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Deception as an art form

News Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Diplomacy by deception Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative Bait and Switch
 Very Serious People Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons Mayberry Machiavellians Machiavellism False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Noble Lie
Pollyanna creep Machiavellians Manipulators Tricks Love bombing Groupthink Belief-coercion in high demand cults Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair
"Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Corruption of Regulators Cognitive Regulatory Capture Revolving Doors as Corruption
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Lesser evil trick of legitimizing a disastrous, corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Pluralism as a myth  Terrorism as a smokesreen for National Security State implementation Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers
American Exceptionalism as Civil Religion Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Anatol Leiven on American Messianism New American Militarism Humor Etc

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

"Hollywood no longer depicts reporters
in ruthless pursuit of criminals, high and low.
Now they are the criminals."

Frank Rich So Much for ’The Front Page’
NYT, November 2, 2003

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
--A. J. Liebling, writer (1904 - 1963)

Truth is the most precious thing. That's why we should ration it.
Vladimir Lenin

“Gentlemen, I am ready for the questions to my answers.”

- Charles de Gaulle,
at the beginning of the press conference,
wryly alluding to the staged nature of such events.

"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

“You can fool some of the people all of the time
and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

George W. Bush, joking at a Gridiron Club dinner,
 Washington, D.C., March 2001

Lately I’ve been amazed at the extent to which our entire public discourse now rests on disinformation and lies. First of all the concept of "bread and circuses" is now used more widely then in Rome:

What’s necessary for the state is the illusion of normality, of regularity,” America’s best-known political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal, told me last week by phone from the prison where he is incarcerated in Frackville, Pa. “… In Rome, what the emperors needed was bread and circuses. In America, what we need is ‘Housewives of Atlanta.’ We need sports. The moral stories of good cops and evil people. Because you have that …. there is no critical thinking in America during this period...

... ... ...

Trump, an acute embarrassment to the corporate state and the organs of internal security, may be removed from the presidency, but such a palace coup would only further consolidate the power of the deep state and intensify internal measures of repression.

When "bread and  circuses" no longer work and people start asking themselves unpleasant question like "What is the deep state?", "Why we are finding all those wars in Me?"  heavy artillery of propaganda comes into play.

It starts with setting the proper narrative. The facts don't matter once the narrative is set.  In typical large scale disinformation cases like "Russian hacking" story (aka Russiagate), half of the country will go on thinking there's no way the story is totally made up, if MSM report if: there is no smoke without fire. Chris Hedges assumes that this idea of "injective proper narrative" started during Nixon's presidency with his idea of silent majority (Trump Is the Symptom, Not the Disease), but in reality it predates JFK assassination:

It began when big money was employed by political operatives such as Roger Stone, a close Trump adviser, to create negative political advertisements and false narratives to deceive the public, turning political debate into burlesque.

Dialectics suggest that each notion develops into its opposite. It might already happened with the US MSM. they are now all fake news  distribution ("fake news" are officially sanctioned rumors) XXI century can probably be called "the age of disinformation", although the process started long ago with the first totalitarian regimes in Russia, Italy and Germany. In this sense cold war was won by the USSR, because one of the most despicable features of the regime -- totalitarian control of media -- is now almost completely replicated in western countries.  As Daniel Schorr  aptly observed in his csmonitor article A spin cycle out of control

Washington these days feels a little like Moscow in Soviet times when the government routinely dispensed information to the public and the public routinely didn't believe it. The two main newspapers were the Communist Party organ, Pravda, (Truth) and the Soviet government organ, Izvestiya (News). People used to say, "There is no Izvestiya in Pravda and no Pravda in Izvestiya." 

Only a complete idiot now can believe mainstream press. Moreover at least Communists were honest about it and accepted it as a necessary evil, a byproduct of a one-party state surrounded by hostile capitalist states, which resort to all kind of dirty tricks to undermine it.

Under neoliberalism the net result is the same, but the dealing with media is based not of Party diktat (journalists are fighters of the Party"), but more subtle bets on greed, corruption and population stupidity and passivity. And communists view of "capitalist press" was simple, straightforward and is rather attractive, while in general being false, as many other communist ideas  --  all professional journalists should be considered to be a special kind of prostitutes  aka presstitutes :-). Anyway, even if you rightly think that communist's approach is too extreme or simplistic or both,  it still make perfect sense always ask who stands to profit and try to find and compare information form the opposition be it internal opposition press of other states. 

It is extremely naive to assume that free flow of information can exist in a any advanced Western state. But if you take several states then this assumption looks a little bit more realistic. Contradictions between state facilitates the flow of information, that would be suppressed by domestic press. that's why British press is generally preferable source of information about the US events ;-) Which they follow very closely. Of course, the level of disinformation is highly dependent on the importance of the event and generally reaches maximum in the atmosphere of McCarthyism-style witch hunt of war  hysteria ("Truth is the first casualty of war").  As Stephen Gowans wrote in Media Monitors Network

Every war proceeds along this path. Those who stand to be killed, dismembered, and dispossessed, are demonized, turned into the hobgoblins the American journalist H.L. Menken accused practical politicians of using to menace the population into consenting to what would otherwise not be consented to. Few are going to consent to the killing of innocents. So you turn the innocent into the guilty. Butchers. Murderers. Genocidists. Only later are the stories revealed to be gross exaggerations, often outright fabrications. 

That's why English is so important. It is the only language that has critical mass of foreign press (most countries provide English language periodicals and Web sites)  and as such English (along with Internet) is the main bastion of democracy in a modern world. Of course pro-state bias is also more pronounced in coverage of international events as foreign correspondents, who while not always are on a direct payroll of three letter agencies are often directly or indirectly influenced by them. If you are already thinking along this path you might also enjoy a book by John Ralston Saul called "Unconscious Civilization." Another his book that is worth reading (and written along the same lines) is "Voltaire's Bastards" in which he examines the appropriation of our government/corporations by an unaccountable elite which has co-opted the real power in our society (skip the Canadian identity-related staff) http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/events/readings/ejohn.htm

While in most cases Canadian and UK newspapers give more truthful picture of events in the USA, this is not true for foreign policy US and the USA are often in the same bed as for foreign policy and British press repeats (often in a slightly more sophisticated form  then the USA counterparts ;-) the State Department talking points. The same is true for Russian press about Ukraine.

Traditionally UK press was the standard of independent thinking. This clearly now belongs to the past (with Times controlled by Murdock family and Guardian being a neoliberal mouthpiece ) by still, in my experience, there are some remnants of this honorable tradition. You can more often to fight insightful articles in Guardian then iether in NYT or WaPo. But you need to be aware of those few brave soils, dinosaurs journalists who still try to inform public, not to misinform it. Another important factor is the level of monopolization of the press. In any case in British press discussions are always worth reading and typically this is were real information can be uncovered. 

