as an epistemology?"

I'll attempt a half-assed answer to the question of " attempted vindication of entrepreneurship, risk-taking, innovation and the need to make economic agents responsible in the use of resources?" [The question I posed is highly problematic for me. Once I accepted Mirowski's assertion that Neoliberals really truly believe this nonsense of the Market as an information processor -- an arbiter of the Truth -- I was flummoxed. I cannot argue with what to me is absurd. However Mirowski convincingly argues that addressing the central absurdity of the Neoliberal Ideology is crucial to any argument with its true believers.]

I'm very old fashioned I admit. I believe humankind has a number of personality types each suited to select and fill various niches in society. There are builders and makers of things. There are those who empathize and care for others. There are those who like to grow things and raise and care for animals. There are those who invent and make new things and think new ways. There are those who teach. There are those who conserve -- and those who break away and cast out in new directions -- pathfinders. There are those who like to decide and direct as well as those quite happy to follow reasonable direction. This is the merest thumbnail sketch but you should see the flesh of a very old concept of human society.

The entrepreneur is but one more type of individual in human society. Entrepreneurs are neither special not specially deserving of acclaim or riches. However what they do is useful. Society benefits by sharing a small portion of resources to entrepreneurs while also absorbing some of their risks of failure so that both gain. If an entrepreneur achieves success that benefits society and there is little cost in sharing a somewhat greater part of that gain with the entrepreneur as an encouragement. I have met and known some I regard as "true" entrepreneurs. They did indeed hope to make a financial gain from their efforts and risk -- but that was NOT what motivated them. That was not their core.

The classic Liberal notion that an entrepreneur deserves and has right to all of the gain from their actions is very difficult for me to argue. Like the Neoliberal notion of the Market as epistemology this Liberal notion strikes me as an absurdity. I am again flummoxed.

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 2:47 pm

I found this post very confusing and it stimulated what to me is a confusing maelstrom of comments. I'll stick with the title of this post rephrasing it as "How Economic Theories Serve the Power Elite". I don't believe the Rich and Big Business are equivalent to the entirety of the Power Elite but I do believe they have achieved a degree of prominence -- perhaps as a result of sponsoring Neoliberalism. I think of Neoliberalism as an ideology rather than a school of economic theories. So I should rephrase the title again as "How Ideologies Serve the Power Elite."

I believe Phillip Mirowski captures the most complete and accurate depiction of Neoliberal Ideology. I also believe the C. Wright Mills and his successor G. William Domhoff have captured the essential structures of Political Power in their characterization of the Power Elite.

So -- How do Ideology and Political Power interact? What is their dynamic? Altandmain pointed to a very troubling paragraph in the Michal Kalecki essay in yesterday's comments. Looking at that essay once more I am troubled also by its conclusion. Kalecki concludes the potential for a rise of Fascism -- as in the political/economic definition of the term -- in 1943 America was slight and would be mitigated by the progressive politics in sway during those times. I would argue that the Ideology of Nazi Fascism achieved dominion over the existing Power Elites in Germany [as well as the business interests in the US who supplied money and expertise to the German Reich]. I also believe the Ideology of Soviet Communism achieved dominion over the Power Elites in Russia. In both cases Ideology drove the State toward horrendous actions I cannot reconcile as providing any service to a Power Elite.

The Power Elites of much of the world embrace and bolster the Ideologies of Neoliberalism using them as tools to consolidate their power and line their pockets. What is the chance Neoliberalism might cast off its leash and what kind of world might we see as a result? Does the ascendance of an Ideology represent a cusp -- a singularity -- not well accounted for in the structural analysis of Political Power?

[Oct 29, 2017] Wendy Brown's definition of neoliberalism: It is not simply a commitment to capitalism or to markets, but an effort to transform all spheres of human life in ways that render them amendable to economic calculation.

Notable quotes:
"... I believe discussion of Neoliberalism is very much like discussion of Global Warming. "Weedy" or not, "academic" or not both discussions require transit through some difficult concepts and technical depth. In the case of Global Warming discussions you either come to grips with some complicated climate science or you end up discussing matters of faith drawn from popular "simplifications". In the case of Neoliberalism the discussion necessarily enters a region which requires attention to fine details which when followed to their end tend to have deep and broad implications. ..."
"... The concept of a Thought Collective greatly aids understanding the particularly slippery nature of Neoliberalism as a term for discussion. That slippery nature is no accident. The Market as a theory of knowledge -- an epistemology -- makes apparent the philosophical even "religious" extent of Neoliberal thinking. ..."
"... I prefer Wendy Brown's definition of neoliberalism. It is not simply a commitment to capitalism or to markets, she argues, but an effort to transform all spheres of human life in ways that render them amendable to economic calculation. ..."
"... But "economic calculation" still understates the post-modern condition and tends toward looking for an outside origin, like Hayek/Friedman. Neoliberalism is something we are doing to ourselves, and Foucault's biopolitics makes this clear. You just don't separate the economic from the social and political. ..."
"... Twitter and Facebooks "likes and dislikes" are a form of (social) capital accumulation. Financialization has become ascendant because labour productivity is no longer measurable, and they need "fictitious" numbers to maintain hierarchy. ..."
"... Marxists understand that Hayek-Friedman neoliberalism is just another stage in the real subsumption of labor and completion of globalized capitalism. It is just liberalism after capitalism has finally destroyed traditionalism, nationalism, religion etc. ..."
Oct 29, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jeremy Grimm , October 28, 2017 at 6:09 pm

I believe discussion of Neoliberalism is very much like discussion of Global Warming. "Weedy" or not, "academic" or not both discussions require transit through some difficult concepts and technical depth. In the case of Global Warming discussions you either come to grips with some complicated climate science or you end up discussing matters of faith drawn from popular "simplifications". In the case of Neoliberalism the discussion necessarily enters a region which requires attention to fine details which when followed to their end tend to have deep and broad implications.

