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Neoliberalism

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

Version 6.6

Skepticism and Pseudoscience > Who Rules America > Neoliberal Brainwashing

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


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

- New York Times

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

May '68 and its Afterlives [Review]

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

The Kremlin Stooge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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(Research materials to the paper Neoliberalism: an Introduction)

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

[Aug 19, 2018] Fate Of Key Gas Pipeline In The Balance As Putin, Merkel Begin Meeting

Aug 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

"Russian influence will flow through that pipeline right into Europe, and that is what we are going to prevent," an unnamed U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal just as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel meet outside of Berlin on Saturday centered on the two countries moving forward with the controversial Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, but also involving issues from the Iran nuclear deal to ending the war in Syria.

Intense pressure from Washington is overshadowing the project, construction of which is already in advanced stages, as the WSJ cites current and former US officials who say sanctions are under discussion and could be mobilized in a mere matter of weeks .

These potential sanctions, ostensibly being discussed in response to US intelligence claims of Russian interference in the 2016 election, could target companies and financial firms involved in the massive pipeline's construction . This comes after comments from President Trump at the opening of a NATO summit in July made things uncomfortable for his German counterpart when he said that Germany is so dependent on Russia for energy that it's essentially being "held captive" by Vladimir Putin and his government.

"Germany is captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia. They pay billions of dollars to Russia and we have to defend them against Russia," Trump told NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg at a televised opening breakfast.

The pipeline has been opposed by multiple US administrations, who have long accuse the Kremlin of seeking to accrue political leverage over Europe given the latter's already high dependence on Russian natural gas. The pipeline has been a frequent talking point and target of attacks by Trump, who has threatened to escalate the trade war against Germany going back months if it supported the construction of the pipeline. US officials have also expressed concern that Russia will pull pack significantly from delivering natural gas via Ukraine when its Gazprom tranit contract expires by the close of 2019. Ukraine is currently the chief Russian natural-gas export point to the EU and depends heavily on levying fees on this trade.

Both Russia and Germany have sought to calm US concerns over the Ukraine issue, with Putin himself reportedly telling both Merkel and Trump that he is "ready to preserve" gas transit through Ukraine even after Nord Stream 2 was completed.

US officials speaking to the WSJ , however, downplayed the Ukraine issue, instead focusing on the urgency of allowing such significant and irreversible Russian economic, political, and infrastructural inroads into the heart of Europe .

Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, told the WSJ , "We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export-pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk," -- something which he's repeatedly emphasized with officials in Berlin. President Trump himself has also reportedly raised the issue directly with Chancellor Merkel on multiple occasions. But for all the shrill US media claims that Trump is somehow doing Putin's bidding, the WSJ has this illuminating line : "Officially, the European Commission, the EU's executive body, is coordinating the gas-transit talks, but Ms. Merkel also has played a leading role because of her regular contacts and longstanding relationship with Mr. Putin, European officials say ."

Meanwhile, it appears that Washington has a losing hand even while making threats of sanctions in an attempt to block the pipeline project.

Crucially, the WSJ report provides further confirmation of the following previously known but hugely significant detail :

A European energy executive familiar with the discussions said company representatives had told John McCarrick, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources, that the five European companies and Gazprom had already provided €5.5 billion ($6.3 billion) in financing and that the project wouldn't be stopped even if the U.S. were to impose sanctions .

The Nord Stream 2 project was started in 2015 and is a major joint venture between Russia's Gazprom and European partners, including German Uniper, Austria's OMV, France's Engie, Wintershall and the British-Dutch multinational Royal Dutch Shell.

The pipeline is set to run from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea - doubling the existing pipeline's capacity of 55 cubic meters per year, and is therefore critical for Europe's future energy needs.

Currently, the second phase involves utilizing an existing pipeline already channelling smaller amount of gas from Russia to Germany. Construction for the second phase started in May of this year.

GlassHouse101 -> Winston Churchill Sat, 08/18/2018 - 13:29 Permalink

More Sanctions!! Sanction all of the countries!

07564111 -> GlassHouse101 Sat, 08/18/2018 - 13:35 Permalink

will lead only to war with Russia..take that as fact.

[Aug 19, 2018] FBI Dealt Blow By DC Judge; Must Address Measures Taken To Verify Steele Dossier

Aug 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
The FBI has been dealt a major blow after a Washington DC judge ruled that the agency must respond to a FOIA request for documents concerning the bureau's efforts to verify the controversial Steele Dossier, before it was used as the foundation of a FISA surveillance warrant application and subsequent renewals.

US District Court Judge Amit Mehta - who in January sided with the FBI's decision to ignore the FOIA request, said that President Trump's release of two House Intelligence Committee documents (the "Nunes" and "Schiff" memos) changed everything.

Considering that the FBI offered Steele $50,000 to verify the Dossier's claims yet never paid him, BuzzFeed has unsuccessfully tried to do the same to defend themselves in a dossier-related lawsuit, and a $50 million Soros-funded investigation to continue the hunt have turned up nothing that we know of - whatever documents the FBI may be forced to cough up regarding their attempts to verify the Dossier could prove highly embarrassing for the agency.

[I]f Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts , according to two people familiar with the offer. Ultimately, he was not paid . - NYT

What's more, forcing the FBI to prove they had an empty hand will likely embolden calls to disband the special counsel investigation - as the agency's mercenary and politicized approach to "investigations" will be laid all the more bare for the world to see. Then again, who knows - maybe the FBI verified everything in the dossier and it simply hasn't leaked.

That said, while the FBI will likely be forced to acknowledge the documents thanks to the Thursday ruling, the agency will still be able to try and convince the judge that there are other grounds to withhold the records.

In January, Mehta blessed the FBI's decision not to disclose the existence of any records containing the agency's efforts to verify the dossier - ruling that Trump's tweets about the dossier didn't require the FBI and other intelligence agencies to act on records requests.

" But then the ground shifted ," writes Mehta of Trump declassifying the House memos. "As a result of the Nunes and Schiff Memos, there is now in the public domain meaningful information about how the FBI acquired the Dossier and how the agency used it to investigate Russian meddling."

The DOJ also sought to distinguish between the Steele Dossier and a synopsis of the dossier presented to both Trump and then-President Obama in 2016, however Mehta rejected the attempt, writing "That position defies logic," while also rejecting the government's refusal to even say if the FBI has a copy of that synopsis.

"It remains no longer logical nor plausible for the FBI to maintain that it cannot confirm nor deny the existence of documents," Mehta wrote.

It is simply not plausible to believe that, to whatever extent the FBI has made efforts to verify Steele's reporting, some portion of that work has not been devoted to allegations that made their way into the synopsis. After all, if the reporting was important enough to brief the President-elect, then surely the FBI thought enough of those key charges to attempt to verify their accuracy . It will be up to the FBI to determine which of the records in its possession relating to the reliability of the Dossier concerns Steele's reporting as discussed in the synopsis.

"This ruling represents another incremental step in revealing just how much the FBI has been able to verify or discredit the rather personal allegations contained in that synopsis derived from the Steele dossier," said Brad Moss, a lawyer pressing the lawsuit for the pro-transparency group, the James Madison Project. "It will be rather ironic if the president's peripheral actions that resulted in this ruling wind up disclosing that the FBI has been able to corroborate any of the 'salacious' allegations."

In other words, the FBI must show what they did to verify the claims contained within the Nunes and Schiff memos.

Because the case was heard on appeal, the ruling will not take immediate effect, notes Politico , which adds that the appeals court is now likely to remand the case to Mehta, while the FBI is going to try and convince him the records should remain unreleased.

GoFuqYourself -> vaporland Sat, 08/18/2018 - 12:57 Permalink

Maybe the globalists are starting to capitulate to the nationalists behind the scenes

jin187 -> GoFuqYourself Sat, 08/18/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

Strange how the alphabet soup agencies always seem to fight hardest only when it comes to hiding embarrassing information from the American people. Yet they wonder why we don't consider them all civil servants and heroes.

[Aug 19, 2018] Decoding the Deep State -- Crooked Timber

Notable quotes:
"... 'Some people have a substantive critique of Trump for furthering the fundamentally evil cause of racist US global empire, while others have a procedural critique of Trump for harming this fundamentally noble cause by carrying it out incompetently, if not a purely aesthetic critique for harming this fundamentally noble cause by making it look too gauche and uncouth. Those two styles of critique are fundamentally at odds.' ..."
"... This seems to me to be fundamentally the point. Particularly when (in the case of Russia and North Korea) the Democrats and the (majority of the) corporate media are essentially trying to outflank Trump on the Right , and the more or less complete failure of the Left to oppose in any meaningful way American machinations in Syria or Libya (with a few honourable exceptions), ..."
"... With very few exceptions (mainly on trivial issues) Trump has governed absolutely and precisely as any Republican would have done. His 'base' is almost exactly the same as Romney's ..."
"... Meanwhile the corporate media get hysterical about which apparatchik got fired or got their security clearance revoked for some reason or something and who said what to whom or whatever .it's all so boring I can scarcely type it out (and in fact I haven't). ..."
"... Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy. ..."
"... Much of the damage to US politics over the last two years has been done by the anti-Trump media themselves, with their mood of perpetual panic and their lack of imagination. But the uncanny gift of Trump is an infectious vulgarity, and with it comes the power to make his enemies act with nearly as little self-restraint as he does. The proof is in the tweets.' ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Heliopause 08.17.18 at 9:00 pm (no link)

"Public statements by Trump make it clear that there wasn't, in fact, a plausible national security rationale for revoking Brennan's clearance."

This is false, the White House has released more than one statement about Brennan's lying and unhinged behavior, whether you accept them or not. And in fact Brennan has made a number of hysterically deranged statements, most notably around the time of the Putin summit, that would make even Joe McCarthy blush.

And this latest Constitutional principle that we've suddenly discovered, that a top security clearance is a form of speech, opens a large can of worms. The implications are so obvious that spelling it out seems unnecessary, I'll just note that when I get the security clearance that is my inalienable right as an American I won't be using it for my own selfish ends.

"I'm basically OK with a tactical alliance with people in the national security establishment, insofar as there are shared political interests. Trump is a disaster across many dimensions"

Got it. Our choice is either the Fuhrer or the Deputy Reichsfuhrer. Gosh, I wonder why so many Americans are disconnected from the political process

ph 08.17.18 at 11:12 pm (no link)
@4 Seems to get this right, imo. The best and simplest identification of this class of self-interested profiteers, 'patriots,'policy wonks, grifters, and their minions and water-carriers in elected office and the media was made by Eisenhower in his farewell speech.

Henry is entirely right to recognize they are as permanent as the weather, and as much a feature of life as they were during Chaucer's time. This is their world, we just live in it.

The pedigrees and connections identified in @4 exist to ensure that the public face of the corporation masquerading as an individual (to quote RN) looks and sounds 'right.'

That's what made the 44th president absolutely ideal. Even better he proved a loyal and willing servant -- expanding the Bush/Cheney security state, drone strikes, and surveillance and execution of US citizens occasionally deemed enemies of the state. 45 has fewer allies in that community, but he's proving more far more difficult to remove than many had thought. Henry is right -- this looks very much like an inside baseball story.

Whatever Trump does or does not accomplish, the profits from violence, manipulation, and duplicity via the wheels of government will remain and be one of the principal driving forces in nation-state external and internal relations for a very long time.

Hidari 08.18.18 at 6:45 am (no link)
'Some people have a substantive critique of Trump for furthering the fundamentally evil cause of racist US global empire, while others have a procedural critique of Trump for harming this fundamentally noble cause by carrying it out incompetently, if not a purely aesthetic critique for harming this fundamentally noble cause by making it look too gauche and uncouth. Those two styles of critique are fundamentally at odds.'

This seems to me to be fundamentally the point. Particularly when (in the case of Russia and North Korea) the Democrats and the (majority of the) corporate media are essentially trying to outflank Trump on the Right , and the more or less complete failure of the Left to oppose in any meaningful way American machinations in Syria or Libya (with a few honourable exceptions),

With very few exceptions (mainly on trivial issues) Trump has governed absolutely and precisely as any Republican would have done. His 'base' is almost exactly the same as Romney's.* There was no 'Trump surge'. He didn't win the election, Clinton (a weak candidate) lost it. Despite the hysteria, most of his deviations from 'the norm' have been in a more imperial direction (e.g. his desire for a stronger NATO which, rather unbelievably, was reported in the worthless media as a desire to destroy NATO). Trump's disgusting and hypocritical sanctions on Russia (which will cause much suffering of ordinary people) have, to the best of my knowledge, not been criticised by any leftist, anywhere, although the insane fantasy that he is 'soft on Russia' is quite popular (with the implication that he should be 'tougher' on Russia, maybe risking nuclear war) presumably because it fits in with the increasingly deranged Russiagate nonsense. CF also his more aggressive stance towards China (another nuclear power) which again risks nuclear war, and which has again, passed almost uncommented on in elite discourse (to be fair he follows in Obama's footsteps here).

I might add that Trump's most egregious and disgraceful departure from the 'consensus', permitting the American Embassy to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has also passed more or less uncriticised, as the Democrats still instinctively obsequiously grovel to the far right Netanyahu when they get the chance, whimpering like whipped dogs (this simile is unfair to dogs).

Meanwhile the corporate media get hysterical about which apparatchik got fired or got their security clearance revoked for some reason or something and who said what to whom or whatever .it's all so boring I can scarcely type it out (and in fact I haven't).

*Almost the first thing Trump arranged was a tax cut for his rich cronies.

likbez 08.19.18 at 3:08 am ( 53 )
@Hidari 08.18.18 at 6:41 pm

Powerful post and a very clear thinking. Thank you !
Also an interesting analogy with NSDAP the 25-point Plan of 1928

Hitler's initial programme really did have a tiny element of 'socialism' in it, and some elements of the working class (shamefully) swallowed the lies and gained him votes.

But it was never real, and Hitler was never going to deliver. He dealt with the Brownshirts (the most authentically 'working class' and 'socialist' part of the Nazi movement) in the Night of the Long Knives, and from that point on, the 'socialist' parts of the Nazi programme were steadily ditched, as the regime became more and more strongly right wing throughout the '30s.

Same with Trump (in this respect only). It's true that in the run-up to the election he threw some scraps to the working class, and some of his protectionist rhetoric swung him some states in the Rust Belt. Some union supporters, to their shame, trooped along to the White House soon after.

Actually NSAP program of 1928 has some political demands which are to the left of Sanders such as "Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes", ".We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts)." and "We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.". Here is a sample:

... ... ...

7.We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens

9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.

10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to productively work mentally or physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:

11.Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.

12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13.We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).

14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.

15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.

18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

21.The state is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.

22.We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

23.We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press.

24.We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race...

But I think Trump was de-facto impeached with the appointment of Mueller. And that was the plan ( "insurance" as Strzok called it). Mueller task is just to formalize impeachment.

Pence already is calling the shots in foreign policy via members of his close circle (which includes Pompeo). The recent "unilateral" actions of State Department are a slap in the face and, simultaneously, a nasty trap for Trump (he can cancel those sanctions only at a huge political cost to himself) and are a clear sign that Trump does not control even his administration. Here is how Philip Giraldi described this obvious slap in the face:

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner. Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

From the very beginning, any anti-globalization initiative of Trump was sabotaged and often reversed. Haley is one example here. She does not coordinate some of her actions with Trump, or the Secretary of State, unliterary defining the US foreign policy.

Her ambitions worry Trump, but he can very little: she is supported by Pence and Pence faction in the administration. Rumors "Haley/Pence 2020" surfaced and probably somewhat poison atmosphere in the WH.

Add to this that Trump has hostile to him Justice Department, CIA, and FBI. He also does not control some critical appointments such as the recent appointment of CIA director (who in no way can be called Trump loyalist).

Which means that in some ways Trump already is a hostage and more a ceremonial President than a real.

Hidari 08.19.18 at 10:41 am ( 56 )
@53

'The President is very much a figurehead – he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the (people), but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.' (Douglas Adams)

CF Also the LRB:

'Trump comports himself not as a president or even a politician, but as a reality TV host. He is a showman above all. In a process where the media are cast as reviewers, and voters as spectators, the show is getting bad reviews but doing nicely: the clear sign of success is that nobody can stop talking about the star. He keeps up the suspense with teasers and decoys and unscheduled interruptions, with changes in the sponsors and the supporting cast and production team. The way to match the Trump pace is by tweeting; but that is to play his game – a gambit the White House press corps have found irresistible. Much of the damage to US politics over the last two years has been done by the anti-Trump media themselves, with their mood of perpetual panic and their lack of imagination. But the uncanny gift of Trump is an infectious vulgarity, and with it comes the power to make his enemies act with nearly as little self-restraint as he does. The proof is in the tweets.'

https://www.lrb.co.uk/2018/08/09/david-bromwich/american-breakdown

[Aug 19, 2018] End of "classic neoliberalism": to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... But to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare. This global trade war is spearheaded by the Trump White House, which sees trade sanctions and tariffs, such as the onslaught it launched against Turkey, as an integral component of its drive to secure the United States' geopolitical and economic interests at the expense of friend and foe alike. ..."
"... But while they are deeply divided as to their economic and geo-political objectives, the capitalist ruling classes are united on one essential question. However the next stage of the ongoing breakdown of world capitalism proceeds, they will all strive by whatever means considered necessary to make the working class the world over pay for it. ..."
"... In 2008, capitalist governments around the world, above all in the US, derived enormous benefit from the decades-long suppression of the class struggle by the trade unions and the parties of the political establishment. The rescue operation they carried out on behalf of parasitic and criminal finance capital would not have been possible without it ..."
Aug 19, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star August 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/16/pers-a16.html

"But to an extent hardly imaginable in 2008, all the world's leading economies are locked in a perpetually escalating cycle of economic warfare. This global trade war is spearheaded by the Trump White House, which sees trade sanctions and tariffs, such as the onslaught it launched against Turkey, as an integral component of its drive to secure the United States' geopolitical and economic interests at the expense of friend and foe alike.

The character of world economy has undergone a major transformation in the past decade in which economic growth, to the extent it that it occurs, is not driven by the development of production and new investments but by the flow of money from one source of speculative and parasitic activity to the next."

"But while they are deeply divided as to their economic and geo-political objectives, the capitalist ruling classes are united on one essential question. However the next stage of the ongoing breakdown of world capitalism proceeds, they will all strive by whatever means considered necessary to make the working class the world over pay for it.

This is the lesson from the past decade which, in every country, has seen a deepening attack on wages, social conditions and living standards as wealth is redistributed up the income scale, raising social inequality to unprecedented heights.

In 2008, capitalist governments around the world, above all in the US, derived enormous benefit from the decades-long suppression of the class struggle by the trade unions and the parties of the political establishment. The rescue operation they carried out on behalf of parasitic and criminal finance capital would not have been possible without it."

[Aug 19, 2018] The Trump-Media Logrolling by Sam Husseini

Notable quotes:
"... By Sam Husseini an independent journalist who contributes to The Nation, CounterPunch, Truthdig, Consortium News, CommonDreams and other outlets. He is also senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact.org . Originally published at his website ..."
"... support and defend the Constitution of the United States ..."
"... by the customer ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Sam Husseini an independent journalist who contributes to The Nation, CounterPunch, Truthdig, Consortium News, CommonDreams and other outlets. He is also senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact.org . Originally published at his website

Today, hundreds of newspapers , at the initiative of the Boston Globe , are purporting to stand up for a free press against Trump's rhetoric.

Today also marks exactly one month since I was dragged out of the July 16 Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki and locked up until the middle of the night.

As laid in my cell, I chuckled at the notion that the city was full of billboards proclaiming Finland was the " land of free press ".

So, I've grown an especially high sensitivity to both goonish behavior toward journalists trying to ask tough questions -- and to those professing they are defending a free press when they are actually engaging in a marketing campaign.

As some have noted, the editorials today will likely help Trump whip up support among his base against a monolithic media. But, just as clearly, the establishment media can draw attention away from their own failures, corruptions and falsehoods simply by focusing on some of Trump's.

Big media outlets need not actually report news that affects your life and point to serious solutions for social ills. They can just bad mouth Trump. And Trump need not deliver on campaign promises that tapped into populist and isolationist tendencies in the U.S. public that have grown in reaction to years of elite rule. He need only deride the major media.

They are at worst frenemies. More likely, at times, Trump and the establishment media log roll with each other. The major media built up Trump . Trump's attacks effectively elevate a select few media celebrities.

My case is a small but telling one. Major media outlets were more likely to disinform about the manhandling I received in my attempt to ask about U.S., Russian and Israeli nuclear threats to humanity -- I'll soon give a detailed rebuttal to the torrent of falsehoods , some of which I've already noted on social media -- than to crusade against it.

Other obvious cases: None of the newspaper editorials I've seen published today mention the likely prosecution of Wikileaks . If there were solidarity among media, the prospect of Julian Assange being imprisoned for publishing U.S. government documents should be front and center today.

Neither did I see a mention of RT or, as of this week, Al Jazeera , being compelled to register as foreign agents. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert has openly refused to take questions from reporters working for Russian outlets. Virtual silence -- in part because Russia is widely depicted as the great enemy, letting U.S. government policy around the world off the hook.

The above are actual policies that the Trump administration has pursued targeting media -- not rhetoric that dominates so much establishment coverage of Trump.

Then there's the threat of social media.

My day job is with the Institute for Public Accuracy. Yesterday, I put out a news release titled " Following Assassination Attempt, Facebook Pulled Venezuela Content ." Tech giants can decide -- possibly in coordination with the U.S. government -- to pull the plug on content at a time and manner of their choosing.

You would think newspaper people might be keen to highlight the threat that such massive corporations thus pose, not least of all because they have eaten up their ad revenue (the Boston Globe page on the effort is actually behind a paywall .)

The sad truth is that this is what much of the media have long done: Counter to the lofty rhetoric of many of today's editorials, the promise of an independent and truth-seeking press has frequently been subservient to propaganda, pushing for war or narrow economic and other interests.

The other major story of the day -- quite related to this -- is that of Trump pulling former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance. NPR tells me this is an attempt to "silence a critic". But Brennan has an op-ed in today's New York Times and is frequently on major media. He oversaw criminal policies during the Obama administration, including drone assassinations. If anything, this has elevated Brennan's major media status.

Those who have been truly silenced in the "Trump era" are those who were critical of the seemingly perpetual U.S. government war machine since the invasion of Iraq.

Trump attacks on the establishment media -- like many media attacks on him -- are frequently devoid of substance. But recently one of his rhetorically tweets stated that media " cause wars ". I would say "push for war", but that's quibbling.

Trump is technically right on that point, but it's totally disingenuous coming from him. He's actually been the beneficiary of the media compulsion he claims to deride. When he exalts U.S. bombing strikes in Yemen, Syria and elsewhere, CNN calls him " presidential ".

Many consider "Russiagate" critical to scrutinizing the Trump administration, but the two reporters, apparently picked by the White House, during the Helsinki news conference focused on "Russiagate" -- which eventually led to Brennan and others attacking Trump as "treasonous". Meanwhile, much more meaningful collusion that can be termed Israelgate is being ignored as the U.S. and Israeli governments attempt to further mold the Mideast.

The need for genuinely free sources of information is greater than ever. It is unclear to me if traditional newspapers can be part of the equation. Quite likely, the institutions desperately needed to carry out that critical mission are yet to be born.


Epistrophy , August 17, 2018 at 5:32 am

The other major story of the day -- quite related to this -- is that of Trump pulling former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance.

I fail to understand why any ex-government employee should keep a top-level security clearance. When you leave, you leave, full stop. One serves in government at the leisure of the American public. In my view, Brennan is behaving like a mafiosi 'made-man', not as a public servant.

Tech giants can decide -- possibly in coordination with the U.S. government -- to pull the plug on content at a time and manner of their choosing.

I cannot figure out what is going on with Google, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter – lets call them the 'Four Horsemen'. I cannot believe that they are stupid enough to think that blanket bans are going to stifle the alternative media and enhance Democrat election prospects. Surely they aren't that naive?

In fact the exact opposite is happening. The Four Horsemen have super-charged Trump's base. Before the ban, alternative media at least tried to comply with their Community Guidelines.

Now, having been banned, alternative media are completely unleashed and their following is exploding.

olga , August 17, 2018 at 8:14 am

They are just following a long-established path (well-trodden, in other words). Set out an afternoon and read this comprehensive report: http://themillenniumreport.com/2018/02/how-the-c-i-a-completely-took-over-the-mainstream-media-with-operation-mockingbird/
Nothing new under the sun. And yes, the more they push, the more people will turn to alternatives.

JTMcPhee , August 17, 2018 at 8:56 am

As to turning to alternatives, I'm not clear on the whole net and web architecture thing. Are there not choke points that the Borg/Panopticon have their strangler's hands around, so that at some point, when their algos and auguries tell them the time is ripe, they can squeeze, and kill all such outside-the-Narrative interchange? It's not like the Big Data Piles that the NSA is constantly adding to, with full cooperation from the Four Horsement, don't already identify and catalog and characterize the "threats" to the project posed by mopes like us, who participate in "well-known Russian outlets" like NC.

Full spectrum dominance includes planned and actual dominance by the Borg/Pentagram of the entire electromagnetic spectrum too, http://www.doncio.navy.mil/mobile/ContentView.aspx?ID=5833&TypeID=21 . So even ham radio operators, the people who provide, from their own meager,resources, the communications substrate that has been so helpful in many disasters, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio_emergency_communications , and the remaining broadcasters in the long- and shortwave ranges, will find that their bit of bandwidth will be hashed and crashed. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2001-06-25/news/0106250301_1_shortwave-radios-bbc-broadcasts Noting that so much of the content of remaining broadcast media is, shall we say, "affected" by the Borg via "initiatives" like Operation Mockingbird

I'm reminded of the back story bit in "Independence Day," when Jeff Goldblum's character intuits that there's a timing signal in the Evil Consumer Aliens' communication stream that reports the countdown to when the Giant Black Ships (why are Evil Aliens always black? Why not some hippie rainbow coloration?) with their city-destroying weapons are all in position and they can start blasting the hum-ants that might oppose their looting of this planet

anonymous , August 17, 2018 at 9:25 am

Think of the internet as a tollway with booths at either end and monitoring along the way. When you control a booth, for example, you can see which cars pass by.

I have seen that process in action and am in favor of privacy tools (VPN, control of Java scripts, ad/malware blockers, etc) to preserve some semblance of anonymity. Even with those in place, there are still ways for actors to observe. Be guided accordingly.

Lord Koos , August 17, 2018 at 3:55 pm

From what I understand, a VPN can be hacked but only by using a lot of resources to do it, you'd have to be a person of great interest for them to bother with it. (I use one myself at all times.)

Beyond censoring social media platforms, the next step would be to remove access to any blog or and site which doesn't go along with the narrative the state is promoting. I assume that would not be too difficult, but if the site in question is on a foreign server they would have to actually hack it. Has Naked Capitalism ever considered using a foreign host that would be more difficult to compromise?

Epistrophy , August 17, 2018 at 10:29 am

Very difficult to provide choke points – but I am sure they are working on it. Because almost everything depends upon instantaeous network connectivity, such as power systems, logistics systems, communication systems, transport systems, defence systems and banking systems, among others, any interference is going to have side effects that could be quite serious.

In addition, systems are becoming more and more distributed, with no central control point – blockchain being a recent example.

For example, I stopped using youtube.com years ago. Mostly I use bitchute to watch some things directly, view videos through a search engine like DuckDuckGo or view videos embedded in websites like NC.

Bitchute uses bittorrent to transmit videos – meaning that the viewers of the videos also provide the bandwidth to each other – a peer to peer transmission method – so there is almost no bandwidth cost to Bitchute and no central point of control. The more users or 'nodes', the better the system works.

Youtube, on the other hand, can control or 'choke' content, but it has huge central server bandwidth costs.

As I see it, YouTube is going to morph into a proprietary Netflix-type of service in just a few years. Garage-produced indie content and alternative media startups will probably move to a different platform.

sharonsj , August 18, 2018 at 10:05 am

I checked out bitchute and all I saw were mostly right-wingers, conspiracy theorists and anti-Semitic rants. None of that could be considered reliable news.

none , August 17, 2018 at 10:18 pm

It's normal for clearances to stay active after a person leaves employment where it was required. It can help them get new employment. Example: you're a machinist at Lockheed milling engine parts for fighter planes. You need a clearance for that, because the engine specs are classified. Now the project ends and you're without a job. Something else comes online at Northrup Grumman up the street: you already have a clearance, so you get hired. If the clearance lapsed you'd have to go through months of background checks all over again, so you keep it current. That doesn't mean you keep having access to classified info about stuff you're not working on, it just means you follow a bunch of regulations like I think you have to report to the feds if you travel out of the country (as if they didn't already know).