This symbiosis of press and government is nothing new. It existed in the USSR and now exists in the West. Famous economist John Kenneth Galbraith in  his latest book The Economics of Innocent Fraud noted that  politicians and the media moguls actually form shadow "Ministry of Truth" in best Orwellian traditions, propagating, for example myth about:

..a benign "market" that big business always knows best, that minimal intervention stimulates the economy, that obscene pay gaps and unrestrained self-enrichment are an inevitable by-product of the system.

The other typical Soviet phenomena is blatant twisting of the language. For example the word "democracy" now usually means "our bastards" (as in famous quote “he may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard" ;-). And what is really sad, is that in case of war,  or major terrorist events, extreme, Soviet style disinformation is not limited to channels like Fox or Rupert Murdock controlled newspapers. It can be found all over the political spectrum. For example the level of distortion of wars in Kosovo and Beslan tragedy was actually greater in left press.  BBS and NYT, Newsweek, Guardian, Independent, etc really managed to outdid Fox in the art of disinformation in those cases. After that you feel nothing but disgust reading them.

And it is so called "left press" (or more correctly soft neoliberal press) which supported and continue to mix Wahhabi fanatics with freedom fighters. Like Talleyrand used to say "It is worse than a crime, -- it is a blunder" as Wahhabism is a direct threat to the civilized world. Moreover the story of Osama Bin Laden (Osama is essentially a byproduct of the Saudi regime, in particular the hardliners in the regime, and the CIA; Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided the necessary but not sufficient condition for the creation of this movement; two other important components were Saudis and CIA) had shown quite convincingly that due to the internal logic of the movement they always turn against  the very people who were providing them money and PR support. As MSNBC author By Michael Moran stated in his Aug. 24, 1998 article "Bin Laden comes home to roost":

At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term that describes an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.

In case of important events, nobody now generally expects the government to tell the truth rather than to resort to propaganda.  So in a way we all live in post-USSR world.  But there is some level in which quantity turns into quality. And "war time coverage" now is gradually extended to less and less important cases that should not involve "war time" restrictions and mobilization priorities.  So the situation is gradually sliding to the level of Orvell's dystopian novell 1984.  If powerful interests are involved, then trying to tell the truth is a direct threat to the employment of the particular journalist (and in some countries even life); in the case of the broadcasters can lead to direct or subtle forms of censorship (removal from the air) and/or economic retribution.  That means that for most journalists the loyalty to one's boss (and by extension his handlers) overwhelmingly took precedent over personal honesty and integrity. Also journalists, especially in national capitals, are regularly bribed by the establishment. Some of the are connected with the establishment by family and other ties.

For that reason, we, as citizens, have to learn to recognize propaganda and media disinformation and within our limited means fight it. The ability to withstand massive "brainwashing" now become an important dimension of non-conformism.  Those skills are especially important due to an extremely dangerous development in mass communication -- complete loss of independence (sovietization) of mass media, the phenomenon that is also connected with the creation of  military-media-industrial complex (MMIC). Here is a relevant quote from The 50, 26, 20... Corporations That Own Our Media

Of the 1,700 daily papers, 98 percent are local monopolies and fewer than 15 corporations control most of the country's daily circulation. A handful of firms have most of the magazine business, with Time, Inc. alone accounting for about 40 percent of that industry's revenues.

Actually this kind of control of media by powerful interests (connected with the state, but necessary directly manipulated by the state) is the essence of  the totalitarian state.  This is a bad thing. I think, that in such circumstances anybody who has IQ to speak about, should not blindly believe any newspaper or TV station. Any news coverage should be considered more like a question than like an answer. This is especially true for international events. Only by comparing sources from different countries (for example Australian coverage, Asian coverage, GB and Canada coverage) one can get some idea about what's really is going on.  In this sense Internet is really the last citadel of democracy. In addition to the internet there is still a couple of good things:

The history the media cowardice, prejudice and gross over-simplification needs to be studied much more completely and materials presented below are far from being such a study. And while I would like to repeat it again: Internet is last bastion of democracy, media conglomerates actually controls a large part of Internet too, so crossing the national borders is extremely important. Portals like Yahoo are just puppets in a big game. Just ask yourself who provides news  for Yahoo and similar portals. One should always ask the question, "Who and why put this here?". 

Another problem is that it's rather difficult to counter disinformation especially if the message falls within the bounds of your cultural belief systems. That's true for both light and left propaganda. The Internet offers certain advantages in conveying false information because the well known issues of conformity, persuasion and self-justification are amplified by the Net.   Here are some relevant quotes:

What the mainstream media is doing with facts is often wrong. Sometimes it's plain, undisguised lie. And they don't really care if I know it, or you know it, or if  millions know it. Again, they don't care -- they are doing their paid job of manipulation of public opinion in the interests of powerful groups.  It is definitely not anything like what it is supposed to be, which is a reliable and independent information helping us to understand this complex world. Let's face it: political commentators are often a special kind of trained crocodiles, they are just animals trained to maim the prey. The art of disinformation now reached such level that you can suspect anything including the direct transmission from the place of the event to be staged, sanitized  or outright manipulated:

If you're reading this, we trust that you're painfully aware of the stranglehold that corporations have on the flow of "news" the world over. In this self-referential hyper-aware media-saturated environment, it's hardly incendiary or revolutionary at this point to imply that most news these days is manipulative moronic crap manufactured to simultaneously subdue and incite The Masses into their ongoing cycle of complacent apathy and egomaniacal patriotism. Or is it?

We won't insult your intelligence by waxing poetic about the self-preserving, dull-witted conspiracy of fools that we conveniently categorize as The Media Elite. You know the ones we're talking about. And in case you're not familiar with exactly how influenced the information that filters down to your front door, car radio or boob tube by The Military Entertainment Complex, have a looksie at who owns what. Yeah, that's right. Show us the money.

And while Internet is the last bastion of democracy, it is extremely important to be aware of the nature of the Internet. Information exists on the Net outside of existing scholarly structures. Sometimes respectable Internet sites are using all the dirty  tricks of  of yellow press journalism. See Open Directory - Science Social Sciences Psychology Persuasion and Social Influence. Here is an relevant quote from the paper: In Seattle's Aftermath Linux, Independent Media, and the Survival of Democracy:

Why Mainstream Media Won't Tell You the Truth

You don't have to be a genius or a conspiracy theorist to figure this one out. A few global media giants dominate the market; they have huge and growing holdings in virtually every means by which information is disseminated--films, books, TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines (Herman and McChesney, 1998). And they pressure, whether overtly or not, authors and reporters to put a slant on the news--specifically, a centrist to right-wing slant that favors the interests of the media's corporate owners. That's the reason you hear, over and over, why development matters more than preserving the environment, why free trade matters more than worker's rights, and why the U.S. has the right to impose its military power wherever it pleases.

