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Populism Bulletin, 2017

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[Dec 31, 2017] Anti-Populism Ideology of the Ruling Class by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... ' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers. ..."
"... The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers. ..."
"... Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns. ..."
"... The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite. ..."
"... The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists. ..."
"... In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters. ..."
Jul 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Throughout the US and European corporate and state media, right and left, we are told that ' populism' has become the overarching threat to democracy, freedom and . . . free markets. The media's ' anti-populism' campaign has been used and abused by ruling elites and their academic and intellectual camp followers as the principal weapon to distract, discredit and destroy the rising tide of mass discontent with ruling class-imposed austerity programs, the accelerating concentration of wealth and the deepening inequalities.

We will begin by examining the conceptual manipulation of ' populism' and its multiple usages. Then we will turn to the historic economic origins of populism and anti-populism. Finally, we will critically analyze the contemporary movements and parties dubbed ' populist' by the ideologues of ' anti-populism' .

Conceptual Manipulation

In order to understand the current ideological manipulation accompanying ' anti-populism ' it is necessary to examine the historical roots of populism as a popular movement.

Populism emerged during the 19 th and 20 th century as an ideology, movement and government in opposition to autocracy, feudalism, capitalism, imperialism and socialism. In the United States, populist leaders led agrarian struggles backed by millions of small farmers in opposition to bankers, railroad magnates and land speculators. Opposing monopolistic practices of the 'robber barons', the populist movement supported broad-based commercial agriculture, access to low interest farm credit and reduced transport costs.

In all cases, the populist governments in Latin America were based on a coalition of nationalist capitalists, urban workers and the rural poor. In some notable cases, nationalist military officers brought populist governments to power. What they had in common was their opposition to foreign capital and its local supporters and exporters ('compradores'), bankers and their elite military collaborators. Populists promoted 'third way' politics by opposing imperialism on the right, and socialism and communism on the left. The populists supported the redistribution of wealth but not the expropriation of property. They sought to reconcile national capitalists and urban workers. They opposed class struggle but supported state intervention in the economy and import-substitution as a development strategy.

Imperialist powers were the leading anti-populists of that period. They defended property privileges and condemned nationalism as 'authoritarian' and undemocratic. They demonized the mass support for populism as 'a threat to Western Christian civilization'. Not infrequently, the anti-populists ideologues would label the national-populists as 'fascists' . . . even as they won numerous elections at different times and in a variety of countries.

The historical experience of populism, in theory and practice, has nothing to do with what today's ' anti-populists' in the media are calling ' populism' . In reality, current anti-populism is still a continuation of anti-communism , a political weapon to disarm working class and popular movements. It advances the class interest of the ruling class. Both 'anti's' have been orchestrated by ruling class ideologues seeking to blur the real nature of their 'pro-capitalist' privileged agenda and practice. Presenting your program as 'pro-capitalist', pro-inequalities, pro-tax evasion and pro-state subsidies for the elite is more difficult to defend at the ballot box than to claim to be ' anti-populist' .

' Anti-populism' is the simple ruling class formula for covering-up their real agenda, which is pro-militarist, pro-imperialist (globalization), pro-'rebels' (i.e. mercenary terrorists working for regime change), pro crisis makers and pro-financial swindlers.

The economic origins of ' anti-populism' are rooted in the deep and repeated crises of capitalism and the need to deflect and discredit mass discontent and demoralize the popular classes in struggle. By demonizing ' populism', the elites seek to undermine the rising tide of anger over the elite-imposed wage cuts, the rise of low-paid temporary jobs and the massive increase in the reserve army of cheap immigrant labor to compete with displaced native workers.

Historic 'anti-populism' has its roots in the inability of capitalism to secure popular consent via elections. It reflects their anger and frustration at their failure to grow the economy, to conquer and exploit independent countries and to finance growing fiscal deficits.

The Amalgamation of Historical Populism with the Contemporary Fabricated Populism

What the current anti-populists ideologues label ' populism' has little to do with the historical movements.

Unlike all of the past populist governments, which sought to nationalize strategic industries, none of the current movements and parties, denounced as 'populist' by the media, are anti-imperialists. In fact, the current ' populists' attack the lowest classes and defend the imperialist-allied capitalist elites. The so-called current ' populists' support imperialist wars and bank swindlers, unlike the historical populists who were anti-war and anti-bankers.

Ruling class ideologues simplistically conflate a motley collection of rightwing capitalist parties and organizations with the pro-welfare state, pro-worker and pro-farmer parties of the past in order to discredit and undermine the burgeoning popular multi-class movements and regimes.

Demonization of independent popular movements ignores the fundamental programmatic differences and class politics of genuine populist struggles compared with the contemporary right-wing capitalist political scarecrows and clowns.

One has only to compare the currently demonized ' populist' Donald Trump with the truly populist US President Franklin Roosevelt, who promoted social welfare, unionization, labor rights, increased taxes on the rich, income redistribution, and genuine health and workplace safety legislation within a multi-class coalition to see how absurd the current media campaign has become.

The anti-populist ideologues label President Trump a 'populist' when his policies and proposals are the exact opposite. Trump champions the repeal of all pro-labor and work safety regulation, as well as the slashing of public health insurance programs while reducing corporate taxes for the ultra-elite.

The media's ' anti-populists' ideologues denounce pro-business rightwing racists as ' populists' . In Italy, Finland, Holland, Austria, Germany and France anti-working class parties are called ' populist' for attacking immigrants instead of bankers and militarists.

In other words, the key to understanding contemporary ' anti-populism' is to see its role in preempting and undermining the emergence of authentic populist movements while convincing middle class voters to continue to vote for crisis-prone, austerity-imposing neo-liberal regimes. ' Anti-populism' has become the opium (or OxyContin) of frightened middle class voters.

The anti-populism of the ruling class serves to confuse the 'right' with the 'left'; to sidelight the latter and promote the former; to amalgamate rightwing 'rallies' with working class strikes; and to conflate rightwing demagogues with popular mass leaders.

Unfortunately, too many leftist academics and pundits are loudly chanting in the 'anti-populist' chorus. They have failed to see themselves among the shock troops of the right. The left ideologues join the ruling class in condemning the corporate populists in the name of 'anti-fascism'. Leftwing writers, claiming to 'combat the far-right enemies of the people' , overlook the fact that they are 'fellow-travelling' with an anti-populist ruling class, which has imposed savage cuts in living standards, spread imperial wars of aggression resulting in millions of desperate refugees- not immigrants –and concentrated immense wealth.

The bankruptcy of today's ' anti-populist' left will leave them sitting in their coffee shops, scratching at fleas, as the mass popular movements take to the streets!

[Dec 26, 2017] As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don't support the Paul Ryan "Better Way" agenda. I don't support neoliberal economics by Brad Griffin

Dec 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

As we move into 2018, I am swinging away from the Republicans. I don't support the Paul Ryan "Better Way" agenda . I don't support neoliberal economics. I think we have been going in the wrong direction since the 1970s and don't want to continue going down this road.

Opioid Deaths:

As we all know, the opioid epidemic has become a national crisis and the White working class has been hit the hardest by it. It is a "sea of despair" out there .

[Dec 24, 2017] Laudato si by Pope Francis

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... My predecessor Benedict XVI likewise proposed "eliminating the structural causes of the dysfunctions of the world economy and correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment". [10] He observed that the world cannot be analyzed by isolating only one of its aspects, since "the book of nature is one and indivisible", and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations, and so forth. It follows that "the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence" ..."
"... Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for "inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage", we are called to acknowledge "our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of creation". [14] He has repeatedly stated this firmly and persuasively, challenging us to acknowledge our sins against creation: "For human beings to destroy the biological diversity of God's creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth's waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins". [15] For "to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God". [16] ..."
"... He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which "entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God's world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion". ..."
"... It is possible that we do not grasp the gravity of the challenges now before us. "The risk is growing day by day that man will not use his power as he should"; in effect, "power is never considered in terms of the responsibility of choice which is inherent in freedom" since its "only norms are taken from alleged necessity, from either utility or security". [85] But human beings are not completely autonomous. Our freedom fades when it is handed over to the blind forces of the unconscious, of immediate needs, of self-interest, and of violence. In this sense, we stand naked and exposed in the face of our ever-increasing power, lacking the wherewithal to control it. We have certain superficial mechanisms, but we cannot claim to have a sound ethics, a culture and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint. ..."
"... Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another; the relationship has become confrontational. This has made it easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology. It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit. It is the false notion that "an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available, that it is possible to renew them quickly, and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed". ..."
"... We have to accept that technological products are not neutral, for they create a framework which ends up conditioning lifestyles and shaping social possibilities along the lines dictated by the interests of certain powerful groups. Decisions which may seem purely instrumental are in reality decisions about the kind of society we want to build. ..."
"... Technology tends to absorb everything into its ironclad logic, and those who are surrounded with technology "know full well that it moves forward in the final analysis neither for profit nor for the well-being of the human race", that "in the most radical sense of the term power is its motive – a lordship over all". [87] As a result, "man seizes hold of the naked elements of both nature and human nature". [88] Our capacity to make decisions, a more genuine freedom and the space for each one's alternative creativity are diminished. ..."
"... At the same time, we have "a sort of 'superdevelopment' of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation", [90] while we are all too slow in developing economic institutions and social initiatives which can give the poor regular access to basic resources. We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth. ..."
"... The specialization which belongs to technology makes it difficult to see the larger picture. The fragmentation of knowledge proves helpful for concrete applications, and yet it often leads to a loss of appreciation for the whole, for the relationships between things, and for the broader horizon, which then becomes irrelevant. ..."
"... It becomes difficult to pause and recover depth in life. If architecture reflects the spirit of an age, our megastructures and drab apartment blocks express the spirit of globalized technology, where a constant flood of new products coexists with a tedious monotony. Let us refuse to resign ourselves to this, and continue to wonder about the purpose and meaning of everything. Otherwise we would simply legitimate the present situation and need new forms of escapism to help us endure the emptiness. ..."
"... All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution. Science and technology are not neutral; from the beginning to the end of a process, various intentions and possibilities are in play and can take on distinct shapes. Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way, to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made, but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur. ..."
"... Modern anthropocentrism has paradoxically ended up prizing technical thought over reality, since "the technological mind sees nature as an insensate order, as a cold body of facts, as a mere 'given', as an object of utility, as raw material to be hammered into useful shape; it views the cosmos similarly as a mere 'space' into which objects can be thrown with complete indifference" ..."
"... Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble ..."
"... This situation has led to a constant schizophrenia, wherein a technocracy which sees no intrinsic value in lesser beings coexists with the other extreme, which sees no special value in human beings. But one cannot prescind from humanity ..."
"... Nor must the critique of a misguided anthropocentrism underestimate the importance of interpersonal relations. If the present ecological crisis is one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity, we cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships. ..."
"... The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labour on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests. ..."
"... We are convinced that "man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life". [100] Nonetheless, once our human capacity for contemplation and reverence is impaired, it becomes easy for the meaning of work to be misunderstood. [101] We need to remember that men and women have "the capacity to improve their lot, to further their moral growth and to develop their spiritual endowments". [102] Work should be the setting for this rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play: creativity, planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values, relating to others ..."
"... it is essential that "we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone", [103] no matter the limited interests of business and dubious economic reasoning. ..."
"... We were created with a vocation to work. The goal should not be that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment. Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work. ..."
"... The loss of jobs also has a negative impact on the economy "through the progressive erosion of social capital: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence". [104] In other words, "human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs". [105] To stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society. ..."
"... In order to continue providing employment, it is imperative to promote an economy which favours productive diversity and business creativity. For example, there is a great variety of small-scale food production systems which feed the greater part of the world's peoples, using a modest amount of land and producing less waste, be it in small agricultural parcels, in orchards and gardens, hunting and wild harvesting or local fishing. Economies of scale, especially in the agricultural sector, end up forcing smallholders to sell their land or to abandon their traditional crops. ..."
"... To ensure economic freedom from which all can effectively benefit, restraints occasionally have to be imposed on those possessing greater resources and financial power. To claim economic freedom while real conditions bar many people from actual access to it, and while possibilities for employment continue to shrink, is to practise a doublespeak which brings politics into disrepute. Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good. ..."
May 24, 2015 | 5w2.vatican.va

... ... ...

6. My predecessor Benedict XVI likewise proposed "eliminating the structural causes of the dysfunctions of the world economy and correcting models of growth which have proved incapable of ensuring respect for the environment".[10] He observed that the world cannot be analyzed by isolating only one of its aspects, since "the book of nature is one and indivisible", and includes the environment, life, sexuality, the family, social relations, and so forth. It follows that "the deterioration of nature is closely connected to the culture which shapes human coexistence".[11] Pope Benedict asked us to recognize that the natural environment has been gravely damaged by our irresponsible behaviour. The social environment has also suffered damage. Both are ultimately due to the same evil: the notion that there are no indisputable truths to guide our lives, and hence human freedom is limitless. We have forgotten that "man is not only a freedom which he creates for himself. Man does not create himself. He is spirit and will, but also nature".[12] With paternal concern, Benedict urged us to realize that creation is harmed "where we ourselves have the final word, where everything is simply our property and we use it for ourselves alone. The misuse of creation begins when we no longer recognize any higher instance than ourselves, when we see nothing else but ourselves".[13]

United by the same concern

7. These statements of the Popes echo the reflections of numerous scientists, philosophers, theologians and civic groups, all of which have enriched the Church's thinking on these questions. Outside the Catholic Church, other Churches and Christian communities – and other religions as well – have expressed deep concern and offered valuable reflections on issues which all of us find disturbing. To give just one striking example, I would mention the statements made by the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with whom we share the hope of full ecclesial communion.

8. Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in particular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for "inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage", we are called to acknowledge "our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of creation".[14] He has repeatedly stated this firmly and persuasively, challenging us to acknowledge our sins against creation: "For human beings to destroy the biological diversity of God's creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth's waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins".[15] For "to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God".[16]

9. At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which "entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God's world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion".[17] As Christians, we are also called "to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God's creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet".[18]

... ... ...

I. TECHNOLOGY: CREATIVITY AND POWER

... ... ...

105. There is a tendency to believe that every increase in power means "an increase of 'progress' itself", an advance in "security, usefulness, welfare and vigour; an assimilation of new values into the stream of culture",[83] as if reality, goodness and truth automatically flow from technological and economic power as such. The fact is that "contemporary man has not been trained to use power well",[84] because our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience. Each age tends to have only a meagre awareness of its own limitations. It is possible that we do not grasp the gravity of the challenges now before us. "The risk is growing day by day that man will not use his power as he should"; in effect, "power is never considered in terms of the responsibility of choice which is inherent in freedom" since its "only norms are taken from alleged necessity, from either utility or security".[85] But human beings are not completely autonomous. Our freedom fades when it is handed over to the blind forces of the unconscious, of immediate needs, of self-interest, and of violence. In this sense, we stand naked and exposed in the face of our ever-increasing power, lacking the wherewithal to control it. We have certain superficial mechanisms, but we cannot claim to have a sound ethics, a culture and spirituality genuinely capable of setting limits and teaching clear-minded self-restraint.

II. THE GLOBALIZATION OF THE TECHNOCRATIC PARADIGM

106. The basic problem goes even deeper: it is the way that humanity has taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one-dimensional paradigm. This paradigm exalts the concept of a subject who, using logical and rational procedures, progressively approaches and gains control over an external object. This subject makes every effort to establish the scientific and experimental method, which in itself is already a technique of possession, mastery and transformation. It is as if the subject were to find itself in the presence of something formless, completely open to manipulation. Men and women have constantly intervened in nature, but for a long time this meant being in tune with and respecting the possibilities offered by the things themselves. It was a matter of receiving what nature itself allowed, as if from its own hand. Now, by contrast, we are the ones to lay our hands on things, attempting to extract everything possible from them while frequently ignoring or forgetting the reality in front of us. Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another; the relationship has become confrontational. This has made it easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology. It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth's goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit. It is the false notion that "an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available, that it is possible to renew them quickly, and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed".[86]

107. It can be said that many problems of today's world stem from the tendency, at times unconscious, to make the method and aims of science and technology an epistemological paradigm which shapes the lives of individuals and the workings of society. The effects of imposing this model on reality as a whole, human and social, are seen in the deterioration of the environment, but this is just one sign of a reductionism which affects every aspect of human and social life. We have to accept that technological products are not neutral, for they create a framework which ends up conditioning lifestyles and shaping social possibilities along the lines dictated by the interests of certain powerful groups. Decisions which may seem purely instrumental are in reality decisions about the kind of society we want to build.

108. The idea of promoting a different cultural paradigm and employing technology as a mere instrument is nowadays inconceivable. The technological paradigm has become so dominant that it would be difficult to do without its resources and even more difficult to utilize them without being dominated by their internal logic. It has become countercultural to choose a lifestyle whose goals are even partly independent of technology, of its costs and its power to globalize and make us all the same. Technology tends to absorb everything into its ironclad logic, and those who are surrounded with technology "know full well that it moves forward in the final analysis neither for profit nor for the well-being of the human race", that "in the most radical sense of the term power is its motive – a lordship over all".[87] As a result, "man seizes hold of the naked elements of both nature and human nature".[88] Our capacity to make decisions, a more genuine freedom and the space for each one's alternative creativity are diminished.

109. The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings. Finance overwhelms the real economy. The lessons of the global financial crisis have not been assimilated, and we are learning all too slowly the lessons of environmental deterioration. Some circles maintain that current economics and technology will solve all environmental problems, and argue, in popular and non-technical terms, that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth. They are less concerned with certain economic theories which today scarcely anybody dares defend, than with their actual operation in the functioning of the economy. They may not affirm such theories with words, but nonetheless support them with their deeds by showing no interest in more balanced levels of production, a better distribution of wealth, concern for the environment and the rights of future generations. Their behaviour shows that for them maximizing profits is enough. Yet by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.[89] At the same time, we have "a sort of 'superdevelopment' of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation",[90] while we are all too slow in developing economic institutions and social initiatives which can give the poor regular access to basic resources. We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth.

110. The specialization which belongs to technology makes it difficult to see the larger picture. The fragmentation of knowledge proves helpful for concrete applications, and yet it often leads to a loss of appreciation for the whole, for the relationships between things, and for the broader horizon, which then becomes irrelevant. This very fact makes it hard to find adequate ways of solving the more complex problems of today's world, particularly those regarding the environment and the poor; these problems cannot be dealt with from a single perspective or from a single set of interests. A science which would offer solutions to the great issues would necessarily have to take into account the data generated by other fields of knowledge, including philosophy and social ethics; but this is a difficult habit to acquire today. Nor are there genuine ethical horizons to which one can appeal. Life gradually becomes a surrender to situations conditioned by technology, itself viewed as the principal key to the meaning of existence. In the concrete situation confronting us, there are a number of symptoms which point to what is wrong, such as environmental degradation, anxiety, a loss of the purpose of life and of community living. Once more we see that "realities are more important than ideas".[91]

111. Ecological culture cannot be reduced to a series of urgent and partial responses to the immediate problems of pollution, environmental decay and the depletion of natural resources. There needs to be a distinctive way of looking at things, a way of thinking, policies, an educational programme, a lifestyle and a spirituality which together generate resistance to the assault of the technocratic paradigm. Otherwise, even the best ecological initiatives can find themselves caught up in the same globalized logic. To seek only a technical remedy to each environmental problem which comes up is to separate what is in reality interconnected and to mask the true and deepest problems of the global system.

112. Yet we can once more broaden our vision. We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral. Liberation from the dominant technocratic paradigm does in fact happen sometimes, for example, when cooperatives of small producers adopt less polluting means of production, and opt for a non-consumerist model of life, recreation and community. Or when technology is directed primarily to resolving people's concrete problems, truly helping them live with more dignity and less suffering. Or indeed when the desire to create and contemplate beauty manages to overcome reductionism through a kind of salvation which occurs in beauty and in those who behold it. An authentic humanity, calling for a new synthesis, seems to dwell in the midst of our technological culture, almost unnoticed, like a mist seeping gently beneath a closed door. Will the promise last, in spite of everything, with all that is authentic rising up in stubborn resistance?

113. There is also the fact that people no longer seem to believe in a happy future; they no longer have blind trust in a better tomorrow based on the present state of the world and our technical abilities. There is a growing awareness that scientific and technological progress cannot be equated with the progress of humanity and history, a growing sense that the way to a better future lies elsewhere. This is not to reject the possibilities which technology continues to offer us. But humanity has changed profoundly, and the accumulation of constant novelties exalts a superficiality which pulls us in one direction. It becomes difficult to pause and recover depth in life. If architecture reflects the spirit of an age, our megastructures and drab apartment blocks express the spirit of globalized technology, where a constant flood of new products coexists with a tedious monotony. Let us refuse to resign ourselves to this, and continue to wonder about the purpose and meaning of everything. Otherwise we would simply legitimate the present situation and need new forms of escapism to help us endure the emptiness.

114. All of this shows the urgent need for us to move forward in a bold cultural revolution. Science and technology are not neutral; from the beginning to the end of a process, various intentions and possibilities are in play and can take on distinct shapes. Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way, to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made, but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur.

III. THE CRISIS AND EFFECTS OF MODERN ANTHROPOCENTRISM

115. Modern anthropocentrism has paradoxically ended up prizing technical thought over reality, since "the technological mind sees nature as an insensate order, as a cold body of facts, as a mere 'given', as an object of utility, as raw material to be hammered into useful shape; it views the cosmos similarly as a mere 'space' into which objects can be thrown with complete indifference".[92] The intrinsic dignity of the world is thus compromised. When human beings fail to find their true place in this world, they misunderstand themselves and end up acting against themselves: "Not only has God given the earth to man, who must use it with respect for the original good purpose for which it was given, but, man too is God's gift to man. He must therefore respect the natural and moral structure with which he has been endowed".[93]

116. Modernity has been marked by an excessive anthropocentrism which today, under another guise, continues to stand in the way of shared understanding and of any effort to strengthen social bonds. The time has come to pay renewed attention to reality and the limits it imposes; this in turn is the condition for a more sound and fruitful development of individuals and society. An inadequate presentation of Christian anthropology gave rise to a wrong understanding of the relationship between human beings and the world. Often, what was handed on was a Promethean vision of mastery over the world, which gave the impression that the protection of nature was something that only the faint-hearted cared about. Instead, our "dominion" over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship.[94]

117. Neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sign of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself. When we fail to acknowledge as part of reality the worth of a poor person, a human embryo, a person with disabilities – to offer just a few examples – it becomes difficult to hear the cry of nature itself; everything is connected. Once the human being declares independence from reality and behaves with absolute dominion, the very foundations of our life begin to crumble, for "instead of carrying out his role as a cooperator with God in the work of creation, man sets himself up in place of God and thus ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature".[95]

118. This situation has led to a constant schizophrenia, wherein a technocracy which sees no intrinsic value in lesser beings coexists with the other extreme, which sees no special value in human beings. But one cannot prescind from humanity. There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature without a renewal of humanity itself. There can be no ecology without an adequate anthropology. When the human person is considered as simply one being among others, the product of chance or physical determinism, then "our overall sense of responsibility wanes".[96] A misguided anthropocentrism need not necessarily yield to "biocentrism", for that would entail adding yet another imbalance, failing to solve present problems and adding new ones. Human beings cannot be expected to feel responsibility for the world unless, at the same time, their unique capacities of knowledge, will, freedom and responsibility are recognized and valued.

119. Nor must the critique of a misguided anthropocentrism underestimate the importance of interpersonal relations. If the present ecological crisis is one small sign of the ethical, cultural and spiritual crisis of modernity, we cannot presume to heal our relationship with nature and the environment without healing all fundamental human relationships. Christian thought sees human beings as possessing a particular dignity above other creatures; it thus inculcates esteem for each person and respect for others. Our openness to others, each of whom is a "thou" capable of knowing, loving and entering into dialogue, remains the source of our nobility as human persons. A correct relationship with the created world demands that we not weaken this social dimension of openness to others, much less the transcendent dimension of our openness to the "Thou" of God. Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than romantic individualism dressed up in ecological garb, locking us into a stifling immanence.

120. Since everything is interrelated, concern for the protection of nature is also incompatible with the justification of abortion. How can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo, even when its presence is uncomfortable and creates difficulties? "If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of the new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away".[97]

121. We need to develop a new synthesis capable of overcoming the false arguments of recent centuries. Christianity, in fidelity to its own identity and the rich deposit of truth which it has received from Jesus Christ, continues to reflect on these issues in fruitful dialogue with changing historical situations. In doing so, it reveals its eternal newness.[98]

Practical relativism

122. A misguided anthropocentrism leads to a misguided lifestyle. In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I noted that the practical relativism typical of our age is "even more dangerous than doctrinal relativism".[99] When human beings place themselves at the centre, they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative. Hence we should not be surprised to find, in conjunction with the omnipresent technocratic paradigm and the cult of unlimited human power, the rise of a relativism which sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one's own immediate interests. There is a logic in all this whereby different attitudes can feed on one another, leading to environmental degradation and social decay.

123. The culture of relativism is the same disorder which drives one person to take advantage of another, to treat others as mere objects, imposing forced labour on them or enslaving them to pay their debts. The same kind of thinking leads to the sexual exploitation of children and abandonment of the elderly who no longer serve our interests. It is also the mindset of those who say: Let us allow the invisible forces of the market to regulate the economy, and consider their impact on society and nature as collateral damage. In the absence of objective truths or sound principles other than the satisfaction of our own desires and immediate needs, what limits can be placed on human trafficking, organized crime, the drug trade, commerce in blood diamonds and the fur of endangered species? Is it not the same relativistic logic which justifies buying the organs of the poor for resale or use in experimentation, or eliminating children because they are not what their parents wanted? This same "use and throw away" logic generates so much waste, because of the disordered desire to consume more than what is really necessary. We should not think that political efforts or the force of law will be sufficient to prevent actions which affect the environment because, when the culture itself is corrupt and objective truth and universally valid principles are no longer upheld, then laws can only be seen as arbitrary impositions or obstacles to be avoided.

The need to protect employment

124. Any approach to an integral ecology, which by definition does not exclude human beings, needs to take account of the value of labour, as Saint John Paul II wisely noted in his Encyclical Laborem Exercens. According to the biblical account of creation, God placed man and woman in the garden he had created (cf. Gen 2:15) not only to preserve it ("keep") but also to make it fruitful ("till"). Labourers and craftsmen thus "maintain the fabric of the world" (Sir 38:34). Developing the created world in a prudent way is the best way of caring for it, as this means that we ourselves become the instrument used by God to bring out the potential which he himself inscribed in things: "The Lord created medicines out of the earth, and a sensible man will not despise them" (Sir 38:4).

125. If we reflect on the proper relationship between human beings and the world around us, we see the need for a correct understanding of work; if we talk about the relationship between human beings and things, the question arises as to the meaning and purpose of all human activity. This has to do not only with manual or agricultural labour but with any activity involving a modification of existing reality, from producing a social report to the design of a technological development. Underlying every form of work is a concept of the relationship which we can and must have with what is other than ourselves. Together with the awe-filled contemplation of creation which we find in Saint Francis of Assisi, the Christian spiritual tradition has also developed a rich and balanced understanding of the meaning of work, as, for example, in the life of Blessed Charles de Foucauld and his followers.

126. We can also look to the great tradition of monasticism. Originally, it was a kind of flight from the world, an escape from the decadence of the cities. The monks sought the desert, convinced that it was the best place for encountering the presence of God. Later, Saint Benedict of Norcia proposed that his monks live in community, combining prayer and spiritual reading with manual labour (ora et labora). Seeing manual labour as spiritually meaningful proved revolutionary. Personal growth and sanctification came to be sought in the interplay of recollection and work. This way of experiencing work makes us more protective and respectful of the environment; it imbues our relationship to the world with a healthy sobriety.

127. We are convinced that "man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life".[100] Nonetheless, once our human capacity for contemplation and reverence is impaired, it becomes easy for the meaning of work to be misunderstood.[101] We need to remember that men and women have "the capacity to improve their lot, to further their moral growth and to develop their spiritual endowments".[102] Work should be the setting for this rich personal growth, where many aspects of life enter into play: creativity, planning for the future, developing our talents, living out our values, relating to others, giving glory to God. It follows that, in the reality of today's global society, it is essential that "we continue to prioritize the goal of access to steady employment for everyone",[103] no matter the limited interests of business and dubious economic reasoning.

128. We were created with a vocation to work. The goal should not be that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment. Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work. Yet the orientation of the economy has favoured a kind of technological progress in which the costs of production are reduced by laying off workers and replacing them with machines. This is yet another way in which we can end up working against ourselves. The loss of jobs also has a negative impact on the economy "through the progressive erosion of social capital: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence".[104] In other words, "human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs".[105] To stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society.

129. In order to continue providing employment, it is imperative to promote an economy which favours productive diversity and business creativity. For example, there is a great variety of small-scale food production systems which feed the greater part of the world's peoples, using a modest amount of land and producing less waste, be it in small agricultural parcels, in orchards and gardens, hunting and wild harvesting or local fishing. Economies of scale, especially in the agricultural sector, end up forcing smallholders to sell their land or to abandon their traditional crops. Their attempts to move to other, more diversified, means of production prove fruitless because of the difficulty of linkage with regional and global markets, or because the infrastructure for sales and transport is geared to larger businesses. Civil authorities have the right and duty to adopt clear and firm measures in support of small producers and differentiated production. To ensure economic freedom from which all can effectively benefit, restraints occasionally have to be imposed on those possessing greater resources and financial power. To claim economic freedom while real conditions bar many people from actual access to it, and while possibilities for employment continue to shrink, is to practise a doublespeak which brings politics into disrepute. Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.

New biological technologies

130. In the philosophical and theological vision of the human being and of creation which I have presented, it is clear that the human person, endowed with reason and knowledge, is not an external factor to be excluded. While human intervention on plants and animals is permissible when it pertains to the necessities of human life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that experimentation on animals is morally acceptable only "if it remains within reasonable limits [and] contributes to caring for or saving human lives".[106] The Catechism firmly states that human power has limits and that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly".[107] All such use and experimentation "requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation".[108]

... ... ...

[Dec 24, 2017] Congress in Search of a Bordello by James Petras

Dec 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Presidential Leadership and Abuse in the Workplace

Several Presidents have been accused of gross sexual abuse and humiliation of office staff and interns, most ignobly William Jefferson Clinton. However, the Congressional Office of Compliance, in accord with the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 does not collect statistics on presidential abuses and financial settlements. Nevertheless, we can examine the number of Congressional victims and payments during the tenures of the various Presidents during the past 20 years. This can tell us if the Presidents chose to issue any directives or exercise any leadership with regard to stopping the abuses occurring during their administrations.

Under Presidents William Clinton and Barack Obama we have data for 12 years 1997-2000, and 2009-2016. Under President George W Bush and Donald Trump we have data for 9 years 2001-2008 and 2017.

Under the two Democratic Presidents, 148 legislative employees were abused and the Treasury paid out approximately $5 million dollars and under the Republican Presidents, 116 were abused and Treasury and over $12 million dollars was paid out.

Under the Democratic Presidents, the average number of abuse victims was 12 per year; under the Republicans the average number was 13 per year. As in the case of Congressional leadership, US Presidents of both parties showed remarkable bipartisan consistency in tolerating Congressional abuse.

Congressional Abuse: The Larger Meaning

Workplace abuse by elected leaders in Washington is encouraged by Party cronyism, loyalties and shameless bootlicking. It is reinforced by the structure of power pervasive in the ruling class. Congress people exercise near total power over their employees because they are not accountable to their peers or their voters. They are protected by their financial donors, the special Congressional 'judicial' system and by the mass media with a complicity of silence.

The entire electoral system is based on a hierarchy of power, where those on the top can demand subordination and enforce their demands for sexual submission with threats of retaliation against the victim or the victim's outraged family members. This mirrors a feudal plantation system.

However, like sporadic peasant uprisings in the Middle Ages, some employees rise up, resist and demand justice. It is common to see Congressional abusers turn to their office managers, often female, to act as 'capos' to first threaten and then buy off the accuser – using US taxpayer funds. This added abuse never touches the wallet of the abuser or the office enforcer. Compensation is paid by the US Treasury. The social and financial status of the abusers and the abusers' families remain intact as they look forward to lucrative future employment as lobbyists.

This does not occur in isolation from the broader structure of class and power.

The sexual exploitation of workers in the Halls of the US Congress is part of the larger socio-economic system. Elected officials, who abuse their office employees and interns, share the same values with corporate and cultural bosses, who exploit their workers and subordinates. At an even larger level, they share the same values and culture with the ImperialState as it brutalizes and rapes independent nations and peoples.

The system of abuse and exploitation by the Congress and the corporate, cultural, academic, religious and political elite depends on complicit intermediaries who frequently come from upwardly mobile groups. The most abusive legislators will hire upwardly mobile women as public relations officers and office managers to recruit victims and, when necessary, arrange pay-offs. In the corporate sphere, CEOs frequently rely on former plant workers, trade union leaders, women and minorities to serve as 'labor relations' experts to provide a progressive façade in order to oust dissidents and enforce directives persecuting whistleblowers. On a global scale, the political warlords work hand in glove with the mass media and humanitarian interventionist NGO's to demonize independent voices and to glorify the military as they slaughter resistance fighters, while claiming to champion gender and minority rights. Thus, the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was widely propagandized and celebrated as the 'liberation of Afghan women'.

The Congressional perverts have their own private, secret mission: to abuse staff, to nurture the rich, enforce silence and approve legislation to make taxpayers pay the bill.

Let us hope that the current ' Me Too !' movement against workplace sexual abuse will grow to include a broader movement against the neo-feudalism within politics, business, and culture and lead to a political movement uniting workers in all fields.

[Dec 23, 2017] Russiagate as bait and switch maneuver

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Gessen also worried that the Russia obsession was a deadly diversion from issues that ought to matter more to those claiming to oppose Trump in the name of democracy and the common good ..."
"... Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

Masha Gessen's Warning Ignored as Dreams of Trumpeachment Dance in Our Heads

Gessen felt that the Russiagate gambit would flop, given a lack of smoking-gun evidence and sufficient public interest, particularly among Republicans.

Gessen also worried that the Russia obsession was a deadly diversion from issues that ought to matter more to those claiming to oppose Trump in the name of democracy and the common good : racism, voter suppression (which may well have elected Trump , by the way), health care, plutocracy, police- and prison-state-ism, immigrant rights, economic exploitation and inequality, sexism and environmental ruination -- you know, stuff like that.

Some of the politically engaged populace noticed the problem early on. According to the Washington political journal The Hill , last summer ,

Frustrated Democrats hoping to elevate their election fortunes have a resounding message for party leaders: Stop talking so much about Russia. Rank-and-file Democrats say the Russia-Trump narrative is simply a non-issue with district voters, who are much more worried about bread-and-butter economic concerns like jobs, wages and the cost of education and healthcare.

Here we are now, half a year later, careening into a dystopian holiday season. With his epically low approval rating of 32 percent , the orange-tinted bad grandpa in the Oval Office has won a viciously regressive tax bill that is widely rejected by the populace. The bill was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress whose current approval rating stands at 13 percent. It is a major legislative victory for the Republicans, a party whose approval rating fell to an all-time low of 29 percent at the end of September -- a party that tried to send a child molester to the U.S. Senate.

[Dec 23, 2017] Neither party is on our side. The establishment in both parties is crooked and corrupt.

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, the notion of 'reform' within the Democratic Party is an oxymoron. Its been around since Nader, when the corrupt-corporate Democrats tried to tell us that the way forward was to work within the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and change things that way. ..."
"... And I see Steve Bannon trying to wage the fight within the Republican party that the fake-reformers in the Democrats never even tried . ie, numerous primary challenges to corrupt-corporate Democrats. ..."
"... Neither party represents any but the richest of the rich these days. Both parties lie to voters and try to pretend that they might actually give a damn about the rest of us. But the only sign of life that I see of anyone trying to fight back against this Bannon inside the Republicans. I'm not thrilled with Bannon, although he's not nearly as bad as the loony-lefties in the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and their many satellites call him. But he's the only one putting up a fight. I just hope that maybe someone will run in primaries against the corrupt-corporate-Republicans who fake-represent the part of the map where I live. ..."
Dec 23, 2017 | www.unz.com

Liverpool , December 22, 2017 at 9:16 pm GMT

I was raised by Democrats, and used to vote for them. But these days, I think heck would freeze over before I'd vote Democrat again. From my point of view, Bernie tried to pull them back to sanity. But the hard core Clinton-corporate-corrupt Democrats have declared war on any movement for reform within the Democratic Party. And there is no way that I'm voting for any of these corrupt-corporate Democrats ever again.

Of course, the notion of 'reform' within the Democratic Party is an oxymoron. Its been around since Nader, when the corrupt-corporate Democrats tried to tell us that the way forward was to work within the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and change things that way. We saw the way the corrupt-corporate Democrats colluded and rigged the last Presidential Primaries so that Corrupt-Corporate-Clinton was guaranteed the corrupt-corporate Democrat nomination. That's a loud and clear message to anyone who thinks they can achieve change within the corrupt-corporate-colluding-rigged Democratic Party.

Since I've always been anti-war, I've been forced to follow what anti-war movement there is over to the Republicans. And I see Steve Bannon trying to wage the fight within the Republican party that the fake-reformers in the Democrats never even tried . ie, numerous primary challenges to corrupt-corporate Democrats. That never happened, and by 2012 I was convinced that even the fake-reformers within the corrupt-corporate Democrats were fakes who only wanted fund-raising but didn't really fight for reform.

Neither party represents any but the richest of the rich these days. Both parties lie to voters and try to pretend that they might actually give a damn about the rest of us. But the only sign of life that I see of anyone trying to fight back against this Bannon inside the Republicans. I'm not thrilled with Bannon, although he's not nearly as bad as the loony-lefties in the corrupt-corporate Democratic Party and their many satellites call him. But he's the only one putting up a fight. I just hope that maybe someone will run in primaries against the corrupt-corporate-Republicans who fake-represent the part of the map where I live.

Neither party is on our side. The establishment in both parties is crooked and corrupt. Someone needs to fight them. And I sure as heck won't vote for the corrupt and the crooked. Since the Democrats are doubling down on corrupt and crooked and telling such big lies that even Goebbels would blush, it doesn't look like I'll ever vote Dem0crat again.

[Dec 17, 2017] Dr. Stephen Cohen on Tucker Carlson: Empty Accusations of Russian Meddling Have Become Grave National Security Threat

Notable quotes:
"... Cohen, who has been quite vocal against the Russophobic witch hunt gripping the nation , believes that this falsified 35 page report is part of an "endgame" to mortally wound Trump before he even sets foot in the White House, by grasping at straws to paint him as a puppet of the Kremlin. The purpose of these overt attempts to cripple Trump, which have relied on ham-handed intelligence reports that, according to Cohen "even the New York Times referred to as lacking any evidence whatsoever," is to stop any kind of dιtente or cooperation with Russia. ..."
Dec 17, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

With eyebrows suspiciously furrowed, Tucker Carlson sat down tonight with NYU Professor of Russian Studies and contributor to The Nation , Stephen Cohen, to discuss the 35 page #FakeNews dossier which has gripped the nation with nightmares of golden showers and other perverted conduct which was to be used by Russia to keep Trump on a leash.

The left leaning Cohen, who holds a Ph.D. in government and Russian studies from Columbia, taught at Princeton for 30 years before moving to NYU. He has spent a lifetime deeply immersed in US-Russian relations, having been both a long standing friend of Mikhail Gorbachev and an advisor to President George H.W. Bush. His wife is also the editor of uber liberal " The Nation," so it's safe to assume he's not shilling for Trump - and Tucker was right to go in with eyebrows guarded against such a heavyweight.

Cohen, who has been quite vocal against the Russophobic witch hunt gripping the nation , believes that this falsified 35 page report is part of an "endgame" to mortally wound Trump before he even sets foot in the White House, by grasping at straws to paint him as a puppet of the Kremlin. The purpose of these overt attempts to cripple Trump, which have relied on ham-handed intelligence reports that, according to Cohen "even the New York Times referred to as lacking any evidence whatsoever," is to stop any kind of dιtente or cooperation with Russia.

Cohen believes that these dangerous accusations attempting to brand a US President as a puppet of a foreign government constitute a "grave American national security threat."

At the very end of the interview, Tucker's very un-furrowed eyebrows agreed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtwFEA4dM18

Content originally generated at iBankCoin.com

[Dec 16, 2017] The U.S. Is Not A Democracy, It Never Was by Gabriel Rockhill

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. ..."
"... Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics. ..."
"... When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. ..."
"... It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy." ..."
"... When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. ..."
"... Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare. ..."
"... In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. ..."
"... To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. ..."
"... It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Gabriel Rockhill via Counterpunch.org,

One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a "loss of democracy" due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions . The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history.

What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth -- a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short -- has succeeded not only in buying the label of "democracy" to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present ).

To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the "new world," with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning "the people," was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called "founding fathers," the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the "subordination" so necessary for politics.

When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than "the filth of the common sewers" by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves -- meaning the overwhelming majority of the population -- were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President.

It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: "it is not a democracy." George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as "a despotic aristocracy."

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a "democracy," there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term "democracy" to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of "Indian killer" Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a 'democrat,' he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term "democracy" came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos . Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary "democratic" publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a "democracy" because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives.

However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country's history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, "criminals," minors, the "clinically insane," political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the "choice" -- overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme -- regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. "Multivariate analysis indicates," according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, "that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination [ ], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy."

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected.

It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America's Deadliest Export: Democracy , grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau "extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the 'New Left' in general" ( Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom , p. 22-23).

Consider, for instance, Judi Bari's summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: "From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing."

... ... ...

[Dec 15, 2017] FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... In addition to Strzok's "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit, McCabe's damage control team removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the " sheer volume " of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information." ..."
"... It's also possible that the FBI, which was not allowed to inspect the DNC servers, was uncomfortable standing behind the conclusion of Russian hacking reached by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. ..."
"... Johnson's letter also questions an " insurance policy " referenced in a text message sent by demoted FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which read " I want to believe the path you threw out to consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...." ..."
"... One wonders if the "insurance policy" Strzok sent to Page on August 15, 2016 was in reference to the original counterintelligence operation launched against Trump of which Strzok became the lead investigator in "late July" 2016? Of note, Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap - the director of Counterintelligence, who told James Comey not to inform congress that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence operation against then-candidate Trump, per Comey's March 20th testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. (h/t @TheLastRefuge2 ) ..."
"... That's not to say Hillary shouldn't have been prosecuted. But what we're seeing here looks like perfectly normal behavior once the decision has been made not to prosecute; get the statements to be consistent with the conclusion. In a bureaucracy, that requires a number of people to be involved. And it would necessarily include people who work for Hillary Clinton, since that's whose information is being discussed. ..."
"... And the stuff about how a foreign power might have, or might possibly have, accessed her emails is all BS too. We already know they weren't hacked, they were leaked. ..."
"... Maybe people who don't understand complicated organizations see something nefarious here, but nobody who does will. Nothing will come of this but some staged-for-TV dramatic pronouncements in the House, and on FOX News, and affiliated websites. There's nothing here. ..."
"... Debatable re. biggest story being kept quiet. The AWAN Brothers/Family is a Pakistani spy ring operating inside Congress for more than a decade, and we hear nothing. They had access to virtually everything in every important committee. They had access to the Congressional servers and all the emails. Biggest spy scandal in our nations hsitory, and........crickets. ..."
"... They have had a year to destroy the evidence. Why should the CIA controlled MSM report the truth? ..."
"... Precisely. That's actually a very good tool for decoding the Clintons and Obama. "You collaborated with Russia." Means "I collaborated with Saudi Arabia." It takes a little while and I haven't fully mastered it yet, but you can reverse alinsky-engineer their statements to figure out what they did. ..."
"... And get this, Flynn was set up! Yates had the transcript via the (illegal) FISA Court of warrant which relied on the Dirty Steele Dossier, when Flynn deviated from the transcript they charged him Lying to the FBI. Comey McCabe run around lying 24/7. Their is no fucking hope left! The swamp WINS ALWAYS. ..."
Dec 15, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

FBI Edits To Clinton Exoneration Go Far Beyond What Was Previously Known; Comey, McCabe, Strzok Implicated Tyler Durden Dec 15, 2017 10:10 AM 0 SHARES detailed in a Thursday letter from committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok

The letter reveals specific edits made by senior FBI agents when Deputy Director Andrew McCabe exchanged drafts of Comey's statement with senior FBI officials , including Peter Strzok, Strzok's direct supervisor , E.W. "Bill" Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an unnamed employee from the Office of General Counsel (identified by Newsweek as DOJ Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson) - in what was a coordinated conspiracy among top FBI brass to decriminalize Clinton's conduct by changing legal terms and phrases, omitting key information, and minimizing the role of the Intelligence Community in the email investigation. Doing so virtually assured that then-candidate Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted.

Heather Samuelson and Heather Mills

Also mentioned in the letter are the immunity agreements granted by the FBI in June 2016 to top Obama advisor Cheryl Mills and aide Heather Samuelson - who helped decide which Clinton emails were destroyed before turning over the remaining 30,000 records to the State Department. Of note, the FBI agreed to destroy evidence on devices owned by Mills and Samuelson which were turned over in the investigation.

Sen. Johnson's letter reads:

According to documents produced by the FBI, FBI employees exchanged proposed edits to the draft statement. On May 6, Deputy Director McCabe forwarded the draft statement to other senior FBI employees, including Peter Strzok, E.W. Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, and an employee on the Office of General Counsel whose name has been redacted. While the precise dates of the edits and identities of the editors are not apparent from the documents, the edits appear to change the tone and substance of Director Comey's statement in at least three respects .

It was already known that Strzok - who was demoted to the FBI's HR department after anti-Trump text messages to his mistress were uncovered by an internal FBI watchdog - was responsible for downgrading the language regarding Clinton's conduct from the criminal charge of "gross negligence" to "extremely careless."

"Gross negligence" is a legal term of art in criminal law often associated with recklessness. According to Black's Law Dictionary, gross negligence is " A severe degree of negligence taken as reckless disregard ," and " Blatant indifference to one's legal duty, other's safety, or their rights ." "Extremely careless," on the other hand, is not a legal term of art.

According to an Attorney briefed on the matter, "extremely careless" is in fact a defense to "gross negligence": "What my client did was 'careless', maybe even 'extremely careless,' but it was not 'gross negligence' your honor." The FBI would have no option but to recommend prosecution if the phrase "gross negligence" had been left in.

18 U.S. Code § 793 "Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information" specifically uses the phrase "gross negligence." Had Comey used the phrase, he would have essentially declared that Hillary had broken the law.

In addition to Strzok's "gross negligence" --> "extremely careless" edit, McCabe's damage control team removed a key justification for elevating Clinton's actions to the standard of "gross negligence" - that being the " sheer volume " of classified material on Clinton's server. In the original draft, the "sheer volume" of material "supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information."

Also removed from Comey's statement were all references to the Intelligence Community's involvement in investigating Clinton's private email server.

Director Comey's original statement acknowledged the FBI had worked with its partners in the Intelligence Community to assess potential damage from Secretary Clinton's use of a private email server. The original statement read:

[W]e have done extensive work with the assistance of our colleagues elsewhere in the Intelligence Community to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the private email operation.

The edited version removed the references to the intelligence community:

[W]e have done extensive work [removed] to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation.

Furthermore, the FBI edited Comey's statement to downgrade the probability that Clinton's server was hacked by hostile actors, changing their language from "reasonably likely" to "possible" - an edit which eliminated yet another justification for the phrase "Gross negligence." To put it another way, "reasonably likely" means the probability of a hack due to Clinton's negligence is above 50 percent, whereas the hack simply being "possible" is any probability above zero.

It's also possible that the FBI, which was not allowed to inspect the DNC servers, was uncomfortable standing behind the conclusion of Russian hacking reached by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike.

The original draft read:

Given the combination of factors, we assess it is reasonably likely that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's private email account."

The edited version from Director Comey's July 5 statement read:

Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton's personal e-mail account.