I see job ads now and then (esp. in aerospace) where clearances are required or preferred (because they have to get one for you if you don't have it already), for reasons like the above. It's pretty mundane imho. Like being a licensed electrician almost.

The situation with Brennan and other grifter spooks is different, but the idea of a clearance just means you've been investigated and found to be a low risk for leaking classified info. Just because you leave a job doesn't mean you suddenly *become* a risk, so there's no reason to yank the clearance merely because there's an interval in which you're not using it.

Bill Smith , August 17, 2018 at 6:40 am

"I fail to understand why any ex-government employee should keep a top-level security clearance."

It is not unusual for someone who left government service to get contacted by someone who is currently working on a project the ex-employee worked on. The likelihood of this happening certainly decreases as time passes. If the ex-employee doesn't still have the security clearance talking about the project would be illegal.

JTMcPhee , August 17, 2018 at 8:29 am

And given how revolving door rotates, and how corrupt the majority of those "projects" is, why is it a bad thing that ex-employees (who might, say, have used the NSA's Panopticon to spy on and harass ex-lovers and present significant others, or to trash people who dare question the Narrative, or to have engaged in the manifold frauds and corruptions that the Pentagram and much of the state security (sic) apparatus have, and are, engaged in?

There's no "loyalty to America," no "defense of the Constitution" by so very many of the current employees (and millions of self-interested "contractors") who slurp at the government trough, while claiming to be "serving the Nation" as they build and foster the machinery of the Panopticon and perpetual war machine that does not even try to "win victories" except as between procurement projects and in vicious conflicts for better office space. What entitles these people to continue to have the "economic benefit," and it clearly is one, of a "security clearance," on departing from such employment? Is that the kind of 'entitlement" that is worthy of protection, when stuff like Social Security (a prepaid insurance against abject poverty in old age and disability) and Medicar-Medicaid, are as those "security professionals" would say, are "threatened" and "under attack?"

As to "illegality of communications," I bet you may be well aware that such "communications" in violation of all kinds of laws and principles of "democracy" are part of the tradecraft and standard practice. Lady Justice wears a blindfold, not for the mythical reasons of treating all equally, but to let the malefactors get away with stuff. She ought to have at least one hand tied behind her back, too, though I guess one hand has to be left free to wield the sword and cut off anyone not protected by 'current practices" and the Leona Helmsley Rule that "law is for the little people "

Pat , August 17, 2018 at 8:47 am

So the government has no mechanism they can use to contact these employees for information, say having the current employer act as an agent of the government. Said employee making an appointment at a government facility a t the government's time and choosing and providing a limited waiver of secrecy for that meeting and that meeting alone would probably satisfy both security issues and the issue of former employee using his knowledge for the good of the people not personal or private gain, revenge, leverage, etc we have now.

JTMcPhee , August 17, 2018 at 9:08 am

Yah, so simple, it would seem. And of course, on the record, and on the history of how this vast, unauditable, covert, growing, immensely corrupt blob operates, not ever going to become the practice. This link kind of overemphasizes sexsexsex stories, but does cover (below the fold) a whole lot of the vast corruption that is standard practice for the Imperial government -- just as has been the case, and downfall, of previous empires: http://washingtonsblog.com/2016/01/corrupt-american-government.html

And all this assumes that the folks still slurping at the govenment trough are acting in good faith, for the general welfare, subject to the Congressionally mandated and smugly ignored oath they are all supposed to swear to:

Oath of Office for Federal Officials

Employees of the United States Government including all members of Congress are required to take the following oath before assuming elected or appointed office.

5 U.S.C. 3331:

An individual, except the President, elected or appointed to an office of honor or profit in the civil service or uniformed services shall take the following oath: I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

a different chris , August 17, 2018 at 8:56 am

>to get contacted by someone who is currently working on a project the ex-employee worked on

Well before they commence the actual conversation he/she needs to get re-cleared. If it takes 6 months then that's just the way it is.

So some guy has a high security clearance, and then you want his input say 10 years later. You're telling me the CIA/NSA/(insert alphabetic blood-sucking agency here) has been keeping as tight tabs on his behavior as they have the rest of the people in your office? Dude could have gotten a coke addiction and turned to, sigh, the Russians for some moola. Would they really know?

And "the likelihood decreases" is not a defense. You either have a policy – "security clearance decreases at the following rate: x, y, z" or you don't.

Lambert Strether , August 18, 2018 at 2:22 pm

> he/she needs to get re-cleared. If it takes 6 months then that's just the way it is.

That makes too much sense. Stop that.

Mike Barry , August 17, 2018 at 7:04 am

Israeli logrollers gon' drink yo blood and gitcho mama!. Ooga Booga!

JTMcPhee , August 17, 2018 at 8:32 am

Does that mean you agree that the Israel-ites actually do drive a lot of the content of 'our" media, and the behaviors of "our" government? Or is it a "have bara, will travel" kind of comment? Or what? Not clear.

The Rev Kev , August 17, 2018 at 7:59 am

This author is right. I do not know if you would call what the media did a form of virtue-signalling or whatever but the net effect is a demonstration that the media is into coordinated campaigns. I do not think that people have forgotten the "This Is Extremely Dangerous to Our Democracy" Sinclair script a few months ago. This is just more of the same.
I don't even know why they act so b***-hurt when Trump attacks their honesty. In the last few months I have seen them call him a traitor, a gay-bitch, they have called for a military coup to unseat him, they have begged for the deep state to rescue them, they have elevated people who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers to the ranks of noble heroes of the Republic. As far as I am concerned, they have made their own bed and now they can lay in it, even if they have to share it with Donald J. Trump.

Kokuanani , August 17, 2018 at 9:20 am

Big media outlets need not actually report news that affects your life and point to serious solutions for social ills. They can just bad mouth Trump.

Substitute "The Democratic Party" for "big media outlets" and you've got another accurate picture.

Angie Neer , August 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Yesterday when I looked at the NYT online, the big featured graphic in the center of the page, typically a photo, was a rotating feed of Trump tweets, in headline-sized text. It struck me as a new low in the pathetic Trump-media feedback loop. It's all a game of "made you look!"

Bill Smith , August 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm

Yeah, they probably got a summer intern to do that.

Anyone read Ronan Farrows "War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence"?

In one passage he describes a meeting at the State Department where they are complaining that nobody is interested in their policy prescriptions and decide that the problem is that they need some graphs. They all turn to Farrrow and look at him as he is the youngest in the meeting and figure he is the only one who would know how to do that. "Ageism" he thought.

Seamus Padraig , August 18, 2018 at 5:07 am

Trump vs. the MSM: the greatest reality-TV show ever!

Altandmain , August 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm

The problem with the mainstream media calling out Trump is that this is like the pot calling a kettle black.

Trump is awful, sure. But so is the corporate media with its pro-war and neoliberal economic agenda.

As Ian Welsh notes, the press is Trump's enemy, not the servant of the people:
https://www.ianwelsh.net/the-press-is-trumps-enemy-not-the-lefts-friend/

A case could be made that independent media like Naked Capitalism is doing a key public service. Not the corporate media though, whose main objective is always to maximize advertising revenues and to impose the views of its owners, the very rich, on society.

Lambert Strether , August 18, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Two random comments on this topic:

1) The best justification for giving officials formally out of government clearance on either side of the revolving door is that you may need to call on them for advice. It seems to me that this incentivizes "intelligence" over wisdom. And for wisdom, long experience plus open sources should be enough. (For example, if you want to call in an ex-official on North Korean nukes, they don't really need to know the details of the latest weaponry, or Kim's weight gain, or whatever. That can be explained to them by the customer , as needed. What's really needed is an outside voice -- the role played by an honest consultant -- plus wisdom about power relations on the Korean peninsula. No need for clearance there.)

2) RussiaRussiaRussia has been very profitable, not only personally for the talking heads in the intelligence community but for the press. Removing clearance not only hits the talking heads in the wallet, it disrupts the relation between the press and its network of anonymous sources.

[Aug 18, 2018] BIG TROUBLE BREWING AT THE BAKKEN Rapid Rise In Water Production Signals Red Flag Warning Zero Hedge Zero Hedge

Aug 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

By the SRSrocco Report ,

Big trouble is brewing in the mighty North Dakota Bakken Oil Field. While oil production in the Bakken has reversed since it bottomed in 2016 and increased over the past few years, so has the amount of by-product wastewater. Now, it's not an issue if water production increases along with oil. However, it's a serious RED FLAG if by-product wastewater rises a great deal more than oil.

And... unfortunately, that is exactly what has taken place in the Bakken over the past two years. In the oil industry, they call it, the rising "Water Cut." Furthermore, the rapid increase in the amount of water to oil from a well or field suggests that peak production is at hand . So, now the shale companies will have an uphill battle to try to increase or hold production flat as the water cut rises.

According to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, the Bakken produced 201 million barrels of oil in the first six months of 2018. However, it also produced a stunning 268 million barrels of wastewater:

Thus, the companies producing shale oil in the Bakken had to dispose of 268 million barrels of by-product wastewater in just the first half of the year. I have spoken to a few people in the industry, and the estimate is that it cost approximately $4 a barrel to gather, transport and dispose of this wastewater. Which means, the shale companies will have to pay an estimated $2.2 billion just to get rid of their wastewater this year.

Now, some companies may be recycling their wastewater, but this isn't free. Actually, I have seen estimates that it cost more money to recycle wastewater than it does to simply dispose of it. So, as the volume of wastewater increases while the percentage of oil production declines, then the shale companies are hit with a double-whammy... less oil revenue and rising wastewater disposal costs.

To give you an idea just how much more water is being produced versus oil in the Bakken, I went back to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources and looked at their data back to 2015. Unfortunately, the data published in excel only goes back to 2015, even though they have figures published in PDF form starting in 2003.

Regardless, four years is plenty of time to show just how bad the situation is becoming in the Bakken. In June 2015, the North Dakota Bakken produced 16% more water than oil. However June this year, the Bakken field produced 38% more water than oil :

You will notice that overall oil and water production declined in 2016, due to the falling oil price, but as production grew in 2017 and 2018, the percentage increase of by-product wastewater surged to 32% and 38% respectively. Here is an interesting comparison:

Bakken Oil & Water Production:

June 2015 Oil = 34.4 million barrels

June 2015 Water = 39.8 million barrels (16% more water)

June 2018 Oil = 33.8 million barrels

June 2018 Water = 46.8 million barrels (38% more water)

As we can see, while overall Bakken oil production in June 2018 was less than it was in June 2015, the volume of waster water increased by an additional 7 million barrels.

I believe there are two negative forces at work in the Bakken as it pertains to the rising volume of wastewater.

  1. As the wells and field age, more water is produced than oil
  2. Larger Frac Stages, which require more water and sand, are now being utilized to keep production growing or to keep it from falling

While a rising water cut isn't a surprise to the industry as it is a natural progression of an aging oil well or field, the use of Larger Frac Stage wells should be a WAKE-UP CALL to investors. Why? Because Larger Frac Stage wells consume a great deal more water and sand to produce more oil initially, but the decline rates are even more severe than regular shale wells.

So, when the Investor Relations are bragging how the companies are using the newer technology of more complex Large Frac Stage wells, this isn't a good sign. This means that the company is now desperate to try and grow production, or at worst, to keep it from falling.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Shale Industry is in serious trouble. Most of the shale fields have reached a peak and when production starts to decline, especially during a collapsing oil price, I forecast a rapid disintegration of the industry. We must remember, as the oil price and oil production falls, then company stock and asset values will plummet while the high debt levels remain. Thus, the shale industry will have increasing difficulty in servicing its debt.

I will continue to monitor the production of oil and wastewater in the Bakken. Please check back for updates.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are new to the SRSrocco Report, please consider subscribing to my: SRSrocco Report Youtube Channel .

[Aug 18, 2018] The most embarrassing outcome will turn out to be that they actually did nothing to verify the Steele dossier

Aug 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

rosiescenario Sat, 08/18/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

The most embarrassing outcome will turn out to be that they actually did nothing to verify the Steele dossier. Why would they question it? They wanted to use it as a political tool. Do I question and inspect a hammer before I swing it?

Barring that, if they did try to verify it, their complete and utter stupidity will see the light of day.

In either case they are truly fucked by this court order.

MaxDemon Sat, 08/18/2018 - 18:05 Permalink

So the FBI's position is that they cannot confirm nor deny the existence of documents to confirm or deny the truth of the dossier, but they used it in the FISA warrants. But the procedure required for the warrants are that all information must be verified, so those documents need to exist. So the FBI is admitting that they did not follow the required procedure. That makes the warrants void, which means that all information obtained that way is mute, and thus the entire case collapses. Further, filling a warrant request where the rules have not been followed is perjury, making everyone who signed it guilty of a criminal offense against the court.

[Aug 18, 2018] Declining America Is Setting up Itself for Terrible Revenge After the Fall by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy. ..."
"... One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules. ..."
www.unz.com
Aug 17, 2018 | russia-insider.com
"As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge." 145 There has been a dramatic shift in how the United States government carries out its business internationally. Admittedly, Washington has had a tendency to employ force to get what it has wanted ever since 9/11, but it also sometimes recognized that other countries had legitimate interests and accepted there was a place for diplomacy to resolve issues short of armed conflict.

The Bush Administration reluctance to broaden its engagement in the Middle East after it recognized that it had blundered with Iraq followed by Obama's relaxation of tensions with Cuba and his negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran demonstrated that sanity sometimes prevailed in the West Wing.

That willingness to be occasionally accommodating has changed dramatically , with the State Department under Mike Pompeo currently more prone to deliver threats than any suggestions that we all might try to get along.

It would be reasonable enough to criticize such behavior because it is intrinsically wrong, but the truly frightening aspect of it would appear to be that it is based on the essentially neoconservative a ssumption that other countries will always back down when confronted with force majeure and that the use of violence as a tool in international relations is, ultimately, consequence free.

I am particularly disturbed with the consequence free part as it in turn is rooted in the belief that countries that have been threatened or even invaded have no collective memory of what occurred and will not respond vengefully when the situation changes.

There have been a number of stunningly mindless acts of aggression over the past several weeks that are particularly troubling as they suggest that they will produce many more problems down the road than solutions.

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th.

The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia , leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner.

Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey is also feeling America's wrath over the continued detention of an American Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson by Ankara over charges that he was connected to the coup plotters of 2016, which were allegedly directed by Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim religious leader, who now resides in Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump has made the detention the centerpiece of his Turkish policy, introducing sanctions and tariffs that have led in part to a collapse of the Turkish lira and a run on the banking system which could easily lead to default and grave damage to European banks that hold a large party of the country's debt.

And then there is perennial favorite Iran, which was hit with reinstated sanctions last week and is confronting a ban on oil sales scheduled to go into effect on November 4th. The US has said it will sanction any country that buys Iranian oil after that date, though a number of governments including Turkey, India and China appear to be prepared to defy that demand. Several European countries are reportedly preparing mechanisms that will allow them to trade around US restrictions.

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common? All are on the receiving end of punitive action by the United States over allegations of misbehavior that have not been demonstrated. Nobody has shown that Russia poisoned the Skripals, Turkey just might have a case that the Reverend Brunson was in contact with coup plotters, and Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear arms agreement signed in 2015.

One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules.

Given Washington's diminishing clout worldwide, it is a situation that is unsustainable and which will ultimately only really punish the American people as the United States becomes more isolated and its imperial overreach bankrupts the nation.

As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge. To avoid that, a dramatic course correction by the US is needed, but, unfortunately, is unlikely to take place.

[Aug 18, 2018] Neoliberalism illness can't be cures other then by a "regime change"

Aug 18, 2018 | www.unz.com

Virgile , August 17, 2018 at 3:36 pm GMT

That is the true face of America that has emerged after having been hidden behind good manners success and glamour.
Trump is only a catalyst to that revelation. The illness have been there for long time disguised in a motto "We are a great democratic nation'. It is now showing its real and ugly face.
The USA's illness cannot be cured other than by a 'regime change'.
Maybe that is what is brewing..

[Aug 18, 2018] Corporate Media the Enemy of the People by Paul Street

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The dominant corporate U.S. media routinely exaggerates the degree of difference and choice between the candidates run by the nation's two corporate-dominated political organizations, the Democrats and the Republicans. It never notes that the two reigning parties agree about far more than they differ on, particularly when it comes to fundamental and related matters of business class power and American Empire. It shows U.S. protestors engaged in angry confrontations with police and highlights isolated examples of protestor violence but it downplays peaceful protest and never pays serious attention to the important societal and policy issues that have sparked protest or to the demands and recommendations advanced by protest movements. ..."
"... Newscasters who want to keep their careers afloat learn the fine art of evasion with great skill they skirt around the most important parts of a story. With much finesse, they say a lot about very little, serving up heaps of junk news filled with so many empty calories and so few nutrients. Thus do they avoid offending those who wield politico-economic power while giving every appearance of judicious moderation and balance. It is enough to take your breath away ..."
"... In U.S. "mainstream" media, Washington's aims are always benevolent and democratic. Its clients and allies are progressive, its enemies are nefarious, and its victims are invisible and incidental. The U.S. can occasionally make "mistakes" and "strategic blunders" on the global stage, but its foreign policies are never immoral, criminal, or imperialist in nature as far as that media is concerned. This is consistent with the doctrine of "American Exceptionalism," according to which the U.S., alone among great powers in history, seeks no selfish or imperial gain abroad. It is consistent also with "mainstream" U.S. media's heavy reliance on "official government sources" (the White House, the Defense Department, and the State Department) and leading business public relations and press offices for basic information on current events. ..."
"... U.S. citizens regularly see images of people who are angry at the U.S. around the world. The dominant mass media never gives them any serious discussion of the US policies and actions that create that anger. Millions of Americans are left to ask in childlike ignorance "Why do they hate us? What have we done?" ..."
"... If transmitting Washington's lies about Iraq were something to be fired about, then U.S. corporate media authorities would have to get rid of pretty much of all their top broadcasters. ..."
"... The U.S. corporate media's propagandistic service to the nation's reigning and interrelated structures of Empire and inequality is hardly limited to its news and public affairs wings. Equally if not more significant in that regard is that media's vast "entertainment" sector, which is loaded with political and ideological content ..."
"... Seen broadly in its many-sided and multiply delivered reality, U.S. corporate media's dark, power-serving mission actually goes further than the manufacture of consent. A deeper goal is the manufacture of mass idiocy, with "idiocy" understood in the original Greek and Athenian sense not of stupidity but of childish selfishness and willful indifference to public affairs and concerns. (An "idiot" in Athenian democracy was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private instead of public affairs.). As the U.S. Latin Americanist Cathy Schneider noted, the U.S.-backed military coup and dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet "transformed Chile, both culturally and politically, from a country of active participatory grassroots communities, to a land of disconnected, apolitical individuals"[7] – into a nation of "idiots" understood in this classic Athenian sense. ..."
"... To be sure, a narrow and reactionary sort of public concern and engagement does appear and take on a favorable light in this corporate media culture. It takes the form of a cruel, often even sadistically violent response to unworthy and Evil Others who are perceived as failing to obey prevalent national and neoliberal cultural codes. Like the U.S. ruling class that owns it, the purportedly anti-government corporate media isn't really opposed to government as such. It's opposed to what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called "the left hand of the state" – the parts of the public sector that serve the social and democratic needs of the non-affluent majority. ..."
"... The generation of mass idiocy in the more commonly understood sense of sheer stupidity is also a central part of U.S. "mainstream" media's mission. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the constant barrage of rapid-fire advertisements that floods U.S. corporate media. ..."
"... There's nothing surprising about the fact that the United States' supposedly "free" and "independent" media functions as a means of mass indoctrination for the nation's economic and imperial elite ..."
"... A second explanation is the power of advertisers. U.S. media managers are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the large corporations that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. ..."
"... A third great factor is U.S. government media policy and regulation on behalf of oligopolistic hyper-concentration. The U.S. corporate media is hardly a "natural" outcome of a "free market." It's the result of government protections and subsidies that grant enormous "competitive" advantages to the biggest and most politically/plutocratically influential media firms. ..."
"... In this writer's experience, the critical Left analysis of the U.S. "mainstream" media as a tool for "manufacturing consent" and idiocy developed above meets four objections from defenders of the U.S. media system, A first objection notes that the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times (FT), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other major U.S. corporate media outlets produce a significant amount of, informative, high-quality and often candid reporting and commentary that Left thinkers and activists commonly cite to support their cases for radical and democratic change. ..."
"... The observation that Leftists commonly use and cite information from the corporate media they harshly criticize is correct but it is easy to account for the apparent anomaly within the critical Left framework by noting that that media crafts two very different versions of U.S. policy, politics, society, "life," and current events for two different audiences. Following the work of the brilliant Australian propaganda critic Alex Carey, we can call the first audience the "grassroots."[14] It comprises the general mass of working and lower-class citizens. ..."
"... The second target group comprises the relevant political class of U.S. citizens from at most the upper fifth of society. This is who reads the Times, the Post, WSJ, and FT, for the most part. Call this audience (again following Carey) the "treetops": the "people who matter" and who deserve and can be trusted with something more closely approximating the real story because their minds have been properly disciplined and flattered by superior salaries, significant on-the-job labor autonomy, and "advanced" and specialized educational and professional certification. ..."
"... To everyday Americans' credit, corporate media has never been fully successful in stamping out popular resistance and winning over the hearts and minds of the U.S. populace. ..."
"... The U.S. elite is no more successful in its utopian (or dystopian) quest to control every American heart and mind than it is in its equally impossible ambition of managing events across a complex planet from the banks of the Potomac River in Washington D.C ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

"Homeland" Distortion

Consistent with its possession as a leading and money-making asset of the nation's wealthy elite, the United States corporate and commercial mass media is a bastion of power-serving propaganda and deadening twaddle designed to keep the U.S. citizenry subordinated to capital and the imperial U.S. state. It regularly portrays the United States as a great model of democracy and equality. It sells a false image of the U.S. as a society where the rich enjoy opulence because of hard and honest work and where the poor are poor because of their laziness and irresponsibility. The nightly television news broadcasts and television police and law and order dramas are obsessed with violent crime in the nation's Black ghettoes and Latino barrios, but they never talk about the extreme poverty, the absence of opportunity imposed on those neighborhoods by the interrelated forces of institutional racism, capital flight, mass structural unemployment, under-funded schools, and mass incarceration. The nightly television weather reports tells U.S. citizens of ever new record high temperatures and related forms of extreme weather but never relate these remarkable meteorological developments to anthropogenic climate change.

The dominant corporate U.S. media routinely exaggerates the degree of difference and choice between the candidates run by the nation's two corporate-dominated political organizations, the Democrats and the Republicans. It never notes that the two reigning parties agree about far more than they differ on, particularly when it comes to fundamental and related matters of business class power and American Empire. It shows U.S. protestors engaged in angry confrontations with police and highlights isolated examples of protestor violence but it downplays peaceful protest and never pays serious attention to the important societal and policy issues that have sparked protest or to the demands and recommendations advanced by protest movements.

As the prolific U.S. Marxist commentator Michael Parenti once remarked, US "Newscasters who want to keep their careers afloat learn the fine art of evasion with great skill they skirt around the most important parts of a story. With much finesse, they say a lot about very little, serving up heaps of junk news filled with so many empty calories and so few nutrients. Thus do they avoid offending those who wield politico-economic power while giving every appearance of judicious moderation and balance. It is enough to take your breath away." [1]

Selling Empire

U.S. newscasters and their print media counterparts routinely parrot and disseminate the false foreign policy claims of the nation's imperial elite. Earlier this year, U.S. news broadcasters dutiful relayed to U.S. citizens the Obama administration's preposterous assertion that social-democratic Venezuela is a repressive, corrupt, and authoritarian danger to its own people and the U.S. No leading national U.S. news outlet dared to note the special absurdity of this charge in the wake of Obama and other top U.S. officials' visit to Riyadh to guarantee U.S. support for the new king of Saudi Arabia, the absolute ruler of a leading U.S. client state that happens to be the most brutally oppressive and reactionary government on Earth.

In U.S. "mainstream" media, Washington's aims are always benevolent and democratic. Its clients and allies are progressive, its enemies are nefarious, and its victims are invisible and incidental. The U.S. can occasionally make "mistakes" and "strategic blunders" on the global stage, but its foreign policies are never immoral, criminal, or imperialist in nature as far as that media is concerned. This is consistent with the doctrine of "American Exceptionalism," according to which the U.S., alone among great powers in history, seeks no selfish or imperial gain abroad. It is consistent also with "mainstream" U.S. media's heavy reliance on "official government sources" (the White House, the Defense Department, and the State Department) and leading business public relations and press offices for basic information on current events.

As the leading Left U.S. intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman showed in their classic text Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Orwellian double standards are rife in the dominant U.S. media's coverage and interpretation of global affairs. Elections won in other countries by politicians that Washington approves because those politicians can be counted on to serve the interests of U.S. corporations and the military are portrayed in U.S. media as good and clean contests. But when elections put in power people who can't be counted on to serve "U.S. interests," (Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro for example), then U.S. corporate media portrays the contests as "rigged" and "corrupt." When Americans or people allied with Washington are killed or injured abroad, they are "worthy victims" and receive great attention and sympathy in that media. People killed, maimed, displaced and otherwise harmed by the U.S. and U.S. clients and allies are anonymous and "unworthy victims" whose experience elicits little mention or concern.[2]

U.S. citizens regularly see images of people who are angry at the U.S. around the world. The dominant mass media never gives them any serious discussion of the US policies and actions that create that anger. Millions of Americans are left to ask in childlike ignorance "Why do they hate us? What have we done?"

In February of 2015, an extraordinary event occurred in U.S. news media – the firing of a leading national news broadcaster, Brian Williams of NBC News. Williams lost his position because of some lies he told in connection with the U.S. invasion of Iraq. A naïve outsider might think that Williams was fired because he repeated the George W. Bush administration's transparent fabrications about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's supposed connection to 9/11. Sadly but predictably enough, that wasn't his problem. Williams lost his job because he falsely boasted that he had ridden on a helicopter that was forced down by grenade fire during the initial U.S. invasion. If transmitting Washington's lies about Iraq were something to be fired about, then U.S. corporate media authorities would have to get rid of pretty much of all their top broadcasters.

More than Entertainment

The U.S. corporate media's propagandistic service to the nation's reigning and interrelated structures of Empire and inequality is hardly limited to its news and public affairs wings. Equally if not more significant in that regard is that media's vast "entertainment" sector, which is loaded with political and ideological content but was completely ignored in Herman and Chomsky's groundbreaking Manufacturing Consent. [3] One example is the Hollywood movie "Zero Dark Thirty," a 2012 "action thriller" that dramatized the United States' search for Osama bin-Laden after the September 11, 2001 jetliner attacks. The film received critical acclaim and was a box office-smash. It was also a masterpiece of pro-military, pro-CIA propaganda, skillfully portraying U.S. torture practices "as a dirty, ugly business that is necessary to protect America" (Glenn Greenwald[4]) and deleting the moral debate that erupted over the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques." Under the guise of a neutral, documentary-like façade, Zero Dark Thirty normalized and endorsed torture in ways that were all the more effective because of its understated, detached, and "objective" veneer. The film also marked a distressing new frontier in U.S. military-"embedded" filmmaking whereby the movie-makers receive technical and logistical support from the Pentagon in return for producing elaborate public relations on the military's behalf.