Apart from the general pressure to slant the news to the center and right, industry associations overtly pressure media outlets to censor certain types of news reporting by threatening to withdraw advertising. For example, thanks to pressure from restaurant associations, newspapers are reluctant to specify local restaurants which violate health department regulations. Even so, overt pressure isn't often needed. When you're in the media business, you know darned well you'd better not run stories that businesses won't like. You tone it down. You run it by them. And if they're not comfortable and you're not comfortable, you don't run it.

In sum, you don't hear the truth because corporations don't want you to hear it and mainstream media are too cowardly to report it. Had you known the truth about Seattle (including substantive discussion of the specific issues concerning WTO policies), you might have thought more deeply about what's at stake. But that doesn't sell beer; why ask why, after all, when doing so is virtually unmarketable? Instead of providing the tools needed to think seriously about national policies, the media would much prefer to socialize viewers into becoming "neurotic in their need to buy advertised commodities", generating "mass spending on goods such as cosmetics, cigarettes, beer, soft drinks, and patent medicines completely out of proportion to the rational use of national income..." and diverting attention from "society's central needs, including public education, health care, [and] democratic economics" (Bagdikian, 1996:10).

At the same time for a thinking person Internet provides a unique possibility to resist this brain-washing campaign by comparing several sources. With some training you can read between the lines in mainstream media reports (people from former "socialist" countries usually have high score in those skills ;-):

The Internet is "dangerous" because it is a medium for the instantaneous and uncontrolled transmission of ideas.

We think of free speech as being a given--almost an absolute--in the United States and much of the Western world. Though everyone knows that certain kinds of speech, such as pornography, are against the law, most of us don't think about the web of social, nongovernmental constraints on legal but disfavored speech.

Unpopular ideas are marginalized in our society, restricted to the fringes of public discourse even without the need for any governmental action. Broadcast television and radio, cable, newsmagazines and book publishers all are--or are owned by--large conglomerates. Many rely on advertising, or own other businesses that do, or are simply owned or controlled by people whose personal involvement in the social web of contacts and constraints guarantees moderation in ideas. No idea sees the light of day until it has been turned over, examined from every angle, and pronounced fit for human consumption. Editors approve articles and books, and are managed by publishers who sometimes intervene in content. Committees decide what news stories to cover and which to ignore.

Let's don't miss this possibility, while it's still exists !!!

"To successfully uncover the lies of someone you first must know how to lie yourself. Now, some people just don't know how to lie because they've never been around someone who was good at it. I'm going to give you some pointers — never ever exaggerate within the lie. Details are key and remembering those details is what will keep the lie alive."

"One of the ways that deal with co-workers who I think have lied to me is to ask them the most obvious question: 'Did you lie to me when…?'"

"In a group of people, ask the person the question you need answered and when they lie to you, I just say — 'You lying &*#^, you never said that in your whole life.' Everybody breaks up laughing and the person obviously is caught. We all make a joke of it and it is much harder for them to be dishonest the next time."

"When it is obvious that someone's story has little connection to reality, I say 'Oh my gosh, almost the exact same thing happened to me.' This achieves the objective of 1) pointing out to the tall tale teller that you are on to him; and 2) makes everyone else realize how ridiculous this co-worker's stories are getting, and forces everyone to evaluate the veracity of all future tall tales.

"When trying to detect a liar, I act absent-minded and pause with unfinished sentences. The liar tends to fill these spaces. I have caught liars this way."

"I give them my biggest smile and usually say something like, 'Come on Pinocchio, your nose is growing.' Then I laugh gently. If they seem embarrassed or avoid eye contact and smile and say nothing, then I have confirmation that they have lied. They know it and I know it. Reading their body language is extremely important. Once word gets around that you are not a fool who will believe anything, most people won't try it with you."

"If you must interact with this person, try to have a third party present to be a neutral witness to any conversation that takes place. Also, if possible, interact via e-mail and be professional. We all know e-mails are a nice time-stamped paper trail of the facts."

"There are different ways to deal with lies, depending on the reason and the frequency. The solutions range from ignoring the lies, to training, to confrontation, to verbal and written warnings, and perhaps, as a last resort if the damage by the lies is substantial, termination."

"Of course he is lying. Everyone is lying. It's part of the human condition. Bosses lie all the time. Workers give them lies in reply and to each other."

Recommended Reading

The Understanding Stupidity

This systematic distortion of information makes human societies characteristically self-deceptive, with people disposed to believe they are living up to their ideals, particularly when they are not. The existing schematic dissonance is usually subconscious, due to the misleading nature of words, so society stumbles smugly along while at odds with itself, its environment and its equally stupid neighbors. In fact, the only really effective control of development comes not from inside but from physical limitations (what cannot be done) and competition with other groups which are also out of touch with themselves.

In general, internal criticism is of limited value as a control mechanism for growth and development of a social system. There usually tend to be few, if any, effective critics within any organization. When not dismissed out of hand as a crank or an outsider, anyone with valid criticism is made an outsider, as ostracism is a common reward for honesty, accuracy and integrity. Thus, criticism without power is largely wasted, producing little but woe for the bewildered critic himself.

Perhaps there are so few effective critics because anyone with any brains at all quickly finds that most human organizations just are not set up for effective criticism. The basic working assumption is that everything is just fine. Outside criticism is deflected and internal feedback is supposed to be positive reinforcement from "Yes men" promoting their careers by corrupting the mighty. At best, criticism has a place on the fringe, where cranks and comics can be tolerated as amusing diversions.

Can Truth Be Told When Using Selective Information

"The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."

Business marketing and politics often overlap in election campaigns. Someone vying for office is essentially trying to sell himself to voters. "When you are campaigning, you're like the businessman who has a limited responsibility, a limited set of people to whom you owe something," said Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and author of "Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice" (W. W. Norton).

But, increasingly, because of the fund-raising involved in running for national office, "you have to be in an almost permanent campaign mode," said David Gergen, now a professor of public service at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who was an adviser to four presidents. "In politics, you fall into the trap of short-termism. You do whatever it takes to keep the headlines up today." This short-term thinking is not dissimilar to what causes some businesses to make poor decisions in trying to bolster stock prices or earnings reports.

"The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."