Johnson's letter also questions an " insurance policy " referenced in a text message sent by demoted FBI investigator Peter Strzok to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which read " I want to believe the path you threw out to consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk." It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...."

One wonders if the "insurance policy" Strzok sent to Page on August 15, 2016 was in reference to the original counterintelligence operation launched against Trump of which Strzok became the lead investigator in "late July" 2016? Of note, Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap - the director of Counterintelligence, who told James Comey not to inform congress that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence operation against then-candidate Trump, per Comey's March 20th testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. (h/t @TheLastRefuge2 )

Transcript , James Comey Testimony to House Intel Committee, March 20, 2016

The letter from the Senate Committee concludes; "the edits to Director Comey's public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI's public evaluation of the implications of her actions . This effort, seen in the light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior FBI agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an "insurance policy" against Mr. Trump's election, raise profound questions about the FBI's role and possible interference in the 2016y presidential election and the role of the same agents in Special Counsel Mueller's investigation of President Trump ."

Johnson then asks the FBI to answer six questions:

  1. Please provide the names of the Department of Justice (DOJ) employees who comprised the "mid-year review team" during the FBI's investigation of Secretary Clinton's use of a private email server.
  2. Please identify all FBI, DOJ, or other federal employees who edited or reviewed Director Comey's July 5, 2016 statement . Please identify which individual made the marked changes in the documents produced to the Committee.
  3. Please identify which FBI employee repeatedly changed the language in the final draft statement that described Secretary Clinton's behavior as "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless. " What evidence supported these changes?
  4. Please identify which FBI employee edited the draft statement to remove the reference to the Intelligence Community . On what basis was this change made?
  5. Please identify which FBI employee edited the draft statement to downgrade the FBI's assessment that it was "reasonably likely" that hostile actors had gained access to Secretary Clinton's private email account to merely that than [sic] intrusion was "possible." What evidence supported these changes?
  6. Please provide unredacted copies of the drafts of Director Comey's statement, including comment bubbles , and explain the basis for the redactions produced to date.

We are increasingly faced with the fact that the FBI's top ranks have been filled with political ideologues who helped Hillary Clinton while pursuing the Russian influence narrative against Trump (perhaps as the "insurance" Strzok spoke of). Meanwhile, "hands off" recused Attorney General Jeff Sessions and assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein don't seem very excited to explore the issues with a second Special Counsel. As such, we are now almost entirely reliant on the various Committees of congress to pursue justice in this matter. Perhaps when their investigations have concluded, President Trump will feel he has the political and legal ammunition to truly clean house at the nation's swampiest agencies.

swmnguy -> 11b40 , Dec 15, 2017 4:42 PM

All I see in this story is that the FBI edits their work to make sure the terminology is consistent throughout. This is not a smoking gun of anything, except bureaucratic procedure one would find anywhere any legal documents are prepared.

That's not to say Hillary shouldn't have been prosecuted. But what we're seeing here looks like perfectly normal behavior once the decision has been made not to prosecute; get the statements to be consistent with the conclusion. In a bureaucracy, that requires a number of people to be involved. And it would necessarily include people who work for Hillary Clinton, since that's whose information is being discussed.

Now, if Hillary hadn't been such an arrogant bitch, we wouldn't be having this conversation. If she had just take the locked-down Android of iOS phone they issued her, instead of having to forward everything to herself so she could use her stupid Blackberry (which can't be locked down to State Dep't. specs), everything would have been both hunky and dory.

And the stuff about how a foreign power might have, or might possibly have, accessed her emails is all BS too. We already know they weren't hacked, they were leaked.

Maybe people who don't understand complicated organizations see something nefarious here, but nobody who does will. Nothing will come of this but some staged-for-TV dramatic pronouncements in the House, and on FOX News, and affiliated websites. There's nothing here.

youarelost , Dec 15, 2017 8:59 AM

What did Obozo know and when did he know it

E.F. Mutton -> youarelost , Dec 15, 2017 9:04 AM

False Flag time - distraction needed ASAP

Bigly -> E.F. Mutton , Dec 15, 2017 9:14 AM

We need to look for this as there are a LOT of people who need to be indicted and boobus americanus needs distraction.

My concern is that there are not enough non-corrupts there to handle and process the swamp as Trump did not fire and replace them 10 months ago.

shitshitshit -> Bigly , Dec 15, 2017 9:16 AM

I wonder how high will this little game go...

That obongo of all crooks is involved is a sure fact, but I'd like to see how many remaining defenders of the cause are still motivated to lose everything for this thing...

In other terms, what are the defection rates in the dem party, because now this must be an avalanche.

cheka -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 9:45 AM

applied neo-bolshevism

macholatte -> cheka , Dec 15, 2017 10:23 AM

I am tired of this shit. Aren't you?

Please, EVERYONE with a Twitter account send this message Every Day (tell your friends on facebook):

Mr. President, the time to purge the Obama-Clinton holdovers has long passed. Please get rid of them at once. Make your base happy. Fire 100+ from DOJ - State - FBI. Hire William K. Black as Special Prosecutor

send it to:

@realDonaldTrump
@PressSec
@KellyannePolls
@WhiteHouse


Does anybody know how to start an online petition?
Let's make some NOISE!!

Bay of Pigs -> macholatte , Dec 15, 2017 12:02 PM

Sadly, I don't see this story being reported anywhere this morning. Only the biggest scandal in American history. WTF?

11b40 -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 1:22 PM

Debatable re. biggest story being kept quiet. The AWAN Brothers/Family is a Pakistani spy ring operating inside Congress for more than a decade, and we hear nothing. They had access to virtually everything in every important committee. They had access to the Congressional servers and all the emails. Biggest spy scandal in our nations hsitory, and........crickets.

Of course, they may all be related, since Debbie Wasserman-Shits brought them in and set them up, then intertwined their work in Congress with their work for the DNC.

grizfish -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 1:53 PM

They have had a year to destroy the evidence. Why should the CIA controlled MSM report the truth? It's just like slick willy. Deny. Deny. Deny.

ThePhantom -> grizfish , Dec 15, 2017 3:35 PM

The Media is "in on it" and just as culpabale.... everyone's fighting for their lives.

grizfish -> Bay of Pigs , Dec 15, 2017 4:29 PM

Just more theater. Throwing a bone to the few citizens who think for themselves. Giving us false hope the US legal system isn't corrupt. This will never be prosecuted, because the deep state remains in control. They've had a year to destroy the incriminating evidence.

Lanka -> macholatte , Dec 15, 2017 2:27 PM

Tillerson is extremely incompetent in housecleaning. He needs to be replaced by Fred Kruger, Esq.

TerminalDebt -> cheka , Dec 15, 2017 12:43 PM

I guess we know now who the leaker was at the FBI and on the Mule's team

Joe Davola -> TerminalDebt , Dec 15, 2017 1:27 PM

I'm guessing the number of leakers is bigger than 1

eclectic syncretist -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 10:01 AM

What's next? The FBI had Seth Rich killed? Is that why Sessions and everyone else appears paralyzed? How deep does this rabbit hole go?

Overfed -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 10:58 AM

I'm sure that Chaffets and Gowdy will hand down some very stern reprimands.

Mr. Universe -> Overfed , Dec 15, 2017 11:24 AM

Ryan and his buddies in Congress will make strained faces (as if taking a dump) and wring their hands saying they must hire a "Special" Investigator to cover up this mess.

Duane Norman -> Mr. Universe , Dec 15, 2017 11:31 AM

http://fmshooter.com/claiming-fbis-reputation-integrity-not-tatters-comp...

Yeah, but it won't make a difference.

Gardentoolnumber5 -> Overfed , Dec 15, 2017 3:12 PM

Chaffets left Congress because he couldn't get any more help from Trump's DOJ than he did from Obama's. Sad, as he was one of the good guys. imo

ThePhantom -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 3:38 PM

did you notice the story yesterday about "Russian hacker admits putin ordered him to steal dnc emials" ? someones worried about it....

grizfish -> ThePhantom , Dec 15, 2017 4:38 PM

They tweet that crap all the time. Usually just a repeat with different names, but always blaming a Ruskie. About every 6 months they hit on a twist in the wording that causes it to go viral.

Bush Baby -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 11:37 AM

Before Trump was elected , I thought the only way to get our country back was through a Military Coup, but it appears there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

eclectic syncretist -> Bush Baby , Dec 15, 2017 11:57 AM

I wonder if that light is coming from the soon to be gaping hole in the FBI's asshole when the extent of this political activism by the agency eventually seeps into the public conciousness.

rccalhoun -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 12:43 PM

you can't clean up a mess of this magnitude. fire everyone in washington---senator, representative, fbi, cia, nsa ,etc and start over---has NO chance of happenning

the only hope for a non violent solution is that a true leader emerges that every decent person can rally behind and respect, honor and dignity become the norm. unfortunately, corruption has become a culture and i don't know if it can be eradicated

Lanka -> rccalhoun , Dec 15, 2017 2:31 PM

Just expose the Congress, McCabe, Lindsey, McCabe, Clinton, all Dem judges, Media, Hollywood, local government dems as pedos; that will half-drain the swamp.

shankster -> eclectic syncretist , Dec 15, 2017 4:11 PM

Does the US public have a consciousness?

lew1024 -> Bush Baby , Dec 15, 2017 2:54 PM

If Trump gets the swamp cleaned without a military coup, he will be one of our greatest Presidents. There will be people who hate that more than they hate being in jail.

checkessential -> BennyBoy , Dec 15, 2017 1:00 PM

And they say President Trump obstructed justice for simply asking Comey if he could drop the Michael Flynn matter. Wow.

TommyD88 -> checkessential , Dec 15, 2017 1:09 PM

Alinsky 101: Accuse your opponent of that which you yourself are doing.

Overfed -> redmudhooch , Dec 15, 2017 2:47 PM

Getting rid of the FBI (and all other FLEAs) would be a good thing for all of us.

A Sentinel -> TommyD88 , Dec 15, 2017 2:13 PM

Precisely. That's actually a very good tool for decoding the Clintons and Obama. "You collaborated with Russia." Means "I collaborated with Saudi Arabia." It takes a little while and I haven't fully mastered it yet, but you can reverse alinsky-engineer their statements to figure out what they did.

lurker since 2012 -> checkessential , Dec 15, 2017 4:09 PM

And get this, Flynn was set up! Yates had the transcript via the (illegal) FISA Court of warrant which relied on the Dirty Steele Dossier, when Flynn deviated from the transcript they charged him Lying to the FBI. Comey McCabe run around lying 24/7. Their is no fucking hope left! The swamp WINS ALWAYS.

Ramesees -> BaBaBouy , Dec 15, 2017 9:31 AM

I have - it's was NBC Nightly News - they spent time on the damning emails from Strozk. Maybe 2-3 minutes. Normal news segment time. Surprised the hell out of me.

A Sentinel -> Ramesees , Dec 15, 2017 2:14 PM

Someone probably got fired for that.

ThePhantom -> Ramesees , Dec 15, 2017 3:41 PM

the "MSM" needs to cover their own asses ...like "an insurance policy" just in case the truth comes out... best to be seen reporting on the REAL issue at least for a couple minutes..

[Dec 05, 2017] The revival of American populism Will there be blood

Nice illustration of criminality of private equity
Mar 29, 2009 | The Economist

jomellon wrote: March 29, 2009 12:02

The Problem that The Economist wants to talk about? Public Outrage a.k.a. Populism.

The other less important problem that a magazine called The Economist might want to address, but which it doesn't want to talk about: the economy is bust, and why.

Typical scenario for the last 18 years:

This happens 100 times so the banks are bust too, but get bailed out by the taxpayer (that's those guys who lost their jobs and pensions at Widgets)

PEI lives happily in The Bahamas with the 550 million which he 'earned' in a fabulous year of 'value creation' made possible by the power of free and light touch regulated markets.

Sadly, due to the complexity of all this the bright chaps at The Economist can not quite see why this is a slightly problematic way to run an economy... Honi suit qui mal y pense.

[Nov 10, 2017] Saudi Arabia's Desperate Gamble

More wars... more victims... More destruction...
Nov 10, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Abe , November 10, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Israel's next desperate gamble is direct military attack on Lebanon and Syria.

On 5 November, the ever more delusional Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained to the BBC about an "Iranian takeover" of Lebanon.

On 9 November, the equally delusional Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz complained to the Associated Press that "Lebanon is Hezbollah and Hezbollah is Iran".

Israel is by no means content to merely "contemplate" a war.

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

War against Lebanon and Syria is the next stage of the Israeli-Saudi-US Axis "project".

Saudi Arabia and the United States are very much available to "assist" the upcoming Israeli military adventure.

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

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

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

"Scenarios for the Third Lebanon War

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Conclusions

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

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

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

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

Sally Snyder , November 10, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Here are some cables that Wikileaks released showing us how the Saudi royal family tries to control the world's media:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/01/how-saudi-arabia-controls-its-own-media.html

The Saudi Royal Family has bottomless pockets when it comes to controlling negative press coverage.

Zachary Smith , November 10, 2017 at 10:28 pm

And in the shadows, at the back of the gaming room, stands Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. The idea of going to the casino was his, in the first place. If the hero lands on black, he will share in the joy, but if it is red never mind: Bibi's home is not forfeit.

At first glance it looks to me as if Netanyahu wins any coin flip, whether it is "heads" or "tails". No matter what happens, Saudi Arabia is going to be severely shaken up, and chaos in surrounding Muslim nations is almost always a "plus" for Israel.

But at second glance I imagine I can also see a downside. The Arabian Peninsula has a hefty population, and if the Kingdom here does shatter, there is a possibility that an Arabic Napoleon could emerge. During the time of Muhammad there was an outward-moving crusade, and might it not happen again? Saudi Arabia may not have much of an army at the moment, but that could change quickly. A glance at a world globe shows Israel to be very close by. This sort of thing would cause me to lose sleep if I were an Israeli strategist.

At the moment the KSA is being taken over by a young numbskull, if all the accounts I've read are even remotely true. Perhaps Israel is providing the brains. The Moon of Alabama blogger has a low opinion of the young man.

Saudi Arabia – This "Liberal Reformer" Is An Impulsive Tyrant

h**p://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/11/saudi-arabia-the-liberal-reformer-reveals-himself-as-an-impulsive-tyrant-.html

David G , November 10, 2017 at 10:59 pm

The singular fact that the planned next royal succession from Salman to MbS will be the first from father to son since the death of Abdulaziz seems to me to add a whole other level of uncertainty to what is already a difficult time for the kingdom.

[Oct 30, 2017] Nick Turse A Red Scare in the Gray Zone by Tom Engelhardt

Notable quotes:
"... Memo to Senator John McCain: ..."
Oct 29, 2017 | www.unz.com

Memo to Senator John McCain: Senator, the other day I noticed that, as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, you threatened to subpoena the Trump administration for information about the recent attack in Niger that killed four American soldiers. "There's a mindset over there that they're a unicameral government," you said. "It was easier under Obama We are coequal branches of government; we should be informed at all times. We're just not getting the information in the timely fashion that we need."

How true! But let me make one small suggestion. If you really want to know what led to those deaths in Niger, the first place you might consider looking -- no subpoena needed -- is this very website, TomDispatch . Or, to be more specific, Nick Turse's coverage of the way U.S. Africa Command and American Special Operations forces have, with a certain stealth but also without significant coverage in the mainstream media, extended the war on terror deep into Africa. He alone has covered this story and the secret bases , widespread " training missions " (like the one in Niger), and barely noticed wars being fought there since at least 2012, when I was already writing this of his work:

"So here's another question: Who decided in 2007 that a U.S. Africa Command should be set up to begin a process of turning that continent into a web of U.S. bases and other operations? Who decided that every Islamist rebel group in Africa, no matter how local or locally focused, was a threat to the U.S., calling for a military response? Certainly not the American people, who know nothing about this, who were never asked if expanding the U.S. global military mission to Africa was something they favored, who never heard the slightest debate, or even a single peep from Washington on the subject."

By 2013, in a passage that sounds eerily up to date as we read of ISIS-allied militants on the lawless Niger-Mali border, he was already reporting that

"while correlation doesn't equal causation, there is ample evidence to suggest the United States has facilitated a terror diaspora, imperiling nations and endangering peoples across Africa. In the wake of 9/11, Pentagon officials were hard-pressed to show evidence of a major African terror threat. Today, the continent is thick with militant groups that are increasingly crossing borders, sowing insecurity, and throwing the limits of U.S. power into broad relief. After 10 years of U.S. operations to promote stability by military means, the results have been the opposite. Africa has become blowback central."

Four years later, when the Niger events occurred, nothing had changed, except that the U.S. military had moved, again with little attention (except from Turse), even deeper into the heart of Africa, setting up a remarkable array of bases and outposts of every sort (including two drone bases in Niger).

[Oct 30, 2017] A walk down memory lane

Oct 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Patient Observer , October 28, 2017 at 2:29 pm

A walk down memory lane:
http://theduran.com/5-discarded-anniversaries-of-western-led-aggression/
And here is the list:

1 The Korean War ends (1953
2 President Kennedy invades South Vietnam (1962)
3 The US overthrows Allende in Chile (1973)
4 The West installs Iranian dictator the Shah (1953)
5 The US-led Iraq invasion (2003)

Many honorable mentions including:
– NATO bombing of Serbia
– Libya
– Afghanistan
– Syria (support of ISIS and its predecessors and spinoffs)

The US body count is simply staggering – many millions killed, millions more wounded or poisoned (Vietnam – agent orange and other chemical agents) and tens of millions of lives forever damaged.

USA! USA! USA! (its elites that rule us of course!)

Cortes , October 29, 2017 at 6:23 pm
And no mention of

Indonesia.

Just the 1m plus deaths.

[Oct 30, 2017] Democrats Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them

Notable quotes:
"... The Republican Party is home to many a vile reactionary, but its principal function is, and long has been, to serve the most odious wing of the American ruling class. ..."
"... Being unfit and unprepared for the office he suddenly found himself holding, Trump had no choice but to call on seasoned Republican apparatchiks for help. Thus he ended up empowering the very people he had beaten into submission months before. ..."
"... Thus the Republican Party and the Donald became locked together in a bizarre marriage of convenience. Their unholy aliance has by now become a nightmare for all concerned. ..."
"... Moreover, with each passing day, the situation becomes more fraught – to the point that even Republican Senators, three of them so far, have already said "enough." ..."
"... Vice President Mike Pence, his constitutionally prescribed successor, is an opportunist too, but he is also a dedicated theocrat and a thoroughgoing reactionary. A skilled casting director could not have come up with a more suitable vector for spreading the plagues that Republican donors like the Koch brothers seek to let loose upon the world. ..."
"... With Pence in the Oval Office, the chances of nuclear annihilation would diminish, but everything else would be worse. Trump is temperamentally unable to play well with the denizens of the "adult daycare center" that official Washington has become. On the other hand, because his effect on people is more soporific than terrifying, and because he is, by nature, a "pragmatic" conservative -- a mirror image of what Clinton purported to be -- Pence could end up doing more to undermine progress than Trump could ever imagine. ..."
"... Therefore, Trump's demise, though necessary, would be a mixed blessing, at best. ..."
"... After all, Democrats are part of the problem too -- arguably, the major part – and they can hardly remain entirely indifferent to the concerns of voters who lean left. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org

The Republican Party is home to many a vile reactionary, but its principal function is, and long has been, to serve the most odious wing of the American ruling class.

Before Hillary Clinton threw away a sure victory last November, Donald Trump was well on the way to blowing that dreadful party apart.

No credit is due him, however. The harm he was on track for causing was unintended. Trump was not trying to do the GOP in; he was only promoting his brand and himself.

However, by stirring up longstanding rifts between the party's various factions, he effectively put himself on the side of the angels. Without intending anything of the sort, and without even trying, Trump turned himself into a scourge upon America's debilitating duopoly party system.

As Election Day approached, it was unclear whether the GOP's Old Guard would ever be able to put their genteel thing -- their WASPish Cosa Nostra -- back together again.

With Hillary Clinton in the White House, their odds were maybe fifty-fifty. Had the Democrats nominated a less inept Clintonite like Joe Biden or an old school liberal like Bernie Sanders, their odds would have been worse.

But then, to nearly everyone's surprise, including his own, Trump won -- or, rather, Clinton lost, taking many a Democrat down with her. The debacle wasn't entirely her fault. For years, the Democratic National Committee had been squandering its resources on getting Democratic presidents elected, leaving down ticket Democrats wallowing in malign neglect.

And so, for a while, it looked like the GOP would not only survive Trump, but would thrive because of him.

Even so, Republicans were not exactly riding on Trump's coattails. The party's grandees had problems with the Donald, as did comparatively sane Republican office holders and office seekers; so did Republican-leaning voters in the broader electorate. But with Clinton flubbing so badly, none of this mattered.

Being unfit and unprepared for the office he suddenly found himself holding, Trump had no choice but to call on seasoned Republican apparatchiks for help. Thus he ended up empowering the very people he had beaten into submission months before.

Thus the Republican Party and the Donald became locked together in a bizarre marriage of convenience. Their unholy aliance has by now become a nightmare for all concerned.

Moreover, with each passing day, the situation becomes more fraught – to the point that even Republican Senators, three of them so far, have already said "enough."

Republicans continue to run the House and the Senate, and they occupy hosts of other top government offices, but the Republican Party has gone into damage control mode. It had little choice, inasmuch as its Trump induced, pre-election trajectory is back on track.

After only a brief hiatus, the chances are therefore good once again that if the country and the world survive Trump, he will be remembered mainly for destroying the party that Abraham Lincoln led a century and a half ago.

This is therefore a good time to give Republicans space to destroy themselves and each other, cheering them on from the sidelines – especially as they turn on Trump and he turns on them.

Saving the world from that menace is plainly of paramount importance, but it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the alternative is arguably even more unpalatable. Trump is an accidental malefactor; he goes where self-interest leads him. Vice President Mike Pence, his constitutionally prescribed successor, is an opportunist too, but he is also a dedicated theocrat and a thoroughgoing reactionary. A skilled casting director could not have come up with a more suitable vector for spreading the plagues that Republican donors like the Koch brothers seek to let loose upon the world.

With Pence in the Oval Office, the chances of nuclear annihilation would diminish, but everything else would be worse. Trump is temperamentally unable to play well with the denizens of the "adult daycare center" that official Washington has become. On the other hand, because his effect on people is more soporific than terrifying, and because he is, by nature, a "pragmatic" conservative -- a mirror image of what Clinton purported to be -- Pence could end up doing more to undermine progress than Trump could ever imagine.

Therefore, Trump's demise, though necessary, would be a mixed blessing, at best.

Trump is not likely to "self-impeach" any time soon; and. at this point, only persons who have the ear of Republican bigwigs can do much of anything to hasten his departure from the scene. But there are other ways to "deconstruct" the duopoly party system -- as Trump's fascisant, pseudo-intellectual (formerly official, now unofficial) advisor, Steve Bannon might infelicitously put it.

After all, Democrats are part of the problem too -- arguably, the major part – and they can hardly remain entirely indifferent to the concerns of voters who lean left. ... ... ... ANDREW LEVINE is the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press

[Oct 12, 2017] Are those my words coming out of Steve Bannons mouth? by Thomas Frank

Like Obama before him Trump proved to be a very talented "bat and switcher".
Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump's presidential campaign took this cynical strategy farther than any of his Republican predecessors, openly reaching out to alienated working-class voters, the backbone of so many left-wing protest movements. ..."
"... Trump told us he was going to do something about Nafta, a left-wing bκte noir since the 1990s. He promised to revive Glass Steagall. He claimed to care so very, very much about the people of the deindustrialized zones whose sufferings have been so thoroughly documented by left-wing authors. ..."
"... When Sanders decided to support HRC, I figured nothing will ever change. He built up a lot of hope (as did Obama), only to pull the rug out at the eleventh hour. ..."
"... Moving to the far towards the "progressive" left, the Democratic party abandoned the working and middle classes in favor of the coastal well to do city dwellers while trying to appeal to the "oppressed identity" single issue "groups". ..."
"... People got tired of losing their jobs to "globalization", with the government deciding what they can do with policies of "diversity", which is essentially a quota system, and with having ideologues and bureaucrats decide what is good or bad for them. ..."
"... If we lost the base of the Democratic party it wasn't because it was stolen from us. It was because it was given away. We started giving it away when we learned the wrong lesson after Ronald Reagan and thought that we had to move to the right with Bill Clinton to win the presidency. ..."
"... Clinton is the ultimate Swamp Creature,and large reason for her loss is that she spent more time with her high dollar donors then in swing states. How do you think the "Clinton Foundation" got so big? ..."
"... So the Democrats embraced the moneyed establishment because they felt they had to to win, while the Republicans denounced that same establishment but only as part of a bait-and-switch strategy. Meanwhile the establishment hedges their bets and wins no matter what the election outcome. ..."
"... I agree, the New Deal was quite leftist, in the sense that it acknowledged the crisis which had struck the working class. It's atypical in the history of the Democratic Party, which has been devoted to advancing the interests of U.S. corporations and since the Clinton years, those of multinational business consortia. But even the New Deal was a far cry from a revolutionary call to arms. In fact, it was meant to curtail such agitation. Roosevelt said as much. ..."
"... There is no left movement in Washington. Each is going after money from lobbyists. I just see the USA rapidly consuming itself and fragmenting. It has poor social, medical, policing programs. And it continues to digest itself in petty hate between the Democrats and Republicans. It really has no serious governance and worse its flagship superior court is now being sold to capitalism ..."
"... Identity politics is what the oligarchy is using to divide us. I just think it is counterproductive to battle each other when the upward mobility is being taken from us. I wish others could see it. ..."
"... Immigration restrictionists in the US have for decades fought the corporate establishment. In fact, we have fought what are probably the most powerful coalitions of special interests in human history, coalitions of corporate predators, Big Labor, Big Religion, Big Media, and Big Government. ..."
"... There are plenty of populists in the Republican Party, but the governing portion of the party is solidly neocon. Hence the battle between President Trump and the "17 intelligence agencies," and the remarkable undermining of Trump's foreign policy proposals by his own cabinet. ..."
"... Just as the progressive base of the Democratic Party is suppressed by the corporatists at the DNC and other centralized party organs, the Republican base is a captive to its Washington elite power brokers. ..."
"... Apparently 'isolationism' now means simply advocating for some restraint on endless global US military interventionism, hundreds and hundreds of bases in 80+ countries, and trillion dollar 'defence' budgets. ..."
"... I'll take an isolationist over a neo-con any day. ..."
"... The "traditional base" of the Democratic Party was destroyed long ago by de-industrialisation, hollowing of labor law, and now by opioids of the masses. The present day DNC is run by and for their army of contractors, lobbyists, bunglers, and wreckers. ..."
"... I hate to say it to you, but Trump voters who live in Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Iowa weren't looking for upscale living and calling for lower corporate taxes etc. One out of four WV residents are living under economic distress. They just want decent jobs and a government that represents working people, not the wealthy. ..."
Oct 12, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Oct 6, 2017

here's was a moment in Steve Bannon's recent 60 Minutes inter view when the former presidential advisor was asked what he's done to drain "the swamp," the Trumpists' favorite metaphor for everything they hate about Washington DC. Here was Bannon's reply: "The swamp is 50 years in the making. Let's talk about the swamp. The swamp is a business model. It's a successful business model. It's a donor, consultant, K Street lobbyist, politician ... 7 of the 9 wealthiest counties in America ring Washington, DC."

With a shock of recognition I knew immediately what Bannon meant, because what he was talking about was the subject matter of my 2008 book, The Wrecking Crew – the interconnected eco-system of corruption that makes Washington, DC so rich.

The first chapter of my book had been a description of those wealthy counties that ring Washington, DC: the fine cars, the billowing homes, the expense-account restaurants. The rest of the book was my attempt to explain the system that made possible the earthly paradise of Washington and – just like Steve Bannon – I did it by referring to a business model: the political donors and the K Street lobbyists, who act in combination with politicians of the Tom DeLay variety.

My critique of Washington was distinctly from the left, and it astonished me to hear something very close to my argument coming from the mouth of one of the nation's most prominent conservatives. But in fact, Bannon has a long history of reaching out to the left – you might say, of swiping its populist language and hijacking its causes.

In this space back in February, for example, I described Bannon's bizarre 2010 pseudo-documentary about the financial crisis, which superficially resembles actual documentaries, but which swerves to blame this failure of the deregulated financial system on the counterculture of the 1960s.

Bannon's once-famous denunciation of Wall Street banks for their role in the financial crisis is another example. His fondness for the author Christopher Lasch is also revealing. As was his admiring phone call with Robert Kuttner, a well-known liberal editor, which happened just before Bannon left his high-ranking White House job in August.

Mimicry is supposed to be a form of flattery, right

Dig a little deeper, and it sometimes seems like the history of the populist right – with its calls to "organize discontent" and its endless war against "the establishment" and the "elites" – is nothing but a history of reformatting left-wing ideas to fit the needs of the billionaire class. Think of Ronald Reagan's (and Mike Pence's) deliberate reprise of Franklin Roosevelt. Or the constant echoes of Depression-era themes and imagery that one heard from the Tea Party movement.

Donald Trump's presidential campaign took this cynical strategy farther than any of his Republican predecessors, openly reaching out to alienated working-class voters, the backbone of so many left-wing protest movements.

Trump told us he was going to do something about Nafta, a left-wing bκte noir since the 1990s. He promised to revive Glass Steagall. He claimed to care so very, very much about the people of the deindustrialized zones whose sufferings have been so thoroughly documented by left-wing authors.

So many fine, militant words. So many clarion calls rousing the people against corrupt elites. And now comes Steve Bannon, the terror of the Republican establishment, hectoring us about "the swamp" with ideas so strikingly similar to my own.

Look at deeds rather than words, however, and it seems as though Trump and his gang have been using The Wrecking Crew more as a how-to guide than anything else. In that book, for example, I pointed out that one of the hallmarks of modern conservative governance is the placement of people who are hostile to the mission of federal agencies in positions of authority in those very agencies.

This is an essential component of the Washington corruption Bannon loves to deplore – and yet this is precisely what Bannon's man Trump has done. Betsy DeVos, a foe of public schools, is running the Department of Education. Scott Pruitt, a veteran antagonist of the EPA, has been put in charge of the EPA. Rick Perry now runs the Department of Energy, an agency he once proposed to abolish.

Another characteristic of the DC wrecking crew is a war on competence within the Federal bureaucracy – and that, too, is back on, courtesy of the folks who rallied you against corruption so movingly last year.

Lobbying ? The industry appears to be gearing up for a return of its Reagan-era golden age. In the early days of the administration, lobbyists were appointed en masse to team Trump and a brigade of brash new K Street personalities is rising up to replace the old guard.

Privatization? The people in DC are trying it again, and this time on a gigantic scale. Trump's ultra-populist infrastructure promise now seems to be little more than a vast scheme for encouraging investment firms to take over the country's highways and bridges. Even the dreams of privatized war are back, brought to you courtesy of the enterprising Erik Prince, a familiar face from the worst days of the Iraq war.

Above it all towers the traditional Republican ideal of business-in-government. "The government should be run like a great American company," is how Jared Kushner puts it this time around; and with his private-jet-set cabinet Donald Trump is going to show the nation exactly what that philosophy looks like.

All the elements are here. The conclusion is unquestionable. The wrecking crew is back.

And why is it back? Because, among other things, Republicans are better at fulminating against the wrecking crew than are Democrats. Maybe that's because Democratic leaders feel it's inappropriate to use such blunt and crude language.

Maybe that's because, for 40 years or so, the leadership faction of the Democratic Party has been at war with its own left wing, defining us out of the conversation, turning a deaf ear to our demands, denouncing populism even as the right grabbed for it with both hands. Either way, the Democrats seem to have no intention of changing their approach now.

Maybe we on the left should take consolation in the things Steve Bannon says. Our own team may not listen to us, but at least there's someone out there in a position of power who apparently does. And mimicry is supposed to be a form of flattery, right?

No. All this is happening for one reason only: to steal the traditional base of the Democratic Party out from under us. That it will also enrich countless contractors and lobbyists and bunglers and wreckers is just a bonus.

Thomas Frank is a Guardian columnist

Thirdparty -> bh_two , 9 Oct 2017 04:04

Right. The traditional base of the Democratic Party stopped supporting it when it was taken over by right-wingers like the Clintons.
Thirdparty , 9 Oct 2017 04:01
On running the government like a business: That is exactly what the Trump regime is doing. Their business model is the mob. And to be fair, the idea of running government like a business makes precisely as much sense as running a business like a government.
Aligarter , 9 Oct 2017 03:15
Steve Bannon is part of the plan to de-democratize the USA and Republicans can only do that by lying on an industrial scale, which they do very efficiently and effectively. Why the need? Because although they are good at destruction, they are no good at all at building the nation or government.

The First Rule of Marketing says that if you give people what they want, they will give you dollars. The billionaires who fund the Republicans again and again do so not because they believe in good government, or have the slightest concern for the wealth, health and defense of the nation, but because they get what they want. It's a purchasing contract.

bh_two , 9 Oct 2017 01:27
"....to steal the traditional base of the Democratic Party out from under us"

They aren't your servants to do your bidding and wait your table. Nor your political property. There is no more similarity of average working blokes to self-infatuated intellectuals of "the left" than a potato to a hubcap.

Working people left the party because they plainly are no longer welcome except during the brief hours when the polls are open.

curiouswes -> HauptmannGurski , 9 Oct 2017 01:22

What are we at?

I haven't the vaguest idea. When Sanders decided to support HRC, I figured nothing will ever change. He built up a lot of hope (as did Obama), only to pull the rug out at the eleventh hour.

MD1212a , 8 Oct 2017 21:32
Moving to the far towards the "progressive" left, the Democratic party abandoned the working and middle classes in favor of the coastal well to do city dwellers while trying to appeal to the "oppressed identity" single issue "groups". The only answer it presented to all problems was more government control over the economy and over all aspects of people's life. People got tired of losing their jobs to "globalization", with the government deciding what they can do with policies of "diversity", which is essentially a quota system, and with having ideologues and bureaucrats decide what is good or bad for them.
DocDiv -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 20:16
TPP was a secret deal, which had written into it, its own right to trump the legal systems of signatory countries with TPP-sponsored arbitration and even mediation judgments. Trump saw that off on his first day.
Lyndon Watson , 8 Oct 2017 20:02
If we lost the base of the Democratic party it wasn't because it was stolen from us. It was because it was given away. We started giving it away when we learned the wrong lesson after Ronald Reagan and thought that we had to move to the right with Bill Clinton to win the presidency.

It was later given away when we didn't accomplish much when we had the majorities in the House, Senate and Presidency back in 2008. If Trump picked up our message it was because he took it, it was because it was just sitting there waiting to be picked up.

Cas Ann -> J.K. Stevens , 8 Oct 2017 19:20
Nonsense. Clinton is the ultimate Swamp Creature,and large reason for her loss is that she spent more time with her high dollar donors then in swing states. How do you think the "Clinton Foundation" got so big?
JohnCan45 , 8 Oct 2017 17:11
So the Democrats embraced the moneyed establishment because they felt they had to to win, while the Republicans denounced that same establishment but only as part of a bait-and-switch strategy. Meanwhile the establishment hedges their bets and wins no matter what the election outcome.
curiouswes -> stderr2 , 8 Oct 2017 16:51

Conservatives argue against identity politics.

That is a good message. I'll be more supportive of the conservatives when they actually practice what they preach. But please don't get me wrong. Not all conservatives are into white supremacy. The problem I see is that if one is a white supremacist, the conservatives don't publicly denounce that position. It makes many people of color feel alienated by conservatism. At least the left openly denounces white supremacy. The right praises MLK but doesn't condemn those in Charlotteville. They had a right to protest and the left shouldn't have tried to silence them. However it was identity politics. They wouldn't be protecting the open display of the confederacy if they weren't into identity politics. That message seems to get lost as conservatism frowns on identity politics.

I don't know what that refers to.

NAFTA passed under Clinton , but more importantly, so did the Uruguay Round of GATT. When the Senate passed that (the House passed it to but technically the House doesn't ratify treaties), it severely curtailed the USA's ability to negotiate our own trade deals. All members of the WTO are vulnerable to financial penalties if any member nation tries to override the rulings set by the WTO. Not only did Ralph Nader recognize this as a problem and try to run for president because of it, so did Pat Buchanan. Buchanan saw this as lost sovereignty (in his words). Both Nader and Buchanan were of course unsuccessful because we vote in an FPTP voting system which tends to eliminate third parties form being successful.

The point is that Clinton forced Congress to pass the legislation just like Paulson forced Congress to approve a bailout of the banks during the financial crisis. It wasn't really all the republicans fault, but the oligarchy would have taken down the global economy if it didn't get bailed out. Anyway the WTO has a policy on dumping:

If a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges on its own home market, it is said to be "dumping" the product. The WTO Agreement does not regulate the actions of companies engaged in "dumping". Its focus is on how governments can or cannot react to dumping -- it disciplines anti-dumping actions, and it is often called the "Anti-dumping Agreement".

both dems and reps rant and rave about China dumping steel but nothing ever gets done to stop it because the WTO is there protecting China (or american companies making steel in China). Either way the american steel worker gets screwed in the process and that is why populists hate globalism. The American worker knows he's getting screwed but he may not be aware of the mechanism by which he is getting screwed. The media rarely talks about the WTO because if the American worker knew how he was getting screwed, he'd be screaming to get out of the WTO. Typically he only knows his jobs are gone and where they are. However it was Clinton who did this and the idea that anybody would even think of putting HRC back in the white house while she is still married to that dude is due to utter ignorance of the fact of what he did when he was there the first time.

I think both Clinton and W should be in jail, but this isn't about W.

budhudnut -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 16:39
I agree, the New Deal was quite leftist, in the sense that it acknowledged the crisis which had struck the working class. It's atypical in the history of the Democratic Party, which has been devoted to advancing the interests of U.S. corporations and since the Clinton years, those of multinational business consortia. But even the New Deal was a far cry from a revolutionary call to arms. In fact, it was meant to curtail such agitation. Roosevelt said as much.
ID6995146 , 8 Oct 2017 16:15
There is no left movement in Washington. Each is going after money from lobbyists. I just see the USA rapidly consuming itself and fragmenting. It has poor social, medical, policing programs. And it continues to digest itself in petty hate between the Democrats and Republicans. It really has no serious governance and worse its flagship superior court is now being sold to capitalism. Capitalism will fail as predicted by Marx and those who really know about it. It is our children who will pick up the tab if they can survive.
stderr2 -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 15:19
> Identity politics is what the oligarchy is using to divide us.

Conservatives argue against identity politics. I don't know what the oligarchy is supposed to be, in the context of the US. People in power often came from varied backgrounds, not usually all that rich backgrounds.

> upward mobility is being taken from us

Upward from what? If you are poor, there's a lot of upward that might be possible, but if you are middle class, whatever that means, you can't have everyone moving up or the definition of middle class would change to them.

> The worst thing that happened to us, happened under Clinton

I don't know what that refers to. Welfare reform? Various changes to banking regulations? Allowing bin Laden to hit us again and again but instead of doing what needed to be done, frolicking with a young frisky intern in the Oval Office? I doubt Bush Sr would've done that.

stderr2 -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 15:12
> However if you stand up for the rights of one group and ignore the rights of another today some people still don't "get it".

They don't get what? When someone protests in the street, whether they are sweetness and light or racist or whatever, they have the right to protest. Plenty of people would argue that "hate speech" should be banned, them defining what "hate speech" means, of course. These people are arguing against settled constitutional law.

> I tend to think the US citizen should be protected by the bill of rights and not necessarily those here illegally.

Yet not protecting everyone with due process, for example, is a violation of constitutional law.

curiouswes -> stderr2 , 8 Oct 2017 14:49
I consider myself a populist. Not exactly from the left but certainly more left that right. Identity politics is what the oligarchy is using to divide us. I just think it is counterproductive to battle each other when the upward mobility is being taken from us. I wish others could see it. The worst thing that happened to us, happened under Clinton, but rest assured; HW Bush would have done it had he won the election in 92.
budhudnut -> curiouswes , 8 Oct 2017 13:10
My point was that calling the Democratic Party a leftist party requires a notion of that term drained of real meaning. The Democratic Party has always upheld the supremacy of capital and the necessity of forestalling a revolution. I realize that in the United States plenty of people regard President Obama and Hillary Clinton as communists, but that's simply a measure of how far to the right political discourse stands there. The American left was eliminated from public life in the 1940s and 1950s with the suppression of the Communist Party, the purging of the unions and professions, and strict mass indoctrination of the citizenry. And whenever new manifestations of leftist energy have appeared, they have been met with unremitting hostility from liberal and conservative centers of power.

Finally, the Democratic Party is a party not just of capital, but of empire. This was never more true than in last year's election, in which Donald Trump was able to appeal to marginal voters on the ambiguous claim that he was less warlike than Secretary Clinton. No, there's nothing in the two party set-up which expresses the basic demands of the modern left- an end to imperialism, nationalization of key industries, and so on. And when people restrict their political thinking to the narrow range offered by a business oligopoly, they're going to be misreading their own reality.

lsjogren -> dallasdunlap , 8 Oct 2017 10:27
The Republican Party has a big problem in that its agenda has at best a small grassroots following of perhaps 10% of the populace.

Meantime, populist-nationalism is in sync with the views of I would estimate at least 50% of the US citizenry and perhaps as much as 60%. (the other 30% of the public are "progressives")

The establishment has maintained power by default. When our political system offers only a choice between a "progressive" Democrat and an establishment Repubilcan, many voters choose the latter as the lesser evil.

If and when voters actually are offered a genuine choice at the ballot box, watch out. I think you will start seeing this played out on a grand scale in the 2018 and 2020 Republican primaries.

lsjogren , 8 Oct 2017 10:22
Fighting the corporate establishment has never been the exclusive province of the left.

Immigration restrictionists in the US have for decades fought the corporate establishment. In fact, we have fought what are probably the most powerful coalitions of special interests in human history, coalitions of corporate predators, Big Labor, Big Religion, Big Media, and Big Government.

This movement is one of the grassroots pillars fueling Bannonism.

dallasdunlap , 8 Oct 2017 09:03
There are plenty of populists in the Republican Party, but the governing portion of the party is solidly neocon. Hence the battle between President Trump and the "17 intelligence agencies," and the remarkable undermining of Trump's foreign policy proposals by his own cabinet.

Just as the progressive base of the Democratic Party is suppressed by the corporatists at the DNC and other centralized party organs, the Republican base is a captive to its Washington elite power brokers.

budhudnut , 8 Oct 2017 06:26
Thomas Frank's interesting and thoughtful pieces on the failure- or refusal- of the Democratic Party to come to terms with the depths of voter disaffection form an interesting contrast with the Guardian's DNC-supplied outlook. I suppose that's why he's been hired, to take up all that slack as the paper trudges ever rightward. Here's a link to an extended recent interview he gave with Paul Jay at The Real News.

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=832&Itemid=74&jumival=1649

Christopher Oxley , 7 Oct 2017 16:53
Populist movements typically tend to involve more focus on complaining and raging about problems than coming up with any real solutions for them, so it doesn't really matter whether members self-identify as coming from the left or right. Given the Trump campaign was all about manipulation anyway, with Trump just a puppet to distract the public from seeing the corprate take-over of the state, it's not surprising they used a populist rhetoric, as seen in shock doctrine, that inherent rage blinds them from seeing they are being manipulated.
Ben Groetsch -> sludgeco , 7 Oct 2017 15:48
The last time the Democrats actually offered something to the American people was the War on Poverty and Civil Rights legislation by President Johnson in the 1960s. Other than the Democrats have been acting like an extended PR arm of corporate America by performing sideshows on social issues while failing to address the needs of working families. I clearly don't buy into the notion that the Democrats are a tad better than the Republicans. No, the Democrats need to be radically to the left like Bernie Sanders, not moderate Republican lite such as Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. This country simply cannot continue electing conservative governments all the time in Washington DC.
sparkylab -> JoeintheMidwest , 7 Oct 2017 12:50
Apparently 'isolationism' now means simply advocating for some restraint on endless global US military interventionism, hundreds and hundreds of bases in 80+ countries, and trillion dollar 'defence' budgets.
JoeintheMidwest -> PennyCarter , 7 Oct 2017 12:25
A broken clock is right twice a day. Yes, Republican isolationists are the only ones in their primarily interventionist party to ever make a principled critique of endless U.S. wars abroad. Sadly, the Democrats are, with some honorable exceptions like Dennis Kucinich, as committed to these endless wars as their partners across the aisle. This is one of the many reasons why Hillary Clinton lost. However, Buchanan's xenophobia makes his brand of anti-imperialism shallow--he still thinks "Western civilization" is superior to other cultures, and has denied the genocide against Native Americans. His views about Jews are also rather creepy. That said, I'll take an isolationist over a neo-con any day.
money777 , 7 Oct 2017 07:21
There is divisive manipulation on the left and the right, the pundits blame each other to keep America divided. The right stereotypes the left while the left stereotypes the right . The working class crazy white guy is oppressing the hispanic and blacks while the blacks and hispanic oppress the working class white. The left pundits make fun of the working class while the right pundits make fun of the left pundits. Both sides are entralled by business interests aka socoio-political interests. Afterall, this is a business world where ppl have to put food on the table.America is on the verge of becoming as divided as america was prior to the civil war. What am i supposed to do? Join the resistence of division taking place on the left and the right? Protest against another american at a divided left vs. right rally? Resistence is futile because resistence leads to more division.

Excuse my unedites grammar semtence structure lack of sense and not serious online comment

Ponderbelle -> America_Loves_Trump , 7 Oct 2017 05:16
Trump can't stop calling others names - with the absurd stance that he must bully people to create a sense of self respect.

Those who support Trump or Bannon generally have in common a refusal to see any viewpoint other than their own. They'll find a way to make most any belief, policy or decision which T&B uphold, look justified or non-offensive in motives.

Trump runs every which way, so, there are bound to be a few things one finds agreeable (even from the left). Bannon thinks democracy does not work. He'd like to see the federal government crash.

In fact, The USA has no true democracy. Like many developed nations we are under the total rule of organized business. Profit is superior and normalized whereas basic human needs are for the highest bid competition. Greed older than Methuselah's first breakfast. Bannon doesn't have a vision for the betterment and uplift of society any more than anyone else. Who cannot can see corporate greed has its tentacles around us? The common person on the street knows the scheme. What to do about it finds us in the land of inertia. Next crash (it is coming) the panicked cry for bailouts will be near impossible to put-up with. With billions on the planet we are in new territory, as to resources and competition. A system which cannot survive with its hand in our pocket while claiming free market enterprise will even out the system on balance - meaning for investors, and head in sand more of the same.

ID6823856 , 7 Oct 2017 04:10
The "base" of the Democratic party is now the same get rich ideologues of Clinton-ism who are happy to lobby and privatise with as much enthusiasm as any right wing Republican/Conservative/Tea Party ideologue. Every administration, Republican or Democratic, from Clinton, to Bush, to Obama, has held to the same policies of the Reagan administration. The "traditional base" of the Democratic Party was destroyed long ago by de-industrialisation, hollowing of labor law, and now by opioids of the masses. The present day DNC is run by and for their army of contractors, lobbyists, bunglers, and wreckers.
rogerscorpion , 7 Oct 2017 04:06
Mr. Frank, I found it surprising that you mentioned both Betsy de Vos and Erik Prince -- but didn't mention the fact that they are siblings.
PeterOrmonde , 7 Oct 2017 03:45
Yep - the big mistake with critters like Bannon is to ignore or dismiss everything they say and fail to detect what resonance they are striking with what audience.

But it's awkward when you just read them and recognise grains of truthiness - they see the same problems it's just their solutions are all wrong. But they are actually cutting the left's grass - pinching the alienation and discontent that rightly belongs to progress, no? Now the NRA have got 'em - not even the GOP.

Be yer unfinished civil war this... grinding away slowly ... so now the whole place is riven by fear and suspicion - of race, wealth, cities, the guvvermint, of anything and everything really. A deeply traumatised culture you've got sitting down there - victims real and imagined wandering about and none of it getting fixed at all..