The 2014-15 Hollywood blockbuster American Sniper is another example. The film's audiences is supposed to marvel at the supposedly noble feats, sacrifice, and heroism of Chris Kyle, a rugged, militantly patriotic, and Christian-fundamentalist Navy SEALS sniper who participated in the U.S. invasion of Iraq to fight "evil" and to avenge the al Qaeda jetliner attacks of September 11, 2001. Kyle killed 160 Iraqis over four tours of "duty" in "Operational Iraqi Freedom." Viewers are never told that the Iraqi government had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks or al Qaeda or that the U.S. invasion was one of the most egregiously criminal and brazenly imperial and mass-murderous acts in the history of international violence. Like Zero Dark Thirty's apologists, American Sniper's defenders claim that the film takes a neutral perspective of "pure storytelling," with no ideological bias. In reality, the movie is filled with racist and imperial distortions, functioning as flat-out war propaganda.[5]

These are just two among many examples that could be cited of U.S. "entertainment" media's regular service to the American Empire. Hollywood and other parts of the nation's vast corporate entertainment complex plays the same power-serving role in relation to domestic ("homeland") American inequality and oppression structures of class and race. [6]

Manufacturing Idiocy

Seen broadly in its many-sided and multiply delivered reality, U.S. corporate media's dark, power-serving mission actually goes further than the manufacture of consent. A deeper goal is the manufacture of mass idiocy, with "idiocy" understood in the original Greek and Athenian sense not of stupidity but of childish selfishness and willful indifference to public affairs and concerns. (An "idiot" in Athenian democracy was characterized by self-centeredness and concerned almost exclusively with private instead of public affairs.). As the U.S. Latin Americanist Cathy Schneider noted, the U.S.-backed military coup and dictatorship headed by Augusto Pinochet "transformed Chile, both culturally and politically, from a country of active participatory grassroots communities, to a land of disconnected, apolitical individuals"[7] – into a nation of "idiots" understood in this classic Athenian sense.

In the U.S., where violence is not as readily available to elites as in 1970s Latin America, corporate America seeks the same terrible outcome through its ideological institutions, including above all its mass media. In U.S. movies, television sit-coms, television dramas, television reality-shows, commercials, state Lottery advertisements, and video games, the ideal-type U.S. citizen is an idiot in this classic sense: a person who cares about little more than his or her own well-being, consumption, and status. This noble American idiot is blissfully indifferent to the terrible prices paid by others for the maintenance of reigning and interrelated oppressions structures at home and abroad.

A pervasive theme in this media culture is the notion that people at the bottom of the nation's steep and interrelated socioeconomic and racial pyramids are the "personally irresponsible" and culturally flawed makers of their own fate. The mass U.S. media's version of Athenian idiocy "can imagine," in the words of the prolific Left U.S. cultural theorist Henry Giroux "public issues only as private concerns." It works to "erase the social from the language of public life so as to reduce" questions of racial and socioeconomic disparity to "private issues of individual character and cultural depravity. Consistent with "the central neoliberal tenet that all problems are private rather than social in nature," it portrays the only barriers to equality and meaningful democratic participation as "a lack of principled self-help and moral responsibility" and bad personal choices by the oppressed. Government efforts to meaningfully address and ameliorate (not to mention abolish) societal disparities of race, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality and the like are portrayed as futile, counterproductive, naïve, and dangerous.[8]

To be sure, a narrow and reactionary sort of public concern and engagement does appear and take on a favorable light in this corporate media culture. It takes the form of a cruel, often even sadistically violent response to unworthy and Evil Others who are perceived as failing to obey prevalent national and neoliberal cultural codes. Like the U.S. ruling class that owns it, the purportedly anti-government corporate media isn't really opposed to government as such. It's opposed to what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called "the left hand of the state" – the parts of the public sector that serve the social and democratic needs of the non-affluent majority. It celebrates and otherwise advances the "right hand of the state"[9]: the portions of government that serve the opulent minority, dole out punishment for the poor, and attacks those perceived as nefariously resisting the corporate and imperial order at home and abroad. Police officers, prosecutors, military personnel, and other government authorities who represent the "right hand of the state" are heroes and role models in this media. Public defenders, other defense attorneys, civil libertarians, racial justice activists, union leaders, antiwar protesters and the like are presented at best as naïve and irritating "do-gooders" and at worst as coddlers and even agents of evil.

The generation of mass idiocy in the more commonly understood sense of sheer stupidity is also a central part of U.S. "mainstream" media's mission. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the constant barrage of rapid-fire advertisements that floods U.S. corporate media. As the American cultural critic Neil Postman noted thirty years ago, the modern U.S. television commercial is the antithesis of the rational economic consideration that early Western champions of the profits system claimed to be the enlightened essence of capitalism. "Its principal theorists, even its most prominent practitioners," Postman noted, "believed capitalism to be based on the idea that both buyer and seller are sufficiently mature, well-informed, and reasonable to engage in transactions of mutual self-interest." Commercials make "hash" out of this idea. They are dedicated to persuading consumers with wholly irrational claims. They rely not on the reasoned presentation of evidence and logical argument but on suggestive emotionalism, infantilizing manipulation, and evocative, rapid-fire imagery.[10]

The same techniques poison U.S. electoral politics. Investment in deceptive and manipulative campaign commercials commonly determines success or failure in mass-marketed election contests between business-beholden candidates that are sold to the audience/electorate like brands of toothpaste and deodorant. Fittingly enough, the stupendous cost of these political advertisements is a major factor driving U.S. campaign expenses so high (the 2016 U.S. presidential election will cost at least $5 billion) as to make candidates ever more dependent on big money corporate and Wall Street donors.

Along the way, mass cognitive competence is assaulted by the numbing, high-speed ubiquity of U.S. television and radio advertisements. These commercials assault citizens' capacity for sustained mental focus and rational deliberation nearly sixteen minutes of every hour on cable television, with 44 percent of the individual ads now running for just 15 seconds. This is a factor in the United States' long-bemoaned epidemic of "Attention Deficit Disorder."

Seventy years ago, the brilliant Dutch left Marxist Anton Pannekoek offered some chilling reflections on the corporate print and broadcast media's destructive impact on mass cognitive and related social resistance capacities in the United States after World War II:

"The press is of course entirely in hands of big capital [and it] dominates the spiritual life of the American people. The most important thing is not even the hiding of all truth about the reign of big finance. Its aim still more is the education to thoughtlessness. All attention is directed to coarse sensations, everything is avoided that could arouse thinking. Papers are not meant to be read – the small print is already a hindrance – but in a rapid survey of the fat headlines to inform the public on unimportant news items, on family triflings of the rich, on sexual scandals, on crimes of the underworld, on boxing matches. The aim of the capitalist press all over the world, the diverting of the attention of the masses from the reality of social development, nowhere succeed with such thoroughness as in America."

"Still more than by the papers the masses are influenced by broadcasting and film. These products of most perfect science, destined at one time to the finest educational instruments of mankind, now in the hands of capitalism have been turned into the strongest means to uphold its rule by stupefying the mind. Because after nerve-straining fatigue the movie offers relaxation and distraction by means of simple visual impressions that make no demand on the intellect, the masses get used to accepting thoughtlessly all its cunning and shrewd propaganda. It reflects the ugliest sides of middle-class society. It turns all attention either to sexual life, in this society – by the absence of community feelings and fight for freedom – the only source of strong passions, or to brute violence; masses educated to rough violence instead of to social knowledge are not dangerous to capitalism "[11]

Pannekoek clearly saw an ideological dimension (beyond just diversion and stupefaction) in U.S. mass media's "education to thoughtlessness" through movies as well as print sensationalism. He would certainly be impressed and perhaps depressed by the remarkably numerous, potent, and many-sided means of mass distraction and indoctrination that are available to the U.S. and global capitalist media in the present digital and Internet era.

The "entertainment" wing of its vast corporate media complex is critical to the considerable "soft" ideological "power" the U.S. exercises around the world even as its economic hegemony wanes in an ever more multipolar global system (and as its "hard" military reveals significant limits within and beyond the Middle East). Relatively few people beneath the global capitalist elite consume U.S. news and public affairs media beyond the U.S., but "American" (U.S.) movies, television shows, video games, communication devices, and advertising culture are ubiquitous across the planet.

Explaining "Mainstream" Media Corporate Ownership

There's nothing surprising about the fact that the United States' supposedly "free" and "independent" media functions as a means of mass indoctrination for the nation's economic and imperial elite. The first and most important explanation for this harsh reality is concentrated private ownership – the fundamental fact that that media is owned primarily by giant corporations representing wealthy interests who are deeply invested in U.S. capitalism and Empire. Visitors to the U.S. should not be fooled by the large number and types of channels and stations on a typical U.S. car radio or television set or by the large number and types of magazines and books on display at a typical Barnes & Noble bookstore. Currently in the U.S., just six massive and global corporations – Comcast, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS, The News Corporation and Disney – together control more than 90 percent of the nation's print and electronic media, including cable television, airwaves television, radio, newspapers, movies, video games, book publishing, comic books, and more. Three decades ago, 50 corporations controlled the same amount of U.S. media.

Each of the reigning six companies is a giant and diversified multi-media conglomerate with investments beyond media, including "defense" (the military). Asking reporters and commentators at one of those giant corporations to tell the unvarnished truth about what's happening in the U.S. and the world is like asking the company magazine published by the United Fruit Company to the tell the truth about working conditions in its Caribbean and Central American plantations in the 1950s. It's like asking the General Motors company newspaper to tell the truth about wages and working conditions in GM's auto assembly plants around the world.

As the nation's media becomes concentrated into fewer corporate hands, media personnel become ever more insecure in their jobs because they have fewer firms to whom to sell their skills. That makes them even less willing than they might have been before to go outside official sources, to question the official line, and to tell the truth about current events and the context in which they occur.

Advertisers

A second explanation is the power of advertisers. U.S. media managers are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the large corporations that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. As Chomsky has noted in a recent interview, large corporations are not only the major producers of the United States' mass and commercial media. They are also that media's top market, something that deepens the captivity of nation's supposedly democratic and independent media to big capital:

"The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public the very idea of advertiser reliance radically distorts the concept of free media. If you think about what the commercial media are, no matter what, they are businesses. And a business produces something for a market. The producers in this case, almost without exception, are major corporations. The market is other businesses – advertisers. The product that is presented to the market is readers (or viewers), so these are basically major corporations providing audiences to other businesses, and that significantly shapes the nature of the institution."[12]

At the same time, both U.S. corporate media managers and the advertisers who supply revenue for their salaries are hesitant to produce content that might alienate the affluent people who count for an ever rising share of consumer purchases in the U.S. It is naturally those with the most purchasing power who are naturally most targeted by advertisers.

Government Policy

A third great factor is U.S. government media policy and regulation on behalf of oligopolistic hyper-concentration. The U.S. corporate media is hardly a "natural" outcome of a "free market." It's the result of government protections and subsidies that grant enormous "competitive" advantages to the biggest and most politically/plutocratically influential media firms. Under the terms of the 1934 Communications Act and the 1996 Telecommunications Act, commercial, for-profit broadcasters have almost completely free rein over the nation's airwaves and cable lines. There is no substantive segment of the broadcast spectrum set aside for truly public interest and genuinely democratic, popular not-for profit media and the official "public" broadcasting networks are thoroughly captive to corporate interests and to right-wing politicians who take giant campaign contributions from corporate interests. Much of the 1996 bill was written by lobbyists working for the nations' leading media firms. [13]

A different form of state policy deserves mention. Under the Obama administration, we have seen the most aggressive pursuit and prosecution in recent memory of U.S. journalists who step outside the narrow parameters of pro-U.S. coverage and commentary – and of the whistleblowers who provide them with leaked information. That is why Edward Snowden lives in Russia, Glenn Greenwald lives in Brazil, Chelsea Manning is serving life in a U.S. military prison, and Julian Assange is trapped in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. A leading New York Times reporter and author, James Risen, has been threatened with imprisonment by the White House for years because of his refusal to divulge sources.

Treetops v. Grassroots Audiences

In this writer's experience, the critical Left analysis of the U.S. "mainstream" media as a tool for "manufacturing consent" and idiocy developed above meets four objections from defenders of the U.S. media system, A first objection notes that the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times (FT), the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and other major U.S. corporate media outlets produce a significant amount of, informative, high-quality and often candid reporting and commentary that Left thinkers and activists commonly cite to support their cases for radical and democratic change. Left U.S. media critics like Chomsky and Herman are said to be hypocrites because they obviously find much that is of use as Left thinkers in the very media that they criticize for distorting reality in accord with capitalist and imperial dictates.

The observation that Leftists commonly use and cite information from the corporate media they harshly criticize is correct but it is easy to account for the apparent anomaly within the critical Left framework by noting that that media crafts two very different versions of U.S. policy, politics, society, "life," and current events for two different audiences. Following the work of the brilliant Australian propaganda critic Alex Carey, we can call the first audience the "grassroots."[14] It comprises the general mass of working and lower-class citizens. As far as the business elites who own and manage the U.S. mass media and the corporations that pay for that media with advertising purchases are concerned, this "rabble" cannot be trusted with serious, candid, and forthright information. Its essential role in society is to keep quiet, work hard, be entertained (in richly propagandistic and ideological ways, we should remember), buy things, and generally do what they're told. They are to leave key societal decisions to those that the leading 20th century U.S. public intellectual and media-as-propaganda enthusiast Walter Lippman called "the responsible men." That "intelligent," benevolent, "expert," and "responsible" elite (responsible, indeed, for such glorious accomplishments as the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Iraq, the Great Recession, global warming, and the rise of the Islamic State) needed, in Lippman's view, to be protected from what he called "the trampling and roar of the bewildered herd."[15] The deluded mob, the sub-citizenry, the dangerous working class majority is not the audience for elite organs like the Times, the Post, and the Journal.

The second target group comprises the relevant political class of U.S. citizens from at most the upper fifth of society. This is who reads the Times, the Post, WSJ, and FT, for the most part. Call this audience (again following Carey) the "treetops": the "people who matter" and who deserve and can be trusted with something more closely approximating the real story because their minds have been properly disciplined and flattered by superior salaries, significant on-the-job labor autonomy, and "advanced" and specialized educational and professional certification. This elite includes such heavily indoctrinated persons as corporate managers, lawyers, public administrators, and (most) tenured university professors. Since these elites carry out key top-down societal tasks of supervision, discipline, training, demoralization, co-optation, and indoctrination – all essential to the rule of the real economic elite and the imperial system – they cannot be too thoroughly misled about current events and policy without deleterious consequences for the smooth functioning of the dominant social and political order. They require adequate information and must not be overly influenced by the brutal and foolish propaganda generated for the "bewildered herd." At the same time, information and commentary for the relevant and respectable business and political classes and their "coordinator class" servants and allies often contains a measure of reasoned and sincere intra-elite political and policy debate – debate that is always careful not to stray beyond narrow U.S. ideological parameters. That is why a radical Left U.S. thinker and activist can find much that is of use in U.S. "treetops" media. Such a thinker or activist would, indeed, be foolish not to consult these sources.

"P"BS and N"P"R

A second objection to the Left critique of U.S. "mainstream" media claims that the U.S. public enjoys a meaningful alternative to the corporate media in the form of the nation's Public Broadcasting Service (television) and National Public Radio (NPR). This claim should not be taken seriously. Thanks to U.S. "public" media's pathetically weak governmental funding, its heavy reliance on corporate sponsors, and its constant harassment by right wing critics inside and beyond the U.S. Congress, N"P"R and "P"BS are extremely reluctant to question dominant U.S. ideologies and power structures.

The tepid, power-serving conservatism of U.S. "public" broadcasting is by longstanding political and policy design. The federal government allowed the formation of the "public" networks only on the condition that they pose no competitive market or ideological challenge to private commercial media, the profits system, and U.S. global foreign policy. "P"BS and N"P"R are "public" in a very limited sense. They not function for the public over and against corporate, financial, and imperial power to any significant degree.

"The Internet Will Save Us"

A third objection claims that the rise of the Internet creates a "Wild West" environment in which the power of corporate media is eviscerated and citizens can find and even produce all the "alternative media" they require. This claim is misleading but it should not be reflexively or completely dismissed. In the U.S. as elsewhere, those with access to the Internet and the time and energy to use it meaningfully can find a remarkable breadth and depth of information and trenchant Left analysis at various online sites. The Internet also broadens U.S. citizens and activists' access to media networks beyond the U.S. – to elite sources that are much less beholden of course to U.S. propaganda and ideology. At the same time, the Internet and digital telephony networks have at times shown themselves to be effective grassroots organizing tools for progressive U.S. activists.

Still, the democratic and progressive impact of the Internet in the U.S. is easily exaggerated. Left and other progressive online outlets lack anything close to the financial, technical, and organizational and human resources of the corporate news media, which has its own sophisticated Internet. There is nothing in Left other citizen online outlets that can begin to remotely challenge the "soft" ideological and propagandistic power of corporate "entertainment" media. The Internet's technical infrastructure is increasingly dominated by an "ISP cartel" led by a small number of giant corporations. As the leading left U.S. media analyst Robert McChesney notes:

"By 2014, there are only a half-dozen or so major players that dominate provision of broadband Internet access and wireless Internet access. Three of them – Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast – dominate the field of telephony and Internet access, and have set up what is in effect a cartel. They no longer compete with each other in any meaningful sense. As a result, Americans pay far more for cellphone and broadband Internet access than most other advanced nations and get much lousier service These are not 'free market' companies in any sense of the term. Their business model, going back to pre-Internet days, has always been capturing government monopoly licenses for telephone and cable TV services. Their 'comparative advantage' has never been customer service; it has been world-class lobbying.' [16]

Along the way, the notion of a great "democratizing," Wild West" and "free market" Internet has proved politically useful for the corporate media giants. The regularly trumpet the great Internet myth to claim that the U.S. public and regulators don't need to worry about corporate media power and to justify their demands for more government subsidy and protection. At the same time, finally, we know from the revelations of Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and others that the nation's leading digital and Internet-based e-mail (Google and Yahoo), telephony (e.g. Verizon), and "social network" (Facebook above all) corporations have collaborated with the National Security Agency and with the nation's local, state, and federal police in the surveillance of U.S. citizens' and activists' private communications.[17]

Solutions

The fourth objection accuses Left media critics of being overly negative, "carping" critics who offer no serious alternatives to the nation's current corporate-owned corporate-managed commercial and for-profit media system. This is a transparently false and mean-spirited charge. Left U.S. media criticism is strongly linked to a smart and impressive U.S. media reform movement that advances numerous and interrelated proposals for the creation of a genuinely public and democratically run non-commercial and nonprofit U.S. media system. Some of the demand and proposals of this movement include public ownership and operation of the Internet as a public utility; the break-up of the leading media oligopolies; full public funding of public broadcasting; limits on advertising in commercial media; the abolition of political advertisements; the expansion of airwave and broadband access for alternative media outlets; publicly-funded nonprofit and non-commercial print journalism; the abolition of government and corporate surveillance, monitoring, and commercial data-mining of private communication and "social networks."[18] With regard to the media as with numerous other areas, we should recall Chomsky's sardonic response to the standard conservative claim that the Left offers criticisms but no solutions: "There is an accurate translation for that charge: 'they present solutions and I don't like them.'"[19]

A False Paradox

The propagandistic and power-serving mission and nature of dominant U.S, corporate mass media might seem ironic and even paradoxical in light of the United States' strong free speech and democratic traditions. In fact, as Carey and Chomsky have noted, the former makes perfect sense in light of the latter. In nations where popular expression and dissent is routinely crushed with violent repression, elites have little incentive to shape popular perceptions in accord with elite interests. The population is controlled primarily through physical coercion. In societies where it is not generally considered legitimate to put down popular expression with the iron heel of armed force and where dissenting opinion is granted a significant measure of freedom of expression, elites are heavily and dangerously incentivized to seek to manufacture mass popular consent and idiocy. The danger is deepened by the United States' status as the pioneer in the development of mass consumer capitalism, advertising, film, and television. Thanks to that history, corporate America has long stood in the global vanguard when it comes to developing the technologies, methods, art, and science of mass persuasion and thought control.[20]

It is appropriate to place quotation marks around the phrase "mainstream media" when writing about dominant U.S. corporate media. During the Cold War era, U.S. officials and media never referred to the Soviet Union's state television and radio or its main state newspapers as "mainstream Russian media." American authorities referred to these Russian media outlets as "Soviet state media" and treated that media as means for the dissemination of Soviet "propaganda" and ideology. There is no reason to consider the United States' corporate and commercial media as any more "mainstream" than the leading Soviet media organs were back in their day. It is just as dedicated as the onetime Soviet state media to advancing the doctrinal perspectives of its host nation's reigning elite -- and far more effective.

Its success is easily exaggerated, however. To everyday Americans' credit, corporate media has never been fully successful in stamping out popular resistance and winning over the hearts and minds of the U.S. populace. A recent Pew Research poll showed that U.S. "millennials" (young adults 18-29 years old) have a more favorable response to the word "socialism" than to "capitalism" – a remarkable finding on the limits of corporate media and other forms of elite ideological power in the U.S. The immigrant worker uprising of May 2006, the Chicago Republic Door and Window plant occupation of 2008, the University of California student uprisings of 2009 and 2010, the Wisconsin public worker rebellion in early 2011, the Occupy Movement of late 2011, and Fight for Fifteen (for a $15 an hour minimum wage) and Black Lives Matter movements of 2014 and 2015 show that U.S. corporate and imperial establishment has not manufactured anything like comprehensive and across the board mass consent and idiocy in the U,S. today. The U.S. elite is no more successful in its utopian (or dystopian) quest to control every American heart and mind than it is in its equally impossible ambition of managing events across a complex planet from the banks of the Potomac River in Washington D.C. The struggle for popular self-determination, democracy, justice, and equality lives on despite the influence of corporate media.

[Aug 18, 2018] Is Russia an Adversary by Gary Leupp

Notable quotes:
"... The Russians were not pleased by U.S.-NATO involvements in the former Yugoslavia, a traditional Russian ally, in 1995 and 1999, and the expansion of NATO in the latter year (to include Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary) in violation of the agreement between Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 that in return for Russia's acceptance of German reunification NATO would not spread "one inch" towards Russia. They protested meekly. But Russia was not an adversary then. ..."
"... Nor was it an adversary when, in 2001, under its new president Vladimir Putin, it offered NATO a route through Russia to provision forces in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The real change only came in 2004, when NATO suddenly expanded to include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. This brought alliances forces right to the Russian border. ..."
"... We are your adversary. ..."
"... Russia is an adversary. ..."
"... Russia is an adversary. ..."
"... He worked with our adversary to undermine our election. ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | dissidentvoice.org

Or, What's Wrong with Russian Collusion?

The question is finally being asked, by the president himself: what's wrong with collusion? Or at least his lawyer asks the question, while Trumps tweets:

Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn't matter because there was No Collusion.

The problem, of course, is that of collusion with an alleged adversary. Russia, we are constantly informed, is one such adversary, indeed the main state adversary, with Putin is its head.

Adversary is a very strong term. The Hebrew word for adversary is Satan. Satan is the ultimate symbol of evil in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Satan tempted Eve at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, causing her to eat the fruit, and so evil entered the world.

Just like some want you to think that evil entered the (good, pristine) U.S. electoral process due to this Russian adversary in 2016.

(Sometimes listening to TV pundits vilifying Putin I find Luther's famous hymn floating through my head:

For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.

Luther's referring to Satan, of course. But the current mythology around Putin -- as someone who still , like Lenin and Stalin before him, and the tsars of old, wishes us harm; is an unbridled dictator with a powerful great nuclear arsenal; is the wealthiest man on earth; and hates democracy -- resembles the mythology around the Adversary in the Bible.)

But let us problematize this vilification. When did Russia become a U.S. adversary? Some might say 1917 when in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution Moscow became the center of the global communist movement. But surely that period ended in 1991 with the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the USSR.

Throughout the 1990s the U.S. cultivated Boris Yeltsin's Russia as a friend and even aided the drunken buffoon in winning the 1996 election. Bill Clinton and Yeltsin signed the Start II treaty. Harvard professors advised Moscow on economic reform.

The Russians were not pleased by U.S.-NATO involvements in the former Yugoslavia, a traditional Russian ally, in 1995 and 1999, and the expansion of NATO in the latter year (to include Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary) in violation of the agreement between Ronald Reagan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 that in return for Russia's acceptance of German reunification NATO would not spread "one inch" towards Russia. They protested meekly. But Russia was not an adversary then.

Nor was it an adversary when, in 2001, under its new president Vladimir Putin, it offered NATO a route through Russia to provision forces in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. The real change only came in 2004, when NATO suddenly expanded to include Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. This brought alliances forces right to the Russian border.

It was a clear statement by the U.S. to a friendly country: We are your adversary. But, of course, the Pentagon and State Department always pooh-poohed Russian concerns, denying that NATO targeted any particular country.

Four years later (2008) NATO announced intentions to draw Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance. Meanwhile the U.S. recognized Kosovo as an independent state. Kosovo, the historical heart of Serbian civilization, had been wrenched from Serbia in 1999 under the pretext of a "humanitarian" intervention that included the first bombing (by NATO) of a European capital city since 1945. The province had been converted into a vast NATO base.

Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, emboldened by the prospect of NATO membership and western backing, attacked the capital of the separatist republic of South Ossetia, provoking (as the Russians explain it) a proper punitive response: the Russo-Georgian War of August 7-16 . After this Moscow recognized South Ossetia and a second breakaway republic, Abkhazia, in a tit-for-tat response to Washington's recognition of Kosovo.

Now Russia was labelled an aggressive power -- by the power that had carved up Yugoslavia, and invaded and occupied Iraq on the basis of lies and killed half a million in the process. Plans to include Georgia in NATO had to be put on hold, in large part due to European allies' opposition (why provoke Russia?) but the U.S. intensified efforts to draw in Ukraine. That meant toppling the anti-NATO elected president Viktor Yanukovych.

The U.S. State Department devoted enormous resources to the Maidan coup in Kiev on February 23, 2014. Its agents helped topple the government, ostensibly for its failure to negotiate an agreement for Ukrainian associate membership in the EU, but really to bring pro-NATO forces to power and expel the Russian Fleet from the Crimean Peninsula where it has been based since 1783. Moscow's limited support for the Donbass ethnic-Russian separatists and re-annexation of Crimea were, of course, depicted by the U.S. as more aggression, more mischievous opposition to "U.S. global interests."

But from Moscow's point of view these moves have surely been defensive. The main problem is (obviously) NATO and its dangerous, unnecessary and provocative expansion. Throughout his presidential campaign Trump questioned the continued "relevance" of NATO. Characteristically he focused on budget issues and allies' failure to meet the goal figure of 2% if GDP for military expenses (misleadingly depicting investment shortfalls as a betrayal and rip-off of the victimized U.S.). But he did -- to the alarm of many, and probably to Moscow's delight -- express little enthusiasm for the alliance's historical purpose.

The most rational proposition Trump voiced before his election that the U.S. should "get along" with Russia. That is, get along with the so-called adversary. Trump as we all know had been in Russia on business, hosting the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, and maintains interest in building a Trump Tower in the city. He has met and befriended Russian oligarchs. He quite possibly sees Russia as just another country, like Germany or France.

If "the French" had had dirt on Hillary, would it have been okay to "collude" with them to influence the election result? France is, of course, a NATO ally. Would that make it different? Now that the president and his layers are openly questioning whether "collusion", per se, is even illegal, the specific nature of the colluder becomes more relevant.

Russia is an adversary.

Russia is an adversary.

Putin in Helsinki acknowledged to a reporter that he had hoped Trump could win, because he had expressed hope for better relations. He might have added that he dreaded the prospect of a Hillary victory because of her warmongering and characterization of him as a Hitler. Naturally the Russian media favored Trump over Clinton at a certain point when he emerged as a credible candidate. So when Trump on July 27, 2016 called on Russia to release Hillary's missing emails ("if you've got 'em") the Russians probably felt invited to make contact through channels. And when informed that they had dirt, Don Jr. wrote: "If that's what you say, I love it." (Who can blame him?)

Let's say there was some collusion after the June 6 Trump Tower meeting. Trump has suddenly acknowledged that the meeting with the Russians was indeed to "seek political dirt." He adds that this is "totally legal," and this may be true. Some are now saying that Don Jr. may have violated a federal statute (52 USC 30121, 36 USC 5210) forbidding any foreign person to "make a contribution or a donation of money or other thing of value, or expressly or impliedly promise to make a contribution or a donation, in connection with any Federal, State, or local election.' and for anyone to knowingly solicit, accept, or receive from a foreign national any contribution or donation prohibited by [this law]." But the language is vague. If a Canadian speechwriter works gratis for a U.S. political candidate, in order to help him or her win, is this not "a thing of value" intended to affect an election?

If Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner had met with Canadian agents in Trump Tower I doubt there would have been any controversy. The fact is, Trump won the election and many of those stunned by that wish to undermine him using revived Cold War-type Russophobia. They insist: He worked with our adversary to undermine our election. And now they hope they've got him on this charge.