BUT it's difficult to affect the long haul if you find yourself voted out of office. For that reason, Dick Morris, a former adviser to Mr. Clinton and the author of "Off with Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks and Obstructionists in American Politics, Media and Business" (Regan Books, 2003), said he thinks that "using polling and all of the tools of an election to help you govern is a good thing."

"It gets the president to be very aggressive in figuring out what he can do in an active way really to help the country," he added. "The motivation is to govern well so he can get elected."

Even if President Bush has to campaign constantly and, as a result, selectively uses information to sell his message, we still expect him to tell the truth. "If they decided to lie to make the case stronger that's simply unethical," said Mr. Gilman, who was a senior official at the United States Office of Government Ethics from 1988 to 2001. Mr. Gilman said he hopes that the president "got one bad piece of intelligence and the rest was correct."

Some political analysts say President Bush crossed a line in selectively using information by pointing to British intelligence to make an argument, when American intelligence doubted the claim. "As in all marketing, when you go too far, it creates a small cloud over you about credibility," Professor Gergen said.

There's more at stake when President Bush selectively uses information than when a business executive tries to move a product. The president's role clearly distinguishes his unique moral responsibility. As an executive, you don't order young men and women to give up their lives for a cause.


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"It tends to be all accurate,
but not in an over-all context."

Donald Rumsfeld

2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001

[Jun 15, 2018] Creationists and George W Bush: Bush junior is the best argument against intelligent design: nobody intelligent would ever design that

Jun 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN ,

There are many other clear traces of evolution (constantly developing antibiotic resistance of disease-causing bacteria being one of the most obvious), but the funniest argument for evolution I know is this: "Bush junior is the best argument against intelligent design: nobody intelligent would ever design that".

[Jun 09, 2018] What Goes Around: "Trampling on the Helpless Abroad" Comes Home

Notable quotes:
"... our government's support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not exceptions to the rule at all. They are the rule ..."
"... The problem here isn't just liberal hypocrisy and double standards. The deeper issue is that, as the great American iconoclast Mark Twain knew, you cannot maintain democracy at home while conducting an authoritarian empire abroad. ..."
"... "It was impossible," Twain wrote, "to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home." ..."
"... "Just a decade after Twain wrote those prophetic words," the historian Alfred W. McCoy has observed , "colonial police methods came home to serve as a template for the creation of an American internal security apparatus in wartime." The nation's first Red Scare, which crushed left and labor movements during and after World War One, drew heavily on the lessons and practices of colonial suppression in the Philippines and Cuba. As McCoy shows in his latest book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power , ..."
"... "The fetters imposed on liberty at home," James Madison wrote in 1799 , "have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers abroad." Those are wise words well worth revisiting amidst the current endless Russiagate madness, calculated among other things to tell us that the FBI, the CIA, and the rest of the nation's vast and ever more ubiquitous intelligence and surveillance state are on our side. ..."
Jun 09, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

A final matter concerns the problem of imperial chickens coming home to roost. Liberals don't like to hear it, but the ugly, richly documented historical fact of the matter is that their party of binary and tribal choice has long joined Republicans in backing and indeed crafting a U.S. foreign policy that has imposed authoritarian regimes (and profoundly undemocratic interventions including invasions and occupations) the world over . The roster of authoritarian and often-mass murderous governments the U.S. military and CIA and allied transnational business interests have backed, sometimes even helped create, with richly bipartisan support, is long indeed.

Last fall, Illinois Green Party leader Mike Whitney ran some fascinating numbers on the 49 nation-states that the right-wing "human rights" organization Freedom House identified as "dictatorships" in 2016. Leaving aside Freedom House's problematic inclusion of Russia, Cuba, and Iran on its list, the most remarkable thing about Whitney's research was his finding that the U.S. offered military assistance to 76 percent of these governments. (The only exceptions were Belarus, China, Central African Republic, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria.). "Most politically aware people," Whitney wrote:

"know of some of the more highly publicized instances examples of [U.S. support for foreign dictatorships], such as the tens of billions of dollars' worth of US military assistance provided to the beheading capital of the world, the misogynistic monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and the repressive military dictatorship now in power in Egypt apologists for our nation's imperialistic foreign policy try to rationalize such support, arguing that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are exceptions to the rule. But my survey demonstrates that our government's support for Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not exceptions to the rule at all. They are the rule ."

The Pentagon and State Department data Whitney used came from Fiscal Year 2015. It dated from the next-to-last year of the Obama administration, for which so many liberals recall with misplaced nostalgia. Freedom House's list should have included Honduras, ruled by a vicious right-wing government that Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped install in a June 2009 military coup .

The problem here isn't just liberal hypocrisy and double standards. The deeper issue is that, as the great American iconoclast Mark Twain knew, you cannot maintain democracy at home while conducting an authoritarian empire abroad. During the United States' blood-soaked invasion and occupation of the Philippines, Twain penned an imaginary history of the twentieth-century United States. "It was impossible," Twain wrote, "to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home."

"Just a decade after Twain wrote those prophetic words," the historian Alfred W. McCoy has observed , "colonial police methods came home to serve as a template for the creation of an American internal security apparatus in wartime." The nation's first Red Scare, which crushed left and labor movements during and after World War One, drew heavily on the lessons and practices of colonial suppression in the Philippines and Cuba. As McCoy shows in his latest book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power , the same basic process -- internal U.S. repression informed and shaped by authoritarian and imperial practices abroad and justified by alleged external threats to the "homeland" -- has recurred ever since. Today, the rise of an unprecedented global surveillance state overseen by the National Security Agency has cost the US the trust of many of its top global allies (under Bush43 and Obama44, not just under Trump45) while undermining civil liberties and democracy within as beyond the U.S.

"The fetters imposed on liberty at home," James Madison wrote in 1799 , "have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers abroad." Those are wise words well worth revisiting amidst the current endless Russiagate madness, calculated among other things to tell us that the FBI, the CIA, and the rest of the nation's vast and ever more ubiquitous intelligence and surveillance state are on our side.

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[Jun 06, 2018] The divisive societal aspects of free market fundamentalism

Jun 06, 2018 | profile.theguardian.com

AsDusty, 3 Jun 2018 17:43

Half the population prefers a politics that is racist and unethical, that demonises the poor and idolises the rich, that eschews community and embraces amoral individuality. These people don't care about the economic inconsistencies of neo-liberalism, they are far more attracted to the divisive societal aspects of free market fundamentalism.