In the interview referenced by this post Phillip Mirowski asserts Neoliberals believe the Market is an information processor which "knows" more than you or I could ever know. He also introduces the concept of a Thought Collective -- which he states he adapted from writings of Ludwig Fleck related to describing a method for study and explanation of the history of Science. I believe both these "weedy" "academic" distinctions are key to understanding Neoliberalism and distinguishing it from Neoclassical economics and Libertarianism. The concept of a Thought Collective greatly aids understanding the particularly slippery nature of Neoliberalism as a term for discussion. That slippery nature is no accident. The Market as a theory of knowledge -- an epistemology -- makes apparent the philosophical even "religious" extent of Neoliberal thinking.

Two recent papers by Phillip Mirowski tackle the difficulties in defining and discussing Neoliberalism. They are both "weedy" and "academic" and unfortunately help little in addressing the issue RabidGhandhi raised at the root of the lengthy thread beginning the comments to this post.
"The Political Movement that Dared not Speak its own Name: The Neoliberal Thought
Collective Under Erasure" 2014
[https://www.ineteconomics.org/research/research-papers/the-political-movement-that-dared-not-speak-its-own-name-the-neoliberal-thought-collective-under-erasure]
"This is Water (or is it Neoliberalism?)" 2016 -- this is a response to critics of the previous paper.
[https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/this-is-water-or-is-it-neoliberalism]

There have been several oblique references to this story -- so I'll repeat it since I only recently ran across it.
There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish
swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, "Morning, boys, how's the water?" And
the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, "What the hell is water?"

I am afraid that little story says volumes about the problem RabidGhandhi raised. I believe remaining "weedy" and "academic" is the very least service we might do to discussing Neoliberalism and when arguing topics related to Neoliberalism -- and probably the least damage.

likbez , October 29, 2017 at 1:58 am

Phillip Mirowski approach is not the only approach and it has its flaws. IMHO he exaggerates differences between neoliberal doctrine and neo-classical economics.

Some view neoliberalism as Trotskyism for rich and analogies look convincing, at least for me. See http://www.softpanorama.org/Skeptics/Political_skeptic/Neoliberalism/neoliberalism_as_trotskyism_for_the_rich.shtml

That might be a more fruitful research approach.

Wendy Brown book is also very interesting and illuminating: https://www.amazon.com/Undoing-Demos-Neoliberalisms-Stealth-Revolution/dp/1935408534

nonclassical , October 29, 2017 at 3:58 am

..what was actually historically perpetrated, Chile', September 11, 1973, is (Naomi Klein) instructive:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTN5_Efx1n4

Jeremy Grimm , October 29, 2017 at 11:19 am

I went to the site you recommended and read through the very lengthy discussion of Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich. I believe the title of that discussion makes a reasonable summary of the definition of Neoliberalism you prefer and propose: Neoliberalism is Trotskyism for the rich. While there may be some groups in which this definition might be a useful formula for continuing discussion I doubt it would be of much use in discussing Neoliberalism in general.

Neoliberalism is slippery enough without bringing in a can-O-worms like Trotskyism -- and as I am not a Soviet style Marxist nor a student of Marxism and only vaguely familiar with the Russian revolutions the metaphor is as meaningless to me as a metaphor based on the gang-of-four with references to Maoism.

I disagree with your view that Mirowski exaggerates the differences between Neoliberal doctrine and Neoclassical economics. I don't recall the source but I do recall one of Mirowski's writings or videos did identify how Neoclassical economics is drifting toward Neoliberalism. Although both disciplines might advocate similar policies they differ in how they arrive at those policies. And I believe it Neoclassical economists think of economics at a tool for conducting policy while Neoliberals view their doctrines as guides for policy.

Mirowski -- at least as I read his paper -- tends to avoid making a formulaic definition of Neoliberalism and instead emphasizes what he views as its key doctrines. Those doctrines are what distinguishes Neoliberalism.

Temporarily Sane , October 29, 2017 at 5:59 am

I prefer Wendy Brown's definition of neoliberalism. It is not simply a commitment to capitalism or to markets, she argues, but an effort to transform all spheres of human life in ways that render them amendable to economic calculation.

bob mcmanus , October 29, 2017 at 8:37 am

Wendy Brown is very good. Remember she is also a critic of identity politics. She gets it.

bob mcmanus , October 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm

But "economic calculation" still understates the post-modern condition and tends toward looking for an outside origin, like Hayek/Friedman. Neoliberalism is something we are doing to ourselves, and Foucault's biopolitics makes this clear. You just don't separate the economic from the social and political.

Twitter and Facebooks "likes and dislikes" are a form of (social) capital accumulation. Financialization has become ascendant because labour productivity is no longer measurable, and they need "fictitious" numbers to maintain hierarchy.

Jodi Dean calls this the era of "Communicative Capitalism" wherein value creation has been democratized and we are ruled by the "circulation of commodified affect."

This is brutal. We create value when we like something or someone. We commodify it when we attempt to justify our affections in social settings and produce discourse to do so. It circulates when other people agree and spread the episteme. Why is it "Capitalism?" Because Facebook extracts surplus from your affections and discourse. Sociality and sociability are now major profit centers.

That's like everything, folks. Everything. Late-capitalism or neoliberalism is at least fast becoming a global totality without an outside or margin.

bob mcmanus , October 29, 2017 at 8:29 am

I come at this from a Marxist perspective, and so am very skeptical of liberalism. Neo-liberalism is simply liberalism after the last vestiges of traditionalist communitarian have disappeared.