Not everyone or everywhere - but the most fearful and angry cluster are centred on the underlying issues of the era of Lincoln. Trump is speaking for and to them. There can be no more nonsense about lone gunmen - this is now part of US culture - systemic and systematic.

Yer 500 kiddies are just the price of open-carry freedoms according to the Vegas mayor. All the same old folk-wisdoms: can't have laws that stop bad people being bad?... why should the 1% of evildoers dictate our liberties?

But of course they do. That is how all laws work, whether murder or shoplifting - everyone shows their bags. In fact they are arguing for lawlessness - vigilantism and John Wayne cowboy myths. That's the Trump/Bannon audience ... National Enquirer readers packing heat .

Gonna get ugly before it's fixed.

Maury A. Bousson , 7 Oct 2017 02:42
#TheHouseAlwaysWins The author gets so close to putting his finger on the problem and then at the last moment swerves off into partisan rhetoric. Wake up dude! Both of the things you think are opposite sides are out to get us.
eastbayradical -> newyorkred , 7 Oct 2017 02:24
The list below delineates the policies and initiatives that Hillary Clinton supported over course of her political career (including as a loyal First Lady to Bill Clinton). They help explain the depressed voter enthusiasm and turnout for the Dems among many of the groups to whom you say Frank, as a "well-to-do white man" pining for "white working class revolution," owes an apology:

--Deregulation of the investment banks (and against reinstatement of Glass--Steagall)
--Deregulation of the telecommunications industry
--Deregulation of derivatives
--The destruction of welfare (which has caused the numbers living in extreme poverty to double since its passage)
--The Omnibus Crime Bill (increased the prison population massively)
--NAFTA
--The sanctions regime against Iraq of the 1990s that killed 500,000 Iraqi children ("it was worth it," said her friend Madeline Albright)
--The Defense of Marriage Act
--CAFTA (granted stealthy support)
--TPP
--Fracking
--The objectively-racist death penalty
--The private prison industry
--The Patriot Act
--The Iraq War
--The bombing of Libya
--Military intervention in Syria
--Israel's starvation blockade and blitzkrieg against Gaza
--The right-wing coup in Honduras
--Investor-friendly repression and cronyism in Haiti
--A 31 cents/hour minimum wage in Haiti (and against attempts to raise it)
--The recently announced 20 year, $1,000,000,000,000 (trillion) upgrade of the US's nuclear arsenal
--Historically-high numbers of deportations under the Obama Adm.
--Oil drilling in the Arctic
--The fight against free public university tuition
--The fight against single-payer health care
--Acceptance of tens of millions of dollars of corporate money
--Credit-card industry favored bankruptcy laws
--The bail-out of Wall Street

suddenoakdeath -> James F. , 7 Oct 2017 01:24
....and America was convinced Trump cared about them, so says Thomas Frank.
Alex W -> Ben Groetsch , 6 Oct 2017 21:21
If you think America is bad, then try living in the UK. The UK is a hotbed of religious nutters. Just look at Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, David Cameron, and Theresa May.

The UK still has a "state-established" church (the Church of England). The UK's national anthem ' God Save the Queen ' mentions 'God' over 30 different times. And most British schools are still faith-based and funded by the church. Also, abortion and gay marriage are still banned in some parts of the UK, such as Northern Ireland.

Forget Donald Trump.... the UK is far more religious & dangerous.

askzippy , 6 Oct 2017 21:09
Lol, yeah it's only the Rs that do bad stuff in DC. HRC was the Queen of the system described above. An article designed to confuse those without eyes to see.

The interesting thing for me is the hate levels on the left which appear to be almost off the scale at the moment. Identity politics seems to have a deep hold on your hearts.

sejong , 6 Oct 2017 20:55
The national of USA should be changed from bald eagle to lone wolf. Forget e pluribis unum. War of all against all.
Alex W -> Sharon Sekhon , 6 Oct 2017 20:04
The U.S. is more liberal & secular than ever. The election of Trump doesn't change that. According to a 2011 Pew Report , the U.S. now has the 3rd largest atheist population in the world -- after China & Japan. On top of that, a 2015 Gallup Poll found that 60% of Americans would vote for an atheist President -- a record number that continues to grow every year.

Additionally, gay marriage is legal in all 50 U.S. states. Marijuana is legal & taxed in 8 U.S. states. Euthanasia (assisted suicide) is legal in 6 U.S states -- including California (the largest state in America with over 40 million people). Even prostitution is legal & regulated in some U.S. states, such as Nevada!

*Sign into Youtube to watch this video about legal American brothels.

The U.S. constitution guarantees separation of Church & State -- unlike the UK, which still has a "state-established" church (the Church of England).

kmacafee -> Attu de Bubbalot , 6 Oct 2017 19:53
Not really. They will be defeated in the next election and they are already facing charges and prison time. This will not end with a bang, but with a whimper and whining like you've never heard. There are many more in the one percent and the top 10% who are already disgusted with Mercer, Koch, Trump and the whole Putin cabal. Evil is evil and splashing some fake christianity on their hitler speeches is not fooling anyone but the already fooled; and they are a small lot getting smaller every single day.
Zepp -> NYbill13 , 6 Oct 2017 18:21
Most of Bannon's story about dear old dad is pure crap. He was already a right wing film-maker before the 2008 meltdown, and dear old dad would still have his money if he had listened to his two financier sons instead of the cable TV idiot Cramer. AT&T, in case you haven't heard, came through the crash intact.
colacj , 6 Oct 2017 18:16
15 billion dollars worth of missiles being sold to Saudi Arabia ........ while a few days ago Saudi Arabia goes to Moscow and talks to putin which is the first tie ever.......... so we sold them weapons to what , aim at us........
Ben Groetsch -> MTavernier , 6 Oct 2017 18:15
So, do you preferred two thirds of the American population to live on welfare aid like Medicaid which doesn't even covered dental and eye exams? As much you don't like the GOP approach to healthcare reform, the Democrats would rather bailed out the insurance industry by making consumers to buy unaffordable coverage and public assistance programs and refused to embraced Bernie Sanders approach to universal healthcare. The Democratic Party simply has no ideas, just empty tough talk against the President.
Ben Groetsch -> Social36 , 6 Oct 2017 18:10
I hate to say it to you, but Trump voters who live in Michigan, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Iowa weren't looking for upscale living and calling for lower corporate taxes etc. One out of four WV residents are living under economic distress. They just want decent jobs and a government that represents working people, not the wealthy.

[Oct 12, 2017] The proletariat, or at least the opioid threatened, white and marginalized cadre on show in the Rust belt states, probably thought they had their man in DJT because he said what it took to get himself elected in the vernacular they prefer, feeling its authenticity made them look honest.. Ha!

Oct 12, 2017 | discussion.theguardian.com

Ben Groetsch -> Sharon Sekhon , 6 Oct 2017 18:02

So, you're suggesting that Frank's political instincts are all wrong when he first wrote his book thesis on "What's the matter with Kansas," which lays out the scanting indictment of the pro-corporate wing of the Democratic Party and their wealthy supporters. Here's the reality that you Clinton bots don't understand: the rest of the country is like Kansas, not glamour LA or Wall Street NYC. People work in blue collar and grey collar professions, have modest wealth, and some are involved in trade unions. Many don't have a college degree; many also have no desires to go to a liberal arts school or state public university. Nearly eighty percent of middle America have a high school diploma. Only thirty percent have a college BA degree, and less than five percent have a advanced degree in Law or PH'D. Those numbers haven't changed since the 1960s. And yet, the corporate ruling class which showers money to both political parties have been selling the public a bill of false promises and lies about the necessary of getting a college degree in order to find gainful employment with living wages. Sorry, there isn't no living wage jobs. Our industrialized state has been devalued by NAFTA, a pro-corporate trade deal signed by Bill Clinton in the 1990s, had destroyed the fabric of mostly blue collar communities in middle America. Both Democrats and Republicans all conspired to gut the entire working classes out of the middle class status and into the underclass welfare state as a whole---first with welfare reform in the 1990s, followed by Bush era tax cuts, getting rid of Glass-Stegeall, awarding companies with job outsourcing, failure to provide affordable housing to the needy while selling risky sub-prime mortgages, making our higher educational system as a luxury commodity, destroying our pension system and replacing it with an inadequate 401K retirement package, allowing the one percent to hide their money overseas in tax haven accounts, subsidizing the rich, and control the media through corporate consolidation. We no longer have the ability to innovate, produce, or create a thriving working class middle. Instead, corporate dominance in our politics and our legal system makes it almost impossible to generate a fair, diverse, and expanding opportunities economy on the basis of progressive regulations that is desperately needed.

What Frank had in mind is what the donor class within the Democratic Party is scared about. That is, working people are being shoved aside due to the power of money in government, and yet the Democratic Party has to changed its tune in order to regain the working class voters in middle America.

Ben Groetsch , 6 Oct 2017 17:39
Well, Bannon is partly right given the fact that our government has been at the wheel of powerful lobbyists and wealthy donors for so long. However, given the dysfunctional and unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Trump Administration in DC, the Democrats seem to appear as aloof and tone deaf with the American people----a state of utter denial regarding a major political party that just lost the Presidential election to a dingbat D list reality tv star and real estate tycoon who has the mindset of a spoiled child.

The true reason behind Bannon's conquest for political votes is that the working class here in the US have been totally neglected and left behind by eight years of Obama and the last two terms of Bush Jr from the previous decade. Working people want actual middle class jobs and a shot of a decent life in retirement, not welfare checks from the government.

fabfreddy -> CivilDiscussion , 6 Oct 2017 17:05
Is that just about everybody? Or do you think there are people that wouldn't want to be billionaires?
Rollmeover , 6 Oct 2017 16:56
Democrats are so disorganized that to elect them is folly. We already have disorganization. Trump will win a second term.
chunki , 6 Oct 2017 16:55
The Left in English-speaking countries has been overtaken by upper-middle class people who are obsessed with sexual identity and race. They are snobby towards working class people and will abuse them as racist when they talk about problems with immigration or other social groups with different coloured skin. I moved from the first group into the second, and I know working class people are no more prejudiced than upper-middle class, but they don't have the vocabulary to express it in a way that "educated" people will recognise.
This snobbery towards possible complexities in the life of working class people is damning leftwing parties to continual oblivion.
(Working class people use blunt language, but they apply it to themselves equally. Those higher up the social ladder are not used to hearing that type of language.)
jackrousseau -> EyeFullEnt , 6 Oct 2017 14:14
Did anything I say indicate I support Trump? I described his administration as an economically centrist "kleptocracy". Trump Jr. taking thinly veiled payoffs on the speaking/grift circuit is par for the course.

Though, I imagine Trump Jr. commands significantly less than Chelsea Clinton ($65,000 as of 2015). http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/chelsea-clinton-speaking-fee-university-missouri-119580

And I imagine it's only a matter of time before we also see Obama's children "speaking" for thinly veiled payoffs. One already scored an prestigious internship with the socially progressive Weinstein Company. And Michelle's currently getting in excess of $200,000 for 1hr speeches. https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/05/02/michelle-obama-s-speaker-fee-is-as-much-as-some-former-president/22065295 /

...All enough to make someone a little cynical about American politics.

America_Loves_Trump -> EyeFullEnt , 6 Oct 2017 11:44
More misinformed nonsense.

In fact, Breitbart gets criticism on the right for being too gung ho in embracing Israel. Steve Bannon quotes that give some of his supporters pause are things like "no media outlet is more pro-Israel than Breitbart". I guess politics is a factor but most of us don't like all the money we give them and how a major reason that the Muslim world is so angry at the Western one is it's unflinching backing of Israel, no matter how much of the West Bank they encroach upon, among other things.

The idea that Breitbart is anti-Semitic is an absurd Media Matters talking point going back to an article calling Bill Kristol a "Renegade Jew". The article was, obviously, written by a Jew. And the thrust of the article was that Bill Kristol (and others) making attempts to steal the Republican nomination from Trump (as the Dems had from Bernie Sanders) would ultimately harm Israel. So it was a Jew calling a Jew a Renegade Jew for making a decision he believed was bad for the Jewish homeland.

I know it's all very confusing but hopefully that's cleared up now.

TheRexican , 6 Oct 2017 11:31
"I did it by referring to a business model: the political donors and the K Street lobbyists, who act in combination with politicians of the Tom DeLay variety."

There are almost no members of Congress who are of any other sort than the "Tom Delay" variety you refer to. Very nearly every single member is corrupt. The game is ruined. Perhaps an end to gerrymandering (if we shoudl be so fortunate) will allow some mechanism for changing the guard in Congress. We need to remove them all. They sold us out and we need to exile them for life.

Don't think your rep is any better. This keeps us stuck.

America_Loves_Trump -> charlieblue , 6 Oct 2017 11:10
I don't JUST yell Hillary. I also mentioned Obama and the rest of the criminals who make up the Democratic Party. Whose list of proven criminality is simply staggering enough before you get in to the mountains of very damning circumstantial stuff that begs investigation.

And when I mention the Democrats, you act as if it's some irrelevent non sequitur. IT IS NOT. Please remember that the choice was Trump OR Hillary. So whenever people lament how apparently terrible the President who has brought us 3.1% GDP growth for the first time in years and well over a million new jobs along with finally insisting that the law needs to be enforced for the first time in 8 years, the issue of the alternative to this IS of course relevant.

As I said: Clinton is a part of the establishment. A real swamp monster. One of the really big stinking ones, with huge wads of cash stuck to her blood soaked claws. Trump is not. And by the very low bar set by the past few Presidents, just not being more of the same is an improvement.

And by the way, Hillary Clinton did commit multiple felonies. The private server = felony (whether "intent" was there or not, that was an irrelevant muddying of the waters). The storing and forwarding of classified info on this server = felony (whether or not she, after decades in government understood that (C) meant classified as it always had all along).

You've got your head in the sand, pal

Whiplashed -> America_Loves_Trump , 6 Oct 2017 10:53
You seem to be taking Clinton Cash as evidence of something, but that is just a piece of propaganda meant to sway the election. Where are your reputable sources?
boilingriver -> America_Loves_Trump , 6 Oct 2017 10:51
There are some great videos on Youtube where he talks about economics.
HAHA yes where he deliberately lies about the cause of 2008.

Where he is now silent on cohn who is now in charge of economic policy.

So, while Cohn was overseeing one team inside Goldman Sachs preoccupied with implementing the big short, he was in regular contact with others scrambling to offload its subprime inventory. One Goldman trader described the mortgage-backed securities they were selling as "shitty." Another complained in an email that they were being asked to "distribute junk that nobody was dumb enough to take first time around." A December 28 email from Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre, a Goldman vice president later convicted of fraud, instructed traders to focus on less astute, "buy and hold" investors rather than "sophisticated hedge funds" that "will be on the same side of the trade as we will."
https://theintercept.com/2017/09/17/goldman-sachs-gary-cohn-donald-trump-administration /

Then there is Mnuchin( Treasury secretary) the foreclosure king, who made a fortune on taking peoples home, some for $1 mistake.

Why did republicans mot make up some laws to put them into prison. Why are they silent now when trump is deregulating by executive order.

Talk about fake outrage putting in the people who caused the problems as the solutions.

America_Loves_Trump -> NYbill13 , 6 Oct 2017 10:12
Spoken from someone who has obviously never listened to what Steve Bannon said or his message.

You obviously don't know, for example, that his Dad - a union guy - lost half of his life savings in the crash of 2008.

And you do not have a single quote where you can attribute "master race" stuff to Bannon. That's literally a smear based on nothing, created by the Clinton people as revenge for his role in the absolutely devastating expose Clinton Cash.

Those of us paying attention understand what he is: an unbelievably bright guy who was the first man who successfully harnessed the informed outrage of the alternative media to have an impact in national politics. He and Trump beat the rigging and achieved for the socially conservative anti-deepstate people what Bernie Sanders was unable to achieve on the Left... if he ever really had the stomach for the fight in the first place.

LittleTomcat , 6 Oct 2017 09:28
"That it will also enrich countless contractors and lobbyists and bunglers and wreckers is just a bonus." Mmmm, maybe not a bonus so much as the objective, perhaps? As an aside, the method of installing nomenclature to control agencies, such as the agency responsible for granting broadcast licences, was described, if I recall correctly, in Josef Korbel's 1959 "The Communist Subversion of Czechoslovakia, 1938-1948". For a funny take on the privatisation of perpetual military conflict, Christopher Buckley's "They Eat Puppies, Don't They?" might provide a laugh, if you don't think about how closely it matches reality.
oiler , 6 Oct 2017 07:03
The proletariat, or at least the opioid threatened, white and marginalized cadre on show in the Rust belt states, probably thought they had their man in DJT because he said what it took to get himself elected in the vernacular they prefer, feeling its authenticity made them look honest.. Ha! But look! They are no different from other vulnerables after all, and they will be and are, being screwed over accordingly. Turkeys and Christmas, Foxes and henhouses, its all been said and now its being done: educate yourselves, folks.. before its too late.
HilltopRide , 6 Oct 2017 06:30
Yep, judge em solely on their actions. Trump is about entrenching the corporate coup d'etat. Expanding the swamp, not draining it. The question is now, after Citizens United and with a conservative SCOTUS in perpetuity, whether it's too wide and deep ever to be drained.

[Oct 11, 2017] The Myths of Interventionists by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... There are dangers and threats in the world, but all of the threats from state actors are manageable and deterrable without spending more on the military, and these threats are much less severe than anything the U.S. faced between the 1940s and the end of the Cold War. The U.S. can and should get by safely with a much lower level of military spending, and our government should also adopt a strategy of restraint that keeps us out of unnecessary wars. ..."
"... The Iraq war is just the most obvious example of how the U.S. forcibly intervenes in other parts of the world over the objections of allies, in flagrant disregard for international law, and with no thought for the destabilizing effects that military action will have on the surrounding region. ..."
"... It would be much more accurate to say that the U.S. intervenes often in the affairs of weaker countries because it can, because our leaders leaders want to, and because there is usually no other power willing or able to stop it from happening. Exorbitant military spending far beyond what is needed to provide for our defense makes it possible to take military action on a regular basis, and the constant inflation of foreign threats makes a large part of the public believe that our government's frequent use of force overseas has something to do with self-defense. This frenetic meddling in the affairs of other nations hasn't made and won't make America any safer, it makes far more enemies than it eliminates, and it imposes significant fiscal and human costs on our country and the countries where our government interferes. ..."
"... At least Churchill had a focus. Neocons claim that any country that doesn't yield to our every desire is an existential threat. One article says, 'Iran', another 'China', yet another 'Russia' or 'N. Korea'. ..."
Oct 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Dakota Wood makes the usual alarmist case for throwing more money at the military. This passage stood out for how wrong it is:

Churchill repeatedly warned his countrymen of the dangers of complacency, misguided priorities, and weakness of will, of the foolishness to see the world and major competitors as being anything other than what they truly are. While praising the virtues and spirit of moderation that defined the English-speaking peoples of his day, he also urged them to recognize the necessity of having the courage to take timely action when dangers threatened and clearly visible trends in an eroding ability to provide for their common defense were leading toward disaster.

A similar state of affairs afflicts the United States today. To the extent America intervenes in the affairs of others, it is because the United States has been attacked first, an ally is in dire need of assistance, or an enemy threatens broader regional stability [bold mine-DL].

Over ten years ago, Rick Santorum talked incessantly about "the gathering storm" in a very conscious echo of Churchill, and subsequent events have proven his alarmism to have been just as unfounded and ridiculous as it seemed to be at the time. Hawks are often eager to invoke the 1930s to try to scare their audience into accepting more aggressive policies and more military spending than our security actually requires. Some of this may come from believing their own propaganda about the threats that they exaggerate, and some of it may just be a reflex, but as analysis of the contemporary scene it is always wrong. There are dangers and threats in the world, but all of the threats from state actors are manageable and deterrable without spending more on the military, and these threats are much less severe than anything the U.S. faced between the 1940s and the end of the Cold War. The U.S. can and should get by safely with a much lower level of military spending, and our government should also adopt a strategy of restraint that keeps us out of unnecessary wars.

Churchill-quoting alarmists aren't just bad at assessing the scale and nature of foreign threats, but they are usually also oblivious to the shoddy justifications for intervening and the damage that our interventionist policies do. The section quoted above reflects an almost touchingly naive belief that U.S. interventions are always justified and never cause more harm than they prevent. Very few U.S. interventions over the last thirty years fit the description Wood gives. The only time that the U.S. has intervened militarily abroad in response to an attack during this period was in Afghanistan as part of the immediate response to the 9/11 attacks. Every other intervention has been a choice to attack another country or to take sides in an ongoing conflict, and these interventions have usually had nothing to do with coming to the defense of an ally or preventing regional instability. Our interference in the affairs of others is often illegal under both domestic and/or international law (e.g., Kosovo, Libya, Iraq), it is very rarely related to U.S. or allied security, and it tends to cause a great deal of harm to the country and the surrounding region that are supposedly being "helped" by our government's actions.

The Iraq war is just the most obvious example of how the U.S. forcibly intervenes in other parts of the world over the objections of allies, in flagrant disregard for international law, and with no thought for the destabilizing effects that military action will have on the surrounding region. The U.S. didn't invade Panama in 1989 to help an ally or because we were attacked, but simply to topple the government there. Intervention in Haiti in 1994 didn't come in response to an attack or to assist an ally, but because Washington wanted to restore a deposed leader. Bombing Yugoslavia in 1999 was an attack on a country that posed no threat to us or our allies. The Libyan war was a war for regime change and a war of choice. A few allies did urge the U.S. to intervene in Libya, but not because they were in "dire need of assistance." The only thing that Britain and France needed in 2011 was the means to launch an attack on another country whose government posed no threat to them. Meddling in Syria since at least 2012 had nothing to do with defending the U.S. and our allies. Wood's description certainly doesn't apply to our support for the shameful Saudi-led war on Yemen, as the U.S. chose to take part in an attack on another country so that our despotic clients could be "reassured."

It would be much more accurate to say that the U.S. intervenes often in the affairs of weaker countries because it can, because our leaders leaders want to, and because there is usually no other power willing or able to stop it from happening. Exorbitant military spending far beyond what is needed to provide for our defense makes it possible to take military action on a regular basis, and the constant inflation of foreign threats makes a large part of the public believe that our government's frequent use of force overseas has something to do with self-defense. This frenetic meddling in the affairs of other nations hasn't made and won't make America any safer, it makes far more enemies than it eliminates, and it imposes significant fiscal and human costs on our country and the countries where our government interferes.

Posted in foreign policy , politics .

Tagged Syria , Rick Santorum , Yemen , Iraq war , Panama , Libyan war , Saudi Arabia , Haiti , Winston Churchill , Dakota Wood .

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Democracy Vs. Hegemonism? In Defense Of Mary Grabar

Christian Chuba , says: October 11, 2017 at 4:22 pm

'The gathering storm' I read that and I was dying to know which storm he was referring too.

At least Churchill had a focus. Neocons claim that any country that doesn't yield to our every desire is an existential threat. One article says, 'Iran', another 'China', yet another 'Russia' or 'N. Korea'.

It's surprising how low on the list N. Korea typically ranks as the hawks try to turn attention quickly back to Iran. 'Iran is funding and developing their nuclear program, Iran is going to buy their nuclear weapons'. At least in the case of N. Korea we do have a country that obviously does possess WMD and is developing ICBM's and is likely to sell them in the future (even to our best friends the Saudis).

[Sep 24, 2017] The Killing of History

Notable quotes:
"... Pentagon Papers ..."
Sep 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

In a society often bereft of historical memory and in thrall to the propaganda of its "exceptionalism", Burns' "entirely new" Vietnam war is presented as "epic, historic work". Its lavish advertising campaign promotes its biggest backer, Bank of America, which in 1971 was burned down by students in Santa Barbara, California, as a symbol of the hated war in Vietnam.

Burns says he is grateful to "the entire Bank of America family" which "has long supported our country's veterans". Bank of America was a corporate prop to an invasion that killed perhaps as many as four million Vietnamese and ravaged and poisoned a once bountiful land. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed, and around the same number are estimated to have taken their own lives.

I watched the first episode in New York. It leaves you in no doubt of its intentions right from the start. The narrator says the war "was begun in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and Cold War misunderstandings".

The dishonesty of this statement is not surprising. The cynical fabrication of "false flags" that led to the invasion of Vietnam is a matter of record – the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" in 1964, which Burns promotes as true, was just one. The lies litter a multitude of official documents, notably the Pentagon Papers , which the great whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg released in 1971.

There was no good faith. The faith was rotten and cancerous. For me – as it must be for many Americans ! it is difficult to watch the film's jumble of "red peril" maps, unexplained interviewees, ineptly cut archive and maudlin American battlefield sequences.

... ... ...

The sheer energy and moral persistence of these great movements largely succeeded; by 1987 Reagan had negotiated with Mikhail Gorbachev an Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) that effectively ended the Cold War.

Today, according to secret Nato documents obtained by the German newspaper, Suddeutsche Zetung, this vital treaty is likely to be abandoned as "nuclear targeting planning is increased". The German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has warned against "repeating the worst mistakes of the Cold War All the good treaties on disarmament and arms control from Gorbachev and Reagan are in acute peril. Europe is threatened again with becoming a military training ground for nuclear weapons. We must raise our voice against this."

But not in America. The thousands who turned out for Senator Bernie Sanders' "revolution" in last year's presidential campaign are collectively mute on these dangers. That most of America's violence across the world has been perpetrated not by Republicans, or mutants like Trump, but by liberal Democrats, remains a taboo.

Barack Obama provided the apotheosis, with seven simultaneous wars, a presidential record, including the destruction of Libya as a modern state. Obama's overthrow of Ukraine's elected government has had the desired effect: the massing of American-led Nato forces on Russia's western borderland through which the Nazis invaded in 1941.

[Sep 01, 2017] Time to Terminate Washingtons Defense Welfare The National Interest Blog

Sep 01, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

opaw , August 30, 2017 8:29 PM

while i admire america's democratic society, i hate how america brought wars and chaos to the world in guise of "freedom and liberation". i hate how america exploit the weak. president moon should offer an olive branch to fatty kim by sending back the thaad to america and pulling out american base and troops. he should convince fatty kim that should he really like to proliferate his nuclear missile development as deterrence, aim it only to america and america only. there is no need for koreans to kill fellow koreans.

Try Harder , August 31, 2017 2:45 AM

Very good idea, after having pushed Ukraine and Georgia to a war lost in advance, lets hope US will abandon South Korea and Japan because they were helpless in demilitarizing one of the poorest countries in the world....

Try Harder Guest , August 31, 2017 4:16 PM

Was it necessary to bomb civilians of Ossetia for Georgia to get rid of Russia?
Was it necessary to provoke a coup d'etat against fully legitimate and democratically elected government in Ukraine? Life isn't fair indeed : not only they will never enter in NATO (even less EU) and no one will protect them, but they can say farewell to the land they lost. People in Georgia and Ukraine are less and less gullible and Pro Russians sentiment is gaining ground btw. As yourself why,

Zsari Maxim Guest , August 31, 2017 11:50 AM

Sphere of influence, the same reason why Cuba and Venezuela will pay for their insolence against the hegemon. The world is never a fair place.

Thomas Fung , August 31, 2017 5:04 PM

In this person's opinion, the article raises a good point with regards to US defense subsidies. However, its examples are dissimilar. Japan spends approximately 1% of its GDP on defense; South Korea spends roughly 2.5% of its GDP defense.

In fact, it seems to this person that a better example of US Defense Welfare would be direct subsidies granted to the state of Israel.

[Sep 01, 2017] Raghuram Rajan: Populist Nationalism Is the First Step Toward Crony Capitalism

Sep 01, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Asher Schechter at ProMarket discusses Raghuram Rajan's views on the rise of populist nationalism:

Raghuram Rajan: Populist Nationalism Is "the First Step Toward Crony Capitalism" : The wave of populist nationalism that has been sweeping through Western democracies in the past two years is "a cry for help from communities who have seen growth bypass them."
So said Raghuram Rajan, the former governor of the Reserve Bank of India, during a keynote address he gave at the Stigler Center's conference on the political economy of finance that took place in June.
Rajan, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, spoke about the "concentrated and devastating" impact of technology and trade on blue-collar communities in areas like the Midwest, the anger toward "totally discredited" elites following the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent rise of populist nationalism, seen as a way to restore a sense of community via exclusion.
In his talk, Rajan focused on three questions related to current populist discontent: 1. Why is anger focused on trade? 2. Why now? 3. Why do so many voters turn to far-right nationalist movements?
"Pointing fingers at these communities and telling them they don't understand is not the right answer," he warned. "In many ways, the kind of angst that we see in industrial countries today is similar to the bleak times [of] the 1920s and 1930s. Most people in industrial countries used to believe that their children would have a better future than their already pleasant present. Today this is no longer true." ...

There's quite a bit more. I don't agree with everything he (Raghuram) says, but thought it might provoke discussion.

DrDick , August 31, 2017 at 11:03 AM

Frankly, "crony capitalism" has always been the primary one, as even Adam Smith noted.
Paine , August 31, 2017 at 11:54 AM
The understanding of exploitation
Of wage earning production workers
Is a better base then the 18 th century liberal ideal of equality

Exploitation and oppression are obviously not the same
even if they make synergistic team mates oftener then not
So long as " them " are blatantly oppressed
It's easy to Forget you are exploited
Unlike oppression
Exploitation can be so stealthy
So not part of the common description of the surface of daily life

Calls for equality must include a careful answer to the question
" equal with who ? "

Unearned equality is not seen as fair to those who wanna believe they earned their status
Add in the obvious :
To be part of a successful movement aimed at Exclusion of some " thems " or other
Is narcotic
Just as fighting exclusion can be a narcotic too for " thems "

But fighting against exclusion coming from among a privileged rank among
The community of would be excluders
That is a bummer
A thankless act of sanctimony
Unless you spiritually join the " thems"

Now what have we got ?

Jim Crow thrived for decades it only ended
When black arms and hands in the field at noon ...by the tens of millions
were no longer necessary to Dixie

Christopher H. , August 31, 2017 at 11:54 AM
"Pointing fingers at these communities and telling them they don't understand is not the right answer," he warned. "In many ways, the kind of angst that we see in industrial countries today is similar to the bleak times [of] the 1920s and 1930s. Most people in industrial countries used to believe that their children would have a better future than their already pleasant present. Today this is no longer true." ...

I thought this sort of thinking was widely accepted only in 2016 we were told by the center left that no it's not true.

"Rajan, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, spoke about the "concentrated and devastating" impact of technology and trade on blue-collar communities in areas like the Midwest, the anger toward "totally discredited" elites following the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent rise of populist nationalism, seen as a way to restore a sense of community via exclusion."

Instead the center left is arguing that workers have nothing to complain about and besides they're racist/sexist.

gregory byshenk , September 01, 2017 at 08:54 AM
'"These communities have become disempowered partly for economic reasons but partly also because decision-making has increasingly been centralized toward state governments, national governments, and multilateral [agreements]," said Rajan. In the European Union, he noted, the concentration of decision-making in Brussels has led to a lot of discontent.'

I'd suggest that this part is not true. Communities have become politically disempowered in large part because they have become economically disempowered. A shrinking economy means a shrinking tax base and less funds to do things locally. Even if the local government attempts to rebuild by recruiting other employers, they end up in a race to the bottom with other communities in a similar situation.

I'd also suggest that the largest part of the "discontent" in the EU is not because of any "concentration of decision-making", but because local (and regional, and national) politicians have used the EU as a convenient scapegoat for any required, but unpopular action.

[Aug 28, 2017] Did Sherman commit war crimes? In my opinion, yes. But in war, does winning ultimately matter? Yes. There is no "honor" in war itself, just bloodshed by men who honorable in their willingness to die for their cause

Aug 20, 2017 | www.unz.com

SolontoCroesus > , August 20, 2017 at 4:14 pm GMT

@Corvinus "The plantation owners had them and in spite of Northern propaganda, these people (slaves) were usually treated very humanely."

Ripping them from their homeland, putting them on boats and dying by the dozens, being sold on a stage and branded, and then being forced to work against their will...and you claim they were treated "humanely" because Boss Hogg gave them enough food to eat, clothes on their backs, and tin roof over their head.

"Moving our flags and our statues for spite only angers us and hastens our will to become independent again. Keep it up and see."

Most normies (north and south, east and west) abhor the Confederacy. It represented slavery and secession. The Confederacy sought to DESTROY our nation. The norms are about what those monuments represent FROM THE PAST. They do not care that monuments serve as a historical record, nor do they care about the history of such individuals the monuments pay tribute to. Yes, Robert E. Lee opposed slavery. Yes, he had significant reservations about personally abandoning the Union. But what matters most is that he supported the Confederacy.

What about Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln? Should not their monuments be ripped down? According to most normies, no. While these individuals supported slavery, their accomplishments are generally viewed as BUILDING or PRESERVING our nation. That is the nuance here. The Confederacy monuments and the Washington/Jefferson/Lincoln monuments are on a separate moral plane as viewed by normies. In the end, the monuments are used as political pawns by the right and the left, not as historical pieces. I say move the monuments to private property. But in the meantime, anyone who rips them down now and in the future is defacing public property and ought to be arrested. Yo, Corvie the normie,

What's your view -- you and your fellow normies -- on Sherman's Scorched earth march to the sea?

Good idea to kill civilians and destroy property with reckless abandon because the only thing that matters is WINNING!
Or is the notion of killing civilians -- women and children -- abhorrent to self-respecting military men who view a war as something engaged in between martial forces who observe codes of military honor?

Just War theory is a legacy from millennia a ago -- waaaay before you normies developed your keen sense of moral clarity -- (don't you just love that term? moral clarity -- Israelis love that term, moral clarity: IDF drops phosphorus on children in Gaza with moral clarity . . .)

Just War Theory states that war, once engaged, must act to protect civilians to the fullest extent possible, and should should meet force with proportionate force and not more.

Did Sherman abide by those age-old norms, normie?

Corvinus > , August 20, 2017 at 6:28 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus Yo, Corvie the normie,

What's your view -- you and your fellow normies -- on Sherman's Scorched earth march to the sea?

Good idea to kill civilians and destroy property with reckless abandon because the only thing that matters is WINNING!
Or is the notion of killing civilians -- women and children -- abhorrent to self-respecting military men who view a war as something engaged in between martial forces who observe codes of military honor?

Just War theory is a legacy from millennia a ago -- waaaay before you normies developed your keen sense of moral clarity -- (don't you just love that term? moral clarity -- Israelis love that term, moral clarity: IDF drops phosphorus on children in Gaza with moral clarity . . .)

Just War Theory states that war, once engaged, must act to protect civilians to the fullest extent possible, and should should meet force with proportionate force and not more.

Did Sherman abide by those age-old norms, normie? "What's your view -- you and your fellow normies -- on Sherman's Scorched earth march to the sea?"

There are myths in Sherman's March that need to be explored.

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/17/rethinking-shermans-march/

We know that to the victors go the spoils. Winners write the history, and losers claim that the history is other than accurate. Did Sherman commit war crimes? In my opinion, yes. But in war, does winning ultimately matter? Yes. There is no "honor" in war itself, just bloodshed by men who honorable in their willingness to die for their cause. There is no doubt that if the tables were turned, and Lee was rampaging through Philadelphia and New York to finally put an end to "northern aggression", southern apologists would say the exact thing.

So, I take it that you oppose a similar Shermanesque policy if proposed by your allies or those on the Alt Right, correct? Make it official.

Furthermore, you do realize that the slave owners themselves had committed crimes against humanity, right? Are you ready to condemn them? Make it official.

"Or is the notion of killing civilians -- women and children -- abhorrent to self-respecting military men who view a war as something engaged in between martial forces who observe codes of military honor?"

Kurgen, a commenter at the Men Of The West blog, said, "Unfortunately, violence is inevitable. In fact, from a practical and logical point of view, violence is required to expel all the SJWs and their allies from polite civilization, and will further be required to man the walls of the forts that hold the line against them, as well as to expel any dissidents within them."

Do you share his sentiments? Would not those allies include women and children? I mean, if the overall goal is for Western Civilization to emerge on top, would it not be in the best interest to cull the herd? In this next "civil war", will YOU abide by those age-old norms?

"Just War Theory states that war, once engaged, must act to protect civilians to the fullest extent possible, and should should meet force with proportionate force and not more."

Great theory, just impractical when one desires to obliterate your enemy. Besides, is it not best to salt the earth to ensure that the offspring of your enemy will NOT "come back"?

[Aug 27, 2017] All The Countries America Has Invaded... In One Map

Notable quotes:
"... Using data compiled by a Geography and Native Studies professor from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, the indy100 team created an interactive map of U.S. military incursions outside its own borders from Argentina in 1890 to Syria in 2014. ..."
"... " Deployment of the military to evacuate American citizens, covert military actions by US intelligence, providing military support to an internal opposition group, providing military support in one side of a conflict, use of the army in drug enforcement actions. ..."
Aug 27, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Tyler Durden Aug 26, 2017 9:15 PM 0 SHARES US has had a military presence across the world , from almost day one of its independence. For those who have ever wanted a clearer picture of the true reach of the United States military - both historically and currently - but shied away due to the sheer volume of research required to find an answer, The Anti Media points out that a crew at the Independent just made things a whole lot simpler.

Using data compiled by a Geography and Native Studies professor from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, the indy100 team created an interactive map of U.S. military incursions outside its own borders from Argentina in 1890 to Syria in 2014.

To avoid confusion, indy100 laid out its prerequisites for what constitutes an invasion:

" Deployment of the military to evacuate American citizens, covert military actions by US intelligence, providing military support to an internal opposition group, providing military support in one side of a conflict, use of the army in drug enforcement actions.

But indy100 didn't stop there. To put all that history into context, using data from the Department of Defense (DOD), the team also put together a map to display all the countries in which nearly 200,000 active members of the U.S. military are now stationed.

For more details, click on the country:

[Aug 27, 2017] Current Concerns, April 24 2017, No. 9

Aug 27, 2017 | www.voltairenet.org

No 9

ISSN 1664-7963

Current Concerns

PO Box

CH-8044 Zurich

Switzerland

Phone: +41 44 350 65 50

Fax: +41 44 350 65 51

E-Mail: CurrentConcerns@zeit-fragen.ch

Website: www.currentconcerns.ch English Edition of Zeit-Fragen

[Aug 26, 2017] War is the health of the state, but death of empires

Notable quotes:
"... As for Washington and the proverbially bombastic, failed futurists across the Beltway, do they even know what is the end game of "investing" in two never-ending wars with no visible benefits? ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

Sean , August 25, 2017 at 6:42 pm GMT

As for Washington and the proverbially bombastic, failed futurists across the Beltway, do they even know what is the end game of "investing" in two never-ending wars with no visible benefits?

You start by assuming that the absence of war is the ultimate good, but none can say what a world without war would be like, or how long it would last.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/20/wars-john-gray-conflict-peace
Has the world seen moral progress? The answer should not depend on whether one has a sunny or a morose temperament. Everyone agrees that life is better than death, health better than sickness, prosperity better than privation, freedom better than tyranny, peace better than war. All of these can be measured, and the results plotted over time. If they go up, that's progress.

For John Gray, this is a big problem. As a part of his campaign against reason, science and Enlightenment humanism, he insists that the strivings of humanity over the centuries have left us no better off. This dyspepsia was hard enough to sustain when Gray first expressed it in the teeth of obvious counterexamples such as the abolition of human sacrifice, chattel slavery and public torture-executions. But as scholars have increasingly measured human flourishing, they have found that Gray is not just wrong but howlingly, flat-earth, couldn't-be-more-wrong wrong. The numbers show that after millennia of near-universal poverty and despotism, a steadily growing proportion of humankind is surviving infancy and childbirth, going to school, voting in democracies, living free of disease, enjoying the necessities of modern life and surviving to old age.

And more people are living in peace. In the 1980s several military scholars noticed to their astonishment that the most destructive form of armed conflict – wars among great powers and developed states – had effectively ceased to exist. At the time this "long peace" could have been dismissed as a random lull, but it has held firm for an additional three decades.

In my opinion Gray, though wrong that violence is not decreasing, is onto something about the future being bleak because of the rise of meliorist assumptions, because perpetual peace will be humanity's tomb.

While many suggest a danger for our world along the lines of Brian Cox's explanation for the Fermi Paradox (ie intelligent life forms cross grainedly bring on self-annihilation through unlimited war) I take a different view.

Given that Pinker appears substantially correct that serious war (ie wars among great powers and developed states) have effectively ceased to exist, the trend is for peace and cooperation. Martin Nowak in his book The Supercoperators shows cooperation, not fighting, to be the defining human trait (and indeed the most cooperative groups won their wars in history, whereby nation states such the US are the result of not just individuals but familial tribal regional , and virtually continental groupings coming together for mutual advantage and defence .

The future is going to be global integration pursuit of economic objectives, and I think this exponential moral progress bill begat technological advances beyond imagining.. An escape from the war trap is almost complete and the Singularity becomes. The most likely culprit in the paradox is a technological black hole event horizon created by unlimited peace and progress.

Cross-grained though it may be to say that the good war hallows every cause, I think it not so bad in comparison with the alternative.

[Aug 26, 2017] Did Sherman commit war crimes? In my opinion, yes. But in war, does winning ultimately matter? Yes. There is no "honor" in war itself, just bloodshed by men who honorable in their willingness to die for their cause

Aug 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

August 20, 2017

SolontoCroesus > , August 20, 2017 at 4:14 pm GMT

@Corvinus "The plantation owners had them and in spite of Northern propaganda, these people (slaves) were usually treated very humanely."

Ripping them from their homeland, putting them on boats and dying by the dozens, being sold on a stage and branded, and then being forced to work against their will...and you claim they were treated "humanely" because Boss Hogg gave them enough food to eat, clothes on their backs, and tin roof over their head.

"Moving our flags and our statues for spite only angers us and hastens our will to become independent again. Keep it up and see."

Most normies (north and south, east and west) abhor the Confederacy. It represented slavery and secession. The Confederacy sought to DESTROY our nation. The norms are about what those monuments represent FROM THE PAST. They do not care that monuments serve as a historical record, nor do they care about the history of such individuals the monuments pay tribute to. Yes, Robert E. Lee opposed slavery. Yes, he had significant reservations about personally abandoning the Union. But what matters most is that he supported the Confederacy.

What about Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln? Should not their monuments be ripped down? According to most normies, no. While these individuals supported slavery, their accomplishments are generally viewed as BUILDING or PRESERVING our nation. That is the nuance here. The Confederacy monuments and the Washington/Jefferson/Lincoln monuments are on a separate moral plane as viewed by normies. In the end, the monuments are used as political pawns by the right and the left, not as historical pieces. I say move the monuments to private property. But in the meantime, anyone who rips them down now and in the future is defacing public property and ought to be arrested. Yo, Corvie the normie,

What's your view -- you and your fellow normies -- on Sherman's Scorched earth march to the sea?

Good idea to kill civilians and destroy property with reckless abandon because the only thing that matters is WINNING!
Or is the notion of killing civilians -- women and children -- abhorrent to self-respecting military men who view a war as something engaged in between martial forces who observe codes of military honor?

Just War theory is a legacy from millennia a ago -- waaaay before you normies developed your keen sense of moral clarity -- (don't you just love that term? moral clarity -- Israelis love that term, moral clarity: IDF drops phosphorus on children in Gaza with moral clarity . . .)

Just War Theory states that war, once engaged, must act to protect civilians to the fullest extent possible, and should should meet force with proportionate force and not more.

Did Sherman abide by those age-old norms, normie?

Corvinus > , August 20, 2017 at 6:28 pm GMT

@SolontoCroesus Yo, Corvie the normie,

What's your view -- you and your fellow normies -- on Sherman's Scorched earth march to the sea?

Good idea to kill civilians and destroy property with reckless abandon because the only thing that matters is WINNING!
Or is the notion of killing civilians -- women and children -- abhorrent to self-respecting military men who view a war as something engaged in between martial forces who observe codes of military honor?

Just War theory is a legacy from millennia a ago -- waaaay before you normies developed your keen sense of moral clarity -- (don't you just love that term? moral clarity -- Israelis love that term, moral clarity: IDF drops phosphorus on children in Gaza with moral clarity . . .)

Just War Theory states that war, once engaged, must act to protect civilians to the fullest extent possible, and should should meet force with proportionate force and not more.

Did Sherman abide by those age-old norms, normie? "What's your view -- you and your fellow normies -- on Sherman's Scorched earth march to the sea?"

There are myths in Sherman's March that need to be explored.

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/17/rethinking-shermans-march/

We know that to the victors go the spoils. Winners write the history, and losers claim that the history is other than accurate. Did Sherman commit war crimes? In my opinion, yes. But in war, does winning ultimately matter? Yes. There is no "honor" in war itself, just bloodshed by men who honorable in their willingness to die for their cause. There is no doubt that if the tables were turned, and Lee was rampaging through Philadelphia and New York to finally put an end to "northern aggression", southern apologists would say the exact thing.

So, I take it that you oppose a similar Shermanesque policy if proposed by your allies or those on the Alt Right, correct? Make it official.

Furthermore, you do realize that the slave owners themselves had committed crimes against humanity, right? Are you ready to condemn them? Make it official.

"Or is the notion of killing civilians -- women and children -- abhorrent to self-respecting military men who view a war as something engaged in between martial forces who observe codes of military honor?"

Kurgen, a commenter at the Men Of The West blog, said, "Unfortunately, violence is inevitable. In fact, from a practical and logical point of view, violence is required to expel all the SJWs and their allies from polite civilization, and will further be required to man the walls of the forts that hold the line against them, as well as to expel any dissidents within them."

Do you share his sentiments? Would not those allies include women and children? I mean, if the overall goal is for Western Civilization to emerge on top, would it not be in the best interest to cull the herd? In this next "civil war", will YOU abide by those age-old norms?

"Just War Theory states that war, once engaged, must act to protect civilians to the fullest extent possible, and should should meet force with proportionate force and not more."

Great theory, just impractical when one desires to obliterate your enemy. Besides, is it not best to salt the earth to ensure that the offspring of your enemy will NOT "come back"?

[Aug 26, 2017] The Pentagon's New Map War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century

Notable quotes:
"... Barnett's main thesis in "The Pentagon's New Map" is that the world is composed of two types of states: those that are part of an integrated and connected "Core," which embrace globalization; and states of the "Gap," which are disconnected from the effects of globalization. Barnett proclaims that globalization will move the world into an era of peace and prosperity, but can only do so with the help of an indispensable United States. He writes that America is the lynchpin to the entire process and he believes that the United States should be midwife to a new world that will one day consist of peaceful democratic states and integrated economies. Barnett is proposing no less than a new grand strategy - the historical successor to the Cold War's strategy of containment. His approach to a future world defined by America's "exportation of security" is almost religious in its fervor and messianic in its language. ..."
"... At this point in his book, Barnett also makes bold statements that America is never leaving the Gap and that we are therefore never "bringing our boys home." He believes that there is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking it. These statements have incited some of Barnett's critics to accuse him of fostering and advocating a state of perpetual war. Barnett rebuts these attacks by claiming that, "America's task is not perpetual war, nor the extension of empire. It is merely to serve as globalization's bodyguard wherever and whenever needed throughout the Gap." Barnett claims that the strategy of preemptive war is a "boundable problem," yet his earlier claim that we are never leaving the Gap and that our boys are never coming home does not square with his assertion that there will not be perpetual war. He cannot have it both ways. ..."
"... Barnett therefore undermines his own globalization-based grand strategy by pointing out in detail at least ten things that can go wrong with globalization - the foundation upon which his theory is built. ..."
"... Globalization is likely here to stay, though it may be slowed down or even stopped in some regions of the planet. ..."
"... I would strongly recommend "The Pentagon's New Map" to students who are studying U.S. foreign policy. I would also recommend it to those who are studying the Bush administration as well as the Pentagon. The ideas in the book seem to be popular with the military and many of its ideas can be seen in the current thinking and policy of the Pentagon and State Department. ..."
"... I would only caution the reader that Barnett's theories are heavily dependent upon the continued advancement of globalization, which in turn is dependent upon the continued economic ability of the U.S. to sustain military operations around the world indefinitely. Neither is guaranteed. ..."
"... "Globalization" has turned out to be nothing but the polite PR term to disguise and avoid the truth of using the more accurate name, "Global Empire" --- and there is no doubt that Barnett is more than smart enough to see that this has inexorably happened. ..."
"... Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality Over Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0 Empire, ..."
"... We don't MERELY have; a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff', 'Sequestration', and 'Debt Limit' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or .... ad nauseam --- we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'. ..."
"... "If your country is treating you like ****, and bombing abroad, look carefully --- because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country." ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Azblue on July 31, 2006

Global cop

Barnett's main thesis in "The Pentagon's New Map" is that the world is composed of two types of states: those that are part of an integrated and connected "Core," which embrace globalization; and states of the "Gap," which are disconnected from the effects of globalization. Barnett proclaims that globalization will move the world into an era of peace and prosperity, but can only do so with the help of an indispensable United States. He writes that America is the lynchpin to the entire process and he believes that the United States should be midwife to a new world that will one day consist of peaceful democratic states and integrated economies. Barnett is proposing no less than a new grand strategy - the historical successor to the Cold War's strategy of containment. His approach to a future world defined by America's "exportation of security" is almost religious in its fervor and messianic in its language.