[Jun 03, 2018] Economist's View Is GDP Overstating Economic Activity

Notable quotes:
"... Economic Letter ..."
"... Economic Letter ..."
"... Journal of Econometrics ..."
"... Brookings Papers on Economic Activity ..."
"... FRBSF Economic Letter ..."
"... Brookings Papers on Economic Activity ..."
"... Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking ..."
"... Opinions expressed in FRBSF Economic Letter do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. ..."
Jun 03, 2018 | economistsview.typepad.com

Is GDP Overstating Economic Activity? From an Economic Letter at the FRBSF:

Is GDP Overstating Economic Activity?, by Zheng Liu, Mark M. Spiegel, and Eric B. Tallman : Two common measures of overall economic output are gross domestic product (GDP) and gross domestic income (GDI). GDP is based on aggregate expenditures, while GDI is based on aggregate income. In principle, the two measures should be identical. However, in practice, they are not. The differences between these two series can arise from differences in source data, errors in measuring their components, and the seasonal adjustment process.
In this Economic Letter , we evaluate the reliability of GDP relative to two alternatives, GDI and a combination of the two known as GDPplus, for measuring economic output. We test the ability of each to forecast a benchmark measure of economic activity over the past two years. We find that GDP consistently outperforms the other two as a more accurate predictor of aggregate economic activity over this period. This suggests that the relative weakness of GDI growth in recent years does not necessarily indicate weakness in overall economic growth.
Discrepancies between GDP and GDI
What drives the discrepancies between GDP and GDI is not well understood. The source data for the components that go into GDP and GDI are measured with errors, which may lead to discrepancies between the two. Further discrepancies can arise because those different components are adjusted for seasonality at different points in time (see, for example, Grimm 2007).
The differences between these two series can be large. For example, in the last two quarters of 2007, inflation-adjusted or "real" GDI was declining whereas real GDP was still growing. The year-over-year growth rate of GDP exceeded that of GDI by almost 2.6 percentage points. Over long periods, however, final measures of growth in GDP and GDI tend to yield roughly equivalent assessments of economic activity. Since 1985, real GDP grew at an average annual rate of about 3.98%, while real GDI grew at a similar average rate of 4.02%.
Since late 2015, the two series have diverged, with real GDP growth consistently exceeding real GDI growth (Figure 1). The differences in growth are significant in this period. For example, if we used GDI growth to assess overall economic activity since July 2015, then the size of real aggregate output by the end of 2017 would be $230 billion smaller than if GDP growth were used. This divergence between the two sends mixed signals regarding the strength of recent economic activity.

Figure 1
Mixed signals from GDP and GDI growth

2018-14-1

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Evaluating GDP, GDI, combination
Researchers often debate which of these series measures economic activity more accurately. Nalewaik (2012) argues that GDI outperforms GDP in forecasting recessions. GDI does appear to exhibit more cyclical volatility than GDP. One reason may be that GDI is more highly correlated with a number of business cycle indicators, including movements in both employment and unemployment (Nalewaik 2010). On the other hand, the Bureau of Economic Analysis has resisted this conclusion, arguing that GDP is in general based on more reliable source data than GDI is (Landefeld 2010).
To evaluate the relative reliability of GDP versus GDI for measuring economic output, we compare their abilities to forecast a benchmark measure of economic activity. We focus on the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) as the benchmark, since it is publicly available. The CFNAI is a monthly index of national economic activity, generated as the common component of 85 monthly series in the U.S. economy. These underlying series include a wide variety of data covering production and income, employment and unemployment, personal consumption and housing, and sales and orders. The CFNAI has been shown to help forecast real GDP (Lang and Lansing 2010). We use the CFNAI as a benchmark activity indicator to evaluate the relative forecasting performances of GDP and GDI and their combinations. Since the discrepancy between these two series has persisted for several years, we focus on the final releases of the GDP and GDI series.
Some have argued that, because the GDP and GDI series contain independent information, it may be preferable to combine the two series into a single more informative activity indicator. One series that uses such a combination is the Philadelphia Fed's GDPplus series, which is a weighted average of GDP and GDI, with the weights based on the approach described by Aruoba et al. (2016). As a weighted average, GDPplus indicates activity levels between the two individual series. We therefore also consider the forecasting performance of the GDPplus series over this period of extended discrepancy between reported GDP and GDI growth.
To confirm the accuracy of our approach, we repeated our investigation with two alternative series constructed using methodologies similar to the CFNAI. The first alternative is an aggregate economic activity index (EAI) we constructed by extracting the common components of 90 underlying monthly time series. The EAI covers a broader set of monthly indicators than the CFNAI, since we also include information from goods prices and asset prices.
The second alternative indicator we considered is an activity index constructed by Barigozzi and Luciani (2018), which we call the BL index. Like our index, the BL index includes price indexes and other measures of labor costs. The authors base their estimates on the portions of GDP and GDI that are driven by common macroeconomic shocks under the assumption that they have equivalent effects on GDP and GDI. This restriction implies that deviations between GDP and GDI are transitory, and that the two series follow each other over time.
The EAI and the BL index are both highly correlated with the CFNAI and thus yielded similar conclusions. We describe the source data and our methodology for constructing the EAI as well as the analysis using both it and the BL index in an online appendix .
Empirical results
To examine the relative performances of GDP, GDI, and GDPplus for forecasting the CFNAI, we first estimate an empirical model in which the CFNAI is related to four lagged values of one of these measures of aggregate output. Ideally, we would have used the full sample of postwar data in our model, but there are some structural breaks in the data related to factors such as changes in the monetary policy regime since the mid-1980s and the Great Moderation that make this challenging. We therefore choose to focus on the sample starting from the first quarter of 1985 in this discussion; our results using the full sample are similar, as we report in the online appendix .
To examine how well each of the measures of aggregate output are able to forecast the CFNAI, we estimate the model using the sample observations up to the end of 2015, the period before GDP and GDI diverged. Once we determine the estimated coefficients that describe each relationship, we use those values to estimate forecasts for the period when discrepancies developed, from the first quarter of 2016 to the end of 2017. We then calculate the prediction errors, measured by the root mean-squared errors, for each measure of aggregate output. The smaller the prediction error, the better the forecasting performance.
In addition to examining the forecasting performance of GDP, GDI, and GDPplus for predicting the CFNAI economic activity indicator, we also examined their forecasting performance for the unemployment rate as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Figure 2 displays the prediction errors from 2016 to 2017 for each of the alternative output measures -- GDP, GDI, and GDPplus -- estimated from our model for CFNAI and unemployment. For ease of comparison, we normalize the prediction errors from the model with GDP to one. The figure shows that the prediction errors over this period based on the GDP series are substantively lower than those based on GDI or GDPplus. This finding holds true not just for these proxies for economic activity but also for our EAI and the BL index (see the online appendix ). Moreover, formal statistical tests of forecasting performance indicate that the forecasts based on GDP are significantly better than those based on GDI or GDPplus at the 95% confidence level. This result suggests that, in recent periods, GDP has been a more reliable independent indicator of economic activity than either GDI or GDPplus.