I usually like Gaius Publius, but I don't like this article. Recently the French union reaction to Macron's labor reforms has the slogan to the effect that "We don't want that liberalism."

To understand neo-liberalism, you have to a) use the European meaning of liberalism, especially since the founders were European, b) you also have to connect the word with the full spectrum of what is "liberalism" as developed in the Early modern period by Hume, Locke, Smith, the American founders, John Stuart Mills, etc. Remember, during their times, both Burke and John C Calhoun were considered exemplary liberals. (See Domenico Losurdo.)

Neo-liberalism is no more limited to economics and markets than liberalism was. Neo-liberalism/liberalism, besides the right to property or the fruits of your labor (Locke also Marx) also includes the full panoply of rights and privileges (at least in theory) included in the Bill of Rights and the extension of those over time, and the right to property and market competition are inextricably connected to the other rights (free press, freedom to associate, gun rights, national self-determination, freedom from searches, etc). Inextricably, they cannot be separated.

Including individualistic rights over your body, for instance. The right to an abortion, gay marriage, freedom of choice, even the popularization of tattoos developed at the same time as the ascension of economic neoliberalism, which is inextricably connected to the "liberalization" of the social spheres.

Which is why it is the ocean we swim in and why it is so hard to fight and why Democrats and centrists and the identitarian "Left" dislike the word so much. Neoliberalism is just liberalism on steroids. Those who dislike the word want to de-liberalize (some of ) the markets and limit (some) property rights while retaining most of the individualism that liberalism allows. They don't want to be socialists.

Marxists understand that Hayek-Friedman neoliberalism is just another stage in the real subsumption of labor and completion of globalized capitalism. It is just liberalism after capitalism has finally destroyed traditionalism, nationalism, religion etc.

nonclassical , October 29, 2017 at 10:51 am

hmmmnnn while this, from article can be so defined:

"With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as "a kind of neoliberal international" [a term modeled on "the Communist International]: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement's rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia."

FDR regulated capitalism, entirety of western "social democracies", stand in contrast (some might say, thankfully)

Philipbn , October 29, 2017 at 1:25 pm

For one of the strongest early analyses of the development of neoliberalism, see Foucault's 1978-79 Collège de France lectures, "The Birth of Biopolitics" (English translation 2008). The entire year is an extended review of and commentary on the the development of liberalism, or in Foucault's terms "liberal governmentality," and in particular of neo-liberalism

[Oct 29, 2017] The US and the Overthrow of the Chilean Government A Declassified Dossier (2003)

Youtube video
Notable quotes:
"... The Pinochet File was selected as one of "The Best Books of 2003" in the nonfiction category by the Los Angeles Times. The New Yorker said, "The evidence that Kornbluh has gathered is overwhelming." in its review. The Newsweek review of The Pinochet File describes it as "...actually two distinct but intersecting books. The first is a narrative account of the Nixon administration's involvement in Chile. Its mission was to make sure that Allende's election in 1970 didn't serve as a model for leftist candidates elsewhere. The second consists of the reproduction of hundreds of salient intelligence documents released in 1999 and 2000 in response to requests by President Bill Clinton." ..."
May 15, 2016 | www.youtube.com

The Pinochet File is a National Security Archive book written by Peter Kornbluh. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159...

It covers over approximately two decades of declassified documents, from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), White House, and United States Department of State, regarding American covert activities in Chile. It is based on more than 24,000 previously classified documents that were released as part of the Chilean Declassification Project during the Clinton administration, between June 1999 and June 2000.

The Pinochet File was selected as one of "The Best Books of 2003" in the nonfiction category by the Los Angeles Times. The New Yorker said, "The evidence that Kornbluh has gathered is overwhelming." in its review. The Newsweek review of The Pinochet File describes it as "...actually two distinct but intersecting books. The first is a narrative account of the Nixon administration's involvement in Chile. Its mission was to make sure that Allende's election in 1970 didn't serve as a model for leftist candidates elsewhere. The second consists of the reproduction of hundreds of salient intelligence documents released in 1999 and 2000 in response to requests by President Bill Clinton."

The inclusion of key source documents allows the reader not only to corroborate Kornbluh's findings, but to acquire a flavor of the extent of U.S. covert activities within Chile, and to understand the tenor of conversation in the White House and CIA regarding Salvador Allende's presidency. While the U.S. claimed to support Chile and its democratic election process, the documents show intricate and extensive attempts first to prevent Allende from being elected, and then to overthrow him with a coup d'état. The coup d'état required first removing the commander in chief of the Chilean armed forces (General René Schneider), who opposed military interference in political situations; he was assassinated by CIA-funded coup plotters (retired General Roberto Viaux and active duty General Camilo Valenzuela). Once Augusto Pinochet took power, his human rights violations were tolerated, even though the U.S. knew that thousands of people had been detained and American citizens Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi murdered. The CIA fostered an extensive cover-up of its involvement in fomenting the coup, including dissembling to the Church Committee. The White House also withheld key documents. Subsequently, the role of the US in this period of history was not correctly understood based solely on the findings released at that time. Furthermore, extensive black propaganda, especially in El Mercurio, shaped world perceptions of Allende, essentially painting him as a Communist pawn and portraying the wreckage of the Chilean economy as due to his decisions. In contrast, the declassified documents show that Richard Nixon enacted an "invisible blockade" in concert with American multinational corporations and international banking organizations, which were pressured to withhold loan refinancing. Consequently, much of the history that has been written without access to these documents may need to be reexamined, as Kornbluh discusses in the book's introduction:

Indeed, the documents contain new information on virtually every major issue, episode, and scandal that pockmark this controversial era. They cover events such as Project FUBELT, the CIA's covert action to block Salvador Allende from becoming president of Chile in the fall of 1970; the assassination of Chilean commander-in-chief René Schneider; U.S. strategy and operations to destabilize the Allende government; the degree of American support for the coup; the postcoup executions of American citizens; the origins and operations of Pinochet's secret police, DINA, CIA ties to DINA chief Manuel Contreras, Operation Condor, the terrorist car-bombing of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington, D.C., the murder by burning of Washington resident Rodrigo Rojas, and Pinochet's final efforts to thwart a transition to civilian rule.

