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Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few

Journalism Vacation from Truth is a direct threat to democracy. Without journalistic integrity, there is no democracy as the average voter cannot make an informed choice. Inverted totalitarism won some time ago.

Skepticism > Political Skeptic > Media-Military-Industrial Complex > Propaganda

News Neoliberal newspeak Recommended Links Fake News scare and US Neo-McCarthyism Purple revolution against Trump Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak
Demonization of Putin Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Obama's Putin-did-it fiasco Media-Military-Industrial Complex Anti Trump Hysteria
Doublespeak Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Freedom of speech played by Western MSM as three card monte Patterns of Propaganda The importance of controlling the narrative
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Cold War II "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism as the USA version of Neoliberal ideology  Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers New American Militarism
Swiftboating: Khan gambit against Trump at Democratic Convention Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" Deception as an art form The Deep State National Security State Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law
Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair US and British media are servants of security apparatus The attempt to secure global hegemony American Exceptionalism Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Lewis Powell Memo Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Edward Lucas as agent provocateur Groupthink Soft propaganda
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' The Real War on Reality Nation under attack meme Bullshit as MSM communication method
Neo-fascism Classic Hypocrisy of British Ruling Elite Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Big Uncle is Watching You What's the Matter with Kansas Media as a weapon of mass deception
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass The Good Soldier Svejk Nineteen Eighty-Four Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given,
rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content.
If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion.

jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015

I think journalists today — elite journalists at least — absorb the biases of the ruling neoliberal oligarchy far more readily than they used to do. The media establishment is populated by yes-men. I do not understand how any skeptical person can, in good conscience, trust a western MSM description of foreign events. You need a second source to compare coverage. The mainstream media gives us no real news. Just the regurgitation of  talking points they were given. Seeing how they treat the concept of truth these days, one might think that 1984 dystopia was an understatement.  Truth killing is a meta-issue ( nationalinterest.org

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth — factual reality — is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. 

Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently. 

To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

If you take in television news as truthful information, that's all a critically thinking person needs to know about you. In reality this is propaganda, pure and simple. Propaganda can be  defined as a war on reality using fake news, disinformation, projection, witch-hunts (see neo_Mccarthhyism)  and other methods. An attempt to create an artificial reality.  The key here is controlling the narrative.  For example, "fake news" hysteria is a perfect method of suppressing of dissent and questions about MSM ties to three-letter agencies: 

Journalists manipulate us in the interest of the Powerful. Do you also have the feeling, that you are often manipulated by the media and  lied to? Then you're like the majority of Germans. Previously it was considered as a "conspiracy theory". Now it revealed by an Insider, who tells us what is really happening under the hood.

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds  projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany 

...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

Gekaufte Journalisten - Medienwelt Enthüllungen Bücher - Kopp Verlag

Simplifying, the US MSM foreign events media coverage (and large part of domestic coverage related to the opposition to neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization, see Anti Trump Hysteria during elections and immediately after them ) has little to do with the reality and is mostly a barometer of the paranoia of the US neoliberal elite.  It is 100% propaganda, or as CBS like to call it "fake news".

How does Fake History and Fake News in the US MSM gradually superseded their reality-based version (which never was perfect, and often quite distorted)  is a very interesting question but it is too big for this page. I would only say that this process is closely connected with the process of the neoliberalization of the US society which started in full force in late 70th (see also late Sheldon Wolin  notion of  Inverted Totalitarism) . We can take election of Reagan as a starting point although the process started immediately after WWII. From this point "fake news" were enforced on the US society as the only acceptable narrative? Which, is essence, is a real war on reality.

It also could be that the process started earlier, immediately after  WWII with the creation of CIA. The question whether  representative democracy is compatible with the existence large all-powerful and largely uncontrollable intelligence  agencies is another interesting question to ask.  At some point any society with powerful intelligence  agencies can come to the situation when the tail wags the dog. In the USA this probably happened  around 1963, with the JFK assassination.  In a way the USSR via Truman enforced its model of governance on the USA ;-). Creation of intelligence agencies by Truman was actually the act of the creation of national security state. Which could be  viewed as an official end of the US democracy and quick (less then two decades) rise to power of deep state (with the victory demonstrated to the US people in 1963).    With it the huge apparatus of state propaganda (and by extension means of suppressing of dissent) intelligence  agencies, which gradually acquired political power including considerable (but not yet absolute, that will come much later, after 9/11) level of control of MSM  (see Church Committee - Wikipedia ). 

After 1963, the level outrage in the society was such that there were some meek attempts to check this power, especially the power of intelligence agencies over the MSM (Church Committee - Wikipedia  was probably the most well known) but they lead to nowhere.

Principles of War propaganda

 Principles are are well known since the WWI (Falsehood in War-Time):

1. We do not want war.
2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
9. Our cause is sacred. "The ages-old 'God bless America' is playing once more."
10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.

The blog empirestrikesblack cites Belgian investigative journalist Michel Collon who has outlined five principles driving war propaganda:

  1. Obscure one’s economic interests;
  2. Appear humanitarian in work and motivations;
  3. Obscure history;
  4. Demonize the enemy; and
  5. Monopolize the flow of information.

Neo McCarthyism

Neo McCarthyism campaign which was launched around mid 2016 by Democratic Party operatives as tactical tool to distract attention from DNC corruption and illegal removal of Bernie Sanders from the Democratic ticket after lection of Trump turned into important component of color revolution against Trump. And was fueled not only by MSM but also powerful factions of neoliberals and neocons in US intelligence agencies concerted about their future and the level of financing of "national security parasites".  They also have skeletons in the closet to hide (especially FBI and CIA) and did not prepare well to the Trump victory as this was a huge surprise for everybody including Trump himself.  See Steele dossier and Strzok-gate

Please note that the original McCarthyism campaign lasted more then a decade. And McCarthyism was not exactly or only about Communist infiltration into the US goverment. It has elements of a more general framework of suppressing any "dissidents" who question "official narrative" and simultaneously served as the framework of brainwashing of population creating a stereotype of enemy, in best Bolsheviks, or, if you wish Nazi Germany, style. In other words, like in famous Orwell novel 1984, under McCarthyism questioning of official narrative has  become a "though  crime" (much like it was in the USSR, especially under Stalinism period).   And repressions were real, although far less extensive and brutal, than in the USSR in 30th.  Thousands of people lost jobs and were blacklisted. Many ostracized, especially from artistic circles, committed suicides.

While Senator McCartney has a certain gist for blackmailing people and, being an alcoholic, he probably would be a suitable candidate for high position in NKVD, he was not a pioneer. He was just a talented follower. This type of modern witch hunt was first implemented on large scale by Bolsheviks in Russia after 1917.  Actually Bolsheviks originated many modern methods of brainwashing of the population.  Which later were enhanced and further developed in Nazi Germany and than imported to the USA after WWII.

That all brings us to the concept of "deep state" and its control of MSM.  The problem with the "deep state" approach to governance is that it replicates Bolshevism on a new, more polished,  level, with high officials of intelligence agencies, Wall Street and  military industrial complex as a new Politburo.  Which is not elected but still controls that nations. So much for remnants of democracy in the USA.  That does not mean that some deviations from the "Party line" are impossible: the election of Trump is one  such event. But loop at the power of the reaction of the "deep state" on this event. Not that Trump (who can be viewed as some kind of Republican "Change we can believe in" Obama" ) was intended to follow his election promises in any case.  The level of vetting of candidates is two party system probably is higher then many of us suspect.

As currently there is no alternative to neoliberalism, the current situation will continue to exist. Notwithstanding  the fact that neoliberal ideology was discredited after 2008 financial crisis, much like Bolshevism in 60th. Bolshevism as a theocratic ideology was essentially dead after WWII (although it managed to kick the can down the road for another 45 years). After 60the Soviet people despite constant brainwashing started to have wide-ranging doubts about the communist state and communist ideology. Listening to state-sponsored propaganda radio-stations from the West such as BBC and Voice of America became national pasture of Soviet citizens, especially educated one. Despite all the jamming.  Similar situation happened with the USA after 2008, when citizen suddenly start showing some level of interest RT broadcasts and views on internal situation in the USA ;-). And, of cause, all this needs to be  stopped. In the name of the "health of the state", democracy be dumned (religious term which literally means "condemned to eternal punishment")

In this particular sense, imitating the enemy by the USA elite after WWII, which was done to fight communist  threat (which was overblown) was a very dangerous course with far reaching consequences.  The new level of this process of "imitating  the enemy" now started with the USA -- the rise of alternative press (kind of Samizdat replica from Soviet past) and clumsy attempt of the deep state to suppress it claiming that they are propagator of "fake news" with the subtext that they are Russian agents  (the campaign which spectacularly backfired: which the help of President Trump tweets this term now became the standard nickname of the "official" US MSM).  That brings us directly to revising Stalin's "Show trials" and corresponding witch-hunt in the USSR.  Appointing  Muller to investigate Trump for "Russian connection" (so called "Russiagate") replays favorite theme of accusing enemies of Stalin of being British agents.  On a new level incorporating set of political technologies of overthrowing the legitimate government commonly known  as "color revolution" technologies. But in both cases it is all about eliminating political rivals.

In broader context the current practice of manipulating population is similar to "high demand cults" style practice  -- Bolshevism actually can be best viewed as a religious cult merged with the political movement, much like political Islam today ( Belief-coercion in high demand cults ):

They use all of the techniques as "low demand" faith groups use: requiring members to accept a system of beliefs, conforming to certain behavioral norms; expecting them to involve themselves in the life of the congregation, etc. However, mind-control groups add many additional methods, and take them all to a much higher level. Some are:

Members are not physically restrained from leaving the group. They are not held prisoner. They can walk away at any time. But there are strong pressures to remain. If they left, all social and emotional support would disappear; they will often be shunned. Some groups teach that God will abandon or punish them if they leave. They may be told that they will die in the imminent war of Armageddon if they leave the protection of the group.

The main methods here always was the generation and totalitarian control of "suitable" narrative (that's why Sheldon Wolin called neoliberal society "inverted totalitarism"):

"The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an "official narrative" that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between "the truth" as defined by the ruling classes and any other "truth" that contradicts their narrative. "

Gerald Celente coined the  "presstitutes", which is obviously politically incorrect, but still reasonably precise term: presstitutes sell themselves to neoliberal establishment for access and governments to prosper financially and to keep their jobs. In the USSR journalist were called "soldiers of the Party" so in the less humiliating way we can call them "soldiers of neoliberal establishment" ;-). 

Due to the size an introductory article was converted to a separate page Neoliberal Propaganda


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[Jul 19, 2018] Why Are Thousands of Teslas Sitting In a Field in California Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... " The spokesperson also added depending on the vehicle's configuration , Model 3 wait times are currently 1 to 3 months", but spokeshuman did not explain why no base models will ever be produced. ..."
"... " Tesla ditched reservations and opened up Model 3 sales to anyone for a $2,500 deposit." that's because reservations are refundable....as long as the cash holds out, sales deposits apparently not. ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Why Are "Thousands" of Teslas Sitting In a Field in California?

by Tyler Durden Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:14 129 SHARES

"There's so much inventory here, it's crazy."

When Tesla finally met its Model 3 production run rate target, astute investors and analysts pointed out the use of the word "factory gated" in the company's press release: "Not only did we factory gate 5000 Model 3's , but we also achieved the S & X production target for a combined 7000 vehicle week!" Musk wrote in an email to his staff that week.

It was a term that Tesla hadn't used before.

Now, thanks to a couple of sleuths on Twitter, we may have just found out what the term means. Twitter Tesla sleuth @ISpyTSLA, with the help of others, has been trying to figure out exactly where all these vehicles are winding up. @ISpyTSLA found that it appears that "thousands" of vehicles are being stored "in a field" 500 E Louise Ave, Lathrop, CA 95330.

A google map visual of the address:

https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m18!1m12!1m3!1d4662.698973837076!2d-121.28654537841399!3d37.808864379125275!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x8090155fd699ce2b%3A0xc0fa315c162ac28b!2s500+E+Louise+Ave%2C+Lathrop%2C+CA+95330!5e1!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1532029694182

According to public records, the property was also available for lease just 6 months ago , suggesting that Tesla leased it recently. Why?

Perhaps as a place to temporarily dump cars that should be 'off the books' or as some said,' "There's so much inventory here, it's crazy."

The accompanying video appears to show "thousands" of Tesla vehicles just rusting in the open air under the scorching California sun.

Additional video shows the Twitter users initial approach to the property, which appears to have a gate with a warning sign that the premises are being video monitored.

The Twitter user notes that trucks seem to be bringing cars in, but not out. Follow up Tweets noted that "there's no real activity in the inventory lot" before noting that "some cars are coming out".

Meanwhile, as another Twitter user noted, another just as vast pile of Model 3s can be found near the Burbank Hollywood Airport.

The reaction from Twitter was underwhelming.

Great News Lemmings! All of our 5K Burst week cars are sitting in a scrap heap. This is GREAT news, we are going to make submarines out of them. Elon $TSLA

-- William B. Smith (@blainefundlp) July 19, 2018

But why stash the cars there? Is it to optimize net working capital and give investors - and auditors - the impression of more liquidity than is actually available?

Surely this will, or should, be one of the "boring" questions asked on the company's conference, if PricewaterhouseCoopers doesn't ask first.

Meanwhile, Tesla already had to fend off a downgrade from Needham this morning, who warned that Model 3 refunds were moving faster than deposits, something we documented here over a month ago .

"Based on our checks, refunds are outpacing deposits as cancellations accelerate," wrote analyst Rajvindra Gill in the note Thursday. "The reasons are varied: extended wait times, the expiration of the $7,500 credit, and unavailability of the $35k base model."

"In August '17, TSLA cited a refund rate of 12%. Almost a year later, we believe it has doubled and outpaced deposits. Model 3 wait times are currently 4-12 months and with base model not available until mid-2019, consumers could wait until 2020," Gill added.

This morning Tesla refuted this, however, with the discovery of this new lot Tesla's PR spin job for today may only be getting started.


Manthong -> macholatte Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

At what desert ground level temperature Tesla batteries spontaneously combust?

Bear -> Manthong Thu, 07/19/2018 - 21:07 Permalink

Cars probably awaiting batteries

Hugh_Jorgan -> Manthong Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:35 Permalink

There probably aren't any batteries in them. These cars are in various states of technical completeness. Processes that were too time-consuming and parts that were not readily available were skipped in order to complete their ridiculous publicity stunt. No one likely knows the missing bits for any given car so they are junk. This is what happens when you are able to do what you're doing because of lots of "other-people's money". 4th turning bitchez, gross waste and abuse. All the big manufacturers are doing it, why shouldn't Tesla?

Endgame Napoleon -> mkkby Thu, 07/19/2018 - 20:34 Permalink

Elon Musk manufactures here in the USA. Most American car manufacturers, other than Ford, took bigly bailout money from American taxpayers and then set up shop in racially homogenous, cheap-labor countries in China & Latin America. Ford went straight to Mexico, bypassing the bailout cash.

"Profitable" American car manufacturers still do some production in the USA, mostly hiring groups of young temps. They pay the youthful, blue-collar temp workers more than most white-collar temp jobs around here offer.

About 5 years ago, a local car manufacturer was paying temps $17 per hour, as opposed to the typical $10 per hour offered to white-collar non-college-grad office workers or $12 per hour for white-collar college-grad office workers. I recently saw an article, suggesting that the same American car manufacturer is now paying young temps even more, quite a bit more.

The article was adorned with a photo of an aging union worker, but no explanation was provided about how this system really works, with the young temps hired to do the bulk of the physically demanding labor. Due to senority, a small group of old union workers avoid that work, doing the cushier tasks.

The liberal agenda pusher who wrote the article, sticking a photo on it with an especially aged union worker, was probably promoting the faulty idea that America needs more immigration to fill those jobs due to an aging population, when, in fact, the young Millennial generation is BIGGER than the aging Boomer generation.

Furthermore, American citizens often get on lists to fill those high-paying temp jobs in car manufacturing. Applicants often have six-month waiting periods due to the massive number of job seekers, chasing those rare, high-paying TEMPORARY jobs.