Figure 2
GDP outperforms GDI, GDPplus in predicting activity

2018-14-2

Note: Figure shows prediction errors with GDP indexed to 1.

Conclusion
While GDP and GDI are theoretically identical measures of economic output, they can differ significantly in practice over some periods. The differences between the two series have been particularly pronounced in the past two years, when GDP growth has been consistently stronger than GDI growth. Based on this observation, some analysts have claimed that GDP might be overstating the pace of growth and that GDI, or some combination of GDP and GDI, should be used to evaluate the levels and growth rate of economic activity.
To evaluate the validity of this claim, we compared the relative performances of GDP, GDI, and a combined measure, GDPplus, for forecasting the CFNAI, which we use as a benchmark measure of economic activity over the past two years. We find that GDP consistently outperforms both GDI and combinations of the two, such as GDPplus, in forecasting aggregate economic activity during the past two years. In this sense, GDP is a more accurate predictor of aggregate economic activity than GDI over this period. Therefore, the relative weakness of GDI growth observed in recent years does not necessarily indicate weakness in overall economic growth.
Zheng Liu is a senior research advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Mark M. Spiegel is a vice president in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Eric B. Tallman is a research associate in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
References
Aruoba, S. Boragan, Francis X. Diebold, Jeremy Nalewaik, Frank Schorfheide, and Dongho Song. 2016. "Improving GDP Measurement: A Measurement-Error Perspective." Journal of Econometrics 191(2), pp. 384–397.
Barigozzi, Matteo, and Matteo Luciani. 2018. "Do National Account Statistics Underestimate U.S. Real Output Growth?" Board of Governors FEDS Notes , January 9.
Grimm, Bruce T. 2007. "The Statistical Discrepancy." Bureau of Economic Analysis Working Paper 2007-01, March 2.
Landefeld, J. Steven. 2010. "Comments and Discussion: The Income- and Expenditure-Side Estimates of U.S. Output Growth." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity , Spring, pp. 112–123.
Lang, David, and Kevin J. Lansing. 2010. "Forecasting Growth Over the Next Year with a Business Cycle Index." FRBSF Economic Letter 2010-29 (September 27).
Nalewaik, Jeremy J. 2010. "The Income- and Expenditure-Side Estimates of U.S. Output Growth." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity , Spring, pp. 71–106.
Nalewaik, Jeremy J. 2012. "Estimating Probabilities of Recession in Real Time Using GDP and GDI." Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking 44, pp. 235–253.

Opinions expressed in FRBSF Economic Letter do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.


Paine , May 29, 2018 at 06:32 PM

Love to read stuff like this


Refining methods of data collection and aggregation

Why ?

Irony

Paine -> Paine ... , May 29, 2018 at 06:34 PM
Vickrey macro ...NOW.
anne -> Paine ... , May 29, 2018 at 06:44 PM
Fine, "Vickrey macro," but every time that is asserted there needs to be a reference to a clear summary statement of what that means. A Wikipedia reference would do, but the assertion has almost no influence unless made immediately, simply meaningful.

Just one simple reference summary will do, continually repeated.

Gibbon1 -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 01:18 AM
Read this. Fifteen Fatal Fallacies of Financial Fundamentalism. A Disquisition on Demand Side Economics

http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/wp/econ/vickrey.html

anne -> Gibbon1... , May 30, 2018 at 08:17 AM
http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/wp/econ/vickrey.html

October 5, 1996

Fifteen Fatal Fallacies of Financial Fundamentalism
A Disquisition on Demand Side Economics
By William Vickrey

[ I appreciate this reference, which I will read carefully. ]

anne -> Gibbon1... , May 30, 2018 at 11:16 AM
Summary:

http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/wp/econ/vickrey.html

October 15, 1996

Fifteen Fatal Fallacies of Financial Fundamentalism
A Disquisition on Demand Side Economics
By William Vickrey

Much of the conventional economic wisdom prevailing in financial circles, largely subscribed to as a basis for governmental policy, and widely accepted by the media and the public, is based on incomplete analysis, contrafactual assumptions, and false analogy. For instance, encouragement to saving is advocated without attention to the fact that for most people encouraging saving is equivalent to discouraging consumption and reducing market demand, and a purchase by a consumer or a government is also income to vendors and suppliers, and government debt is also an asset. Equally fallacious are implications that what is possible or desirable for individuals one at a time will be equally possible or desirable for all who might wish to do so or for the economy as a whole.

And often analysis seems to be based on the assumption that future economic output is almost entirely determined by inexorable economic forces independently of government policy so that devoting more resources to one use inevitably detracts from availability for another. This might be justifiable in an economy at chock-full employment, or it might be validated in a sense by postulating that the Federal Reserve Board will pursue and succeed in a policy of holding unemployment strictly to a fixed "non-inflation-accelerating" or "natural" rate. But under current conditions such success is neither likely nor desirable.

Some of the fallacies that result from such modes of thought are as follows. Taken together their acceptance is leading to policies that at best are keeping us in the economic doldrums with overall unemployment rates stuck in the 5 to 6 percent range. This is bad enough merely in terms of the loss of 10 to 15 percent of our potential production, even if shared equitably, but when it translates into unemployment of 10, 20, and 40 percent among disadvantaged groups, the further damages in terms of poverty, family breakup, school truancy and dropout, illegitimacy, drug use, and crime become serious indeed. And should the implied policies be fully carried out in terms of a "balanced budget," we could well be in for a serious depression.

Fallacy 1

Deficits are considered to represent sinful profligate spending at the expense of future generations who will be left with a smaller endowment of invested capital. This fallacy seems to stem from a false analogy to borrowing by individuals.

Fallacy 2

Urging or providing incentives for individuals to try to save more is said to stimulate investment and economic growth. This seems to derive from an assumption of an unchanged aggregate output so that what is not used for consumption will necessarily and automatically be devoted to capital formation.

Fallacy 3

Government borrowing is supposed to "crowd out" private investment.

Fallacy 4

Inflation is called the "cruelest tax." The perception seems to be that if only prices would stop rising, one's income would go further, disregarding the consequences for income.

Fallacy 5

"A chronic trend towards inflation is a reflection of living beyond our means." Alfred Kahn, quoted in Cornell '93, summer issue.