The inclusion of key source documents provide a rare behind-the-scenes view of covert regime change in operation. Key documents from the CIA, United States National Security Council (NSC), White House, DIA, and State Department were declassified in the year 2000. The more than 24,000 records correspond to an average of about three records per day gathered over two decades and Kornbluh's analysis was not complete and in print until 2003.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pin...

Image By Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile. [CC BY 2.0 cl ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b... )], via Wikimedia Commons

Latinoamericano Soy , 1 year ago

Thank you, I really enjoyed this documentary, it summarizes what many latinoamericans know or sense, in fact the same type of interventions have taken place in Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Granada, Bolivia, Cuba, not to mention many other countries in the rest of the planet. It's pure modern imperialism.

[Oct 29, 2017] Russia-gate Breeds Establishment McCarthyism by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And this was not a stand-alone story. Previously, the Times has run favorable articles about plans to deploy aggressive algorithms to hunt down and then remove or marginalize information that the Times and other mainstream outlets deem false. ..."
"... And, given the risk of thermo-nuclear war with Russia, why aren't liberals and progressives demanding at least a critical examination of what's coming from the U.S. intelligence agencies and the mainstream press? ..."
"... So, as we have moved into this dangerous New Cold War, we are living in what could be called "Establishment McCarthyism," a hysterical but methodical strategy for silencing dissent and making sure that future mainstream groupthinks don't get challenged. ..."
"... Reprinted with permission from ConsortiumNews.com . ..."
< Older
October 27, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org
In the past, America has witnessed "McCarthyism" from the Right and even complaints from the Right about "McCarthyism of the Left." But what we are witnessing now amid the Russia-gate frenzy is what might be called "Establishment McCarthyism, " traditional media/political powers demonizing and silencing dissent that questions mainstream narratives.

This extraordinary assault on civil liberties is cloaked in fright-filled stories about "Russian propaganda" and wildly exaggerated tales of the Kremlin's "hordes of Twitter bots," but its underlying goal is to enforce Washington's "groupthinks" by creating a permanent system that shuts down or marginalizes dissident opinions and labels contrary information – no matter how reasonable and well-researched – as "disputed" or "rated false" by mainstream "fact-checking" organizations like PolitiFact.

It doesn't seem to matter that the paragons of this new structure – such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and, indeed, PolitiFact – have a checkered record of getting facts straight.

For instance, PolitiFact still rates as "true" Hillary Clinton's false claim that "all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies" agreed that Russia was behind the release of Democratic emails last year. Even the Times and The Associated Press belatedly ran corrections after President Obama's intelligence chiefs admitted that the assessment came from what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called "hand-picked" analysts from only three agencies: CIA, FBI and NSA.

And, the larger truth was that these "hand-picked" analysts were sequestered away from other analysts even from their own agencies and produced "stove-piped intelligence," i.e., analysis that escapes the back-and-forth that should occur inside the intelligence community.

Even then, what these analysts published last Jan. 6 was an "assessment," which they specifically warned was "not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact." In other words, they didn't have any conclusive proof of Russian "hacking."

Yet, the Times and other leading newspaper routinely treat these findings as flat fact or the unassailable "consensus" of the "intelligence community." Contrary information, including WikiLeaks' denials of a Russian role in supplying the emails, and contrary judgments from former senior U.S. intelligence officials are ignored.

The Jan. 6 report also tacked on a seven-page addendum smearing the Russian television network, RT, for such offenses as sponsoring a 2012 debate among U.S. third-party presidential candidates who had been excluded from the Republican-Democratic debates. RT also was slammed for reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests and the environmental dangers from "fracking."

How the idea of giving Americans access to divergent political opinions and information about valid issues such as income inequality and environmental dangers constitutes threats to American "democracy" is hard to comprehend.

However, rather than address the Jan. 6 report's admitted uncertainties about Russian "hacking" and the troubling implications of its attacks on RT, the Times and other U.S. mainstream publications treat the report as some kind of holy scripture that can't be questioned or challenged.

Silencing RT

For instance, on Tuesday, the Times published a front-page story entitled " YouTube Gave Russians Outlet Portal Into U.S ." that essentially cried out for the purging of RT from YouTube. The article began by holding YouTube's vice president Robert Kynci up to ridicule and opprobrium for his praising "RT for bonding with viewers by providing 'authentic' content instead of 'agendas or propaganda.'"

The article by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Nicholas Confessore swallowed whole the Jan. 6 report's conclusion that RT is "the Kremlin's 'principal international propaganda outlet' and a key player in Russia's information warfare operations around the world." In other words, the Times portrayed Kynci as essentially a "useful idiot."

Yet, the article doesn't actually dissect any RT article that could be labeled false or propagandistic. It simply alludes generally to news items that contained information critical of Hillary Clinton as if any negative reporting on the Democratic presidential contender – no matter how accurate or how similar to stories appearing in the U.S. press – was somehow proof of "information warfare."

As Daniel Lazare wrote at Consortiumnews.com on Wednesday, "The web version [of the Times article] links to an RT interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that ran shortly before the 2016 election. The topic is a September 2014 email obtained by Wikileaks in which Clinton acknowledges that 'the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.'"

In other words, the Times cited a documented and newsworthy RT story as its evidence that RT was a propaganda shop threatening American democracy and deserving ostracism if not removal from YouTube.