The foundation upon which Barnett builds his binary view of the world is heavily dependant upon the continued advancement of globalization - almost exclusively so. However, advancing globalization is not pre-ordained. Barnett himself makes the case that globalization is a fragile undertaking similar to an interconnected chain in which any broken link destroys the whole. Globalization could indeed be like the biblical statue whose feet are made of clay. Globalization, and therefore the integration of the Gap, may even stop or recede - just as the globalization of the early 20th century ended abruptly with the onset of WW I and a global depression. Moreover, Barnett's contention that the United States has an exceptional duty and moral responsibility for "remaking the world in America's image" might be seen by many as misguided and perhaps even dangerous.

The divide between the `Functioning Core' and the `Non-Integrating Gap' differs from the gulf between rich and poor in a subtle yet direct way. State governments make a conscious decision to become connected vs. disconnected to advancing globalization. States and their leaders can provide the infrastructure and the opening of large global markets to their citizens in ways that individuals cannot. An example can serve to illustrate the point: You can be rich and disconnected in Nigeria or poor and disconnected in North Korea. In each case the country you live in has decided to be disconnected. Citizens in this case have a limited likelihood of staying rich and unlimited prospects of staying poor. But by becoming part of the functioning Core, the enlightened state allows all citizens a running start at becoming part of a worldwide economic system and thus provide prospects for a better future because global jobs and markets are opened up to them. A connected economy such as India's, for example, enables citizens who once had no prospects for a better life to find well-paying jobs, such as computer-related employment. Prospects for a better Indian life are directly the result of the Indian government's conscious decision to become connected to the world economy, a.k.a. embracing globalization.

After placing his theory of the Core/Gap and preemptive war strategy firmly into the church of globalization, Barnett next places his theory squarely upon the alter of rule sets. Few would argue that the world is an anarchic place and Barnett tells us that rule sets are needed to define `good' and `evil' behavior of actors in this chaotic international system. An example of such a rule set is the desire of the Core to keep WMDs out of the hands of terrorist organizations. Other examples are the promulgation of human rights and the need to stop genocide. Barnett also uses rule sets to define `system' rules that govern and shape the actions, and even the psychology, of international actors. An example that Barnett gives of a system-wide rule set is the creation of the `rule' defined by the United States during the Cold War called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Barnett claims that this rule set effectively ended the possibility of war for all time amongst nuclear-capable great powers. Barnett states that the U.S. now should export a brand new rule set called `preemptive war,' which aims to fight actors in the lawless Gap in order to end international terrorism for all time. Barnett makes it clear that the Core's enemy is neither a religion (Islam) nor a place (Middle East), but a condition (disconnectedness).

Next, Barnett points out that system-wide competition has moved into the economic arena and that military conflict, when it occurs, has moved away from the system-wide (Cold War), to inter-state war, ending up today with primarily state conflict vs. individuals (Core vs. bin Laden, Core vs. Kim, etc.). In other words, "we are moving progressively away from warfare against states or even blocs of states and toward a new era of warfare against individuals." Rephrased, we've moved from confrontations with evil empires, to evil states, to evil leaders. An example of this phenomenon is the fact that China dropped off the radar of many government hawks after 9/11 only to be replaced by terrorist groups and other dangerous NGOs "with global reach."

Barnett also points out that the idea of `connectivity' is central to the success of globalization. Without it, everything else fails. Connectivity is the glue that holds states together and helps prevent war between states. For example, the US is not likely to start a war with `connected' France, but America could more likely instigate a war with `disconnected' North Korea, Syria or Iran.

Barnett then examines the dangers associated with his definition of `disconnectedness.' He cleverly describes globalization as a condition defined by mutually assured dependence (MAD) and advises us that `Big Men', royal families, raw materials, theocracies and just bad luck can conspire to impede connectedness in the world. This is one of few places in his book that Barnett briefly discusses impediments to globalization - however, this short list looks at existing roadblocks to connectedness but not to future, system-wide dangers to globalization.

At this point in his book, Barnett also makes bold statements that America is never leaving the Gap and that we are therefore never "bringing our boys home." He believes that there is no exiting the Gap, only shrinking it. These statements have incited some of Barnett's critics to accuse him of fostering and advocating a state of perpetual war. Barnett rebuts these attacks by claiming that, "America's task is not perpetual war, nor the extension of empire. It is merely to serve as globalization's bodyguard wherever and whenever needed throughout the Gap." Barnett claims that the strategy of preemptive war is a "boundable problem," yet his earlier claim that we are never leaving the Gap and that our boys are never coming home does not square with his assertion that there will not be perpetual war. He cannot have it both ways.

Barnett then takes us on a pilgrimage to the Ten Commandments of globalization. Tellingly, this list is set up to be more like links in a chain than commandments. Each item in the list is connected to the next - meaning that each step is dependent upon its predecessor. If any of the links are broken or incomplete, the whole is destroyed. For example, Barnett warns us that if there is no security in the Gap, there can be no rules in the Gap. Barnett therefore undermines his own globalization-based grand strategy by pointing out in detail at least ten things that can go wrong with globalization - the foundation upon which his theory is built.

What else could kill globalization? Barnett himself tells us: "Labor, energy, money and security all need to flow as freely as possible from those places in the world where they are plentiful to those regions where they are scarce." Here he is implying that an interruption of any or all of these basic necessities can doom globalization. Barnett states clearly: "...(these are) the four massive flows I believe are essential to protect if Globalization III is going to advance." Simply put, any combination of American isolationism or closing of borders to immigration, a global energy crisis, a global financial crisis or rampant global insecurity could adversely affect "connectedness," a.k.a. globalization. These plausible future events, unnerving as they are, leave the inexorable advancement of globalization in doubt and we haven't yet explored other problems with Barnett's reliance on globalization to make the world peaceful, free and safe for democracy.

Barnett goes on to tell us that Operation Iraqi Freedom was an "overt attempt to create a "System Perturbation" centered in the Persian Gulf to trigger a Big Bang." His definition of a Big Bang in the Middle East is the democratization of the many totalitarian states in the region. He also claims that the Big Bang has targeted Iran's "sullen majority."

Barnett claims that our problem with shrinking the Gap is not our "motive or our means, but our inability to describe the enemies worth killing, the battles worth winning, and the future worth creating." Managing the global campaign to democratize the world is no easy task. Barnett admits that in a worst-case scenario we may be stuck in the "mother of all intifadas" in Iraq. Critics claim this is something that we should have planned for - that the insurgency should not have been a surprise, and that it should have been part of the "peacemaking" planning. Barnett blithely states that things will get better "...when America internationalizes the occupation." Barnett should not engage in wishful thinking here, as he also does when he predicted that Iraqis would be put in charge of their own country 18 months after the fall of Baghdad. It would be more accurate if he claimed this would happen 18 months after the cessation of hostilities. Some critics claim that Iraq is an example that we are an "empire in a hurry" (Michael Ignatieff), which then results in: 1) allocating insufficient resources to non-military aspects of the project and 2) attempting economic and political transformation in an unrealistically short time frame.

The final basic premise of Barnett's theory of the Core and the Gap is the concept of what he calls the "global transaction strategy." Barnett explains it best: "America's essential transaction with the outside world is one of our exporting security in return for the world's financing a lifestyle we could far more readily afford without all that defense spending." Barnett claims that America pays the most for global stability because we enjoy it the most. But what about the other 80 countries in the Core?

Why is America, like Atlas, bearing the weight of the world's security and stabilization on its shoulders?

Barnett claims that historical analogies are useless today and point us in the wrong direction. I disagree. James Madison cautioned us not to go abroad to seek monsters to destroy. We can learn from his simple and profound statement that there are simply too many state (and individual) monsters in today's world for the U.S. to destroy unilaterally or preemptively. We must also avoid overstretching our resources and power. Thucydides reminds us that the great democracy of Athens was brought to its knees by the ill-advised Sicilian expedition - which resulted in the destruction of everything the Athenians held dear. Do not ignore history as Barnett councils; heed it.

Globalization is likely here to stay, though it may be slowed down or even stopped in some regions of the planet. Therefore, America needs to stay engaged in the affairs of the world, but Barnett has not offered conclusive evidence that the U.S. needs to become the world's single Leviathan that must extinguish all global hot wars. Barnett also has not proved that America needs to be, as he writes, "the one willing to rush in when everyone else is running away." People like Barnett in academia and leaders in government may proclaim and ordain the U.S. to be a global Leviathan, but it is a conscious choice that should be thoroughly debated by the American people. After all, it is upon the backs of the American people that such a global Leviathan must ride. Where is the debate? The American people, upon reflection, may decide upon other courses of action.

I would strongly recommend "The Pentagon's New Map" to students who are studying U.S. foreign policy. I would also recommend it to those who are studying the Bush administration as well as the Pentagon. The ideas in the book seem to be popular with the military and many of its ideas can be seen in the current thinking and policy of the Pentagon and State Department.

It seems to be well researched - having 35 pages of notes. Many of Barnett's citations come from the Washington Post and the New York Times, which some may see as a liberal bias, but I see the sources as simply newspapers of record.

I would only caution the reader that Barnett's theories are heavily dependent upon the continued advancement of globalization, which in turn is dependent upon the continued economic ability of the U.S. to sustain military operations around the world indefinitely. Neither is guaranteed.

Alan H. Macdonald on April 1, 2013
A misused book waiting for redemption

I don't think poorly of Thomas Barnett himself. He's very bright and, I think, good hearted, BUT his well thought-out, well argued pride and joy (and positive intellectual pursuit) is being badly distorted ---- which happens to all 'tools' that Empire gets its hands on.

For those who like predictions, I would predict that Barnett will wind up going through an epiphany much like Francis Fukuyama (but a decade later) and for much the same reason, that his life's work gets misused and abused so greatly that he works to reverse and correct its misuse. Fukuyama, also brilliant, wrote "The End of History" in 1992 (which was misused by the neocons to engender war), and now he's working just as hard to reverse a misuse that he may feel some guilt of his work supporting, and is writing "The Future of History" as a force for good --- and I suspect (and hope) that Barnett will, in even less time, be counter-thinking and developing the strategy and book to reverse the misuse of his 2004 book before the Global Empire pulls down the curtain.

"Globalization" has turned out to be nothing but the polite PR term to disguise and avoid the truth of using the more accurate name, "Global Empire" --- and there is no doubt that Barnett is more than smart enough to see that this has inexorably happened.

Best luck and love to the fast expanding 'Occupy the Empire' educational and revolutionary movement against this deceitful, guileful, disguised EMPIRE, which can't so easily be identified as wearing Red Coats, Red Stars, nor funny looking Nazi helmets ---- quite yet!

Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality Over Violent/'Vichy' Rel 2.0 Empire,
Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

We don't MERELY have; a gun/fear problem, or a 'Fiscal Cliff', 'Sequestration', and 'Debt Limit' problem, or an expanding wars problem, or a 'drone assassinations' problem, or a vast income & wealth inequality problem, or a Wall Street 'looting' problem, or a Global Warming and environmental death-spiral problem, or a domestic tyranny NDAA FISA spying problem, or, or, or, or .... ad nauseam --- we have a hidden EMPIRE cancerous tumor which is the prime CAUSE of all these 'symptom problems'.

"If your country is treating you like ****, and bombing abroad, look carefully --- because it may not be your country, but a Global Empire only posing as your former country."

[Aug 26, 2017] Why Google The 'long war'

Notable quotes:
"... The Pentagon's New Map. ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Barnett's vision is neoconservative to the root. He sees the world as divided into essentially two realms : The Core, which consists of advanced countries playing by the rules of economic globalization (the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan) along with developing countries committed to getting there (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some others); and the rest of the world, which is The Gap, a disparate wilderness of dangerous and lawless countries defined fundamentally by being "disconnected" from the wonders of globalization. This includes most of the Middle East and Africa, large swathes of South America, as well as much of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is the task of the United States to "shrink The Gap," by spreading the cultural and economic "rule-set" of globalization that characterizes The Core, and by enforcing security worldwide to enable that "rule-set" to spread. ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | medium.com

No better illustration of the truly chauvinistic, narcissistic, and self-congratulatory ideology of power at the heart of the military-industrial complex is a book by long-time Highlands Forum delegate, Dr. Thomas Barnett, The Pentagon's New Map. Barnett was assistant for strategic futures in the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation from 2001 to 2003, and had been recommended to Richard O'Neill by his boss Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski. Apart from becoming a New York Times bestseller, Barnett's book had been read far and wide in the US military, by senior defense officials in Washington and combatant commanders operating on the ground in the Middle East.

Barnett first attended the Pentagon Highlands Forum in 1998, then was invited to deliver a briefing about his work at the Forum on December 7th 2004, which was attended by senior Pentagon officials, energy experts, internet entrepreneurs, and journalists. Barnett received a glowing review in the Washington Post from his Highlands Forum buddy David Ignatius a week later, and an endorsement from another Forum friend, Thomas Friedman, both of which helped massively boost his credibility and readership.

Barnett's vision is neoconservative to the root. He sees the world as divided into essentially two realms : The Core, which consists of advanced countries playing by the rules of economic globalization (the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan) along with developing countries committed to getting there (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and some others); and the rest of the world, which is The Gap, a disparate wilderness of dangerous and lawless countries defined fundamentally by being "disconnected" from the wonders of globalization. This includes most of the Middle East and Africa, large swathes of South America, as well as much of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. It is the task of the United States to "shrink The Gap," by spreading the cultural and economic "rule-set" of globalization that characterizes The Core, and by enforcing security worldwide to enable that "rule-set" to spread.

These two functions of US power are captured by Barnett's concepts of "Leviathan" and "System Administrator." The former is about rule-setting to facilitate the spread of capitalist markets, regulated via military and civilian law. The latter is about projecting military force into The Gap in an open-ended global mission to enforce security and engage in nation-building. Not "rebuilding," he is keen to emphasize, but building "new nations."

For Barnett, the Bush administration's 2002 introduction of the Patriot Act at home, with its crushing of habeas corpus, and the National Security Strategy abroad, with its opening up of unilateral, pre-emptive war, represented the beginning of the necessary re-writing of rule-sets in The Core to embark on this noble mission. This is the only way for the US to achieve security, writes Barnett, because as long as The Gap exists, it will always be a source of lawless violence and disorder. One paragraph in particular sums up his vision:

"America as global cop creates security. Security creates common rules. Rules attract foreign investment. Investment creates infrastructure. Infrastructure creates access to natural resources. Resources create economic growth. Growth creates stability. Stability creates markets. And once you're a growing, stable part of the global market, you're part of the Core. Mission accomplished."

Much of what Barnett predicted would need to happen to fulfill this vision, despite its neoconservative bent, is still being pursued under Obama. In the near future, Barnett had predicted, US military forces will be dispatched beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to places like Uzbekistan, Djibouti, Azerbaijan, Northwest Africa, Southern Africa and South America.

Barnett's Pentagon briefing was greeted with near universal enthusiasm. The Forum had even purchased copies of his book and had them distributed to all Forum delegates, and in May 2005, Barnett was invited back to participate in an entire Forum themed around his "SysAdmin" concept.

The Highlands Forum has thus played a leading role in defining the Pentagon's entire conceptualization of the 'war on terror.' Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a retired IMB vice president who co-chaired the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee from 1997 to 2001, described his experience of one 2007 Forum meeting in telling terms:

"Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own."

The problem is that outside this powerful Pentagon-hosted clique, not everyone else agrees. "I'm not convinced that Barnett's cure would be any better than the disease," wrote Dr. Karen Kwiatowski, a former senior Pentagon analyst in the Near East and South Asia section, who blew the whistle on how her department deliberately manufactured false information in the run-up to the Iraq War. "It would surely cost far more in American liberty, constitutional democracy and blood than it would be worth."

Yet the equation of "shrinking The Gap" with sustaining the national security of The Core leads to a slippery slope. It means that if the US is prevented from playing this leadership role as "global cop," The Gap will widen, The Core will shrink, and the entire global order could unravel. By this logic, the US simply cannot afford government or public opinion to reject the legitimacy of its mission. If it did so, it would allow The Gap to grow out of control, undermining The Core, and potentially destroying it, along with The Core's protector, America. Therefore, "shrinking The Gap" is not just a security imperative: it is such an existential priority, that it must be backed up with information war to demonstrate to the world the legitimacy of the entire project.

Based on O'Neill's principles of information warfare as articulated in his 1989 US Navy brief, the targets of information war are not just populations in The Gap, but domestic populations in The Core, and their governments: including the US government. That secret brief, which according to former senior US intelligence official John Alexander was read by the Pentagon's top leadership, argued that information war must be targeted at: adversaries to convince them of their vulnerability; potential partners around the world so they accept "the cause as just"; and finally, civilian populations and the political leadership so they believe that "the cost" in blood and treasure is worth it.

Barnett's work was plugged by the Pentagon's Highlands Forum because it fit the bill, in providing a compelling 'feel good' ideology for the US military-industrial complex.

But neoconservative ideology, of course, hardly originated with Barnett, himself a relatively small player, even though his work was extremely influential throughout the Pentagon. The regressive thinking of senior officials involved in the Highlands Forum is visible from long before 9/11, which was ceased upon by actors linked to the Forum as a powerful enabling force that legitimized the increasingly aggressive direction of US foreign and intelligence policies.

[Aug 25, 2017] We are all Palestinians: possible connection between neocons and Pentagon

Notable quotes:
"... Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski has written extensively about the purges of the patriots in the Defense Department that happened in Washington during the lead up and after the commencement of the Iraq war in 2003. ..."
"... If anybody thinks what I have written is an exaggeration, research what the late Admiral Thomas Moorer had to say years ago about the total infiltration of the Defense Department by Israeli agents. ..."
Aug 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

schrub , August 25, 2017 at 7:18 pm GMT

People who seem to think that Trump's generals will somehow go along and support his original vision are sadly mistaken.

Since 2003, Israel has had an increasingly strong hand in the vetting who gets promoted to upper positions in the American armed forces. All of the generals Trump has at his side went through a vetting procedure which definitely involved a very close look at their opinions about Israel.

Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski has written extensively about the purges of the patriots in the Defense Department that happened in Washington during the lead up and after the commencement of the Iraq war in 2003.

Officers who openly oppose the dictates of the Israel Lobby will see their prospects for advancement simply vanish like a whiff of smoke.. Those who support Israel's machinations are rewarded with promotions, the more fervent the support the more rapid the promotion especially if this knowledge is made known to their congressman or senator..

Generals who support Israel already know that this support will be heavily rewarded after their retirements by being given lucrative six figure positions on company boards of directors or positions in equally lucrative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institution or the Hoover Institute. They will receive hefty speaking fees. as well. They learned early that their retirements could be truly glorious if they only "went" along with The Lobby. They will be able to then live the good life in expensive places like Washington, New York or San Francisco, often invited to glitzy parties with unlimited amount of free prawns "the size of your hand".

On the other hand, upper officers who somehow get then get "bad" reputations for their negative views about Israel ( like Karen U. Kwiatkowski for instance) will end up, once retired, having to depend on just their often scanty pensions This requires getting an often demeaning second jobs to get by in some place where "their dollar goes further". No bright lights in big cities for them. No speaking fees, no college jobs. Once their fate becomes known, their still active duty contemporaries suddenly decide to "go along".

If anybody thinks what I have written is an exaggeration, research what the late Admiral Thomas Moorer had to say years ago about the total infiltration of the Defense Department by Israeli agents.

Face it, we live in a country under occupation by a hostile power that we willingly pay large amounts monetary tribute to. Our government does whatever benefits Israel regardless of how negatively this effects the USA. We are increasing troop strength in Afghanistan because, somehow, this benefits Israel. If our presence in Afghanistan (or the Mideast in general) didn't benefit Israel, our troops would simply not be there.

We are all Palestinians.

[Aug 22, 2017] War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror

Aug 22, 2017 | warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

JWalters , August 18, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Well put. These people are like the "nobles" of medieval times. They care not a whit about the "peasants" they trample. They are wealth bigots, compounded by some ethnic bigotry or other, in this case Jewish supremacism. America has an oligarchy problem. At the center of that oligarchy is a Jewish mafia controlling the banks, and thereby the big corporations, and thereby the media and the government. This oligarchy sees America as a big, dumb military machine that it can manipulate to generate war profits.

"War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror" . http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

[Aug 16, 2017] Smashing Statues, Seeding Strife

Notable quotes:
"... Trump is attacked. The ACLU is attacked. Peace activists opposed to the CIA's regime change operation in Syria are attacked. Tucker Carlson is attacked. Everyone attacked that the CIA and various other aspects of the Deep State want attacked as if the MSM were all sent the same talking points memo. ..."
Aug 16, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

In the aftermath of competing protests in Charlottesville a wave of dismantling of Confederate statues is on the rise. Overnight Baltimore took down four Confederate statues. One of these honored Confederate soldiers and sailors, another one Confederate women. Elsewhere statues were toppled or defiled .

The Charlottesville conflict itself was about the intent to dismantle a statue of General Robert E. Lee, a commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The activist part of the political right protested against the take down, the activist part of the political left protested against those protests. According to a number of witnesses quoted in the LA Times sub-groups on both sides came prepared for and readily engaged in violence.

In 2003 a U.S. military tank pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein on Firdos Square in Baghdad. Narrowly shot TV picture made it look as if a group of Iraqis were doing this. But they were mere actors within a U.S. propaganda show . Pulling down the statue demonstrated a lack of respect towards those who had fought under, worked for or somewhat supported Saddam Hussein. It helped to incite the resistance against the U.S. occupation.

The right-wing nutters who, under U.S. direction, forcefully toppled the legitimate government of Ukraine pulled down hundreds of the remaining Lenin statues in the country. Veterans who fought under the Soviets in the second world war took this as a sign of disrespect. Others saw this as an attack on their fond memories of better times and protected them . The forceful erasement of history further split the country:

"It's not like if you go east they want Lenin but if you go west they want to destroy him," Mr. Gobert said. "These differences don't only go through geography, they go through generations, through social criteria and economic criteria, through the urban and the rural."

Statues standing in cities and places are much more than veneration of one person or group. They are symbols, landmarks and fragments of personal memories:

"One guy said he didn't really care about Lenin, but the statue was at the center of the village and it was the place he kissed his wife for the first time," Mr. Gobert said. "When the statue went down it was part of his personal history that went away."

(People had better sex under socialism . Does not Lenin deserves statues if only for helping that along?)

Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery. But there are few historic figures without fail. Did not George Washington "own" slaves? Did not Lyndon B. Johnson lie about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and launched an unjust huge war against non-white people under false pretense? At least some people will think of that when they see their statues. Should those also be taken down?

As time passes the meaning of a monument changes. While it may have been erected with a certain ideology or concept in mind , the view on it will change over time:

[The Charlottesville statue] was unveiled by Lee's great-granddaughter at a ceremony in May 1924. As was the custom on these occasions it was accompanied by a parade and speeches. In the dedication address, Lee was celebrated as a hero, who embodied "the moral greatness of the Old South", and as a proponent of reconciliation between the two sections. The war itself was remembered as a conflict between "interpretations of our Constitution" and between "ideals of democracy."

The white racists who came to "protect" the statue in Charlottesville will hardly have done so in the name of reconciliation. Nor will those who had come to violently oppose them. Lee was a racist. Those who came to "defend" the statue were mostly "white supremacy" racists. I am all for protesting against them.

But the issue here is bigger. We must not forget that statues have multiple meanings and messages. Lee was also the man who wrote :

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.

That Lee was a racist does not mean that his statue should be taken down. The park in Charlottesville, in which the statue stands, was recently renamed from Lee Park into Emancipation Park. It makes sense to keep the statue there to reflect on the contrast between it and the new park name.

Old monuments and statues must not (only) be seen as glorifications within their time. They are reminders of history. With a bit of education they can become valuable occasions of reflection.

George Orwell wrote in his book 1984: "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history." People do not want to be destroyed. They will fight against attempts to do so. Taking down monuments or statues without a very wide consent will split a society. A large part of the U.S. people voted for Trump. One gets the impression that the current wave of statue take downs is seen as well deserved "punishment" for those who voted wrongly - i.e. not for Hillary Clinton. While many Trump voters will dislike statues of Robert Lee, they will understand that dislike the campaign to take them down even more.

That may be the intend of some people behind the current quarrel. The radicalization on opposing sides may have a purpose. The Trump camp can use it to cover up its plans to further disenfranchise they people. The fake Clintonian "resistance" needs these cultural disputes to cover for its lack of political resistance to Trump's plans.

Anyone who wants to stoke the fires with this issue should be careful what they wish for.

Merasmus | Aug 16, 2017 12:42:12 PM | 1

"That Lee was a racist does not mean that his statue should be taken down."

How about the fact that he was a traitor?

"George Orwell wrote in his book 1984: 'The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.'"

The only reason statues of traitors like Lee exist is because the South likes to engage in 'Lost Cause' revisionism; to pretend these were noble people fighting for something other than the right to own human beings as pets.

james | Aug 16, 2017 12:42:57 PM | 2
isn't taking down statues what isis does?

erasing history seems part of the goal.. i feel the usa has never really addressed racism.. the issue hasn't gone away and remains a deep wound that has yet to heal.. events like this probably don't help.

DMC | Aug 16, 2017 12:45:04 PM | 3
The statues of Lee and his ilk should come down because they are TRAITORS who deserve no honor. Washington and Jefferson may have owned slaves but they were PATRIOTS. Its really that simple.
RUKidding | Aug 16, 2017 1:03:54 PM | 4
I don't want to get derailed into the rights or wrongs of toppling statues. I wonder whose brilliant idea it was to start this trend right at this particular tinder box moment.

That said, the USA has never ever truly confronted either: 1) the systemic genocide of the Native Americans earlier in our history; and b) what slavery really meant and was. NO reconciliation has ever really been done about either of these barbarous acts. Rather, at best/most, we're handed platitudes and lip service that purports that we've "moved on" from said barbarity - well I guess WHITES (I'm one) have. But Native Americans - witness what happened to them at Standing Rock recently - and minorities, especially African Americans, are pretty much not permitted to move on. Witness the unending police murders of AA men across the country, where, routinely, most of the cops get off scott-free.

To quote b:

The Trump camp can use it to cover up its plans to further disenfranchise they people. The fake Clintonian "resistance" needs these cultural disputes to cover for its lack of political resistance to Trump's plans.

While I dislike to descend into the liturgy of Both Siderism, it's completely true that both Rs and Ds enjoy and use pitting the rubes in the 99% against one another because it means that the rapine, plunder & pillaging by the Oligarchs and their pet poodles in Congress & the White House can continue apace with alacrity. And: That's Exactly What's Happening.

The Oligarchs could give a flying fig about Heather Heyer's murder, nor could they give a stuff about US citizens cracking each other's skulls in a bit of the old ultra-violence. Gives an opening for increasing the Police State and cracking down on our freedumbs and liberties, etc.

I heard or read somewhere that Nancy Pelosi & Chuck Schumer are absolutely committed to not impeaching Donald Trump because it means all the Ds have to do is Sweet Eff All and just "represent" themselves as the Anti-Trump, while, yes, enjoying the "benefits" of the programs/policies/legislation enacted by the Trump Admin. I have no link and certainly cannot prove this assertion, but it sure seems likely. Just frickin' great.

kgw | Aug 16, 2017 1:09:10 PM | 5
Lee was not a racist; I'd say you are addressing your own overblown egos. The U.S. Civil War was long in coming. During the 1830's during Andrew Jackson's presidency, and John Calhoun's vice-presidency, at an annual state dinner, the custom of toasts was used to present political views. Jackson toasted the Union of the states, saying "The Union, it must be preserved." Calhoun's toast was next, "The Union, next to our liberty, most dear."

Calhoun was a proponent of the Doctrine of Nullification, wherein if a national law inflicted harm on any state, the state could nullify the law, until such time as a negotiation of a satisfactory outcome could come about. The absolute Unionists were outraged by such an idea.

Curtis | Aug 16, 2017 1:27:39 PM | 6
My memory tells me that the invention of the cotton gin made cotton a good crop, but that you needed the slaves. Slaves represented the major money invested in this operation. Free the slaves and make slave holders poor. Rich people didn't like that idea. I think maybe the cotton was made into cloth in the factories up north. Just saying.
dh | Aug 16, 2017 1:27:57 PM | 7
How would 'addressing the problem' actually work? Should all native Americans and people of colour go to Washington to be presented with $1 million each by grovelling white men?
joeymac | Aug 16, 2017 1:34:24 PM | 8
Did not George Washington "own" slaves?
But, the memorials to GW, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et al , does not honor them for owning slaves. Memorials of Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, et al , is because they took up arms against a legitimate government simply to support of a vile system.
kgw | Aug 16, 2017 1:37:23 PM | 9
@6
The manufacturing states put export duties on the agricultural states, and tariffs on British imported cloth. The English mills were undercutting the U.S. mills prices for a number of reasons, not the least of which was they were more experienced in the industry.
therevolutionwas | Aug 16, 2017 1:46:02 PM | 10
The civil war in the US was not really started because of slavery. Robert E. Lee did not join the south and fight the north in order to preserve slavery, in his mind it was state's rights. Lincoln did not start the civil war to free the slaves. See https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/show_picture.pl?l=english&rais=1&oiu=https%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fen%2Fc%2Fc9%2FThe_Real_Lincoln_cover_art.jpg&sp=b359dec0befbd12fc479633d5b6c6de4
Dan Lynch | Aug 16, 2017 1:49:57 PM | 11
The difference between a statue of Lee vs. a statue of Washington, Jefferson, LBJ, etc., is that Washington, Jefferson, and LBJ did some good things to earn our respect even though they did a lot of bad things, too. The Confederacy did no good things. It would be like erecting a statue to honor Hitler's SS.

If there were statues honoring the SS, would anyone be surprised if Jews objected? Why then does anyone fail to understand why blacks object to Confederate symbols?

I would, however, support statues that depict a Confederate surrendering. Perhaps the statue of Lee on a horse could be replaced with a statue of Lee surrendering to Grant?

I am not a fan of the "counter-protests." Martin Luther King never "counter-protested" a KKK rally. A counter-protest is a good way to start a fight, but a poor way to win hearts and minds. It bothers me when the 99% fight among themselves. Our real enemy is the 1%.

fi | Aug 16, 2017 1:56:38 PM | 12


George Washington "the father of our country" was a slave owner, a rapist and a murderer. What do we expect from his descendants?
should we remove his face of the dollar bill and destroy his statues?

The civil war was due to economic reasons, free labor is good business.
Now cheap Mexican-labor ( the new type of slavery) is good business to the other side.
when will the new civil war in the US start?


maningi | Aug 16, 2017 2:00:24 PM | 13
@b
Many years ago, within the leadership of my student organization, I initiated to rename the University I was attending, which was named after a communist ideological former state acting figure, with very bloody hands, co-responsible for the death of tenths of thousands and thousands of people. Today I still think, that educational and cultural institutions (and many more) should be named either neutral, or by persons with cultural background and with impeccable moral history, no many to be found. On the other side, I opposed the removal of the very statue of the same person at a nearby public plaza - and there it stands today - as a rather painful reminder of the past bloody history of my country, that went through a conflict, that today seems so bizarre. Wherever I go, I look into black abyss, knowing, that the very culture I belong to (the so called Christian Liberal Free Western World) has inflicted so many horrors and crimes against other nations and ethnic groups, its even difficult to count. Karlheinz Deschner wrote 10 books, titled "The Criminal History of Christianity (Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums - on YT you can find videos him reading from it). Yes, this is the very civilization, we Westerners originate from. It was deadly for centuries - and its about time to change this. And keeping the memory of our so bloody history, will help us to find the right and hopefully more peaceful solutions in the future. Don`t tear down monuments or change street names, but give them the so often shameful meaning, they had in history.
Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 2:03:05 PM | 14
Then southern states have no business being part of United States of America since their history and customs are not honored. That is good overall I think. Best for the world. Southern states are very unlikely to attack any other sovereign state thousands of miles away, but all united as unitary state, we can see how persistent in their aggression on the rest of the world they are. 222 years out of its 239 years US has been aggressor:
https://www.infowars.com/america-has-been-at-war-93-of-the-time-222-out-of-239-years-since-1776/
Time to break US lust for attacking, invading and raiding other countries.
james | Aug 16, 2017 2:05:07 PM | 15
what little of this history i know - which is to say very little - kgw reflects what i have read.. the problem is way deeper.. if you want to address racism, you are going to have to pull down most of the statues in the usa today of historical figures..
james | Aug 16, 2017 2:06:35 PM | 16
if - that is why way you think it will matter, lol.. forgot to add that.. otherwise, forget pulling down statues and see if you can address the real issue - like @4 rukidding and some others here are addressing..
ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:10:18 PM | 17
A little false equivalency anyone? I'm sure Adolph Hitler had some reasonable remarks at some point in his life, so, I guess we should tolerate a few statues of him also? States rights as the cause for the U$A's civil war? baloney, it was about the murder and enslavement of millions of humans.
Grieved | Aug 16, 2017 2:12:25 PM | 18
Bob Dylan's "Only a Pawn in Their Game" still spells out unsurpassed the divide and rule strategy, to my mind. Powers that be are rubbing their hands with satisfaction at this point, one would think.

I like your observation, b, that statues don't necessarily represent what they did when they were erected. It's an important point. It meant something at the time, but now it's a part of today's heritage, and has often taken on some of your own meaning. To destroy your own heritage is a self-limiting thing, and Orwell's point is well taken. Perhaps people without history have nowhere in the present to stand.

Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 2:12:50 PM | 19
Have to add, slavery wasn't the cause for the war. It was centralization, rights of the states. Yankees wanted strong central government with wide array of power, Southerners didn't. Yankees were supported by London banking families and their banking allies or agents in the US, Southerners were on their own. I personally think Southerners were much better soldiers, more honorable and courageous, but we lacked industrial capacity and financial funds. I could be biased having Southern blood, but my opinion anyway.
PavewayIV | Aug 16, 2017 2:13:51 PM | 20
therevolutionwas@10 - Have to agree. The events leading up to the US Civil War and the war itself were for reasons far more numerous and complex then slavery. Emancipation was a fortunate and desirable outcome and slavery was an issue, but saying the entire war was about ending slavery is the same as saying WW II was mostly about stopping Nazis from killing jews. Dumbing down history serves nobody.
dh | Aug 16, 2017 2:14:02 PM | 21
Still wondering how specifically the 'real issue' can be addressed. I don't think any amount of money will compensate plains Indians .actually some are quite well off due to casinos. But the days of buffalo hunting are gone and white people will not be going back where they came from. As for blacks in urban ghettos you could build them nice houses in the suburbs but I doubt if that will fix the drugs/gangs problem.
michaelj72 | Aug 16, 2017 2:15:36 PM | 22
"That Lee was a racist does not mean that his statue should be taken down."

If the sole criteria for taking down any statues was that a man was a 'racist', meaning that he hated people of color/hated black people, can we assume then that all those who owned slaves were also racist?

Then all the statues in the whole country of Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Monroe and perhaps all the Founding Daddies who owned slaves, should be removed. I am playing devil's advocate here.

Fashions come and go.... and so the vices of yesterday are virtues today; and the virtues of yesterday are vices today.


Bernard is correct at the end: "The fake Clintonian "resistance" needs these cultural disputes to cover for its lack of political resistance to Trump's plans." The Demos have nothing, so they tend to fall back on their identity politics.


FYI
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_who_owned_slaves

....In total, twelve presidents owned slaves at some point in their lives, eight of whom owned slaves while serving as president. George Washington was the first president to own slaves, including while he was president. Zachary Taylor was the last president to own slaves during his presidency, and Ulysses S. Grant was the last president to have owned a slave at some point in his life.


psychohistorian | Aug 16, 2017 2:17:06 PM | 23
Pitting people against people by inciting and validating fringe groups is a tried and true social manipulation ploy.....and it seems to be working as intended.

Focus is on this conflict gets folks riled up and myopic about who the real enemies of society really are.....and then that riled up energy is transferred to bigger conflicts like war between nations.....with gobs of "our side is more righteous" propaganda

Humanity has been played like this for centuries now and our extinction would probably be a kinder future for the Cosmos since we don't seem to be evolving beyond power/control based governance.

And yes, as Dan Lynch wrote just above: "It bothers me when the 99% fight among themselves. Our real enemy is the 1%"

ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:20:12 PM | 24
The U$A was conceived in genocide. I think we should throw out much of our history
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 2:27:34 PM | 25
Robert E. Lee a racist? No, he was a man of his time. B, you blew it with this one. You have confused what you don't know with what you think you know.

Now, if Lee was a racist, what about this guy?

From Lincoln's Speech, Sept. 18, 1858.

"While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any of her man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:36:31 PM | 26
@ 25: Leading an army to perpetuate a system that enslaves and murders millions, is just a bit different than being a racist. More false equivalency?
b | Aug 16, 2017 2:38:38 PM | 27
All states who joined the confederation cited the "need" and "right" to uphold slavery in their individual declarations. To say that the civil war was not about this point is strongly misleading. Like all wars there were several named and unnamed reasons. Slavery was the most cited point.

The argument of rather unlimited "state rights" is simply the demand of a minority to argue for the right to ignore majority decisions. With universal state rights a union can never be a union. There is no point to it. What is needed (and was done) is to segregate certain fields wherein the union decides from other policy fields that fall solely within the rights of member states. The conflict over which fields should belong where hardly ever ends.

P. S.--If it were up to me, I'd tear down monuments to most of the U$A's presidents for perpetuating and abetting the rise of an empire who has enslaved and murdered millions around the globe, simply for profits for the few. Economic slavery has replaced the iron shackles, but the murder is still murder...

Posted by: ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:45:29 PM | 28

P. S.--If it were up to me, I'd tear down monuments to most of the U$A's presidents for perpetuating and abetting the rise of an empire who has enslaved and murdered millions around the globe, simply for profits for the few. Economic slavery has replaced the iron shackles, but the murder is still murder...

Posted by: ben | Aug 16, 2017 2:45:29 PM | 28 /div

Jackrabbit | Aug 16, 2017 2:48:00 PM | 29
Northern Lights @19 is right.

The Northern manufacturers were exploiting the South and wanted to continue doing so. They didn't much care that the raw materials came from slave labor.

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation to encourage slave rebellion (meaning fewer white Southern men available for military service) and to punish the South.

Yet, while slavery ended when the North won, we all know how that turned out. For nearly 100 years (and some might say, even today) , many black people were still virtual slaves due to discrimination and poor education.

woogs | Aug 16, 2017 2:53:03 PM | 30
B@27: you're missing a couple of very basic points.

First, not all states that seceded issued declarations. Virginia, for example, of which the 'racist' Robert E. Leehailed, only seceded after Lincoln made his move on fort sumter. In fact, Virginia had voted against secession just prior but, as with 3 other southern states, seceded when Lincoln called for them to supply troops for his war.

Speaking of declarations of causes, have a look at the cherokee declaration. Yes, united indian tribes fought for the confederacy.

Finally, the causes for secession are not the causes for war. Secession is what the southerners did. War is what Lincoln did. One should not have automatically led to the other.

Oilman2 | Aug 16, 2017 3:09:32 PM | 31
Well, just reading the comments here it is obvious that there are several versions of history taught at different times in the last century. If not, then all of us would "know" the real reason for the CW - there would be no need for discussion. What is also obvious is that this delving back into a muddied history, the defacing of formerly meaningful objects, the thrusting of certain "rights" into the face of anyone even questioning them - all of it is working. It is working extremely well in distracting us from things like the numerous economic bubbles, the deep state scratching at war or chaos everywhere, politicians who are at best prevaricating prostitutes and at worst thieves enriching themselves at our expense as we struggle to maintain in the face of their idiocy.

It simply doesn't MATTER what started the Civil War - it ought to be enough to look at the death toll on BOTH sides and know we don't need to go there again.

Who stands to gain from this? Because it surely isn't the historically ignorant antifa bunch, who are against everything that includes a moral boundary. It isn't the alt-right, who get nothing but egg on their face and decimation of position by virtue of many being "white". CUI BONO?

The single answer is threefold: media, the government and the military - who continue to refuse to address any of our problems - and feed us a diet of revolting pablum and double-speak.

Honestly, congress passed a law legalizing propaganda - did anyone notice? Did anyone factor in that they allowed themselves freedom to lie to anyone and everyone? It wasn't done for show - it was done to deny future accountability.

Don't let this site get bogged down in history that is being constantly rewritten on Wikipedia. Don't buy into the left/right division process. Don't let your self identify with either group, as they are being led by provocateurs.

The lies we know of regarding Iraq, Syria, Libya - aren't they enough to force people to disbelieve our media completely? The HUGE lies in our media about what is going on in Venezuela should be quite enough (bastante suficiente) to make most people simply disbelieve. But they cannot because they are only allowed to see and hear what our government approves - and for our government, lying is quite legal now.

Let the emotions go - they are pushed via media to force you to think in white or black, right or left, old vs young - any way that is divisive. Getting beaten for a statue would likely make the guy who posed for it laugh his butt off most likely...

Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 3:14:42 PM | 32
Speaking of Lincoln's quotes, here is a good one to dispel the myth about slavery being the cause of war.
Pres. Abraham Lincoln: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

I the civil war was for the most part connected with the federal reserve central bank charter right which unionist Yankees frightful about possible restraints of bankers rights were keen to give London banking families unrestricted rights to do whatever they please in the US. Other reasons exclusively included expanding federal government powers. Adding personal income tax would be unimaginable prior to CW. Creation of all those fed gov agencies too. It was all made possible by London bankers' servants Yankees.

MRW | Aug 16, 2017 3:18:49 PM | 33
Posted by: therevolutionwas | Aug 16, 2017 1:46:02 PM | 10
The civil war in the US was not really started because of slavery. Robert E. Lee did not join the south and fight the north in order to preserve slavery, in his mind it was state's rights. Lincoln did not start the civil war to free the slaves.

You're right. The Emancipation Act was an afterthought really because Europe had turned against the idea of slavery before the Civil War broke out, in fact was repelled by it, and Lincoln knew that it would hurt commerce.
Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 3:19:39 PM | 34
@29
Jack the South was right. The South was always right.
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 3:21:37 PM | 35
The southern states felt they had a right to secede, using the tenth amendment as the legal basis. It states simply " The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.".

Furthermore, the union of states was referred to many times by the founders as a compact. Under the theory of compacts, when one party doesn't honor said compact, it is rendered null.

Slavery, regardless of how we may feel today, was a legal and federally protected institution. With the rise of the republican party, a campaign of agitation towards the south and slavery had begun. It is this agitation towards a legal institution that rankled southerners.

The south saw this coming well before the election of Lincoln. William seward, the favorite to win the election, gave a speech in l858 called "the irrepressible conflict". The south well knew of this and saw the writing on the wall if a republican was elected president.

When reading the declarations of causes, this background should be kept in mind if one wants to understand the southern position. Or, one can just count how many times the word 'slavery' appears like a word cloud.

Probably the best articulated statement on the southern position was south Carolina's "address to the slaveholding states".


Lea | Aug 16, 2017 3:29:49 PM | 36
I'm afraid if you go back in time, no US president can be saved from a well-deserved statue toppling. Including Abraham Lincoln, the hypocrite who DID NOT, and I repeat, DID NOT abolish slavery. The U.S "elite" has always been rotten through and through, so good luck with those statues.
https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/06/the-clintons-had-slaves
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 3:33:55 PM | 37
Northern Lights@32:

You used Lincoln's inaugural address to show that the war was not over slavery. It's plain enough coming from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Lincoln, in that same inaugural address, stated what the war would be fought over ...... and it was revenue.

Here's the quote:

The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.

historicus | Aug 16, 2017 3:35:02 PM | 38
As a rare book dealer and history buff with thirty-odd years of experience reading and studying original civil war era periodicals and documents, a fact stands out for me about these now-controversial statues. None is from the civil war period. Many, like the Lee statue in this article, date to the 1920's, which was the era of the second Ku Klux Klan. The infamous movie "Birth of a Nation" inspired the nationwide revival of that faded terrorist group. The year that statue was dedicated a hundred thousand Klansmen paraded in full regalia in the streets of Washington.

The children and grandchildren of the men who had taken up arms against the United States had by then completed a very flattering myth about 1861 - 1865. Consider too that romanticized lost cause mythology was integral to the regional spirit long before the rebellion. The Scots Irish who settled the American south carried with them the long memory their forebears' defeats at the Boyne and Culloden, at the hands of the English – the very ancestors of the hated Yankees living to the north of their new homeland.

Note also that many more CSA statues and memorials were built in the 1960s, as symbols of defiance of the civil rights movement of that era. The War for the Union was fought at its heart because the elite of the old south refused to accept the result of a fair and free democratic election, but for those who came after, white supremacy became the comforting myth that rationalized their ancestors' incredibly foolish treason.

I.W. | Aug 16, 2017 3:35:32 PM | 39
"Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery."

Would this have been written in his time? Would it be written today in other countries (Africa included) where slavery (aka human trafficking) is big business today?

I'm disappointed that Moon of Alabama, usually so astute in its presentations, would print this article.

Don Wiscacho | Aug 16, 2017 3:37:30 PM | 40
A whole lot of false equivalence goin' on.

That the many statutes of America's founding fathers should be re-evaluated is actually a great idea. Many of these people were simply oligarchs who wanted to be the top of the pyramid instead of the British. Many owned slaves and perpetuated slavery. Others, like Andrew Jackson were legitimate psychopaths. Pretty much all of them cheered the genocide of Native Americans. So maybe we *should* have different heros.

Using the logic b spells out above, one could argue that statues of Nazis should be allowed too, after all they did come up with the Autobahn (modern highways), jet engines, and viable rockets, all technology used all over the world. Some patriotic, well meaning Germans fought in the Wehrmacht, don't they deserve statues, too? What about the Banderists and Forest Brothers? The Imperial Japanese? Don't those well-meaning fascists deserve to celebrate their heritage?

But simply saying that idea out loud is enough to realize what a crock that notion is. Nazis and fascists don't deserve statues, neither do confederates. Neither do most Americans, for that matter.

Trying to make some moral equivalence between NeoNazis and the leftists who oppose them is about as silly as it gets. I don't support violence against these idiots, and they have the same rights as anyone else in expressing their opinion. But to paint legit NeoNazis and the leftists opposing them (admittedly in a very juvenile manner) in the same brush ("Both sides came prepared for violence") is utter hogwash. We don't give Nazis a pass in Ukraine, don't give them a pass in Palestine, and we sure as hell don't give them a pass in the US. It doesn't matter what hypocritical liberal snowflake is on the other side of the barricade, the Nazi is still a f*****g Nazi.