*****

Five years ago a young man named Edward Snowden (now living in forced exile in Russia) revealed to the world the extent of the U.S.'s global surveillance. He showed us how the NSA wiretaps EU meetings, popes' conversations, Angela Merkel's cell phone and maintains metadata on virtually all U.S. residents. He showed us what the contemporary advanced state can do in this respect. We should suppose that Moscow has, if not similar capacity, at least enough expertise to hack into the DNC emails or John Podesta's g-mail account. Is that surprising?

What none of the TV anchors is allowed to say needs to be said again: The U.S. interferes in foreign elections all the time, including Russian ones. It should surprise no one if Russian intelligence responds in kind. The point is not the provenance of the leaked emails but their content.

Those horrified by the leaked material complain that their release was designed to "undermine faith in our democratic system." Really? Don't the workings of the system itself undermine one's faith in it, once they are exposed? Was it adversarial of the leaker to inform us that the DNC had no intention of allowing Bernie Sanders to win the Democratic nomination, and thus that the process was rigged? Was it unfriendly to reveal that Podesta was hoping the media would hype Trump, as an easy target for his candidate?

The question that will no doubt be debated in the coming days is whether seeking dirt on a political opponent from any foreigner is indeed illegal, or whether there are specific legal ramifications of meeting with someone from an "adversary" country. But it seems to me that Russia has not been defined as such officially. So we may have a discussion less about legality than the politics of Russophobia.

I am happy to see Trump besieged, rattled, possibly facing impeachment. But to bring him down on the basis of "Russian collusion," on the assumption that Russia is an adversary, would only advantage the warmongers who want no-fly zones over Syria and military support for the Kiev regime against the Donbas separatists. Vice President Pence I believe favors both.

Trump has said that he cannot host Putin in Washington this year, or until the Russian Hoax witch hunt is over. But Putin has invited him to Moscow. One senses he wants some agreements with Trump before he is ousted by his gathering adversaries, including the press, courts, Democrats, select Republicans, turncoat aides and he himself sometimes in his unguarded tweets.

Gary Leupp is a Professor of History at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history. He can be reached at: gleupp@granite.tufts.edu . Read other articles by Gary .

This article was posted on Monday, August 13th, 2018 at 10:30pm and is filed under (Ex-)Yugoslavia , Chancellor Angela Merkel , Donald Trump , Elections , Espionage/"Intelligence" , Hillary Clinton , Kosovo , Mike Pence , President Vladimir Putin , Russia , Serbia , Ukraine , United States , US Hypocrisy , US Lies .

[Aug 18, 2018] But always remember, the FBI/DOJ is honorable .

Aug 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

agcw86 , Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:07 Permalink

But always remember, the FBI/DOJ is "honorable". Yeah, that's the term they use to refer to the scumbags that "represent" us in congress. In reality, "there is no honor amongst thieves", and government is full of them because sociopaths gravitate to positions of power.

romanmoment Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:08 Permalink

It's a unruly fuck show at the FBI and nobody is being held accountable. No leadership, no standards, no neutrality, no accountability. Obama weaponized the FBI. Fire everyone.

[Aug 18, 2018] Deeply Troubling - Wall Street Journal Implores What Was Bruce Ohr Doing

Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

The Wall Street Journal continues to counter the liberal mainstream media's Trump Derangement Syndrome , dropping uncomfortable truth-bombs and refusing to back off its intense pressure to get to the truth and hold those responsible, accountable (in a forum that is hard for the establishment to shrug off as 'Alt-Right' or 'Nazi' or be 'punished' by search- and social-media-giants) .

And once again Kimberley Strassel - who by now has become the focus of social media attacks for her truth-seeking reporting - does it again this morning, as she points out - hours after former CIA Director Brennan threw a tantrum over having his security clearance removed - that while Justice has released some damning documents - particularly on what Bruce Ohr was doing - much of the truth is still classified.

Via The Wall Street Journal,

What Was Bruce Ohr Doing?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have continued to insist they did nothing wrong in their Trump-Russia investigation. This week should finally bring an end to that claim, given the clear evidence of malfeasance via the use of Bruce Ohr.

Mr. Ohr was until last year associate deputy attorney general.

He began feeding information to the FBI from dossier author Christopher Steele in late 2016 - after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a confidential informant for violating the bureau's rules. He also collected dirt from Glenn Simpson, cofounder of Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign and employed Mr. Steele. Altogether, the FBI pumped Mr. Ohr for information at least a dozen times, debriefs that remain in classified 302 forms.

All the while, Mr. Ohr failed to disclose on financial forms that his wife, Nellie, worked alongside Mr. Steele in 2016, getting paid by Mr. Simpson for anti-Trump research. The Justice Department has now turned over Ohr documents to Congress that show how deeply tied up he was with the Clinton crew - with dozens of emails, calls, meetings and notes that describe his interactions and what he collected.

Mr. Ohr's conduct is itself deeply troubling. He was acting as a witness (via FBI interviews) in a case being overseen by a Justice Department in which he held a very senior position. He appears to have concealed this role from at least some superiors, since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified that he'd been unaware of Mr. Ohr's intermediary status.

Lawyers meanwhile note that it is a crime for a federal official to participate in any government matter in which he has a financial interest. Fusion's bank records presumably show Nellie Ohr, and by extension her husband, benefiting from the Trump opposition research that Mr. Ohr continued to pass to the FBI. The Justice Department declined to comment.

But for all Mr. Ohr's misdeeds, the worse misconduct is by the FBI and Justice Department.

It's bad enough that the bureau relied on a dossier crafted by a man in the employ of the rival presidential campaign. Bad enough that it never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of that dossier's provenance. And bad enough that the FBI didn't fire Mr. Steele as a confidential human source in September 2016 when it should have been obvious he was leaking FBI details to the press to harm Donald Trump's electoral chances. It terminated him only when it was absolutely forced to, after Mr. Steele gave an on-the-record interview on Oct. 31, 2016.

But now we discover the FBI continued to go to this discredited informant in its investigation after the firing -- by funneling his information via a Justice Department cutout. The FBI has an entire manual governing the use of confidential sources, with elaborate rules on validations, standards and documentation. Mr. Steele failed these standards. The FBI then evaded its own program to get at his info anyway.

And it did so even though we have evidence that lead FBI investigators may have suspected Mr. Ohr was a problem.

An Oct. 7, 2016, text message from now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok to his colleague Lisa Page reads: "Jesus. More BO leaks in the NYT," which could be a reference to Mr. Ohr.

The FBI may also have been obtaining, via Mr. Ohr, information that came from a man the FBI had never even vetted as a source -- Mr. Simpson. Mr. Steele had at least worked with the FBI before; Mr. Simpson was a paid political operative. And the Ohr notes raise further doubts about Mr. Simpson's forthrightness. In House testimony in November 2017, Mr. Simpson said only that he reached out to Mr. Ohr after the election, and at Mr. Steele's suggestion. But Mr. Ohr's inbox shows an email from Mr. Simpson dated Aug. 22, 2016 that reads, in full: "Can u ring."

The Justice Department hasn't tried to justify any of this; in fact, last year it quietly demoted Mr. Ohr. In what smells of a further admission of impropriety, it didn't initially turn over the Ohr documents; Congress had to fight to get them.

But it raises at least two further crucial questions.

First, who authorized or knew about this improper procedure? Mr. Strzok seems to be in the thick of it, having admitted to Congress interactions with Mr. Ohr at the end of 2016. While Mr. Rosenstein disclaims knowledge, Mr. Ohr's direct supervisor at the time was the previous deputy attorney general, Sally Yates. Who else in former FBI Director Jim Comey's inner circle and at the Obama Justice Department nodded at the FBI's back-door interaction with a sacked source and a Clinton operative?

Second, did the FBI continue to submit Steele- or Simpson-sourced information to the FISA court? Having informed the court in later applications that it had fired Mr. Steele, the FBI would have had no business continuing to use any Steele information laundered through an intermediary.

* * *

Strassel concludes with the point that she and The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board have been hammering for months...

We could have these answers pronto; they rest in part in those Ohr 302 forms. And so once again: a call for President Trump to declassify.

It's time for things to get more serious than slaps on the wrist, firings, and self-inflicted black-eyes!


onewayticket2 -> IridiumRebel Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:23 Permalink

That Mueller is ignoring this OBVIOUS Clinton/Steele/Ohr/FBI etc, etc Russian collusion while prosecuting Manafort for an unrelated, 2005 financial crime (while granting IMMUNITY to Tony Podesta for the identical crime) is all the proof you need it's a coverup, not an "investigation" into russian collusion.

Strassel deserves a Pulitzer. But instead, CNN received an award for their comey story (after it was proven that comey leaked the documents to them....it's not that CNN did tons of investigative work....the docs were handed to them and they published them - dutifully in exchange for an award to be given at the WH Correspondents' dinner.)

CheapBastard -> GoFuqYourself Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:51 Permalink

Kimberly Strassel deserves a Pulitzer Prize for her investigative journalism, esp in the face of so many far left commie attackers.

She legitimizes the WSJ as a paper worth reading.

Kudos to Ms Strassel.

fwiw imho -> onewayticket2 Fri, 08/17/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

hmmm, cnn publishing classified documents. How is that any different than WikiLeaks?

nmewn -> Stan522 Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:07 Permalink

That's a fact, long after Steele was fired as a "foreign asset" Ohr was still passing his Russian procured bullshit through to fellow travelers within the FBI & DoJ...like McCabe and Stzrok.

Hell the day before the Trump Tower meeting with Natalia, Glenn Simpson was dining with this "Russian government lawyer".And oddly enough, the very next day too.

The ONLY Russian collusion was happening on the dim side and one of the first clues is ALWAYS watch for what they are accusing other's of cuz that is what THEY are doing ;-)

replaceme -> nmewn Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:30 Permalink

Every time I read these things I start by saying the FBI/DOJ was trying to hide ____ , then I replace that with the FBI/DOJ conspired to hide ____. You start doing that too much and you have to say the FBI/DOJ colluded to nullify the election, overthrow an elected president. Somewhere this Summer I started saying the word coup with a little more conviction. When 350 news outlets then write coordinated editorials targeting that same president, not the architects of this conspiracy, this failed (so far) coup, I tend to side more against than with them. Journalism and Yellow Journalism are different things - I think that's why they added "Yellow" to the term.

Kokulakai -> Brazen Heist II Fri, 08/17/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

Sessions was a sleeper, planted in the Trump campaign day one.

His reputation normally would exclude him from becoming AG.

Yet there he sits abetting the coup from the inside.

blindfaith -> Stan522 Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:49 Permalink

"When CNN and MSNBC start to ask questions like this then I'll start paying attention."

Their money loving greed will never allow them to tell their dedicated liberals any such thing..

The media is the enemy of the Constitution, its amendments, and the Declaration of Independence. They do not care about who they hurt, they do not care about Americans or America....they are a foreign enemy under foreign control.

I thought better of Gates, I was wrong.

TeethVillage88s -> Ghost of PartysOver Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:01 Permalink

Hatch Act Violations by many in FBI... plus CIA, NSA, DNI, DOJ. Prohibitions against political activity by Federal Employees. Brennen should be scared that we all prove common policy prohibition does lead to lying/deceit and even sedition, treason, subterfuge, subversion charges.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2014/10/30/hatch-act https://osc.gov/Resources/HA%20Pamphlet%20Sept%202014.pdf https://osc.gov/Pages/The-Hatch-Act-Frequently-Asked-Questions-on-Feder https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/employee-relations/training/p

adonisdemilo -> Ghost of PartysOver Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:38 Permalink

@Ghost of PartysOver,

"Bruce Ohr was NOT a Lone Wolf"

Not a lone wolf, I agree, and he is the fall guy, bloody fool.

Darracq -> Ghost of PartysOver Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:20 Permalink

This article, along with all the other reports, always state that the DOJ did this, the FBI did that, but fails to name the individual involved or the department heads who were responsible. The information is always muddled and obfuscated by the bureaucratic organization, so no individual is responsible. Enough of this, name names please!!! or no one will ever be accountable.

Darracq -> Ghost of PartysOver Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:31 Permalink

Who was Ohr handing off the information to? There is an entire chain of people here who have to be exposed and prosecuted.

NumberNone -> youarelost Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:06 Permalink

Stalin had the Moscow Trials where he framed his opposition and had them executed. Does anyone doubt had Hillary won that she would have orchestrated the prosecution of Trump and his cronies knowing full well she ran the entire frame-up behind the scenes?

Who would have stood up for Trump? Both sides wanted him buried and gone. History would have written that Trump was the ultimate Manchurian candidate...paid for, supported by, and mandated to by Russia, now serving a life sentence for treason.

swamp -> NumberNone Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:57 Permalink

Mueller is doing that right now

the artist -> NumberNone Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:59 Permalink

Very insightful comment. Nobody has any doubt but half the country wouldn't care. The other half as you eluded to, would be scattered to the wind and left at the mercy of the controlled opposition that is the Republican Party.

We all need to be ready to form a Big Tent Party outside the power structure of the current D's and R's. Obviously not the moment now but there will come a moment when we all must strike out Alone...Together . Leave these shit stains and all of their divide and conquer BS in the dust.

[Aug 18, 2018] Pentagon Whistleblower Demoted After Exposing Millions Paid To FBI Spy Halper, Clinton Crony

Aug 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

A Pentagon whistleblower was stripped of his security clearance and demoted after complaining about questionable government contracts with both FBI informant spy Stefan Halper and a company headed by Chelsea Clinton's "best friend" for whom then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arranged meetings, reports the Washington Times .

Adam Lovinger, a Trump supporter and 12-year veteran of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment (ONA), filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint with the Defense Department's inspector general in May against ONA boss James Baker - who hired Halper, 73, to "conduct foreign relations" and kept the details of the spy's contracts "close to the vest." Baker was appointed chief of the ONA in 2015 by Obama Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter.

At that point, Lovinger wouldn't have known was a spy working with the FBI/DOJ on operation " Crossfire Hurricane " - the code name for the Obama administration's counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign.

In an internal October 2016 email to higher-ups, Mr. Lovinger wrote of " the moral hazard associated with the Washington Headquarters Services contracting with Stefan Halper ," the complaint said. It said Mr. Baker hired Mr. Halper to "conduct foreign relations," a job that should be confined to government officials.

...

In the fall of 2016, as the election loomed, Mr. Lovinger sent emails to Mr. Baker and other officials at the Office of Net Assessment complaining about the entire outside contracting process. He also said the office failed to write papers on long-term threats presented by radical Islam, China and Iran .

And in September 2016, Lovinger sent an email directly to Baker summing up the perceived problems, which reads in part:

"Some of our contractors distribute to others their ONA work for personal and professional self-promotion," wrote Lovinger. "Another part is the growing narrative that ONA's most high-profile contractors are known for getting paid a lot to do rather peripheral work ."

"On the issue of pay, our contractors boast about how much they get paid from ONA . Such boasting, of course, generates jealously among those outside the club, and particularly from those who have tried to secure ONA contracts unsuccessfully."

"On the issue of quality, more than once I have heard our contractor studies labeled 'derivative,' 'college-level' and based heavily on secondary sources . One of our contractor studies was literally cut and pasted from a World Bank report that I just happened to have read the week before reading the contractor study itself. Even the font was the same."

Halper - an Oxford University professor, former US government official and longtime FBI / CIA asset (who was married to the CIA deputy director's daughter at one point), received over $400,000 for a 2016 contract which Lovinger complained about.

According to USASpending.gov, Mr. Halper was paid $411,000 by Washington Headquarters Services on Sept. 26, 2016 , for a contract that ran until this March. - Washington Times

In total, the American citizen teaching abroad received over $1 million from contracts dated between 2012 and 2016.

Lovinger's attorney, Sean M. Bigley, filed the second of four complaints on July 18 with the Pentagon's senior ethics official, claiming that Lovinger's bosses punished him on May 1, 2017 by abusing the security clearance process to yank his credentials and relegate him to clerical chores. Lovinger's complaint also names the Washington Headquarters Services, a support agency within the Pentagon that awarded the Halper contracts.

"As it turns out, one of the two contractors Mr. Lovinger explicitly warned his ONA superiors about misusing in 2016 was none other than Mr. Halper ," wrote Bigley in the ethics complaint, which referred to the contracts as " cronyism and corruption ."

" Nobody in the office seemed to know what Halper was doing for his money ," said Bigley. "Adam said Jim Baker, the director, kept Halper's contracts very close to the vest. And nobody seemed to have any idea what he was doing at the time. He subcontracted out a good chunk of it to other academics. He would compile them all and then collect the balance as his fee as a middleman . That was very unusual."

A longtime CIA and FBI asset who once reportedly ran a spy-operation on the Jimmy Carter administration, Halper was enlisted by the FBI to spy on several Trump campaign aides during the 2016 U.S. election, including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Halper's $411,575 award came three days after a September 23 Yahoo! News article by Michael Isikoff about Trump aide Carter Page, which used information fed to Isikoff by "Steele dossier" creator Christopher Steele . The FBI would use the Yahoo! article along with the largely unverified dossier as supporting evidence in an FISA warrant application for Page.

The unassuming university professor approached Page during an election-themed conference at Cambridge on July 11, 2016, six weeks after the September 26 DoD award start date. The two would stay in contact for the next 14 months, frequently meeting and exchanging emails .

He said that he first encountered the informant during a conference in mid-July of 2016 and that they stayed in touch. The two later met several times in the Washington area. Mr. Page said their interactions were benign. - New York Times

And as the Daily Caller reported, Halper used a decades-old association with Paul Manafort to break the ice with Page.

Page noted that in their first conversation at Cambridge, Halper said he was longtime friends with then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort . A person close to Manafort told TheDCNF that Manafort has not seen Halper since the Gerald Ford administration . Manafort and Page are accused in the Steele dossier of having worked together on the campaign's collusion conspiracy, but both men say they have never met. - Daily Caller

Halper would continue to spy on Page after the election. Two days after the second installment of Halper's 2016 DoD contract, On July 28, he emailed Page with what the Trump campaign aide describes as a "cordial" communication, which did not seem suspicious to him at the time.

In the email to Page, Halper asks what his plans are post-election, possibly probing for more information. " It seems attention has shifted a bit from the 'collusion' investigation to the ' contretempts' [sic] within the White House and, how--or if--Mr. Scaramucci will be accommodated there," Halper wrote.

Clinton connection

The other complaint lodged by Lovinger concerns a string of contracts totaling $11 million to Long Term Strategy Group - a D.C. consulting firm headed by self-described "best friend" of Chelseal Clinton, Jacqueline Newmyer Deal.

In October, the Washington Free Beacon reported that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arranged meetings in 2009 between Deal and Pentagon officials to discuss contracts - to which Deal says no award "resulted directly or indirectly from the actions or influence of Secretary Clinton ."

According to one 2009 email, Clinton said she recommended Deal to Michele Flournoy, the newly installed undersecretary of defense for policy, who was seeking young women to mentor.

Deal, a specialist in China affairs who worked at the White House as a press aide for First Lady Clinton in the 1990s, wrote back to Clinton saying she would meet Flournoy on May 5, 2009, and stated "thank you very much for making this happen."

Later that month, Deal thanked Clinton for "all your encouragement and help with DoD, " shorthand for the Defense Department. - Free Beacon

In a statement, Deal said: "Jacqueline Deal and the Long Term Strategy Group (LTSG) are justifiably proud of their collaboration with the US Department of Defense across multiple administrations over the last two decades, beginning under the administration of President George W. Bush. LTSG's work has consistently earned the highest respect and confidence of its clientele in government and has won LTSG a reputation for producing research and analysis of exceptional quality."

[Aug 18, 2018] "DNC server hack" was an insider transfer. Insider dead. Dead men tell no tales and so far, neither does Wikileaks

Aug 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

StarGate -> valjoux7750 Fri, 08/17/2018 - 06:41 Permalink

Double pronged exercise: 1) Start war with Russia, steal its oil, break into tiny States to destroy its power; 2) Destroy Trump as enemy of globalist world domination and USA disintegration plan.

MSM propaganda arm to sell (1) and (2).

These retired Intel specialists keep interfering in the game and interjecting inconvenient facts:

DNC server never hacked by Russia or anyone. It was an insider transfer. Insider dead. Dead men tell no tales and so far, neither does Wikileaks.

currency Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:12 Permalink

VIPS is doing some excellent work and they show what really happened while Rosenstein is out to Lunch, Sessions is deaf dumb and blind - useless - both Sessions and Rosenstein need to go.

Muller does not care and he is not interested in the truth and is ignoring the facts and the corruption in the FBI/DOJ - Muller and his band of Clinton Loyalist are trying to frame Trump.

StarGate -> currency Fri, 08/17/2018 - 06:50 Permalink

Rosenstein and Mueller KNOW the DNC server was not hacked by Russia or by anyone. Insider transfer. So are they working for HilBarry? Or is this a magic act?

What Sessions is doing is unknown. He knows he was set up by Barry sending the Russian ambassador to his office and by (FBI? Spy) Paul Ericsson offering to connect campaign thru him to Russia. He had to recuse or be in the midst of the mess. Does he have a plan? - we don't know.

quasi_verbatim Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:28 Permalink

It's not Russiagate, it's Americagate and it's your problem, not ours.

The only significant remaining question is whether you fade gracefully from the page of History or whether you take the Samson Option and we all go out flash-bang.

Taras Bulba Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:28 Permalink

I have a ton of respect for Binney. Regardless as to how fucked up this country is and its govt, there are still people who will step up and try to set the record straight.

Cloud9.5 Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:30 Permalink

Joseph Goebbels was indeed a genius. Tell a lie long enough and loud enough and it becomes the accepted truth.

TradingTroll -> Cloud9.5 Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:42 Permalink

Not really true, that statement.

If you put a camera in front of a bunch of randomly selected Americans and ask them to state their name and where they live, before answering if they voted for Trump, you get a lot of No replies.

Now do the same questioning anonymously. The number of Nos drops.

This is the gaping hole in Goebbels argument. Anonymous polls can get closer to the truth. Then the "accepted truth" is challenged, as in 9-11.

Goebbels=too much hubris.

bh2 -> Cloud9.5 Thu, 08/16/2018 - 23:12 Permalink

It was Hitler who endorsed the Big Lie technique. Goebbels was much more subtle.

He would laugh at amateurs whose propaganda is so absurdly vulnerable to conclusive falsification by objective facts.

MrBoompi Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:34 Permalink

"There has been much amateurish journalism, false reporting, misrepresentation, distortion, misquotation, and omission." In other words, the CIA was behind this.

hooligan2009 Thu, 08/16/2018 - 22:43 Permalink

so... the upshot is that G.2 and DCLeaks fabricated the leak as a hack AND the tools to do this and to fabricate signatures/date stamps etc existed in the CIA (proven here: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/index.html ) and possibly MI6, but not in Russia, or Romania?

the CIA has "stations" all over the world?

looks like a few facebook and twitter posts have resulted in the alphabet soup, deep state, DNC and MSM spending tens of billions of dollars pushing a false agenda against russia AND have caused hundreds of billions of exra dollars on military expenditure and extra security globally.

in which case, they have won by further diverting taxes away from taxpayers and increasing debt where insufficient taxes remain/ed.

bh2 -> hooligan2009 Thu, 08/16/2018 - 23:15 Permalink

Binney has said if the evidence shows the Russians did it, the Russians didn't do it.

This may be a good principle to apply even to things like Facebook ads, etc.

malcolmevans Fri, 08/17/2018 - 01:00 Permalink

The fact that the files were downloaded from the DNC computer, and not hacked from abroad, should be the key to unlocking Clinton conspiracies that would destroy large portions of the Democrat establishment if revealed.

schroedingersrat Fri, 08/17/2018 - 05:01 Permalink

I can achieve up to 1 Gbit/s up & downstream. The average up/downstream is probably quite a bit lower but +50mb/s is probably average. So i lol at the VIPS LOL

JerseyJoe -> schroedingersrat Fri, 08/17/2018 - 06:32 Permalink

Really!?! From what point to what point? Compressed or uncompressed? Fiber or Coax drop?

Laugh all you want - you come off as an idiot because you probably are.

Misean -> schroedingersrat Fri, 08/17/2018 - 15:13 Permalink

Ignorance is bliss. 1 Gb/s = 128MB/s. 50mb/s = 6.25MB/s.

http://www.netmeter.eu

Server:Russia Moscow

Download speed (down)

on 1 thread:0,64 Mbit/s (0,08 MB/s | 640,82 kbit/s)

on more threads:33,84 Mbit/s (4,23 MB/s | 33 838,65 kbit/s)

Upload speed (upload)

on 1 thread:8,47 Mbit/s (1,06 MB/s | 8 467,03 kbit/s)

Sorry dipshit. Just because a connection from your ISP to pr0nHub is fast doesn't make it fast worldwide. 8.47Mb/s = ~1MB/s.

VIPS is very clear they are talking MEGABYTES / s not megaBITS /s. 1BYTE = 8BITS.

Go pull your head out of your ass dumbf*ck

onasip123 Fri, 08/17/2018 - 07:18 Permalink

The Russia-gate narrative pushers aren't interested in the truth.

They're only interested in sowing discord and chaos to distract from crimes of sedition.

East Indian Fri, 08/17/2018 - 18:35 Permalink

The poison of partisan propaganda dumped into American polity to prevent the prosecution of the guilty (for illegally spying on Trump campaign and the assorted crimes associated with it, including the murder of Seth Rich) will continue to foul the atmosphere for decades. The fight is certainly between an unelected octopus that has captured all the three wings of American polity, and a determined if not well armed citizens. The end is not near.

There is a small, nice book by C Northecote Parkinson, "The Law and the Profits". He describes how in 1909 the British empire started a simultaneous course of welfare state and empire building warfare state bureacracy, and how it eventually bankrupted the people by 1945. America started its own version with L B Johnson's Great Society and Vietnam War. Since American economy was much bigger the dichotomous struggle has lasted much longer. But now the time to choose one over another is at hand. Candidate Trump advocated trimming the warfare state more and first. But President Trump is sending mixed signals.

The only saving grace is the self aware American citizenry and its capacity to reform itself.

[Aug 18, 2018] Coup d' tat is such an ugly word

Aug 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

JoeTurner Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:49 Permalink

Coup d'état is such an ugly word. I prefer "domestic insurgent contingency operation"

[Aug 18, 2018] Twitter censorship is not surprising, but Trump usage of Twitter is

Notable quotes:
"... Can someone explain this to me like I'm 5. Some poor slub, baker in Colorado is forced to make a cake for some homos (I say it with love) because he violated their constitutional right of equal protection. But, twitter and Facebook can ban and censor free speech in violation of the constitution. The baker is privately owned and the propaganda companies are public, what's the deal? ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

TheSilentMajority -> Baron von Bud Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:49 Permalink

Trump needs to immediately stop supporting the Twitter platform and switch to another platform for all his messaging.

Twitter was actually going bankrupt before trump ran for office.

Now twitter survives only because of Trumps' tweets. Yet twitter bans/censors all other "conservative" views.

#trumpdumpstwitter

MuffDiver69 -> TheSilentMajority Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:58 Permalink

He should promote a new one alongside twitter and Facebook at the least....

inosent -> TheSilentMajority Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:00 Permalink

That is a very good idea. Trump's use of another honest 'platform' would be one heluvan endorsement, which is what the alt - twitters need, lacking all the (((billions))) the big (((3))) were given (which is why we know all about them but not so much the honest, free speech alternatives)

trippy1 -> TheSilentMajority Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:02 Permalink

Go to GAB.ai!!! #trumpdumptwitter

HisBoyElroy -> TheSilentMajority Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:25 Permalink

Can someone explain this to me like I'm 5. Some poor slub, baker in Colorado is forced to make a cake for some homos (I say it with love) because he violated their constitutional right of equal protection. But, twitter and Facebook can ban and censor free speech in violation of the constitution. The baker is privately owned and the propaganda companies are public, what's the deal?

the artist -> HisBoyElroy Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:51 Permalink

Because as it stands these companies are private entities that can do whatever they want shy of discriminating against a person of one of several protected classes for one of several activities.

If the baker refused to bake a cake for the Log Cabin Republicans on the grounds that they were republicans then everything is cool. but if he refused on the grounds that they are " Log Cabins " then that aint cool.

Capiche

HisBoyElroy -> the artist Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:06 Permalink

Still doesn't compute to me.... certain groups have only attained "protected " status due to the constitutional interpretation of "equal protection " .... in other words they are only protected because their constitutional rights may have been violated. How is the social media banning and censorship of groups not a violation of their constitutional rights, as long as they don't advocate violence?

the artist -> HisBoyElroy Fri, 08/17/2018 - 13:51 Permalink

Although political speech is protected speech, there is no requirement for private organizations to honor the same code that the central state must honor. If Twitter banned you because you were black, white or gay then you would have a case.