Much like state jobs, US citizens must wait to get a good-paying temp job with those car manufacturers, and if the person who wrote the article had talked to temps who actually worked those jobs, s/he would know it. But it might not matter; advocates of mass-scale immigration gonna advocate.

Sokhmate -> Antifaschistische Thu, 07/19/2018 - 19:30 Permalink

Conservative numbers. I clocked the temperature of my black dashboard sitting in the sun in a town of balmy 70 degrees F at 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit

any_mouse -> beemasters Thu, 07/19/2018 - 20:06 Permalink

Tne Media helped establish Musk as a cult figure. Reality is catching up with a false god, that is what's happening. At what point will Musk throw a kool aid party for MuskCar employees under the tent.

SIOP -> Rubicon Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:36 Permalink

" Isn't it what all car manufacturers do? " Yes, but it's Tesla so it's different somehow.

Sapere aude -> SIOP Thu, 07/19/2018 - 17:41 Permalink

No its not what other car manufacturers do if they have so many orders to fill? only car manufacturers forward producing and estimating demand need store them but most adjust manufacturing levels to avoid it now as its expensive to store, and even non registered vehicles decline in value and are subject to damage.

Tesla with back orders should have no need at all to store cars, with such a professed backlog, so the fact they have is highly suspicious.

It might suggest to some analysts that the vehicles are not completed not safe or something else is awry.

Banana Republican -> Rubicon Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:50 Permalink

It doesn't even look like "thousands" of cars to me. A quick drone flyover would clear this question up. And sure, this is what all car manufacturers do. Transshipment, rework, whatever. I mean, what else would you do? Put a tent over them? Everything about Tesla is stupid, and I'm enjoying their failure. But stories like this give credence to Musk's paranoid assertions that the world is out to destroy him.

DontWorry -> SloMoe Thu, 07/19/2018 - 17:21 Permalink

Back in the old days of software we called it 'shipping bricks'. The new version of the software wasn't ready, but we booked orders, so we slapped labels on blank disks, but em in boxes with manuals and sent em out. Customer called a few days later when the software was ready, and we said, 'oh sorry, must have gotten a defective one, we are fed exing a new disk in the mail.

These may look like Teslas, but they didn't pass tests or are unsellable for some reason, so they count them as 'gated inventory' Same thing

adr Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

The increase in TSLA market cap more than covered the few thousand "cars" Tesla needs to hide that will never actually be sold, well until Elon called a hero a pedophile.

This is how the great publicly traded con economy works. You aren't producing product to sell, you are only manufacturing a story to sell stock. Since stock based compensation makes you a billionaire even if your company loses billions of dollars, what incentive is there to turn a profit?

You end up with more scams than productive corporations. If there was no stock market, Walmart would exist, but Amazon would not. Walmart is profitable in the billions of dollars, Amazon is not. Bezos could not be worth $150billion without the scam of publicly traded shares because it would take a few thousand years to pay out $150billion to Bezos from Amazon's profit.

Meanwhile Walmart could pay a few executives $1 billion per year and have plenty of profit left. Why is one company worth $250 billion, less than half revenue and the other near $850 billion with less than $200 billion in revenue?

Lie_Detector Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:34 Permalink

Not only Tesla is "storing" cars. All the majors appear to be doing the same. I live near Flint MI and you would NOT BELIEVE the number of lot's, fields, and empty spaces in the area that are FULL of late model vehicles. I suspect most are lease returns that are being kept out of the market to keep prices elevated. I have a 21 year old pick up truck. It is paid for. I would buy a newer truck but they are way too expensive. We have a newer SUV, also paid for. When the "big 3" decide to sell some of those lease returns at a reasonable price I MAY look at buying one. I WILL NOT BUY ONE for the prices they want. I just purchased a nice home for less than $40K so why would I buy a depreciating asset for the same amount?

BocceBaal Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:37 Permalink

Tesla delayed some deliveries until July, probably so that they could reach 200K cars sold this quarter and have the $7500 tax credit until Q4. But now that they've sold 200K, it makes no sense to hang onto them unless they don't have a buyer. Maybe that's why they opened the Model 3 builder site to everyone? Could it really be that they've run through all of the Model 3 preorders because most people who signed up to buy a $35K car aren't interested in paying $49K minimum as it is now?

Justapleb -> BocceBaal Thu, 07/19/2018 - 19:18 Permalink

This is a reasonable interpretation. Best case for Musk. In islolation (lol) it doesn't seem fatal.

But even so, he has higher inventory control costs. His labor costs have proven higher too. Down the line these cars have no dealer network to service or repair them, and to provide it is [would cost] billions.

not dead yet -> HilteryTrumpkin Thu, 07/19/2018 - 17:53 Permalink

Yea and the Tesla tards are all gaga over the 30% profit margin the 3 will bring as indicated by those that tear down and analyze the vehicle. We're all gonna be rich when Tesla stock hits 10,000 by the end of the year. Booya. What you delusional Musk lovers should do is learn the difference between GROSS PROFIT, which is that touted 30%, and NET PROFIT. Gross profit only includes the direct costs to produce the car, materials and labor, but does not include selling, general, and administrative which will consume that 30% "profit" and then some. General expenses such as warranty work, electricity, paying engineers and secretaries and other non direct manufacturing personnel such as material handlers and plant cleanup and trash disposal and maintenance people etc, "free charging", R&D, interest on the debt, sales offices, etc etc. In the past your boy could brag about the cash pile on hand most of which was accumulated for PR purposes by delaying payment to suppliers.

Central Ohio Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:46 Permalink

Reminds me of someone who once touted, 'transparency.'

Kendle C Thu, 07/19/2018 - 17:47 Permalink

Not since "Who Killed the Electric Car" have so many with axes to grind began fueling this bazaar anti-Tesla barrage. Musk is part of "those who do" while "those that can't" SHIT ALL OVER EVERYBODY who can.

Behind this is a hedge fund with a heavy short position, oil industry think tanks, and just plain shits parading on some fucking adolescent thing called "Twitter".

Have you dumb asses looked at the quantities of warehoused traditional cars by all other manufacturers? Youtube it if you don't believe. As to you haters and inflammatory dickheads, it's time to stop whacking it and eat the fucking cracker.

not dead yet -> Kendle C Thu, 07/19/2018 - 18:41 Permalink

You really are delusional. "Who Killed the Electric Car' is nothing but a hit piece on GM. GM killed their own electric not the electric industry like idiots want to believe. Their car although state of the art at the time had little range with the old tech batteries that were available at the time and would have been extremely expensive to build as it had no parts in common with other vehicles in their line. Plus at the time there was absolutely no public demand for electrics. The current flurry of electrics coming on the market is not because of Tesla, as you cult members want to believe, but from the hugely funded enviros pushing for the elimination of all ICE cars. In Germany and a few other countries they have passed or are in the process of legislating no new ICE cars to be sold by a certain date, anywhere from 2025 to 2030 depending on country, and all ICE cars off the road by 2050 or other dates depending on country.

Recently there was a complete fiction hit piece that oil companies outspend enviros by 10 to 1 on lobbying. Enviro organizations such as Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Tom Steyer and other billionaires, and other enviro groups spend most of their budgets, which is in the billions, on lobbying. Under Obama his EPA pursued a "sue and settle" policy to encourage enviro groups to sue the EPA which would settle quickly as a way to get funds into the enviros pockets. Not to mention the hundreds of billions given to enviros by governments around the world. The Obama EPA refused to release to Congress the science on which their rulings were made because most of that "science" was bullshit written by enviro activists. The EPA advisors were all enviro activists. When Trump put Pruitt in charge of the EPA you clowns claimed he was anti science when he shit canned the activist old boy network and set up debates from all sides. Under Pruitt they took money destined for activists and used it clean up real pollution in Superfund sites which the Obama EPA ignored.

The other manufacturers can afford to warehouse cars as they make real profits. They also have to buy "pollution permits" to sell their cars in Commiefornia, which ends up in Tesla's pockets even though they pollute worse the ICE though not directly. As it is your boy is no different than the other manufacturers yet, except for ZH and other sites willing to print the truth, the general media, especially tech sites, can't get enough of licking Musk's balls and stroking his ego by wrongly calling him a genius who is going to change the world. Every single market your boy is in from Powerwalls to solar panels to cars there is experienced and well funded competition but yet the delusional refuse to believe it. His factory of the future, which was going to change the way cars are built, was a huge failure as in many procedures humans are better than robots which is why other car companies still employ humans. Your boy who was going to change the way cars are sold is opening dealerships. Plus Tesla is opening large numbers of repair shops contrary to the belief of many Tesla fanbois that Tesla's run forever without any repairs.

Kendle C -> not dead yet Thu, 07/19/2018 - 20:49 Permalink

Boy did I scratch off your scab! Feeling accused? BTW cut back on "enviro-whatever" ok, 'cus it really sounds stupid. Your writing is dense, machine like, staid, crystalized, like a walking dead pedantic. Your reality is your own, there in your hermit crab shell, I wish you a constant stream of nutritional plankton, return to your place on the coral wreath.

yarpos -> Kendle C Thu, 07/19/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

Notice you came back with nothing but name calling and a writing style critique. Another content free liberal, once you scratch one layer deep past the talking points.

Chaotix Thu, 07/19/2018 - 17:47 Permalink

Production does not always mean demand. In today's' ideology, production pays the rent, as long as the feds keep bailing you out. For years there have been photos of new car graveyards. It gives the charts something good to say.
"We produced 7,000 cars this week" gives the illusion of high demand for product, while not indicating who the buyers are. Part of the Sales illusion.

ejbonk Thu, 07/19/2018 - 18:59 Permalink

1 Problem. Tesla Vehicles Are Made From Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys. So They Do Not Rust ! This Tells Me Someone Didn't Do The Proper Research or Proof Reading .

larrythelogger -> ejbonk Thu, 07/19/2018 - 19:14 Permalink

Yeah, well if you actually DO proper research you'll find that only iron and steel rust. Aluminum corrodes, forms a thin layer of oxidized aluminum over its surface which does protect further surface corrosion. However, in a salt environment, even a teeny little bit of salt and water, like say salt found in desert areas, will cause severe corrosion where the aluminum turns to dust. If it rains in Lathrop followed by lots of wind, any and all unprotected aluminum WILL turn to dust and that right quick if left that way. Ask any Navy or Marine Corps pilot or any Navy or Marine Corps aircraft maintenance person whose served at sea and flew or worked on any number of aircraft. So thanks for the "they do not rust" warning so that "someone" could do Proper Research or Proof Reading. Good tip.

not-me---it-wa Thu, 07/19/2018 - 21:59 Permalink

interesting tidbits from downgrade announcement:

" The spokesperson also added depending on the vehicle's configuration , Model 3 wait times are currently 1 to 3 months", but spokeshuman did not explain why no base models will ever be produced.

" Tesla ditched reservations and opened up Model 3 sales to anyone for a $2,500 deposit." that's because reservations are refundable....as long as the cash holds out, sales deposits apparently not.

[Jul 19, 2018] Putin Asked Trump Permission to Interrogate Obama's Ambassador

Notable quotes:
"... McFaul: "Russia made the whole story up." Typical projection. And Browder only became a critic of Putin (the russian justice system) after his criminal enterprise was uncovered. ..."
"... As a "red blooded, Bible believing American", one who has served under oath, and know the duties and penalties, I suggest it's perhaps the best "diplomatic move" seen since Mr. Putin took up the Secretary of State's offer, took Syria's chemical weapons, and took up truly ridding the Nation of terrorists, both those of Saudi, and those my own government made. ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | russia-insider.com

This is pure brilliance on Russia's part. It wont happen, but it draws attention to the Browder story, and discredits McFaul by association. Very smart. Update : It appears Michael McFaul is really getting nervous, tweeting like a teenager on meth tonight:

"I hope the White House corrects the record and denounces in categorical terms this ridiculous request from Putin. Not doing so creates moral equivalency between a legitimacy US indictment of Russian intelligence officers and a crazy, completely fabricated story invented by Putin"

me title=

With The White House flip-flopping back and forth on what was actually said - and meant to be said - in Helsinki, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dropped the latest tape-bomb to blow the establishment's mind during to today's press conference.

Sanders reported that President Trump is open to a proposal from Vladimir Putin to let Russian authorities question the former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul .

While Trump reportedly made no commitments to Putin, the Russian president offered to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller to observe interrogations of the 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted by a U.S. grand jury last week for hacking Democratic Party email accounts.

Trump called it an "interesting idea" and an "incredible offer" at the news conference.

Sanders left the press corps dangling by concluding that:

"The president will work with his team and we'll let you know if there's an announcement on that front."

As The Hill reports, Russia state-owned outlet RT reported that Russia wanted to question McFaul and the author of the so-called Steele dossier, Christopher Steele, among others in its investigation into American financier Bill Browder.

Browder is a prominent critic of Putin who lobbied on behalf of the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions against Russia.

McFaul has denounced the possibility of his being questioned by Russian officials, and has called on Trump to condemn the proposal .

"Putin has been harassing me for a long time," McFaul said on Twitter on Wednesday.

"That he now wants to arrest me, however, takes it to a new level. I expect my government to defend me and my colleagues in public and private ."

And went on...

Does he seem nervous to you?


Source: Zero Hedge Putin Asked Trump Permission to Interrogate Obama's Ambassador This is pure brilliance on Russia's part. It wont happen, but it draws attention to the Browder story, and discredits McFaul by association. Very smart. Tyler Durden 11 hours ago | 1,727 41 MORE: Politics Update : It appears Michael McFaul is really getting nervous, tweeting like a teenager on meth tonight:

"I hope the White House corrects the record and denounces in categorical terms this ridiculous request from Putin. Not doing so creates moral equivalency between a legitimacy US indictment of Russian intelligence officers and a crazy, completely fabricated story invented by Putin"

With The White House flip-flopping back and forth on what was actually said - and meant to be said - in Helsinki, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dropped the latest tape-bomb to blow the establishment's mind during to today's press conference.

Sanders reported that President Trump is open to a proposal from Vladimir Putin to let Russian authorities question the former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul .

While Trump reportedly made no commitments to Putin, the Russian president offered to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller to observe interrogations of the 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted by a U.S. grand jury last week for hacking Democratic Party email accounts.

Trump called it an "interesting idea" and an "incredible offer" at the news conference.

Sanders left the press corps dangling by concluding that:

"The president will work with his team and we'll let you know if there's an announcement on that front."

As The Hill reports, Russia state-owned outlet RT reported that Russia wanted to question McFaul and the author of the so-called Steele dossier, Christopher Steele, among others in its investigation into American financier Bill Browder.

Browder is a prominent critic of Putin who lobbied on behalf of the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions against Russia.

McFaul has denounced the possibility of his being questioned by Russian officials, and has called on Trump to condemn the proposal .

"Putin has been harassing me for a long time," McFaul said on Twitter on Wednesday.

"That he now wants to arrest me, however, takes it to a new level. I expect my government to defend me and my colleagues in public and private ."

And went on... Does he seem nervous to you?


Source: Zero Hedge

ole • 11 hours ago ,

McFaul: "Russia made the whole story up." Typical projection. And Browder only became a critic of Putin (the russian justice system) after his criminal enterprise was uncovered.

mis dos centavos • 11 hours ago ,

Considering McFaul is just another Pyatt, all his 'Russia made up" nonsense is hardly worth an afterthought. He's in dirt up to his ears.

mis dos centavos mis dos centavos 11 hours ago ,

Only reason he couldn't get to square one pulling off a Pyatt was because he had no banderite fascist-style goon squads in Russia under his command.

mis dos centavos mis dos centavos 11 hours ago ,

Think about that one, Mr. McFoul. It's not only Russia that can read you like a book.

mis dos centavos mis dos centavos 9 hours ago ,

I did like this one review of your insightful book, Mr. McFoul. If I send you the review, will you sign it? I'd be honored. Russia's Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin By Michael McFaul, Cornell University Press, 2001
http://exiledonline.com/mik...