Joe | Aug 16, 2017 3:39:00 PM | 41
"Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery."

b, you have just displayed your ignorance of the character of Robert E. Lee, why he fought, and what he fought for. To give you the short n sweet of it, General Lee was a Christian gentleman respected by those in the North as well as the South. He fought the Federal leviathan as it had chosen to make war on what he considered to be his home and country--the State of Virginia. The issue at hand was not racism and slavery but Federal tyranny. Lincoln himself said he had no quarrel with slavery and as long as the South paid the Federal leviathan its taxes, the South was free to go. Make a visit to Paul Craig Roberts site for his latest essay which explains the world of the 1860s American scene much more eloquently than I can ...

folktruther | Aug 16, 2017 3:41:47 PM | 42
b is completely wrong in thread. The USA has been a highly racist power system historically where killing non-Whites has been a major historical policy. Lee is not merely a racist, he epitomizes this policy and is a symbol of it. Attacking racist symbols is essential to destroying racism.
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 3:45:05 PM | 43
Historicus@38: that 'fair and free democratic election' was replete with Lincoln supporters printing counterfeit tickets to the convention in order to shut out seward supporters.

The gambit worked and the rest, as they say, is history.

Ian | Aug 16, 2017 3:45:37 PM | 44
I suggest reading this article for some perspective:

http://takimag.com/article/carved_upon_the_landscape_steve_sailer#axzz4pwMfiSP8

karlof1 | Aug 16, 2017 3:51:18 PM | 45
Wow! What to write? Craig Murray wrote a very intriguing piece related to Charlottesville while putting the event somewhat into the context of the Scottish Independence Movement; it and the many comments are well worth the time to read and reflect upon, https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2017/08/americans-irish-uzbeks-ukrainians-pakistanis-balls-scots/

james @2--You are 1000000000% correct. And given the current state-of-affairs, will continue to fester for another century if not more thanks to historical ignorance and elite Machiavellian maneuvering.

Southern Extremist self-proclaimed Fire Eaters were the ones that started the war as they took the bait Lincoln cunningly offered them. If they'd been kept away from the coastal artillery at Charlestown, the lanyard they pulled may have remained still and war avoided for the moment. The advent of the US Civil War can be blamed totally on the Constitution and those who wrote it, although they had no clue as to the fuse they lit.

Chattel Slavery was introduced in the Western Hemisphere because the enslaved First Peoples died off and the sugar plantations needed laborers. Rice, tobacco, indigo, "Naval Stores," and other related cash crops were the next. Cotton only became part of the mix when the cotton gin made greatly lessened the expense of its processing. But, cotton wore out the thin Southern soils, so it cotton plantations slowly marched West thus making Mexican lands attractive for conquest. But slaves were used for so much more--particularly the draining of swamps and construction of port works. The capital base for modern capitalism was made possible by slavery--a sentence you will NOT read in any history textbook. There are a great many books written on the subject; I suggest starting with Marcus Rediker's The Slave Ship: A Human History , followed by Eric Williams's classic Capitalism and Slavery , Edward Baptist's The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism , and John Clarke's Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust: Slavery and the Rise of European Capitalism .

There are even more books published about the war itself. But as many have pointed out, it's learning about the reasons for the war that's most important. Vice President Henry Wilson was the first to write a very detailed 3 volume history of those reasons, Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America beginning in 1872, and they are rare books indeed; fortunately, they've been digitized and can be found here, https://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Wilson%2C+Henry%2C+1812-1875%22 Perhaps the most complete is Allan Nevins 8 volume Ordeal of the Union , although for me it begins too late in 1847, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordeal_of_the_Union Finally, no study of the period's complete without examining the unraveling and utter dysfunction of the political process that occurred between 1856 and 1860 that allowed Lincoln to win the presidency, Roy Nichols's The Disruption of American Democracy illustrates that best.

The US Civil War can't be boiled down to having just one cause; it's causes were multiple, although slavery--being an economic and social system--resides at its core. As an historian, I can't really justify the removal of statues and other items of historical relevance, although displaying the Confederate Flag on public buildings I see as wrong; better to display the Spirit of '76 flag if stars and stripes are to be displayed. (I wonder what will become of the UK's Union Jack if Scotland votes to leave the UK.) Personal display of the Stars and Bars for me amounts to a political statement which people within the Outlaw US Empire still have the right to express despite the animus it directs at myself and other non-Anglo ethnicities. (I'm Germanic Visigoth with Spanish surname--people are surprised at my color when they hear my name.)

The current deep dysfunction in the Outlaw US Empire's domestic politics mirrors that of the latter 1850s somewhat but the reasons are entirely different yet solvable--IF--the populous can gain a high degree of solidarity.

ruralito | Aug 16, 2017 4:01:10 PM | 46
There's also the school of thought that holds that Honest Abe freed the slaves in order that northern industrialists could acquire replacements for workers lost in the war.
Pareto | Aug 16, 2017 4:05:35 PM | 47
"racism" i.e., when a white person notices demographic patterns lol.
Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 4:06:37 PM | 48
@37
Aye Woogs. All about expanding fed gov powers, most of which was focused on permanent central banking charter. Many forget that central banking charter had been in place before CW in the US and that great statesman Andrew Jackson repelled it. The first central banking charter caused terrible economic suffering, which is why it was repelled. People had more sense then. Not so much now.

"Gentlemen! I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States. I have had men watching you for a long time, and am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal I will rout you out!"
~Andrew Jackson

ken | Aug 16, 2017 4:11:20 PM | 49
It saddens me that so many buy into the South fought for slavery. That story line was used in the same manner that Weapons of Mass Destruction was used to war with Iraq. The difference is the internet was able to get the truth out. Doesn't do much good to argue as most believe the Confederate slavery propaganda. The US is done as a nation. A thousand different groups that hate each other preaching no hate. Yes it will limp along for a while but it's done for.
michaelj72 | Aug 16, 2017 4:23:39 PM | 50
@46 karlof1

many thanks for the history, and the books. I read Murray's essay and consider it a good take....


".... As an historian, I can't really justify the removal of statues and other items of historical relevance, although displaying the Confederate Flag on public buildings I see as wrong..."

I have to agree.


& there is at least one sane (african american) person in LA, as per below article

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-hollywood-forever-monument-20170815-story.html

"....Los Angeles resident Monique Edwards says historical monuments, like the Confederate statue removed from Hollywood Forever Cemetery, need to be preserved and used as teachable moments...."

joeymac | Aug 16, 2017 4:24:42 PM | 51
@Northern Lights (19)
Yankees wanted strong central government with wide array of power, Southerners didn't. Yankees were supported by London banking families and their banking allies or agents in the US, Southerners were on their own.

I recall that it was the slavers that wanted the central government to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act even in states that outlawed slavery; it was the slavers that insisted that slavery be legal in the new territories, regardless of the wishes of the settlers.

Also, the London industrial and banking interest strongly supported the breakaway slavers because:
(1) It was the slave produced cotton that fueled the textile industry in England.
(2) Imported British ¨prestige¨ items found a ready market with the nouveau riche planters grown fat on stolen labor.
(3) A Balkanized NA would be more subject to pressure from the ¨Mother Country.¨
(4) Lincoln refused to borrow from the bankers and printed ¨greenbacks¨ to finance the war; this infuriated the bankers.

Neo-Confederate revisionism creates mythical history, in a large part, by attempting to deify vile human beings.

Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 4:26:38 PM | 52
Me too Ken. Used to say to those I would like to offer them fairy dust to buy. Half of them didn't catch the meaning.
somebody | Aug 16, 2017 4:30:53 PM | 53
7
How about memorials for red indians and slaves.

Like this one .

somebody | Aug 16, 2017 4:34:53 PM | 54
51
I would say a country that cannot agree on its history has a huge problem.
woogs | Aug 16, 2017 4:35:22 PM | 55
Ben@26: Lincoln stated that he would only use force to collect imposts and duties.

The first battle of the war (actually more a skirmish) was the battle of Phillipi in western Virginia in early June, l86l.

To the best of my knowledge, there were no customs houses in western Virginia as it was not a port of entry. This was simply an invasion by the union army at Lincoln's command that revealed his true colors. The war was Lincoln's war, plain and simple.

Northern Lights | Aug 16, 2017 4:36:10 PM | 56
@51
Joey, I would like yo offer you fairy dust to buy. Interested? Luckily we should part our ways soon. Should have happened ages ago if you ask me. Your history is not our own. You were aggressors fighting for foreign entity. Time for us to part I think. have your own history and say whatever you want there. We will have ours.
NemesisCalling | Aug 16, 2017 4:40:58 PM | 57
In my view, b is comparing a modern sensibility on race relations with that of a mid 19th century confederate leader and so with this bad thesis it is quite easy to dismiss this post entirely. Was the north that much more enlightened on the treatent of blacks? I think not. Was the emancipation proclamation largely a political gesture to incite ire and violence not only among southerners but also slaves living in these states towards their owners? Meanwhile, the effect of such a proclamation was exempt on states where said effect would not "pinch" the south. The north, if anything, was even more racist using blacks as a means towards the end to consolidate power even more centrally.

It honestly reads like most neutral apologetic drivel out of the "other" msm which is on the ropes right now from an all-out wholly political assault. If you truly wanted to educate people on their history you would stand up for fair and honest discourse. Make no mistake, this is all about obscuration and historical-revisionism. Globalists gotta eat.

"Slavery as an institution, is a moral &political evil in any Country... I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race... The blacks are immeasurably better off." Robert E. Lee

Sounds like a man with opinions, but without the burning fire to see that evil enshrined in a state-policy towards blacks. Basically, one condemns him for sharing a popular view of the day. CALL THE THOUGHT POLICE!

Clueless Joe | Aug 16, 2017 4:43:56 PM | 58
From a British point of view, Washington and Jefferson were traitors as well.
As for Lee, he was racist, but doesn't seem to have been more racist than the average Yankee. No more racist than Sherman or Lincoln, and less racist than many of the Confederate top guys, for instance.

Then, there's the nutjob idea that forcefully taking down other statues in the South will make these guys "win". At least, the Lee statue had a more or less legal and democratic process going on, which is the only way to go if you don't want to look like a Taliban.
Really, did these idiots not understand that bringing down Confederate statues without due process will massively piss off most of the locals? Do they really want the local hardliners to come armed and ready to use their guns, one of these days? Is this the plan all along, to spark another civil war for asshat reasons?

(Like B, toppling Saddam and communist statues was the very first thing I thought of. As if these poor fools had just been freed from a terrible dictatorship, instead of nothing having changed or been won at all in the last months)

john | Aug 16, 2017 4:51:09 PM | 59
ben says:

I think we should throw out much of our history

Paul Craig Roberts thinks so too

Mithera | Aug 16, 2017 4:54:03 PM | 60
I agree with Woogs (25). How stoopid are we ? History has been re-written and manipulated going back a long way. Most of the readers here know that our "masters" , and their versions of history are not accurate. Yet here we are arguing and such ... " he was good...NO He was bad...." acting as if we know truth from fiction. Back then, as now, it was all planned. Divide and conquer. Slavery was the "excuse" for war. The Power Elite" were based in Europe at that time and saw America as a real threat to their global rule. It was becoming too strong and so needed to be divided. Thus the people of those times were played....just as we are today. Manipulated into war. Of course America despite the Civil War , continued to grow and prosper so the elite devised another plan. Plan "B" has worked better than they could have ever imagined. They have infected the "soul" of America and the infection is spreading rapidly.Everyone , please re-read oilman2 comments (31)
Pnyx | Aug 16, 2017 5:16:11 PM | 61
Thanks B, precisely my thinking. It has a smell of vendetta. And I believe this sort of old testament thinking is very common in the u.s. of A. What's currently happening will further alienate both sides and lead to even more urgent need to externalize an internal problem via more wars.
virgile | Aug 16, 2017 5:18:00 PM | 62
If We Erase Our History, Who Are We?
Pat Buchanan • August 15, 2017
somebody | Aug 16, 2017 5:19:47 PM | 63
There is a reason for this craze to get rid of confederate statues.

Dylann Roof who photographed himself at confederate landmarks before he shot nine black people in a church .

It is futile to discuss what the confederacy was then, when white supremacy groups consider them their home today.

These monuments were not built after or during the civil war. And the reason for building them was racism .

In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center estimated that there were over 1,500 "symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces" in the United States. The majority of them are located, as one might expect, in the 11 states that seceded from the union, but as Vice aptly points out, some can be found in Union states (New York, for example has three, Pennsylvania, four) and at least 22 of them are located in states that didn't even exist during the Civil War.

How can that be possible? Because largely, Confederate monuments were built during two key periods of American history: the beginnings of Jim Crow in the 1920s and the civil rights movement in the early 1950s and 1960s.

To be sure, some sprung up in the years following the Confederacy's defeat (the concept of a Confederate memorial day dates back to back to 1866 and was still officially observed by the governments of Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, as of the publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center's report), and some continue to be built!USA Today notes that 35 Confederate monuments have been erected in North Carolina since 2000.

But when these statues!be they historical place markers, or myth-building icons of Lee or Stonewall Jackson!were built seems to suggest these monuments have very little to do with paying tribute to the Civil War dead and everything to do with erecting monuments to black disenfranchisement, segregation, and 20th-century racial tension.

I don't know if b. realizes how many German monuments got destroyed because people did not wish to recall this particular part of history, the bomb raids of the allies helped, of course, but there are cemeteries of Marx, Engels and Lenin statues, and only revisionists recall what was destroyed after WWII .

Young people need some space to breath. They don't need monuments of war heros.

47 | Aug 16, 2017 5:20:32 PM | 64
b wrote "Statues standing in cities and places are much more than veneration of one person or group. They are symbols, landmarks and fragments of personal memories..."

Symbols indeed, traits in cultural landscapes. This piece may add another dimension to the importance of cultural landscape in the context of this conversation:
"To this day, the question remains: why would the Southerners remember and celebrate a losing team, and how come the non-Southerners care about it so passionately? A convenient answer revolves around the issue of slavery; i.e., a commemoration of the era of slavery for the former, and, for the latter, the feeling that the landscape reminders of that era should be entirely erased."
and
"In the past two decades, the American(s)' intervention has brought down the statues of Hussein, Gaddafi, Davis, and Lee respectively. Internationally, the work seems to be completed. Domestically, the next stage will be removing the names of highways, libraries, parks, and schools of the men who have not done an illegal act. Eventually, all such traits in the cultural landscape of Virginia may steadily disappear, because they are symbols of Confederacy."
http://www.zokpavlovic.com/conflict/the-war-between-the-states-of-mind-in-virginia-and-elsewhere/

virgile | Aug 16, 2017 5:20:37 PM | 65
What about the statues of the American "heroes" who massacred the Indians?
Robert Browning | Aug 16, 2017 5:24:32 PM | 66
It warms my heart that you are not a racist. But who really gives a fuck? And what makes you think not favoring your own kind like every other racial and ethnic group does makes you a better than those of your own racial group?? Something is wrong with you.
Bill | Aug 16, 2017 5:33:25 PM | 67
Statues are kim jong un like silly and useless anyway. Put up a nice obelisk or rotunda instead.
joeymac | Aug 16, 2017 5:33:44 PM | 68
@Clueless Joe (58)
From a British point of view, Washington and Jefferson were traitors as well.
Kindly correct me if i´m wrong, but, to my knowledge, there are no monuments to Washington or Jefferson on Trafalgar Square.
did these idiots not understand that bringing down Confederate statues without due process will massively piss off most of the locals?
It is my understanding that ¨due process¨ was underway because of pressure from the locals when the neo-Nazis sought to short circuit this process.
joeymac | Aug 16, 2017 5:47:36 PM | 69
@Northern Lights
Your history is not our own.

You are certainly entitled to your attitudes, hatreds, memories, affinities and such. You are not entitled to your own history. History is what happened. Quit lying about it!

Anonymous | Aug 16, 2017 5:59:02 PM | 70
Lee is the past. Obama is the present. The 'Nobel Peace Prize' winner ran more concurrent wars than any other president. He inaugurated the state execution of US citizens by drone based on secret evidence presented in secret courts. He was in charge when ISIS was created by the US Maw machine. What about removing his Nobel Peace Prize?
Erlindur | Aug 16, 2017 5:59:30 PM | 71
A long time ago Christians destroyed the old god's statues because they were pagan and didn't comply with their religion (or is it ideology?). Muslims followed and did the same on what was left. They even do that now when ISIS blows up ancient monuments.

What is next? Burning books? Lets burn the library of Alexandria once again...

aaaa | Aug 16, 2017 6:02:53 PM | 72
Just posting to say that I'm done with this place - will probably read but am not posting here anymore. Have fun
Clueless Joe | Aug 16, 2017 6:11:39 PM | 73
Joeymac 69:
I didn't mean the Charlottesville mess was done without due process. I refer to the cases that have happened these last few days - a trend that won't stop overnight.
Extremists from both sides aren't making friends on the other ones, and obviously are only making matters worse.

Somebody 63:
"It is futile to discuss what the confederacy was then, when white supremacy groups consider them their home today."
That's the whole fucking problem. By this logic, nobody should listen to Wagner or read Nietzsche anymore. Screw that. Assholes and criminals from now should be judged according to current values, laws and opinions, based on their very own crimes. People, groups, states, religions from the past should be judged according to their very own actions as well, and not based on what some idiot would fantasize they were 1.500 years later.

Merasmus | Aug 16, 2017 6:38:35 PM | 74
Looks like the Lee apologetics and claims that the war was about state's rights (go read the CSA constitution, it tramples the rights of its own member states to *not* be slave holding) or tariffs are alive and well in these comments. That's what these statues represent: the utter perversion of the historical record. And as pointed out @38, none of these statues are from anywhere near the Civil War or Reconstruction era.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-myth-of-the-kindly-general-lee/529038/

https://www.civilwar.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

http://www.americancivilwarforum.com/five-myths-about-secession-169444.html?PageSpeed=noscript

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/the-great-civil-war-lie/?mcubz=3

Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 16, 2017 6:43:32 PM | 75
I think anyone and everyone who instigates a successful campaign to destroy a memorial which glorifies war should be awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace & Sanity and be memorialised in bronze, nearby, as a permanent reminder that war WAS a racket, until Reason prevailed.
No offense intended.
Anonymous | Aug 16, 2017 6:49:20 PM | 76
Arch-propagandist Rove said "[Those] in what we call the reality-based community, [who] believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality [e.g Russia hacked the election]. And while you're studying that reality!judiciously, as you will!we'll act again, creating other new realities [e.g. Neo-Nazi White Supremacism], which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

There is a coup underway to get rid of Trump [who's 'unpardonable crime' seems to be that he isn't going along with the War Party]. The War Party will try anything, anything, if there is a hope that it will work to get rid of him. When Trump launched the cruise missiles against Syria, there was a moment's silence, totally spooky given all the bs that was flying ... Would he start a war with Russia? Would Trump go all the way with that, as Clinton probably would have done? When the attack fizzled out, the chorus resumed their attacks as though nothing had happened.

Their tactical attacks change as they are revealed to be fakes. The current attack, probably using War Party provacateurs operating on both sides, is the next tactical phase - out with 'Russian Hacking the Election', in with 'Trump White Supremacist Nazi'. If there is the standard CIA regime change plan behind this (as outlined by John Perkins and seen in Ukraine, Libya, Syria)] and the relatively passive actions don't work, they will ultimately resort to hard violence. At that stage, they resort to using snipers to kill people on both sides.

The anti-fas' are supposedly liberal, anti-gun, but there already have been stories of them training with weapons, even working with the Kurds in Syria so the ground is laid for their use of weapons. There are those on the Trump side who would relish the excuse for gun violence irrespective on consequence so the whole thing could spiral out of control very rapidly and very dangerously.

Disclosure - I do not support Trump [or any US politico for that matter]. The whole US political system is totally corrupt and morally bankrupt. Those that rise [or more accurately those that are allowed to rise] to the top reflect that corruption and bankruptcy. This could get very very messy.

Lemur | Aug 16, 2017 6:50:58 PM | 77
There's nothing wrong with being racist. Racism is simply preference for one's extended family. 'b' calls the admittedly rather goony lot at C'ville 'white supremacists'. But do they want to enslave blacks or rule over non-whites? No. In fact most of the alt-right lament the slave trade and all its ills, including mixing two groups who, as Lincoln pointed out, had no future together. What the left wants to do is reduce Confederate American heritage and culture down to the slavery issue, despite the fact only a few Southerners owned slaves.

Now, within ethnic European countries, should whites be supreme? You're goddamn right they should. Just as the Japanese should practice 'yellow supremacy', and so on and so forth. Most of you lot here, being liberals, will be in favour of no fault divorce. You understand there can be irreconcilable differences which in way suggest either person is objectively bad. The same applies to disparate ethnicities. If white Slovaks and Czechs can't get one, why would white and non-white groups?

You lefties need to have a serious moral dialogue over your rejection of ethno-nationalism! Time to get on the right side of history! Have you noticed the alt-right, despite being comprised of 'hateful bigots', is favourably disposed toward Iran, Syria, and Russia? That's because we consistently apply principles which can protect our racially, culturally, religiously, and ethnically diverse planet, and mitigate conflict. But the woke woke left (not a typo) meanwhile has to 'resist' imperialism by constantly vilifying America. ITS NOT THAT I'M IN FAVOUR OF ASSAD OR PUTIN, ITS JUST THAT AMERICA IS SO NAUGHTY! OH, HOW BASE ARE OUR MOTIVES. OH, WHAT A POX WE ARE. Weak tea. You have no theoretical arguments against liberal interventionism or neoconservativism.

Newsflash folks. Hillary Clinton doesn't fundamentally differ from you in principle. She merely differs on what methods should be employed to achieve Kojeve's universal homogeneous state. Most of you just want to replace global capitalism with global socialism. Seen how occupy wall street turned out? Didn't make a dent. See how your precious POCs voted for the neoliberal war monger? Diversity increases the power of capital. The only force which can beat globalization is primordial tribalism.

I suggest you all start off your transition to nationalism by reading up on 'Social Democracy for the 21st Century'. http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogspot.co.nz/

Seamus Padraig | Aug 16, 2017 6:57:50 PM | 78
All in all, b, a pretty brave post -- especially in these dark times. Only a few minor points to add:
Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery.

Lee wasn't known for being brutal. You're probably confusing him with Nathan Bedford Forrest, who had a notorious mean streak: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Bedford_Forrest

Lee actually thought the Civil War an awful tragedy. He was asked to choose between his state and his country. That's not much different from being asked to choose between your family and your clan.

Lee was a racist.

That might be true, depending on one's definition of a racist. But then, why should Abraham Lincoln get a pass? It's well known that he did not start the Civil War to end slavery -- that idea only occurred to him halfway through the conflict. But there's also the fact that, while he was never a great fan of slavery, he apparently did not believe in the natural equality of the races, and he even once professed to have no intention of granting blacks equality under the law:
"While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races -- that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any of her man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

It turns out that history's a complicated thing! To bad it wasn't all written by Hollywood with a bunch of cartoon villains and heroes ...
One gets the impression that the current wave of statue take downs is seen as well deserved "punishment" for those who voted wrongly - i.e. not for Hillary Clinton. While many Trump voters will dislike statues of Robert Lee, they will understand that dislike the campaign to take them down even more.

You nailed it, b. The way things are headed, I now wonder if I will someday be arrested for owning Lynard Skynard albums (the covers of which usually had Confederate battle flags) or for having watched Dukes of Hazard shows as a child. It's starting to get that crazy.

Anyway, thanks for running a sane blog in a mad world!

jdmckay | Aug 16, 2017 6:58:20 PM | 79
Good interview with a Black, female pastor in Charlottsville who was in church when the march began Friday night. They caught a lot that wasn't on network news.

http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/trump-is-lying-about-charlottesville-says-witness-1025515075632

George Smiley | Aug 16, 2017 6:58:29 PM | 80
"Don't let this site get bogged down in history that is being constantly rewritten on Wikipedia. Don't buy into the left/right division process. Don't let your self identify with either group, as they are being led by provocateurs.

The lies we know of regarding Iraq, Syria, Libya - aren't they enough to force people to disbelieve our media completely? The HUGE lies in our media about what is going on in Venezuela should be quite enough (bastante suficiente) to make most people simply disbelieve. But they cannot because they are only allowed to see and hear what our government approves - and for our government, lying is quite legal now.

Let the emotions go - they are pushed via media to force you to think in white or black, right or left, old vs young - any way that is divisive. Getting beaten for a statue would likely make the guy who posed for it laugh his butt off most likely..."

Posted by: Oilman2 | Aug 16, 2017 3:09:32 PM | 31

Well said. Hope to see your thoughts in the future.

And as always, Karlof1 you have some insights I rarely get ever else (especially not in a comment section)

______________________________

"The US Civil War can't be boiled down to having just one cause; it's causes were multiple, although slavery--being an economic and social system--resides at its core. As an historian, I can't really justify the removal of statues and other items of historical relevance, although displaying the Confederate Flag on public buildings I see as wrong; better to display the Spirit of '76 flag if stars and stripes are to be displayed. (I wonder what will become of the UK's Union Jack if Scotland votes to leave the UK.) Personal display of the Stars and Bars for me amounts to a political statement which people within the Outlaw US Empire still have the right to express despite the animus it directs at myself and other non-Anglo ethnicities. (I'm Germanic Visigoth with Spanish surname--people are surprised at my color when they hear my name.)

The current deep dysfunction in the Outlaw US Empire's domestic politics mirrors that of the latter 1850s somewhat but the reasons are entirely different yet solvable--IF--the populous can gain a high degree of solidarity."

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16, 2017 3:51:18 PM | 45

____________________________

Also, somebody @63, very poignant to mention. While I could care less whether about some statues stand or fall (it helps living outside the empire), to deny that they are (generally) symbols of racism, or were built with that in mind, is a little off base in my eyes. Going to repost this quote because I think it had quite a bit of value in this discussion.

"In 2016 the Southern Poverty Law Center estimated that there were over 1,500 "symbols of thE Confederacy in public spaces" in the United States. The majority of them are located, as one might expect, in the 11 states that seceded from the union, but as Vice aptly points out, some can be found in Union states (New York, for example has three, Pennsylvania, four) and at least 22 of them are located in states that didn't even exist during the Civil War.

How can that be possible? Because largely, Confederate monuments were built during two key periods of American history: the beginnings of Jim Crow in the 1920s and the civil rights movement in the early 1950s and 1960s.

To be sure, some sprung up in the years following the Confederacy's defeat (the concept of a Confederate memorial day dates back to back to 1866 and was still officially observed by the governments of Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, as of the publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center's report), and some continue to be built!USA Today notes that 35 Confederate monuments have been erected in North Carolina since 2000.

But when these statues!be they historical place markers, or myth-building icons of Lee or Stonewall Jackson!were built seems to suggest these monuments have very little to do with paying tribute to the Civil War dead and everything to do with erecting monuments to black disenfranchisement, segregation, and 20th-century racial tension."

Peter AU 1 | Aug 16, 2017 6:59:17 PM | 81
@77

Racism means zero understanding or tolerance of other people/cultures, an attitude that ones own culture or skin colour or group is far superior to those 'others'.

NemesisCalling | Aug 16, 2017 7:01:45 PM | 82
@77 lemur

Hear, hear. Generally, a resurgence of American nationalism WILL take the form of populist socialism because it will mark a turning away from the global police state which America is leading currently and will replace it with nationalistic spending on socialist programs with an emphasis on decreased military spending. This will continue ideally until a balance of low taxation and government regulation form a true economy which begins at a local level from the ground up.

annie | Aug 16, 2017 7:05:36 PM | 83
the city council, elected by the people, voted to remove the monument.

Where are America's memorials to pain of slavery, black resistance?

In 1861, the vice-president of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens, offered this foundational explanation of the Confederate cause: "Its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. "

how much public space in the US should be dedicated to monuments honoring these people in the coming century? and for the children and grandchildren of slaves walking by them every day? what about their heritage? and the public monuments to the indigenous people of this land who we genocided? oh right, as a country we have still not even officially recognized that genocide. monuments should not be solely a reflection of the past, but of the future, of who we want to be. who we choose to recognize in our public spaces says a lot about us.

anon | Aug 16, 2017 7:06:12 PM | 84
It's pretty fair too say several of the "alt-right" leaders who planned this event agent are provocateurs or Sheep Dipped assets running honeypot "white nationalist" operations.

You can see from the make-up of the phony "Nazis" in the groups and their continued use of various propaganda that serves only to tie people and movements OPPOSED by the Deep State to "Nazis" and racist ideology, you can see how on the ground level, this event has psyop planners' fingerprints all over it.


It's also fair too say the complicit media's near universal take on the event signals a uniform, ready-made reaction more than likely dictated to them from a single source.

Trump is attacked. The ACLU is attacked. Peace activists opposed to the CIA's regime change operation in Syria are attacked. Tucker Carlson is attacked. Everyone attacked that the CIA and various other aspects of the Deep State want attacked as if the MSM were all sent the same talking points memo.

And keep in mind, this all comes right after the news was starting to pick up on the story that the Deep State's bullshit narrative about a "Russian hack" was falling apart.

Also keep in mind it comes at a time when 600,000 Syrians returned home after the CIA's terrorist regime change operation fell apart.

(from Scott Creighton's blog)

Zico the musketeer | Aug 16, 2017 7:11:22 PM | 85
Is there a left in America?
I think is really fun to watch those burgers call an US citizen a lefties.

From outside US you ALL looks like ULYRA right wing.
This is ridiculous!

Sigil | Aug 16, 2017 7:21:33 PM | 86
The statues were erected when the KKK was at its peak, to keep the blacks in their place. They started getting torn down after the 2015 massacre of black churchgoers by a Nazi. For once, don't blame Clinton.
Vas | Aug 16, 2017 7:28:08 PM | 87
as the country becomes less and less white
more and more symbols of white supremacy
have to go..
perry | Aug 16, 2017 7:51:05 PM | 88
Karlof1@45

My only argument with your post is "Chattel Slavery was introduced in the Western Hemisphere"
Chattel = movable property as opposed to your house. In that day and long before women and children were chattel.

Thinking about what might have been might help. If the south had won would we have had a strong enough central government to create and give corporate charters and vast rights of way to railroads which then cross our nation. Would states have created their own individual banking systems negating the need for the all controlling Federal reserve? Would states have their own military units willing to join other states to repel an attack instead of the MIC which treats the rest of the world like expendable slaves?

Before our constitution there was the Articles of Confederation. Article 1,2+3.....
Article I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America."

Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

This first set of laws in the new world was later undone in a secret convention with Madison, input from Jefferson and others found on our money and other honorariums. 1868 gave us the 14th amendment to the constitution that freed all who are born within this nation and were given equal rights. (Not saying that this worked for all slaves. Within a few years this was used to create corporate persons with access to the bill of rights.

I am thinking there were many reasons that people who lived in those times had to fight for what they did. We today are not in a position to judge why individuals fought. Certainly many poor white southerners who owned no slaves at all fought and died. Was it to keep slaves they did not own enslaved or did they fight and die for issues around protection of local or state rights, freedoms and way of life?

Histories are written and paid for by the winners who control that particular present time for the glorification of those rulers. A vast removal of historical artifacts speaks of a weak nation fading into the west's need to clean up some points from history of mean and brutal behaviors which we as a nation support now in the present but try and make it about others.

Peter AU 1 | Aug 16, 2017 8:01:00 PM | 89
A paragragh here from lemur 77 comment...
"Now, within ethnic European countries, should whites be supreme? You're goddamn right they should. Just as the Japanese should practice 'yellow supremacy', and so on and so forth. Most of you lot here, being liberals, will be in favour of no fault divorce. You understand there can be irreconcilable differences which in way suggest either person is objectively bad. The same applies to disparate ethnicities. If white Slovaks and Czechs can't get one, why would white and non-white groups?"

What is the United States of America? It is made up of British, French, Spanish and Russian territories aquired or conquered, the original colonists in turn taking them from the native inhabitants. The US has had a largley open imigration policy, people of all cultures, languages and skin colours and religions.
Why should white Europeans be supreme in the US lemur?

psychohistorian | Aug 16, 2017 8:01:58 PM | 90
The following is the guts of a posting from Raw Story that I see as quite related.
"
White House senior strategist Steve Bannon is rejoicing at the criticism President Donald Trump is receiving for defending white nationalism.

Bannon phoned The American Prospect progressive writer and editor Robert Kuttner Tuesday, according to his analysis of the interview.

In the interview, Bannon dismissed ethno-nationalists as irrelevant.

"Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element," Bannon noted.

"These guys are a collection of clowns," he added.

Bannon claimed to welcome the intense criticism Trump has received.

"The Democrats," he said, "the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats."

Kuttner described Bannon as being in "high spirits" during the call

"You might think from recent press accounts that Steve Bannon is on the ropes and therefore behaving prudently. In the aftermath of events in Charlottesville, he is widely blamed for his boss's continuing indulgence of white supremacists," Kuttner explained. "But Bannon was in high spirits when he phoned me Tuesday afternoon to discuss the politics of taking a harder line with China, and minced no words describing his efforts to neutralize his rivals at the Departments of Defense, State, and Treasury."

"They're wetting themselves," Bannon said of opponents he planned to oust at State and Defense.
"

Curtis | Aug 16, 2017 8:25:00 PM | 91
Curtis 6 isn't me. However, I somewhat agree with the point.

Joe 41
Very true. Lee saw himself as defending Virginia. Slavery was the chief issue used in the states declarations of secession. But the end goal was a separate govt (that actually banned the importation of new slaves).

Nemesis 57
Excellent. Racism was bad in the North, too.

Alexander Grimsmo | Aug 16, 2017 8:37:55 PM | 92
Strange how the left are pulling down statues of democrats, and the right are fighting to have them stand. The confederates were democrats, but nobody seem to remember that now anymore.
sigil | Aug 16, 2017 8:51:24 PM | 93
Nothing strange about it. The Democrats dropped the southern racists and the Republicans picked them up with the Southern Strategy. It's all pretty well documented. The current Republicans are not heirs to Lincoln in any meaningful way.
michaelj72 | Aug 16, 2017 8:53:14 PM | 94
some may consider this interesting.. at the end of Robert Kuttner's conversation with Steve Bannon, Bannon says:

http://prospect.org/article/steve-bannon-unrepentant

...."The Democrats," he said, "the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.".....

Petra | Aug 16, 2017 9:11:29 PM | 95
Those who make silly talk about "Patriots and Traitors" (Swallows and Amazons?) are being obtuse about their history. The whole system was racist through and through, depended upon it and was built upon it, starting with the very first rapacious sorties inland from the swampy coast.

Some excellent commentary here, including james's percipient notes, Grieved's point, RUKidding's and karlof1's, perry's observations and speculations.

Aside, this "99% v.1%" discourse is disempowering and one has to ask whose interests such talk and attendant disempowerment serve.

Krollchem | Aug 16, 2017 9:33:38 PM | 96
Both sides of this ideological issue are frooty and do not see the invisible hands that manipulate their weak minds. See Mike Krieger On Charlottesville: "Don't Play Into The Divide & Conquer Game"
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-14/mike-krieger-charlottesville-dont-play-divide-conquer-game

Please note that slavery persisted in some Northern States after the end of the Civil War. The slave trade was even a profit center in the North:

http://www.tracingcenter.org/resources/background/northern-involvement-in-the-slave-trade/

VietnamVet | Aug 16, 2017 9:40:12 PM | 97
This is a meaningful post on a touchy subject. Global Brahmins are looting the developed world. Color revolutions and ethnic rifts make great fire sales. In a sane world, old monuments would molder away in obscurity. Instead a faux resistance to divide and conquer the little people has commenced. But, it is careening out of control due to austerity and job loss. Deplorable Bushwhackers are fighting for tribalism and supremacy. After the 27 year old war in Iraq, subjected Sunnis turned to their ethnic myths and traditions to fight back; obliterating two ancient cities and themselves. The Chaos is coming west.
John Merryman | Aug 16, 2017 9:43:21 PM | 98
The problem is that people focus on the effects of history, like slavery and the holocaust, but if you go into the causes and context of these events, then you get accused of rationalizing them. Yet being ignorant of the causes is when history gets repeated. By the time another seriously bad effect rises, it's too late.
As for slavery, it's not as though peoples lives haven't been thoroughly commodified before and continue to be. Yes, slavery in the early part of this country was horrendous and the resulting racism arose from the more reptilian parts of people's minds, but that part still exists and needs to be better understood, not dismissed.
It should also be noted that if it wasn't for slavery, the African American population would otherwise only be about as large as the Arab American population. It is a bit like being the offspring of a rape. It might the absolute worst aspect of your life, but you wouldn't be here otherwise. It's the Native Americans who really got screwed in the deal, but there are not nearly enough of them left, to get much notice.
John Merryman | Aug 16, 2017 9:47:52 PM | 99
PS,
For those who know their legal history, no, I'm not using a pseudonym. There is a lot of family history in this country, from well before it was a country.

[Aug 10, 2017] There has been a gradual decline in the rationality of UK forces thinking

Aug 10, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Anonymous | Aug 4, 2017 7:00:33 PM | 37

Enrico Malatesta @13

The Russians were there in Yugoslavia but they were not following NATO's script. There was an incident where Russian forces took control of a key airport to the total surprise of NATO. The US overall commander ordered the UK to go in and kick the Russians out. The UK ground commander wisely said he was not prepared to start WW III over Russian control of an airfield.

There has been a gradual decline in the rationality of UK forces thinking. They insisted on UN legal cover cover the invasion of Iraq but were totally on board with pre-emptive action in Libya, happily training effectively ISIS forces before Gaddafi was removed. They are now training Ukrainian Neo-Nazis and training ISIS/whatever in Syria, effectively invading the country. I guess this may reflect the increasing direct Zionist control of Perfidious Albion with attendant levels of hubris.

[Aug 07, 2017] Us dollar is the focal point of the US military adventures

Notable quotes:
"... Very true. In fact, US military (in its conventional iteration) is one of the main (if not the main) pillar of the US Dollar as a main reserve currency, hence of US economy. It is, in effect, a business enterprise -- that is why US strategic (and military-doctrinal) though becomes increasingly incoherent -- one can formulate "global power" memes only for so long, at some point the sheer idiocy and futility of such "thinking" becomes evident even to those who believe in it. ..."
Aug 07, 2017 | www.unz.com

Andrei Martyanov, Website

@Sergey Krieger
Us$ is being main focal point. While wrong perception maintained about usa military conventional superiority over anyone was critical to mantain us$ status, us$ status as major reserve currency is the only thing that allowing united States to mantain her military at current levels and basically USA status as major global power. Take us$ status away and the king is naked USA would become very local power with vastly reduced if not ruined military and great issues at home. Everything that undermines us$ status is well come including showing USA military impotence vs major nations that are challenging the status quo.

Take us$ status away and the king is naked USA would become very local power with vastly reduced if not ruined military and great issues at home.

Very true. In fact, US military (in its conventional iteration) is one of the main (if not the main) pillar of the US Dollar as a main reserve currency, hence of US economy. It is, in effect, a business enterprise -- that is why US strategic (and military-doctrinal) though becomes increasingly incoherent -- one can formulate "global power" memes only for so long, at some point the sheer idiocy and futility of such "thinking" becomes evident even to those who believe in it.

Only complete crazies remain. Plus, inability to realize itself as a real continental power is akin to acute sexual frustration.

[Aug 04, 2017] Michael Brenner - The Linear Mindset In U.S. Foreign Policy

According to some commenters at MoA the US neocons can be viewed as a flavor of political psychopaths: "Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe."
and " the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time. "
Notable quotes:
"... Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to learn very well there is lying. ..."
"... Barack CIA 0bama. ..."
"... It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos. ..."
"... Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit? ..."
"... Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and international law perspectives. ..."
"... you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies like war crimes tribunals? ..."
"... it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal strikes me as an exercise in confusion. ..."
"... the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided. That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term occupation of Afghanistan escapes him. ..."
"... Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and "accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being the malignant driving force in US FP. ..."
"... There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade. ..."
"... My only gripe with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc. ..."
"... Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe. ..."
"... the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100 Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed. ..."
"... Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing. ..."
"... It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists, they don't like that. ..."
"... Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these three don't work, they repeat them! ..."
"... Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic damage. ..."
"... America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see sense and reverse their road to destruction. ..."
"... the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time. ..."
"... The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression. ..."
"... Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda. ..."
"... The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated. The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat evil' story. ..."
"... Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures. This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST. ..."
"... The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it. ..."
Aug 04, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

virgile | Aug 4, 2017 11:18:14 AM | 1

"linear"?, I would say amateurish and often stupid! It seems that the USA cannot see far enough as it's submitted to regime changes every 5 years and decisions are finally left to powerful lobbies that have a better continuity.

Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to learn very well there is lying.

Sid2 | Aug 4, 2017 11:24:08 AM | 2
Moqtada had a million man army 10 years ago. He may still have it, in the "things do go astray" department.
Sid2 | Aug 4, 2017 11:28:23 AM | 3
"Linear" and all that is the mushy feel-good stuff on top of your arrogance. Kleptocracy only NOW putting down its roots? Come on. Let's get back to the 90's where it started. Vengeance for 9/11? Cover?
somebody | Aug 4, 2017 11:32:33 AM | 4
I think it is because US business is ruled by the quarter .

So there may be long term plans and goals but the emphasis for everybody is always short-term.

Emily | Aug 4, 2017 11:36:18 AM | 5
Second paragraph.

'There are features of how the United States makes and executes foreign policy'

There was no need for the rest. The United States makes and executes foreign policy on the direction of Tel Aviv and to meet the demands of the MIC.

Nuff said - surely.

JSonofa | Aug 4, 2017 11:43:23 AM | 6
You lost me at Walt Whitman or Barack CIA 0bama.
Skip | Aug 4, 2017 11:44:16 AM | 7
It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos. All's well in the world with them as long as the USSA is grinding away on some near helpless ME country. Drugs and other natural resources flow from and death and destruction flow to the unsuspecting Muslim targets.

With America, you're our friend, (or at least we tolerate you) until you're not (or we don't), then God help you and your innocent hoards.

The organized and well scripted chaos has been just one act in the larger play of destroying western civilization with throngs of Muslims now flooding western Europe and to a lesser degree, USA. Of course, the Deep State had felt confident in allowing Latinos to destroy America...Trump has put a large crimp in the pipeline--one of the reasons he is hated so badly by the destructive PTB.

Simplyamazed | Aug 4, 2017 12:15:58 PM | 8
Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error. You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.

It is entirely possible that the underlying objective of, for instance, invading Iraq was to win a war and bring democracy. Subsequent behaviour in Iraq (and Afghanistan) indicates that there might be (likely is) a hidden but central other objective. I do not want to state that I know what that is because I am not "in the know". However, much that you attribute to failure from linear thinking just as easily can be explained by the complexity of realizing a "hidden agenda".

Perhaps we can learn from history. Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit?

Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and international law perspectives.

aniteleya | Aug 4, 2017 12:33:51 PM | 9
Russia learnt a huge lesson from their experience in Afghanistan. There they retreated in the face of a violent Wahabist insurgency and paid the price. The Soviet union collapsed and became vulnerable to western free-market gangsterism as well as suffering the blowback of terrorism in Chechnya, where they decided to play it very differently. A bit more like how Assad senior dealt with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980's.

Russia knew that if ISIS and friends were allowed to destroy Syria like the Mujahadeen had done in Afghanistan, then it would only be a matter of time before blowback would come again to Russia.

Russia's involvement is entirely rational and in their national interest. It should never have come as a surprise to the US, and the US should shake off their cold war propaganda and be grateful that people are willing to put their lives on the line to defeat Wahabist terrorism. Russia has played a focused line with integrity. Many Syrians love them for this, and many more in the Middle East will likewise adopt a similar line.

john | Aug 4, 2017 1:14:02 PM | 10
In other words, the linear mindset blocks out all non-conforming realities in the present and those contingent elements which might arise in the future

you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies like war crimes tribunals?

i kinda skimmed this piece, but it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal strikes me as an exercise in confusion.

Jackrabbit | Aug 4, 2017 1:26:29 PM | 11
Brenner: Washington never really had a plan in Syria.

Really? Firstly, the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided. That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term occupation of Afghanistan escapes him.

Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and "accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being the malignant driving force in US FP.

The bleach in Brenner's white-washing is delivered with the statement that Washington never really had a plan in Syria. Seymour Hersh described the planning in his "The Redirection" back in 2007(!):

The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January [2007], Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is "a new strategic alignment in the Middle East," separating "reformers" and "extremists"; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were "on the other side of that divide."

Lastly, Brenner's complaint that Obama has been "scape-goated" as having created ISIS conveniently ignores Obama's allowing ISIS to grow by down-playing the threat that it represented. Obama's called ISIS al Queda's "JV team" and senior intelligence analysts dutifully distorted intelligence to down-play the threat (see below). This was one of many deceptions that Obama took part in - if not orchestrated (others: "moderate rebels", Benghazi, the "Fiscal Cliff", bank bailouts).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

House GOP task force: Military leaders distorted ISIS intel to downplay threat

After months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, the United States Central Command's most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command's intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq" . . .

The Joint Task Force can find no justifiable reason why operational reporting was repeatedly used as a rationale to change the analytic product, particularly when the changes only appeared to be made in a more optimistic direction . . .

jsn | Aug 4, 2017 1:31:06 PM | 12
The US is playing checkers, the Russians Chess. We shall sanction them until they learn to play checkers.
Enrico Malatesta | Aug 4, 2017 1:31:39 PM | 13
aniteleya | Aug 4, 2017 12:33:51 PM | 9

There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade.

Russia has also benefited through the non-linear analysis of US diplomacy failures of the last two decades. Russia has created a coalition backing up their military entry into the Middle East that allows achievement of tangible objectives at a sustainable cost.

But b's article is about the US's dismal diplomacy that is exacerbating its rapid empire decline and it does very well to help explain the rigid lack of thought that hastens the deterioration of US influence.

Duncan Kinder | Aug 4, 2017 1:33:14 PM | 14
This article makes a lot of good points, but I didn't really grasp exactly what "linear" thinking is. OK. Venezuela very well may be turning into a situation. What is the "linear" approach? What, instead, would be the "non-linear" approach? This article cites many "linear" failures. It would be helpful also to learn of some non-linear successes. If not by the United States then by somebody else.
Duncan Kinder | Aug 4, 2017 1:38:51 PM | 15
Let me clarify my prior posting. This article seems to be asserting that the United States has attempted to pound the square peg of its policy objectives into the round hole of the Middle East. I pretty much agree with that idea. But how is this "linear," as opposed to "bull-headed"? How does being "non-linear" help with the pounding? Would not adapting our policies to pound a round peg instead be just as "linear" but more clever?
PavewayIV | Aug 4, 2017 1:46:40 PM | 16
Thanks for posting these great observations by Michael Brenner, b.

The link to his bio on University of Pitsburg site is broken and the page is gone, but it still exists for now in Google's cache from Aug. 1st here . His bio can also be found under this ">https://www.theglobalist.com/united-states-common-man-forgotten-by-elites/">this article from The Globalist

Everything I've read of Dr. Brenner that I've stumbled across is brilliant. My only gripe with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc.

While he is quite accurate in describing the symptoms, one is left with the impression that they are the things to be fixed. Linear thinking in a U.S. foreign policy of aggression? Absolutely, but it's pointless to 'fix' that without understanding the cause.

Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe.

Does anyone in Washington REALLY want to 'save' the Persians and 'rebuild' Iran as they imagine America did post WWII to German and Japan? Or is the more overriding intent to punish and destroy a leadership that will not submit to the political and commercial interests in the US? Of course the U.S. fails to deliver any benefits to the 'little people' after destroying their country and government - they are incapable of understanding what the 'little people' want (same goes for domestic issues in the U.S.).

The U.S. government and leadership do not need lessons to modify their techniques or 'thinking' - they are incapable of doing so. You can't 'talk a psychopath into having empathy' any more than you can talk them out of having smallpox. 'The law' and voting were intentionally broken in the U.S. to make them all but useless to fix Washington, yet a zombified American public will continue to use the religiously (or sit back and watch others use them religiously) with little result. Because we're a democracy and a nation of laws - the government will fix anything broken with those tools.

In a certain sense, I'm glad Brennan does NOT go on about psychopathy in his articles. He would sound as tedious and nutty as I do here and would never be allowed near Washington. I'll just be grateful for his thorough illustration of the symptoms for now.

nonsense factory | Aug 4, 2017 2:00:27 PM | 17
@8 simply amazed, on this:
Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error. You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.