And you DONT want it that way. This is a moral panic not unlike the Red Scare of the 50's, the Satanic Panic of the 80s. In both cases there was a grain of truth that was used to employ broad sweeping over-reactions from people and corporations. They were both eventually replaced with the exact opposite of their stated goals.

If you started a media company you do not want the gov telling you that you must publish one thing or another.

Do not worry. This will blow up spectacularly. We are witnessing the last gasps of Legacy Media. They have become irrelevant. The future is the Wild West of Information. There will be a tipping point soon when the body politic suddenly wakes up and rejects the old way and realizes that what we crave for news and entertainment is On Another Channel. That channel will be Alt-Tech.

Alt-Tech will not contain CNN, Fox News et al. They will be outcompeted by the truth and actual investigative journalism and gritty-pulpy entertainment that is ALL against the TOS of the Legacy Tech giants.

You-tube, Twitter will go the way of Facebook where anyone with a brain knows that they are riddled with zombie accounts. Advertisers will flee (as they have already begun to do) and the architecture of Soc. Media will change forever. That is the future. Prepare for it.

Do not fall for the public utilities angle. These companies live by the sword and they will die by the sword. What develops out of their demise needs to be unfettered and pure.

Look to the giant creators like Pewdiepie and Alex Jones to get together and join en mass an Alt-tech social media site. The two of them together have more subscribers/fans than ALL of the cable pundits COMBINED.

the artist -> TheSilentMajority Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:46 Permalink

YES YES YES!!!

Calling Peter Thiel...Put together an alt-social media site and Trump can promote it by cross posting his messages there. Only he won't post them ALL...

The really good ones he will post on Alt-Tech and force the world to bend.

This raises another point. The true power of Trump and social media is the power of the Boycott. Trump can destroy Billion dollar industries with a single message.

Trump, with this power can be the first president that continues to rule after office via social media. THAT my friends is the thing that scares the living shit out of the deep state. It is exactly what Barry Soweto Wanted to do but was thwarted at the last minute. It is the reason they are turning themselves inside out to silence the groundswell.

Something wicked this way comes for NWO Globalist Vampires.

[Aug 17, 2018] FBI Forensic labs are shit and dishonest. They had 20 years of cases reviewed because of their false testimony on hair matching.

Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Abaco -> Yellow_Snow Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:15 Permalink

FBI Forensic labs are shit and dishonest. They had 20 years of cases reviewed because of their false testimony on hair matching. Went into court swearing that dog hair was an exact match to the suspects.

FBI forensics are nothing more than a bullshit factory for manufacturing convictions.

What is the science behind ballistic "matching" of a bullet to a gun? Just a carefully constructed lie. They imply every gun bullet combination is unique. There is NO scientific basis for claiming that. In other words a "match" might be correct but the "match" might also apply to a shitload of other weapons. Those lying fucks go into court every day and bullshit juries.

What is the science behind claiming every fingerprint is unique? Most people believe that bullshit but there is no science behind it.

What do you make of this exchange?

The only part of the FBI that might not be corrupted is their efforts against sex trafficking. But even their anti child molesting activity isn't worth much because all they do is get perverts downloading images and videos. They don't go after the actual molesters because almost always has to be a state thing. Resources given to the FBI for this would be better handled at the state level.

[Aug 17, 2018] Lavrov Brilliantly Dissects Western Lies And Manipulations On The False Flag And Skripals

Lavrov suggests that Skripals were intentionally poisoned by BZ which temporary disable a person (for approx 4 days) and Novichok was injected in samples to implicate Russia. He impliedly suggests that this was a false flag operation.
Notable quotes:
"... First, US sanctions against Russia, then the Skripals mystery, and last the Attack at Syria....What the masters of the world trying do??? ..."
"... I'm an American. I'm disgusted with the mafia cartel bankrupt corporation that masquerades as the government. I don't like or trust any government but after listening to this guy, he certainly comes across as way more trustworthy than anyone puppet we have in the Trump regime. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Maria Kuzali , 4 months ago

First, US sanctions against Russia, then the Skripals mystery, and last the Attack at Syria....What the masters of the world trying do???

Off Grid Nation , 4 months ago

I'm an American. I'm disgusted with the mafia cartel bankrupt corporation that masquerades as the government. I don't like or trust any government but after listening to this guy, he certainly comes across as way more trustworthy than anyone puppet we have in the Trump regime. #IDONOTCONSENT

shaughn fourie , 4 months ago

THANK YOU RUSSIA IN PARTICULAR PRESIDENT PUTIN AND LAVROV BOTH GOOD INTELLIGENT AND DECENT MEN

shaughn fourie , 4 months ago

MACRON TRUMP AND MAY ARE MURDERERS......THANK YOU ASSAD AND RUSSIA AND KURDISH PEOPLE FOR TRULY STANDING UP FOR CIVILISED VALUES

James Australian , 4 months ago (edited)

need to stop the tyrants to prevent the fall of Damascus.. Must not let them kill Mr Assad.

zac anthony , 4 months ago

I believe in Russia more than our gov we are being led

Luboš Lier , 4 months ago

Russia just needs to give Syria couple of tactical nukes. And the peace in Syria is assured...

haithem ali , 4 months ago

Sometimes he continues talking without look at paper..... bcs he say true.... and USA, BRITAIN and France cant do that bcs they are lying and scared if they will say something wrong.

[Aug 17, 2018] Running timeline of Steele dossier:

Notable quotes:
"... Bruce Ohr and his wife are complicit in the fake Christopher Steele Russian dossier ..."
"... All of this was orchestrated by the Obama Administration ..."
"... All of these FBI and DOJ people are just lackeys who take their orders from higher-ups. The real deep state controllers seem to always be protected by the underlings. But it's the underlings who fall on the sword. ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

otschelnik Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:40 Permalink

I've posted this before, I keep this running timeline:

StarGate -> otschelnik Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:55 Permalink

Good work - Add:

MAY 2016

1st week, before 16 - Caputo reports someone claiming to be a former NSA agent offered him Hillary emails. He declined concerned they were classified and urged whistleblower process be followed. He reported event to Mueller.

9 or 13 - FBI Priestap in London

10 - *Papadopoulos meets Australian ambassador & Clinton Foundation sponsor Alexander Downer in 'Kensington Wine Room' in London

Reported by NYT on 30 Dec 2017.

10 - Paul Ericsson sends "Kremlin Connection" email to Sen Sessions offering to hook DJT campaign up with Russia's Putin

May Date? - Rosenstein-Mueller Special Counsel team member Preet Bharara granted a special Visa for Russian agent Natalia Veselnitskaya in order for her to meet with Trump Jr at a June 2016 Tower meeting the FBI would record. Obama sent one of his translators to the meeting. Natalia needed a special Visa because she was barred from entering the US.

StarGate -> otschelnik Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:14 Permalink

Here's JUNE 2016

JANUARY 2016

9 - Russian Rinat Akhmetshin visits Obama White House for the day. Later he was in Trump Tower meeting of June 2016. WH visitor Log.

JUNE 2016

9 - Infamous Trump Tower meeting w/ Jr and Russian atty Natalia. Then Natalia meets w/ Simpson Fusion GPS before & after Tower mtg

14 - Russian atty Natalia attends US House Foreign Affairs hearing.

DATE? - Russian atty attends Magnitsky Act meeting w/ Dem Reps Rohrbacher and Dellums.

26 - 1st FISA court warrant denied.

27 - DoJ AG Lynch met with Bill Clinton on Arizona airport tarmac

28 - CIA Evan McMullin sister creates fake "Trump OrGAINization" site and bought from GoDaddy the domain trump-email.com. Site then fake robot calls Russian Alfa Bank to create 'ping trail.'

Registry Domain ID: 1565681481_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN .

otschelnik -> StarGate Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:24 Permalink

SG, thanks. You mean Alfa Bank.

Where can we find references on this Evan McMullin and his sister?

StarGate -> otschelnik Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:56 Permalink

Corrected - thx

Did not keep McMullin research. There were family pics of them. They attended same Auburn High School in WA, near Seattle.

Was Mormon mission agent in Brazil. Interned for CIA while at Mormon college. Agent for UN in Israel & Muslim nation of Jordan. For CIA was recruiter for Muslim radicals. Worked w/ British UK spy system. Did he know Steele?

McMullin ran against DJT in 2016 election w/ backers 'never Trump'. Got 21% UT vote. McMullin went directly from CIA to being "undercover?" Prez candidate.

Also of note,

Halper is UK citizen (&US) plus Rhodes at Oxford same time as Rhodes Bill Clinton. It is unknown if Rhodes scholars take loyalty oath to UK.

otschelnik -> StarGate Fri, 08/17/2018 - 13:10 Permalink

Right on McMullin. The fact that Alfa Bank Russia was pinging Trump tower was brought up several times by the Lamestream Media during peak 'muh Russia' in 2017, and believe Clinton mentioned it in one of the debates. But there are Russian owners of apartments in Trump Tower who apparently use the house server, and (I speculate) that these Russian residents were managing their own private banking.

Now you make it sound like it was a set-up by McMullin's sister? By the way I agree with your analysis of the CIA candidate... at least strip Utah's electoral college votes from Trump.

insanelysane Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:13 Permalink

Again, there can never be a legal judgement that the DOJ and/or the FBI tried to sway a political election and then engaged in seditious actions when the election wasn't swayed. This would "destroy" the power of these institutions. It is obvious and EVIDENT that there was a conspiracy by DOJ and FBI employees to stop Trump.

The issue the Deep State has is that they were able to successfully end the IRS exposure by destroying all of the evidence as Obama was elected for another 4 years. The Deep State expected Hillary to win and stay for 8 years so none of this DOJ/FBI information would see the light of day. Trump is in charge now. If the Rs take more seats in 2018 the Deep State may do some really interesting things as they are feeling the heat. Sessions has been playing the wait and see game. As a career politician he is waiting to see which way the wind blows in November.

TeethVillage88s Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:21 Permalink

It is normal tendency in US Military to try to control war news, hold back information from the public like coffins coming home from Vietnam or Iraq. And we are not surprised if the Pentagon actually engaged in counter intelligence against US Citizens. I've said this about Obama Care (ACA) and Mr. Guber or whatever... and I've said this about Hillary Clinton.

- It is completely different when our MICC in FBI, CIA, NSA, DOJ, engage in Hatch Act Violations while on the Job against a presidential candidate with phony intel, spies, false statements to FISA court, false news stories... then 'Smirk' on camera and continue to lie to all of America. Hatch Act governs political behavior, but I'd say the FBI, NSA, CIA, DOJ are to be held to the highest levels of behavior. No politics on Govt Time/working hours. https://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/Hatch_Act.pdf

BendGuyhere Fri, 08/17/2018 - 10:58 Permalink

Turns out the FBI was a TRUST-BASED organization all along. Who knew? That trust has been shattered.

At least the scum, filth, lying criminals rotting in prison own who and what they are. They can't masquerade as uber-boy scouts.

With any luck the end of Trump's second term will see a stiff housecleaning with lots of FBIers rotting in prison for a very long time.

hooligan2009 Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:29 Permalink

bruce ohr looks asian chinese. i can't find any internet chit about his parents. Oh, and is this true?

Michelle Obama and DOJ Bruce Ohr classmates at Harvard Law for 3 yrs

https://www.patreon.com/posts/michelle-obama-3-20682188

istt Fri, 08/17/2018 - 11:32 Permalink

"He appears to have concealed this role from at least some superiors, since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified that he'd been unaware of Mr. Ohr's intermediary status."

Is this an attempt at humor by Strassel?

And why won't Trump declassify??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ZazzOne Fri, 08/17/2018 - 12:06 Permalink

Bruce Ohr and his wife are complicit in the fake Christopher Steele Russian dossier. Feckless Jeff Sessions needs to indict Ohr and his wife (and the rest of the Deep State cabal) involved in their treasonous coup attempt against the duly elected POTUS!!!!!!!

TacticalTrading Fri, 08/17/2018 - 13:35 Permalink

All of this was orchestrated by the Obama Administration. And because Obama must be recognized historically as the greatest and most honest president of all time, because he was the first black president ever.....

We cannot allow the legacy of the first black president to be tarnished

To allow anything else to happen could offend someone. Obama knew this would be the case and thus he knew he had a free pass to get away with anything he wanted.

Hillary knew the exact same thing and, well, When you give an honest person a chance to get away with a few things they will take a mile. Hillary is not an honest person, so she went as far as possible under the belief that she would get away with it.

Oops

Will the historians get it right? Time will tell

MrBoompi Fri, 08/17/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

All of these FBI and DOJ people are just lackeys who take their orders from higher-ups. The real deep state controllers seem to always be protected by the underlings. But it's the underlings who fall on the sword.

[Aug 17, 2018] It is quite interesting how many uninformed posters and/or trolls would love to find a way to show the Russiagate nonsense is somehow plausible in spite of the evidence

Notable quotes:
"... They're kind of like a five year old child who desperately wants to keep believing in Santa Claus, even though he just found dad's Santa costume in the closet and he's holding it in his own hands. ..."
"... Sorry, but two years into this we should be way beyond this kind of – "I can't believe Santa's not real"- denying, dissembling, rationalizing nonsense. Then again, this is America. ..."
"... America is after all a country in which half the population believe in the creation myth. ..."
"... "Two years after the Iraq War began, 70 per cent of Americans still believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks, according to a Washington Post survey." The Big Lie works, and since Obama gutted Smith-Mundt, the CIA/ State Department can legally keep Americans tracking on their propaganda narratives. ..."
"... I agree with Lawrences point that this is an issue of social psychology. Rational argument over the facts is simply over taken by some kind of mass hysteria. There certainly precedent for this kind of behavior. Indeed this was described in 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds' 180 years ago. In my lifetime I have witnessed two episodes of this kind of mass hysteria. The first was the red scare of the early 1950's (I not so much witnessed that as experienced it) and the second was the day care hysteria of satanic cults abusing our children that flared between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now this is a third manifestation of mass hysteria. ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Gary Weglarz August 14, 2018 at 4:37 pm

It is quite interesting how many uninformed posters and/or trolls would love to find a way to show the "Russiagate" nonsense is somehow plausible in spite of the evidence. They're kind of like a five year old child who desperately wants to keep believing in Santa Claus, even though he just found dad's Santa costume in the closet and he's holding it in his own hands.

I will say that the amount of mental gymnastics required to continue not believing evidence that is right in front of one's eyes is quite impressive – but I'd never underestimate the American people's creativity when they want to maintain their illusions/delusions. And I'd certainly never underestimate the Russiagate troll army's persistence.

At this rate I expect to soon encounter some version of the following "observation" in the comments section for this article: – "maybe space aliens hired by the Russians downloaded the files to a to a new fangled thig-a-ma-jig and then shape-shifted so Craig Murray would be fooled into thinking a real-like-human insider provided him the files on a flash drive." – "oh, oh, wait, maybe the aliens abducted Murray too, and then just made him "think" a fellow human gave him the drive in person." "yeah, yeah, and maybe Assange just says he didn't get the files from the Russians because "he's a space alien too." "Yeah, prove to me that it didn't happen this way – you can't – ha! there! I win!"

Sorry, but two years into this we should be way beyond this kind of – "I can't believe Santa's not real"- denying, dissembling, rationalizing nonsense. Then again, this is America.

Reply

GM , August 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm

America is after all a country in which half the population believe in the creation myth.

jeff montanye , August 17, 2018 at 7:11 am

but if i had to bet, the creationists are less likely to believe in Russiagate than the evolutionists.

Just Plain Scott , August 14, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Please don't give Rachel Maddow any more ideas.

michael , August 15, 2018 at 6:06 am

"Two years after the Iraq War began, 70 per cent of Americans still believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks, according to a Washington Post survey." The Big Lie works, and since Obama gutted Smith-Mundt, the CIA/ State Department can legally keep Americans tracking on their propaganda narratives.

ToivoS , August 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm

I agree with Lawrences point that this is an issue of social psychology. Rational argument over the facts is simply over taken by some kind of mass hysteria. There certainly precedent for this kind of behavior. Indeed this was described in 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds' 180 years ago. In my lifetime I have witnessed two episodes of this kind of mass hysteria. The first was the red scare of the early 1950's (I not so much witnessed that as experienced it) and the second was the day care hysteria of satanic cults abusing our children that flared between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now this is a third manifestation of mass hysteria.

It all began with Hillary's shocking defeat. Many millions of her supporters knew that she was so good that she had to win. But then she lost. Those millions of Democrats could not accept that in fact their assessment of her talents were totally wrong and that she lost because she has to be one of the worst candidates in American history. That is a reality those people refused to accept. Instead they had to concoct some crazy conspiracy to explain their break with reality. This is a classic case of cognitive dissonance which often leads to mass hysteria.

GM , August 14, 2018 at 5:01 pm

People choose to believe what they feel that they most need to believe to assuage their insecurities fostered by what they perceive to be the dangerous and scary world in which they exist. The simple fact that we know that life is finite by the time we're three years old fosters the creation of such constructs as that of the myth of everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven complete with a mortgage-free condo and an extra parking space for all repentant sinners are mainstream beliefs.

Rob Roy , August 14, 2018 at 11:07 pm

ToivoS, you are right about Hillary. She simply couldn't accept her defeat. She was the one who began Russiagate by the lie, "17 intelligence agencies" said the Russians hacked the emails.
As for times of mass-swallowing of a lie in the 1930s every German thought that Poland was about to invade Germany and they were scared so much that they believed their leaders who "false flagged" them into invading Poland "first." Of course, Poland had no intention of invading Germany.
Notice every time the US attacks another sovereign country, there's a false flag waved for the citizens to follow?
Don't you appreciate that we have consortiumnews?

[Aug 17, 2018] The truth is always treason in an empire of lies...

Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

LawsofPhysics, Fri, 08/17/2018 - 09:42 Permalink

The truth is always treason in an empire of lies...

[Aug 17, 2018] Deeply Troubling - Wall Street Journal Implores What Was Bruce Ohr Doing Zero Hedge

Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
258 SHARES

The Wall Street Journal continues to counter the liberal mainstream media's Trump Derangement Syndrome , dropping uncomfortable truth-bombs and refusing to back off its intense pressure to get to the truth and hold those responsible, accountable (in a forum that is hard for the establishment to shrug off as 'Alt-Right' or 'Nazi' or be 'punished' by search- and social-media-giants) .

And once again Kimberley Strassel - who by now has become the focus of social media attacks for her truth-seeking reporting - does it again this morning, as she points out - hours after former CIA Director Brennan threw a tantrum over having his security clearance removed - that while Justice has released some damning documents - particularly on what Bruce Ohr was doing - much of the truth is still classified.

Via The Wall Street Journal,

What Was Bruce Ohr Doing?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have continued to insist they did nothing wrong in their Trump-Russia investigation. This week should finally bring an end to that claim, given the clear evidence of malfeasance via the use of Bruce Ohr.

Mr. Ohr was until last year associate deputy attorney general.

He began feeding information to the FBI from dossier author Christopher Steele in late 2016 - after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a confidential informant for violating the bureau's rules. He also collected dirt from Glenn Simpson, cofounder of Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton's campaign and employed Mr. Steele. Altogether, the FBI pumped Mr. Ohr for information at least a dozen times, debriefs that remain in classified 302 forms.

All the while, Mr. Ohr failed to disclose on financial forms that his wife, Nellie, worked alongside Mr. Steele in 2016, getting paid by Mr. Simpson for anti-Trump research. The Justice Department has now turned over Ohr documents to Congress that show how deeply tied up he was with the Clinton crew - with dozens of emails, calls, meetings and notes that describe his interactions and what he collected.

Mr. Ohr's conduct is itself deeply troubling. He was acting as a witness (via FBI interviews) in a case being overseen by a Justice Department in which he held a very senior position. He appears to have concealed this role from at least some superiors, since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified that he'd been unaware of Mr. Ohr's intermediary status.

Lawyers meanwhile note that it is a crime for a federal official to participate in any government matter in which he has a financial interest. Fusion's bank records presumably show Nellie Ohr, and by extension her husband, benefiting from the Trump opposition research that Mr. Ohr continued to pass to the FBI. The Justice Department declined to comment.

But for all Mr. Ohr's misdeeds, the worse misconduct is by the FBI and Justice Department.

It's bad enough that the bureau relied on a dossier crafted by a man in the employ of the rival presidential campaign. Bad enough that it never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of that dossier's provenance. And bad enough that the FBI didn't fire Mr. Steele as a confidential human source in September 2016 when it should have been obvious he was leaking FBI details to the press to harm Donald Trump's electoral chances. It terminated him only when it was absolutely forced to, after Mr. Steele gave an on-the-record interview on Oct. 31, 2016.

But now we discover the FBI continued to go to this discredited informant in its investigation after the firing -- by funneling his information via a Justice Department cutout. The FBI has an entire manual governing the use of confidential sources, with elaborate rules on validations, standards and documentation. Mr. Steele failed these standards. The FBI then evaded its own program to get at his info anyway.

And it did so even though we have evidence that lead FBI investigators may have suspected Mr. Ohr was a problem.

An Oct. 7, 2016, text message from now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok to his colleague Lisa Page reads: "Jesus. More BO leaks in the NYT," which could be a reference to Mr. Ohr.

The FBI may also have been obtaining, via Mr. Ohr, information that came from a man the FBI had never even vetted as a source -- Mr. Simpson. Mr. Steele had at least worked with the FBI before; Mr. Simpson was a paid political operative. And the Ohr notes raise further doubts about Mr. Simpson's forthrightness. In House testimony in November 2017, Mr. Simpson said only that he reached out to Mr. Ohr after the election, and at Mr. Steele's suggestion. But Mr. Ohr's inbox shows an email from Mr. Simpson dated Aug. 22, 2016 that reads, in full: "Can u ring."

The Justice Department hasn't tried to justify any of this; in fact, last year it quietly demoted Mr. Ohr. In what smells of a further admission of impropriety, it didn't initially turn over the Ohr documents; Congress had to fight to get them.

But it raises at least two further crucial questions.

First, who authorized or knew about this improper procedure? Mr. Strzok seems to be in the thick of it, having admitted to Congress interactions with Mr. Ohr at the end of 2016. While Mr. Rosenstein disclaims knowledge, Mr. Ohr's direct supervisor at the time was the previous deputy attorney general, Sally Yates. Who else in former FBI Director Jim Comey's inner circle and at the Obama Justice Department nodded at the FBI's back-door interaction with a sacked source and a Clinton operative?

Second, did the FBI continue to submit Steele- or Simpson-sourced information to the FISA court? Having informed the court in later applications that it had fired Mr. Steele, the FBI would have had no business continuing to use any Steele information laundered through an intermediary.

* * *

Strassel concludes with the point that she and The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board have been hammering for months...

We could have these answers pronto; they rest in part in those Ohr 302 forms. And so once again: a call for President Trump to declassify.

It's time for things to get more serious than slaps on the wrist, firings, and self-inflicted black-eyes!

[Aug 17, 2018] Voter Fatigue Why Brenda from Bristol wouldn't complain if she knew what Americans have to put up with

Aug 17, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

Leo Casey 08.13.18 at 1:44 pm

Harry @ 25:

I would make a few points.

First, the problem of money in American politics is not a problem of government interference in electoral politics, but the opposite, the paucity of government regulation which has created an "anything goes" environment in terms not only of the amounts of money, but of dark money in particular. I agree that the US is much worse than UK and other Western democracies in this regard, but that it precisely because the other nations have much more meaningful government regulations on how campaigns are financed, how much money is spent, who can donate, etc. Not so the US. Ackerman's complaint of "government interference" seems perversely wrong here, in a long tradition of perversely Left syndicalist takes on American politics. It does seem to me that there is sufficient common good interest in having a democratic process for the election of government, if only for legitimacy purposes, for 'rules of the road' to be legislated, and that the US needs more -- not less -- of these rules. The 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 26th Amendments and the Voting Rights Act was precisely the sort of "government interference" in elections which is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary.

Second, the complaint from the Left in NY -- at least from some of the Bernie forces -- is that the law doesn't make it easy enough to become a Democrat and vote in the primary. (In NY, one has to register in a party months in advance to vote in a primary.) Some even argue that you shouldn't have to be a Democrat to vote in the Democratic primary. That is, the complaint cuts against the argument that "government interference" takes the form of forcing parties to accept members. While I have some sympathy for the position that it is too hard to register in time to vote in a NY primary, I find that idea of completely open primaries, in which anyone can vote, as antithetical to any meaningful system of political parties, and to create all sorts of openings for mischievous voters whose sole purpose is to have the opposing party field its weakest candidate. The California system of an all party primary is one variant of this idea, and it leaves open the real possibility -- as almost happened this year -- of what is clearly the majority political party not having a candidate in the general election simply because more candidates from its party run in the election.

There is a general problem on the Left of looking at these rules only in terms of what maximizes our vote, rather than democratic principle. To wit, it would be a lot easier for the Bernie forces to promote the position that so-called super-delegates to the Democratic Party convention (largely elected officials) are undemocratic, as they were not elected as delegates in a primary, if they were not at the very same time promoting caucuses, which clearly cut down significantly on the rate of participation of voters, but produced many more Bernie delegates. It can't be what helps our cause is democratic, and what hurts it is undemocratic.

[Aug 17, 2018] Brennan Goes Nuclear After Losing Security Clearance, Pens Furious Screed In NYT

Aug 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump revoked Brennan's clearance for what he called "unfounded and outrageous allegations" against his administration, while also announcing that the White House is evaluating whether to strip clearances from other former top officials.

Trump later told the Wall Street Journal his decision was connected to the ongoing federal probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and allegedly collusion by his presidential campaign.

"I call it the rigged witch hunt, (it) is a sham," Trump said in an interview with the newspaper on Wednesday. "And these people led it."

"It's something that had to be done," Trump added. - Reuters

[Aug 17, 2018] Neocons and [neo]Liberals Join Forces to Fight Populism by Paul Gottfried

US neocons and neolibs behave like a wounded animal, or cornered rats.
Notable quotes:
"... Ironically, the new neocon-shaped think tank alliance is no more interested in what it claims to want, namely democracy, than its former Soviet rulers were. AEI has attacked Britain's decision to leave the European Union as symptomatic of "populist attacks on traditional structures of international affairs such as the EU and international trade regimes." It is in this context, we are told, that NATO has "appeared to be a second-rate concern" and that the globalization that "ushered in unprecedented worldwide growth" has been placed in peril. ..."
"... Moreover, who are these "authoritarian" bad guys that CAP now has in its crosshairs and plans to rid the world of with its new neocon pals? Presumably it's the right-of-center governments in Eastern and Central Europe, as personified by favorite leftist whipping boy Viktor Orban ..."
"... All AEI and CAP have done is to take a multitude of grievances -- e.g., America's failing to oppose adequately China's cyberthreats, putting up with Russia's aggression, "security threats" in general, and nuclear proliferation -- and mixed them together with standard leftist boilerplate about Orban's "illiberalism" and "sharing our values." This, of course, is indicative of the neocon tactic of linking whatever its advocates see fit to address to a supposed common purpose, which is saving democracy from whatever is defined as "antidemocratic." ..."
"... What's new about the AEI/CAP "partnership of peril," however, is the degree of collaboration taking place and the unmistakable whiff of "never Trump" among their scholars and writers. ..."
"... This recalls all too vividly the Soviet practice of purging "undemocratic" -- that is, uncongenial -- governments while taking over Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War. Today it's an establishment think tank world where governments elected fairly by their people are declared not democratic enough. ..."
"... Curiously, they don't find mass surveillance by the NSA, militarization of the police, permanent war, or the kind of government-imposed humiliations we experience in airports these days to be the least bit "authoritarian", all of them byproducts of incompetent or treacherous neocon and neoliberal control-freaks. ..."
"... They're still pretending they don't get it. Populists aren't the problem. Populists reacted to the problem. The problem is the staggering damage that neocons and neoliberals have done to the West. The problem is how to rid ourselves of them. ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Two big Washington think tanks have teamed up to defend democracy against an 'assault on the transatlantic community.' For several months, an alliance has been forming between the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the neoliberal Center for American Progress (CAP). It's the sort of kumbaya not witnessed since wartime Washington a decade ago.