This book is a four-hundred page testimonial to the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the American Russia-watching mafia. In its pages, Michael McFaul condemns himself again and again with staggering non-sequiturs, self-serving lies, crude misrepresentations of his own past and the recent history of Russia, and repeated failures to meet even the most basic standards of academic rigor.

tom 11 hours ago ,

Mr McFaul seems to be unfamiliar with the concept of law and a justice system. If he is indicted by the Russian courts and required for questioning, why is that any different from Russian "suspects" being indicted by US courts and required for questioning? Until the justice system has made its inquiries and run its course, no one can know for sure whether Mr McFaul is guilty of crimes or not. So why does he demand total immunity from justice in such a peremptory, entitled way?

Surely it can't be because he feels that Americans are in any way "superior", "exceptional", or immune from justice? Surely Mr McFaul isn't a crude common-or-garden racist? Surely...?

jsinton tom 8 hours ago ,

The rub here is the ambassador enjoys diplomatic immunity from prosecution for events that might have occurred during his tenure in Moscow from Russian courts. If the Trump DOJ decides he should face the music then he has no immunity.

Bad boy!! Otto!! tom 6 hours ago ,

Your third question answers your second question almost perfectly. Because he feels that Americans are in every way "superior", "exceptional", and should be immune from justice, no matter how heinous the crimes they have committed. There fixed it for ya. :-)

Brian Eggar 5 hours ago ,

What a circus and what a lot of clowns. As they say, nobody is above the law or at least they shouldn't be. I would say that Mr McFaul does protest too much and judging by his rattled statements appears that he has something to hide. Getting back to basics where is the $400K and how did it get there and did any go missing on the way?

David James 7 hours ago ,

Bonobo Administration exempt from Law, Prosecution or scrutiny---via the CIA.

Truth • 11 hours ago ,

McFaul is a bag boy shabbos goy for the Jooz that are trying to re-steal (1917, 1991, 2014) Russian wealth. Browder was a discarded Rothschild foreskin.

Constantine BMWA1 6 hours ago ,

Earl Browder was lauding Soviet Russia and its successes. He didn't fleece the Russian people. His grandson is a parasite that hates Russia and has siphoned his ill-gotten gains from the country. No comparison.

Kjell Hasthi 8 hours ago ,

The interesting side of the story is Trump can say yes as president. Not much Michael McFaul can do then? It will turn MSM Media upside down. Btw. NSA can give tips to the Russians about what to ask. They know everything. Assad probably would also like to question McCain regarding illegal stay in Syria

Tommy Jensen Kjell Hasthi 5 hours ago ,

What I like most of all is Trump´s comment "an interesting idea and an incredible offer". ha ha ha ha ha ha. It will probably not be possible to realize, but it shows Trump is not stupid at all.

Merijn 10 hours ago ,

Pay Back Time: Puppeticians will be taken out... One at the time...the Longer the Fun will Last...Russia just make all their Lies Visible... it is a very Strong Weapon... People are Tired and fed up with Liars, Traitors & Deceivers... Yesterday they caught our Foreign Minister Blok with some nice Statements...He's like a gut-Shot animal at the moment...one more Trick and He is Exit....just keep an eye on him...

https://www.aljazeera.com/n...
Stef Blok... You are a complete idiot... take your stuff and Buzz Off...the IMF or the European Union always can use Some Retarded Ex-Puppeticians Like You...

Ray Douglas 4 hours ago ,

I wouldn't advise Trump to go to Dallas.

Koroviev,Behemoth&Woland LLP 5 hours ago ,

View Hide

Snowglobe 20 minutes ago ,

Lee Stranahan Exposes Bill Browder, The Man Mentioned By Putin In Helsinki Summit Play Hide

Solzhenitsyn fan • an hour ago ,

Putin is not 8 Dan for nothing! Absolutely brilliant!

In the news:
https://www.smh.com.au/worl...

"Trump invited Putin to Washington for summit: White House". Washington: President Donald Trump invited Russian leader Vladimir Putin to Washington for a summit in the northern autumn. "In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a tweet on Thursday. "President Trump asked @AmbJohnBolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.

Sanders announced the invitation less than an hour after the Republican-led Senate effectively rebuked President Donald Trump for considering Russia's request to question US officials, giving voice to growing unease over the president's relationship with Putin following their summit in Helsinki on Monday...

Bobbie Taylor an hour ago ,

Russia should be allowed to question McFaul. We should honor the treaty. Unfortunately, the intelligence agencies have more power than the president at this point. They want to assassinate him.

Haut 4 hours ago ,

Everything about this guy just smells, Foul Lol

John McClain 4 hours ago ,

As a "red blooded, Bible believing American", one who has served under oath, and know the duties and penalties, I suggest it's perhaps the best "diplomatic move" seen since Mr. Putin took up the Secretary of State's offer, took Syria's chemical weapons, and took up truly ridding the Nation of terrorists, both those of Saudi, and those my own government made.

I was afraid for a bit, Syria was going to be broken, and I've served beside Syrian Army in Beirut, I respect them highly, consider them among the best professionals, as the world can easily see they are, and I hate what a criminal cadre are doing to my Country, while we enjoy our sit/coms and beer, and eat snacks and get fat.

God Bless Russia and President Putin, "it take's a man to make a man", is an old saying, and the same is true for Nations, I expect.
Semper Fidelis,
John McClain
Vanceboro, NC, USA

Snowglobe 4 hours ago ,

LOL! Thank you Mr. Putin! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Keep poking these idiots with a stick. :-)

Tommy Jensen Lycan Thrope 5 hours ago ,

There is only one solution for uncle Sam.
View Hide

Maria Angelica Brunell Solar Lycan Thrope 4 hours ago ,

You did not understand the proposal. Russian police interrogates the indicted Russian officials, and Mueller and team can be given permission to enter Russia and watch the interrogations. American police interrogates Browder and accomplices, and Russian police can be given permission to enter the US and watch the proceedings. Completely fair and transparent, according to existing Treaty between the 2 countries. Nobody can be extradited, because there is no extradition treaty between the countries.

Leon • 6 hours ago ,

If Russia is doing killing and poisoning, how come Soros and Browder are not killed, if anybody deserves - here are two biggest criminals and both of them are Joos.

[Jul 19, 2018] America Overrules Trump No Peace with Russia by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Notable quotes:
"... The governments of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, if their countries are to survive, must give up their deluded hopes of reaching agreements with the United States. No such possibility exists on terms that the countries can accept. ..."
"... American foreign policy rests on threat and force. It is guided by the neoconservative doctrine of US hegemony, a doctrine that is inconsistent with accepting the sovereignty of other countries. ..."
"... The Russians -- especially the naive Atlanticist Integrationists -- should take note of the extreme hostility, indeed, to the point of insanity, directed at the Helsinki meeting across the entirety of the American political, media, and intellectual scene ..."
"... There is no support for Trump's agenda of peace with Russia in the US foreign policy arena. The president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, spoke for them all when he declared that "We must deal with Putin's Russia as the rogue state it is." Russia is a " rogue state" simply because Russia does not accept Washington's overlordship. ..."
"... There is no support even in Trump's own government for normalizing relations with Russia unless the neoconservative definition of normal relations is used. By normal relations neoconservatives mean a vassal state relationship with Washington. That, and only that, is "normal." Russia can have normal relations with America only on the basis of this definition of normal. Sooner or later Putin and Lavrov will have to acknowledge this fact. ..."
"... A lie repeated over and over becomes a fact. That is what has happened to Russiagate. Despite the total absence of any evidence, it is now a fact in America that Putin himself put Trump in the Oval Office. That Trump met with Putin at Helsinki is considered proof that Trump is Putin's lackey, as the New York Times and many others now assert as self-evident. That Trump stood next to "the murderous thug Putin" and accepted Putin's word that Russia did not interfere in the election of the US president is regarded as double proof that Trump is in Putin's pocket and that the Russiagate story is true. ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The governments of Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, if their countries are to survive, must give up their deluded hopes of reaching agreements with the United States. No such possibility exists on terms that the countries can accept.

American foreign policy rests on threat and force. It is guided by the neoconservative doctrine of US hegemony, a doctrine that is inconsistent with accepting the sovereignty of other countries. The only way that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea can reach an agreement with Washington is to become vassals like the UK, all of Europe, Canada, Japan, and Australia.

The Russians -- especially the naive Atlanticist Integrationists -- should take note of the extreme hostility, indeed, to the point of insanity, directed at the Helsinki meeting across the entirety of the American political, media, and intellectual scene. Putin is incorrect that US-Russian relations are being held hostage to an internal US political struggle between the two parties. The Republicans are just as insane and just as hostile to President Trump's effort to improve American-Russian relations as the Democrats, as Donald Jeffries reminds us .

The American rightwing is just as opposed as the leftwing. Only a few experts, such as Stephen Cohen and Amb. Jack Matlock , President Reagan's ambassador to the Soviet Union, have spoken out in support of Trump's attempt to reduce the dangerous tensions between the nuclear powers. Only a few pundits have explained the actual facts and the stakes.

There is no support for Trump's agenda of peace with Russia in the US foreign policy arena. The president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, spoke for them all when he declared that "We must deal with Putin's Russia as the rogue state it is." Russia is a " rogue state" simply because Russia does not accept Washington's overlordship. Not for any other reason.

There is no support even in Trump's own government for normalizing relations with Russia unless the neoconservative definition of normal relations is used. By normal relations neoconservatives mean a vassal state relationship with Washington. That, and only that, is "normal." Russia can have normal relations with America only on the basis of this definition of normal. Sooner or later Putin and Lavrov will have to acknowledge this fact.

A lie repeated over and over becomes a fact. That is what has happened to Russiagate. Despite the total absence of any evidence, it is now a fact in America that Putin himself put Trump in the Oval Office. That Trump met with Putin at Helsinki is considered proof that Trump is Putin's lackey, as the New York Times and many others now assert as self-evident. That Trump stood next to "the murderous thug Putin" and accepted Putin's word that Russia did not interfere in the election of the US president is regarded as double proof that Trump is in Putin's pocket and that the Russiagate story is true.

[Jul 19, 2018] The Russian US Election Meddling Big Lie Won't Die by Stephen Lendman

Notable quotes:
"... Propaganda works, proved effective time and again – why it's a key tool in America's deep state playbook. ..."
"... Virtually anything repeated enough, especially through the major media megaphone, gets most people to believe it – no matter how preposterous the claim. ..."
"... Normalized relations with Russia and world peace are anathema notions in Washington. Bipartisan neocons infesting the US political establishment want none of it. America's hegemonic aims matter most – wanting dominance over planet earth, its resources and populations. Endless wars of aggression, color revolutions, and other unlawful practices harmful to human rights and welfare are its favored strategies. ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Propaganda works, proved effective time and again – why it's a key tool in America's deep state playbook.

Virtually anything repeated enough, especially through the major media megaphone, gets most people to believe it – no matter how preposterous the claim.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia meddled in America's political process – nothing.

Yet an earlier NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed most Americans believe the Russia did it Big Lie. A months earlier Gallup poll showed three-fourths of Americans view Vladimir Putin unfavorably.

Americans are easy marks to be fooled. No matter how many times they were deceived before, they're easily manipulated to believe most anything drummed into their minds by the power of repetitious propaganda – fed them through through the major media megaphone – in lockstep with the official falsified narrative.

America's dominant media serve as a propaganda platform for US imperial and monied interests – acting as agents of deception, betraying their readers and viewers time and again instead of informing them responsibly.

CNN presstitute Poppy Harlow played a clip on air of Reuters reporter Jeff Mason asking Putin in Helsinki the following question:

"Did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?"

Putin said: "Yes," he wanted Trump to win "because he talked about bringing the US-Russia relationship back to normal," as translated from his Russian language response.

Here's the precise translation of his remark:

"Yes, I wanted him to win, because he talked about the need to normalize US-Russia relations," adding:

"Isn't it natural to have sympathy towards a man who wants to restore relations with your country? That's normal."

Putin did not address the fabricated official narrative notion that he directed his officials to help Trump win. Yet CNN's Harlow claimed otherwise, falsely claiming he ordered Kremlin officials to help Trump triumph over Hillary.

He did nothing of the kind or say it, nor did any other Kremlin officials. No evidence proves otherwise – nothing but baseless accusations supported only by the power of deceptive propaganda.

Time and again, CNN, the NYT, and rest of America's dominant media prove themselves untrustworthy.

They consistently abandon journalism the way it's supposed to be, notably on geopolitical issues, especially on war and peace and anything about Russia.

After rejecting, or at least doubting, the official narrative about alleged Russian meddling in the US political process to aid his election, Trump backtracked post-Helsinki – capitulating to deep state power.

First in the White House, he said he misspoke abroad – then on CBS News Wednesday night, saying it's "true," deplorably adding:

Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, and he "would" hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for the interference – that didn't occur, he failed to stress.

Here's his verbatim exchange with CBS anchor Jeff Glor :

GLOR: "You say you agree with US intelligence that Russia meddled in the election in 2016."

TRUMP: "Yeah and I've said that before, Jeff. I have said that numerous times before, and I would say that is true, yeah."

GLOR: "But you haven't condemned Putin, specifically. Do you hold him personally responsible?"

TRUMP: "Well, I would, because he's in charge of the country. Just like I consider myself to be responsible for things that happen in this country. So certainly as the leader of a country you would have to hold him responsible, yes."

GLOR: "What did you say to him?"

TRUMP: "Very strong on the fact that we can't have meddling. We can't have any of that – now look. We're also living in a grown-up world."

"Will a strong statement – you know – President Obama supposedly made a strong statement. Nobody heard it."

"What they did hear is a statement he made to Putin's very close friend. And that statement was not acceptable. Didn't get very much play relatively speaking. But that statement was not acceptable."

"But I let him know we can't have this. We're not going to have it, and that's the way it's going to be."

There you have it – Trump capitulating to America's deep state over Russia on national television.

From day one in power, he caved to the national security state, Wall Street, and other monied interests over popular ones.

The sole redeeming part of his agenda was wanting improved relations with Russia and Vladimir Putin personally – preferring peace over possible confrontation, wanting the threat of nuclear war defused.

Despite tweeting post-Helsinki that he and Putin "got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match," his remarks on CBS News showed he'll continue dirty US business as usual toward Russia.

Anything positive from summit talks appears abandoned by capitulating to deep state power controlling him and his agenda.

Normalized relations with Russia and world peace are anathema notions in Washington. Bipartisan neocons infesting the US political establishment want none of it. America's hegemonic aims matter most – wanting dominance over planet earth, its resources and populations. Endless wars of aggression, color revolutions, and other unlawful practices harmful to human rights and welfare are its favored strategies.

Will Americans go along with sacrificing vital freedoms for greater security from invented enemies – losing both? Will US belligerent confrontation with Russia inevitably follow? Will mushroom-shaped denouement eventually kill us all?

*

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the CRG, Correspondent of Global Research based in Chicago.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org ( Home – Stephen Lendman ). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net .

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html "

[Jul 19, 2018] The Magnitsky Hoax by Philip Giraldi

A more serious question is: Was Browder MI6 agent or not? His conversion from the US to UK citizenship is highly unusual.
Notable quotes:
"... "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes," ..."
"... Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man's Fight for Justice ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
Jun 28, 2016 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

... I had the privilege of attending the first by invitation only screening of a documentary "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes," produced by Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. The documentary had been blocked in Europe through lawsuits filed by some of the parties linked to the prevailing narrative but the Newseum in Washington eventually proved willing to permit rental of a viewing room in spite of threats coming from the same individuals to sue to stop the showing.

Nekrasov by his own account had intended to do a documentary honoring Magnitsky and his employers as champions for human rights within an increasing fragile Russian democracy. He had previously produced documentaries highly critical of Russian actions in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine, and also regarding the assassinations of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London as well as of journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow. He has been critical of Vladimir Putin personally and was not regarded as someone who was friendly to the regime, quite the contrary. Some of his work has been banned in Russia.

After his documentary was completed using actors to play the various real-life personalities involved and was being edited Nekrasov returned to some issues that had come up during the interviews made during the filming. The documentary records how he sought clarification of what he was reading and hearing but one question inevitably led to another.