Fallacy 6

Fallacy 7

Many profess a faith that if only governments would stop meddling, and balance their budgets, free capital markets would in their own good time bring about prosperity, possibly with the aid of "sound" monetary policy. It is assumed that there is a market mechanism by which interest rates adjust promptly and automatically to equate planned saving and investment in a manner analogous to the market by which the price of potatoes balances supply and demand. In reality no such market mechanism exists; if a prosperous equilibrium is to be achieved it will require deliberate intervention on the part of monetary authorities.

Fallacy 8

If deficits continue, the debt service would eventually swamp the fisc.

Fallacy 9

The negative effect of considering the overhanging burden of the increased debt would, it is claimed, cancel the stimulative effect of the deficit. This sweeping claim depends on a failure to analyze the situation in detail.

Fallacy 10

The value of the national currency in terms of foreign exchange (or gold) is held to be a measure of economic health, and steps to maintain that value are thought to contribute to this health. In some quarters a kind of jingoistic pride is taken in the value of one's currency, or satisfaction may be derived from the greater purchasing power of the domestic currency in terms of foreign travel.

Fallacy 11

It is claimed that exemption of capital gains from income tax will promote investment and growth.

Fallacy 12

Debt would, it is held, eventually reach levels that cause lenders to balk with taxpayers threatening rebellion and default.

Fallacy 13

Authorizing income-generating budget deficits results in larger and possibly more extravagant, wasteful and oppressive government expenditures.

Fallacy 14

Government debt is thought of as a burden handed on from one generation to its children and grandchildren.

Fallacy 15

Unemployment is not due to lack of effective demand, reducible by demand-increasing deficits, but is either "structural," resulting from a mismatch between the skills of the unemployed and the requirements of jobs, or "regulatory", resulting from minimum wage laws, restrictions on the employment of classes of individuals in certain occupations, requirements for medical coverage, or burdensome dismissal constraints, or is "voluntary," in part the result of excessively generous and poorly designed social insurance and relief provisions.

anne -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 11:17 AM
Correcting omission:

Fallacy 6

It is thought necessary to keep unemployment at a "non-inflation-accelerating" level ("NIARU") in the range of 4% to 6% if inflation is to be kept from increasing unacceptably.

point -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 01:02 PM
Very nice. Once again, it turns out a number of my great new ideas are someone else's previously solved problems.
anne -> point... , May 30, 2018 at 02:00 PM
Once again, it turns out a number of my great new ideas are someone else's previously solved problems.

[ I like this. ]

mulp said in reply to anne... , May 30, 2018 at 03:33 PM
"Deficits are considered to represent sinful profligate spending at the expense of future generations who will be left with a smaller endowment of invested capital. This fallacy seems to stem from a false analogy to borrowing by individuals."

Except, we do not say a worker with $1000 a week income buying a $100,000 home first week in May ran a $99,200 deficit (still needed food and gas) that week.

But government might run a $10 billion per week deficit from paying workers to build infrastructure that will last a century plus with maintenance which will be repaid with higher taxes over the next 50 years plus higher taxes for operations,....

Or the $10 billion per week deficit might be from ending all infrastructure building and slashing spending on operations so a $11 billion per week tax cut could be implemented ($1 billion in taxes to repay and operate the infrastructure being built at $10 billion per week).

Households and businesses maintain four ledgers, one pair is income and expense, and the other is assets and liabilities. Buying a car, house, factory or car is not an expense, but an addition to assets with offsetting liability. They are expensed over time as depreciation. Excess income over expense is added to assets, in a cash account. Paying cash for an asset moves the value from one part of the asset ledger, unless you have a separate fund for emergency or retire and you borrow from it to pay for the car creating two new entries, a liability for borrowing your money offset by the asset car.

I did this in the 60s and 70s with a ledger I then punched on IBM cards so I could create multiple reports from one set of transactions, like a business. In the 90s, I did this for a year or two with Quicken. It was not part of the "quick" entry and report which was more like a check register, but it had all the options for asset and liability ledgers, with tied entries between ledgers, mostly focused on investment accounts. It lacked a comprehensive asset ledger function to tally house, car, truck, boat, home theater, cabin, and then depreciate them, but I'm guessing QuickBooks has these functions.

For the Federal government, and State governments, many assets are on the books of local government or government subunits, but finance by a bigger government. For example, NH State government funds building most of new schools out of a cash account, while half a century ago, a local government would hike a tax to fund issuing a bond, which means the State mandated school was easy to fund for the rich towns, but almost impossible for poor towns with very low tax base. Once moved to the conservative State level, issuing tax backed bonds became politically difficult.

In the 60s, government debt was for building assets and bonds had tax revenue streams to repay them. But conservatives hated the investment part of government because while it meant jobs, it also required taxes.

For example, the highway trust fund was based on taxes to fill it to pay States to pay workers. If a bunch of States wanted more jobs, that led to higher taxes.

Social Security Trust funds are based on an investment asset and liability model. The assets are the current and future workers plus trust funds and the liabilities are current and future beneficiaries being paid and to be paid. The Trustees report on these two ledgers annually, along with income and expense. For a number of years, they have reported the liabilities are growing slightly faster than assets.

But the rise of free lunch economics that basically rejects capitalism and it's accounting, simply call liabilities the FICA revenue and the expenses and claim there are no SS assets.

Progressives seem to live hand to mouth, rejecting capitalist principles.

pgl -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 05:53 AM
Here you go Anne:

http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/wp/econ/vickrey.html

Of course Paine is either too lazy or too arrogant to provide a link to what William Vickrey wrote.

Or maybe he enjoys misrepresenting what his own guru had to say. He does seem to just babble on.

Teapot -> pgl... , May 30, 2018 at 06:49 AM
Who hurt you pgl?
RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Teapot... , May 30, 2018 at 08:15 AM
:<)
Christopher H. said in reply to pgl... , May 30, 2018 at 08:04 AM
Misrepresenting everything is what you do. You sure do project a lot. You're a whole bundle of neuroses.
kurt -> Christopher H.... , May 30, 2018 at 03:08 PM
You make claims like this all the time. Without a shred of evidence. Why don't you SPECIFICALLY point to a time when you think pgl misrepresented something.

You did this for me once, and it became instantly clear that you cannot read - or at least read things into comments that are not there. What did pgl misrepresent. Waiting.