First, this is more an analysis of military failure to "do the job" that Washington "strategic thinkers" tell them to do, and the reasons why it's such a futile game. In our system of government, the military does tactics, not strategy. And the above article, which should be passed out to every politician in this country, isn't really about "the objective".

For example, the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100 Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed.

Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing.

And if you want to know why the Borg State got firmly behind Hillary Clinton, it's because they could see her supporting this agenda wholeheartedly, especially after Libya. Here's a comment she wrote to Podesta on 2014-08-19, a long 'strategy piece' ending with this note:

Note: It is important to keep in mind that as a result of this policy there probably will be concern in the Sunni regions of Iraq and the Central Government regarding the possible expansion of KRG controlled territory. With advisors in the Peshmerga command we can reassure the concerned parties that, in return for increase autonomy, the KRG will not exclude the Iraqi Government from participation in the management of the oil fields around Kirkuk, and the Mosel Dam hydroelectric facility. At the same time we will be able to work with the Peshmerga as they pursue ISIL into disputed areas of Eastern Syria, coordinating with FSA troops who can move against ISIL from the North. This will make certain Basher al Assad does not gain an advantage from these operations. Finally, as it now appears the U.S. is considering a plan to offer contractors as advisors to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, we will be in a position to coordinate more effectively between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army.

It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists, they don't like that.

Regardless, it looks like end times for the American empire, very similar to how the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1980s, and the last days of the French and British empires in the 1950s. And good riddance, it's become a dead weight dragging down the standard of living for most American citizens who aren't on that gravy train.

Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 2:13:20 PM | 18
Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these three don't work, they repeat them!

Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic damage.

America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see sense and reverse their road to destruction.

Justin Glyn | Aug 4, 2017 2:51:51 PM | 20
There's a lot in both this piece and the comments. In a sense, I wonder if the core issue behind the Neocon/Imperial mindset isn't a complete inability to see the other side's point of view. Psychopathy, short-termism (a common fault in businesspeople), divorce from reality and hubris are likely a good part of it, as somebody, Paveway IV, Makutwa and nonsense factory put it, but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time.
Piotr Berman | Aug 4, 2017 3:13:05 PM | 21
I would paraphrase critics of b that he (she?) has fallen into linearity trap: one point is the resources spent by USA on wars of 21-st century (a lot), the second points are positive results (hardly any), and an intellectual charge proceeds from A to B.

However between A and B there can be diversity of problems. We can stock enough gasoline, run out of potable water. And indeed, you can encounter pesky terrain. I recall a family vacation trip where we visited Natural Bridges National Monument and we proceeded to Arizona on an extremely straight highway through pretty flat plateau. Then the pavement end, and the acrophobic designated driver has to negotiate several 180* hairpins to get down on a cliff flanking Monument Valley. After second inspection, the map had tiny letters "switchbacks" and a tiny fragment of the road not marked with the pavement. Still better than discovering "bridge out" annotation on your map only when you gaze at the water flowing between two bridge heads. (If I recall, during late 20-th century Balkan intervention, US military needed a lot of time to cross Danube river that unexpectedly had no functioning bridge where they wanted to operate. Landscape changes during a war.)

That said, military usually has an appreciation for terrain. But there are also humans. On domestic side, the number of experts on those distant societies is small, and qualified experts, minuscule. Because the qualified ones were disproportionally naysayers, the mere whiff if expertise was treated as treason, and we had a purge of "Arabists". And it was of course worse in the lands to charm and conquer. Effective rule requires local hands to follow our wishes, people who can be trusted. And, preferably, not intensely hated by the locals they are supposed to administer. And like with gasoline, water, food, etc. on a vacation trip (who forgot mosquito repellent!), the list of needed traits is surprisingly long. Like viewing collaboration with Israel supporting infidels as a mortal sin that can be perpetrated to spare the family from starvation (you can recruit them, success!), but it has to be atoned through backstabbing (local cadres are disappointing).

Geoff | Aug 4, 2017 3:36:33 PM | 22
Great analysis! This is an excellent example for why I read MOA at least once a day and most of the comments! There's something of a sad irony that Trump has made at least some kind of effort to thwart the neocons and their relentless rush toward armageddon, seeing as how lacking in any real intellectual capcity they all seem and with Trump at the helm?

Mostly tptb, our political class, and the pundits for the masses, seem all to exhibit an astonishingly dull witted lack of true concern or humanity for anybody anywhere, and in my years on earth so far, at least in America, they have inculcated in the population very dubious ethical chioces, which you would think were tragic, and decisions, which you would believe were doomed, from the wars being waged, to the lifestyles of the citizenry especially toward the top of the economic ladder, and I don't know about others here but I for one have been confronting and dealing with these problems both in family and aquaintances for my entire adult life! Like the battle at Kurushetra. At least they say they "have a plan," scoffingly.

Where is chipnik to weigh in on this with his poetic observations, or I think long ago it was "slthrop" who may have been bannned for foul language as he or she raged on at the absurdities that keep heaping up exponentially? I do miss them!

Oh well, life is relatively short and we will all be gone at some point and our presense here will be one and all less than an iota. An awareness of this one fact and its implications you would think would pierce the consciousness of every human being well before drawing their final breath, but I guess every McCain fails to realize until too late that the jig is up?

PavewayIV | Aug 4, 2017 3:41:38 PM | 23
Justin Glyn@20 "but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda."

The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression.

Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda.

The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated. The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat evil' story.

Peter AU | Aug 4, 2017 3:46:58 PM | 24
Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures. This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST.

That it why the US in its arrogance has failed in Syria, and Russia with its tiny force has been so successful.

Makutwa Omutiti | Aug 4, 2017 3:51:17 PM | 25
The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it.

[Jul 17, 2017] Tucker Carlson Goes to War Against the Neocons by Curt Mills

Highly recommended!
max Book is just anothe "Yascha about Russia" type, that Masha Gessen represents so vividly. The problem with him is that time of neocon prominance is solidly in the past and now unpleasant question about the cost from the US people of their reckless foreign policies get into some newspapers and managines. They cost the USA tremedous anount of money (as in trillions) and those money consititute a large portion of the national debt. Critiques so far were very weak and partially suppressed voices, but defeat of neocon warmonger Hillary signify some break with the past.
Notable quotes:
"... National Interest ..."
"... Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies." ..."
"... National Interest ..."
"... But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject. ..."
"... New York Observer ..."
"... National Interest ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
"... Weekly Standard ..."
"... Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, " ..."
"... : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

This week's primetime knife fights with Max Boot and Ralph Peters are emblematic of the battle for the soul of the American Right.

To be sure, Carlson rejects the term "neoconservatism," and implicitly, its corollary on the Democratic side, liberal internationalism. In 2016, "the reigning Republican foreign-policy view, you can call it neoconservatism, or interventionism, or whatever you want to call it" was rejected, he explained in a wide-ranging interview with the National Interest Friday.

"But I don't like the term 'neoconservatism,'" he says, "because I don't even know what it means. I think it describes the people rather than their ideas, which is what I'm interested in. And to be perfectly honest . . . I have a lot of friends who have been described as neocons, people I really love, sincerely. And they are offended by it. So I don't use it," Carlson said.

But Carlson's recent segments on foreign policy conducted with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and the prominent neoconservative journalist and author Max Boot were acrimonious even by Carlsonian standards. In a discussion on Syria, Russia and Iran, a visibly upset Boot accused Carlson of being "immoral" and taking foreign-policy positions to curry favor with the White House, keep up his ratings , and by proxy, benefit financially. Boot says that Carlson "basically parrots whatever the pro-Trump line is that Fox viewers want to see. If Trump came out strongly against Putin tomorrow, I imagine Tucker would echo this as faithfully as the pro-Russia arguments he echoes today." But is this assessment fair?

Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies."

Even if Carlson doesn't want to use the label neocon to describe some of those ideas, Boot is not so bashful. In 2005, Boot wrote an essay called "Neocons May Get the Last Laugh." Carlson "has become a Trump acolyte in pursuit of ratings," says Boot, also interviewed by the National Interest . "I bet if it were President Clinton accused of colluding with the Russians, Tucker would be outraged and calling for impeachment if not execution. But since it's Trump, then it's all a big joke to him," Boot says. Carlson vociferously dissents from such assessments: "This is what dumb people do. They can't assess the merits of an argument. . . . I'm not talking about Syria, and Russia, and Iran because of ratings. That's absurd. I can't imagine those were anywhere near the most highly-rated segments that night. That's not why I wanted to do it."

But Carlson insists, "I have been saying the same thing for fifteen years. Now I have a T.V. show that people watch, so my views are better known. But it shouldn't be a surprise. I supported Trump to the extent he articulated beliefs that I agree with. . . . And I don't support Trump to the extent that his actions deviate from those beliefs," Carlson said. Boot on Fox said that Carlson is "too smart" for this kind of argument. But Carlson has bucked the Trump line, notably on Trump's April 7 strikes in Syria. "When the Trump administration threw a bunch of cruise missiles into Syria for no obvious reason, on the basis of a pretext that I question . . . I questioned [the decision] immediately. On T.V. I was on the air when that happened. I think, maybe seven minutes into my show. . . . I thought this was reckless."

But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject.

Boot objects to what he sees as a cavalier attitude on the part of Carlson and others toward allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and also toward the deaths of citizens of other countries. "You are laughing about the fact that Russia is interfering in our election process. That to me is immoral," Boot told Carlson on his show. "This is the level of dumbness and McCarthyism in Washington right now," says Carlson. "I think it has the virtue of making Max Boot feel like a good person. Like he's on God's team, or something like that. But how does that serve the interest of the country? It doesn't." Carlson says that Donald Trump, Jr.'s emails aren't nearly as important as who is going to lead Syria, which he says Boot and others have no plan for successfully occupying. Boot, by contrast, sees the U.S. administration as dangerously flirting with working with Russia, Iran and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. "For whatever reason, Trump is pro-Putin, no one knows why, and he's taken a good chunk of the GOP along with him," Boot says.

On Fox last Wednesday, Boot reminded Carlson that he originally supported the 2003 Iraq decision. "You supported the invasion of Iraq," Boot said, before repeating, "You supported the invasion of Iraq." Carlson conceded that, but it seems the invasion was a bona fide turning point. It's most important to parse whether Carlson has a long record of anti-interventionism, or if he's merely sniffing the throne of the president (who, dubiously, may have opposed the 2003 invasion). "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it," Carlson told the New York Observer in early 2004. "It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. . . . I'm enraged by it, actually." Carlson told the National Interest that he's felt this way since seeing Iraq for himself in December 2003.

The evidence points heavily toward a sincere conversion on Carlson's part, or preexisting conviction that was briefly overcome by the beat of the war drums. Carlson did work for the Weekly Standard , perhaps the most prominent neoconservative magazine, in the 1990s and early 2000s. Carlson today speaks respectfully of William Kristol, its founding editor, but has concluded that he is all wet. On foreign policy, the people Carlson speaks most warmly about are genuine hard left-wingers: Glenn Greenwald, a vociferous critic of both economic neoliberalism and neoconservatism; the anti-establishment journalist Michael Tracey; Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation ; and her husband, Stephen Cohen, the Russia expert and critic of U.S. foreign policy.

"The only people in American public life who are raising these questions are on the traditional left: not lifestyle liberals, not the Williamsburg (Brooklyn) group, not liberals in D.C., not Nancy Pelosi." He calls the expertise of establishment sources on matters like Syria "more shallow than I even imagined." On his MSNBC show, which was canceled for poor ratings, he cavorted with noninterventionist stalwarts such as Ron Paul , the 2008 and 2012 antiwar GOP candidate, and Patrick J. Buchanan. "No one is smarter than Pat Buchanan," he said last year of the man whose ideas many say laid the groundwork for Trump's political success.

Carlson has risen to the pinnacle of cable news, succeeding Bill O'Reilly. It wasn't always clear an antiwar take would vault someone to such prominence. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney could be president (Boot has advised the latter two). But here he is, and it's likely no coincidence that Carlson got a show after Trump's election, starting at the 7 p.m. slot, before swiftly moving to the 9 p.m. slot to replace Trump antagonist Megyn Kelly, and just as quickly replacing O'Reilly at the top slot, 8 p.m. Boot, on the other hand, declared in 2016 that the Republican Party was dead , before it went on to hold Congress and most state houses, and of course take the presidency. He's still at the Council on Foreign Relations and writes for the New York Times (this seems to clearly annoy Carlson: "It tells you everything about the low standards of the American foreign-policy establishment").

Boot wrote in 2003 in the Weekly Standard that the fall of Saddam Hussein's government "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history" comparable to "events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which everything is different." He continued, "If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if ), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better."

Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, "

Carlson seems intent on pressing the issue. The previous night, in his debate with Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel said that Carlson sounded like Charles Lindbergh, who opposed U.S. intervention against Nazi Germany before 1941. "This particular strain of Republican foreign policy has almost no constituency. Nobody agrees with it. I mean there's not actually a large group of people outside of New York, Washington or L.A. who think any of this is a good idea," Carlson says. "All I am is an asker of obvious questions. And that's enough to reveal these people have no idea what they're talking about. None."

Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest . Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills .

Image : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.

[Jul 16, 2017] William Astore on War as Art and Advertising – Antiwar.com Blog

Jul 12, 2017 | www.antiwar.com

Consider this article a work of speculation; a jumble of ideas thrown at a blank canvas.

A lot of art depicts war scenes, and why not? War is incredibly exciting, dynamic, destructive, and otherwise captivating, if often in a horrific way. But I want to consider war and art in a different manner, in an impressionistic one. War, by its nature, is often spectacle; it is also often chaotic; complex; beyond comprehension. Perhaps art theory, and art styles, have something to teach us about war. Ways of representing it and capturing its meaning as well as its horrors. But also ways of misrepresenting it; of fracturing its meaning. Of manipulating it.

For example, America's overseas wars today are both abstractions and distractions. They're also somewhat surreal to most Americans, living as we do in comparative safety and material luxury (when compared to most other peoples of the world). Abstraction and surrealism: two art styles that may say something vital about America's wars.

If some aspects of America's wars are surreal and others abstract, if reports of those wars are often impressionistic and often blurred beyond recognition, this points to, I think, the highly stylized representations of war that are submitted for our consideration. What we don't get very often is realism. Recall how the Bush/Cheney administration forbade photos of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Think of all the war reporting you've seen on U.S. TV and Cable networks, and ask how many times you saw severed American limbs and dead bodies on a battlefield. (On occasion, dead bodies of the enemy are shown, usually briefly and abstractly, with no human backstory.)

Of course, there's no "real" way to showcase the brutal reality of war, short of bringing a person to the front and having them face fire in combat -- a level of "participatory" art that sane people would likely seek to avoid. What we get, as spectators (which is what we're told to remain in America), is an impression of combat. Here and there, a surreal report. An abstract news clip. Blown up buildings become exercises in neo-Cubism; melted buildings and weapons become Daliesque displays. Severed limbs (of the enemy) are exercises in the grotesque. For the vast majority of Americans, what's lacking is raw immediacy and gut-wrenching reality.

Again, we are spectators, not participants. And our responses are often as stylized and limited as the representations are. As Rebecca Gordon put it from a different angle at TomDispatch.com , when it comes to America's wars, are we participating in reality or merely watching reality TV? And why are so many so prone to confuse or conflate the two?

Art, of course, isn't the only lens through which we can see and interpret America's wars. Advertising, especially hyperbole, is also quite revealing. Thus the US military has been sold, whether by George W. Bush or Barack Obama, as "the world's finest military in history" or WFMH, an acronym I just made up, and which should perhaps come with a copyright or trademark symbol after it. It's classic advertising hyperbole. It's salesmanship in place of reality.

So, when other peoples beat our WFMH, we should do what Americans do best: sue them for copyright infringement. Our legions of lawyers will most certainly beat their cadres of counsels. After all, under Bush/Cheney, our lawyers tortured logic and the law to support torture itself. Talk about surrealism!

My point (and I think I have one) is that America's wars are in some sense elaborate productions and representations, at least in the ways in which the government constructs and sells them to the American people. To understand these representations -- the ways in which they are both more than real war and less than it -- art theory, as well as advertising, may have a lot to teach us.

As I said, this is me throwing ideas at the canvas of my computer screen. Do they make any sense to you? Feel free to pick up your own brush and compose away in the comments section.

P.S. Danger, Will Robinson. I've never taken an art theory class or studied advertising closely.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views . He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu . Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author's permission.

Jim Savell , 19 hours ago

Afghanistan as the unfinished masterpiece....most people forget that the government is yet to complete it except when a Marine dies, they think about it for a day and then forget all over again.

[Jul 14, 2017] Tucker Carlson, Neocon Slayer by Justin Raimondo

Notable quotes:
"... Oh, it was glorious fun, yielding the kind of satisfaction that us anti-interventionists rarely get to enjoy: not one but two prominent neoconservatives who have been wrong about everything for the past decade – yet never held accountable – getting taken down on national television. Tucker Carlson, whose show is a shining light of reason in a fast-darkening world, has performed a public service by demolishing both Ralph Peters and Max Boot on successive shows. But these two encounters with evil weren't just fun to watch, they're also highly instructive for what they tell us about the essential weakness of the War Party and its failing strategy for winning over the American people. ..."
"... For the neocons, it's always 1938. The enemy is always the reincarnation of Hitler, and anyone who questions the wisdom of war is denounced as an "appeaser" in the fashion of Neville Chamberlain or Lindbergh. ..."
"... Reprinted with permission from Antiwar.com . ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Oh, it was glorious fun, yielding the kind of satisfaction that us anti-interventionists rarely get to enjoy: not one but two prominent neoconservatives who have been wrong about everything for the past decade – yet never held accountable – getting taken down on national television. Tucker Carlson, whose show is a shining light of reason in a fast-darkening world, has performed a public service by demolishing both Ralph Peters and Max Boot on successive shows. But these two encounters with evil weren't just fun to watch, they're also highly instructive for what they tell us about the essential weakness of the War Party and its failing strategy for winning over the American people.

Tucker's first victim was Ralph Peters , an alleged "military expert" who's been a fixture on Fox News since before the Iraq war, of which he was a rabid proponent. Tucker starts out the program by noting that ISIS "caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have been killed in a Russian airstrike and that the talk in Washington is now moving away from defeating ISIS and focusing on Iran as the principal enemy. He asks why is this? Why not take a moment to celebrate the death of Baghdadi and acknowledge that we have certain common interests with the Russians?

Peters leaps into overstatement, as is his wont: "We can't have an alliance with terrorists, and the Russians are terrorists. They're not Islamists, but they are terrorists." He then alleges that the Russians aren't really fighting ISIS, but instead are bombing hospitals, children, and "our allies" (i.e. the radical Islamist Syrian rebels trained and funded by the CIA and allied with al-Qaeda and al-Nusra). The Russians "hate the United States," and "we have nothing in common with the Russians" –nothing!" The Russians, says Peters, are paving the way for the Iranians – the real evil in the region – to "build up an empire from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean." Ah yes, the " Shia crescent " which the Israelis and their amen corner in the US have been warning against since before the Iraq war. Yet Tucker points out that over 3,000 Americans have been killed by terrorists in the US, and "none of them are Shi'ites: all of [these terrorists] have been Sunni extremists who are supported by the Saudis who are supposed to be our allies." And while we're on the subject: "Why," asks Tucker, "if we're so afraid of Iran did we kill Saddam Hussein, thereby empowering Iran?"

"Because we were stupid," says Peters.

Oh boy! Peters was one of the most militant advocates of the Iraq war: we were "stupid," I suppose, to listen to him. Yet Tucker lets this ride momentarily, saving his big guns for the moment when he takes out Peters completely. And Peters walks right into it when Tucker wonders why we can't cooperate with Russia, since both countries are under assault from Sunni terrorists:

PETERS: You sound like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 saying Hitler hasn't attacked us.

TUCKER: I beg your pardon? You cannot compare me to somebody who makes apologies for Hitler. And I don't think Putin is comparable.

PETERS: I think Putin is.

TUCKER: I think it is a grotesque overstatement actually. I think it's insane.

PETERS: Fine, you can think it's insane all you want.

For the neocons, it's always 1938. The enemy is always the reincarnation of Hitler, and anyone who questions the wisdom of war is denounced as an "appeaser" in the fashion of Neville Chamberlain or Lindbergh. Yet no one ever examines and challenges the assumption behind this rhetorical trope, which is that war with the enemy of the moment – whether it be Saddam Hussein, the Iranian ayatollahs, or Vladimir Putin – is inevitable and imminent. If Putin is Hitler, and Russia is Nazi Germany, then we must take the analogy all the way and assume that we'll be at war with the Kremlin shortly.

After all, Charles Lindbergh's opponents in the great debate of the 1940s openly said that Hitler, who posed an existential threat to the West, had to be destroyed, and that this goal could not be achieved short of war. Of course, Franklin Roosevelt pretended that this wasn't so, and pledged repeatedly that we weren't going to war, but secretly he manipulated events so that war was practically inevitable. Meanwhile, the more honest elements of the War Party openly proclaimed that we had to aid Britain and get into the war.

Is this what Peters and his gaggle of neocons are advocating – that we go to war with nuclear-armed Russia and annihilate much of the world in a radioactive Armageddon? It certainly seems that way. The Hitler-Lindbergh trope certainly does more than merely imply that.

Clearly riled by the attempt to smear him, Tucker, the neocon slayer, then moves in for the kill:

I would hate to go back and read your columns assuring America that taking out Saddam Hussein will make the region calmer, more peaceful, and America safer, when in fact it has been the opposite and it has empowered Russia and Iran, the two countries you say you fear most – let's be totally honest, we don't always know the outcomes.

They are not entirely predictable so maybe we should lower that a little bit rather than calling people accommodationist.

This is what the neocons hate: reminding them of their record is like showing a vampire a crucifix. Why should we listen to Peters, who's been wrong about everything for decades? Peters' response is the typical neocon riposte to all honest questions about their policies and record: you're a traitor, you're "cheering on Vladimir Putin!" To which Tucker has the perfect America Firster answer:
I'm cheering for America as always. Our interests ought to come first and to the extent that making temporary alliances with other countries serves our interests, I'm in favor of that. Making sweeping moral claims – grotesque ones – comparing people to Hitler advances the ball not one inch and blinds us to reality.
Peters has no real argument, and so he resorts to the method that's become routine in American politics: accuse your opponent of being a foreign agent. Tucker, says Peters, is an "apologist" not only for Putin but also for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Again, Tucker answers smears with cold logic:
So because I'm asking rational questions about what's best for America I'm a friend to strongmen and dictators? That is a conversation stopper, not a beginning of a rational conversation. My only point is when Syria was run by Assad 10% of the population was Christian and they lived in relative peace.
And that's really the whole point: the War Party wants to stop the conversation. They don't want a debate – when, really, have we ever had a fair debate in this country over foreign policy? They depend on fear, innuendo, and ad hominem "arguments" to drag us into war after war – and Tucker is having none of it.

So why is any of this important? After all, it's just a TV show, and as amusing as it is to watch a prominent neocon get creamed, what doe it all mean in the end? Well, it matters because Tucker didn't start out talking sense on foreign policy. He started out, in short, as a conventional conservative, but then something happened. As he put it to Peters at the end of the segment:

I want to act in America's interest and stop making shallow, sweeping claims about countries we don't fully understand and hope everything will be fine in the end. I saw that happen and it didn't work.
What's true isn't self-evident, at least to those of us who aren't omniscient. Many conservatives, as well as the country as a whole, learned something as they saw the disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria unfold. On the right, many have rejected the neoconservative "idealism" that destroyed the Middle East and unleashed ISIS. When Donald Trump stood before the South Carolina GOP debate and told the assembled mandarins that we were lied into the Iraq war, the chattering classes declared that he was finished – yet he won that primary, and went on to win the nomination, precisely because Republican voters were ready to hear that message.

Indeed, Trump's "America First" skepticism when it comes to foreign wars made the crucial difference in the election , as a recent study shows : communities hard hit by our endless wars put him over the top in the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This, and not "Russian meddling," handed him the White House.

Tucker Carlson's ideological evolution limns the transformation of the American right in the age of Trump: while Trump is not, by a long shot, a consistent anti-interventionist, Tucker comes pretty close. He is, at least, a realist with a pronounced antipathy for foreign adventurism, and that is a big step forward from the neoconservative orthodoxy that has bathed much of the world in blood.

If the demolition of Ralph Peters was the cake, then the meltdown of neoconservative ideologue Max Boot the next evening was the frosting, with ice cream on the side.

Perhaps the neocons, having been trounced in round one, thought Boot could do better: they were mistaken. Tucker took him apart simply by letting him talk: Boot didn't answer a single question put to him, and, in the course of it all, as Boot resorted to the typical ad hominems, Tucker made a cogent point:

[T]o dismiss people who disagree with you as immoral – which is your habit – isn't a useful form of debate, it's a kind of moral preening, and it's little odd coming from you, who really has been consistently wrong in the most flagrant and flamboyant way for over a decade. And so, you have to sort of wonder, like –

BOOT: What have I been wrong about, Tucker? What have I been wrong about?

CARLSON: Well, having watch you carefully and known you for a long time, I recall vividly when you said that if we were to topple the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, the region will be much safer and the people who took their place would help us in the global war on terror. Of course it didn't happen –

Boot starts to completely melt down at this point, screeching "You supported the Iraq war!" To which Tucker trenchantly replies:
I've been wrong about a ton of things, you try to learn your lesson. But when you get out there in the New York Times and say, we really should have done more to depose Qaddafi, because you know, Libya is going to be better when that happens. And then to hear you say we need to knock off the Assad regime and things will be better in Syria, he sort of wonder like, well, maybe we should choose another professions. Selling insurance, something you're good at. I guess that's kind of the point. Are there no sanctions for being as wrong as you have?
Why oh why should we listen to Peters and Boot and their fellow neocons, who have been – literally – dead wrong about everything: their crackbrained ideology has led to untold thousands of deaths since September 11, 2001 alone. And for what?

In the end, Boot falls back on the usual non-arguments: Tucker is "immoral" because he denies that Trump is a Russian agent, and persists in asking questions about our foreign policy of endless intervention in the Middle East. Tucker keeps asking why Boot thinks Russia is the main threat to the United States, and Boot finally answers: "Because they are the only country that can destroy us with a nuclear strike."

To a rational person, the implications of this are obvious: in that case, shouldn't we be trying to reach some sort of détente, or even achieve a degree of cooperation with Moscow? Oh, but no, because you see the Russians are inherently evil, we have "nothing" in common with them – in which case, war is inevitable.

At which point, Tucker avers: "Okay. I am beginning to think that your judgment has been clouded by ideology, I don't fully understand where it's coming from but I will let our viewers decide."

I know where it's coming from. Tucker's viewers may not know that Boot is a Russian immigrant, who – like so many of our Russophobic warmongers – arrived on our shores with his hatred of the motherland packed in his suitcase. There's a whole platoon of them: Cathy Young, who recently released her polemic arguing for a new cold war with Russia in the pages ofReason magazine; Atlantic writer and tweeter of anti-Trump obscenities Julia Ioffe, whose visceral hatred for her homeland is a veritable monomania; Gary Kasparov, the former chess champion who spends most of his energy plotting revenge against Vladimir Putin and a Russian electorate that has consistently rejected his hopeless presidential campaigns, and I could go on but you get the picture.

As the new cold war envelopes the country, wrapping us in its icy embrace and freezing all rational discussion of foreign policy, a few people stand out as brave exceptions to the groupthinking mass of the chattering classes: among the most visible and articulate are Tucker Carlson, Glenn Greenwald, journalist Michael Tracey, Prof. Stephen Cohen, and of course our own Ron Paul. I tip my hat to them, in gratitude and admiration, for they represent the one thing we need right now: hope. The hope that this madness will pass, that we'll beat back this latest War Party offensive, and enjoy a return to what passes these days for normalcy.

Tucker Carlson Most Instense Interview EVER - SJW vs LOGIC - YouTube

Reprinted with permission from Antiwar.com .

[Jul 12, 2017] Stephen Cohens Remarks on Tucker Carlson Last Night Were Extraordinary

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Cohen's appearance on Carlson's show last night demonstrated again at what a blistering pace public opinion in the West about Putin and Russia is shifting, for the better. ..."
"... Cohen is always good, but last night he nailed it, calling the media's coverage of Hamburg 'pornography'. ..."
"... It was just a year ago, pre-Trump, that professor Cohen was banned from all the networks, from any major media outlet, and being relentlessly pilloried by the neocon media for being a naive fool for defending Putin and Russia. ..."
"... "The first thing you notice is just how much the press is rooting for this meeting between our president and the Russian President to fail. It's a kind of pornography. Just as there's no love in pornography, there's no American national interest in this bashing of Trump and Putin. ..."
"... Carlson tried to draw Cohen out about who exactly in Washington is so against Assad, and why, and Cohen deflected, demurring - 'I don't know - I'm not an expert'. Of course he knows, as does Carlson - it is an unholy alliance of Israel, Saudi Arabia and their neocon friends in Washington and the media who are pushing this criminal policy, who support ISIS, deliberately. But they can't say so, because, ... well, because. Ask Rupert Murdoch. ..."
Jul 12, 2017 | russia-insider.com
Cohen's appearance on Carlson's show last night demonstrated again at what a blistering pace public opinion in the West about Putin and Russia is shifting, for the better.

Cohen is always good, but last night he nailed it, calling the media's coverage of Hamburg 'pornography'.

Ahh, the power of the apt phrase.

It was just a year ago, pre-Trump, that professor Cohen was banned from all the networks, from any major media outlet, and being relentlessly pilloried by the neocon media for being a naive fool for defending Putin and Russia.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5L2F4ocEIZw

Last night he was the featured guest on the most watched news show in the country, being cheered on by the host, who has him on as a regular. And Cohen isn't remotely a conservative. He is a contributing editor at the arch-liberal Nation magazine, of which his wife is the editor. It doesn't really get pinker than that.

Some choice quotes here, but the whole thing is worth a listen:

"The first thing you notice is just how much the press is rooting for this meeting between our president and the Russian President to fail. It's a kind of pornography. Just as there's no love in pornography, there's no American national interest in this bashing of Trump and Putin.

As a historian let me tell you the headline I would write instead:

"What we witnessed today in Hamburg was a potentially historic new detente. an anti-cold-war partnership begun by Trump and Putin but meanwhile attempts to sabotage it escalate." I've seen a lot of summits between American and Russian presidents, ... and I think what we saw today was potentially the most fateful meeting ... since the Cold War.

The reason is, is that the relationship with Russia is so dangerous and we have a president who might have been crippled or cowed by these Russiagate attacks ... yet he was not. He was politically courageous. It went well. They got important things done. I think maybe today we witnessed president Trump emerging as an American statesman."

Cohen goes on to say that the US should ally with Assad, Iran, and Russia to crush ISIS, with Carlson bobbing his head up and down in emphatic agreement.

Carlson tried to draw Cohen out about who exactly in Washington is so against Assad, and why, and Cohen deflected, demurring - 'I don't know - I'm not an expert'. Of course he knows, as does Carlson - it is an unholy alliance of Israel, Saudi Arabia and their neocon friends in Washington and the media who are pushing this criminal policy, who support ISIS, deliberately. But they can't say so, because, ... well, because. Ask Rupert Murdoch.

Things are getting better in the US media, but we aren't quite able to call a spade a spade in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

[Jul 04, 2017] Economics of the Populist Backlash naked capitalism

Populism is a weasel word that is use by neoliberal MSM to delitimize the resistance. This is a typical neoliberal thinking.
Financial globalization is different from trade. It is more of neocolonialism that racket, as is the case with trade.
Notable quotes:
"... Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour. ..."
"... I suggest that the fact that these two countries are arguably the most unequal in the advanced world has something to do with this. Also, on many measures I believe these two countries appear to be the most 'damaged' societies in the advanced world – levels of relationship breakdown, teenage crime, drug use, teenage pregnancies etc. I doubt this is a coincidence. ..."
"... Forced Free Trade was intended to be destructive to American society, and it was . . . exactly as intended. Millions of jobs were abolished here and shipped to foreign countries used as economic aggression platforms against America. So of course American society became damaged as the American economy became mass-jobicided. On purpose. With malice aforethought. ..."
"... "Populism" seems to me to be a pejorative term used to delegitimize the grievances of the economically disenfranchised and dismiss them derision. ..."
"... In the capitalist economies globalization is/was inevitable; the outcome is easy to observe ..and suffer under. ..."
"... they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives ..."
"... This piece was a lengthy run-on Econ 101 bollocks. Not only does the writer dismiss debt/interest and the effects of rentier banking, but they come off as very simplistic. Reads like some sheltered preppy attempt at explaining populism ..."
"... But like almost all economists, Rodrik is ignoring the political part of political economy. Historically, humanity has developed two organizational forms to select and steer toward preferred economic destinies: governments of nation states, and corporations. ..."
"... The liberalization of trade has come, I would argue, with a huge political cost no economist has reckoned yet. Instead, economists are whining about the reaction to this political cost without facing up to the political cost itself. Or even accept its legitimacy. ..."
"... Second, there are massive negative effects of trade liberalization that economists simply refuse to look at. Arbitration of environmental and worker safety laws and regulations is one. ..."
"... As I have argued elsewhere, the most important economic activity a society engages in us the development and diffusion of new science and technology. ..."
"... Rodrik is also wrong about the historical origins of agrarian populism in USA. It was not trade, but the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances of the Grangers, Farmers Alliances after the Civil War. ..."
"... The salient characteristic of populism is favoring the people vs. the establishment. The whole left/right dichotomy is a creation of the establishment, used to divide the public and PREVENT an effective populist backlash. As Gore Vidal astutely pointed out decades ago, there is really only one party in the U.S. – the Property Party – and the Ds and Rs are just two heads of the same hydra. Especially in the past 10 years or so. ..."
Jul 04, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

'Populism' is a loose label that encompasses a diverse set of movements. The term originates from the late 19th century, when a coalition of farmers, workers, and miners in the US rallied against the Gold Standard and the Northeastern banking and finance establishment. Latin America has a long tradition of populism going back to the 1930s, and exemplified by Peronism. Today populism spans a wide gamut of political movements, including anti-euro and anti-immigrant parties in Europe, Syriza and Podemos in Greece and Spain, Trump's anti-trade nativism in the US, the economic populism of Chavez in Latin America, and many others in between. What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance.

The populist backlash may have been a surprise to many, but it really should not have been in light of economic history and economic theory.

Take history first. The first era of globalisation under the Gold Standard produced the first self-conscious populist movement in history, as noted above. In trade, finance, and immigration, political backlash was not late in coming. The decline in world agricultural prices in 1870s and 1880s produced pressure for resumption in import protection. With the exception of Britain, nearly all European countries raised agricultural tariffs towards the end of the 19th century. Immigration limits also began to appear in the late 19th century. The United States Congress passed in 1882 the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act that restricted Chinese immigration specifically. Japanese immigration was restricted in 1907. And the Gold Standard aroused farmers' ire because it was seen to produce tight credit conditions and a deflationary effect on agricultural prices. In a speech at the Democratic national convention of 1896, the populist firebrand William Jennings Bryan uttered the famous words: "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

To anyone familiar with the basic economics of trade and financial integration, the politically contentious nature of globalisation should not be a surprise. The workhorse models with which international economists work tend to have strong redistributive implications. One of the most remarkable theorems in economics is the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, which generates very sharp distributional implications from opening up to trade. Specifically, in a model with two goods and two factors of production, with full inter-sectoral mobility of the factors, owners of one of the two factors are made necessarily worse off with the opening to trade. The factor which is used intensively in the importable good must experience a decline in its real earnings.

The Stolper-Samuelson theorem assumes very specific conditions. But there is one Stolper-Samuelson-like result that is extremely general, and which can be stated as follows. Under competitive conditions, as long as the importable good(s) continue to be produced at home – that is, ruling out complete specialisation – there is always at least one factor of production that is rendered worse off by the liberalisation of trade. In other words, trade generically produces losers. Redistribution is the flip side of the gains from trade; no pain, no gain.

Economic theory has an additional implication, which is less well recognised. In relative terms, the redistributive effects of liberalisation get larger and tend to swamp the net gains as the trade barriers in question become smaller. The ratio of redistribution to net gains rises as trade liberalisation tackles progressively lower barriers.

The logic is simple. Consider the denominator of this ratio first. It is a standard result in public finance that the efficiency cost of a tax increases with the square of the tax rate. Since an import tariff is a tax on imports, the same convexity applies to tariffs as well. Small tariffs have very small distorting effects; large tariffs have very large negative effects. Correspondingly, the efficiency gains of trade liberalisation become progressively smaller as the barriers get lower. The redistributive effects, on the other hand, are roughly linear with respect to price changes and are invariant, at the margin, to the magnitude of the barriers. Putting these two facts together, we have the result just stated, namely that the losses incurred by adversely affected groups per dollar of efficiency gain are higher the lower the barrier that is removed.

Evidence is in line with these theoretical expectations. For example, in the case of NAFTA, Hakobyan and McLaren (2016) have found very large adverse effects for an "important minority" of US workers, while Caliendo and Parro (2015) estimate that the overall gains to the US economy from the agreement were minute (a "welfare" gain of 0.08%).

In principle, the gains from trade can be redistributed to compensate the losers and ensure no identifiable group is left behind. Trade openness has been greatly facilitated in Europe by the creation of welfare states. But the US, which became a truly open economy relatively late, did not move in the same direction. This may account for why imports from specific trade partners such as China or Mexico are so much more contentious in the US.

Economists understand that trade causes job displacement and income losses for some groups. But they have a harder time making sense of why trade gets picked on so much by populists both on the right and the left. After all, imports are only one source of churn in labour markets, and typically not even the most important source. What is it that renders trade so much more salient politically? Perhaps trade is a convenient scapegoat. But there is another, deeper issue that renders redistribution caused by trade more contentious than other forms of competition or technological change. Sometimes international trade involves types of competition that are ruled out at home because they violate widely held domestic norms or social understandings. When such "blocked exchanges" (Walzer 1983) are enabled through trade they raise difficult questions of distributive justice. What arouses popular opposition is not inequality per se, but perceived unfairness.

Financial globalisation is in principle similar to trade insofar as it generates overall economic benefits. Nevertheless, the economics profession's current views on financial globalisation can be best described as ambivalent. Most of the scepticism is directed at short-term financial flows, which are associated with financial crises and other excesses. Long-term flows and direct foreign investment in particular are generally still viewed favourably. Direct foreign investment tends to be more stable and growth-promoting. But there is evidence that it has produced shifts in taxation and bargaining power that are adverse to labour.

The boom-and-bust cycle associated with capital inflows has long been familiar to developing nations. Prior to the Global Crisis, there was a presumption that such problems were largely the province of poorer countries. Advanced economies, with their better institutions and regulation, would be insulated from financial crises induced by financial globalisation. It did not quite turn out that way. In the US, the housing bubble, excessive risk-taking, and over-leveraging during the years leading up to the crisis were amplified by capital inflows from the rest of the world. In the Eurozone, financial integration, on a regional scale, played an even larger role. Credit booms fostered by interest-rate convergence would eventually turn into bust and sustained economic collapses in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland once credit dried up in the immediate aftermath of the crisis in the US.

Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour.

The populist backlash may have been predictable, but the specific form it took was less so. Populism comes in different versions. It is useful to distinguish between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism, which differ with respect to the societal cleavages that populist politicians highlight and render salient. The US progressive movement and most Latin American populism took a left-wing form. Donald Trump and European populism today represent, with some instructive exceptions, the right-wing variant (Figure 2). What accounts for the emergence of right-wing versus left-wing variants of opposition to globalization?

Figure 2 Contrasting patterns of populism in Europe and Latin America

Notes : See Rodrik (2017) for sources and methods.

I suggest that these different reactions are related to the forms in which globalisation shocks make themselves felt in society (Rodrik 2017). It is easier for populist politicians to mobilise along ethno-national/cultural cleavages when the globalisation shock becomes salient in the form of immigration and refugees. That is largely the story of advanced countries in Europe. On the other hand, it is easier to mobilise along income/social class lines when the globalisation shock takes the form mainly of trade, finance, and foreign investment. That in turn is the case with southern Europe and Latin America. The US, where arguably both types of shocks have become highly salient recently, has produced populists of both stripes (Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump).

It is important to distinguish between the demand and supply sides of the rise in populism. The economic anxiety and distributional struggles exacerbated by globalisation generate a base for populism, but do not necessarily determine its political orientation. The relative salience of available cleavages and the narratives provided by populist leaders are what provides direction and content to the grievances. Overlooking this distinction can obscure the respective roles of economic and cultural factors in driving populist politics.

Finally, it is important to emphasise that globalization has not been the only force at play - nor necessarily even the most important one. Changes in technology, rise of winner-take-all markets, erosion of labour market protections, and decline of norms restricting pay differentials all have played their part. These developments are not entirely independent from globalisation, insofar as they both fostered globalization and were reinforced by it. But neither can they be reduced to it. Nevertheless, economic history and economic theory both give us strong reasons to believe that advanced stages of globalisation are prone to populist backlash.

Anonymous2 , July 3, 2017 at 6:43 am

An interesting post.

One question he does not address is why the opposition to globalization has had its most obvious consequences in two countries:- the US and the UK with Trump and Brexit respectively.

I suggest that the fact that these two countries are arguably the most unequal in the advanced world has something to do with this. Also, on many measures I believe these two countries appear to be the most 'damaged' societies in the advanced world – levels of relationship breakdown, teenage crime, drug use, teenage pregnancies etc. I doubt this is a coincidence.

For me the lessons are obvious – ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected, not just some; act to prevent excessive inequality; nurture people so that their lives are happier.

John Wright , July 3, 2017 at 9:39 am

re: "ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected"

Note that for the recent TPP, industry executives and senior government officials were well represented for the drafting of the agreement, labor and environmental groups were not.

There simply may be no mechanism to "ensure the benefits are distributed among all affected" in the USA political climate as those benefits are grabbed by favored groups, who don't want to re-distribute them later.

Some USA politicians argue for passing flawed legislation while suggesting they will fix it later, as I remember California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein stating when she voted for Bush Jr's Medicare Part D ("buy elderly votes for Republicans").

It has been about 15 years, and I don't remember any reform efforts on Medicare Part D from Di-Fi.

Legislation should be approached with the anticipated inequality problems solved FIRST when wealthy and powerful interests are only anticipating increased wealth via "free trade". Instead, the political process gifts first to the wealthy and powerful first and adopts a "we'll fix it later" attitude for those harmed. And the same process occurs, the wealthy/powerful subsequently strongly resist sharing their newly acquired "free trade" wealth increment with the free trade losers..

If the USA adopted a "fix inequality first" requirement, one wonders if these free trade bills would get much purchase with the elite.

different clue , July 4, 2017 at 4:14 am

Forced Free Trade was intended to be destructive to American society, and it was . . . exactly as intended. Millions of jobs were abolished here and shipped to foreign countries used as economic aggression platforms against America. So of course American society became damaged as the American economy became mass-jobicided. On purpose. With malice aforethought.

NAFTA Bill Clinton lit the fuse to the bomb which finally exploded under his lovely wife Hillary in 2016.

Ignacio , July 3, 2017 at 7:35 am

The big problem I find in this analysis is that it completely forgets how different countries use fiscal/financial policies to play merchantilistic games under globalization.

Doug , July 3, 2017 at 7:41 am

Yves, thanks for posting this from Dani Rodrik - whose clear thinking is always worthwhile. It's an excellent, succinct post. Still, one 'ouch': "Redistribution is the flip side of the gains from trade; no pain, no gain."

This is dehumanizing glibness that we cannot afford. The pain spreads like wildfire. It burns down houses, savings, jobs, communities, bridges, roads, health and health care, education, food systems, air, water, the 'real' economy, civility, shared values - in short everything for billions of human beings - all while sickening, isolating and killing.

The gain? Yes, as you so often point out, cui bono? But, really it goes beyond even that question. It requires asking, "Is this gain so obscene to arguably be no gain at all because its price for those who cannot have too many homes and yachts and so forth is the loss of humanity?

Consider, for example, Mitch McConnell. He cannot reasonably be considered human. At all. And, before the trolls create any gifs for the Teenager-In-Chief, one could say the same - or almost the same - for any number of flexians who denominate themselves D or R (e.g. Jamie Gorelick).

No pain, no gain? Fine for getting into better shape or choosing to get better at some discipline.

It's an abominable abstraction, though, for describing phenomena now so far along toward planet-o-cide.

Thuto , July 3, 2017 at 7:56 am

"Populism" seems to me to be a pejorative term used to delegitimize the grievances of the economically disenfranchised and dismiss them derision.

Another categorization that I find less than apt, outmoded and a misnomer is the phrase "advanced economies", especially given that level of industrialization and gdp per capita are the key metrics used to arrive at these classifications. Globalization has shifted most industrial activity away from countries that invested in rapid industrialization post WW2 to countries with large pools of readily exploitable labour while gdp per capita numbers include sections of the population with no direct participation in creating economic output (and the growth of these marginalized sections is trending ever upward).

Meanwhile the financial benefits of growing GDP numbers gush ever upwards to the financial-political elites instead of "trickling downwards" as we are told they should, inequality grows unabated, stress related diseases eat away at the bodies of otherwise young men and women etc. I'm not sure any of these dynamics, which describe perfectly what is happening in many so called advanced economies, are the mark of societies that should describe themselves as "advanced"

Yves Smith Post author , July 3, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Sorry, but the original populist movement in the US called themselves the Populists or the Populist Party. Being popular is good. You are the one who is assigning a pejorative tone to it.

Hiho , July 4, 2017 at 1:32 am

Populism is widely used in the mainstream media, and even in the so called alternative media, as a really pejorative term. That is what he means (I would say).

witters , July 3, 2017 at 7:56 am

"What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance."

On the other hand:

"What all these share is an establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the elites against the people, support for liberal economics and globalisation, and always a penchant for authoritarian governance."

Wisdom Seeker , July 3, 2017 at 1:29 pm

You nailed it. Let me know when we get our Constitution back!

Eclair , July 3, 2017 at 8:09 am

"Financial globalisation appears to have produced adverse distributional impacts within countries as well, in part through its effect on incidence and severity of financial crises. Most noteworthy is the recent analysis by Furceri et al. (2017) that looks at 224 episodes of capital account liberalisation. They find that capital-account liberalisation leads to statistically significant and long-lasting declines in the labour share of income and corresponding increases in the Gini coefficient of income inequality and in the shares of top 1%, 5%, and 10% of income. Further, capital mobility shifts both the tax burden and the burden of economic shocks onto the immobile factor, labour."

So, translated, Rodrick is saying that the free flow of money across borders, while people are confined within these artificial constraints, results in all the riches flowing to the fat cats and all the taxes, famines, wars, droughts, floods and other natural disasters being dumped upon the peasants.

The Lakota, roaming the grassy plains of the North American mid-continent, glorified their 'fat cats,' the hunters who brought back the bison which provided food, shelter and clothing to the people. And the rule was that the spoils of the hunt were shared unequally; the old, women and children got the choice high calorie fatty parts. The more that a hunter gave away, the more he was revered.

The Lakota, after some decades of interaction with the European invaders, bestowed on them a disparaging soubriquet: wasi'chu. It means 'fat-taker;' someone who is greedy, taking all the best parts for himself and leaving nothing for the people.

sierra7 , July 4, 2017 at 12:04 am

"So, translated, Rodrick is saying that the free flow of money across borders, while people are confined within these artificial constraints .."

Nailed it!! That's something that has always bothered me it's great for the propagandists to acclaim globalization but they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives .there should be a murderous outrage against this kind of globalized exploitation and the consequent sufferings. Oh, but I forgot! It's all about the money that is supposed to give incentive to those who are left behind to "recoup", "regroup" and in today's age develop some kind of "app" to make up for all those losses .

In the capitalist economies globalization is/was inevitable; the outcome is easy to observe ..and suffer under.