The documentary began with the full participation of American born UK citizen William Browder, who virtually served as narrator for the first section that portrayed the widely accepted story on Magnitsky. Browder portrays himself as a human rights campaigner dedicated to promoting the legacy of Sergei Magnitsky, but he is inevitably much more complicated than that. The grandson of Earl Browder the former General Secretary of the American Communist Party, William Browder studied economics at the University of Chicago, and obtained an MBA from Stanford.

From the beginning, Browder concentrated on Eastern Europe, which was beginning to open up to the west. In 1989 he took a position at highly respected Boston Consulting Group dealing with reviving failing Polish socialist enterprises. He then worked as an Eastern Europe analyst for Robert Maxwell, the unsavory British press magnate and Mossad spy, before joining the Russia team at Wall Street's Salomon Brothers in 1992.

He left Salomon in 1996 and partnered with the controversial Edmond Safra, the Lebanese-Brazilian-Jewish banker who died in a mysterious fire in 1999, to set up Hermitage Capital Management Fund. Hermitage is registered in tax havens Guernsey and the Cayman Islands. It is a hedge fund that was focused on "investing" in Russia, taking advantage initially of the loans-for-shares scheme under Boris Yeltsin, and then continuing to profit greatly during the early years of Vladimir Putin's ascendancy. By 2005 Hermitage was the largest foreign investor in Russia.

Browder had renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1997 and became a British citizen apparently to avoid American taxes, which are levied on worldwide income. In his book Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder and One Man's Fight for Justice he depicts himself as an honest and honorable Western businessman attempting to function in a corrupt Russian business world. That may or may not be true, but the loans-for-shares scheme that made him his initial fortune has been correctly characterized as the epitome of corruption, an arrangement whereby foreign investors worked with local oligarchs to strip the former Soviet economy of its assets paying pennies on each dollar of value. Along the way, Browder was reportedly involved in making false representations on official documents and bribery.

As a consequence of what came to be known as the Magnitsky scandal, Browder was eventually charged by the Russian authorities for fraud and tax evasion. He was banned from re-entering Russia in 2005, even before Magnitsky died, and began to withdraw his assets from the country. Three companies controlled by Hermitage were eventually seized by the authorities, though it is not clear if any assets remained in Russia. Browder himself was convicted of tax evasion in absentia in 2013 and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Browder has assiduously, and mostly successfully, made his case that he and Magnitsky have been the victims of Russian corruption both during and since that time, though there have been skeptics regarding many details of his personal narrative. He has been able to sell his tale to leading American politicians like Senators John McCain, Ben Cardin and ex-Senator Joe Lieberman, always receptive when criticizing Russia, as well as to a number of European parliamentarians and media outlets. But there is, inevitably, another side to the story, something quite different, which Andrei Nekrasov presents to the viewer.

Nekrasov has discovered what he believes to be holes in the narrative that has been carefully constructed and nurtured by Browder. He provides documents and also an interview with Magnitsky's mother maintaining that there is no clear evidence that he was beaten or tortured and that he died instead due to the failure to provide him with medicine while in prison or treatment shortly after he had a heart attack. A subsequent investigation ordered by then Russian President Dimitri Medvedev in 2011 confirmed that Magnitsky had not received medical treatment, contributing to this death, but could not confirm that he had been beaten even though there was suspicion that that might have been the case.

Nekrasov also claims that much of the case against the Russian authorities is derived from English language translations of relevant documents provided by Browder himself. The actual documents sometimes say something quite different. Magnitsky is referred to as an accountant, not a lawyer, which would make sense as a document of his deposition is apparently part of a criminal investigation of possible tax fraud, meaning that he was no whistleblower and was instead a suspected criminal.

Other discrepancies cited by Nekrasov include documents demonstrating that Magnitsky did not file any complaint about police and other government officials who were subsequently cited by Browder as participants in the plot, that the documents allegedly stolen from Magnitsky to enable the plotters to transfer possession of three Hermitage controlled companies were irrelevant to how the companies eventually were transferred and that someone else employed by Hermitage other than Magnitsky actually initiated investigation of the fraud.

In conclusion, Nekrasov believes there was indeed a huge fraud related to Russian taxes but that it was not carried out by corrupt officials. Instead, it was deliberately ordered and engineered by Browder with Magnitsky, the accountant, personally developing and implementing the scheme used to carry out the deception.

To be sure, Browder and his international legal team have presented documents in the case that contradict much of what Nekrasov has presented in his film. But in my experience as an intelligence officer I have learned that documents are easily forged, altered, or destroyed so considerable care must be exercised in discovering the provenance and authenticity of the evidence being provided. It is not clear that that has been the case. It might be that Browder and Magnitsky have been the victims of a corrupt and venal state, but it just might be the other way around. In my experience perceived wisdom on any given subject usually turns out to be incorrect.

Given the adversarial positions staked out, either Browder or Nekrasov is essentially right, though one should not rule out a combination of greater or lesser malfeasance coming from both sides. But certainly Browder should be confronted more intensively on the nature of his business activities while in Russia and not given a free pass because he is saying things about Russia and Putin that fit neatly into a Washington establishment profile. As soon as folks named McCain, Cardin and Lieberman jump on a cause it should be time to step back a bit and reflect on what the consequences of proposed action might be.

One should ask why anyone who has a great deal to gain by having a certain narrative accepted should be completely and unquestionably trusted, the venerable Cui bono? standard. And then there is a certain evasiveness on the part of Browder. The film shows him huffing and puffing to explain himself at times and he has avoided being served with subpoenas on allegations connected to the Magnitsky fraud that are making their way through American courts. In one case he can be seen on YouTube running away from a server, somewhat unusual behavior if he has nothing to hide.

A number of Congressmen and staffers were invited to the showing of the Nekrasov documentary at the Newseum but it is not clear if any of them actually bothered to attend, demonstrating once again how America's legislature operates inside a bubble of willful ignorance of its own making. Nor was the event reported in the local "newspaper of record" the Washington Post , which has been consistently hostile to Russia on its editorial and news pages.

A serious effort that a friend of mine described as "hell breaking loose" was also made to disrupt the question and answer session that followed the viewing of the film, with a handful of clearly coordinated hecklers interrupting and making it impossible for others to speak. The organized intruders, who may have gained entry using invitations that were sent to congressmen, suggested that someone at least considers this game being played out to have very high stakes.

The point is that neither Nekrasov nor Browder should be taken at their word. Either or both might be lying and the motivation to make mischief is very high if even a portion of the stolen $230 million is still floating around and available. And by the same measure, no Congressman or even the President should trust the established narrative, particularly if they persist in their hypocritical conceit that global human

Notheroldguy , August 8, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT

Gee, I know G. was a spook of some kind and I always read his articles wherever they turn up.. but how could he get this wrong unless on purpose: Magnitsky was no lawyer. He was an accountant and he was a co-conspirator in the frauds being perpetrated that resulted in the charges. He died alright but there is some shading to the thesis that the fraudsters had him bumped off because they knew he was a weak link. They bribed somebody in the prison to deny him medical care. Hey, much like they did to Milosevic knowing they couldn't convict him of their trumped up charges. Why would G. get wrong such a simple thing to determine? Hmm. I wonder..
anon Disclaimer , August 8, 2017 at 9:45 pm GMT
Why would you continue the falsehood of calling Magnitsky a lawyer? He was not a lawyer. Ever. He is and was an accountant and will remain that until Judgement Day. On the other other hand, calling him a lawyer is perhaps an even greater insult than calling him an accountant.

[Jul 19, 2018] America Doesn't Need Another Weakling NATO Ally The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... In contrast, the transatlantic alliance should advance American and European security. Absorbing former members of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union, thereby pushing the alliance up to the Russian Federation's border, proved to be a foolish move because it violated assurances made to Russian leaders. Despite being former KGB, Vladimir Putin never appeared to be ideologically antagonistic toward America. However, when he perceived Washington's behavior as threatening -- including dismembering Serbia, backing revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, and promising to include both nations in NATO -- it encouraged him to respond violently. ..."
"... Admitting new members is never costless. Aid will be necessary to improve their militaries. Moreover, newer members sometimes become the most demanding, like the Baltics and Poland, which insist that they are entitled to American bases and garrisons. ..."
"... Continuing expansion also reinforces the message that NATO is hostile toward Russia. That's the only country allies are joining to oppose, after all. Obviously, there are plenty of other reasons Moscow should distrust the United States, but reinforcing negative perceptions for no benefit at all is bad policy. ..."
"... The Mouse that Roared ..."
"... Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

America Doesn't Need Another Weakling NATO Ally Macedonia is the latest nation invited into the alliance, but how does that enhance America's (or Europe's) security? By Doug Bandow July 19, 2018

Utenriksdept / cc At last week's NATO summit, President Donald Trump denounced the allies for taking advantage of American taxpayers. Then he approved their latest subsidies. He even agreed to invite a military weakling, Macedonia, to join NATO, which will add yet another nation to our military dole.

When George Washington warned Americans against forming a "passionate attachment" to other countries, he might have been thinking of the Balkans. Indeed, a couple decades later, John Quincy Adams criticized proposals to aid Greece against the Ottoman Empire, which then ruled that region. America "goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy," he intoned.

On into the 20th century, the Balkans were in turmoil. Germany's "Iron Chancellor," Otto von Bismarck, warned that "the great European War would come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans." That's exactly what happened in 1914.

It took decades and two world wars for the Balkans to stabilize. But after the Cold War ended, Yugoslavia, which had emerged from Europe's previous convulsions, broke apart. One of the smaller pieces was Macedonia.

The battles among the Serbians, Croatians, and Bosnians were bloody and brutal. In contrast, Macedonia provided comic relief. The small, mountainous, landlocked nation of two million people won its independence without a fight in 1991, though Athens launched a verbal and economic war against Skopje over the latter's use of the name "Macedonia."

Perhaps modern Greeks feared that a resurrected Alexander the Great would lead the newly freed Macedonian hordes south and conquer Greece. Skopje entered the United Nations under the provisional name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM. In June, after only 27 years, the two governments agreed that Macedonia/FYROM would be called the Republic of North Macedonia -- though the decision must still be ratified by the Macedonian people in a referendum.

More serious was the insurgency launched by ethnic Albanians who made up about a quarter of the nation's population. The battle two decades ago over Kosovo inflamed ethnic relations in Macedonia, eventually resulting in a short-lived insurgency. Although the fighters disarmed, Skopje's politics remained nationalist and difficult. Last year, a more liberal administration took over, but the country's democratic institutions remain fragile.

Indeed, Freedom House only rates the nation "partly free." The group cites voter intimidation, political patronage networks, violent protests, and problems with judicial impartiality and due process. Particularly serious were the threats against press freedom, which led to a rating of "not free" in that area. While NATO's newer members tend to score lower than "Old Europe," as Donald Rumsfeld once referred to the original allies, Macedonia is a step further down. Only Turkey, an incipient dictatorship, is worse: it almost certainly would not be considered for membership today.

None of this mattered last week, however. After suffering Trump's many slings and arrows, alliance members approved an invitation for Skopje to join NATO. Macedonian lawmaker Artan Grubi called it "our dream coming true. We have been in the waiting hall for too long."

That's because Macedonia had hoped for an invite back in 2008 at the Bucharest summit, but was blocked by Athens over the name dispute, and has wanted to join ever since. Macedonia's Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska said, "With NATO membership, Macedonia becomes part of the most powerful alliance. That enhances both our security and economic prosperity." Money and status are expected to follow.

But how would this benefit the United States and other NATO members? James Ker-Lindsay at the London School of Economics made the astonishing claim that "opening the way for the country to join NATO would be a big win for the organization at a crucial time when concerns over Russian influence in the Western Balkans are growing in many capitals." As Skopje goes, so goes Europe? Not likely. If Washington and Moscow are engaged in a new "great game," it is not a battle for Macedonia.

In fact, Macedonia is a security irrelevancy, destined to require American aid to create the pretense that its military is fit for the transatlantic alliance. Skopje spent just $112 million on its armed forces last year, ahead of only one NATO member, Montenegro. That was barely 1 percent of its GDP, putting Macedonia near the back of the NATO pack.

With an 8,000-man military, one is tempted to ask, why bother? But then one could similarly pose that query to several other NATO members. Skopje's military is roughly the same size as Albania's, slightly bigger than Slovenia's, and about four times the size of Montenegro's. None will be of much use in a conflict with the only conceivable threat, Russia.

So why bring Macedonia into NATO?

Some American policymakers see alliance membership as a means to socialize nations like Macedonia, helping them move towards democracy. However, the European Union, which sets standards governing a range of domestic policies, has always been better suited to this task, and EU membership imposes no security obligations on Washington. With the name controversy tentatively resolved, Skopje could begin the EU accession process -- if the Europeans are willing. That is properly their -- not Washington's -- responsibility.

In contrast, the transatlantic alliance should advance American and European security. Absorbing former members of the Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union, thereby pushing the alliance up to the Russian Federation's border, proved to be a foolish move because it violated assurances made to Russian leaders. Despite being former KGB, Vladimir Putin never appeared to be ideologically antagonistic toward America. However, when he perceived Washington's behavior as threatening -- including dismembering Serbia, backing revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, and promising to include both nations in NATO -- it encouraged him to respond violently.

The Balkans are peripheral even to Europe and matter little to America's defense. The states and peoples there tend to be more disruptive and less democratic than their neighbors, reflecting the region's unstable history. (North) Macedonia's 8,000 troops aren't likely to be reborn as the Spartan 300 and hold off invading Russians. So why should America threaten war on Skopje's behalf?

Admitting new members is never costless. Aid will be necessary to improve their militaries. Moreover, newer members sometimes become the most demanding, like the Baltics and Poland, which insist that they are entitled to American bases and garrisons.

Expansion also complicates alliance decision-making. No doubt, Washington wishes its European allies would do what they're told: spend more, shut up, and deploy where America wants them. That doesn't work out very well in practice, alas, as Trump has discovered in Europe (though nations with smaller militaries are more likely to acquiesce than nations with bigger ones). An organization of 30 members, which NATO will become if Macedonia is added, is a more complex and less agile creature than one of 16, the number that existed before NATO raced east.

Continuing expansion also reinforces the message that NATO is hostile toward Russia. That's the only country allies are joining to oppose, after all. Obviously, there are plenty of other reasons Moscow should distrust the United States, but reinforcing negative perceptions for no benefit at all is bad policy.

Finally, expanding the alliance is nonsensical in light of the president's criticisms of the Europeans. Hiking U.S. military spending, increasing manpower and materiel deployments in Europe, and adding new members all contradict his demand that the allies do more and signal that the president is not serious in his demands. That leaves the Europeans with little incentive to act, especially since most of their peoples perceive few if any security threats.

Yet again President Trump has been exposed as a thoughtless blowhard. His rabid supporters have likely enjoyed his confrontational rhetoric, but he has done nothing to turn it into policy. The Europeans need only wait for his attacks to ebb and then they can proceed much the same as before. The status quo will continue to reign, impervious to change.

Montenegro always resembled the Duchy of Grand Fenwick from the delightful novel The Mouse that Roared . Macedonia is the Duchy of North Grand Fenwick, a slightly larger neighboring state with similar features but additional problems. Neither is remotely relevant to American security. America doesn't need yet another security black hole as an alliance partner.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .

[Jul 19, 2018] Iraqi protesters blame 'bad government, bad roads, bad people' by Patrick Cockburn

Notable quotes:
"... The Independent ..."
"... Read the first piece in Patrick Cockburn's latest series, 'Catastrophic drought threatens Iraq as major dams in surrounding countries cut off water to its great rivers', here . ..."
"... Part II, 'For this Iraqi tribe massacred by Isis, fear of the group's return is a constant reality', here ..."
"... Part III, 'After series of calamitous defeats, is Isis about to lose its last town?', here . ..."
"... Part III, 'Iraq unrest: Chaos reigns in the country even Saddam Hussein 'found difficult to rule', here. ..."
Jul 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

"The people want an end to the parties," chanted protesters, adapting a famous slogan of the Arab Spring , as they stormed the governor's office and the international airport in the Shia holy city of Najaf.

Part of the wave of demonstrations sweeping across central and southern Iraq, they demanded jobs, electricity, water and an end to the mass theft of Iraq's oil wealth by the political parties.