A press release from CAP on May 10 blares: "CAP and AEI Team up to Defend Democracy and Transatlantic Partnership." The same joyous tidings accompanied a public statement issued by AEI on July 31, which stressed that the alliance was meant to resist "the populist assault on the transatlantic community" for the purpose of "defending democracy."

Although, according to Vikram Singh, a senior fellow at CAP, the two partners "often disagree on important policy questions," they have been driven together "at a time when the character of our societies is at stake." This burgeoning cooperation underscores that "our commitment to democracy and core democratic principles is stronger than ever." Since both documents fling around the terms "democracy" and "liberal democracy" to justify a meddlesome foreign policy, we may safely assume that the neocons are behind this project. Neocons for some time now have prefixed their intended aggressions with "democracy" and "liberal democracy" the way the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs during the 16th and 17th centuries stuck the word "holy" into the names of their wartime alliances. Closer to our time, communist governments favored the use of "people's democracy" to indicate that they were the good guys. Presumably the neocons have now picked up this habit of nomenclature.

Ironically, the new neocon-shaped think tank alliance is no more interested in what it claims to want, namely democracy, than its former Soviet rulers were. AEI has attacked Britain's decision to leave the European Union as symptomatic of "populist attacks on traditional structures of international affairs such as the EU and international trade regimes." It is in this context, we are told, that NATO has "appeared to be a second-rate concern" and that the globalization that "ushered in unprecedented worldwide growth" has been placed in peril. Leaving aside other critical analyses of globalism that call into question AEI's enthusiasm for neoliberal economics, the more relevant question is: why is it "undemocratic" for a nation to vote in favor of leaving the EU? And for that matter, why is it "undemocratic" for countries to reconsider their membership in NATO?

Moreover, who are these "authoritarian" bad guys that CAP now has in its crosshairs and plans to rid the world of with its new neocon pals? Presumably it's the right-of-center governments in Eastern and Central Europe, as personified by favorite leftist whipping boy Viktor Orban . Although CAP doesn't want to be especially "confrontational" in dealing with its villains, or so it claims, it also proclaims that "authoritarian regimes pursue different objectives than societies with governments that are accountable to the people and respect the rule of law." It might be useful for CAP to tell us how exactly Hungary, Poland, and other right-of-center European governments have not been democratically elected and have disrespected their countries' legal traditions.

Fortunately our think tank alliance is in still in no position (heaven be thanked!) to impose its will. The most these hysterical complainers can do is air their grievances and misrepresent them as somehow "preserving democracy." All AEI and CAP have done is to take a multitude of grievances -- e.g., America's failing to oppose adequately China's cyberthreats, putting up with Russia's aggression, "security threats" in general, and nuclear proliferation -- and mixed them together with standard leftist boilerplate about Orban's "illiberalism" and "sharing our values." This, of course, is indicative of the neocon tactic of linking whatever its advocates see fit to address to a supposed common purpose, which is saving democracy from whatever is defined as "antidemocratic."

For those who wonder what AEI, as a supposedly right-of-center foundation, is doing hanging out with CAP, such hobnobbing between Republican policy foundations and left-of-center tanks has been going on for a while. In December 2015, AEI and Brookings both proudly announced their cooperation in drafting a poverty program that emphatically diverged from the one proposed by then-candidate Trump. Both foundations called for, among other reforms, raising the minimum wage and greater government guidance for poor families.

What's new about the AEI/CAP "partnership of peril," however, is the degree of collaboration taking place and the unmistakable whiff of "never Trump" among their scholars and writers. It would also appear that as the price of collaboration, AEI has been required to join its more leftist partner in going after democratically elected right-of-center political leaders in Europe. This recalls all too vividly the Soviet practice of purging "undemocratic" -- that is, uncongenial -- governments while taking over Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War. Today it's an establishment think tank world where governments elected fairly by their people are declared not democratic enough.

Remaking the World in the Neoconservative Image A Neoconservative of Conviction

Paul Gottfried is Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for 25 years. He is a Guggenheim recipient and a Yale Ph.D. He is the author of 13 books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents . 20 Responses to Neocons and Liberals Join Forces to Fight Populism



E. J. Worthing August 12, 2018 at 11:20 pm

It is anti-democratic to try to shut down a university because of a disagreement with the founder's political views.
Dundalk , , August 13, 2018 at 5:01 am
"Moreover, who are these "authoritarian" bad guys that CAP now has in its crosshairs and plans to rid the world of with its new neocon pals?"

Curiously, they don't find mass surveillance by the NSA, militarization of the police, permanent war, or the kind of government-imposed humiliations we experience in airports these days to be the least bit "authoritarian", all of them byproducts of incompetent or treacherous neocon and neoliberal control-freaks.

Which is why the normal mind guffaws at the though of neocons and neoliberals banding together to fight "authoritarianism".

They're still pretending they don't get it. Populists aren't the problem. Populists reacted to the problem. The problem is the staggering damage that neocons and neoliberals have done to the West. The problem is how to rid ourselves of them.

Furor , , August 13, 2018 at 5:53 am
I am not really surprised. What goes on in Eastern Europe is controversial and it will catch attention of all sides. Hungary and Poland are peripheries of a bigger political-economic area, so they will have to take this into account
Frank D , , August 13, 2018 at 7:35 am
The author seems to be complaining about something that will not have any effect on the thing he is complaining about.
Oleg Gark , , August 13, 2018 at 8:09 am
The Little People use the internet to conspire against us, the Important People.

That's not Democracy, that's Insolence!

Michael Kenny , , August 13, 2018 at 9:45 am
What's at stake for both think tanks is the continuance of US global hegemony, whether for its own sake or as an essential tool to prop up Israel. Ironically, the same US ideological "family" promoted the very populism they are now condemning for the purpose of breaking up the very same EU whose possible demise they now regard as a disaster! Equally, Professor Gottfried and his VDare friends themselves peddle the anti-EU/pro-Putin line and are therefore in no position to criticize the two think tanks for promoting "a meddlesome foreign policy". Indeed, the way in which Professor Gottfried takes a position in the article for or against this or that European government is a perfect example of his belief in a "meddlesome foreign policy". He just doesn't like the particular form of meddling that the think tanks are proposing.
Ken Zaretzke , , August 13, 2018 at 11:35 am
Foreign affairs and domestic policy are intertwined in the hostility to populism. AEI supports quasi-open borders, so no surprise that they view populism as a scourge.

A pro-populist strategy, specifically on the immigration front, suggests itself if we distinguish between Deep State-compatible immigration *restrictionism* and Deep State-incompatible immigration *patriotism*. The latter is a form of populist nationalism. (That phrase isn't redundant because there can surely be non-populist forms of nationalism.) For the former, note that the Deep State can, if anything, operate better in a society without continual ethnic minority- pleading.

Jeff Sessions is an immigration restrictionist; Stephen Miller is an immigration patriot.

The think tank anti-populism is part of the Deep State's effort to ensure that the Mueller investigation go forward as the best way of hindering Trump's populist instincts and the policies that it fears will flow from them.

Ron Pavellas , , August 13, 2018 at 11:42 am
My initial reaction to the headline and first few sentences was: "They are frightened. Good!" Since the first order of any organization is to survive, no matter what, each is now abandoning its original (stated) purpose to align with the other. "The Populists are coming! The Populists are coming!"
Kent , , August 13, 2018 at 11:52 am
I think it's funny using terms like "liberal", "neo-liberal", "neo-conservative". They are all ideologies whose fundamental motive is to maximize corporate profits at the expense of the working American. There's no reason to distinguish between them.
John S , , August 13, 2018 at 2:15 pm
This is an unfair critique.

" why is it "undemocratic" for a nation to vote in favor of leaving the EU? And for that matter, why is it 'undemocratic' for countries to reconsider their membership in NATO?"

The documents don't say these things are undemocratic. The documents claim that authoritarian populists attack international cooperation.

"It might be useful for CAP to tell us how exactly Hungary, Poland, and other right-of-center European governments have disrespected their countries' legal traditions."

They have. If you put "Viktor Orban" and "Poland" in the search box on their website you'll find it.

Patricus , , August 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm
There has been no significant difference between Democrats and Republicans in my six decades. Trump was a breath of fresh air although he hasn't moved far enough to repudiate the establishment.
EliteCommInc. , , August 13, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Laughing. Sure, until they want to adovcate for another regime change campaign, then it will about people, for people all day long to get them on board.

Until then they won't be happy until the US reflects asian caste systems of social polity.

Jeeves , , August 13, 2018 at 4:30 pm
Viktor Orban is the "left's favorite whipping boy"? Oh, I think he's a little more than that, Mr. Gottfried.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-orbans-hungary-a-glimpse-of-europes-demise-1533829885?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

In addition to putting Mr. Orban's "illiberalism" in mocking quotes, this melange of conspiracy mongering finds yet more sinister neocon plotting in the AEI/Hudson connection -- which, if you follow Gottfried's link, turns out to surprisingly free of Soviet-era purges, even though it departs from anything proposed by The Stable Genius in Chief.

cka2nd , , August 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm
If the author doesn't think left-wing critics of globalism (Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Latin American "pink" revolutionaries -- well, reformists -- and the anti-WTO/IMF/World Bank anti-globalists, among others), he's fooling himself. It was the farther left, after all, and the unions who often led the fights to vote against joining first the Eurozone and then the EU, and who have opposed the American elite's various free trade deals, forcing previous deals between neo-liberals and free market conservatives (e.g., NAFTA, Clinton and the GOP).
Black , , August 13, 2018 at 5:16 pm
Soooo You think White Identitarian populism is good for the WEST see History. Ha! Whats coming down the PIKE is more wars, conflicts, tribalism, and DEATH. And this is just the Western Nations (Whites). Populism is not Racial Idealism. Poor whites CONNED again, like always. Good Fences make better neighbors, and NIMBY!
Q , , August 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm
Neocons and liberals have always had a lot in common. They both want:
-- Globalism
-- open borders
-- anti-Russia, Iran
-- American hegemony which means endless wars
-- support for gay marriage
-- anti-Nationalism hence anti-Trump
The only thing that separated them were gun control and abortion, but even those issues aren't as clearcut anymore.
Learned Foot , , August 13, 2018 at 9:42 pm
Two sides of the same bad penny. Question is, how do we get rid of it?
Wow. Just Wow. , , August 14, 2018 at 1:06 am
So the people who gave us an America of 'Your Papers, Please!!' and 'Shut Up and Bend Over' are getting worried about the threat of authoritarianism.

Poor babies.

They want their "democracy" back, don't you know, with its black sites, endless wars, its torture and fiat assassination regime, its hate speech laws, its warrantless surveillance programs, and the highest incarceration rates in the world.

Ken Zaretzke , , August 14, 2018 at 11:21 am
@Black,

I suspect you're an academic with tenure already in the bag notwithstanding your way of talking. So tell me, how is the anti-White identitarianism going in South Africa, for the average non-white South African? And why is the anti-White government failing so miserably?

Legacy of colonialism, eh?

Tom Cullem , , August 14, 2018 at 2:39 pm
@Dundalk -- Second all that, perfectly put.

They aren't worried about democracy: they're worried about global corporatist power, which is what "transatlantic partnerships" really translates to.

"Populism" is another name for the Great Unwashed trying to regain some control of their environment. Bloody cheek, eh?

[Aug 17, 2018] US sanctions mean the crisis of comprador capitalism in Russia

Substantially edited for clarity Google translation.
Aug 12, 2018 | pravdoiskatel77.livejournal.com

The US is preparing a new package of sanctions aimed not only against Russian banks, corporations, businessmen, but also against those who do business with them. The full list of Russian companies is in print, and I do not want to retell for the hundredth time what everyone already knows almost by heart: the names of companies and people's names. The main thing is that all of them are cut off from dollar payments, including financing of new Russian government bonds.

For senior managers of these companies, sitting between two chairs now ended in disaster. Poor Gref (Sberbank chairman) in vain so many years showed loyalty to the USA by not recognizing the Crimea. It did not help. He is in the list. The USA cut Gref with his Bank from the American financial market and does not care one bit that they hurt a deeply pro-American neoliberal comprador.

The Russian financial system, the core of which was that it is a part of world neoliberal financial system run from New York and London, the severing of its connection to the dollar market is a knockdown, if not knockout. And the question is not whether the sanctions will be approved "as is" or somewhat soften, it is clear what size of the suspended axe. Which can sooner or later fall on the heads of our neoliberals, because they are not neoliberal enough and did not depose President Putin. The neoliberal establishment of the USA can press, twist and simultaneously emasculate Trump even more. Trump is very weak, in spite of all the bravado and somewhat improved popularity ratings.

The neoliberal establishment of the USA proved that it can eats even popular presidents. If Trump survives the November midterm Congressional elections, he is highly likely will face even more fierce opposition at the next Presidential election. The "deep state" does not make the same mistake twice.

And then the successor will finish all that Trump failed to finish as for Russian suctions. Russia is facing the complete financial isolation with a ban on the import of modern equipment and export of oil and gas. Ahead drugs and consumer electronics, computers and other products. Those who do not believe in it, do not understand what is happening. Neoliberalism is wounded and like wounded animal attack on its enemies or even detractors with fierce force and determination.

How strong is the shock in the Russian elites from what is happening, shows the performance of Peskov. His reaction reminds us the beginning of the Patriotic war: everyone was waiting for it, but preparations are actually blocked "not to provoke Germans" and no one want to believe when it is started. Remember our pre-war military doctrines? "Fight in a foreign land and with little blood! " In life it turned out a little differently. And only thanks to the fact that sobering up happened quickly, the enemy was stopped near Moscow six months later.

Peskov looks like Molotov of our time. He spoke cautiously in the sense that we do not yet see the react to premature actions. Somebody in the USA really spoke in favor of severe sanctions. When (on August 22) there will be an official decision of our "American partners", then we will talk. And he added that should reassure everyone: "Russia's Financial system is quite stable, it is well known. It has proved its stability in quite difficult times. Against the background of the continuing unpredictability of our overseas partners, of course, we must and we keep our financial system in good condition. It's obvious". It would be better if he said another, very simple idea -- that Russia will adequately respond on all the attacks on its financial system.

Because the tense optimism does not bring calm. What is financial stability, when the rubble dropped more then 10% on the news. Just waiting for the sanctions? Essentially threat to impose those from the State Department on August 22. The ruble as a part of international financial system considerably dropped on the news. Speculators, dominant on the stock exchange and holding this market, began to massively withdraw from ruble assets.

Of course Peskov is still not Putin, he just is the spokesman for the President. Everyone understands that Russian financial system was stable until it was seriously hit. The" tough times" in the past about which Peskov talked were in comparison not that thought. Now we are facing a complete blockade similar to imposed on Japan before Pearl harbor. the design is to provoke us while Russia is still weak after the economic rape of 1990th. The same type of ideas that were behind operation Barbarossa. With the color revolution instead of armed invasion. So why there are people who do not understand this?

Sanctions are just one piece of the puzzle. Background of other action by CIA and NGO. The goal was voiced by some members of the US political elite. Rabid ex-head of the CIA Michael Morell of course behaves much like Zhirinovsky in Russia. With far less originality. But those reservations aside, he probably voiced real intentions of the USA ruling class when he called for "orange revolution" Russia in a manner of EuroMaydan in Ukraine. Which supposedly can be provoked by anti-Russian economic sanctions and economic blockade, which the Congress is in a hurry to adopt.

Everything is very open: sanctions will affect standard of living including decline of real value of pensions (and increase of pension age, already planned), increase is some taxes and prices of staples and communal services. Kind of Ukraine "after-Maydan" scenario without Maydan. At some point this really might take people to the streets. Unpopular reforms are often a desperate reaction of the government to sanctions. All sanctions since Obama's time are aimed at raising the middle class to revolt, and Morell is sure that this is what "Putin is afraid of most." He writes about it in the newspaper the Washington Post in the article "Putin is afraid of one single thing. Let's make him think it can happen." The uprising in Russia might also followed by establishing of another Yeltsin-style puppet regime. Round two of what happened after the dissolution of the USSR. One real problem here is that Putin will last just another six years. Then what? There is no clear mechanism of succession in Russian elite and it can step on the same rake.

That is, the US openly uses the attack on the Russian financial system to organize a coup, a yet another color revolution and bring to power Yeltsin-style puppets. The assurance that our financial system is reliable is an attempt to hide for us the fact how unreliable it is if hit by the USA hard. But if Putin spokesman Peskov does not say it right now, it does not mean that Putin does not see and does not take some actions.

The first step in right direction, forced by the previous round of sanctions was creation of a payment system MIR and an analogue of the SWIFT system. The second is a sharp drop of holding of US treasures. I think that the third necessary step will be the transition step-by-step manner to the nationalization of the top level banks of the Russian financial system -- a measure completely forced by the USA behavior and quite obvious. this can be hidden operation about which nobody should speak too loudly.

I recently wrote that the main feature of the Soviet budget was that it was formed as a result of the confiscation of the free retained earnings balance that arose after the distribution of the planned profit of enterprises, according to the established standards. Thanks to this system, the Soviet budget pulled not only the USSR and its republics, but also half of the world including a dozens of vassals and semi or temporary allies. And the collapse of the USSR happen due to betrayal of the elite, not because of financial problems, although they did existed and at the end of Brezhnev rule became acute. Still it happened mainly because the Soviet nomenklatura wanted privatization, wanted to change sides. It they did not became turncoats, despite all weakness and warts of the Soviet system we probably would still be living in the USSR.

The Soviet financial system was really very stable, because it was protected from the influence of sabotage of the West. Inflation did exist and ruble gradually lost it value during Brezhnev's reign, but that was it. Of course, famous Soviet "deficit" was also a form of inflation, but it was mainly visible in the area of "conspicuous consumption" -- luxury good, electronics and such. With the exception of meat (but not fish) staples were "mostly" available, although "real" prices on "black market" for them often did no correspond to the official prices. The Soviet Union has always, throughout its history lived under the sanctions, if not blockade by the West, but since 1960th population felt the effects only indirectly with severely limited access to Western consumer electronics, low quality and availability of domestic electronics, and such. I am not defending the Soviet system here, I just try to understand the situation.

Unlike the current situation with the ruble in the USSR, the current sanctions are instantly felt, as the exchange rate of the ruble changed and people see that: they feel that they became more poor even if consumer prices did not react. Also the fluctuations of the ruble cause price hikes on imported goods and the risk of bankruptcy of banks. The country's budget to a considerable extent depends on revenues from exports of raw materials such as oil and gas as well (to much lesser extent) as sales of Russian bonds to finance large infrastructure projects. It is wrong to believe that the new US sanctions will hit only the pockets of bankers and top managers. Real economy will also be hit. We are too dependent on imports and the dollar.

I write this to stress that the fact that the nationalization of financial system can take various forms, including the return to the Soviet style limitations on profit of financial institutions and some branches of economics. One step in this direction would be taking 500 billion rubles from the metallurgical and chemical businesses to the state budget. Just like that, no taxes. Advisor to the President Andrei Belousov wrote a letter to President Vladimir Putin, in which he pointed out that in metallurgy and chemistry for 2017, super-profits have accumulated due to the price situation, and not as a result of the actions of the management of companies. The market excess over the average price was 20.8%. Since similar excessive profits in oil industry are withdrawn to the budget in the form of super-income rents, why not do the same with metallurgists and chemists? Putin agreed in writing with Belousov by put a resolution "I Agree" on his memo. This is a socialist redistribution of the state profits of private capitalist enterprises. The NEP in its purest form.

Neoliberals are sad -- not good, they say, not the way "market economy" should work. F*ck them. Shareholders will receive less dividends. But what dividends consideration should be when the country is at war? During the war it should be war economics and it might make sense to return to some USSR practices, as the USSR economics was close to war economics all the time (and it was one on the major drawbacks of "socialist economy").

It is possible, as in the USSR, to take money from business in the form of confiscation by the state of the all of the profits, as many countries do during the war. Of course, this can be only temporary solution, but for several years it will definitely work.

In war, the country, one way or another, puts its economic wagon on the rails of the socialism. First of all, it is the principle of priority of national goals over personal ones. Neoliberals and financial oligarchy during the war are removed from power and, if they resist, of property. So far, they have been removed from part of the profits in two industries. The financial oligarchy is still intact. That needs to change.

But back to neoliberal financial system and banks. Those who are cut off from the dollar-or threaten to cut off with a high degree of probability of this event are now screaming. Let then scream. Sooner or later, but this should happen anyway, and that was clear to anybody expect to comprador financial oligarchy themselves, who enjoyed buying castles, football teams at the West and move their families. Now west will confiscate all those goodies without hesitation as assets created by stealing property in Russia and they can do nothing about it. In the famous film " Liberation " at the end there is a question: "What did fascism bring to the world?". We should also ask ourselves, "What has neoliberalism brought to Russia?".

Neoliberalism impoverished the majority of the Russian population and created a tiny strata of loyal to the USA Russian elite and professionals -- Russian compradors, which preferred to store money in the Western banks. Which currently should be bribed by Putin regime with some possibilities of continued unfair enrichment to keep them quite, so that they do not ally with the USA in case of color revolution, like some Ukrainian oligarchs such as Poroshenko and Kolomoysky did. But this bribery has not turned compradors from fifth column of the West in Russia, into Russian nationalists. They did refrain from revolt in 2011-2012, the USA attempt to stage "white color revolution" in Russia, but they do hate Russia. The problem is that they reproduce themselves, taking control in the field of education, training and placement of personnel in the economy. They also control media.

Neoliberalism has brought Russia's dependence on the export of oil and gas and import of sophisticated production technologies. The raw material elite despises mechanical engineering. Controlling raw materials and finances, she buys equipment in the West, sharing with him part of national resources for the technologies they need. And they take out loans in the West. And move their families to the West. And try to transfer the companies outside Russian jurisdiction. They believe that the elite of the West will be so closely tied to themselves -- here, they say, we will not only share in oil and gas, but we will use your money, your technologies, and we will support your engineering we will not try to replicate them domestically.

Neoliberalism has made Russia dependent on the supply of equipment even for space industry. The dependence is decreasing, but it has become so great that it is not yet possible to get rid of it. Nevertheless, our corporations and key banks for some reason are stuck to the ears in the schemes of pumping money through the United States. What are our military-industrial enterprises doing in the USA? Why they have offshore accounts? What part of this is played by our major banks? As we have recently learned, RosCosmos was stealing money from the state on a truly cosmic scale, and not only money. A lot of components were also bought from Western corporations and sometimes from shady dealers with low quality. And this situation lasts two decades during which it would be possible to create import substitution productions for major components, if desired.

Our civil airliner Superjet, includes a lot of Western components including engines. They can cut supply of them anytime. And no matter how the Ministry of industry and trade is trying to avoid this trap, the neoliberal financial model of Russia does not allow to quickly maneuver resources. It was easy to cut whole plants for scrap metal during economic rape of Russia in the 1990s. But to built a new factory, especially for producing high technology components is much more difficult, especially operating on the destroyed technical and personnel base and brain drain to the West. In the budget formed within the neoliberal paradigm, money for new technologies that is imported from the Wast are never allocated, as this situation is considered "normal". And its normal until the USA decided to put sanctions. After that it nothing close to normal. Also different industries are treated by the state differently. There is huge preference for extractive industries as they bring currency to the budget. When our oil and gas companies suffered financially in 2014-2017, the state came to their aid. Machine builders are not so lucky.

this technological dependence on the west is the most humiliating thing that neoliberals do with the country, that managed to put a man in space just 12 years after the end of the most terrible war. And the USSR did produce some "high-tech" components that now we are buying from the West such as large turbines. Add to this the the US defense specialists freely grazed on our military industrial complex, the crown jewels of Soviet technology, like sheep on a grass common for more then a decade (from 1991 till 2001)

Conversion to Neoliberalism now can turn be very expensive for Russia. How now to buy spare parts for imported aircraft ? How we can lease new aircraft? We have a country in six time zones. All that Putin can now-it is administrative measures to support the remnants of the industry, giving them orders from the Ministry of defense and helping with loans to produce narrow body passenger jets.

But small volumes of narrow body midrange passenger planes are not very profitable and always lose to foreigners who dominate the international market and control most of its volume. Add to this the possibility of kickbacks, corruption, unwillingness to use our own components such as engine. Although we do have aircraft engines are as reasonably quiet and as economical as those we buy in the West.

for example, the newspaper "Argumenty Nedeli" for years writes about the bitter fate of our aircraft engine NK-93, which is competitive with best Western engines and which at all exhibitions are always carefully hidden from Putin somewhere in the distant hangars. The reason is simple -- it is cheap. When you put on a Superjet imported engine you not only simply maintenance of those place in foreign airports, you can launder large sums of budget money. The scheme is simple: the money from the budget -- a contract with a foreign partner via some offshore company and some amounts are rolled back. Minimum of persons involved, maximum benefit. This way from budget to offshore is the shortest. What will happen now with Superjet is unknown. The lion's share of the components are French. It is logical to think about the fate of the Mistral. Or at least supply disruptions.

It is clear that no matter how heavy the costs of us sanctions are for the country, Russian financiers will not give up power they got due to neoliberalization. They will go out of their way to prove that their fate is the fate of Russia, and their death is the death of Russia. And it is necessary to first save them and then Russia. We have seen it many times and we will see it this scenario again and again.

Our largest sectors -- oil, gas, aviation and rocket industry -- also will suffer from the imposition of sanctions. Certainly shipbuilding will suffer. One thing is good that equipment to produce them still can bought in china. But some western technologies are out of reach. China itself buys technologies in America. So we are facing difficult times.

... ... ...

America with its sanctions directly pushes Russia even out of colonial peripheral capitalism. Let's hope that the new unique mixture of capitalism and socialism that will arise in Russia as a result of American sanctions will be a completely different system with completely different elites, whose hatred and distrust of everything Anglo-Saxon will be inherited through genes. And any attempt to bring unnnesary western technologies or products into Russia will be despised. It is reasonable to expect that the new generation of Russian elite is acutely anti-American. Every action generates a reaction. Hopefully sanctions will destroy the "neoliberal intelligentsia" and "neoliberal business elite" in Russia. First of all, the neoliberal financial system will be reformed.

As China under socialist slogans builds capitalism with the Chinese specifics, so Russia under neoliberal slogans will begin to build state capitalism with some socialist component -- with the Russian specifics. And it's not a matter of taste, it's a conscious necessity. Otherwise we simply might not survive. The foundations of the new system will be laid by Vladimir Putin in the struggle for the implementation of the May decrees in conditions for acute geopolitical tension.

I hope that from now on we should not pay any attention to the neoliberal rhetoric of the authorities -- it is the rhetoric of the smoke screen. The usual smoke screen to calm those who will be gradually removed from power and property. Whether they want it or not, Russia has already embarked on this path and hopefully will not be able to get off the neoliberal track. The collapse of neoliberalism in the form of the collapse of its financial system is probably inevitable, and ithe repretition of 2008 is coming. this might help gradually dismantled and change the financial system in the coming years. The global crisis will only help us in this task. The trend is clearly indicated and it can only change speed, but not the direction. Until this moment we need to accept the reality which the USA created with new round of sanctions and do our best to defeat them. They are no longer our partners. They are something else.

[Aug 17, 2018] Young Americans have soured on capitalism, and that's what got Trump elected Slavoj i ek

That's incorrect. They have soured on neoliberalism, and, especially, neoliberal globalization. Many want a return of New Deal capitalism in some form.
Neoliberal ideology is now discredited and the process of de-legitimization of the ruling neoliberal elite started when voters rejected Hillary.
15 Aug, 2018
Notable quotes:
"... "The roots of this disappointment can be easily identified" he told RT. "The working class, but also the middle class feels betrayed. Generally, there's widespread awareness that the American system doesn't function the way people expected it to function." ..."
"... "The message is very hopeful," ..."
"... a large part of the US population "no longer identifies with the American dream." He described the drop in support for Capitalism as the "beginning of the end of what in learned terms we call ideological hegemony." ..."
"... With more Americans feeling left behind, the only candidate who capitalized on this dissatisfaction in 2016 was Donald Trump. However, Zizek doesn't see Trump as the solution to America's problems. Even as the economic good times roll, recovery has not touched everyone equally. 40 million US citizens still live in poverty, and five million of these live in "third world conditions," according to a UN report released this June. ..."
"... "The only thing that can save the US is a stronger, more radical left," ..."
"... "should look at their own Democratic Party, how they totally ignored a clear, more leftist, anti-capitalist signal from Bernie Sanders and his movement." ..."
"... "failed the expectations of the American people" ..."
"... "I would ask her to remember how long I had to wait to get here," ..."
"... "I don't think that even those who spread this fear, that they take it seriously," ..."
"... "That's pure fear-mongering" ..."
"... "panicky reaction" ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | www.rt.com
Get short URL Anti-capitalist protesters in Washington DC © David S. Holloway / AFP Support for capitalism among younger voters has dropped drastically, a new Gallup poll reveals. The US establishment's refusal to see this shift has resulted in Trump's election, philosopher Slavoj Zizek tells RT. According to the poll , 57 percent of Democrats view socialism positively. Only 47 percent view capitalism positively, down from 56 percent in 2010.