A Dangerous Pattern

Not to say that I share every news judgment of RT – or for that matter The New York Times – but there is a grave issue of press freedom when the Times essentially calls for the shutting down of access to a news organization that may highlight or report on stories that the Times and other mainstream outlets downplay or ignore.

And this was not a stand-alone story. Previously, the Times has run favorable articles about plans to deploy aggressive algorithms to hunt down and then remove or marginalize information that the Times and other mainstream outlets deem false.

Nor is it just the Times. Last Thanksgiving, The Washington Post ran a fawning front-page article about an anonymous group PropOrNot that had created a blacklist of 200 Internet sites, including Consortiumnews.com and other independent news sources, that were deemed guilty of dispensing "Russian propaganda," which basically amounted to our showing any skepticism toward the State Department's narratives on the crises in Syria or Ukraine.

So, if any media outlet dares to question the U.S. government's version of events – once that storyline has been embraced by the big media – the dissidents risk being awarded the media equivalent of a yellow star and having their readership dramatically reduced by getting downgraded on search engines and punished on social media.

Meanwhile, Congress has authorized $160 million to combat alleged Russian "propaganda and disinformation," a gilded invitation for "scholars" and "experts" to gear up "studies" that will continue to prove what is supposed to be proved – "Russia bad" – with credulous mainstream reporters eagerly gobbling up the latest "evidence" of Russian perfidy.

There is also a more coercive element to what's going on. RT is facing demands from the Justice Department that it register as a "foreign agent" or face prosecution. Clearly, the point is to chill the journalism done by RT's American reporters, hosts and staff who now fear being stigmatized as something akin to traitors.

You might wonder: where are the defenders of press freedom and civil liberties? Doesn't anyone in the mainstream media or national politics recognize the danger to a democracy coming from enforced groupthinks? Is American democracy so fragile that letting Americans hear "another side of the story" must be prevented?

A Dangerous 'Cure'

I agree that there is a limited problem with jerks who knowingly make up fake stories or who disseminate crazy conspiracy theories – and no one finds such behavior more offensive than I do. But does no one recall the lies about Iraq's WMD and other U.S. government falsehoods and deceptions over the years?

Often, it is the few dissenters who alert the American people to the truth, even as the Times, Post, CNN and other big outlets are serving as the real propaganda agents, accepting what the "important people" say and showing little or no professional skepticism.

And, given the risk of thermo-nuclear war with Russia, why aren't liberals and progressives demanding at least a critical examination of what's coming from the U.S. intelligence agencies and the mainstream press?

The answer seems to be that many liberals and progressives are so blinded by their fury over Donald Trump's election that they don't care what lines are crossed to destroy or neutralize him. Plus, for some liberal entities, there's lots of money to be made.

For instance, the American Civil Liberties Union has made its "resistance" to the Trump administration an important part of its fundraising. So, the ACLU is doing nothing to defend the rights of news organizations and journalists under attack. When I asked ACLU about the Justice Department's move against RT and other encroachments on press freedom, I was told by ACLU spokesman Thomas Dresslar: "Thanks for reaching out to us. Unfortunately, I've been informed that we do not have anyone able to speak to you about this."

Meanwhile, the Times and other traditional "defenders of a free press" are now part of the attack machine against a free press. While much of this attitude comes from the big media's high-profile leadership of the anti-Trump Resistance and anger at any resistors to the Resistance, mainstream news outlets have chafed for years over the Internet undermining their privileged role as the gatekeepers of what Americans get to see and hear.

For a long time, the big media has wanted an excuse to rein in the Internet and break the small news outlets that have challenged the power – and the profitability – of the Times, Post, CNN, etc. Russia-gate and Trump have become the cover for that restoration of mainstream authority.

So, as we have moved into this dangerous New Cold War, we are living in what could be called "Establishment McCarthyism," a hysterical but methodical strategy for silencing dissent and making sure that future mainstream groupthinks don't get challenged.

Reprinted with permission from ConsortiumNews.com .


Related

[Oct 29, 2017] What is neoliberalism? A market-based ideology willing to employ fascism to impose the conditions necessary to establish the market state. (ie, throwing people out of helicopters.) The state is co-opted to ensure rule of the Market.

Notable quotes:
"... The experience of every modern democratic nation-state proves that libertarianism is incompatible with democracy ..."
"... Libertarianism is the version of neoliberalism used to get teenagers hooked on markets. ..."
"... The only ray of hope is that neoliberalism seems, by stripping the vast majority of people of income and assets, to be wildly successful at suppressing aggregate demand and so contains the seeds of its own demise. Maybe. ..."
"... Too bad Mises and Hayek didn't live in the UK or France or US or Canada or other long established democracy; ..."
"... nobody's marching in the streets or even making a fuss about it ..."
Oct 29, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Enrique Bermudez , October 28, 2017 at 5:50 am

"Just deserts for predators and prey" – yes, very much this. I remember talking with my father about a year ago in a quasi-philosophical sense about where I felt western society had gone wrong. I could not quite adequately express the essence of my thoughts beyond "a fundamental devaluation of people as individuals."

I think it applies to foreign policy as well – however you want to put things. The ghouls/neocons/neolibs decide to start some regime change war somewhere. Hundreds of thousands/millions of the wrong people die. But the pipeline (or whatever) gets built on the correct parts of the map. No harm no foul and it's on to the next part of the giant "Risk" board.

Come to think, I actually quite like "ghoul" as a catch-all term for all these evil bastards. Can't remember where I first saw that – might have been here – but it fits.

David May , October 28, 2017 at 5:50 am

A good article on the neoliberal links to fascism:
Why libertarians apologize for autocracy
The experience of every modern democratic nation-state proves that libertarianism is incompatible with democracy by Michael Lind.