Beginning on 8 July, the protests are the biggest and most prolonged in a country where anti-government action has usually taken the form of armed insurgency.

The demonstrations are taking place in the heartlands of the Shia majority, reflecting their outrage at living on top of some of the world's largest oilfields, but seeing their families barely survive in squalor and poverty.

The protests began in Basra, Iraq's third largest city which is at the centre of 70 per cent of its oil production. A hand-written placard held up by one demonstrator neatly expresses popular frustration. It read:

"2,500,000 barrels daily
Price of each barrel = $70
2,500,000 x $70 = zero !!
Sorry Pythagoras, we are in Basra"

The protests quickly spread to eight other provinces, including Najaf, Kerbala, Nasariya and Amara.

In several places, the offices of the Dawa Party, to which the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi belongs, were burned or attacked, along with those of parties whom people blame for looting oil revenues worth hundreds of billions of dollars in the 15 years since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

As the situation deteriorated, Mr Abadi flew to Basra on 13 July, promising to make $3bn available to improve services and provide more jobs. After he left, his hotel was invaded by protesters.

The credibility of almost all Iraqi politicians is at a low ebb, the acute feeling of disillusionment illustrated by the low 44.5 per cent turnout in the parliamentary election on 12 May that produced no outright winner.

The poll was unexpectedly topped by the Sairoun movement of the populist nationalist cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, who has encouraged his followers to start protests against government corruption and lack of services since 2015.

The Sadrists, who emphasised their socially and economically progressive programme by allying themselves with the Iraqi Communist Party in the election, are playing a role in the current protests.

The demonstrations are also backed by the prestigious Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. At ground level, political activists and tribal leaders have set up a joint committee called "the Coordination Board for Peaceful Protests and Demonstrations in Basra", its purpose being to produce a list of demands, unite the protest movement, and keep their actions non-violent.

"The ends don't justify the means," says the committee in a statement. "Let us, being oppressed, not lead to the oppression of others."

A list of 17 demands is headed by one asking for a government timetable for supplying water and electricity, both of which are short at a time of year when the temperature sometime exceeds 50C, making it one of the hottest places on earth.

Local people claim that the last time that the port city of Basra, once called the Venice of the Gulf, had an adequate supply of drinking water was in 1982. Iran had been supplying some extra electricity, but has cut this back because of its own needs and failure of Iraq to pay on time.

The second demand of the protesters is for jobs with "priority to the competent sons of Basra", the discharge of foreign labourers and employment for a quarter of people living in the oilfields.

Lack of jobs is a source of continuing complaint all over Iraq. Much of its oil income already goes on paying 4.5 million state employees, but between 400,000 and 420,000 young people enter the workforce every year with little prospects of employment.

Anger towards the entire political class is intense because it is seen as a kleptocratic group which syphoned off money in return for contracts that existed only on paper and produced no new power plants, bridges or roads.

Political parties are at the centre of this corruption because they choose ministries, according to their share of the vote in elections or their sectarian affiliation, which they then treat as cash cows and sources of patronage and contracts.

Plundering like this and handing out of jobs to unqualified people means that many government institutions have become incapable of performing any useful function.

Radical reform is difficult because the whole system is saturated by corruption and incompetence. Technocrats without party backing who are parachuted into ministries become isolated and ineffective.

One party leader told The Independent that he thought that the best that could be done "would be to insist that the parties appoint properly qualified people to top jobs."

The defeat of Isis in 2017 with the recapture of Mosul means that Iraqis are no longer absorbed in keeping their families safe so they have they have more time to consider "corruption" – a word they use not just to mean bribery but the parasitic nature of the government system as a whole.

There is a general mood of cynicism and dissatisfaction with the way things are run.

"Bad government, bad roads, bad weather, bad people," exclaimed one Iraqi friend driving on an ill-maintained road.

Corrupt motives are ascribed to everything that happens: a series of unexplained fires in Baghdad in June were being ascribed to government employees stealing from state depots and then concealing their crime by setting fire to the building and destroying it.

Given that the Iraqi security forces are primarily recruited from the areas in which the protests are taking place, the government will need to be careful about the degree of repression it can use safely.

Some eight protesters have been killed so far by the police , who are using rubber bullets, water cannon and rubber hoses to beat people.

ORDER IT NOW

The armed forces have been placed on high alert. Three regiments of the elite Counter-Terrorism Service, which led the attack on Mosul and is highly regarded and well disciplined, has been ordered south to cope with protests and away from places where there is still residual activity by Isis.

The protests are largely spontaneous, but the Sadrists, whose offices have not been attacked by crowds, want to put pressure on Mr Abadi, Dawa and other parties to form a coalition government with a reform programme.

Many protesters express anti-Tehran slogans, tearing up pictures of Iranian spiritual leaders such as Ayatollah Khomeini and the current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. They blame Iran for supporting corrupt parties and governments in Iraq.

Protesters have so far escalated their actions slowly, gathering at the entrances to the major oil and gas facilities, but not disrupting the 3.6 million barrel a day production. If this happens, it would affect a significant portion of world crude output.

Iraq's corrupt and dysfunctional governing system may be too set in its profitable ways to be reformed, but, if the ruling elite wants to survive, it must give ordinary Iraqi a larger share of the oil revenue cake.

Read the first piece in Patrick Cockburn's latest series, 'Catastrophic drought threatens Iraq as major dams in surrounding countries cut off water to its great rivers', here .

Part II, 'For this Iraqi tribe massacred by Isis, fear of the group's return is a constant reality', here

Part III, 'After series of calamitous defeats, is Isis about to lose its last town?', here .

Part III, 'Iraq unrest: Chaos reigns in the country even Saddam Hussein 'found difficult to rule', here.


Echoes of History , July 18, 2018 at 2:59 am GMT

The ratio of people to cake is too big.
PJ London , July 18, 2018 at 8:46 pm GMT
"Oh for the good old days when Saddam was running things."
Johann Ricke , July 19, 2018 at 12:23 am GMT
@PJ London

"Oh for the good old days when Saddam was running things."

Electricity production in Iraq overall is superior to what it was during Saddam's rule. But availability is not 24/365, which is presumably what they're demanding:

Prewar Baghdad had electricity 16 to 24 hours per day and was favored for distribution. The remainder of Iraq received 4–8 hours of electricity per day.[6] Post war, Baghdad no longer has priority and therefore both Baghdad and the country as a whole received on average 15.5 hours of electricity per day as of February 2010.[7]

If they want some facsimile of Saddam's rule back, they could easily elect the Sunni Arab parties to power. Which they haven't. Demonstrations were rare during Saddam's reign because he killed the opposition and consigned those he did not kill to Abu Ghraib, where they were raped and/or beaten to within an inch of their lives.

Shiites were unhappy with American occupation because they thought the only thing keeping them from becoming a Shiite version of Saudi Arabia, economically-speaking was an American plot to steal their oil and sow division in the country. After GI's left, they discovered, through ISIS's long record of victories, that Sunni Arabs really, really don't like being ruled by Shiites, and that Iraq's Sunni Arabs really are better at military endeavors than the Shiites or the Kurds. They are fortunate that Uncle Sam came to their rescue, yet again.

It's becoming clear that the Iraq's Shiite Arabs and Kurds could never have lifted the Sunni Arab foot from their necks by their own efforts. The question is whether their history books will ever reflect this truth.

[Jul 19, 2018] This is the end of classic neoliberalism, no question about it, and the collapse of neoliberal globalization is just one aspect of it

Jul 19, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

likbez , July 19, 2018 at 4:44 am

Globalization is not a one-dimensional phenomenon, and some of its aspects are still intact. Hollywood dominance, Internet, English language dominance, West technological dominance, will not reverse any time soon.

What is under attack by Trump, Brexit, etc. is neoliberal globalization, and, especially financial globalization, free movement of labor and outsourcing of manufacturing and services (offshoring).

Neoliberal globalization was also based on the dollar as world reserve currency (and oil trading in dollars exclusively). But this role of dollar recently is under attack due to the rise of China. Several "anti-dollar" blocks emerged.

Trump tariffs are also anathema for "classic neoliberalism" and essentially convert "classic neoliberalism" into "national neoliberalism" on the state level. BTW it looks like Russia switched to "national neoliberalism" earlier than the USA. No surprise that Trump feels some affinity to Putin ;-)

Attacks against free labor movement also on the rise and this is another nail in the coffin of classic neoliberalism. In several countries, including the USA the neoliberal elite (especially financial elite after 2008, despite that no banksters were killed by crowds) does not feel safe given animosity caused by the promotion of immigration and resorts of conversion of the state into national security state and neo-McCarthyism to suppress dissent.

I think those attacks will continue, immigration will be curtailed, and "classic neoliberalism" will be transformed into something different. Not necessarily better.

Several trends are also connected with the gradual slipping of the power of the USA as the chief enforcer of the neoliberal globalization. Which is partially happened due to the stupidity and arrogance of the USA neoliberal elite and neocons.

Another factor in play is the total, catastrophic loss of power of neoliberal propaganda -- people started asking questions, and neoliberal myths no longer hold any spell on population (or at least much less spell). The success of Bernie Sanders during the last election (DNC was forced to resort to dirty tricks to derail him) is one indication of this trend. This "collapse of ideology" spells great troubles for the USA, as previously it spells great troubles for the USSR.

"Trumpism" as I understand it tried to patch the situation by two major strategies:

(1) splitting Russia from China

(2) Attempt to acquire dominant position in regions rick in hydrocarbons (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, etc)

But so far the decline of neoliberalism looks like Irreversible. It never fully recovered from the deep crisis of 2008 and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Another powerful factor that works against neoliberal globalization is the end of cheap oil. How it will play out is unclear, Much depends whether we will have a Seneca cliff in oil production or not. And if yes, how soon.

This is the end of classic neoliberalism, no question about it, and the collapse of neoliberal globalization is just one aspect of it

[Jul 19, 2018] Yes, We Should Call Them Imperialists by Paul Gottfried

Notable quotes:
"... Hazony responds with the obvious answer that control can be imposed on the unwilling even if the empire builders are not overtly annexing territory. Meanwhile, other neoconservatives have given the game away by pushing their imperialist position a bit further than Krauthammer's. Max Boot, for example , has been quite open in demanding "an American empire" built on ideological and military control even without outright annexation. ..."
"... The belief that the U.S. is a supremely good nation founded on universal principles has consequences that go well beyond electoral politics. Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated talk radio host and co-owner of the website Townhall.com, extols American exceptionalism, which he says springs from American values. ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Neoconservatives like Max Boot are fooling themselves if they think imposing 'values' on the rest of the world isn't a matter of empire.

Recently while reading a book by an Israeli scholar named Yoram Hazony with the provocative title The Virtue of Nationalism , I encountered a distinction drawn by the late Charles Krauthammer between empire building and American global democratic hegemony. Like the editors of the Weekly Standard , for which he periodically wrote, Krauthammer believed it was unfair to describe what he wanted to see done, which was having the U.S. actively spread its own form of government throughout the world, as "imperialism." After all, Krauthammer said, he and those who think like him "do not hunger for new territory," which makes it wrong to accuse them of "imperialism."

Hazony responds with the obvious answer that control can be imposed on the unwilling even if the empire builders are not overtly annexing territory. Meanwhile, other neoconservatives have given the game away by pushing their imperialist position a bit further than Krauthammer's. Max Boot, for example , has been quite open in demanding "an American empire" built on ideological and military control even without outright annexation.

The question that occurred to me while reading Krauthammer's proposal and Hazony's response (which I suspect would have been more devastating had Hazony not been afraid of losing neoconservative friends and sponsors) is this one: how is this not imperialism?

Certainly the use of protectorates to increase the influence of Western powers in the non-Western world goes back a long time. As far back as the Peloponnesian War, rival Greek city-states tried to impose their constitutional arrangements on weaker Greek societies as a way of managing them politically. According to Xenophon, when the Athenians then surrendered to the Spartan commander Lysander in 403 BC, they had two conditions imposed on them: taking down their great wall ( kathairein ta makra teixe ) and installing a regime that looked like the Spartan one. Thus is arguing that territory has to be annexed outright in order for it to become part of an American empire so utterly unconvincing.

One reason the views offered by Krauthammer and Boot did not elicit more widespread criticism -- and have enjoyed enthusiastic favor among Republicans for decades, culminating in the oratorical wonders of George W. Bush -- may have been the embrace of another neoconservative doctrine: "American exceptionalism." The belief that the U.S. is a supremely good nation founded on universal principles has consequences that go well beyond electoral politics. Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated talk radio host and co-owner of the website Townhall.com, extols American exceptionalism, which he says springs from American values.

Those values have "universal applicability," according to Prager, and are "eminently exportable." Glenn Beck has taken up the same theme of "American exceptionalism" as an exportable "idea " that is meant for everyone on the planet. The "ideas" or "values" in question are variously defined by the neoconservative media as "human rights," "universal equality," or just making sure everyone lives like us. Whatever it is, we are told that to withhold it from the rest of the human race would be uncharitable. Our efforts to bring it to others therefore cannot be dismissed as "imperialism" any more than the Spanish government of the 16th century thought it was doing wrong by forcing its religion on indigenous people in the Americas.

Although I'm hardly a fan of his political views, former president Barack Obama once said something that I thought was self-evident but that offended even members of his own party. According to Obama, "Americans believe they're exceptional. But the Brits and Greeks believe they're special too." Obama was merely observing that it's okay for others to believe they're special, even if they're not Americans imbued with "the idea." Yet his statement was received with such uproar that he felt compelled to backtrack. Speaking later at West Point, he made it clear that "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being." This from someone whom Fox News assures us hated America and spent every minute of his presidency denying our greatness! (And, yes, I've heard the rejoinder to this: Obama was only pretending to believe in the creed he dutifully recited.)

It might be argued (and has been by neoconservatives many times) that the U.S. is both morally superior and less dangerous than ethnically defined societies because we advocate a "value" or "creed" that's accessible to the entire human race. But this is hardly a recipe for peace as opposed to what Krauthammer called a "value-driven" relationship with the rest of the world. Australian journalist Douglas Murray, in his intended encomium Neoconservatism: Why We Need It , tries to praise his subjects but ends up describing a kind of global democratic jihadism. While Douglas admits that "socially, economically, and philosophically" neoconservatism differs from traditional conservatism, he insists that it's something better. He commends neoconservatives for wishing to convert the world to "values." Their primary goal, according to Murray, is the "erasing [of] tyrannies and [the] spreading [of] democracy," an arduous task that requires "interventionism, nation-building, and many of the other difficulties that had long concerned traditional conservatives."

Please tell me this is not what it obviously is: an invitation to war and empire building. The quest for hegemony always looks the same, no matter what moral labels some choose to give it.

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

[Jul 19, 2018] Strzokgate is a documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the US democratic process

Probably not so much to short-circuit democratic process that was short-circuited long before them, but clearly they acted as the guardians of the neoliberal state.
Which confirm the iron law of oligarchy in the most direct way: not only the elite gradually escapes all the democratic control, they use their power as oranized minority to defend the status quo, not stopping at the most dirty dirty methods.
Jan 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Extracted from: The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate, by Ray McGovern - The Unz Review by Ray McGovern

Russia-gate is becoming FBI-gate, thanks to the official release of unguarded text messages between loose-lipped FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and his garrulous girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page. (Ten illustrative texts from their exchange appear at the end of this article.)

Despite his former job as chief of the FBI's counterintelligence section, Strzok had the naive notion that texting on FBI phones could not be traced. Strzok must have slept through "Surity 101." Or perhaps he was busy texting during that class. Girlfriend Page cannot be happy at being misled by his assurance that using office phones would be a secure way to conduct their affair(s).

It would have been unfortunate enough for Strzok and Page to have their adolescent-sounding texts merely exposed, revealing the reckless abandon of star-crossed lovers hiding (they thought) secrets from cuckolded spouses, office colleagues, and the rest of us. However, for the never-Trump plotters in the FBI, the official release of just a fraction (375) of almost 10,000 messages does incalculably more damage than that.