Across political lines, young Americans (aged 18-29) in general are split on capitalism and socialism. 51 percent of Americans aged 18-29 view socialism positively, while 45 percent view capitalism positively, down 12 points in just two years.

Slavoj Zizek sees the shift as a realization that for some, the American Dream just isn't real.

"The roots of this disappointment can be easily identified" he told RT. "The working class, but also the middle class feels betrayed. Generally, there's widespread awareness that the American system doesn't function the way people expected it to function."

Curiously, the drop in satisfaction comes at a time when the US economy is booming. Unemployment is at its lowest point in half a century at just over three percent, wages are increasing, and if President Trump is to be believed, all manner of companies are clamoring to bring their manufacturing operations back to the USA from overseas.

In 2010, when more Democrats still trusted capitalism, things were objectively worse. Unemployment stood at a dismal nine percent, wages had stagnated since the great recession, and recovery was still a distant glimmer.

"The message is very hopeful," Zizek said about the poll, which he said shows that quite a large part of the US population "no longer identifies with the American dream." He described the drop in support for Capitalism as the "beginning of the end of what in learned terms we call ideological hegemony."

TV Anchor: It is inexplicable that so many voters have a problem with capitalism considering that for so many Americans

[pauses to check stats]

housing is unaffordable, student debt is skyrocketing & you need a GoFundMe page to afford medical care https://t.co/JxIIZYZ2Du

-- David Sirota (@davidsirota) August 13, 2018

With more Americans feeling left behind, the only candidate who capitalized on this dissatisfaction in 2016 was Donald Trump. However, Zizek doesn't see Trump as the solution to America's problems. Even as the economic good times roll, recovery has not touched everyone equally. 40 million US citizens still live in poverty, and five million of these live in "third world conditions," according to a UN report released this June.

"The only thing that can save the US is a stronger, more radical left," Zizek claims.

Where is the left?

The radical left Zizek talks about exists, but has been muscled out by the Democratic party's more centrist establishment. The establishment, he argues, "should look at their own Democratic Party, how they totally ignored a clear, more leftist, anti-capitalist signal from Bernie Sanders and his movement."

Sanders was a popular figure, particularly with young voters. By running Hillary Clinton instead, the centrist establishment "failed the expectations of the American people"

However, since Clinton's miserable performance in 2016, the 'progressive' movement championed by Sanders has slowly seeped into the mainstream. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the Bronx this June, when self-professed 'democratic socialist' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez snatched a stunning primary victory, ousting ten-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, a more centrist, suit-and-tie Democrat.

Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform that includes Medicare for all, free college tuition, a $15 minimum wage, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement – some of these points the Clinton camp of the Democrat party would have considered anathema.

Ocasio-Cortez' victory appeared to lay out a clear roadmap for Democrats in the Trump age: embrace the public's demand for a more radical left and win elections, or continue to blame Russia and continue to lose. The Democratic establishment didn't listen however, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (California) playing down her victory, reminding voters that it happened in "one district" and warning people not to get "carried away" with progressive ideas.

Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (South Carolina) embodied the establishment mentality when he said in an interview that Ocasio-Cortez needs to wait her turn before joining the Democratic party's leadership.

"I would ask her to remember how long I had to wait to get here," the 78-year-old Congressman said.

After her victory, Ocasio-Cortez jetted around the country to drum up support for like-minded progressive candidates ahead of primary elections. Her stumping fell short however, as four out of the six candidates endorsed by the socialist upstart lost their elections.

Some critics put this failure down to an inbuilt 'fear of socialism' among Americans. Zizek disagrees emphatically.

"I don't think that even those who spread this fear, that they take it seriously," he said, adding that the US is unlikely to turn into Venezuela any time soon. "That's pure fear-mongering" and "panicky reaction" at the newfound popularity of socialism, he said.

If the trend revealed by the latest Gallup poll is correct, embracing a socialist message could soon be the Democratic party's only means of survival.

Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won't tell you.

[Aug 17, 2018] What if Russiagate is the New WMDs

In both cases CIA and neocons run the show. But there is new powerful factor: emergence of CIA democrats like Brennan and the conversion of intelligence agencies into political tool, the Cerberus that safeguard the castle of neoliberalism in the USA. The USA people (bottom 90%) be damned.
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's guilt in " Russiagate " is now assumed by much of the American left, and reaches greater levels of fervor with every passing day. ..."
"... Coulter was confident and she wasn't alone. Virtually the entire mainstream American right -- from pundits like Coulter and Sean Hannity to President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress -- was deeply invested in the notion that Hussein possessed WMDs and that the Iraq war was justified based on that unshakeable premise. This belief was so ingrained for so long that many excitedly rushed to pretend that chemical weapons discovered in Iraq as reported by the New York Times ..."
"... Now, "Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs. ..."
"... New York Magazine ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
Aug 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
declared liberal celebrity activist Rosie O'Donnell at a protest in front of the White House last week. "We see it, he can't lie about it," she added. "He is going down and so will all of his administration." "The charge is treason," O'Donnell declared. Protesters held held large letters that spelled it out: " T-R-E-A-S-O-N ."

O'Donnell is by no means alone in her sentiments. Trump's guilt in " Russiagate " is now assumed by much of the American left, and reaches greater levels of fervor with every passing day.

This kind of partisan religiosity is not new.

In the wake of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, conservative pundit Ann Coulter accused war opponents of " treason " and insisted of Saddam Hussein, "We know he had weapons of mass destruction."

Coulter was confident and she wasn't alone. Virtually the entire mainstream American right -- from pundits like Coulter and Sean Hannity to President George W. Bush and the Republican Congress -- was deeply invested in the notion that Hussein possessed WMDs and that the Iraq war was justified based on that unshakeable premise. This belief was so ingrained for so long that many excitedly rushed to pretend that chemical weapons discovered in Iraq as reported by the New York Times in 2014 were somehow the same thing as the " mushroom cloud " the Bush administration said Saddam was capable of.

Unfortunately for the right (and America, and the world), that premise turned out to be false. There were no WMDs. Today, only a minority of delusional, face-saving hawks and unreconstructed neoconservatives still parrot that lie .

And far from being "traitors," Iraq war opponents today are considered to have been on the right side of history .

John Brennan: Melting Down and Covering Up The Iraq War's Age of Madness

Now, "Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs.

The post-2016 left's most dominant narrative is arguably their deeply held belief -- with all the ferocity and piety of yesterday's pro-war conservatives -- that Russia colluded with Trump's campaign to undermine the presidential election. Many believe that the president and anyone who supports his diplomatic efforts like Senator Rand Paul are in the pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I will meet not just with our friends, but with our enemies," said Barack Obama in 2008, and he did just that with Putin, as has every other president in recent times .

But Trump-Russia relations have been spun into far-fetched conspiracy theories on the left. New York Magazine 's Jonathan Chait recently went so far as to speculate that Trump has been a Russian agent since 1987 , a cockamamie idea on par with the Weekly Standard 's Stephen Hayes' discredited conspiracy theory that Saddam and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots .

It really was plausible that Iraq had WMDs in 2003 based on what our intelligence agencies knew, or purported to know. Today, it is feasible that American democracy really has Putin's fingerprints on it based on things revealed by U.S. intelligence.

But isn't it also possible that the left is reading far too much into Russiagate?

The Nation 's Aaron Maté believes liberals are overreaching, and that's putting it mildly:

From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of US government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed. The reaction to special counsel Robert Mueller's recent indictment of 12 Russian military-intelligence officers for hacking of Democratic party servers and voter databases is no exception. Mueller's indictment is certainly detailed. Most significantly, it marks the first time anyone has been charged for offenses related to Russiagate's underlying crime.

But while it is a major step forward in the investigation, we have yet to see the basis for the allegations that Mueller has lodged. As with any criminal case, from a petty offense to a cybercrime charge against a foreign government, a verdict cannot be formed in the absence of this evidence.

Then the irony kicks in. Maté continues, "The record of US intelligence, replete with lies and errors, underscores the need for caution. Mueller was a player in one of this century's most disastrous follies when, in congressional testimony, he endorsed claims about Iraqi WMDs and warned that Saddam Hussein 'may supply' chemical and biological material to 'terrorists.'"

Noting Mueller's 2003 WMD testimony is not an attempt to undermine him or his investigation, something Maté also makes clear. But it does serve as an important reminder that "intelligence" can be flat-out wrong. It reminds us how these scenarios, which so much of Washington and the elite class fully endorse, can be looked back on as lapses of reason years later.

Mass psychology is real. Political classes and parties are not immune.

"Suppose, however, that all of the claims about Russian meddling turn out to be true," Maté asks. "Hacking e-mails and voter databases is certainly a crime, and seeking to influence another country's election can never be justified."

He continues, "But the procession of elite voices falling over themselves to declare that stealing e-mails and running juvenile social-media ads amount to an 'attack,' even an 'act of war,' are escalating a panic when a sober assessment is what is most needed."

The U.S. could have certainly used less hyperbole and more sobriety in 2002 and 2003.

And there's good chance that when the history books are written about American politics circa 2018, much of Russiagate will be dismissed as more Red Scare than Red Dawn .

With Russia, as with WMDs, left and right have elevated slivers of legitimate security concerns to the level of existential threat based mostly on their own partisanship. That kind of thinking has already proven to be dangerous.

We don't know what evidence of collusion between the Trump camp and Russia might yet come forth, but it's easy to see how, even if this narrative eventually falls flat, 15 years from now some liberals will still be clinging to Russiagate not as a matter of fact, but political identity. Russia-obsessed liberals, too, could end up on the wrong side of history.

No one can know the future. Republicans would be wise to prepare for new, potentially damaging information about Trump and Russia that may yet emerge.

Democrats should consider that Russiagate may be just as imaginary as Republicans' Iraq fantasy.

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.

JLF August 16, 2018 at 1:31 pm

All this may be as Hunter would have it. Yet there is the nagging doubt that Trump, who could only find major financing for his enterprises following his last bankruptcy through Putin-controlled banks, could be free of any entangling ties or obligations. And if those doubts prove true, what then?
MM , , August 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm
From the Nation: "From the outset, Russiagate proponents have exhibited a blind faith in the unverified claims of U.S. government officials and other sources, most of them unnamed."

This is a key point, because now Democrats and the most of the Left are ready to embrace a guy like Brennan a.k.a. Mr. Torture, merely because they hate Trump.

I'll also admit to not knowing what's coming in the future, but as of now there's a strong circumstantial case to be made that this reactions to Russian election meddling, which when all was said and done amounted to providing the voting public with the truth about the DNC and its own election-fixing operation, that this reaction is only about losing the 2016 presidential election to a guy who was only given a 1% chance of winning by almost everyone.

Clyde Schechter , , August 16, 2018 at 2:20 pm
This is the most sensible commentary on "Russiagate" I have seen anywhere in a long time.

At present, there is some suggestive evidence in the public arena, but nothing conclusive.

What we probably need, actually, is a moratorium on commentary about this until the investigation reaches its conclusion. That can take a long time. But until then, the endless partisanship-motivated speculation we hear daily is, frankly tiresome.

Thank you, Mr. Hunter, for your temperate perspective on this. I wish this would be the last word on the subject until the investigation ends.

b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:01 pm
'"Russian collusion" could be becoming the new WMDs.'

I suspect I agree with the author's sentiment, but it is not easy to tell.

Who stands accused? Trump? Russia? Both?

The claim that Trump is colluding with Russia is not the same as the claim that Iraq War opponents were colluding with Saddam Hussein.

The manufactured "Russia!" hysteria campaign orchestrated by the Obama/Clinton Democratic Party leadership, as deplorable and dubious as it might be, has nothing in common with the "5th column" smears Sullivan et.al. were peddling in 2002-2003 and beyond.

The claim that Trump committed "treason" would be legally incorrect on the worst case. Without a formal Congressional declaration of war, we are not at war with Russia, and Russia is not the enemy, no matter how much irresponsible mouthbreathing is broadcast from the biparty Congress members. However corrupt and corrupted Trump may be, corruption does not qualify as treason. If corruption were treason, Congress, in support of Israel and Saudi Arabia at the expense of the US (and certainly not in support of Russia) would be a house of traitors.

In comparison, the claim that opponents of the Iraq war were traitors was not just idiotic, but morally inexcusable. If anybody violated their oath, it was Bush himself, his appointees, and the ranking officers of the US military, for issuing illegal orders and/or following them.

"Russian election meddling" is the new WMD only the extent it is used as a pretext for war against Russia. It is the new "stained dress" in the attempt to challenge the ballot and paralyze an inconvenient President. I have no doubt that the Clintons are corrupt, and the GOP has engaged in many a Congressional effort to "investigate". The Clinton campaign adopted this playbook, and the damage to the Republic done by all is growing every day.

The real corruption here is the pretense that Congress is any better than Trump, that Russian oligarchs have more impact on the eroding Republic than Israeli-American, Saudi and UAE oligarchs, and that the biggest threat to the integrity of our elections and the franchise is Russia, and not the Roberts Court, Democrat apparatchiks like Sunstein, or Republican frauds like Kobach. Both parties are actively conspiring and plotting to make sure our votes are meaningless and cannot harm incumbents and the war profiteering classes, and where there used to be an opposition to illegal war and to oligarchs and plutocrats, there is now willing participation in manufactured hysteria to extend the 2016 campaign indefinitely.

WMDs? The very concept is a scam -- there is nukes, and nothing else. Nuclear arsenals outsized to end us all, and trillion dollar waste to expand them, are the tie that binds the US and Russia, and I suspect that Russia would be a lot more rational about reducing those arsenals than the US. If the author wants to worry about ending up on the wrong side of history, he should stop worrying about partisan points and focus. Politics is not a team sports, and anybody who picks a favorite is a failure as a citizen. Nobody who wants power is suitable for it.

b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm
Ask yourself, if Saddam Hussein had had "WMD" -- say, some of those chemical and biological stocks Reagan envoy Rumsfeld helpfully provided to Saddam Hussein -- would that have made the Iraq invasion legal, right just, necessary, successful? Or if Powell's little phials and mobile weapons labs actually existed?

Heck, let's say Saddam managed to make actual nukes out of tubes that weren't and yellowcake that wasn't. North Korea has nukes. Does that make invasion and aggressive war legal, right, just necessary, successful?

WMD or not was a lie wrapped within a deception inside a fraud. That's the one thing that it has in common with "Russiagate". Every layer, every aspect of it is a lie, a distraction, and everybody -- Trump included -- is perpetuating the hysteria for their own benefit. The stupidity of it is only barely rivaled by the mendacity.

Stavros , , August 16, 2018 at 3:17 pm
Trump is proving to be the Republican Alger Hiss. The partisanship of 1948 quickly crystallized into pro- and anti-Hiss camps in which the then limited evidence was trumped by ideology. It was not until the Verona tapes were released in the early 1990s that Hiss was proven to be guilty. Had Nixon and his allies called for a special prosecutor in 1948 and the facts both open and classified been examined intensely, Hiss would never have become the progressive Victim that he was to be for over thirty years. Ditto with Trump. Absent Mueller's investigation, these accusations against Trump (and I believe them to have serious weight and substance as well as potential for policy changes to prevent election fraud) would be mere ideological shrapnel to be argued over for another thirty years. Let the investigations proceed unimpeded and a final accounting be published at the very least for the sanity and integrity of the Republic. Don't let Trump become the Right's Alger Hiss.
b. , , August 16, 2018 at 3:18 pm
In other words, let's imagine that Putin has really tried to change election results. Let's imagine that Trump really has been bribed by Russian oligarchs.

Is that why we are at this juncture? Is that why Congress has not served the People and upheld the Constitution in decades? Is that why citizens and voters lose trust in our institutions, and doubt election results?

Really?

We cannot even own up to our own mistakes, our own greed, our own malignancy. We have to blame it not on our "business partners" and "allies" and their hundreds of billions of dollars of arms purchases, we will blame it on Russia.

How small we have become.

It is not just Trump, it is Congress. It is not just this administration and this Congress, it is the previous ones, and the ones before it, and so on.

The point is not whether or not the "Russia!" hysteria and the allegations against Trump are accurate or not. The point is that, in comparison to everything else, it would just be more of the same, and we brought it upon ourselves.

Regime change begins at home.

Sisera , , August 16, 2018 at 3:44 pm
@Collin-
Isn't it extremely Orwellian to say that 'information isn't really information/should be censored or disregarded if it comes from a subversive (Russia) source'?

Naturally, it allows for a very easy way to control and censor information.

Now, as far as pure security threats, aside from information that should've been public anyway, experts deem that the DNC information came from on site:

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/

Now this is also an appeal to authority, but VIPs has a better track record and I've seen them actually elaborate on their claims, not just assert them.

[Aug 15, 2018] Most US graduates won't be debt-free until they're in their 40s.

Aug 15, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

This fall, more than 20 million college students will begin a new academic year. To help cover rising tuition rates that continue to outpace inflation , they'll rely on one or more of the federal government's six low-interest loan programs, adding to the $1.5 trillion of student debt already owed in the United States. Despite nine repayment plans, eight forgiveness programs, and almost three dozen deferment options offered by the government, most won't be debt-free until they're in their 40s.

[Aug 15, 2018] Lira Surges After Turkey Crushes Shorts, Imposes New US Sanctions, Denies Brunson Appeal For Release

Aug 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Meanwhile going back to the ongoing escalation in political tensions between the US and Turkey, one day after Erdogan vowed to boycott US electronics products, including the iPhone, Ankara slapped an additional tax on imports of a broad range of American goods. Turkey announced it would impose an additional 50% tax on U.S. rice, 140% on spirits and 120% on cars.

There are also additional charges on U.S. cosmetics, tobacco and some food products. The was Erdogan's latest retaliation for the Trump administration's punitive actions over the past few weeks to pressure Turkey into releasing an American pastor.

Bloomberg calculated that the items listed in the decree accounted for $1 billion of imports last year, similar to the amount of Turkish steel and aluminum exports that were subjected to higher tariffs by President Donald Trump last week.

The decision shows Turkey giving a proportionate response to American "attacks" on the Turkish economy, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in tweets this morning.

[Aug 14, 2018] Did Trump openly rejected some postulates of neoliberalism, at least during the election compaign ? Was Hillary somehow a bigger crook than Trump?

Some people are still fighting already lost battle.
Notable quotes:
"... That's a good critique of the electoral disaster that the Democrats brought upon themselves by adopting neoliberal economic policies at the dawn of the DLC. But it's delusional to think that Trump's restoration of gilded age economic policies will help working people, white or otherwise. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm (no link)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MisterMr 08.11.18 at 8:21 pm ( 12 )
I'll try to explain my previous comment from another angle:

I'll take the wage share on total income as the main index of worker's bargaining power.
The wage share depends on two factors:
1) there is a cyclical factor, when the economy is booming unemployment falls and the wage share rises, when the economy is depressed the opposite;
2) there are structural factors that depend on how redistributive is taxation, the power of unions etc.; these structural factors depend on law and policy, not on technology.

A big part of the "neoliberal" policy is the concept of trickle down, that can be summarized in (1) hope that the economy will go very well and will be in permanent boom by (2) lowering the wage share structural components, by making workers more flexible etc..
In this kind of policy (that was followed also by center left parties) the fall in the strucural component of the wage share is supposed to be compensated by the increase of the cyclical component, so that, in theory, workers should not be worse off.

But in reality, trickle down doesn't really work (we can argue why), so that the overall wage share fell.
Workers (and voters in general) then expect the economy to be in a situation of permanent boom, a boom so big that it surpasses the fall in the structural component of the wage share; but this never happens, and probably cannot happen for a sustained period.

So voters assume that someone is stealing their lunch, and they blame someone. Immigrants are supposed to lower worker's wage share, but influencing the cyclical component, not the structural one; instead we have an assumption that immigrants are lowering the structural component of the wage share, that is a nonsense, because voters have to blame someone.

Contemporaneously, we have policies that try to create a sort of permanent boom by trickle down, such as lowering the tax rate on high incomes. These policies resemble keynesian policy but in reality are strongly pro-cyclical, so in some sense are the opposite of the traditional keynesian policy.
This happens because these policies appease both workers (with the promise of a boom and thus an increase of the cyclical component of their wage share) and capitalists (because the government is pumping money in their pockets).
But these policies are also very pro-bubble.

From this point of view, Trump's policy (but also for example many policies of the current Italian government) are just a beefed up version of the neoliberal policy.

The hate for immigrants, as other nasty developments of international policy, are the effect of the fact that in reality trickle down cannot really create booms as big as to justify the weakening of the structural component of the wage share, so someone has to be blamed somehow; also trickle down is linked, culturally, to the concept of job creators, and the idea that workers only have an income because of the awesomeness of said job creators, which leads tho the idea that immigrants are also so to speak eating from the same dish, and thus robbing workers from their income.

CDT 08.13.18 at 2:41 am (no link)
@likbez --

That's a good critique of the electoral disaster that the Democrats brought upon themselves by adopting neoliberal economic policies at the dawn of the DLC. But it's delusional to think that Trump's restoration of gilded age economic policies will help working people, white or otherwise.

likbez 08.13.18 at 9:37 pm ( 34 )

It's why likbez is so sure that Clinton is somehow a bigger crook than Trump. That is just crazy.

He was just not the neoliberal establishment supported crook, or pretended to be such;-) That was enough for many people who are fed up with the system to vote for him. Just to show middle finger to neoliberal establishment personalized by Hillary Clinton.

On a more serious note, while I do assume that voting for Trump was a form of social protest against the current version of neoliberalism in the USA, I do not automatically assume that the social system that will eventually replace the current US flavor of neoliberalism will be an improvement for bottom 90% of population.

[Aug 14, 2018] No matter how globalism is repackaged, it always smells the same way in the end.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,

No matter how globalism is repackaged, it always smells the same way in the end.

For decades, the globalists have subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) been moving us toward a world in which national borders have essentially been made meaningless . The ultimate goal, of course, is to merge all the nations of the world into a "one world socialist utopia" with a global government, a global economic system and even a global religion.

The European Union is a model for what the elite hope to achieve eventually on a global scale . The individual nations still exist, but once inside the European Union you can travel wherever you want, economic rules have been standardized across the Union, and European institutions now have far more power than the national governments.

Liberty and freedom have been greatly restricted for the "common good", and a giant horde of nameless, faceless bureaucrats constantly micromanages the details of daily life down to the finest details.

With each passing day the EU becomes more Orwellian in nature, and that is why so many in Europe are completely fed up with it.

Rich Monk Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

The (((Money Changers))) have always been Humanity's greatest threat!

taketheredpill Tue, 08/14/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

I would support TERM LIMITS on Congress and Senate...

[Aug 14, 2018] Pope Francis and the Caring Society

Book review
Notable quotes:
"... not all forms of economic liberalization are equally good: some reforms can be so inadequately designed as to harm the interests of the poor, especially in the short term. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.independent.org

Societies marked by oligarchy, that is, rigged to help the privileged elites at the expense of everyone else, require more than merely the removal of anti-competitive rules and regulations. The reason, according to Martinez, is that not all forms of economic liberalization are equally good: some reforms can be so inadequately designed as to harm the interests of the poor, especially in the short term.

This raises the questions: Are the poor better off under a market economy? Is the invisible hand conducive to giving people a hand? Pope Francis's assessment is often negative. "[U]nbridled capitalism," he has claimed, "has taught the logic of profit at any cost, of giving in order to receive, of exploitation without looking at the person."

...Although the pope is on target in his admonition against worshipping the false god of a "deified market," according to Waterman, his encyclical Laudato si' is flawed, due in no small measure to its failure to acknowledge the good that markets do by channeling self-interest to serve the common good.

[Aug 14, 2018] Trump's Trade War with China Undermining China's Dependence on Neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Trump in fact was not the consensus candidate of the American capitalist class back to the 2016 election. So with respect to these economic policies, especially about his trade protectionist measures, these new tariffs imposed on the Chinese goods, let's put it this way: These are not, certainly not the traditional kind of neoliberal economic policy as we know it. So some sections of the American manufacturing sector [capitalists] may be happy about this. But I would say the majority of the American capitalists probably would not approve this kind of trade war against China. ..."
"... So on the Chinese part, ironically, China very much depends on these overall what Martin Wolf called liberal global order, which might better be called the model of global neoliberal capitalism. So China actually much more depends on that. ..."
"... despite whatever happened to the U.S., China would still be committed to the model of openness, committed to privatization and the financial liberalization. The Chinese government has declared new measures to open up a few economic sectors to foreign investment. ..."
"... for China to rearrange towards this kind of domestic consumption-led model of economic development, the necessary condition is that you have income, wealth redistribution towards the workers, towards poor people. And that is something that the Chinese capitalists will resist. And so that is why and so far China has not succeeded in transforming itself away from this export-led model based on exploitation of cheap labor. ..."
"... first of all, China is not socialist at all today. So income of economic sector, the [space] sector accounts for a small number, a small fraction of the overall economy, by various measurements. ..."
"... And so it's expected China will also become the world's largest importer of natural gas by the year 2019. So you are going to have China to be simultaneously the largest importer of oil, natural gas, and coal. ..."
"... let's say the Chinese government right now, even though is led by the so-called Communist Party, is actually much more committed to the neoliberal global order that the Trump administration in the U.S. ..."
"... The Trump administration of this trade protectionist policy, although not justified, it reflects fundamental social conflicts within the U.S. itself, and that probably cannot be sorted out by the Americans' current political system. ..."
"... So the overall neoliberal regime has become much more unstable. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | therealnews.com

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.

The Financial Times chief economic columnist Martin Wolf has called Trump's trade wars with Europe and Canada, but obviously the big target is China, he's called this a war on the liberal world order. Well, what does this mean for China? China's strategy, the distinct road to socialism which seems to take a course through various forms of state hypercapitalism. What does this mean for China? The Chinese strategy was developed in what they thought would be a liberal world order. Now it may not be that at all.

Now joining us to discuss what the trade war means for China, and to have a broader conversation on just what is the Chinese model of state capitalism is Minqi Li, who now joins us from Utah. Minqi is the professor, is a professor of economics at the University of Utah. He's the author of The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy, and the editor of Red China website. Thanks for joining us again, Minqi.

MINQI LI: Thank you, Paul.

PAUL JAY: So I don't think anyone, including the Chinese, was expecting President Trump to be president Trump. But once he was elected, it was pretty clear that Trump and Bannon and the various cabal around Trump, the plan was twofold. One, regime change in Iran, which also has consequences for China. And trade war with China. It was declared that they were going to take on China and change in a fundamental way the economic relationship with China and the United States. And aimed, to a large extent, trying to deal with the rise of China as an equal, or becoming equal, economy, and perhaps someday in the not-too-distant future an equal global power, certainly as seen through the eyes of not just Trumpians in Washington, but much of the Washington political and economic elites.

So what does this mean for China's strategy now? Xi Jinping is now the leader of the party, leader of the government, put at a level virtually equal to Mao Tse-tung. But his plan for development of the Chinese economy did not, I don't think, factor in a serious trade war with the United States.

MINQI LI: OK. As you said, Trump was not expected. Which meant that Trump in fact was not the consensus candidate of the American capitalist class back to the 2016 election. So with respect to these economic policies, especially about his trade protectionist measures, these new tariffs imposed on the Chinese goods, let's put it this way: These are not, certainly not the traditional kind of neoliberal economic policy as we know it. So some sections of the American manufacturing sector [capitalists] may be happy about this. But I would say the majority of the American capitalists probably would not approve this kind of trade war against China.

Now, on the Chinese part, and we know that China has been on these parts, there was capitalist development, and moreover it has been based on export-led economic growth model and with exploitation of cheap labor. So on the Chinese part, ironically, China very much depends on these overall what Martin Wolf called liberal global order, which might better be called the model of global neoliberal capitalism. So China actually much more depends on that.