Libertarianism is the version of neoliberalism used to get teenagers hooked on markets.

David May , October 28, 2017 at 6:11 am

What is neoliberalism? A market-based ideology willing to employ fascism to impose the conditions necessary to establish the market state. (ie, throwing people out of helicopters.) The state is co-opted to ensure rule of the Market.

The value of everything, human life-included, is to be decided by the Market. (Except when the outcome is not favorable to the elite. Hence the need to takeover the state.)

The market state will impose Freedom™. Freedom™ means the law of the jungle and consequently many rebellious serfs, er, citizens unhappy with Freedom™. (Another reason the state will be needed – to reimpose Freedom™. That is, prison or maybe helicopter trips.)

allan , October 28, 2017 at 8:56 am

Whatever neoliberalism is, this is a perfect example of it:

A Student Loan Nightmare: The Teacher in the Wrong Payment Plan [NYT]

In 2015, he discovered that he was enrolled in a particular type of ineligible payment plan and would need to start his decade of payments all over again, even though he had been paying more each month than he would have if he had been in an eligible plan. Because of his 8.25 percent interest rate, which he could not refinance due to loan rules, even those higher payments weren't putting a dent in his principal. So the $70,000 or so that he did pay over the period amounted to nothing, and he'll most likely pay at least that much going forward.

So this is who we are now. For all sorts of reasons that made perfect sense at the time, we built additional repayment programs onto existing complexity onto well-meaning forgiveness overseen by multiple layers of responsible parties. And once that was done, Mr. Shafer, teacher of shelter dwellers and street kids and others whom fellow educators failed to reach, wasted a small fortune and will now shovel another one into the federal coffers.

Which leaves just one more question: If this is who we are, is it who we actually want to be?

Apparently, yes.

The only ray of hope is that neoliberalism seems, by stripping the vast majority of people of income and assets,
to be wildly successful at suppressing aggregate demand and so contains the seeds of its own demise. Maybe.

kurtismayfield , October 28, 2017 at 11:23 am

The only ray of hope is that neoliberalism seems, by stripping the vast majority of people of income and assets, to be wildly successful at suppressing aggregate demand and so contains the seeds of its own demise. Maybe.

Exactly.. once the majority are stripped of their assets and have to commit most of their income to rent, there *should* be no growth. Unless the entire system is running around asset inflation, which it is now. But that cannot last forever.

HotFlash , October 28, 2017 at 3:46 pm

The only ray of hope is that neoliberalism seems, by stripping the vast majority of people of income and assets,
to be wildly successful at suppressing aggregate demand and so contains the seeds of its own demise. Maybe.

I don't think that this is what They are thinking. The 'make it up on volume' is a retailer strategy, our MOTU are playing well above wholesale and actually are not in the goods-transferring biz at all. Finance, you know. Long before we are all gone, eaten alive or whatever, They will be turning their sights on where the real money is -- each other. Perhaps a few corners of life will survive, and I am curious as to what the new life forms, if any, that emerge out of this sea of pesticides, herbicides, garbage, and too much CO2 will be. Academic question, of course. Perhaps this is why there is no evidence of other intelligent life in the universe? That's too depressing, I'm gonna go make some cinnamon toast.

Altandmain , October 28, 2017 at 9:27 am

What is the real purpose of neoliberalism?

To create a feudal aristocracy using pseudoscientific propaganda. The government uses a combination of tax policy, deregulation, the destruction of legal protections (ex: labour laws), privatization, free trade, mass immigration, propaganda, and frankly, blunt force where needed to slowly dismantle the middle class.

The end result is a society that looks something like Russia in the 1990s or perhaps South Africa, with very high inequality along with high multiculturalism.

Enforcement is not consistent. For example, low and middle class workers are expected to compete in terms of lowest wages and poorest job security with the developing world. Meanwhile, the very rich can do whatever they want and not pay much taxes. Intellectual property is another example of this inconsistency, and allows corporations to rent seek on their IP, itself often a product of taxpayer funded R&D or bought from a small company (witness how big pharmaceutical companies are guilty of both of these).

It isn't pretty, but that is the real goal.

Always keep in mind the purpose of propaganda is to build a narrative.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/13/why-ridiculous-official-propaganda-still-works/

It is not meant to be easily repeated, no matter how easily disproven. Neoliberalism is perhaps the most visible example.

Thuto , October 28, 2017 at 11:05 am

Very true, speaking specifically of South Africa where I live, your analysis of the situation hits the mark. We have an openly neoliberal opposition party that fashions itself as a pro-poor party yet even a cursory glance at its policy stance reveals where the dictates it shouts regularly from its benches originate, and whose interests it represents (it's certainly not the poor). It campaigns heavily for the gutting of labour laws while advocating for the destruction of local industries by coddling up to foreign investors and free trade cheerleaders. Yet nobody seems to see the contradiction, because, as Altandmain says above, it's all about building a narrative through propaganda with the media as an echo chamber (if people think media ownership in the US is concentrated, they must try visiting SA). And the trickle down economics myth is very much the dominant narrative down here, with the rich being worshipped as demigods who hold the fate of the country in their hands, and as such, must have carte blanche to do as they please

Thuto , October 28, 2017 at 9:48 am

Intellectual capture of the general populace by co-opting (read buying) academia and the msm to extol the virtues of neoliberalism is what allows its pernicious effects to spread like wildfire. Credentialism and the pretentious grounding of neoliberal discourse in pseudoscientific rigor discourages critique from ordinary, "non-expert" people and co-opts even these lemmings (queitly being marched to their demise) to defend its ideological soundness. The question i've always had is this: how do countries get grassroots movements against neoliberalism going when the precursor to success against it seems to be eliminating basic and functional illiteracy among the general population about its inner workings and the instruments it uses to legitimize its evils (e.g. propaganda)? Outside of niche communities like here at NC, most people seem to care more about the Kardashians than equipping themselves with the chops (financial, technical etc) to call BS on all this. And this seems to be a war that will require numbers to win, but how to get those numbers when so many people appear to be so enchanted by the supposed virtues of neoliberalism ("getting ahead", ruthless competition etc).