We suddenly have documentary proof that key elements of the U.S. intelligence community were trying to short-circuit the U.S. democratic process. And that puts in a new and dark context the year-long promotion of Russia-gate. It now appears that it was not the Russians trying to rig the outcome of the U.S. election, but leading officials of the U.S. intelligence community, shadowy characters sometimes called the Deep State.

... ... ...

Ironically, the Strzok-Page texts provide something that the Russia-gate investigation has been sorely lacking: first-hand evidence of both corrupt intent and action. After months of breathless searching for "evidence" of Russian-Trump collusion designed to put Trump in the White House, what now exists is actual evidence that senior officials of the Obama administration colluded to keep Trump out of the White House – proof of what old-time gumshoes used to call "means, motive and opportunity."

[Jul 19, 2018] Rather than yell at the top of one's lungs "Fake News" when they read a mainstream or alternative media story, and immediately discount everything, people ought look CRITICALLY at the facts, consider any bias, read other sources on the issue, and then draw their own conclusions

Notable quotes:
"... And those who are crying "fake news" the most often and the most loudly and using that phrase to discredit anything they do not want to rebut with actual information -- those people are the most suspect. Just like those who cry "conspiracy theory" whenever they see a hypothesis that they do not want to have investigated and want to derail. ..."
"... It would not surprise me at all to learn that both of these phrases were cooked up in some corner of Langley to use to get control of the media. ..."
"... Instead of "dissidents" being labeled schizophrenic and sent to psychiatric wards, as in the USSR, they are labeled as conspiracy theorists and purveyors of "fake news" and the effect is about the same, minus the cost of upkeep in a ward. ..."
Jul 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

Skeptikal , August 7, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT

@Corvinus

"Rather than yell at the top of one's lungs "Fake News" when they read a mainstream or alternative media story, and immediately discount everything, people ought look CRITICALLY at the facts, consider any bias, read other sources on the issue, and then draw their own conclusions."

Absolutely. And those who are crying "fake news" the most often and the most loudly and using that phrase to discredit anything they do not want to rebut with actual information -- those people are the most suspect. Just like those who cry "conspiracy theory" whenever they see a hypothesis that they do not want to have investigated and want to derail.

It would not surprise me at all to learn that both of these phrases were cooked up in some corner of Langley to use to get control of the media.

Instead of "dissidents" being labeled schizophrenic and sent to psychiatric wards, as in the USSR, they are labeled as conspiracy theorists and purveyors of "fake news" and the effect is about the same, minus the cost of upkeep in a ward.

[Jul 19, 2018] Lawmakers, Media Look to Undermine US-Russia Detente by Jason Ditz

Notable quotes:
"... That's because US hostility toward Russia being what it is, there is an incredible amount of bipartisan comfort with continuing that acrimony. Trump faced condemnations for even attending the summit, and more still for getting out of it without picking a fight with Putin. ..."
"... Media coverage of the summit was uniformly negative, parroting disputed allegations of election meddling. ..."
"... Allegations of meddling in the 2016 election have become "unquestionable" in the mainstream, both as a talking point and as a justification for picking new fights with Russia. ..."
Jul 17, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

Congress looks to counter Trump's diplomatic overtures with hostile actions

Monday's summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin ended with a relatively modest press conference. Things went well, by both leaders' accounts, and it represented a small but significant attempt at improving bilateral relations from their recent lows.

Deals were said to have been reached on cooperation on some fronts. Putin says he even told President Trump he intends to extend the New START nuclear treaty that is set to expire in 2021. But don't expect any positive coverage of the talks in the press, let alone any votes of encouragement from the US Congress.

That's because US hostility toward Russia being what it is, there is an incredible amount of bipartisan comfort with continuing that acrimony. Trump faced condemnations for even attending the summit, and more still for getting out of it without picking a fight with Putin.

Media coverage of the summit was uniformly negative, parroting disputed allegations of election meddling. Fox News' Chris Wallace interviewed Vladimir Putin, and failing to get Putin to admit to anything, reporters praised Wallace for " giving Putin the grilling Trump won't ."

Lawmakers were, of course, lining up to go after Trump over the summit. But now that the summit is over, their attention has shifted to trying to pass legislation that would attempt to undermine whatever modest progress toward a rapprochement Trump can be said to have made.

Speaker Paul Ryan termed Russia "a menacing government," and Congress is considering more sanctions, more hearings, and potentially even some non-binding resolutions endorsing the intelligence community's allegations against Russia. Which is really the center of most of the efforts to stop diplomatic progress. Allegations of meddling in the 2016 election have become "unquestionable" in the mainstream, both as a talking point and as a justification for picking new fights with Russia.

Trump has long expressed interest in improving ties with Russia, and this summit was actually one of his first real opportunities at doing so. Yet it will be difficult for this progress to have any permanence with everyone else so united in undermining it.

[Jul 19, 2018] Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far by Thomas Knapp

Notable quotes:
"... They secured and and announced the indictments "with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States." ..."
"... That language is from 1799's Logan Act (18 U.S.C. § 953). Its constitutionality is suspect and no one has ever been indicted under it in the 219 years since its passage. Rosenstein and Mueller aren't likely to be the first two, and may not even technically have violated its letter. But I'd be hard put to name a more obvious, intentional, or flagrant act in violation of its spirit. ..."
Jul 16, 2018 | original.antiwar.com
Friday the 13th is presumably always someone's unlucky day. Just whose may not be obvious at the time, but I suspect that "Russiagate" special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy US Attorney General Rod Rosenstein already regret picking Friday, July 13 to announce the indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers on charges relating to an embarrassing 2016 leak of Democratic National Committee emails. They should.

Legally, the indictments are of almost no value. Those indicted will never be extradited to the US for trial, and the case that an external "hack" – as opposed to an internal DNC leak – even occurred is weak at best, if for no other reason than that the DNC denied the FBI access to its servers, instead commissioning a private "cybersecurity analysis" to reach the conclusion it wanted reached before hectoring government investigators to join that conclusion.

Diplomatically, on the other hand, the indictments and the timing of the announcement were a veritable pipe bomb, thrown into preparations for a scheduled Helsinki summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

House Republicans, already incensed with Rosenstein over his attempts to stonewall their probe into the Democratic Party's use of the FBI as a proprietary political hit squad, are planning a renewed effort to impeach him. If he goes down, Mueller likely does as well. And at this point, it would take a heck of an actor to argue with a straight face that the effort is unjustified.

Their timing was clearly intentional. Their intent was transparently political. Mueller and Rosenstein were attempting to hijack the Trump-Putin summit for the purpose of depriving Trump of any possible "wins" that might come out of it.

They secured and and announced the indictments "with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States."

That language is from 1799's Logan Act (18 U.S.C. § 953). Its constitutionality is suspect and no one has ever been indicted under it in the 219 years since its passage. Rosenstein and Mueller aren't likely to be the first two, and may not even technically have violated its letter. But I'd be hard put to name a more obvious, intentional, or flagrant act in violation of its spirit.

Rosenstein and Mueller are attempting to conduct foreign policy by special prosecutor, a way of doing things found nowhere in the US Constitution. Impeachment or firing should be the least of their worries. I'm guessing that there are laws other than the Logan Act that could, and should, be invoked to have them fitted for orange coveralls and leg irons pending an appointment with a judge.

That they even have defenders is proof positive that some of Trump's most prominent opponents consider "rule of law" a quaint and empty concept – a useful slogan, nothing more – even as they continually, casually, and hypocritically invoke it whenever they think doing so might politically disadvantage him.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism . He lives and works in north central Florida. This article is reprinted with permission from William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.

[Jul 19, 2018] Trump-Putin summit induced the neoliberal ruling classes hystreria or How to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Extracted from: Trump's Treasonous Traitor Summit or How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism by CJ Hopkins

So it appears America and democracy have miraculously survived the dreaded Trump-Putin summit or Trump's meeting with his Russian handler, as the neoliberal ruling classes and their mouthpieces in the corporate media would dearly like us all to believe. NATO has not been summarily dissolved. Poland has not been invaded by Russia.

The offices of The New York Times , The Washington Post , CNN, and MSNBC have not been stormed by squads of jackbooted Trumpian Gestapo.

The Destabilization of the Middle East, the Privatization of Virtually Everything, the Conversion of the Planet into One Big Shopping Mall, and other global capitalist projects are all going forward uninterrupted. Apart from Trump making a narcissistic, word-salad-babbling jackass of himself, which he does on a more or less daily basis, nothing particularly apocalyptic happened.

And so, once again, Western liberals, and others obsessed with Donald Trump, having been teased into a painfully tumescent paroxysm of anticipation of some unimaginably horrible event that would finally lead to Trump's impeachment (or his removal from office by other means) were left standing around with their hysteria in their hands. It has become a sadistic ritual at this point like a twisted, pseudo-Tantric exercise where the media get liberals all lathered up over whatever fresh horror Trump has just perpetrated (or some non-story story they have invented out of whole cloth), build the tension for several days, until liberals are moaning and begging for impeachment, or a full-blown CIA-sponsored coup, then pull out abruptly and leave the poor bastards writhing in agony until the next time which is pretty much exactly what just happened.

In the days and weeks leading up to the summit, the global capitalist ruling class Resistance deployed every weapon in its mighty arsenal to whip the Western masses up into a frenzy of anti-Putin-Nazi fervor. While continuing to flog the wildly popular baby concentration camp story (because the Hitler stimulus never fails to elicit a Pavlovian response from Americans, regardless of how often or how blatantly you use it), the corporate media began hammering hard on the "Trump is a Russian Agent" hysteria. (Normally, the corporate media alternates between the Hitler hysteria and the Russia hysteria so as not to completely short-circuit the already scrambled brains of Western liberals, but given the imminent threat of a peace deal , they needed to go the whole hog this time and paint this summit as a secret, internationally televised assignation between Hitler and well, Hitler).

[Jul 19, 2018] A Failing Nation by Dan Corjescu

Notable quotes:
"... Why Nations Fail ..."
"... Both cases, the inclusive and the extractive, tend to reinforce themselves through time by a process known as institutional drift. This is an historical tendency for institutions to maintain, strengthen, and reproduce themselves over time similar to the biological processes involved in genetic drift. ..."
"... Importantly the authors also take the time to mention Robert Michel's seminal idea concerning the iron law of oligarchy ..."
"... Neo-Paternalism ..."
"... The Origins of Political Order. ..."
"... In short, much like the earlier Michel, Fukuyama sees present day democracies drifting towards ever more nepotistic patterns of behavior where elites seize power and reward and distribute the fruits of that power to their close associates within their networks of influence. ..."
"... In effect, both men, see, as did Marx before them, the "constitutional democracies" as a sham as a kind of theater behind which the levers of power are exercised authoritatively with little regard to the true interests of the masses below them. ..."
"... In such an environment of centralized elite control, "media openness" can do little to rout out the opaque workings of carefully, surreptitiously orchestrated power. ..."
Jun 28, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

What are the necessary elements for the success of a modern nation state?

According to one justifiably popular and well-written book, Why Nations Fail , it all has to do with inclusive political and economic institutions which foster technological change which in turn leads to increasing prosperity for the many.

Two key aspects upholding such institutions are a strong centralized state and the rule of law. Without these two, a nation cannot hope to advance socially, politically, or economically. The negative of this rosy picture are nations which maintain and promote extractive political and economic institutions which serve the interests of a narrow elite.

Both cases, the inclusive and the extractive, tend to reinforce themselves through time by a process known as institutional drift. This is an historical tendency for institutions to maintain, strengthen, and reproduce themselves over time similar to the biological processes involved in genetic drift.

Importantly the authors also take the time to mention Robert Michel's seminal idea concerning the iron law of oligarchy which explains the historically documented tendency that large, complex organizations of any kind (democratic, socialist, conservative) fall under the sway of a small elite exercising absolute if cosmetically hidden power.

Our authors optimistically suggest that this law is not destiny and can be sufficiently controlled by ever expanding democratic institutions in civil society.

Opposed to this buoyant idea of increasing mass prosperity and political participation is Francis Fukuyama's discussion of Neo-Paternalism in his thought provoking magnum opus The Origins of Political Order.

In short, much like the earlier Michel, Fukuyama sees present day democracies drifting towards ever more nepotistic patterns of behavior where elites seize power and reward and distribute the fruits of that power to their close associates within their networks of influence.

In effect, both men, see, as did Marx before them, the "constitutional democracies" as a sham as a kind of theater behind which the levers of power are exercised authoritatively with little regard to the true interests of the masses below them.

In such an environment of centralized elite control, "media openness" can do little to rout out the opaque workings of carefully, surreptitiously orchestrated power.

Thus, a superficial reading of history might lead us to believe that we live in an increasingly "inclusive" society reflecting a rising tide of technological progress and economic prosperity. However, a closer look, might reveal a modicum of beneficence bestowed upon the many; while the Machiavellian few have managed behind a facade of democracy and nationalism to achieve unheard of sums of wealth, power, and influence once only dreamed of by despots, dictators, and demagogues of the past.

[Jul 19, 2018] Peter van Buren on Trump-Russia Hysteria by Scott

Notable quotes:
"... We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People ..."
"... This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Zen Cash ; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; LibertyStickers.com ; and ExpandDesigns.com/Scott . ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | scotthorton.org

Peter van Buren discusses the media reaction to President Trump's recent meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. He compares the entire story of Russian collusion to the birther conspiracy movement , in that swaths of Americans have been swept up in a campaign against the president with very little real evidence presented to support the claims. Van Buren argues that the divisiveness about Trump being a Russian agent is harmful for the country, and at this point Robert Mueller and the intelligence community need to "put up or shut up" -- either present the clear evidence that Trump worked with the Russians, or admit that there is no such evidence. He goes on to discuss the DNC email leak, Hillary Clinton's private email server, and the recent indictment of 12 Russian operatives.

Discussed on the show:

Peter Van Buren worked for 24 years at the Department of State including a year in Iraq. He is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and the novel Hooper's War . He is now a contributing editor at The American Conservative magazine. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell .

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Zen Cash ; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Roberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc. ; NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; LibertyStickers.com ; and ExpandDesigns.com/Scott .

Check out Scott's Patreon page.

[Jul 18, 2018] Why I Hate Google, Twitter, and Facebook

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
"... twelve (12) days old ..."
"... carefully curated ..."
"... have innovated the paragraph ..."
"... Amen to the part about Google. Once upon a time I could start a Google search with a high probability of finding something useful. These days I have to darned near know the result before I'll find anything. ..."
"... I agree that Google search is not as good as it once was but it could be that the web itself has changed with far more commercial and bubble gum content. There was a time long ago when only nerds used computers. ..."
"... I find Google regularly overriding specific search terms, particularly when I put in a short phrase in quotes, which means Google is supposed to deliver results that match that exact phrase. First page, even the very first result, regularly violate the search criteria. Never happened before ~ 2 years ago. ..."
"... "Isikoff checked the facts for his new book so hard, they were carried off unconscious, and remain in a coma" ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on July 17, 2018 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

I am a blogger. It is my job to blog, which I've been doing on a daily basis since 2003. Reading and writing is what I do all day. I'm lucky to be able to survive doing it, and I'm happy to be doing it[1]. I hate Google because it tries to make me a stupid reader. I hate Twitter and Facebook because they make me a stupid writer. I've been wanting to get this off my chest for some time, so allow me to explain.

Let's where I start, with reading. As a blogger, I need to process and filter enormous amounts of newsworthy content hours a day, every day (as does Yves). I am like an enormous baleen whale nourished by krill. So here is how the insanely stupid and wasteful Google News helps me -- and you, dear readers! -- do this:

(I've erased the Weather box at top right, which is Google's little way of letting me know it's tracking my location even though cookies are off.) First, look at the page, which is a complete screenful on a laptop (i.e., on the screen of professional content creator who values his time, not a teensy little cellphone screen). In the news links column at left, there are a grand total of nine (9) stories. Please, can we get the steam-era list of blue links back, where we could scan 30 or 40 headlines in a single second's saccade? And note the sources: CNN, HuffPost, Fox, WaPo, NBC News, NPR, CNN, and the WSJ. This is an ecoystem about as barren as my neighbor's lawn! (And if you click on the laughingly named "View full coverage" link, you'll see a page just as empty and vacuous though slightly less barren, with more obcure sources, like Reuters. Or Salon.) You will also note the obvious way in which the page has been gamed by gaslighters and moral panic engineers, who can drive every other story off the front page through sheer volume Finally, you'll note that the fact checkers include organs of state security , in the form of polygraph.info , "a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America (VOA)​ and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty."