And so you have, indeed there are serious trade conflicts between China and U.S. that will, of course, undermine China's economic model. And so far China has responded to these new threats of trade war by promising that China, despite whatever happened to the U.S., China would still be committed to the model of openness, committed to privatization and the financial liberalization. The Chinese government has declared new measures to open up a few economic sectors to foreign investment.

Now, with respect to the trade itself, at the moment the U.S. has imposed tariffs on, 25 percent tariffs on the worth of $34 billion of Chinese goods. And then Trump has threatened to impose new tariffs on the additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. But this amount at the moment is still a small part of China's economy, about 3 percent of the Chinese GDP. So the impact at the moment is limited, but certainly has created a lot of uncertainty for the global and the Chinese business community.

PAUL JAY: So given that this trade war could, one, get a lot bigger and a lot more serious, and/or even if they kind of patch it up for now, there's a lot of forces within the United States, both for economic and geopolitical reasons. Economic being the discussion about China taking American intellectual property rights, becoming the new tech sector hub of the world, even overpassing the American tech sector, which then has geopolitical implications; especially when it comes to the military. If China becomes more advanced the United States in artificial intelligence as applied to the military, that starts to, at least in American geopolitical eyes, threaten American hegemony around the world.

There are a lot of reasons building up, and it's certainly not new, and it's not just Trump. For various ways, the Americans want to restrain China. Does this start to make the Chinese think that they need to speed up the process of becoming more dependent on their own domestic market and less interested in exporting cheap labor? But for that to happen Chinese wages have to go up a lot more significantly, which butts into the interests of the Chinese billionaire class.

MINQI LI: I think you are right. And so for China to rearrange towards this kind of domestic consumption-led model of economic development, the necessary condition is that you have income, wealth redistribution towards the workers, towards poor people. And that is something that the Chinese capitalists will resist. And so that is why and so far China has not succeeded in transforming itself away from this export-led model based on exploitation of cheap labor.

PAUL JAY: You know, there's some sections of the left in various parts of the world that do see the Chinese model as a more rational version of capitalism, and do see this because they've maintained the control of the Chinese Communist Party over the politics, and over economic planning, that do see this idea that this is somehow leading China towards a kind of socialism. If nothing else, a more rational planned kind of capitalism. Is that, is there truth to this?

MINQI LI: Well, first of all, China is not socialist at all today. So income of economic sector, the [space] sector accounts for a small number, a small fraction of the overall economy, by various measurements.

And then regarding the rationality of China's economic model, you might put it this way: The Chinese capitalists might be more rational than the American capitalists in the sense that they still use most of their profits for investment, instead of just financial speculation. So that might be rational from the capitalist perspective. But on the other hand, regarding the exploitation of workers- and the Chinese workers still have to work under sweatshop conditions- and regarding the damage to the environment, the Chinese model is not rational at all.

PAUL JAY: My understanding of people that think this model works better, at least, than some of the other capitalist models is that there's a need to go through this phase of Chinese workers, yes, working in sweatshop conditions, and yes, wages relatively low. But overall, the Chinese economy has grown by leaps and bounds, and China's position in the world is more and more powerful. And this creates the situation, as more wealth accumulates, China is better positioned to address some of the critical issues facing China and the world. And then, as bad as pollution is, and such, China does appear to be out front in terms of developing green technologies, solar, sustainable technology.

MINQI LI: OK. Now, Chinese economy has indeed been growing rapidly. It used to grow like double-digit growth rate before 2010. But now China's growth rate has slowed down just under 7 percent in recent years, according to the official statistics. And moreover, a significant part of China's growth these days derives rom the real estate sector development. And so there has been this discussion about this growing housing market bubble. And it used to be that this housing price inflation was limited to a few big cities. But for the first half of 2018, according to the latest data, the national average housing price has grown by 11 percent compared to the same period last year. And that translates into a pace of doubling every six years.

And so that has generated lots of social resentment. And so not only the working class these days are priced out of the housing market. Moreover, even the middle class is increasingly priced out of the housing market. So that is the major concern. And in the long run, I think that China's current model of accumulation will also face the challenge of growing social conflicts. Worker protests. As well as resources constrained and environmental damage. And regarding the issue of China's investment in renewable energy, it is true. China is the largest investor in renewable energy development, in the solar panels. And although China is of all the largest investor in about everything.

And so China is still the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, accounting for almost 30 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in the world every year. And then China's own oil production in decline, but China's oil consumption is still rising. So as a result, China has become the world's largest oil importer. That could make the Chinese economy vulnerable to the next major oil price shock.

PAUL JAY: And how seriously is climate change science taken in China? If one takes the science seriously, one sees the need for urgent transformation to green technology. An urgent reduction of carbon emission. Not gradual, not incremental, but urgent. Did the Chinese- I mean, it's not, it's so not taken seriously in the United States that a climate denier can get elected president. But did the Chinese take this more seriously? Because you don't get the same, any sense of urgency about their policy, either.

MINQI LI: Well, yeah. So like many other governments, the Chinese government also pays lip service to the obligation of climate stabilization. But unfortunately, with respect to policy, with respect to mainstream media, it's not taken very seriously within China. And so although China's carbon dioxide emissions actually stabilized somewhat over the past few years, but is starting to grow again in 2017, and I expect it will continue to grow in the coming year.

PAUL JAY: I mean, I can understand why, for example, Russia is not in any hurry to buy into climate change science. Its whole economy depends on oil. Canada also mostly pays lip service because the Alberta tar sands is so important to the Canadian economy. Shale oil is so important to the American economy, as well as the American oil companies own oil under the ground all over the world. But China is not an oil country. You know, they're not dependent on oil income. You'd think it'd be in China's interest to be far more aggressive, not only in terms of how good it looks to the world that China would be the real leader in mitigating, reducing, eliminating the use of carbon-based fuels, but still they're not. I mean, not at the rate scientists say needs to be done.

MINQI LI: Not at all. Although China does not depend on all on oil for income, but China depends on coal a lot. And the coal is still something like 60 percent of China's overall energy consumption. And so it's still very important for China's energy.

PAUL JAY: What- Minqi, where does the coal mostly come from? Don't they import a lot of that coal?

MINQI LI: Mostly from China itself. Even though, you know, China is the world's largest coal producer, on top of that China is either the largest or the second-largest coal importer in the world market as well. And then on top of that, China is also consuming an increasing amount of oil and natural gas, especially natural gas. And so although natural gas is not as polluting as coal, it's still polluting. And so it's expected China will also become the world's largest importer of natural gas by the year 2019. So you are going to have China to be simultaneously the largest importer of oil, natural gas, and coal.

PAUL JAY: The Chinese party, just to get back to the trade war issue and to end up with, the idea of this Chinese nation standing up, Chinese sovereignty, Chinese nationalism, it's a powerful theme within this new Chinese discourse. I'm not saying Chinese nationalism is new, but it's got a whole new burst of energy. How does China, if necessary to reach some kind of compromise with the United States on the trade war, how does China do that without looking like it's backing down to Trump?

MINQI LI: Well, yes, difficult task for the Chinese party to balance. What they have been right now is that on the one hand they promise to the domestic audience they are not going to make concessions towards the U.S., while in fact they are probably making concessions. And then on the other hand the outside world, and they make announcement that they will not change from the reform and openness policy, which in practice means that they will not change from the neoliberal direction of China's development, and they will continue down the path towards financial liberalization. And so that is what they are trying to balance right now.

PAUL JAY: I said finally, but this is finally. Do the Americans have a case? Does the Trump argument have a legitimate case that the Chinese, on the one hand, want a liberal world order in terms of trade, and open markets, and such? On the other hand are not following intellectual property law, property rights and law, the way other advanced capitalist countries supposedly do. Is there something to that case?

MINQI LI: Well, you know, let's say the Chinese government right now, even though is led by the so-called Communist Party, is actually much more committed to the neoliberal global order that the Trump administration in the U.S. - but I don't want to make justifications for the neoliberal global order. But let's put it this way: The Trump administration of this trade protectionist policy, although not justified, it reflects fundamental social conflicts within the U.S. itself, and that probably cannot be sorted out by the Americans' current political system.

PAUL JAY: So the crisis- you know, when you look at the American side and the Chinese side, including the deep debt bomb people talk about in China, there really is no sorting out of this crisis.

MINQI LI: So the overall neoliberal regime has become much more unstable.

PAUL JAY: All right. Thanks for joining us, Minqi. I hope we can pick this up again soon.

MINQI LI: OK. Thank you.

PAUL JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

[Aug 14, 2018] Technocrats Rule Democracy Is 'OK' As Long As The People Rubberstamp Our Leadership

Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike.

We are in a very peculiar ideological and political place in which Democracy (oh sainted Democracy) is a very good thing, unless the voters reject the technocrat class's leadership. Then the velvet gloves come off. From the perspective of the elites and their technocrat apparatchiks, elections have only one purpose: to rubberstamp their leadership.

As a general rule, this is easily managed by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising and bribes to the cartels and insider fiefdoms who pony up most of the cash.

This is why incumbents win the vast majority of elections. Once in power, they issue the bribes and payoffs needed to guarantee funding next election cycle.

The occasional incumbent who is voted out of office made one of two mistakes:

1. He/she showed a very troubling bit of independence from the technocrat status quo, so a more orthodox candidate is selected to eliminate him/her.

2. The incumbent forgot to put on a charade of "listening to my constituency" etc.

If restive voters can't be bamboozled into passively supporting the technocrat status quo with the usual propaganda, divide and conquer is the preferred strategy. Only voting for the technocrat class (of any party, it doesn't really matter) will save us from the evil Other : Deplorables, socialists, commies, fascists, etc.

In extreme cases where the masses confound the status quo by voting against the technocrat class (i.e. against globalization, financialization, Empire), then the elites/technocrats will punish them with austerity or a managed recession. The technocrat's core ideology boils down to this:

1. The masses are dangerously incapable of making wise decisions about anything, so we have to persuade them to do our bidding. Any dissent will be punished, marginalized, censored or shut down under some pretext of "protecting the public" or violation of some open-ended statute.

2. To insure this happy outcome, we must use all the powers of propaganda, up to and including rigged statistics, bogus "facts" (official fake news can't be fake news, etc.), divide and conquer, fear-mongering, misdirection and so on.

3. We must relentlessly centralize all power, wealth and authority so the masses have no escape or independence left to threaten us. We must control everything, for their own good of course.

4. Globalization must be presented not as a gargantuan fraud that has stripmined the planet and its inhabitants, but as the sole wellspring of endless, permanent prosperity.

5. If the masses refuse to rubberstamp our leadership, they will be punished and told the source of their punishment is their rejection of globalization, financialization and Empire.

Technocrats rule the world, East and West alike. My two favorite charts of the outcome of technocrats running things to suit their elite masters are:

The state-cartel-crony-capitalist version: the top .1% skim the vast majority of the gains in income and wealth. Globalization, financialization and Empire sure do rack up impressive gains. Too bad they're concentrated in the top 1.%.

The state-crony-socialist version: the currency is destroyed, impoverishing everyone but the top .1% who transferred their wealth to Miami, London and Zurich long ago. Hmm, do you discern a pattern here in the elite-technocrat regime?

Ideology is just a cover you slip over the machine to mask what's really going on.

* * *

My new book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com .

[Aug 14, 2018] Censorship Is What Happens When Powerful People Get Scared

Notable quotes:
"... Facebook employees said privately over the past several months that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wants to outsource many of the most sensitive political decisions, leaving fact-checking to media groups and geopolitics to think tanks. The more he succeeds, the fewer complications for Facebook's expansion, the smaller its payroll, and the more plausible its positioning as a neutral platform. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment. ..."
"... The establishment "elites" are in such denial about the consequences of the world they created, all they can do is spastically attack symptoms. Trump didn't divide U.S. society and Alex Jones didn't cause our widespread (and entirely justifiably) distrust in institutions; the status quo system did that via its spectacular failures. Trump's election and Alex Jones' popularity are merely symptoms of an incredibly corrupt and failed status quo paradigm, the stewards of which continually refuse to take a look in the mirror, accept blame and reform. ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

"Only the weak hit the fly with a hammer."

– Bangambiki Habyarimana

Anyone who tells you the recent escalation of censorship by U.S. tech giants is merely a reflection of private companies making independent decisions is either lying or dangerously ignorant.

In the case of Facebook, the road from pseudo-platform to willing and enthusiastic tool of establishment power players is fairly straightforward. It really got going earlier this year when issues surrounding egregious privacy violations in the case of Cambridge Analytica (stuff that had been going on for years ) could finally be linked to the Trump campaign. It was at this point that powerful and nefarious forces spotted an opportunity to leverage the company's gigantic influence in distributing news and opinion for their own ends. Rather than hold executives to account and break up the company, the choice was made to commandeer and weaponize the platform. This is where we stand today.

Let's not whitewash history though. These tech companies have been compliant, out of control government snitches for a long time. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we're aware of the deep and longstanding cooperation between these lackeys and U.S. intelligence agencies in the realm of mass surveillance. As such, the most recent transformation of these companies into full fledged information gatekeepers should be seen in its proper context; merely as a dangerous continuation and expansion of an already entrenched reality.

But it's all out in the open now. Facebook isn't even hiding the fact that it's outsourcing much of its "fake news" analysis to the Atlantic Council, a think tank funded by NATO, Gulf States and defense contractors. As reported by Reuters :

Facebook began looking for outside help amid criticism for failing to rein in Russian propaganda ahead of the 2016 presidential elections

With scores of its own cybersecurity professionals and $40 billion in annual revenue in 2017, Facebook might not seem in need of outside help.

It doesn't need outside help, it needs political cover, which is the real driver behind this.

But the lab and Atlantic Council bring geopolitical expertise and allow Facebook to distance itself from sensitive pronouncements. On last week's call with reporters, Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer, said the company should not be expected to identify or blame specific governments for all the campaigns it detects.

"Companies like ours don't have the necessary information to evaluate the relationship between political motivations that we infer about an adversary and the political goals of a nation-state," said Stamos, who is leaving the company this month for a post at Stanford University. Instead, he said Facebook would stick to amassing digital evidence and turning it over to authorities and researchers.

It would also be awkward for Facebook to accuse a government of wrongdoing when the company is trying to enter or expand in a market under that government's control.

Facebook donated an undisclosed amount to the lab in May that was enough, said Graham Brookie, who runs the lab, to vault the company to the top of the Atlantic Council's donor list, alongside the British government.

Facebook employees said privately over the past several months that Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg wants to outsource many of the most sensitive political decisions, leaving fact-checking to media groups and geopolitics to think tanks. The more he succeeds, the fewer complications for Facebook's expansion, the smaller its payroll, and the more plausible its positioning as a neutral platform. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

With that in mind go ahead and check out the Atlantic Council's donor list and all the shady characters on its board .

Now that it's been established that Facebook is in fact censoring based on advice provided by former spooks and other assorted establishment charlatans, let's talk about what this means. I think there are two major takeaways.

First and foremost, the entire push to make arbitrary de-platforming by tech giants the new norm proves the establishment is scared to death. The very powerful folks accustomed to manipulating and shaping the world via narrative creation aren't terrified about what Alex Jones says, they're terrified that it's popular. The establishment "elites" are in such denial about the consequences of the world they created, all they can do is spastically attack symptoms. Trump didn't divide U.S. society and Alex Jones didn't cause our widespread (and entirely justifiably) distrust in institutions; the status quo system did that via its spectacular failures. Trump's election and Alex Jones' popularity are merely symptoms of an incredibly corrupt and failed status quo paradigm, the stewards of which continually refuse to take a look in the mirror, accept blame and reform.

The way I see it, two key events of the 21st century directly led to the situation we find ourselves in currently. The launching of the Iraq war based on false evidence spread by intelligence agencies, politicians and the media, and the decision to bail out bankers and protect them from jail in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Combined, these two things created an environment of anger and distrust in which nearly anything becomes possible politically and socially. Trump and Alex Jones are symptoms of a failing society, not the root causes of it.

If I'm right about this, censorship of such voices by SilIcon Valley billionaires will backfire spectacularly. Alex Jones has now been made a martyr by tech oligarchs and deep state think tanks, which gives him more street cred than he had before. De-platforming does nothing to the demand side of the equation when it comes to his content, as we saw with his Infowars app soaring in the charts soon after the purge. If people want to find Alex Jones and Infowars, they will find it. Moreover, other communities are beginning to wake up to how dangerous all of this is. For example, last week we witnessed a growing number of Bitcoiners create accounts at decentralized Twitter-alternative Mastodon in case Jack Dorsey decides to step up censorship there.

Ultimately, it's safer for society to have open public forums where all ideas -- whether you consider them dangerous and crazy or not -- can be openly expressed alongside each other. That way we can see what's out there and debate or debunk them in front of large and diverse audiences.

This is 2018 and de-platforming popular content won't make it go away. It'll just shift it over into areas of the internet you can't see, where it'll fester and grow stronger over time in even more intense and radicalized echo chambers. You'll think it's gone from society because it's been safely cleansed from your corporate-government Facebook timeline, but it may grow even stronger in the shadows. This is particularly the case in a nation dominated by an entrenched, corrupt and unaccountable elitist class. One that refuses to confront the reality of its monumental failures, and instead chooses to self-interestedly obsess over what are just symptoms of a decadent empire in decline.

* * *

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Kan Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:12 Permalink

HighImpactFlix on youtube was first, and nobody sounded the alarm... Then Infowars...

hedgeless_horseman -> wildbad Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:23 Permalink

2. Read, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-06/hedgelesshorsemans-revolution

Expendable Container -> cheka Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:16 Permalink

"BLOCKED LIVES MATTER TOO!"

https://europeansworldwide.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/blocked-lives-matte

"There is also international fury over Facebook's denial of a platform of Infowars and Alex Jones. One of the self-proclaimed media Masters of the Universe is facing anger from multiple groups. One report says that to appease the hard-left, Israeli-controlled Facebook pulled the plug on 40 million users in July alone .

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and internet providers abuse their monopoly by deciding who and what information should be available to the public. It is a sinister reminder of life in the past when corporate-owned media, in alliance with government, manipulated minds by spinning news and information

As well as Alex Jones, Ron Paul, David Icke, SGT report and ex-CIA Michael Scheuer, hundreds of sites critical of Zionism or Globalism have been denied access to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms . YouTube allows promotion of abortion; even provide recipes for abortion food but remove academic opinions being aired....."

Adolfsteinbergovitch -> lisaroy728 Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:52 Permalink

BTW, did Google fire you recently? You no longer have your fancy car...

gmrpeabody -> Last of the Mi Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:20 Permalink

" ... as if their echo chamber somehow extended onto the internet... yea.... right... "

Actually, their echo chamber IS the internet... (and social media)

cheka -> gmrpeabody Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:32 Permalink

this crap shifted into high gear after the unite the right fiasco. been going on a long time. web hosting companies banned many MANY of the best websites right after that production

Brazen Heist II -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:07 Permalink

What the surveillance technocracy is doing right now is a trial run... Too little too late.

Brazen Heist II -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:50 Permalink

The plebs will be demanding their chains.

Karl Marxist -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:51 Permalink

But CIA and Pentagon have bought off all platforms, all mainstream media. When I say CIA and Pentagon I mean Israel. Whose idea was it for the NSA and mass surveillance? Israel. Whose idea is it to implement SWAT as S.O.P. of all police in the entire country and world? Israel. Whose idea is it to jail someone into solitary confinement long before any charges are filed (Michael Coen, Tommy Robinson, Assange)? Israel. Who is Silicon Valley, all tech? Israel Inside. Israel manufactures Intel chips and set exploits specifically for surveillance on anyone's personal device. Yet Congress just voted for $38 billion to Israel over the next 10 years. Here at home -- TV, Rachael Maddow and the rest making double digit millions to propagandise and foment madness, normalize child sex abuse and torture and protect Israel from all real and true scrutiny.

EcoJoker -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:05 Permalink

We deserve everything we get. Period. We don't hold anyone accountable, either by court or by assassination. We're pathetic citizens of a usurped nation.

Southern_Patriot -> EcoJoker Tue, 08/14/2018 - 14:08 Permalink

Sadly, this is the truth. As a peoole we have become pathetic and weak. Not by choice mind you, but by design. People lived long before vaccines and fluoride in the water.

If you must use social media, as we all should, its a great source for information and discussion, try the new app called Mumblit.

conraddobler -> DuneCreature Tue, 08/14/2018 - 13:20 Permalink

Same battle as it ever was.

The father of lies vs the rest of the spiritual world whatever that is to you.

It really is just good vs evil and it's funny what teammates you end up with but in the grand scheme of things even if Trump is doing someone else's bidding there is a greater plan.

I think too many don't understand that Trump was part of a marketing plan put there by the same people he's just a change of management style.

They were never going to put Hillary in there she's not a like able enough person, her husband was, she's not, and that's a terrible flaw for a national level politician.

It was simply a management change to buy time.

Everything to me is a matter of divide and conquer, they are splitting the population right down the middle for a reason to buy more time.

Why?

Well obviously to finish implementing the control grid of course and I think it's at the stage now they are confident they can move on it.

AI is scheduled to be our new overlord and we'll all be powerless to defend ourselves from it when it's fully engaged.

The primary defenders of our civilization come complete with an entire mythos that even predicts all this conveniently allow certain folks to rapture out of it and leaving the rest of us to deal with the wickedness on our own.

It's a matrix of control but who's doing the controlling? Why?

We are indoctrinated that this world is not our ultimate reward, this world is Satan's world and our ultimate reward comes in heaven not the earth.

Maybe that's true, maybe that's just the lie they tell you to keep you in line?

The only hope humanity has is a war among elites, only that is going to save us, we need division among our adversaries what's good for the goose is good for the gander type of thing.

DuneCreature -> conraddobler Tue, 08/14/2018 - 14:23 Permalink

Good post. Yeah it all gets deep and takes serious reflection. Then you have to eat. And defend yourself. And keep yourself from just wanting to pull the ejection handle.

... ... ...

Expendable Container -> SmackDaddy Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:58 Permalink

Yes. The article says "The very powerful folks accustomed to manipulating and shaping the world via narrative creation..."

This Zionist Communist Global Dictatorship have done just that - they have set ethnic-European females against our wonderful males by turning them into feminazis who love pseudo victimhood and the blame game. And look what is the UNTOLD STORY OF OUR MEN:

"SUICIDE KILLS MORE MEN THAN WAR"

https://europeansworldwide.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/suicide-kills-more-

Space_Cowboy -> SmackDaddy Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:50 Permalink

Here in the SF Bay area,

I still have the privilege of having a neighbor who went through the Great Depression, and fought in WWII.

He's traditionally an old school Democrat, but even he admitted society out here has lost it.

He's also about the only person I truly relate to, and can have a pleasant, high-cognitive, logical conversation with these days.

Now imagine being him (in his 90's), fully coherent, and seeing these spoiled, brainwashed little shits out here, and those in NYC and DC, run amuck actively tearing down the American society along with older Western values that were built in the modern age by his generation, damn.

purdySun -> SmackDaddy Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:55 Permalink

Maybe Boomers were distracted. Viet Nam and "free" sex. And now they're under-the-jackboot, like everyone else.

purdySun -> SmackDaddy Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:56 Permalink

Sorry, Boomers aren't the Perpetrators, only the Pawns. And generational conflict is just another divisive issue for the livestock.

BlackChicken -> hedgeless_horseman Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:31 Permalink

The left is scared, and rightly so. They are actually drawing more attention to the voices they wish to cancel out. Typical liberal/leftist cluelessness.

philipat -> BlackChicken Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:33 Permalink

The left is the other side of the same coin as the right. And they are all promoted by the "Elites", who ARE scared.

William Dorritt -> philipat Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:42 Permalink

John Kay......MONSTER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk3sURDS4IA

samsara -> William Dorritt Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:09 Permalink

<snip>

The spirit was freedom and justice
And it's keepers seem generous and kind
It's leaders were supposed to serve the country
But now they won't pay it no mind
'Cause the people grew fat and got lazy
And now their vote is a meaningless joke
They babble about law and order
But it's all just an echo of what they've been told
Yeah, there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watchin'

Our cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin' the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can't understand
We don't know how to mind our own business
'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who's the winner
We can't pay the cost
'Cause there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watching

(America)
America where are you now?
Don't you care about your sons and daughters?
Don't you know we need you now
We can't fight alone against the monster

</snip>

Read more: Steppenwolf - Monster Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Grouchy-Bear -> samsara Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:30 Permalink

It should be our national anthem...

Ron_Mexico -> samsara Tue, 08/14/2018 - 13:39 Permalink

well, we all got limited time here on this blue marble, so I say instead (that's right, u know dat's right):

"Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway

Lookin' for adventure in whatever comes our way."

Ima anal sphincter -> William Dorritt Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:25 Permalink

Never even heard that song before. Lyrics are spot on. 40+ years old and true as ever.

William Dorritt -> Ima anal sphincter Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:40 Permalink

Why would the Oligarchs allow Monster to be played on their Radio or streaming services ?

I wonder how long you would have to be on Spotify before Monster Played ?

samsara -> William Dorritt Tue, 08/14/2018 - 11:09 Permalink

If you listen to the radio much, you will see that the 60's, 70's etc have been filtered. They ONLY play songs they approve of.

No MONSTER

No Working Class Hero

on and on.

<Snip>

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function you're so full of fear

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Read more: John Lennon - Working Class Hero Lyrics | MetroLyrics

</snip>

Slaytheist -> philipat Tue, 08/14/2018 - 09:27 Permalink

Agreed. But it doesn't mean that sides don't matter. They adhere to the Frankfort school of thought, which takes from Hegel, the dialectic of politics. By Frankfort, I mean Bolsheviks. They fund the Left and Right to move the mind of society in general, through Thesis, Anti-thesis or Left/Right, to a compromise where the desired solution was known. This is now evident in the caging of speech to include ONLY the dialectic. Same story repeating itself, every time Bolsheviks are allowed to feed on the public.

philipat -> wildbad Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:25 Permalink

Despite their best efforts, they can't block the internet.

And as Ayn Rand famously said "You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of reality". The Middle Class is dying, the American dream is dead, the Millenials are still living in Mom's basement and developing ideas about "Democratic Socialism" involving more Free Shit and Bigger Government, largely because of the above and because they have never been given an opportunity to experience real free market capitalism.

That's not a real good sign for the future?

He-He That Tickles -> philipat Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:30 Permalink

That will come as a last ditch effort to put the milk back in the bottle. I'm sure everyone will just forget everything and go on with their slave life*

*Those of us designated as the workers to pay for all the shitheads, that is. The shitheads will be fine with being ignorant. To fix anything might mean they have to work. "Fuck that" is what they will always say until they are forced to go cold turkey.

44magnum -> wildbad Tue, 08/14/2018 - 08:45 Permalink

Is the Atlantic council where old ... gangsters go to retire?

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

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

World acclaimed Marxist thinker Samir Amin dies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why the crackdown?

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"They recovered none of their investment."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Nelson August 9, 2018 at 10:36 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT ARE YOU, SOME KIND OF COMMUNIST?

THE FREE MARKET WILL SOLVE IT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ethnically homogenous, culturally rich, urban white neighborhoods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great article, thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DOA. Sorry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

Right! And I agree with Fran AND Thomas Hobbes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authored by Adam Taggart via PeakProsperity.com,

A 'great reset' approaches...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As he puts it himself:

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

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

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

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

Eventually, Dave will be correct.

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

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

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

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

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

"Lurches violently into reverse"

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

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

Dear Cherie girl,

There is no second act in American lives

- R Scott Fitzgerald

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

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

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

--The Protocols (1905)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The boner that is..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOL.

1. Life always finds a way to survive.

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

3. The apocalyse porn industry is remarkably resilient

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 16, 2010

The Australian

Excerpts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 'gas' is infinite.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The economics of the neoliberal era had a fundamental flaw.

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

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

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

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

The damage is done and the collapse begins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Aug 12, 2018] Economics, Trumpism and Migration

Aug 12, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

nastywoman 08.12.18 at 4:11 am 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@Not Henry Kissinger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Aug 11, 2018] Economics, Trumpism and Migration

Aug 11, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

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

likbez>, 08.11.18 at 7:52 pm 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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

... ... ...

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


alexander hamilton new york July 17

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

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

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

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

Conservative Democrat WV July 17

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

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

Maqroll North Florida July 17 Times Pick

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

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

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

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

WPLMMT New York City July 17 Times Pick

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

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

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

gpickard Luxembourg July 17 Times Pick

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

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

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

c smith Pittsburgh July 17

Soros is an enemy of the middle and working classes in America.