Left in Wisconsin , July 4, 2017 at 11:09 am

they never get into the nitty-gritty of the "immobility" of the general populations who have been crushed by the lost jobs, homes, families, lives

That's a feature, not a bug. Notice that big corporations are all in favor of globalization except when it comes to things like labor law. Then, somehow, local is better.

edr , July 3, 2017 at 9:35 am

"The economic anxiety and distributional struggles exacerbated by globalization generate a base for populism, but do not necessarily determine its political orientation. The relative salience of available cleavages and the narratives provided by populist leaders are what provides direction and content to the grievances. "

Excellent and interesting point. Which political party presents itself as a believable tool for redress affects the direction populism will take, making itself available as supply to the existing populist demand. That should provide for 100 years of political science research.

Anonymous2 : "For me the lessons are obvious – ensure the benefits of increased trade are distributed among all affected, not just some; act to prevent excessive inequality; nurture people so that their lives are happier."

Seems so simply, right ?

Anonymous2 , July 3, 2017 at 11:09 am

It ought to be but sadly I fear our politicians are bought. I am unsure I have the solution . In the past when things got really bad I suspect people ended up with a major war before these sorts of problems could be addressed. I doubt that is going to be a solution this time.

Kuhio Kane , July 3, 2017 at 10:10 am

This piece was a lengthy run-on Econ 101 bollocks. Not only does the writer dismiss debt/interest and the effects of rentier banking, but they come off as very simplistic. Reads like some sheltered preppy attempt at explaining populism

Hiho , July 4, 2017 at 2:27 am

Well said.

washunate , July 4, 2017 at 9:35 am

Yep, Rodrik has been writing about these things for decades and has a remarkable talent for never actually getting anywhere. He's particularly enamored by the neoliberal shiny toy of "skills", as if predation, looting, and fraud simply don't exist.

Left in Wisconsin , July 4, 2017 at 11:11 am

And yet, in the profession, he is one of the least objectionable.

Tony Wikrent , July 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

This is a prime example of what is wrong with professional economic thinking. First, note that Rodrik is nominally on our side: socially progressive, conscious of the increasingly frightful cost of enviro externalities, etc.

But like almost all economists, Rodrik is ignoring the political part of political economy. Historically, humanity has developed two organizational forms to select and steer toward preferred economic destinies: governments of nation states, and corporations.

Only nation states provide the mass of people any form and extent of political participation in determining their own destiny. The failure of corporations to provide political participation can probably be recited my almost all readers of NC. Indeed, a key problem of the past few decades is that corp.s have increasingly marginalized the role of nation states and mass political participation. The liberalization of trade has come, I would argue, with a huge political cost no economist has reckoned yet. Instead, economists are whining about the reaction to this political cost without facing up to the political cost itself. Or even accept its legitimacy.

Second, there are massive negative effects of trade liberalization that economists simply refuse to look at. Arbitration of environmental and worker safety laws and regulations is one. Another is the aftereffects of the economic dislocations Rodrik alludes to.

One is the increasing constriction of government budgets. These in turn have caused a scaling back of science R&D which I believe will have huge but incalculable negative effects in coming years. How do you measure the cost of failing to find a cure for a disease? Or failing to develop technologies to reverse climate change? Or just to double the charge duration of electric batteries under load? As I have argued elsewhere, the most important economic activity a society engages in us the development and diffusion of new science and technology.

FluffytheObeseCat , July 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Intellectually poisoned by his social environment perhaps. The biggest problems with this piece were its sweeping generalizations about unquantified socio-political trends. The things that academic economists are least trained in; the things they speak about in passing without much thought.

I.e. Descriptions of political 'populism' that lumps Peronists, 19th century U.S. prairie populists, Trump, and Sanders all into one neat category. Because, social movements driven by immiseration of the common man are interchangeable like paper cups at a fast food restaurant.

sierra7 , July 4, 2017 at 12:15 am

Agree with much of what you comment .I believe that the conditions you describe are conveniently dismissed by the pro economists as: "Externalities" LOL!! They seem to dump everything that doesn't correlate to their dream of "Free Markets", "Globalization", etc .into that category .you gotta love 'em!!

Tony Wikrent , July 3, 2017 at 11:16 am

Rodrik is also wrong about the historical origins of agrarian populism in USA. It was not trade, but the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances of the Grangers, Farmers Alliances after the Civil War.

In fact, the best historian of USA agrarian populism, Lawrence Goodwyn, argued that it was exactly the populists' reluctant alliance with Byran in the 1896 election that destroyed the populist movement. It was not so much an issue of the gold standard, as it was "hard money" vs "soft money" : gold AND silver vs the populists' preference for greenbacks, and currency and credit issued by US Treasury instead of the eastern banks.

A rough analogy is that Byran was the Hillary Clinton of his day, with the voters not given any way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or the House of Morgan.

Massinissa , July 3, 2017 at 9:33 pm

Honestly I would say Bryan is more an unwitting Bernie Sanders than a Hillary Clinton. But the effect was essentially the same.

flora , July 3, 2017 at 9:35 pm

"the oligopoly power of railroads, farm equipment makers, and banks that were the original grievances "

That power was expressed in total control of the Congress and Presidential office. Then, as now, the 80-90% of the voters had neither R or D party that represented their economic, property, and safety interests. Given the same economic circumstances, if one party truly pushed for ameliorating regulations or programs the populist movement would be unnecessary. Yes, Bryan was allowed to run (and he had a large following) and to speak at the Dem convention, much like Bernie today. The "Bourbon Democrats" kept firm control of the party and downed Jennings' programs just as the neolib Dem estab today keep control of the party out of the hands of progressives.

an aside: among many things, the progressives pushed for good government (ending cronyism), trust busting, and honest trade, i.e not selling unfit tinned and bottled food as wholesome food. Today, we could use an "honest contracts and dealings" act to regulate the theft committed by what the banks call "honest contract enforcement", complete with forges documents. (Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle (1906) about the meatpacking industry. What would he make of today's mortgage industry, or insurance industry, for example.)

washunate , July 3, 2017 at 11:26 am

For an author and article so interested in international trade, I'm fascinated by the lack of evidence or argumentation that trade is the problem. The real issue being described here is excessive inequality delivered through authoritarianism, not international trade. The intra-city divergence between a hospital administrator and a home health aid is a much bigger problem in the US than trade across national borders. The empire abroad and the police state at home is a much bigger problem than competition from China or Mexico. Etc. Blaming international trade for domestic policies (and opposition to them) is just simple misdirection and xenophobia, nothing more.

Wisdom Seeker , July 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

I take exception to most of Prof. Rodrik's post, which is filled with factual and/or logical inaccuracies.

"Populism appears to be a recent phenomenon, but it has been on the rise for quite some time (Figure 1)."

Wrong. Pretending that a historical generic is somehow new Populism has been around since at least the time of Jesus or William Wallace or the American Revolution or FDR.

"What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalisation, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance."

Wrong. Creating a straw man through overgeneralization. Just because one country's "populism" appears to have taken on a certain color, does not mean the current populist movement in another part of the world will be the same. The only essential characteristics of populism are the anti-establishment orientation and seeking policies that will redress an imbalance in which some elites have aggrandized themselves unjustly at the expense of the rest of the people. The rest of the items in the list above are straw men in a generalization. Rise of authoritarian (non-democratic) governance after a populist uprising implies the rise of a new elite and would be a failure, a derailing of the populist movement – not a characteristic of it.

"Correspondingly, the efficiency gains of trade liberalisation become progressively smaller as the barriers get lower."

If, in fact, we were seeing lower trade barriers, and this was driving populism, this whole line of reasoning might have some value. But as it is, well over half the US economy is either loaded with barriers, subject to monopolistic pricing, or has not seen any "trade liberalization". Pharmaceuticals, despite being commodities, have no common global price the way, say, oil does. Oil hasn't had lowered barriers, though, and thus doesn't count in favor of the argument either. When China, Japan and Europe drop their import barriers, and all of them plus the U.S. get serious about antitrust enforcement, there might be a case to be made

"It is useful to distinguish between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism"

Actually it isn't. The salient characteristic of populism is favoring the people vs. the establishment. The whole left/right dichotomy is a creation of the establishment, used to divide the public and PREVENT an effective populist backlash. As Gore Vidal astutely pointed out decades ago, there is really only one party in the U.S. – the Property Party – and the Ds and Rs are just two heads of the same hydra. Especially in the past 10 years or so.

About the only thing the author gets right is the admission that certain economic policies unjustly create pain among many groups of people, leading to popular retribution. But that's not insightful, especially since he fails to address the issue quantitatively and identify WHICH policies have created the bulk of the pain. For instance, was more damage done by globalization, or by the multi-trillion-$ fleecing of the U.S. middle class by the bankers and federal reserve during the recent housing bubble and aftermath? What about the more recent ongoing fleecing of the government and the people by the healthcare cartels, at about $1.5-2 trillion/year in the U.S.?

This is only the top of a long list

PKMKII , July 3, 2017 at 2:28 pm

What arouses popular opposition is not inequality per se, but perceived unfairness.

Which is the primary worldview setting for the neo-reactionary right in America. Everything is a question of whether or not ones income was "fairly earned."

So you get government employees and union members voting for politicians who've practically declared war against those voters' class, but vote for them anyway because they set their arguments in a mode of fairness morality: You can vote for the party of hard workers, or the party of handouts to the lazy. Which is why China keeps getting depicted as a currency manipulator and exploiter of free trade agreements.

Economic rivals can only succeed via "cheating," not being industrious like the US.

Livius Drusus , July 3, 2017 at 6:45 pm

That describes a number of my relatives and their friends. They are union members and government employees yet hold hard right-wing views and are always complaining about lazy moochers living on welfare. I ask them why they love the Republicans so much when this same party demonizes union members and public employees as overpaid and lazy and the usual answer is that Republicans are talking about some other unions or other government employees, usually teachers.

I suspect that the people in my anecdote hate public school teachers and their unions because they are often female and non-white or teach in areas with a lot of minority children. I see this a lot with white guys in traditional masculine industrial unions. They sometimes look down on unions in fields that have many female and non-white members, teachers being the best example I can think of.

tongorad , July 3, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Economists understand that trade causes job displacement and income losses for some groups.

No, no they don't.

[Jul 03, 2017] boots-on-the-ground report

Notable quotes:
"... To put it perhaps bluntly, neoconservatism serves the Washington war machine, where the prevailing idea of "American exceptionalism" is "liberal democracy" forced on a reluctant world at gunpoint. Mainstream Republicans have also promoted the dominance of neoconservatism's flipside which we mentioned earlier, neoliberalism. Neoliberal economics underwrites the global capitalist consensus, as its public intellectuals, the first of whom were Hayek and Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006), championed the unregulated market, rejected all forms of state-directed central planning (though they seemed okay with planning if corporations were doing it), lauded the privatization of public services (even prisons!), and recommended austerity to deal with public debt. Neoliberalism could be described by anyone who sought to do so as the triumph of the real Masters even if they'd never heard of Hegel: global-corporate CEOs able to buy political classes, tech billionaires often in bed with the deep state, hedge fund billionaires, corporate media pundits assuring us that all is well in the ship of state (or was until Trump got elected), Hollywood celebrities to keep us titillated and distracted, well-paid court economists and other court intellectuals to scold us against "populist" inclinations because, after all, There Is No Alternative! ..."
Jul 03, 2017 | www.stirjournal.com
and understand why working class whites voted so overwhelmingly for Trump. ( Note : that author was not supporting Trump and probably finds the alt-right horrifying.)

The alt-right, we should note, rejects the "movement" conservatism of the mainstream GOP as dead - compromised, intimidated, out of ideas, having no idea what it wants to conserve. For decades now mainstream Republicans have been walking gingerly around issues like affirmative action, because they are scared of their shadows of being called racists - a fact hardly lost on the Left. The result is a movement that has spent itself, and has little left to say. Think again of last year's GOP debates and how Trump owned them. Mainstream Republicans floundered helplessly in the face of his command of both mass media and social media. At the same time, one heard no new ideas at all from Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush or even Mitt Romney at one point. Mostly they just embarrassed themselves (and in the case of Bush, the original favorite of corporate insiders, wasted over $100 million in donor money).

Moreover, the bulk of GOP "satellite" institutions, the many "think tanks" (e.g., Heritage) and its major publications (e.g., National Review , Human Events , "conservative" syndicated columnists such as George Will, etc.), attacked Trump, but communicated no forward-looking path for the country. This was not lost on the alt-right.

The mainstream GOP has furthered not conservatism but neo conservatism. The differences are, uh, huge -- To put it perhaps bluntly, neoconservatism serves the Washington war machine, where the prevailing idea of "American exceptionalism" is "liberal democracy" forced on a reluctant world at gunpoint. Mainstream Republicans have also promoted the dominance of neoconservatism's flipside which we mentioned earlier, neoliberalism. Neoliberal economics underwrites the global capitalist consensus, as its public intellectuals, the first of whom were Hayek and Milton Friedman (1912 – 2006), championed the unregulated market, rejected all forms of state-directed central planning (though they seemed okay with planning if corporations were doing it), lauded the privatization of public services (even prisons!), and recommended austerity to deal with public debt. Neoliberalism could be described by anyone who sought to do so as the triumph of the real Masters even if they'd never heard of Hegel: global-corporate CEOs able to buy political classes, tech billionaires often in bed with the deep state, hedge fund billionaires, corporate media pundits assuring us that all is well in the ship of state (or was until Trump got elected), Hollywood celebrities to keep us titillated and distracted, well-paid court economists and other court intellectuals to scold us against "populist" inclinations because, after all, There Is No Alternative!

Against all this, the alt-right raises its fist and says, Hell No, We Won't Go! We demand our identity as white Americans, the right to preserve our own culture, and the right to live and associate with those of our choice!

So after all of this explication, why do I see the alt-right as an understandable and perhaps even justifiable response to our current situation, but otherwise at least partly wrongheaded, philosophically and culturally?

Recent history should help clarify matters. Generalized open borders policies born of a multiculturalist mindset do not result in stable mass societies. If they fail for a society of around 67 million people (roughly the population of France), then assuredly they won't work for one of over 325 million people (that of the U.S.). Such policies cannot work for those who do not consciously choose them, which is most people. The term the masses sounds derogatory. It need not be. It simply means the majority, those who are average , who go off experience and habit, whose lives are circumscribed by what affects them directly (family, work, church, filing a tax return once a year, etc.), who rarely think outside the boxes these supply, and who bring to the table the talents and skills they have, along with their individual hopes, dreams, fears, sweet spots, and pain points. They are often very good at what they've learned to do. Most can generally take care of themselves, so long as their lives are not disrupted by forces they neither understand nor can control. Most prefer the company of people like them, who think like them, who can relate to them, will trust them because they've known each other all their lives in some cases, and with whom they would be comfortable sharing a beer.

Interfere with these people, force them down paths not of their choosing, and barring the appearance of a Donald Trump you might not have a rebellion on your hands, but you will almost surely get slow but increasing dysfunction, as is the clearly the case with many working class white people who voted for Trump: the one population whose fortunes are shrinking along with their numbers, and whose tendencies toward chronic health problems, substance abuse, suicide, etc., are rising.

Other things being equal, I'd allow them (including those white people who find that the alt-right is making sense) to live as they see fit and be left alone. If they wish to separate, then let them separate. This is what the alt-right gets "right."

But before they depart I'd ask them: instead of rejecting just left-wing Hegelianism, why not reject the entire Hegelian paradigm? The embrace of right-wing Hegelianism is what the alt-right gets "wrong." The Master-Slave dichotomy may have seemed necessary, but never truly was. It was always an academic construct laid on top of a far more complex reality. Slave-consciousness may be overcome, in time, by self-reliance consciousness: a large frontage road alongside the Enlightenment superhighway of modernity, less traveled but fruitful for those who did. What is good and right about self-reliance consciousness is its absence of ethnic or gender specificity. White Europeans of various nationalities other than British chose it for decades when they came to the U.S. as immigrants with nothing but the shirts on their backs. They devoted themselves to the ways of their new home, learning English, and in many cases became successful business owners. Asians followed suit. They had a rougher ride, but also succeeded. Their children went on to earn doctorates in physics and engineering. "White privilege" did not stop them.

In American mass political culture, however, self-reliance was replaced by a sense of entitlement: government should take care of us . The Fabian-inspired New Deal has proven to have its dark side, this being chronic dependency on government (i.e., on taxpayers) and, in practice, has rendered ever more people vulnerable to being taken advantage of by predatory corporations (Big Insurance, Big Pharma). Obvious example: health care. One could write extensively on the dangers of too much comfort and convenience, especially for those who grow up immersed in it, absent any sense of the work that went into producing it. But that, too, is an essay for another day.

But just note in passing - and this is of crucial importance : before separating, one must consider that the price of separation and community self-determination in a world dominated by globalized power elites is self-reliance at a community level .

For example, speaking hypothetically, were a state or group of states to secede from the U.S. today, they would relinquish any right their people might have thought they had to Social Security, Medicare, and so on. Relinquishing these systems of dependency would be part of what they'd signed off on. What to put in place of those until they could transition back to self-reliance would become a major issue, and quickly!

Moreover, "populist" economics requires self-reliance because if "populists" are elected in a country, the economically powerful pull their investments and/or remove their operations, understandably fearful of the nationalization which happened in Chile when Salvador Allende was elected president in 1970. When a Hugo Chαvez becomes president in a Venezuela, the corporate movers and shakers pull out. What happens: the economy tanks. Jobs vanish. Distribution systems collapse. Goods become scarce; price inflation soars. The "populists" are blamed for the debacle.

Without self-reliance at both an individual and community level, especially after decades of living in a relatively advancing civilization, it is a given that one's standard of living will drop. Venezuela has learned this the hard way! In the real world, there are only two ways of maintaining a given standard of living. One is to depend on others to supply it. The other is to work to sustain it. One of these might be sustainable in the long run. The other is not. Readers who have followed me this far will be intelligent enough to discern which is which.

[Jun 30, 2017] CNN is making Tucker Carlson look good!

Jun 30, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop , June 29, 2017 at 11:54 am
I can't stand Tucker Carlson from his time as a loyal footsoldier in the ranks of the George Dubya Bush Apologist Army, but it's easy to feel in synch with him here just because CNN is so deservedly hated. Can't argue with your conclusions, either.
ucgsblog , June 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm
Then this will make you chuckle Mark – when I was discussing CNN at a meeting, one of the smarter analysts commented: "yet another reason to hate CNN is because they're making Tucker Carlson look good! Why doesn't anyone bring that up?"

The room responded with laughter. Remember the days when CNN used to claim that they're "the most trusted name in news" – well they're not doing that anymore:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-01-09/cnn-now-least-trusted-news-network-among-viewers

"In the poll published Wednesday by Rasmussen Reports, 1,000 likely voters were asked to describe their media viewing habits. Seventy-five percent said they watch at least some form of cable news each week, with 42 percent saying they most frequently watch Fox News, 35 percent usually choosing CNN, and 19 percent favoring MSNBC. An even 50 percent of frequent Fox News viewers agreed with a followup question, "Do you trust the political news you are getting?" By comparison, 43 percent of frequent MSNBC viewers and just 33 percent of those who mostly watch CNN said they trust their political news."

http://www.dailywire.com/news/18088/death-spiral-along-its-credibility-cnn-ratings-john-nolte#exit-modal

"For instance, on Tuesday, over the course of the day, CNN was only able to attract a measly 670,000 viewers. For context, MSNBC nearly doubled this number; Fox News nearly tripled it. CNN has almost always lagged a bit behind MSNBC in total viewers, but not like this."

Why couldn't it be 620,000? The reason I'm asking, is because 6.2 million Americans watched Putin's interview with Megyn Kelly. I'm not yet sure about Stone's Putin Interviews – but that number also seems to be very positive and in the millions. Of course losing to Discovery Channel didn't help CNN:

"Furthermore, throughout this same quarter, CNN lost to MSNBC in total and primetime demo viewers. This is the first time since 2014 that CNN has lost that demo crown to its leftwing rival. In total viewers last quarter, among all cable news channels, Fox News placed first, MSNBC third, and CNN is all alone in tenth place, just barely ahead of Investigative Discovery, a second-tier offshoot of the Discovery Network."

I predicted this would happen back when they fucked up their coverage of the Ossetian War. Now I'm just watching the train-wreck, thinking "am I really eating the best tasting popcorn? Have I finally found it?"

marknesop , June 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm
I hope they are driven right out of existence – I can't wait to see Wolf Blitzer sitting on a bench outside Hope Cottage in downtown Halifax, bleary-eyed and waiting for the free soup line to open. All of a journalist's enemies should be among the corrupt mages of the state apparatus – when the common man earnestly prays for you to be brought low, you've lost your way, and are feeding on a projected image of yourself. I think it's safe to say that we have seen the most precipitous decline in ethics in journalism, this past decade, that has occurred since its humble beginnings.

[Jun 24, 2017] The Criminal Laws of Counterinsurgency by Todd E. Pierce

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
"... Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles. ..."
"... This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency ..."
"... But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong. ..."
"... Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences. ..."
"... Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigι; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

Hating the US

There also must be the realization that our "national security" apparatchiks - principally but not solely the CIA - have served to exponentially increase the numbers of those people who hate the US.

Some of these people turn to terrorism as an expression of that hostility. Anyone who is at all familiar with the CIA and Al Qaeda knows that the CIA has been Al Qaeda's most important "combat multiplier" since 9/11, and the CIA can be said to have birthed ISIS as well with the mistreatment of incarcerated Iraqi men in US prisons in Iraq.

Indeed, by following the model of the Phoenix Program, the CIA must be seen in the Twenty-first Century as a combination of the ultimate "Murder, Inc.," when judged by the CIA's methods such as drone warfare and its victims; and the Keystone Kops, when the multiple failures of CIA policies are considered. This is not to make light of what the CIA does, but the CIA's misguided policies and practices have served to generate wrath, hatred and violence against Americans, which we see manifested in cities such as San Bernardino, Orlando, New York and Boston.

Pointing out the harm to Americans is not to dismiss the havoc that Americans under the influence of the CIA have perpetrated on foreign populations. But "morality" seems a lost virtue today in the US, which is under the influence of so much militaristic war propaganda that morality no longer enters into the equation in determining foreign policy.

In addition to the harm the CIA has caused to people around the world, the CIA works tirelessly at subverting its own government at home, as was most visible in the spying on and subversion of the torture investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The subversion of democracy also includes the role the CIA plays in developing and disseminating war propaganda as "information warfare," upon the American people. This is what the Rand Corporation under the editorship of Zalmay Khalilzad has described as "conditioning the battlefield," which begins with the minds of the American population.

Douglas Valentine discusses and documents the role of the CIA in disseminating pro-war propaganda and disinformation as complementary to the violent tactics of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Valentine explains that "before Phoenix was adopted as the model for policing the American empire, many US military commanders in Vietnam resisted the Phoenix strategy of targeting civilians with Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police."

Military Commanders considered that type of program a flagrant violation of the Law of War. "Their main job is to zap the in-betweeners – you know, the people who aren't all the way with the government and aren't all the way with the Viet Cong either. They figure if you zap enough in-betweeners, people will begin to get the idea," according to one quote from The Phoenix Program referring to the unit tasked with much of the Phoenix operations.

Nazi Influences

Comparing the Phoenix Program and its operatives to "Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police" is not a distortion of the strategic understanding of each. Both programs were extreme forms of repression operating under martial law principles where the slightest form of dissent was deemed to represent the work of the "enemy." Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe by Philip W. Blood describes German "Security Warfare" as practiced in World War II, which can be seen as identical in form to the Phoenix Program as to how the enemy is defined as anyone who is "potentially" a threat, deemed either "partizans" or terrorists.

That the Germans included entire racial categories in that does not change the underlying logic, which was, anyone deemed an internal enemy in a territory in which their military operated had to be "neutralized" by any means necessary. The US military and the South Vietnamese military governments operated under the same principles but not based on race, rather the perception that certain areas and villages were loyal to the Viet Cong.

This repressive doctrine was also not unique to the Nazis in Europe and the US military in Vietnam. Similar though less sophisticated strategies were used against the American Indians and by the imperial powers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, including by the US in its newly acquired territories of the Philippines and in the Caribbean. This "imperial policing," i.e., counterinsurgency, simply moved to more manipulative and, in ways, more violent levels.

That the US drew upon German counterinsurgency doctrine, as brutal as it was, is well documented. This is shown explicitly in a 2011 article published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies entitled German Counterinsurgency Revisited by Charles D. Melson. He wrote that in 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler named a deputy for "anti-bandit warfare," (Bevollmachtigter fur die Bandenkampfung im Osten), SS-General von dem Bach, whose responsibilities expanded in 1943 to head all SS and police anti-bandit units and operations. He was one of the architects of the Einsatzguppen "concept of anti-partisan warfare," a German predecessor to the "Phoenix Program."

'Anti-Partisan' Lessons

It wasn't a coincidence that this "anti-partisan" warfare concept should be adopted by US forces in Vietnam and retained to the present day. Melson pointed out that a "post-war German special forces officer described hunter or ranger units as 'men who knew every possible ruse and tactic of guerrilla warfare. They had gone through the hell of combat against the crafty partisans in the endless swamps and forests of Russia.'"

Consequently, "The German special forces and reconnaissance school was a sought after posting for North Atlantic Treaty Organization special operations personnel," who presumably included members of the newly created US Army Special Forces soldiers, which was in part headquartered at Bad Tolz in Germany, as well as CIA paramilitary officers.

Just as with the later Phoenix Program to the present-day US global counterinsurgency, Melson wrote that the "attitude of the [local] population and the amount of assistance it was willing to give guerilla units was of great concern to the Germans. Different treatment was supposed to be accorded to affected populations, bandit supporters, and bandits, while so-called population and resource control measures for each were noted (but were in practice, treated apparently one and the same). 'Action against enemy agitation' was the psychological or information operations of the Nazi period. The Nazis believed that, 'Because of the close relationship of guerilla warfare and politics, actions against enemy agitation are a task that is just as important as interdiction and combat actions. All means must be used to ward off enemy influence and waken and maintain a clear political will.'"

This is typical of any totalitarian system – a movement or a government – whether the process is characterized as counterinsurgency or internal security. The idea of any civilian collaboration with the "enemy" is the basis for what the US government charges as "conspiracy" in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.

Valentine explains the Phoenix program as having been developed by the CIA in 1967 to combine "existing counterinsurgency programs in a concerted effort to 'neutralize' the Vietcong infrastructure (VCI)." He explained further that "neutralize" meant "to kill, capture, or make to defect." "Infrastructure" meant civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers. Central to the Phoenix program was that its targets were civilians, making the operation a violation of the Geneva Conventions which guaranteed protection to civilians in time of war.

"The Vietnam's War's Silver Lining: A Bureaucratic Model for Population Control Emerges" is the title of Chapter 3. Valentine writes that the "CIA's Phoenix program changed how America fights its wars and how the public views this new type of political and psychological warfare, in which civilian casualties are an explicit objective." The intent of the Phoenix program evolved from "neutralizing" enemy leaders into "a program of systematic repression for the political control of the South Vietnamese people. It sought to accomplish this through a highly bureaucratized system of disposing of people who could not be ideologically assimilated." The CIA claimed a legal basis for the program in "emergency decrees" and orders for "administrative detention."

Lauding Petraeus

Valentine refers to a paper by David Kilcullen entitled Countering Global Insurgency. Kilcullen is one of the so-called "counterinsurgency experts" whom General David Petraeus gathered together in a cell to promote and refine "counterinsurgency," or COIN, for the modern era. Fred Kaplan, who is considered a "liberal author and journalist" at Slate, wrote a panegyric to these cultists entitled, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. The purpose of this cell was to change the practices of the US military into that of "imperial policing," or COIN, as they preferred to call it.

But Kilcullen argued in his paper that "The 'War on Terrorism'" is actually a campaign to counter a global insurgency. Therefore, Kilcullen argued, "we need a new paradigm, capable of addressing globalised insurgency." His "disaggregation strategy" called for "actions to target the insurgent infrastructure that would resemble the unfairly maligned (but highly effective) Vietnam-era Phoenix program."

He went on, "Contrary to popular mythology, this was largely a civilian aid and development program, supported by targeted military pacification operations and intelligence activity to disrupt the Viet Cong Infrastructure. A global Phoenix program (including the other key elements that formed part of the successful Vietnam CORDS system) would provide a useful start point to consider how Disaggregation would develop in practice."

It is readily apparent that, in fact, a Phoenix-type program is now US global policy and - just like in Vietnam - it is applying "death squad" strategies that eliminate not only active combatants but also civilians who simply find themselves in the same vicinity, thus creating antagonisms that expand the number of fighters.

Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles.

The Bloody Reality

One "sanitized" article - approved for release in 2011 - is a partially redacted New Times article of Aug. 22, 1975, by Michael Drosnin. The article recounts a story of a US Army counterintelligence officer "who directed a small part of a secret war aimed not at the enemy's soldiers but at its civilian leaders." He describes how a CIA-directed Phoenix operative dumped a bag of "eleven bloody ears" as proof of six people killed.

The officer, who recalled this incident in 1971, said, "It made me sick. I couldn't go on with what I was doing in Vietnam. . . . It was an assassination campaign . . . my job was to identify and eliminate VCI, the Viet Cong 'infrastructure' – the communist's shadow government. I worked directly with two Vietnamese units, very tough guys who didn't wear uniforms . . . In the beginning they brought back about 10 percent alive. By the end they had stopped taking prisoners.

"How many VC they got I don't know. I saw a hell of a lot of dead bodies. We'd put a tag on saying VCI, but no one really knew – it was just some native in black pajamas with 16 bullet holes."

This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, as Mr. Valentine writes.

A second article archived by the CIA was by the Christian Science Monitor, dated Jan. 5, 1971, describing how the Saigon government was "taking steps that could help eliminate one of the most glaring abuses of its controversial Phoenix program, which is aimed against the Viet Cong political and administrative apparatus." Note how the Monitor shifted blame away from the CIA and onto the South Vietnamese government.

But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong.

Yet "security committees" throughout South Vietnam, under the direction of the CIA, sentenced at least 10,000 "Class C civilians" to prison each year, far more than Class A and B combined. The article stated, "Thousands of these prisoners are never brought to court trial, and thousands of other have never been sentenced." The latter statement would mean they were just held in "indefinite detention," like the prisoners held at Guantanamo and other US detention centers with high levels of CIA involvement.

Not surprisingly to someone not affiliated with the CIA, the article found as well that "Individual case histories indicate that many who have gone to prison as active supporters of neither the government nor the Viet Cong come out as active backers of the Viet Cong and with an implacable hatred of the government." In other words, the CIA and the COIN enthusiasts are achieving the same results today with the prisons they set up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CIA Crimes

Valentine broadly covers the illegalities of the CIA over the years, including its well-documented role in facilitating the drug trade over the years. But, in this reviewer's opinion, his most valuable contribution is his description of the CIA's participation going back at least to the Vietnam War in the treatment of what the US government today calls "unlawful combatants."

"Unlawful combatants" is a descriptive term made up by the Bush administration to remove people whom US officials alleged were "terrorists" from the legal protections of the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights Law and thus to justify their capture or killing in the so-called "Global War on Terror." Since the US government deems them "unlawful" – because they do not belong to an organized military structure and do not wear insignia – they are denied the "privilege" of belligerency that applies to traditional soldiers. But – unless they take a "direct part in hostilities" – they would still maintain their civilian status under the law of war and thus not lose the legal protection due to civilians even if they exhibit sympathy or support to one side in a conflict.

Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences.

This is not to condemn all CIA officers, some of whom acted in good faith that they were actually defending the United States by acquiring information on a professed enemy in the tradition of Nathan Hale. But it is to harshly condemn those CIA officials and officers who betrayed the United States by subverting its Constitution, including waging secret wars against foreign countries without a declaration of war by Congress. And it decidedly condemns the CIA war criminals who acted as a law unto themselves in the torture and murder of foreign nationals, as Valentine's book describes.

Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigι; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely.

Douglas Valentine's book is a thorough documentation of that fact and it is essential reading for all Americans if we are to have any hope for salvaging a remnant of representative government.

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. This originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com .

Read more by Todd E. Pierce Inciting Wars the American Way – August 14th, 2016 Chicago Police Adopt Israeli Tactics – December 13th, 2015 US War Theories Target Dissenters – September 13th, 2015 Ron Paul and Lost Lessons of War – September 1st, 2015 Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?– January 4th, 2015

[Jun 21, 2017] If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003

Jun 21, 2017 | www.unz.com

lavoisier June 21, 2017 at 10:14 am GMT

@Pissedoffalese

Disgusted "liberal". Am I even a "liberal" anymore? I loathe the I-word and the J-word now with a purple passion. If I see an article from Wapo or NYT or any of the other "msm", I don't read it. I stopped watching ANY tv, and exclusively read those who didn't lie about Iraq 2003. What the hell AM I? I despise Republicans, but the Dems didn't oppose their wars. Now I despise the Dems, and the right-wingnuts are starting to make sense. Is this cognitive dissonance? Bizzaro-world? I am one CONFUSED puppy.

Thank you PG Thoughtful comment.

The Democrats are every bit as much on board with the wars and the destruction of the working class as are the Republicans.

Where are the respectable liberals in this country?

I despise Democrats as you despise Republicans.

Now I despise them both. I have little loyalty for my government and do not trust anything that they do.

Our Republic is on life support.

[Jun 17, 2017] The Collapsing Social Contract by Gaius Publius

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it. ..."
"... Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur. ..."
"... But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.) ..."
"... American Psycho ..."
"... The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America. ..."
"... unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do. ..."
"... our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture. ..."
"... That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us. ..."
"... Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal. ..."
"... "Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability. ..."
"... Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? ..."
"... JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed. ..."
"... Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets. ..."
"... Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away. ..."
"... My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. ..."
"... The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean. ..."
"... The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. ..."
"... There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation. ..."
"... The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. ..."
"... "Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." ..."
"... "Four Futures" ..."
"... Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good". ..."
"... Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I have been saying for some years that I did not think we would see a revolution, but more and more individuals acting out violently. That's partly the result of how community and social bonds have weakened as a result of neoliberalism but also because the officialdom has effective ways of blocking protests. With the overwhelming majority of people using smartphones, they are constantly surveilled. And the coordinated 17-city paramilitary crackdown on Occupy Wall Street shows how the officialdom moved against non-violent protests. Police have gotten only more military surplus toys since then, and crowd-dispersion technology like sound cannons only continues to advance. The only way a rebellion could succeed would be for it to be truly mass scale (as in over a million people in a single city) or by targeting crucial infrastructure.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

"[T]he super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017 , the world's richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people."
-Paul Buchheit, Alternet

"Congressman Steve Scalise, Three Others Shot at Alexandria, Virginia, Baseball Field"
-NBC News, June 14, 2017

"4 killed, including gunman, in shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco"
-ABC7News, June 14, 2017

"Seriously? Another multiple shooting? So many guns. So many nut-bars. So many angry nut-bars with guns."
-MarianneW via Twitter

"We live in a world where "multiple dead" in San Francisco shooting can't cut through the news of another shooting in the same day."
-SamT via Twitter

"If the rich are determined to extract the last drop of blood, expect the victims to put up a fuss. And don't expect that fuss to be pretty. I'm not arguing for social war; I'm arguing for justice and peace."
- Yours truly

When the social contract breaks from above, it breaks from below as well.

Until elites stand down and stop the brutal squeeze , expect more after painful more of this. It's what happens when societies come apart. Unless elites (of both parties) stop the push for "profit before people," policies that dominate the whole of the Neoliberal Era , there are only two outcomes for a nation on this track, each worse than the other. There are only two directions for an increasingly chaotic state to go, chaotic collapse or sufficiently militarized "order" to entirely suppress it.

As with the climate, I'm concerned about the short term for sure - the storm that kills this year, the hurricane that kills the next - but I'm also concerned about the longer term as well. If the beatings from "our betters" won't stop until our acceptance of their "serve the rich" policies improves, the beatings will never stop, and both sides will take up the cudgel.

Then where will we be?

America's Most Abundant Manufactured Product May Be Pain

I look out the window and see more and more homeless people, noticeably more than last year and the year before. And they're noticeably scruffier, less "kemp,"​ if that makes sense to you (it does if you live, as I do, in a community that includes a number of them as neighbors).

The squeeze hasn't let up, and those getting squeezed out of society have nowhere to drain to but down - physically, economically, emotionally. The Case-Deaton study speaks volumes to this point. The less fortunate economically are already dying of drugs and despair. If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?

The pot isn't boiling yet - these shootings are random, individualized - but they seem to be piling on top of each other. A hard-boiling, over-flowing pot may not be far behind. That's concerning as well, much moreso than even the random horrid events we recoil at today.

Many More Ways Than One to Be a Denier

My comparison above to the climate problem was deliberate. It's not just the occasional storms we see that matter. It's also that, seen over time, those storms are increasing, marking a trend that matters even more. As with climate, the whole can indeed be greater than its parts. There's more than one way in which to be a denier of change.

These are not just metaphors. The country is already in a pre-revolutionary state ; that's one huge reason people chose Trump over Clinton, and would have chosen Sanders over Trump. The Big Squeeze has to stop, or this will be just the beginning of a long and painful path. We're on a track that nations we have watched - tightly "ordered" states, highly chaotic ones - have trod already. While we look at them in pity, their example stares back at us.

Mes petits sous, mon petit cri de coeur.

elstprof , June 16, 2017 at 3:03 am

But the elite aren't going to stand down, whatever that might mean. The elite aren't really the "elite", they are owners and controllers of certain flows of economic activity. We need to call it what it is and actively organize against it. Publius's essay seems too passive at points, too passive voice. (Yes, it's a cry from the heart in a prophetic mode, and on that level, I'm with it.)

"If people are killing themselves in increasing numbers, isn't it just remotely maybe possible they'll also aim their anger out as well?"

Not necessarily. What Lacan called the "Big Other" is quite powerful. We internalize a lot of socio-economic junk from our cultural inheritance, especially as it's been configured over the last 40 years - our values, our body images, our criteria for judgment, our sense of what material well-being consists, etc. Ellis's American Psycho is the great satire of our time, and this time is not quite over yet. Dismemberment reigns.

The college students I deal with have internalized a lot of this. In their minds, TINA is reality. Everything balances for the individual on a razor's edge of failure of will or knowledge or hacktivity. It's all personal, almost never collective - it's a failure toward parents or peers or, even more grandly, what success means in America.

The idea that agency could be a collective action of a union for a strike isn't even on the horizon. And at the same time, these same students don't bat an eye at socialism. They're willing to listen.

But unions don't matter in our TINA. Corporations do.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am

Most of the elite do not understand the money system. They do not understand how different sectors have benefitted from policies and/or subsidies that increased the money flows into these. So they think they deserve their money more than those who toiled in sectors with less support.

Furthermore, our system promotes specialists and disregards generalists this leads to a population of individualists who can't see the big picture.

jefemt , June 16, 2017 at 9:45 am

BAU, TINA, BAU!! BOHICA!!!

Dead Dog , June 16, 2017 at 3:09 am

Thank you Gaius, a thoughtful post. That social contract is hard to pin down and define – probably has different meanings to all of us, but you are right, it is breaking down. We no longer feel that our governments are working for us.

Of tangential interest, Turnbull has just announced another gun amnesty targeting guns that people no longer need and a tightening of some of the ownership laws.

RWood , June 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm

So this inheritance matures: http://www.nature.com/news/fight-the-silencing-of-gun-research-1.22139

willem , June 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm

One problem is the use of the term "social contract", implying that there is some kind of agreement ( = consensus) on what that is. I don't remember signing any "contract".

Fiery Hunt , June 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

I fear for my friends, I fear for my family. They do not know how ravenous the hounds behind nor ahead are. For myself? I imagine myself the same in a Mad Max world. It will be more clear, and perception shattering, to most whose lives allow the ignoring of gradual chokeholds, be them political or economic, but those of us who struggle daily, yearly, decadely with both, will only say Welcome to the party, pals.

Disturbed Voter , June 16, 2017 at 6:33 am

Increasing population, decreasing resources, increasingly expensive remaining resources on a per unit basis, unresolved trashing of the environment and an political economy that forces people to do more with less all the time (productivity improvement is mandatory, not optional, to handle the exponential function) much pain will happen even if everyone is equal.

Each person does what is right in their own eyes, but the net effect is impoverishment and destruction. Life is unfair, indeed. A social contract is a mutual suicide pact, whether you renegotiate it or not. This is Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club, is we don't speak of Fight Club. Go to the gym, toughen up, while you still can.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

"Social contract:" nice Enlightment construct, out of University by City. Not a real thing, just a very incomplete shorthand to attempt to fiddle the masses and give a name to meta-livability.

Always with the "contract" meme, as if there are no more durable and substantive notions of how humans in small and large groups might organize and interact Or maybe the notion is the best that can be achieved? Recalling that as my Contracts professor in law school emphasized over and over, in "contracts" there are no rights in the absence of effective remedies. It being a Boston law school, the notion was echoed in Torts, and in Commercial Paper and Sales and, tellingly, in Constitutional Law and Federal Jurisdiction, and even in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. No remedy, no right. What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?

When honest "remedies under law" become nugatory, there's always the recourse to direct action of course with zero guarantee of redress

sierra7 , June 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

"What remedies are there in "the system," for the "other halves" of the "social contract," the "have-naught" halves?" Ah yes the ultimate remedy is outright rebellion against the highest authorities .with as you say, " zero guarantee of redress."

But, history teaches us that that path will be taken ..the streets. It doesn't (didn't) take a genius to see what was coming back in the late 1960's on .regarding the beginnings of the revolt(s) by big money against organized labor. Having been very involved in observing, studying and actually active in certain groups back then, the US was acting out in other countries particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, against any social progression, repressing, arresting (thru its surrogates) torturing, killing any individuals or groups that opposed that infamous theory of "free market capitalism". It had a very definite "creep" effect, northwards to the mainstream US because so many of our major corporations were deeply involved with our covert intelligence operatives and objectives (along with USAID and NED). I used to tell my friends about what was happening and they would look at me as if I was a lunatic. The agency for change would be "organized labor", but now, today that agency has been trashed enough where so many of the young have no clue as to what it all means. The ultimate agenda along with "globalization" is the complete repression of any opposition to the " spread of money markets" around the world". The US intends to lead; whether the US citizenry does is another matter. Hence the streets.

Kuhio Kane , June 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

JTMcFee, you have provided the most important aspect to this mirage of 'social contract'. The "remedies" clearly available to lawless legislation rest outside the realm of a contract which has never existed.

bdy , June 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm

The Social Contract, ephemeral, reflects perfectly what contracts have become. Older rulings frequently labeled clauses unconscionable - a tacit recognition that so few of the darn things are actually agreed upon. Rather, a party with resources, options and security imposes the agreement on a party in some form of crisis (nowadays the ever present crisis of paycheck to paycheck living – or worse). Never mind informational asymmetries, necessity drives us into crappy rental agreements and debt promises with eyes wide open. And suddenly we're all agents of the state.

Unconscionable clauses are now separately initialed in an "I dare you to sue me" shaming gambit. Meanwhile the mythical Social Contract has been atomized into 7 1/2 billion personal contracts with unstated, shifting remedies wholly tied to the depths of pockets.

Solidarity, of course. Hard when Identity politics lubricate a labor market that insists on specialization, and talented children of privilege somehow manage to navigate the new entrepreneurism while talented others look on in frustration. The resistance insists on being leaderless (fueled in part IMHO by the uncomfortable fact that effective leaders are regularly killed or co-opted). And the overriding message of resistance is negative: "Stop it!"

But that's where we are. Again, just my opinion: but the pivotal step away from the jackpot is to convince or coerce our wealthiest not to cash in. Stop making and saving so much stinking money, y'all.

Moneta , June 16, 2017 at 6:54 am

The pension system is based on profits. Nothing will change until the profits disappear and the top quintile starts falling off the treadmill.

Susan the other , June 16, 2017 at 1:01 pm

and there's the Karma bec. even now we see a private banking system synthesizing an economy to maintain asset values and profits and they have the nerve to blame it on social spending. I think Giaus's term 'Denier' is perfect for all those vested practitioners of profit-capitalism at any cost. They've already failed miserably. For the most part they're just too proud to admit it and, naturally, they wanna hang on to "their" money. I don't think it will take a revolution – in fact it would be better if no chaos ensued – just let these arrogant goofballs stew in their own juice a while longer. They are killing themselves.

roadrider , June 16, 2017 at 8:33 am

There's a social contract? Who knew?

Realist , June 16, 2017 at 8:41 am

When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game. -Learned Hand

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:24 am

Here in oh-so-individualistic Chicago, I have been noting the fraying for some time: It isn't just the massacres in the highly segregated black neighborhoods, some of which are now in terminal decline as the inhabitants, justifiably, flee. The typical Chicagoan wanders the streets connected to a phone, so as to avoid eye contact, all the while dressed in what look like castoffs. Meanwhile, Midwesterners, who tend to be heavy, are advertisements for the obesity epidemic: Yet obesity has a metaphorical meaning as the coat of lipids that a person wears to keep the world away.

My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Meanwhile, I just got a message from my car-share service: They are cutting back on the number of cars on offer. Too much vandalism.

Are these things caused by pressure from above? Yes, in part: The class war continues, and the upper class has won. As commenter relstprof notes, any kind of concerted action is now nearly impossible. Instead of the term "social contract," I might substitute "solidarity." Is there solidarity? No, solidarity was destroyed as a policy of the Reagan administration, as well as by fantasies that Americans are individualistic, and here we are, 40 years later, dealing with the rubble of the Obama administration and the Trump administration.

JEHR , June 16, 2017 at 11:17 am

DJG: My middle / upper-middle neighborhood is covered with a layer of upper-middle trash: Think Starbucks cups and artisanal beer bottles. Some trash is carefully posed: Cups with straws on windsills, awaiting the Paris Agreement Pixie, who will clean up after these oh-so-earnest environmentalists.

Yes, the trash bit is hard to understand. What does it stand for? Does it mean, We can infinitely disregard our surroundings by throwing away plastic, cardboard, metal and paper and nothing will happen? Does it mean, There is more where that came from! Does it mean, I don't care a fig for the earth? Does it mean, Human beings are stupid and, unlike pigs, mess up their immediate environment and move on? Does it mean, Nothing–that we are just nihilists waiting to die? I am so fed up with the garbage strewn on the roads and in the woods where I live; I used to pick it up and could collect as much as 9 garbage bags of junk in 9 days during a 4 kilometer walk. I don't pick up any more because I am 77 and cannot keep doing it.

However, I am certain that strewn garbage will surely be the last national flag waving in the breeze as the anthem plays junk music and we all succumb to our terrible future.

jrs , June 16, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Related to this, I thought one day of who probably NEVER gets any appreciation but strives to make things nicer, anyone planning or planting the highway strips (government workers maybe although it could be convicts also unfortunately, I'm not sure). Yes highways are ugly, yes they will destroy the world, but some of the planting strips are sometimes genuinely nice. So they add some niceness to the ugly and people still litter of course.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 1:04 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good. Thus, streets, parks and public space might be soiled by litter that nobody cares to put away in trash bins properly, while simultaneously the interior of houses/apartments, and attached gardens if any, are kept meticulously clean.

Basically, the world people care about stops outside their dwellings, because they do not feel it is "theirs" or that they participate in its possession in a genuine way. It belongs to the "town administration", or to a "private corporation", or to the "government" - and if they feel they have no say in the ownership, management, regulation and benefits thereof, why should they care? Let the town administration/government/corporation do the clean-up - we already pay enough taxes/fees/tolls, and "they" are always putting up more restrictions on how to use everything, so

In conclusion: the phenomenon of litter/trash is another manifestation of a fraying social contract.

Big River Bandido , June 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The trash bit has been linked in other countries to how much the general population views the public space/environment as a shared, common good.

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

I live in NYC, and just yesterday as I attempted to refill my MetroCard, the machine told me it was expired and I had to replace it. The replacement card doesn't look at all like a MetroCard with the familiar yellow and black graphic saying "MetroCard". Instead? It's an ad. For a fucking insurance company. And so now, every single time that I go somewhere on the subway, I have to see an ad from Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

visitor , June 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm

There *is* no public space anymore. Every public good, every public space is now fair game for commercial exploitation.