PS: Some of us here at NC live in developing countries and the tentacles of this ideology have proven to be no respector of borders, as such, imho said grassroots movements would necessarily have to be transnational by spreading beyond the heartlands of global capitalism (Western Europe & US/North America).

Katz , October 28, 2017 at 11:03 am

One of the most illuminating lines I've heard in recent years comes from Matt Stoller: "neoliberalism is statecraft."

That's not an idea readily accommodated by the rhetoric/ideology of neoliberalism, but it's extremely useful for seeing beyond of them.

flora , October 28, 2017 at 11:03 am

Great article. Now when I hear TV/Journalist commentators suggest the nation-state is useless and democracy is obsolete I will know their point of reference and unspoken arguments. I will also listen for what they do not report on or talk about. 'The dog that did not bark in the night.' Thanks for posting. Two things:

1.
"Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, "

Austria in 1938 had no deep-rooted democratic history. It was part of the aristocratic Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918, when that collapsed post WWI. Hayek and Mises grounded their philosophy in their post-empire/post-autocratic-rule chaotic national experiences – unstable newly imposed democratic societies which previously had a long history of autocratic rule and a bad or poorly done recent (post WWI) transition to democracy. E.g. Post WWI Weimar Germany was chaos, as reported by on-the-ground correspondent William Shirer.

Mises and Hayek also applied their ideas to well-established older democratic nations. In context, their philosophy did not apply to the well-established democracies. If anything, Mises and Hayek assumed a strong central govt inevitably meant a 'strong man' govt and not a democratic govt, it seems.

2.
" Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world."

The IMF and WTO and neoliberalism itself have become a 'strong man' or 'strong committee' supra-govt rule, imo. Neoliberalism's economic application has lead to the very conditions of weakening democracy and subjecting people to 'strong man/committee rule' Mises and Hayek tried to prevent by weakening the power of the nation-state, without regard to differences in nation-state governments and polity.

flora , October 28, 2017 at 12:20 pm

shorter neolib args:
All* strong govts lead to despotism. (*All? nope. false premise)

Weakening the power of all govt's will guard against despotism. (Really? nope. some forms of govt are a strong guard against despotism. false premise)

Replacing govt functions with market functions has no risk. (nope. see astronomical price increases in privatized govt services and deregulated markets. epi-pen?)

Therefore, weakening central govts and replacing their functions with private market solutions will be both risk free and guard against depotism. (False conclusion from false premises. And there are plenty of financially despotic markets.)

Too bad Mises and Hayek didn't live in the UK or France or US or Canada or other long established democracy; not perfect, always struggling to increase the franchise, but more accountable to citizens than markets.

JTMcPhee , October 28, 2017 at 1:12 pm

I'd urge all to read, and maybe re-read, the series of 6 or so articles posted by NC under the heading "Journey Into A Libertarian Future." The first article is here: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-i-%e2%80%93the-vision.html

Substitute "neoliberal" for "Libertarian" and note the operations of "government-like organizations" that already are systems of systems of predators and parasites that cooperate (while snarling and snapping and biting at each other) to kill and loot and drive the rest of us I guess "libertarians," whatever that term means any more, might be part of the Enabling Class that provides "policy cover" and arguments in support of the rapine that is in play

flora , October 28, 2017 at 11:06 pm

Thanks very much for this link. I just read the entire series.
Chilling.
Normally I'd dismiss this sort of fevered certainty as lost-cause deadender writing.
The series was written 6 years ago; before the Kansas Real Time Experiment; Obamacare ACA insurance-companies-will-sort-this-out; proposed TPP and TTIP and ISDS (arbitration and insurance companies will sort it all out). Now talk of sea-steading and "island" cities and organized voter suppression.
Chilling developments when placed against libertarian, anti-democratic, rise-of-the-supermen manifestos.

HotFlash , October 28, 2017 at 3:53 pm

My dear Flora, you have the outline of a book here. One I would be glad to read. How can I help?

flora , October 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Thankyou.

I've just listened to the Mirowski interview* linked in the main article. According to Mirowski it is the neo-classicals who want a weakened national govt, not the neo-liberals. So I've confused the two and need a rethink.

Mirowski says (paraphrasing) the neo-liberals " changed the idea of what a market is " and believe that " the market is a super information processor that knows more than any human ever could ." (My aside: This is irrational, but that doesn't stop them.) Therefore
Mere humans should be subordinate to the market because the individual can never know as much as the market and cannot even know himself outside of his relation to the market. (This is also irrational and sounds despotic to me. Sounds like saying a person should be subordinate to computer programs.)
Neo-liberals, therefore, want a strong national govt that they control to promote and expand markets and the market ideology/idolatry everywhere. (Where have I heard that sort of quazi-political/philosophical argument used before?)

* starts at the 6 min mark. 18 min mark "super information processor"

https://majority.fm/2014/06/26/626-philip-mirowski-how-neoliberalism-survived-the-financial-meltdown/#

grebo , October 28, 2017 at 9:28 pm

Too bad Mises and Hayek didn't live in the UK or France or US or Canada or other long established democracy;

They did. von Hayek spent the 30s and 40s in the UK, the 50s in the US and retired to West Germany. von Mises went to Switzerland in 1934 then the US in 1940 and stayed there. They were, of course, esconced in academia (ie. in their own minds) the whole time.

flora , October 28, 2017 at 11:07 pm

ah. I gave them a benefit of doubt they may not have deserved. Thanks.