Now let's try to use Google News for search. (I find Google proper, though still crapified, better for news, especially if I limit the search by time.) I chose "start treaty," for obvious reasons. Here is the results page:

Yes, on a complete, entire laptop page, there are in total five (5) hits, 3 from the impoverished ecosytem noted above, and one from an organ of state security (RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty). The last hit, from Vox, is twelve (12) days old . Surely there's something more current? Note also the random ordering of the hits: Today, yesterday, 6 days ago, 2 days ago, 12 days ago. (There is, of course, no way to change the ordering.) A news feed that doesn't organize stories chronologically? That doesn't surface current content? What horrible virus has rotted the brain matter of the Google engineers who created this monstrosity? And one more thing:

Famously, the normal Google search page ends with "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next." Crapified though Google search results are, if you spend some time clicking and scanning, you'll generally be able to come up with something useful five or ten pages in, maybe (if you're lucky) from a source you don't already know exists. Not so with Google "News." When the page ends, it just ends. When the algo has coughed up whatever hairball it's coughed up, it's done. No more. Again, this is news? What about the same story a week ago? A month ago? What does "our democracy" have a free press for, if Google gets in the way of being able to find anything?

So, the Google News experience is so vile and degrading in its stupidity and insolence that I use another tool for reading the news: Twitter. And despite its well-deserved reputation as a hell-site, Twitter -- carefully curated -- does the job, as long as you don't ask too much of it, like news that's more than a month or so old. My beef with Twitter is not as a reader, but as a writer. Here is how you create a tweet in Twitter:

I'll have a sidebar on those miserably inadequate writing tools, at left, in a moment. For now, look at the bottom right: Those disruptive Silicon Valley engineers have innovated the paragraph :

When you click that plus sign, you get A second Tweet, connected to the first, in an easy-to-close-accidentally modal dialog box!

Here, I remind you of the steam age of Blogger, where you could -- hold onto your hats, here, folks -- create a post, composed of paragraphs -- or, if you were a poet, lines; or an artist, images and captions; or an accountant, tables -- all with at least some degree of "flow" and ease. You could even have subheads, to divide your content into sections! The billionaire brainiacs at Twitter have managed to create that first, minimal functionality -- the paragraph -- but without the ability to re-arrange, or even to edit your paragraphs after posting! Does Jack laugh alone at night?[2].

... ... ...


Zachary Smith , July 17, 2018 at 3:53 pm

Amen to the part about Google. Once upon a time I could start a Google search with a high probability of finding something useful. These days I have to darned near know the result before I'll find anything. Google News used to have a dense list of news stories. I don't have a bookmark to the place anymore, relying instead on blog headlines and the like.

Since I've heard nothing good about Facebook I'm agreeable to the notion the site isn't something for me. Never tried "tweeting" and have no plans to do so.

Carolinian , July 17, 2018 at 4:22 pm

I agree that Google search is not as good as it once was but it could be that the web itself has changed with far more commercial and bubble gum content. There was a time long ago when only nerds used computers.

But I don't agree that Google News was ever very useful. Google always admitted that it was edited by algo and it seemed to be a kind of Headline News news summary–the opposite of what a hard core news junkie would want.

RSS is still around and IMO the most useful tool for keeping track of a large number of websites. For off the beaten path links that may not show up on a favorite site there are websites like this one (thanks Yves and Lambert and Jerri-Lynn).

Yves Smith , July 18, 2018 at 1:21 pm

To your first point, no.

I find Google regularly overriding specific search terms, particularly when I put in a short phrase in quotes, which means Google is supposed to deliver results that match that exact phrase. First page, even the very first result, regularly violate the search criteria. Never happened before ~ 2 years ago.

Google in recent years has optimized for:

  1. Shopping
  2. Recency
  3. "Authoritativeness" of sites. The latter criterion, as interpreted by Google = MSM above all. Academic sites get downranked too.
David May , July 17, 2018 at 3:53 pm

So much truth here. Similar story with YouTube: even though Jimmy Dore Is my most watched YouTuber by a long shot, notifications for new vids NEVER, ever, ever appear in my notification thingy or at the top of the page. Never. Google engineers are braniac math scientists (as Jimmy Dore might say), so this is a feature, not a bug. This is deliberate suppression. Inverted totalitarianism.

Arizona Slim , July 17, 2018 at 3:55 pm

I've noticed the same thing. I have to go to Jimmy's channel in order to learn what's new.

ambrit , July 17, 2018 at 5:30 pm

Same here with my "Tinfoil Hatt" sites.

David Carl Grimes , July 17, 2018 at 10:48 pm

I can attest to the same thing. And when I type jimmy on the search box, I always get jimmy Fallon as the first option even though I constantly search for Jimmy Dore.

Jeff W , July 17, 2018 at 6:38 pm

YouTube, for whatever reason, splits the functionality into two parts: subscribing and notifications. If you "just" subscribe, you will not get a number badge indicating a notification at the top right of your YouTube page -- you have to click the "notifications bell" in order to get notifications.

On the YouTube Settings | Notifications page you can also choose to get email messages regarding notifications and choose some other options regarding notifications for YouTube activity. On that same page, if you click Manage all subscriptions (which is buried in the text under Channel subscriptions ), you can see all your subscriptions and which ones have the bell clicked or not.

If you click the hamburger (three bar) icon on the upper left, next to the YouTube logo, that toggles a pane where you can see your history, your subscriptions, your settings and some other things. Even if you haven't clicked the notifications bell, you can see, under Subscriptions , the number of not-yet-watched videos you have, listed by individual channel you've subscribed to. (That's how I generally know that there is a new Jimmy Dore video since I am subscribed to the channel but I don't have notifications turned on.)

All of this is such poorly implemented usability that I hesitate to call it deliberate anything but I won't discount it, either.

Jim Haygood , July 17, 2018 at 3:55 pm

As of September 28th, Alphabet (a/k/a Google), Facebook and Twitter will join an all-new Communications Services sector. Its core is the old Telecommunications Services sector, which has shrunk to but three companies in the S&P 500 (Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink).

Also joining Communications Services will be media and cable companies -- a full roster of corporate villainy, as it were. The complete list of 22 constituents appears here:

http://www.sectorspdr.com/sectorspdr/sector/xlc/holdings

A Communications Services ETF is already trading in advance of the sector's official debut in September. Owing to the exit of seven current Information Technology stocks (including Alphabet, Facebook and Twitter, the targets of Lambert's ire) and 16 Consumer Discretionary stocks (including Comcast, Disney and Netflix), these sectors will change in composition on Sep 28th.

In this exclusive chart, the new post-Sep 28th sectors are backcast as if they all existed today:

https://ibb.co/n9C1KJ

Communications Services had been lagging the S&P 500 until last month, when government approval of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner set off a frenzy in other media stocks which might be bought or merged. With Alphabet and Facebook making up 44.3% of Communications Services by weight, these two giants will tend to dominate its performance.

s , July 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Narrow markets with volume, stock buy backs are so yesterday .

diptherio , July 17, 2018 at 4:01 pm

The future is federated. Individual instances, hosted by whoever wants to set one up, that can link to each other, for a fully customizable experience. I like Mastodon (a bird-site replacement), and my particular instance at social.coop, even though it doesn't have any of your writerly tools either. But it's open source, so the ability to add them is there:

https://mastodon.social/about

PeerTube also seems to be taking off, as a federated video sharing platform.

LDK , July 17, 2018 at 4:16 pm

Lambert, you can get back your Old Google News format (pre-AI change) by using this link instead as follows: https://news.google.com/news/feeds?output=rss&q=%
It doesn't take away Google's attempt at controlling our information flow with its new AI Gnews format But it should help you get your blue links & sections back ;) – with the caveat that you can't click on said headlines/sections' "see real time coverage" (in which case you go back to our Ministry of Information's AI approved interface). However you can expand on the little down arrow next to each headlines and click on the working links.

Kurt Sperry , July 17, 2018 at 10:39 pm

That's excellent, thank you. Noticeably decrapifies from the new default format.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 18, 2018 at 12:29 am

That's less insane, though all the other issues remain.

Funny to think all this crap is just larded on top of good ol' RSS. It's like one of Clive's banking systems

Fred , July 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

If you are letting algorithms decide what you watch or read, you are basically giving up. At least use a search engine like Duck Duck Go and never read the news on FB or Twit.

False Solace , July 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

Duck Duck Go has its own news section which I've used a few times, and it seemed to have way more links than Lambert's screenshot of Google News. Don't know what sites DDG includes but maybe it could be an alternative.

BoulderMike , July 17, 2018 at 7:45 pm

Sadly though I find the same problem with DuckDuckGo. Meaning, it returns the results it wants, rather than what I asked for. Even if I ask for results from the past week I get stuff from 8 years ago. And if I ask for something like Stereo Speakers I get things like "speakers at this years conference ..", etc. Just pure garbage. And the key complaint I have is that Amazon shows up every other result for page after page. If I search for "how to best fertilize tomatoes in Colorado", I get a result showing tomatoes available on Amazon.com. And at the top of every search is a "ribbon" of results from Amazon almost exclusively and with "Prime" in the results box. I hate Amazon and wish I could never see that word again, or the words Jeff Bezos. Sigh.

Richard , July 17, 2018 at 10:04 pm

I have the same issue with DDG. My understanding is that it is not different from Google in terms of search results, but simply that it won't surveil you:
Their ad campaign: "Same s*&$ results as Google, but no one will know you're looking!"

Hepativore , July 17, 2018 at 11:14 pm

What about Qwant? I do not like how it feels it has to open links and images in a separate tab automatically, and it takes forever to load images, but I have heard good things about the search engine.

Nlowhim , July 18, 2018 at 3:50 am

I've been using other methods like -siteihate.com or site:.edu to find papers etc on a topic. For geopolitics I try to find a human rights group nearby to see what they say. News is hard to sift through

Procopius , July 18, 2018 at 12:58 am

I don't do Twitter, thank you, but Facebook has News? Hoocoodanode? It's not something I would ever think of using, but one of my friends (who is always threatening to unfriend me) once ranted that she knew the Russians interfered with our election because she saw the bots and memes. When I asked her how she knew a bot she never answered. She's a solid Russiagate cult believer. I suspect she must get her news from FB.

FlashFlud , July 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm

I've noticed it's really, really tough now to find via Google any serious, longform blogs on investing, energy, etc. Almost everything that comes up when I search a topic is a listicle/clickbait, a Salon article, some horrible startup platform with only 10-50 active users, or something locked behind a paywall.

I always thought the best metaphor for this is the end of the "Old West" – all the territory is fenced off and none of the owners want you trespassing on their land. I actually do think the best internet tools were all de-centralized – "federated" as one of your commenters put it.

For instance, wasn't it great when you could make an RSS feed out of literally any series of sites and just click on what you find interesting? Granted, I still think that's possible but I don't see nearly as many websites pushing that compatibility anymore. Instead it's all SEO and racing to be "discoverable" by the big platforms. Information, writing, and the exchange of ideas have suffered as a result.

Dave , July 17, 2018 at 4:40 pm

I've been very happy since switching to Duck Duck Go. Occasionally I can't find something and think, "I'm going to actually go into google.com and see if it runs a better search" and it almost never does.

To me the more interesting point here is Lambert's second/third one, which is that, although both Twitter and Facebook decry the rise of fake news, their format is an especially hard one to write a nuanced critique in. It's difficult (if not impossible) to put a string of URLs in a Facebook post without actually putting the whole jumbled up 200-character strings of the URLs in – instead of just hotlinking a word! – and you can't format headings, sections, and subsections easily – so any discussion just basically devolves into "No, read this!" "Well, read this!" "What about this!", etc. And they don't always post comments chronologically, or in an order I can make sense of anyway, so you can't follow the ongoing discussion clearly anyway.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 18, 2018 at 12:30 am

> they don't always post comments chronologically, or in an order I can make sense of anyway

It's almost like they're trying to destroy any possibility of a decent discussion.

bob mcmanus , July 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm

Interestingly, as apparently the default, Firefox gives me a drop down list of "Latest News" headlines (? at least 50) which are I think entirely from the Guardian and BBC. Not great, too much human interest and soccer scores, and the articles are too often small or video, but god knows better than NYT and WaPo, and I can and do go on from there to the rest of the Guardian site. I don't know if that is configurable, if I could replace it with al-jazerra, Asia Times or RT

But I also have Jacobin Naked Capitalism and Counterpunch in quick buttons and I spend my time there. Should nuclear war start, I would want analysis before headlines. I am content with being a few days or week behind.

GERMO , July 17, 2018 at 5:09 pm

Gahd yes -- thanks for this post.

When Google News changed to whatever it is now I stopped using it entirely. It's not an aggregator in any sense at all, to me. I used to use Google as the home page and hit up the news page and felt like I had a newspaper to go with my morning coffee. It's ludicrous now. I just go directly to NC links and watercooler actually, and find my way around from there and from my local online paper. "Sad!"

JCC , July 17, 2018 at 11:48 pm

Google News has been slipping for a couple of years now, and has gotten exceptionally bad since it deployed the new layout. I now check it once or twice a week at the most and mainly just to read the headlines in order to find out what I'm supposed to believe.

The first site I open every morning is this site, read the articles of the titles that catch my interest (most) and then settle in with a cup of coffee or two and the Links Page.

The only serious problem I have with Naked Capitalism and its Links Section is that I'm often late for work as a direct result of opening the Links page (which reminds me, It's getting near my semi-annual donation :-)

Tinky , July 17, 2018 at 5:24 pm

This is a good opportunity for me to get something off of my chest, something that infuriates me.

I don't know what entity is responsible for designing the auto-correct function in (most, if not all) internet comment fields, but the result is shockingly bad.

First, it is fundamentally flawed. When the system offers a possible correction, it should allow the user to ignore the suggestion and continue typing. Instead, having implemented the tool completely backwards, it forces the user to close the suggestion, resulting in an obvious waste of time. The arrogance of assuming that the program is likely to be correct is compounded tremendously by the fact that – unbelievably – it does the exactly same thing for words that are capitalized!

I am dumfounded that anyone could be so stupid as to implement a program that attempts to correct proper names.

The fact that those involved in the initial design haven't yet discerned these obvious flaws, and there hasn't been widespread outrage over this issue, reflects very poorly on all involved.

ambrit , July 17, 2018 at 5:44 pm

I can attest that I usually run into spell check functions with abysmally poor vocabularies. (I just noticed that 'spell check' has connotations of Ye Darke Artes.) I have become inured to leaving those wavy red underlines in place when I 'post' a comment.
As for stupidity .

Tinky , July 17, 2018 at 5:54 pm

Yes, those which simply underline words in red are fine. It is the auto-correct versions to which I refer.

Amfortas the Hippie , July 17, 2018 at 7:04 pm

I knew something was up when every embedded(i guess) spellcheck i ran across couldn't spell Nietzsche and insisted that i always capitalise walmart(and cease using cambridge spelling immediately!).
i usually ignore the red squiggly, too
the worst was a samsung phone my wireless company gave me as an "upgrade". the text function had a "learning" spellcheck/autocorrect that you were supposed to just keep using so that it could eventually figure out what you were trying to say so at the beginning, every single word opened up a sort of square flower thing of unrelated(as a rule) words.
it was impossible I gather more so due to my habit of using archaic and obscure language and after you disabled it, it turned itself back on.
as a convenience.

Ur-Blintz , July 17, 2018 at 6:19 pm

d'accord!

but you have to admit that sometimes it's funny. today my phone kept correcting "detente" into "dead aunt".