And as a result, people no longer care about it - they do not feel it is their commonwealth any longer.

Did you notice whether the NYC subway got increasingly dirty/littered as the tentacles of privatization reached everywhere? Just curious.

DJG , June 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

The importance of the end of solidarity – that is, of the almost-murderous impulses by the upper classes to destroy any kind of solidarity. From Yves's posting of Yanis Varoufakis's analysis of the newest terms of the continuing destruction of Greece:

With regard to labour market reforms, the Eurogroup welcomes the adopted legislation safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining and bringing collective dismissals in line with best EU practices.

I see! "Safeguarding previous reforms on collective bargaining" refers, of course, to the 2012 removal of the right to collective bargaining and the end to trades union representation for each and every Greek worker. Our government was elected in January 2015 with an express mandate to restore these workers' and trades unions' rights. Prime Minister Tsipras has repeatedly pledged to do so, even after our falling out and my resignation in July 2015. Now, yesterday, his government consented to this piece of Eurogroup triumphalism that celebrates the 'safeguarding' of the 2012 'reforms'. In short, the SYRIZA government has capitulated on this issue too: Workers' and trades' unions' rights will not be restored. And, as if that were not bad enough, "collective dismissals" will be brought "in line with best EU practices". What this means is that the last remaining constraints on corporations, i.e. a restriction on what percentage of workers can be fired each month, is relaxed. Make no mistake: The Eurogroup is telling us that, now that employers are guaranteed the absence of trades unions, and the right to fire more workers, growth enhancement will follow suit! Let's not hold our breath!

Daniel F. , June 16, 2017 at 10:44 am

The so-called "Elites"? Stand down? Right. Every year I look up the cardinal topics discussed at the larger economic forums and conferences (mainly Davos and G8), and some variation of "The consequences of rising inequality" is a recurring one. Despite this, nothing ever comes out if them. I imagine they go something like this:

A wet dream come true, both for an AnCap and a communist conspiracy theorist. I'm by no means either. However, I think capitalism has already failed and can't go on for much longer. Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief.

I'd very much like to be proven wrong.

Bobby Gladd , June 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm

"Conditions will only deteriorate for anyone not in the "1%", with no sight of improvement or relief." Frase's Quadrant Four. Hierarchy + Scarcity = Exterminism (From "Four Futures" )

Archangel , June 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

Reminds me of that one quip I saw from a guy who, why he always had to have two pigs to eat up his garbage, said that if he had only one pig, it will eat only when it wants to, but if there were two pigs, each one would eat so the other pig won't get to it first. Our current economic system in a nutshell – pigs eating crap so deny it to others first. "Greed is good".

oh , June 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Our country is rife with rent seeking pigs who will stoop lower and lower to feed their greed.

Vatch , June 16, 2017 at 12:37 pm

In today's Links section there's this: https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/jun/14/tax-evaders-exposed-why-super-rich-are-even-richer-than-we-thought which has relevance for the discussion of the collapsing social contract.

Chauncey Gardiner , June 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Don't know that the two avenues Gaius mentioned are the only two roads our society can travel. In support of this view, I recall a visit to a secondary city in Russia for a few weeks in the early 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. Those were difficult times economically and psychologically for ordinary citizens of that country. Alcoholism was rampant, emotional illness and suicide rates among men of working age were high, mortality rates generally were rising sharply, and birth rates were falling. Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks. There was also adequate food, and critical public infrastructure was maintained, keeping in mind this was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.

Here in the US the New Deal and other legislation helped preserve social order in the 1930s. Yves also raises an important point in her preface that can provide support for the center by those who are able to do so under the current economic framework. That glue is to participate in one's community; whether it is volunteering at a school, the local food bank, community-oriented social clubs, or in a multitude of other ways; regardless of whether your community is a small town or a large city.

JTMcPhee , June 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm

" Yet the glue of common culture, sovereign currency, language, community, and thoughtful and educated citizens held despite corrupt political leadership, the rise of an oligarchic class, and the related emergence of organized criminal networks."

None of which applies to the Imperium, of course. There's glue, all right, but it's the kind that is used for flooring in Roach Motels (TM), and those horrific rat and mouse traps that stick the rodent to a large rectangle of plastic, where they die eventually of exhaustion and dehydration and starvation The rat can gnaw off a leg that's glued down, but then it tips over and gets glued down by the chest or face or butt

I have to note that several people I know are fastidious about picking up trash other people "throw away." I do it, when I'm up to bending over. I used to be rude about it - one young attractive woman dumped a McDonald's bag and her ashtray out the window of her car at one of our very long Florida traffic lights. I got out of my car, used the mouth of the McDonald's bag to scoop up most of the lipsticked butts, and threw them back into her car. Speaking of mouths, that woman with the artfully painted lips sure had one on her

[Jun 17, 2017] Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to Medicate U.S. Crisis of Governance Black Agenda Report

Jun 17, 2017 | blackagendareport.com
Political Elite Use Russia-Baiting to "Medicate" U.S. "Crisis of Governance"

Submitted by Nellie Bailey a... on Tue, 06/13/2017 - 00:10

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https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/327874351&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false

The U.S. is engulfed in a "crisis of governance" that has been "intentionally misunderstood" by the corporate media and the political elite, said Danny Haiphong , a contributing political analyst at BAR.

Anti-Russian hysteria has been whipped up "to medicate political consciousness." "They don't want to discuss how Russia has absolutely nothing to do with the millions of incarcerated people in the U.S., or the fact that it is the U.S. monopoly capitalist economy, not the emerging capitalist economy of Russia, which has automated many of the jobs and siphoned much of the wealth that once belonged to a privileged sector of U.S. workers," said Haiphong. "This system has run its course. War is all the system has left."

[Jun 16, 2017] Political Disorder Syndrome - Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal

Notable quotes:
"... It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets. ..."
Jun 16, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Endgame Napoleon - Stuck on Zero , Jun 15, 2017 10:10 PM

A lot of the debate by the MSM focuses on the careerist power struggle of elites at the top. That is not what brought Trump to power, nor is ideological purity of any kind the reason, although college students at elite universities may be motivated by ideology.

Many people who voted for Trump said they had not bothered to vote since Perot. That was the last time serious economic issues were addressed head-on. There were many cross-over voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere, voting for Trump because their party, when not focused on one more layer of welfare/taxfare for single moms, focuses on racism, sexism and xenophobia.....

....in a "racist" era with a twice-elected Black president, where many government agencies have 80% Black staff and managers

.....in a "sexist"' era where more than half of the MDs are women, as are half of the managers, in general, when wealth has never been more concentrated due to assortative mating

....in a "xenophobic" era, where even illegal immigrants are treated much better than millions of citizens, leading to $113 billion per year in welfare/taxfare expenditures for the illegal immigrants alone, not counting all of the freebies for 1 million legal immigrants admitted per year, particularly for those who reproduce

CRM114 - Killtruck , Jun 15, 2017 9:08 PM

When do you think it was crossed?

End of the Cold War, I reckon. That's the last point when politicians being vaguely competent mattered.

VWAndy - nmewn , Jun 15, 2017 8:56 PM

Its a big club. An you and me aint in it. The left vs right thing is just a trick.

Kyddyl , Jun 15, 2017 8:44 PM

As I said in response to another article I've been off on a kick of reading about the American unCivil War. The heated rhetoric led up to violence far before either "side" was ready. It proved to be a messy disaster. Very few thought ahead far enough to even have their own families survive it. Be very careful of what you wish for. John Michael Greer's "Twilight's Last Gleaming" and "Retrotopia" should give us serious pause for thought. Our just in time grocery supply system would fail, fuel delivery from the few states with refineries would crawl and with all those nuclear power plants needing constant baby sitting everybody needs to settle down and really think this mess out. Inter US civil divisions would need careful and peaceful negotiations.

Forbes , Jun 15, 2017 8:53 PM

The messaging Henninger identifies was rampant for eight years of Obama ("Get in their faces!" and the Chicago Way--"They bring a knife, you bring a gun.") Social media is/was no different. Remember the Rodeo Clown wearing an Obama mask who was summarily fired. Any critique of Obama was automatically racist. I could go on and on with examples. The Left never policed its own, was constantly on-guard against the Right, with enforcement of political correctness job #1.

The ankle-biting mainstream media is part and parcel the opposition and the resistence--and the Establishment Republicans at the WSJ are just now noticing?? Someone alert Captain Renault...

Let it Go , Jun 15, 2017 9:00 PM

In reality no intelligent plans have been written or are moving through the halls of Congress. It could be argued a polarized America has joined a polarized world in taking the course of least resistance and that is to do nothing. It appears most of the developed countries across the world are in exactly the same boat. With Trump's greatest accomplishment being the rolling-back of the Obama agenda the article below argues this may be as good as it gets.

http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2017/06/polarized-america-taking-course-of.html

TeethVillage88s , Jun 15, 2017 9:05 PM

But, But, ... that sounds like RINOs, DINOs, NeoCons, Neoliberals, those that think Economics is a Hard Science... Sounds like Propaganda by the Most Powerful Corporations and Family Dynasties...

"Political Disorder Syndrome - "Refusal To Reason Is The New Normal"

PDS - won't get traction since TPTB have to approve of this kind of thing!

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/jimmy-buffett/banana-republics.html

- Borders Are Destroyed to Attack the US Labor Rate (Deserved or Undeserved) - Globalism, CAFTA, NAFTA, Fast-Track by Bill Clinton, deployed to destroy US Labor Rate & US Jobs & US Middle Class = PROOF that Democrats are Treasonous, are working against the Worker (Either Communist Worker or Other worker) - US National Security is destroyed by the cost of MIC, $1 Trillion Annually - US Constitutional Republic is Destroyed, replaced by Globalism Ideology & Propaganda Deep Program to hide this Fact from Middle Class, from Workers, from Job Losers, from Voters, from Students, from Youth who will not see the entry level jobs...

IT IS A REAL MESS, Propaganda is the name of the Problem! We all know the history of Propaganda. We know that Hillary Clinton engaged in an INFO-War long, long ago. 1971 William Renquist Memo pointed out to Republicans that they must gear up for Foundations to fight Democrats who were much stronger in Political Organizations at this time.

Makes you think.

ElTerco , Jun 15, 2017 10:26 PM

I think main street has been extremely patient. I think after three decades of being slowly and consistently shit on though, enough is enough, and they are starting to lose it.

[Jun 13, 2017] Bait and switch artist as Barack Obama authentic self

Notable quotes:
"... I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?). ..."
"... Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent. ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
clarky90 , , , June 12, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I believe that Hillary Clinton IS being, and broadcasting her authentic self. I support her 100% in this . I am not being snide. The curtains are being pulled aside on The Incompetent, Wizards of Oz (The Corrupt Over-class). Hillary C will be remembered as the Foolish Wizard who could not keep her curtain drawn! We got a glimpse into the innards of the Heath Robinson, Control Booth, Political Contraption. (George Soros playing with himself!)

I feel utterly betrayed and conned by Barack Obama. He looked, talked and exuded kind, "humanness". But he was a fraud that STILL evades the grok of huge parts of the World population. People generally find it difficult to accept that this beautiful man (Obama) with the beautiful family, is a tyrannical bastard.(Remember NYT's, Uncle Joe Stalin?).

Hillary Clinton, refreshingly (IMO), and bravely, is obviously a crazed maniac. Many noticed her authentic self during the campaign. Now that she is increasingly free to express her inner life, I expect people on both sides of the political divide (The Ups, AND the Downs) to wake up and smell the coffee. We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent.

References

(1) "One-third of world now overweight, with US leading the way"
?????????????????? ..
http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/12/health/global-obesity-study/index.html

Tvc15 , , June 12, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Clarky90 said, " We are being lied to about almost everything, and it is not inadvertent." Exactly!

And the only solace I have from the Trump show is that the curtains will be pulled back completely to expose the puppeteers of this charade they call a democracy.

OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL , , June 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Which should make it much easier to generate authentic opposition, doncha think? Trump was The Great Reveal, next up is The Great Reveal for Dems: that they too love War and Billionaire Corporo-Fascism

roxy , June 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm

"Everybody Needs to Stop Telling Hillary Clinton to Shut Up"

Throughout the campaign, culminating in the mindbogglingly stupid "deplorables" remark, Clinton's contempt for anyone who questioned her was clear. Her post election tour brings more of the same. So yeah, people are sick of hearing it, and have every right to say so.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , June 12, 2017 at 6:31 pm

She should be grateful that there are still people who bother to tell her to be quiet.

Me? I have ears but do not hear when it comes to her. Her spells can never penetrate my thick skull.

[Jun 11, 2017] A new factor in US politics: the downward spiral of distrust between citizens and elites, in which citizens treat "corrupt" and "establishment" as interchangeable terms.

Jun 11, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H. June 09, 2017 at 02:01 PM

No, this isn't the Onion.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/9/15768314/public-participation-cant-save-american-democracy

What if "more public participation" can't save American democracy?

It's time to make peace with reality and develop a new plan.

Updated by Lee Drutman Jun 9, 2017, 12:00pm EDT

American democracy is in a downward spiral. Well, really two downward spirals.

The first is the downward spiral of bipolar partisanship, in which both sides increasingly demonize each other as the enemy, and refuse to compromise and cooperate - an escalating arms race that is now going beyond mere gridlock and threatening basic democratic norms.

The second is the downward spiral of distrust between citizens and elites, in which citizens treat "corrupt" and "establishment" as interchangeable terms. The public consensus is that politicians are self-serving, not to be trusted. In this logic, only more public participation can make politicians serve the people.

...
Gibbon1 - , June 09, 2017 at 07:06 PM

> in which both sides increasingly demonize each other as the enemy

Yes but the fascist right is the enemy and the centrist right openly supports. And centrist left engages in nothing but appeasement.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron - , June 10, 2017 at 05:23 AM
The public consensus seems fairly accurate, but then so does Gibbon1.

[Jun 11, 2017] Failure as a Way of Life by William S. Lind

Notable quotes:
"... Sadly the Cheneyite rot is so deep at this point that we'll simply have to ride it out . . . Svechin wrote about the corrupting influence of a political elite overwhelmed by its own decadence and delusions that it confuses its own interests with those of the country that it rules ..."
Jun 11, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

February 15, 2016

The fault line in American politics is no longer Republican vs. Democrat nor conservative vs. liberal but establishment vs. anti-establishment. This is an inevitable result of serial failure in establishment policies. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the establishment's repeated military interventions abroad in wars against non-state opponents. When such interventions fail in one place-first Somalia, then Iraq, then Afghanistan, then Libya, now Syria-it does the same thing again somewhere else, with the same result.

Why has the establishment allowed itself to be trapped in serial failure? Once we understand how it works, the answer is plain: it cannot do otherwise. On Capitol Hill, the legalization of bribery-"campaign contributions"-means money rules. That puts business as usual in the driver's seat because that is where the money is. If a member of Congress backs, say, the F-35 fighter/bomber, he can count on campaign contributions from its manufacturers and jobs for his state or district. (The Pentagon calls that "strategic contracting.") If instead he calls for reforming our military so it can perform better in Fourth Generation wars, where fighter/bombers are useless, there's no money.

My long-time colleague Paul Weyrich and I both began our Washington careers as Senate staff, Paul in the late 1960s and me in 1973. Shortly before his death in 2008, I said to him, "When we arrived on the Hill, at least half the members of the Senate thought their job had something to do with governing the country. Now that figure is at most 10 percent. All the rest think about is having a successful career as a professional politician and retiring very, very rich." Paul agreed.

Just as money locks in current policy, so does ideology. To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image. Other peoples see this, rightly, as an attempt to ram the Brave New World down their throats. Many are willing to fight to prevent it. But if a member of the Washington establishment dares question the ideology and suggests a policy based on realism, he immediately loses his establishment membership.

Over breakfast in Denver several years ago I said to my old boss, Sen. Gary Hart, "If you are a member of the establishment and you suggest more than five degrees rudder change in anything, you cease to be a member of the establishment." He replied, "I'm exhibit A."

Below these factors lies the establishment's bedrock. It is composed overwhelmingly of people who want to be something, not people who want to do something. They have devoted their lives to becoming members of the establishment and enjoying the many privileges thereof. They are not likely to endanger club membership by breaking its rules. Beyond following money and adhering to its ideology, the rules are three.

The first is, don't worry about serial failure. Within the Beltway, the failure of national policies is not important. Career success depends on serving interests and pleasing courtiers above you, not making things work in flyover land. As in 17th-century Spain, the court is dominated by interests that prosper by feeding off the country's decay.

Second, rely on the establishment's wealth and power to insulate its members from the consequences of policy failure. The public schools are wretched, but the establishment's children go to private schools. We lose wars, but the generals who lose them get promoted. The F-35 is a horrible fighter, but no member of the establishment will have to fly it. So long as the money keeps flowing, all is well.

Third and most important, the only thing that really matters is remaining a member of the establishment. This completes the loop in what is a classic closed system, where the outside world does not matter and is not allowed to intrude. Col. John Boyd, America's greatest military theorist, said that all closed systems collapse. The Washington establishment cannot adjust, it cannot adapt, it cannot learn. It cannot escape serial failure.

The public is catching on to all this and, on both sides of the political spectrum, turning to anti-establishment candidates. If we are fortunate, some will win. If the establishment manipulates the rules to hold on to power indefinitely, when it collapses it may take the state with it.

William S. Lind is the author, as "Thomas Hobbes," of Victoria: a Novel of Fourth Generation War .

  • Christopher Manion , says: February 15, 2016 at 8:02 am
    Paul Weyrich is still an inspiration, as Bill recounts here. He tried to make that ninety percent do the right thing, appealing to their better natures but threatening their heart's desires. It was, and is, a constant battle.

    As for the closed system – the only way to drain DC's Bipartisan Hot Tub is from the outside. That's where the plug is – no one on the inside can reach it, and none there really wants to.

    That's our job.

    Colorado Jack , says: February 15, 2016 at 8:11 am
    "To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image."

    They may spout it, but they don't believe it and they don't act on it. They have learned the lesson of Iraq. Here's Donald Rumsfeld in 2015, with the advantage of hindsight: "I'm not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories. The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic."

    The establishment cheerfully tolerates and supports Saudi Arabia's regime. No one in the establishment thinks it wise to press for democracy in any serious way. Ditto for Egypt, where our aid violates US law under any fair reading.

    Lind has a point but way overstates it.

    TB , says: February 15, 2016 at 9:35 am
    "If the establishment manipulates the rules to hold on to power indefinitely, when it collapses it may take the state with it."
    ___________________________

    I agree but, as Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet says, "I spy a kind of hope". I believe a tipping point in our political culture was reached in 2008 when the electorate chose a young and inexperienced black man with a VERY scary name over a mainstream war hero and did so by a wide margin. I expect Bernie to be nominated and then win by margins that make BHO's victory look close.

    ged2phd , says: February 15, 2016 at 10:45 am
    Great article. It's long been apparent that the "establishment" seems oblivious to the consequences of their wasteful and foolish policies, but when you point out the foolishness has no (immediate) consequences for them, and even a positive impact on their careers, it all makes sense. Long term, though, it's a sure descent into the abyss for all of us. Of course, the "little people" are falling first and faster, so the elites no doubt are calculating they'll land on top of us so we'll cushion their landing.
    Richard L Harrell , says: February 15, 2016 at 10:57 am
    The real definition of the Establishment is clear and simple. They are the scum of the Earth.
    JohnG , says: February 15, 2016 at 11:26 am
    As depressing the picture painted here may be, I actually think it's optimistic.

    To be a member of the establishment you must spout the ideology of "democratic capitalism," the notion that America can and should remake the rest of the world in its own image.

    Now, could someone explain to me how Afghanistan, Libya, Kosovo, or Iraq are now more conformant to some American ideal? I believe the truth is much worse than giant corporations having interest in perpetual wars: The establishment has become a vast network of private rackets that uses the American military & economic might as the ultimate extortion tool. Just ask the two worst secretaries of state in history posing (and seeking cover) as ultra-feminists.

    It was under Mad Albright's tenure that the US started to support (and bomb on behalf of) the shadiest of the terrorist figures in Kosovo, accused by several UN personnel of butchering Serbian and (traitor) Albanian prisoners to harvest organs for trade. You can't make this stuff up, it's beyond horrific. And, surprise, madam secretary leaves her post to turn into a hedge fund manager with investments and interests in the region. Payback for help, anyone? Who wouldn't want to harness the US Air force for its private goals? And would anybody be surprised if HRC took this model one step beyond to make payments to the Clinton Foundation pretty concurrent with the "services" provided by the State Department? And how is this different (other than organ trafficking) from our senators and congressmen retiring vastly richer than when they went into politics? Just where did that money come from?

    In summary, it's NOT just evil corporations, it's the vastly concentrated power of an out of control and overreaching government. Once you have that, you are bound to have individuals and networks trying to harness that power for their private purposes. So yes, let's clean up political financing, but let's also go back to the idea of limited government. And stay vigilant to keep it limited, because, you always end up in trouble otherwise.

    Fran Macadam , says: February 15, 2016 at 12:32 pm
    It couldn't have been said better or more succinctly – or more truthfully.
    seydlitz89 , says: February 15, 2016 at 2:08 pm
    Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality. John Boyd "America's greatest military theorist"? Ok, E-M theory of aerial combat is significant, but that is mathematics-based and has to do with aircraft design (quite limited really) which is not strategic theory at all, is it? But confusion among US (a)strategic thinkers is the norm and has been for some time . . . interests cloud their little heads . . . But then Dick Cheney is Boyd's greatest follower . . . so . . . follow the leader . . .

    After reading Jeffrey Sach's blog post . . . I asked myself "why did I waste my time on this" . . .

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-clinton-and-the-s_b_9231190.html

    Rossbach , says: February 15, 2016 at 2:41 pm
    Given the realities of the 2-party system, with the neocons dominating GOP foreign policy and liberal interventionists controlling the Democratic side, it's not hard to see how this total lack of accountability has persisted for so long. Hopefully, the pushback that the establishment candidates of both parties are experiencing from the voters will have its effect on national policy – if not in this election cycle, perhaps in the next one.
    connecticut farmer , says: February 15, 2016 at 6:59 pm
    Well put, JohnG. The system is thoroughly corrupt and given the divisions within American society may well be beyond repair. If so, we are doomed. Maybe the HRC email controversy will expose not only her personal corruption but that of the whole system, though I wouldn't bet on it. She may only be the tip of the iceberg and as such only the worst of a bad lot whose numbers are legion.
    Fred Bowman , says: February 15, 2016 at 11:43 pm
    The LAST thing the Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex want is for ANY War to end, as it cut off their justication for a bloated military budget that continues to enriched them and their cronies for God know how long.
    Kurt Gayle , says: February 16, 2016 at 12:10 pm
    @ seydlitz89, who wrote:

    "Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality."

    From my perspective Bill Lind's 4th Generation War explanation for the long string of US defeats by non-state opponents matches up well with the facts.

    To be sure, our taking seriously Lind's "4GW notions" would necessarily lead to (1) a different US foreign policy and (2) a radically scaled-back flow of money to the shadow military-industrial state and their hired politicians.

    So might it be, seydlitz89, that your discomfort is less with Lind's "4GW notions" than it is with (1) or (2), or both?

    Frand Liebkind , says: February 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm
    Ironic, isn't it, that many of the late Col Boyd's air combat theories have become establishment doctrine, almost half a century later. I can only assume that Boyd was sharp enough to realize that they have little application to today's fourth generation warfare. But I may be wrong.
    cdugga , says: February 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm
    Democratic government is supposed to be answerable to the people. But there are 2 big problems with that. One, the people have to stay informed and know what the issues are as well as what potential representatives believe. Is there any reason to move on to the second big problem? Okay, just for discussion, the second problem is that the first problem allows for all the following problems forever after amen. Holding our representatives accountable requires that we hold ourselves accountable for electing the correct representative. Ain't gonna happen, simply because the correct representative, the one telling us that we are the ones responsible, is never going to be elected. The one that will get elected is the one that says others, like immigrants, blacks, elites and those who are not true christians, true patriots, or core americans, are the cause of all our policy and economic problems. That's the guy we want to lead us. We may get him. And he might do what we want, but it is unlikely he will do anything we need to have done to bring back america. Bringing back america is our job after all, and who wants that responsibility. The supposed anti-establishment candidates are simply the ones that say they will take care of the problems we allowed to happen. And we already know they won't or can't because we would never demand so much from ourselves.
    Iowa Scribe , says: February 16, 2016 at 4:56 pm
    We are nearning the end of "the rule of political spoilsmen," but are we also nearing the end of the American experiment or, perhaps, even the catastrophic interruption of the progress of human civilization?

    71:3.10 The ideals of statehood must be attained by evolution, by the slow growth of civic consciousness, the recognition of the obligation and privilege of social service. At first men assume the burdens of government as a duty, following the end of the administration of political spoilsmen, but later on they seek such ministry as a privilege, as the greatest honor. The status of any level of civilization is faithfully portrayed by the caliber of its citizens who volunteer to accept the responsibilities of statehood.

    stephen laudig , says: February 18, 2016 at 1:52 am
    for the US political and military establishments . "there's no success like failure failure's no success at all". There are many, many causes, the one highlighted this year is an electoral law system that only allows for "coke and pepsi" and holds up, in effect bails out or life-supports, the two moribund parties [one may actually die this year, and the other will follow shortly thereafter, extinction of the dinosaurs] by not allowing replacements to grow. cheers.
    seydlitz89 , says: February 18, 2016 at 8:30 am
    @ Kurt Gayle

    Regarding 4GW I think you putting the wheelless cart before the dead horse. 4GW started as a list of speculations published in an article in the Marine Corps Gazette in 1989, that is there wasn't originally any "theory" at all. In 1991, Martin van Creveld published the "The Transformation of War" (TTW) since he needed to divorce war from politics for political/propaganda reasons (Israel's occupation of Palestinian land). Formerly MvC had promoted Clausewitzian strategic theory, had in fact presented a paper in 1986 entitled "The Eternal Clausewitz". TTW provided 4GW with some actual "theory", although Lind claims that 4GW actually exists (reification) and is not theory at all.
    Lind also talks about the "moral being the highest level of war" and claims that's Boyd's view, but according to Chet Richards Boyd never said anything of the kind. We had a long discussion on this back on the sonshi forum about a decade ago.

    Clausewitz became a problem for Dick Cheney and the Neocons since strategic theory links political purpose (not limited to those of "the state") with military aims achieved through military means. Too often states or other political entities wish to hide their actual involvement (not to mention their goals) in wars and thus 4GW comes in handy as a cover for that, but useless in understanding strategy . . . read the Sachs article . . .

    I would also add that 4GW became a useful excuse for US military incompetence since the generals could claim, "How could we have won, it was 4GW!".

    As to Boyd, OODA loops don't really provide anything other than a model for friction above the tactical . . .

    The Russians don't fall for any of this, following instead Svechin, the great Russian Clausewitzian strategic theorist and understanding the uses and limits of organised violence. They understand the nature of the conflict they are involved in in Syria and are acting strategically, something the US hasn't been able to achieve since the end of the Cold War/First Gulf War . . . that is since the rise of 4GW confusion . . .

    Kurt Gayle , says: February 18, 2016 at 3:29 pm
    Thank you, seydlitz89, for taking the time to give so much background history regarding this discussion of Fourth Generation War, etc.
    For those of us who find William Lind's 4GW arguments convincing, it's very useful to read counter-positions presented so well by someone as well-versed in the subject as you obviously are. Sincerely. Thank you.
    peter connor , says: February 19, 2016 at 6:20 pm
    "Lame article, sorry. Bill Lind seems unable to understand what strategic theory is. Still attempting to make his reified 4GW notions into reality."
    The reality has been hitting us in the face for more than 60 years but as Lind points out, reality means nothing to Washington insiders, or other devotees of country wrecking military-industrial profiteering.
    I will make this very simple for you, seydlitz89. If the people of a country you are trying to occupy or control don't want you there, it will be ruinously expensive for you to stay there, and eventually you will leave. Got it?
    seydlitz89 , says: February 19, 2016 at 6:44 pm
    @ Kurt Gayle

    Thank you for the kind words. Sadly the Cheneyite rot is so deep at this point that we'll simply have to ride it out . . . Svechin wrote about the corrupting influence of a political elite overwhelmed by its own decadence and delusions that it confuses its own interests with those of the country that it rules . . . 4GW is part of/has become a pawn of that larger phenomenon . . . the greater confusion . . .

    ObiJohn , says: February 21, 2016 at 3:05 am
    The problem here is that our political leaders, by and large, do not understand grand strategy or military strategy, and do not wish to do so and risk opprobrium from other elites. Elite culture insists acceptance to the belief that violence solves nothing, and never can. Unfortunately, our foes disagree, with the backing of history. We lost in Iraq because Obama ceded victory by abandoning the battlefield, as if saying a war was over could possibly end it on favorable terms the same mistake we made in Vietnam. Rather, the problem in the Middle East is that we haven't killed enough extremists the mistake we didn't make in WWII and so the battle-hardened jihadis that remain believe they can win if they only endure. So far, they seem to be right. The real problem here is the creation of an elite that is isolated from ordinary Americans, from the realities of the global economy, from their own failure as leaders due to their dysfunctional worldview based on a life of privilege, freedom from want, and a belief that all of that is deserved istead of the result of winning the birth lottery. Their unconscious embrace of socialist policies is more about their unease of their fortunate privilege, and it stops when the pain starts they call for the elimination of private property but insist their iPads are exempt as 'personal' property rather than private property. They call for equality of opportunity but aren't willing to give up their spot at an Ivy League university. They call for more taxes but incorporate in Ireland, or dock their yacht in Rhode Island to avoid Massachusetts taxes. They no longer support enlightened self-interest but instead push for restrictions on freedom of speech, call for more gun control, and seek to restrict political opposition all in the name of peace and freedom and happiness. They are the modern Marie Antoinettes, and the mob is sharpening the pitchforks.
    Eric , says: February 24, 2016 at 8:15 am
    seydlitz89 "The Russians don't fall for any of this, following instead Svechin, the great Russian Clausewitzian strategic theorist and understanding the uses and limits of organised violence"

    Svechin? Really? Most of his work was borrowed from the pre 1914 Nikolai General Staff Academy. The bigger Soviet thinker at the time was Verhovsky. Someone got very excited about Svechin at Fort Leavenworth in the late 1970s/early 1980s (probably because someone decided to translate him) but in the Russian context he's a relative minor figure – no one follows him.

  • [Jun 10, 2017] In Europe, right-wing parties are preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for selected groups. In America, however, Trump_vs_deep_state is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats

    Jun 10, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
    Christopher H. June 09, 2017 at 11:09 AM https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/03/14/populism-and-the-politics-of-health/

    Populism and the Politics of Health
    MARCH 14, 2017 1:43 PM
    by Paul Krugman

    ...

    This ties in with an important recent piece by Zack Beauchamp on the striking degree to which left-wing economics fails, in practice, to counter right-wing populism; basically, Sandersism has failed everywhere it has been tried. Why?

    The answer, presumably, is that what we call populism is really in large degree white identity politics, which can't be addressed by promising universal benefits. Among other things, these "populist" voters now live in a media bubble, getting their news from sources that play to their identity-politics desires, which means that even if you offer them a better deal, they won't hear about it or believe it if told. For sure many if not most of those who gained health coverage thanks to Obamacare have no idea that's what happened.

    That said, taking the benefits away would probably get their attention, and maybe even open their eyes to the extent to which they are suffering to provide tax cuts to the rich.

    In Europe, right-wing parties probably don't face the same dilemma; they're preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trump_vs_deep_state is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open." Reply Friday, Christopher H. - , June 09, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    There has been a silence from the center left during the Corbyn campaign and now after it is over. Luckily they have Comey to talk about. I will be curious to hear from Chris Dillow.
    libezkova - , June 09, 2017 at 10:22 PM
    "In Europe, right-wing parties probably don't face the same dilemma; they're preaching herrenvolk social democracy, a welfare state but only for people who look like you. In America, however, Trump_vs_deep_state is faux populism that appeals to white identity but actually serves plutocrats. That fundamental contradiction is now out in the open"

    this is an interesting observation.

    [Jun 09, 2017] Tucker Carlson Lays Waste to Comeys Testimony and Democrat Attempt to Unseat the President

    Notable quotes:
    "... Everything about Comey is wrong. The fact that he felt the need to 'take notes' because the President asked for loyalty is fucking absurd. What sort of example did he make for fellow G men when he referred to his dealings with his commander in chief as being 'slightly cowardly'? The whole thing is rot, helping to fuel a bogus investigation spearheaded by a broken democratic party who have lost their fucking mind. ..."
    "... He also touched upon the mercenary media's fake news about Trump, provided by bad sources, which was confirmed by Comey today. ..."
    "... Don't forget it was McCain who took the 'pee' dossier that had been floating around DC which was so phoney even the media wouldn't touch - and told Comey to investigate. ..."
    "... This is nothing less than a coordinated overthrow of the government by the deep state, media and uniparty ..."
    "... So what do we need special counsel Mueller for in light of all this? Everyone knows the whole Russia collusion affair is politically motivated BS and deflection. ..."
    "... Not to mention Comey handing out immunity deals like Christmas candy on Hillary's email investigation. Why would he do that? ..."
    "... Comey took notes because he planned to blackmail Trump in the future just like J Edgar Hoover did when he ran the FBI. ..."
    "... "Politicized" by the global central banks who own and operate virtually all world governments. I believe we need to keep the players very CLEAR in our minds. It's all of us; humanity, against the globalists who want us dead. Politicians, our institutions... all are aligned with the globalist psychopaths. It's that simple. ..."
    "... Comey makes a memo, because that is the M.O. of the FBI. He fully expects gullible sheeple to believe any written statement by an FBI agent is truth, rather than a manipulating fake. ..."
    "... Comey has admitted to a number of criminal acts ..."
    "... Comey and his FBI partner should be legally charged by the Justice Department for releasing his FBI Memo to NY Times. His FBI partner should be fired and charged. They had no authority to release private government information and breach confidentiality with the president of the United States. The memo proved nothing and meant nothing but releasing it by a fired employee and FBI partner is a breach to FBI and the office of the president of the USA. ..."
    "... Not one coward on that Senate committee had the balls to ask about the Seth Rich investigation........disappointing ..."
    "... Comey also stated as 100% undisputed fact that Russia had "meddled" with the election. Again, no proof was cited, yet not a single Republican asked for such proof, nor has Trump managed to articulate a similar request. This is somewhat disturbing. ..."
    "... The threat of being "Clintoned" is a powerful force. ..."
    Jun 08, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
    Content originally published at iBankCoin.com

    There will come a day when the city square will be packed with gibbets filled with swinging heads of traitorous bastard commies -- most readily found in leftshit cities. The degeneracy must end. Today's testimony by Comey was a farce, a transparent attempt by a spent and bitter bureaucrat trying to hurt a sitting President.

    Everything about Comey is wrong. The fact that he felt the need to 'take notes' because the President asked for loyalty is fucking absurd. What sort of example did he make for fellow G men when he referred to his dealings with his commander in chief as being 'slightly cowardly'? The whole thing is rot, helping to fuel a bogus investigation spearheaded by a broken democratic party who have lost their fucking mind.

    Tucker chimes in and reviews the day's events, pointing out the hypocrisy of Comey and his dealings with AG Lynch, who asked for Comey to word the investigation of Hillary Clinton's email scandal as a 'matter.' If that's not collusion and political pressure on the FBI, nothing is.

    He also touched upon the mercenary media's fake news about Trump, provided by bad sources, which was confirmed by Comey today.

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/tHtP2gQIoCE

    rosiescenario , Jun 9, 2017 12:31 PM

    After watching this political circus it is very clear that no one should be re-elected from either party, with the single exception of Paul.

    Looks like what we really need is a new political party that actually serves the public tax payers, unfortunately it may take a major financial depression and its accompanying turmoil to bring that about.

    Blazing in BC , Jun 9, 2017 12:25 PM

    He seems to have blown his lead, I mean load, to no avail.

    mary mary , Jun 9, 2017 12:14 PM

    IMHO, the Comey hearing was John McCain's chance to redeem himself, and he blew it. I think his idea to go after Comey's interactions with the Obama regime was a great idea, but he came unprepared and unrehearsed. McCain had an opportunity to display leadership, but he failed to lead.

    SummerSausage - mary mary , Jun 9, 2017 12:38 PM

    Don't forget it was McCain who took the 'pee' dossier that had been floating around DC which was so phoney even the media wouldn't touch - and told Comey to investigate.

    It's time 81 year old McCain - last in his Naval Academy class - shuffled off to an assisted living center in Arizona.

    Tortuga , Jun 9, 2017 11:39 AM

    These paris, comey, collusion, russki hoaxes are for 1 reason only; distraction to delay the "hanging".

    http://skylarkutilities.com/video/watch/vid01SzjDOwbt8S8

    SummerSausage , Jun 9, 2017 11:03 AM

    Great post, as usual, Fly.

    Comey created a memo because it's hard to leak to multiple sources at one time in person.

    We're living history folks. This is nothing less than a coordinated overthrow of the government by the deep state, media and uniparty dominated by leftojihadis. The Gang of 8 is composed of 4 dimocrites and 4 rinos. The rinos had a duty to come forward and not only refute the lies in the media but to reveal it all as a hoax. Only Nunes told President Trump what was going on and he was forced to recuse himself from the intelligence committee investigation.

    Even an atheist has to admit there's divine intervention at work here. Flawed though he admits to be, Trump is being guided and protected by a force more powerful than the swamp.

    markar , Jun 9, 2017 10:22 AM

    So what do we need special counsel Mueller for in light of all this? Everyone knows the whole Russia collusion affair is politically motivated BS and deflection.

    Jim in MN - markar , Jun 9, 2017 10:34 AM

    So he can quietly wander over and start pulling the illegal wiretap files that the Obama Stasi were compiling. Other than that, no point.

    SummerSausage - Jim in MN , Jun 9, 2017 10:43 AM

    But Mueller won't. He & Comey are besties of 25 year standing. All Mueller will do it find no direct links between the Russians and Trump or his administration but justify Comey's investigation by saying the Russians are bad, evil people who were trying to co-opt naive and inexperienced Trump colleagues.

    If they wanted an honest and truthful investigation they would not have selected a retired swamp general.

    ClowardPiven2016 - PitBullsRule , Jun 9, 2017 10:49 AM

    It scares me that people actually believe this shit. I guess we are doomed considering how many morons like PitBullsRule are lapping up the koolaid with their heads in the sand

    barysenter - PitBullsRule , Jun 9, 2017 10:18 AM

    Reality doesn't conform to your expectations much? HA HA

    Northern Flicker , Jun 9, 2017 9:44 AM

    Not to mention Comey handing out immunity deals like Christmas candy on Hillary's email investigation. Why would he do that?

    Comey's (limited hangout) strategy: Say a few things to look honest, so he could sell "the Russians did it (hack)" - despite showing no evidence. Otherwise, there would be no need for a Special Counsel and he knows Mueller will forment more troubles for Trump, perhaps for years. Trump needs to end this Russian hack nonsense ASAP.

    Tachyon5321 , Jun 9, 2017 8:51 AM

    Comey took notes because he planned to blackmail Trump in the future just like J Edgar Hoover did when he ran the FBI.

    Kayman - Tachyon5321 , Jun 9, 2017 9:47 AM

    Comey wouldn't state, "We are not investigating you, Mr. President." Yet....

    Downtoolong , Jun 9, 2017 8:44 AM

    I'd like Loretta Lynch to show me where in the FBI handbook it explains the proper procedure for conducting "matters".

    They just make shit up to suit their needs. The Comey incident is another sad example of how every branch of government and every agency has become politicized by both sides, to the point they can no longer perform their intended function.

    SummerSausage - Downtoolong , Jun 9, 2017 10:55 AM

    The law does not allow subpeonas or grand juries based on "matters" - only valid "investigations".

    Tell me how that is not Lynch & Comey colluding to interfere in the election and obstruct justice. I'm willing to listen with an open mind.

    adanata - Downtoolong , Jun 9, 2017 9:51 AM

    "Politicized" by the global central banks who own and operate virtually all world governments. I believe we need to keep the players very CLEAR in our minds. It's all of us; humanity, against the globalists who want us dead. Politicians, our institutions... all are aligned with the globalist psychopaths. It's that simple.

    SoDamnMad - Downtoolong , Jun 9, 2017 9:26 AM

    "how every branch of government and every agency has become politicized by both sides, to the point they can no longer perform their intended function" and should therefore be disbanded. Fixed it for you.

    GotAFriendInBen , Jun 9, 2017 8:26 AM

    Repeat lies often enough and they become the truth

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-lawyer-cites-questionable-timeline-dis...

    Reaper , Jun 9, 2017 8:24 AM

    Comey makes a memo, because that is the M.O. of the FBI. He fully expects gullible sheeple to believe any written statement by an FBI agent is truth, rather than a manipulating fake. Trump's possible recording constrained Comey's M.O..

    scoutshonor , Jun 9, 2017 7:43 AM

    Nobody will do anything about any of this. Time to shitcan the lot of them. I hope not a single doofus up for re-election goes back to D.C. in '18.

    It's hard to know which to slap first, those that break the law out in the open--or those that turn a blind eye to the flagrant lawlessness of the trangressors.

    This is some weak-ass tea.

    Thom Paine , Jun 9, 2017 7:35 AM

    Comey has admitted to a number of criminal acts I think.

    There are a few crimes there that I gather the DOJ has no option but to prosecute, how can it not? Since they are also prosecuting Winner for the exact same thing?

    Jim in MN - Thom Paine , Jun 9, 2017 10:31 AM

    He stole government property (the memos).

    boattrash - Thom Paine , Jun 9, 2017 8:04 AM

    All good points you listed, yet the fucker didn't see the need to take notes during the 4th of July weekend interview of Hillary? WTF?

    Kayman - boattrash , Jun 9, 2017 9:45 AM

    Why would Comey make notes of receiving payment from the Clinton Foundation?

    SummerSausage - Kayman , Jun 9, 2017 11:07 AM

    It's all here http://stateofthenation2012.com/?p=72788

    Comey got rich covering up for the Clintons and swamp rats.

    SithApprentice , Jun 9, 2017 7:23 AM

    Comey thought he would be the next J Edgar Hoover and now he is unemployed and hopefully a pariah. Two-faced ass.

    New_Meat - SithApprentice , Jun 9, 2017 8:40 AM

    with a $10MM book advance

    gregga777 , Jun 9, 2017 6:52 AM

    Feral Bureau of Weasels Head Weasel James Comey said that he behaved 'slightly cowardly'. Well, that is the sort of behavior one expects from a Weasel.

    [No insults intended to the small mammals grouped together in the weasel family.]

    DarkestbeforeDawn , Jun 9, 2017 6:25 AM

    Tucker distills gale wind force BS into an easily digestible summary. I'd watch him live every night, but I don't watch TV anymore

    alphasammae , Jun 9, 2017 12:17 AM

    Great review Tucker Carlson! Comey is a disgruntled loser like Killary. Comey never followed up on Seth Rich murder, a more serious matter than playing stupid politics.

    Comey and his FBI partner should be legally charged by the Justice Department for releasing his FBI Memo to NY Times. His FBI partner should be fired and charged. They had no authority to release private government information and breach confidentiality with the president of the United States. The memo proved nothing and meant nothing but releasing it by a fired employee and FBI partner is a breach to FBI and the office of the president of the USA.

    gregga777 - alphasammae , Jun 9, 2017 6:55 AM

    Feral Bureau of Weasels Head Weasel James Comey was actively covering up for the murderers who murdered Seth Rich and the people who hired them. He should be shitting whole goats knowing that Attorney General Sessions seized everything in his office while he was in LACALIFUSA. Comey will probably be joining Obama shortly wherever it is that he is hanging out overseas.

    Bytor325 - alphasammae , Jun 9, 2017 5:59 AM

    Not one coward on that Senate committee had the balls to ask about the Seth Rich investigation........disappointing

    francis_the_won... - Bytor325 , Jun 9, 2017 9:27 AM

    Comey also stated as 100% undisputed fact that Russia had "meddled" with the election. Again, no proof was cited, yet not a single Republican asked for such proof, nor has Trump managed to articulate a similar request. This is somewhat disturbing.

    Got The Wrong No - Bytor325 , Jun 9, 2017 6:17 AM

    The threat of being "Clintoned" is a powerful force.

    [Jun 09, 2017] Some people were raising the question, what is genuine populism?

    This sound like neofascism, not so much as populism...
    Notable quotes:
    "... One major component is offering simplistic solutions to complex problems: remove government regulations to create more jobs, restrict foreign imports to create more jobs, ban immigration from certain countries to curtail terrorism, build a wall to prevent illegal immigration, ban teaching contraception to prevent teenagers from having sex, allow guns to let armed citizen vigilantes defend us against mass murderers, privatize education, government services and infrastructure to make them more "economical", etc... ..."
    "... And most of all: elect a strong leader who is not bound by laws to come in and kick ass and make the country great again. ..."
    Jun 09, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

    ralphieboy | Jun 9, 2017 10:55:08 AM | 7

    "Some people were raising the question, what is genuine populism?"

    One major component is offering simplistic solutions to complex problems: remove government regulations to create more jobs, restrict foreign imports to create more jobs, ban immigration from certain countries to curtail terrorism, build a wall to prevent illegal immigration, ban teaching contraception to prevent teenagers from having sex, allow guns to let armed citizen vigilantes defend us against mass murderers, privatize education, government services and infrastructure to make them more "economical", etc...

    And most of all: elect a strong leader who is not bound by laws to come in and kick ass and make the country great again.

    [Jun 08, 2017] The Qatar spat exposes Britains game of thrones in the Gulf by Paul Mason

    Notable quotes:
    "... Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf monarchies, organised in the so called Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) , have a long history of backing the spread of Sunni Islamist ideology outside the region. Not just in Britain, but, for example, even in places such as rural Nigeria, where I've seen Gulf oil money used to incentivise Christians to convert, fuelling the religious conflict there. ..."
    "... Saudi Arabia is meanwhile prosecuting a war on Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen, using more than £3bn worth of British kit sold to it since the bombing campaign began. In return, it has lavished gifts on Theresa May's ministers: Philip Hammond got a watch worth £1,950 when he visited in 2015 . In turn, Tory advisers are picking up lucrative consultancy work with the Saudi government. ..."
    "... However, Salman has also escalated the Yemen war and escalated tensions with Iran – most notably by executing a prominent Shia cleric and 46 other opponents last year. ..."
    Jun 05, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

    This clash between Britain's allies in the so-called war on terror matters. If Corbyn is prime minister on Friday, there will be a break with the appeasement of jihadi-funding autocrats

    Great. Just what we need. Our self-styled key ally in the so-called war on terror – Saudi Arabia – just closed the airspace, land and sea borders with our other ally, Qatar , accusing it of supporting Isis. What's that about?

    Well, like almost everything in the region, it is about the strategic duplicity of the West, exacerbated by the childlike idiocy of the US president. Does it matter for Brits – other than those stuck at airports in the Gulf, or policy wonks obsessed with Middle Eastern conflicts?

    It matters on every street in Britain.

    Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf monarchies, organised in the so called Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) , have a long history of backing the spread of Sunni Islamist ideology outside the region. Not just in Britain, but, for example, even in places such as rural Nigeria, where I've seen Gulf oil money used to incentivise Christians to convert, fuelling the religious conflict there.

    But the Qataris have always punched above their weight in regional affairs, and displayed a more intelligent grasp on the strategic, demographic and cultural changes sweeping the Arab world.

    It was the Qataris who set up Al Jazeera, as a counterweight to the reactionary state media across the middle east, and to challenge the US media's right to set the global narrative about the Islamic world.

    Qatar supported the short-lived Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt and still supports and shelters the leaders of the Hamas government in Gaza . In Syria, Qatar spent up to $3bn (£2.3bn) in the first two years of the civil war bankrolling the rebels – allegedly including the al-Qaida-linked group al-Nusra Front.

    The Saudis, too, bankrolled Islamist rebels <