Rod , October 28, 2017 at 11:27 am

here is a bit of the antidote–discussed 10/24 in NC regarding the efforts to restore Puerto Rico–

Farmers' groups are now calling for the proliferation of community-controlled agricultural cooperatives that would grow food for local consumption. Like the renewable energy micro-grids, it's a model that is far less vulnerable to supply-chain shocks like hurricanes -- and it has the additional benefit of generating local wealth and increasing self-sufficiency.
As with the solar-powered generators, Puerto Rico's farmers aren't waiting for the emergency to subside before beginning this transition. On the contrary, groups like Boricuá Organization for Ecological Agriculture have "agroecology brigades" traveling from community to community to deliver seeds and soil so that residents can begin planting crops immediately. Katia Avilés-Vázquez, one of Boricuá's farmers, said of a recent brigade: "Today I saw the Puerto Rico that I dream being born. This week I worked with those who are giving it birth."

The CoOperative movement emerged in the USA at the end of the 19th century to provide funding and resources where there was plenty of need but not too much profit to be made.

concrete stuff, not ism , October 28, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Isn´t this one of the problems with -isms in general? Communism also has a thousand meanings depending on who you talk with. Could be everything between the theoretical Marx-Engels version and the practical realities of Soviet Union/China and other countries claiming to be "communists".

It seems to me that neoliberalism has been so efficient in establish itself thanks to:
1) being implemented by military forces = the rest of the world outside Europe/US, and now being maintained through the thorough militarization of western societies: police, censorship etc.
2) not focusing on being and -ism/ideology but on concrete advises/policies presented in numbers/graphs (the mathematification of economics)
3) useful idiots in the form of the identity politicians: if they would have been focused and using their vast amount of energy on countering the maths of economics (before Steve Keen´s Debunking Economics), instead of counting how many oppressed minority identities can dance on the head of white middle-aged man, it would have been much more difficult to implement the neoliberal policies. Or it would have at least accelerated the militarization of western societies so that the clash between class interests will start, as they always do.

Maybe better to focus on concrete stuff in arguments, like,
– public ownership of energy and infrastructure in order to guarantee all citizens access. E.g. Sweden privatized energy production and distribution in the 90s. During one winter there wasn´t electricity enough to heat houses because the private companies had done away with excess capacity. Privatization/neoliberalism = not serving the society with electricity when the society needs it the most.
– Public healthcare, education etc. Every % of profit a company requires for the owners, this means the same % less to the citizens
and so on.

All good for me, but not for you is a key part of neoliberalism
http://exiledonline.com/monster-koch-bust-charles-koch-used-social-security-to-lure-friedrich-von-hayek-to-america/

Modern example, free health care for senators and senate, but not for the people.

marym , October 28, 2017 at 1:03 pm

OK with most of this, but members of congress and staff don't get free healthcare. Though members have access to some free services, they and some staff purchase insurance on an ACA exchange called. Other staff remain on the pre-ACA FEHB program in place for other federal employees. Both programs are employer (taxpayer) subsidized so they only pay a portion of their premiums, plus whatever their deductible is. For the ACA policies, to get the premium subsidy they need to choose a gold plan, so will have about 10% in copays.

https://www.snopes.com/members-congress-health-care/

Eclair , October 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Nice exposition of the term, neoliberalism, Gaius. Thank you.

I think I first began seeing the term about eight years ago, right after the financial meltdown. About five years ago, I proposed writing a series of pieces for a group that had arisen out of the Denver Occupy movement, kind of an "Ask a Neo-Liberal," column, but most people had never even heard of the term and when I did a bit of research, I just could not pin down definitions or examples.

So, how do we begin to counter the main tenets of neoliberalism: glorification of 'the market' as the arbiter of lives, with the resulting dominance of competition over cooperation and the atomization and breakdown of social ties; we live in a 'dog eat dog' world, only the strong survive, self-reliance got me where I am?

Some days I think that this creed is the natural result of a Planet that has exceeded its carrying capacity of humans. When there were far fewer humans, cooperation and strong social bonds were the only means of survival. Really. The development of Neo-liberalism is Nature's way of getting rid of us.

But, Neo-liberalism decrees that the survivors will be, at best, rapacious, aggressive and materialistic. At worst, they will be socio-paths. It's like the Planet if only jaguars, vultures and leeches, out of all our animal relatives, survived. Do we want that to happen? OK, I realize that some of us have just given up and are sitting back to watch the slow motion disaster unfold.

First, admit that under the current system, the vast majority of us are Prey, and the .01% are Apex Predators, hunting us down, ripping, squeezing and sucking the life (and our livelihoods) out of us. How do our animal relatives who are not equipped with claws, sharp teeth and muscles built for speed, survive?

We run even faster, we develop camouflage and hide, we grow armor, we refine cooperative social skills and live in enormous colonies, (preferably underground!) where our vast numbers and ability to mobilize for work and protection provide security, we develop symbiotic relationships with larger and stronger organisms (although some might label this as 'vichy-ism,') we become almost invisible, yet with a deadly sting or poisonous coating, and we realize that sometimes we have die so that other members of the group can survive.

And, we realize that the area in which we live, our little eco-system, is crucial to our survival. We don't mess it up.

shinola , October 28, 2017 at 12:48 pm

"Under a neoliberal regime, everyone gets what they deserve. Big fish deserve their meal. Little fish deserve their death. And government sets the table for the feast."

Used to be called Social Darwinism.

HotFlash , October 28, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Yup. The new part is the govt setting the table, though.

DJG , October 28, 2017 at 1:04 pm

How to talk about neoliberalism, which is indeed a mouthful? I was at a dinner last night of two generations of UofChicago products (as am I). We all agreed that the "Law & Economi