Disturbed Vote , July 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm

It all goes back to Unix days, and DWIM. Do what I mean. According to the Hacker's Dictionary, the guy who invented DWIM has a permanent death sentence on assigned to him ;-)

http://www.hacker-dictionary.com/terms/DWIM

Lambert Strether Post author , July 18, 2018 at 12:32 am

Nice to see the Hacker's Dictionary quoted. It's a wonderful resource, and a reminder that not all programmers suck (just the ones riding scooters to their regulatory arbitrage start-ups in Silicon Valley).

rfdawn , July 17, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Agree entirely. Alas, it is often not the "program" doing this. My ipad has a popup touchscreen keyboard (courtesy of iOS) that tries to enforce English spellings in every text-entry situation including non-English webpages. As Lambert says, hilarity ensues.

Gregorio , July 18, 2018 at 8:13 am

Spell check creates a whole new world of problems when one routinely types in more than one language.

barefoot charley , July 18, 2018 at 10:23 am

My smartypants phone has detected me reading Voltaire (copyright-free Kindle for sitting and waiting) and decided when I stammer texts to communicate with under-50s that I must be speaking French. So my word-salads are bi-lingual. But the youth of today don't think I'm erudite, they think I'm crazy. Dunno why, monolingual stammering isn't much better. But unless I get a Trump-style thumb job, I can't type on my telephone (which is as it should be, but I'm so old I remember when people answered their phones).

Mark Gisleson , July 17, 2018 at 5:43 pm

I did a C-list version of what Lambert does during that golden period of blogging he mentions. He doesn't really give enough shrift to the amount of time he spends reading each day, and it would be impossible to know how much effort goes into his interpretive remarks that all too often spare me the bother of reading establishment tripe.

This is the gold standard for aggregation blogging: ample links, clarifying remarks, snark. Reading this blog turned my old blog into a watered down version of this blog. I stole a lot from Lambert Strether because he does this better than anyone else. (Pro tip: don't steal from crappy writers)

I suspect Robot Wisdom as a prior influence, but now we're talking super old-timey stuff.

ambrit , July 17, 2018 at 5:48 pm

I detect the 'Cold Dead Hands' of Addison and Steele. Also somewhat an influence arising from the Spectre of an old dead Scot.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 18, 2018 at 12:35 am

[lambert blushes modestly].

Never read Robot Wisdom! I came in after that point. I first encountered the blogosphere when Paul Krugman mentioned Atrios in one of his columns and I went to look. And that was that. I was unemployed at the time, and spent most of my time reading blogs instead of looking for work

Richard , July 17, 2018 at 5:48 pm

Thanks for including labeled screen shots in your critique of FB, Goog, Twit. For those of us who don't use those sites, it really helped comprehension.
Great post. I guess there really are a million ways to discourage people from thinking clearly, including bs silicon valley editing tools.

Hayek's Heelbiter , July 17, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Amen! Amen! Amen!

I'm re-writing a historical romantic drama that i first completed in 1985, set mostly in Paris and Vienna in the 1870s. I did major rewrites in the 1990s for a major star, who soon got a contract to earn tens (or maybe hundreds of times) what a low-budget art house film would have paid and promptly walked the project. As soon as your star is gone, your project isn't one of the walking dead, it's totally graveyard dead.

The Internet was just coming into its own in the mid-1990s, and I have dozens of pages of incredibly useful research material I downloaded from the web.

Fast forward to 2018, and a studio is again interested in the project. But it wants the script rewritten from the female protagonist's viewpoint.

I again turned to the Internet to research the era.

Guess what?

No matter what set of keywords I use, no matter how I structure my Boolean searches, I get hundreds and hundreds of links to commercial sights, advertisements for Viennese and Parisian stores popping up left right and center.

Out of 100 links, maybe one has useful information.

Fortunately, not yet having had an intervention on an episode of HOARDERS, I managed to locate in a mislabeled several thousand pages I photocopied from out-of-print books on the subject.

God bless the Brooklyn Public Library and their hard-working Reference Desk librarians. There's a special place in Heaven for them.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 18, 2018 at 12:36 am

Amazing!

Synoia , July 17, 2018 at 6:24 pm

The engineers who butchered Twitter and Facebook's edit tools probably thought that way.

Engineers do what management tells them to do.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 18, 2018 at 12:37 am

But their worldview already inclined them in the direction management wished them to go. (And sometimes management doesn't even know what it wants anyhow.)

lakecabs , July 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm

I noticed when I looked up Elon Musk Mars trip. I went through page after page of links to how great it was that he launched a car into outer space with no reference that he actually missed Mars.

Then again on this submarine fiasco.

none , July 17, 2018 at 7:25 pm

I look at https://lite.cnn.io/en if I want a quick scan of headlines (CNN only of course). https://text.npr.org/ is sort of similar but from NPR.

Milton , July 17, 2018 at 7:44 pm

I do things the old-fashioned way by compiling feeds from a list of 15, or so, sites into a js reader on my website. I don't use Google at all and have no use for any corporate website. What I will do, however, is browse the yahoo news stream just so I can get a feel of the day's mood but I never follow a link. The only site that I visit not via my news reader is NC.

Steve , July 17, 2018 at 9:18 pm

After Google messed up, I tried several possibles and ended up with Memeorandum.

JCC , July 17, 2018 at 11:36 pm

Never heard of that one before now. I just checked it out all the news promoting Cold War 2.0 right at your fingertips at least that's the way it looks tonight.

MsExPat , July 17, 2018 at 9:32 pm

I'm deep in the pit of learning about SEO optimization, and I can tell you that Google's search algorithms–together with Google AdWords–are to blame for the lousy quality of Google searches these days.

Google gives priority to websites based on:
t1) site speed (which means that unless you pay extra $$$ for superior hosting and upgraded cloud services, your site will drop in the rankings. And hey, guess who owns one of the fastest worldwide cloud hosting services? Google.)
2) Rules that force you to write "stupid" (or at least with zero flair and style) in order to get your website onto the first page of a search. The keyword has to be right up top, the header and meta-text have to be written just so, and within a character limit. You can't be arch or subtle or creative. Break a rule and you get no mercy from Google's ranking algorithm. You're just buried in the back.
3) Speaking of back, Google prioritizes sites and pages for backlinks, that is, for other sites that link back to your website or article. While that may seem to be a way of pushing quality websites to the top of a search, in actual practice this backlink thing is a game. My site has backlinks from the New York Times, CNN, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, and a host of other very authoritative high quality sites. However my competitor has a greater NUMBER of backlinks from more domains, and that counts for more, even though the links are from unknown travel bloggers.
4) Finally, the biggest drag on Google Search is the ads, which can take up the first half of the page before you get to a "real" search result.

It occurred to me the other day that scrapping or saving Net Neutrality may not really matter all that much. Google is so powerful that effectively they function like a commerce gateway, keeping out small businesses and websites that can't afford to hire the expensive software engineers and experts that you need nowadays to tweak and craft your site's backend so that it will show up in a Google search. Not to mention the added cost of fast hosting servers.

And the time suck of having to become familiar with all this stuff just so I can stay alive as a business!

Lambert Strether Post author , July 18, 2018 at 12:39 am

> And the time suck of having to become familiar with all this stuff just so I can stay alive as a business!

It's almost like the relations of production are holding back the forces of production

NJroute22 , July 18, 2018 at 12:46 am

For real – it's gone down the crapper almost entirely.

One blog we started in 2005 was a gold mine for five to eight years. Then the revenue tumbled – for no logical reason to us. We were dissed. Maybe we didn't change the keywords or whatever to "keep up with the times," but good original content that wasn't pop culture or groupthink was shunned.

Fast forward to 2018, as we try to start up another new blog (this time promoting on the top four major "social media" sites), it's been tough going.

It seems that people don't want to find interesting, common sense oriented, critical thinking based content anymore.

If you're not talking about some utterly useless celebrity or bone-headed politician or dreadful sad story – no one cares to exercise those wonderful abilities they have to contemplate and reflect anymore. Deep thinkers are a dying breed.

Even searching for simple things on Google has gotten horrific.

I'm with others here. RSS reader (we use InoReader – awesome). When you stumble on a quality site – instantly subscribe. Your own curated "timeline" or "newsfeed."

Read all the articles on those sites you subscribe to, because they often link to other quality sites you can add to your museum of good publications.

Even if they're not exactly your ball of wax – keep them anyway. Not every post has to be up your alley.

The independent publisher with unique thoughts is an endangered species. Not because we're dying off – but because they're trying to kill us off via financial starvation.

There has to be a change of the tide eventually. Hopefully before it's too late.

Crosley Bendix , July 17, 2018 at 9:59 pm

I would appreciate hearing how you use Twitter in a way that is productive for you.

Lambert Strether Post author , July 18, 2018 at 12:41 am

My Twitter feed is extremely carefully curated. I do not subscribe directly to the usual sources (like CNN, etc.)

So I hear about a story only when someone I trust brings it to my attention, not when they do.

In addition I have a large number of quirky people with a wide skillset.

I originally joined Twitter to follow Black Lives Matter. It was invaluable, and not only because I got news and images I could get nowhere else, but because Black Twitter is really neat.

The Rev Kev , July 17, 2018 at 10:13 pm

And this is what happens when we let billionaires control what we see and do on the net. I have been a newshound for years and use to go through Google News and then a few favoured sites. These days I have reversed it around as Google News has become so crappified, so stripped of content and so cumbersome to use that I have switched it around.
As for Facebook and Twitter – not on your nelly though I know lots of people have to use it for professional reasons or for staying in contact with groups that do not have a presence elsewhere. The past several years I have found that I visit a lot of Russian sites as I tend to find more news of interest there which five years ago I would have found weird. The times they are a changin'.
Want to know what the future will be like. Take a look at the following clip from the film "Rollerball" – the first one – and you will see. The main character goes to visit the world computer for information as all of it is stored there. Upon arrival he finds that the computer has "lost" all the information on the 13th century in talking to the lead scientist. Here is that clip of our future-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmTWhvWgST0

polecat , July 17, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Haven't EVER used twits or bloodfunnelbook, and quit bevil when I saw the devil's pitchfork get way too lucky !

Procopius , July 18, 2018 at 12:44 am

I hate the "editor" in Facebook, too, but because there's no way to format anything. That big type you call their default? That goes away when you type three lines or so. It's only been there a couple of years and I don't know what they were thinking of when they added it. Why can't I choose my type size? Why can't I make text bold or italic? NC at least has those options. Other blogs let me enter most HTML formatting tags. Those "disruptive" engineers must be pretty weird people. Why would I want my post to be in HUGE type if I'm only posting one or two lines?

Thing I wanted to ask, how do you make google search time periods. Is that something they've added? A few years ago, after many people entered "I have the same question" they admitted they had no way to do so. Is it something you have to use advanced search for? Because I think I remember seeing something there, but I haven't used it for many years.

hunkerdown , July 18, 2018 at 1:21 am

That feature can be found under Tools → Any time, in the toolbar on the results page under the search query.

JBird , July 18, 2018 at 2:35 am

I just checked Google. I could be missing it. What I do see is simpler, less precise, and not as useful as the previous time period search. I use to use to be to chop off precisely the exact dates I wanted searched. For example any articles, websites, or just news on the Humbolt Squid from 1/1/1984 to 1/2/1986.

If I missed that option please tell me as it was useful.

JBird , July 18, 2018 at 2:14 am

Procopius,
Yes, your memory is fine as Google did make it fairly easy to search periods of time and to use Boolean search terms. Brief tutorials and instructions easy to find. Googleborg has been getting less useful for using the interwebs but it is easier to find stuff to buy. Strange is it not?

Lambert,
When I think about the crapification of Google et al I also think about the siloing of economics, political science, history and other fields, which are stripped of anything considered extraneous, and reduced to dry misinformative stats, formulae, and over simplied stories. Going from the broad interconnected field of anthropology to what is misleading labeled "economics" is like going from a real forest full of life to a museum diorama consisting of some ratty stuff animals, plastic plants, and some awfully painted background and being told both are comparable.

I think what used to be political economics, but now just economics, was still not broad enough but the current field of economics had everything not describing and validating neoliberal capitalist free market economics removed. Adam Smith's own complete writings would get him labeled a socialist. I cannot think that the deliberate, and it was deliberate, to simplify away all inconvenient facts, ideas, and theories from what is laughing called economics so that only a few pre-approved answers to the approved narrative is like Google, Twitter, and Facebook's near uselessness.

Dave , July 18, 2018 at 9:45 am

I was actually working with FB (as a vendor) when they implemented that big-type "feature". They were concerned that it was becoming almost mandatory to include a picture with your posts – essentially every ad on the site has a picture, links to articles and most any URLs automatically include a picture, and users were including more and more pictures themselves as most people switched their Facebook time to smartphones. As a result, if you posted a short, tweet-length text only message, it was easy to miss. So they inflated the font size to make short messages take up a similar amount of space as longer ones or ones with pictures.

It's not my preference at all, stylistically (especially with those hideous colored backgrounds) but, well A/B testing told them it resulted in increased eyeballs on those short posts.

Tomi , July 18, 2018 at 2:54 am

Facebook demanding you to enable cookies is not only for the advertisers, but it's required by the server so that it can do some essential things that are required to deliver an interactive web page. For example when you try to post a message on Facebook your browser will send a request to Facebook server. That request must be accompanied by the cookie so that server knows that the request came from you and not from someone else.

If you don't want cookies tracking you, you can still enable them, but you can delete all cookies before you close your browser. Many browsers will allow you to automatically delete cookies when you close the browser.

Temporarily Sane , July 18, 2018 at 3:07 am

Have you tried Feedly ? Until 2013 it was owned by Google (where it was known as Google Reader) but it was actually a decent piece of software so of course they had to get rid of it. IMNSHO it leaves the competition in the dust and is still, by far, the best news aggregator available.

NJroute22 , July 18, 2018 at 3:30 am

I tried Feedly in the past – didn't rub me the right way. As I said in a previous comment – InoReader works for us perfectly.

Why Google got rid of their Reader is a good sign they are evil.

Skip Intro , July 18, 2018 at 5:57 am

I am officially adopting the policy of understanding the word "check" in "fact check", to have the same meaning as when it is used in the context of ice hockey, i.e. "Isikoff checked the facts for his new book so hard, they were carried off unconscious, and remain in a coma"

barefoot charley , July 18, 2018 at 10:44 am

+1
It's a lol!

SubjectivObject , July 18, 2018 at 8:14 am

for me, anyway
"What horrible virus has rotted the brain matter of the Google engineers who created this monstrosity?"

all such anomalous characteristics are intentioned features

William Hunter Duncan , July 18, 2018 at 9:15 am

I blogged on blogger for 5 years, after which I had maybe 200 hits a day, most of which were bots. Unless you googled my full name, the blog would never be listed.

Facebook was never meant to be anything but a ghetto, to put people in pens to make a few people rich rich rich.

Twitter was always about making people twits. See: Trump, Hillary-bots, the sports/movie/tv complex .

These days I write long poems by hand, lol.

ObjectiveFunction , July 18, 2018 at 9:15 am

Great piece, it reminds me of Edward Tufte's classic "The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint".

Of course, in spite of ET's popularity as a corporate tent revivalist, packing hotel ballrooms at $250 a seat, there's been no interruption in the steady dumbing down of communication, both written and graphic.

Scott1 , July 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Damnit. My comment disappeared.
I ended it asking if Naked Capitalism would become financially secure were it to own its own Servers that operated for profit regardless of content supported?
IT professionals Serve the Servers.
Drug dealers don't have to advertise.
Servers don't have to advertise, is what I thought.
I read the article. I read the comments. An idea appears above my eyes
between my eyebrows. 'Am I right or am I wrong?'
I love Naked Capitalism. Thanks

[Jul 18, 2018] The USA and Russia Two Sides of the Same Neoioliberal Coin

Notable quotes:
"... There are many modern myths. One of them is about the events of 1989 as being the culmination of a grand historical struggle for freedom and liberty. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For years prior to 1989 the West through a combination of both legal business and criminal activity had interpenetrated the Communist elites with lucrative deals and promises of all kinds. ..."
Jul 18, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin by Dan Corjescu

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonorable graves.

-- Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"

There are many modern myths. One of them is about the events of 1989 as being the culmination of a grand historical struggle for freedom and liberty. Nothing could be farther from the truth. For years