Paine -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 06:51 AM
Anne. You are absolutely right

I've stopped linking to his work

Wild Bill
Is best viewed thru his presidential address to the economists of the AEA

Paine -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 06:53 AM
However willful misreading
And misconstruing
is never useful commentary

Not that attaching a firecracker
To a goat's or a cows or a pigs tail
isn't good old farm yard fun

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 08:16 AM
:<)
anne -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 08:22 AM
Vickrey
Is best viewed thru his presidential address to the economists of the AEA

[ Having looked unsuccessfully, I need a precise reference. ]

anne -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 08:24 AM
This essay is about the Vickrey AEA address, but does not serve as a summary of the macroeconomics:

http://works.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=timothy_canova

March, 1997

The Macroeconomics of William Vickrey
By Timothy A. Canova

anne -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 08:25 AM
Another possibility, but a summary is still needed:

http://community.middlebury.edu/~colander/articles/Vickrey-latest%20latest.pdf

January 4, 1998

Was Vickrey 10 Years Ahead of the Profession in Macro?
By David Colander (Middlebury College)

Paine -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 08:33 AM
Anne

My daughter is planning a web site
To present in integrated form
Kalecki Lerner and Vickrey

KLV MACRO

I'M MERELY A CONSULTANT OF COURSE
PART ONE WILL BE VICKREY CHOCK.FULL EMPLOYMENT
AND THE END TO CONTRIVED JOB SCARCITY

pgl -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 11:06 AM
Give us the cite when she does. Maybe she will be a lot clearer than her old man. Let's hope so.
Paine -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 09:15 AM
This is a good introduction to wild Bill


anne -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 10:07 AM
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.172.5394&rep=rep1&type=pdf

July, 1999

Saving-Recycling Public Employment: An Assets-Based Approach To Full Employment and Price Stability
By Mathew Forstater

William Vickrey's single-minded commitment to full employment is evident in a series of papers written in the last years of his life....

[ All I wish is a clear summary that takes me to the essence and relevance of Vickrey's ideas, but this paper also seems wanting. ]

pgl -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 11:05 AM
Vickrey wrote on a wide range of topics besides macroeconomics. Now he also had certain progressive Keynesian views, which I share. Of course I'm not into the mindless name dropping that Paine is into. I would rather actually read what economists wrote. A couple of us provided the 1996 Fifteen Fallacies paper he wrote which is an excellent read.

I do wonder if Paine himself ever bothered to read it as he sure has never bothered to explain what it said.

Christopher H. said in reply to pgl... , May 30, 2018 at 06:58 PM
"Of course I'm not into the mindless name dropping that Paine is into."

LOL all you do is name drop and kiss up and kick down!

You're the worst of that type of person!

anne -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 10:13 AM
Vickrey
Is best viewed thru his presidential address to the economists of the AEA

[ I have again looked but cannot find the address. I am saddened at my inability, but will pass on. ]

Paine -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 11:02 AM
Anne do you agree with what you have read about Vickrey macro
Do you have any questions
Paine -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 11:06 AM
Note these key goals.

A Beveridge ratio :

(Job openings to job seekers )

Greater then one to one

Ie where firms
are looking
For more hires
then there are
potential hires looking for jobs

Paine -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 11:08 AM
Vickrey called
getting immediately
to this beveridge ratio
on Job markets
And remaining there

a social imperative

Paine -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 11:10 AM
Inflation is no excuse
If inflation accelerates

Impose price control mechanism
a la Lerner map
Make it work
No return to high unemployment
Like volckerism demands

Paine -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 11:12 AM
Key distinction between
Vickrey
and the job guarantee program
These are market mediated non government jobs

Not a works project administration
rebirth

Paine -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 11:14 AM
Vickrey macro ises fiscal deficits
not interest rate and credit flow
As thr demand injector instrument
anne -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 11:54 AM
Yes, I agree with the ideas of Vickrey and can use my abstract of the 15 fallacies as a guide. I am pleased. The post below can then be linked to in future...
pgl -> Paine ... , May 30, 2018 at 05:49 AM
Leave it to you to confuse a measurement issue with a modeling issue. Babble on!
Gibbon1 -> pgl... , May 30, 2018 at 06:55 PM
Last night found and read the Vickrey reference. Made a bet with myself that the toxic troika's response would be to hurl low quality insults and disrupt.

I owe myself a beer.

Christopher H. said in reply to Gibbon1... , May 30, 2018 at 06:59 PM
"the toxic troika's response would be to hurl low quality insults and disrupt."

It's like clockwork.

point , May 30, 2018 at 05:55 AM
Would be interesting for feminist economists to weigh in on measurement and modeling error.
pgl -> point... , May 30, 2018 at 11:08 AM
I'm sure there is some humor here but be careful as some gals might take offense at this!
Paine -> point... , May 30, 2018 at 11:16 AM
Housework is not included

We need to pay a domestic wage

Women on average do 20 hours of domestic work men about 8 as I recall surveys indicate

anne -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 12:03 PM
Looking to housework in China, and how it has been radically changed with development, I realize to my surprise that per capita GDP growth and distribution of income surely measures housework. A house with electricity alone allows for a revolution in housework. Detergent (non-phosphate) works wonders...
point -> Paine... , May 30, 2018 at 01:10 PM
Housework, especially as embodied as capital in the young, which then yields for employers.
anne -> point... , May 30, 2018 at 03:32 PM
Housework, especially as embodied as capital in the young, which then yields for employers.

[ Do explain further, this seems interesting but is not entirely clear to me. ]

Gibbon1 -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 07:03 PM
Neoliberal Economics being the creation of middle aged upper middle class men during the 1940's through the 1990's places value of zero on 'women's work'

Despite that much of it involves supporting current workers, birthing and raising next gen workers.

The Socialist/Communist Critique is families require some amount of resources in order to effectively perform that work. As such if you're going to have paid work then the state should require that the level of pay is adequate.

The neoliberal response is to get the vapors and engage in gate keeping behavior.

point -> anne... , May 31, 2018 at 04:36 AM
Yes, this is huge.

As a child grows up and receives all forms of social training and other preparation to participate in society ("get a job"), it is generally a quantity of "women's' work" that is "spent" to do this. But it's not "spent" so much as "invested", as the product of the work is a much improved human being. The young person embodies the investment. I guess we now call this "human capital". In any event, it's an investment of women's work that creates it.

Now, one would think that someone possessing such capital might face better prospects than one who does not, and that seems to be true. But it seems you can look at how competitive the asset is by looking at how it faires in the market. In recent decades, look at the gain in starting salaries. I have not seen a good series, but it seems they have lagged inflation, let alone GDP per capita. Thus the real yield on the asset has been negative, or one could say the yield has been on average entirely captured by employers. Others might make statements using "exploitation".

The job market for young people has been a cruel game of musical chairs: make a lifetime of investment just to join a circle for which there are too few chairs, and the employer gets all the yield.

anne , May 30, 2018 at 11:55 AM
http://www.columbia.edu/dlc/wp/econ/vickrey.html

October 15, 1996

Fifteen Fatal Fallacies of Financial Fundamentalism
A Disquisition on Demand Side Economics
By William Vickrey

Much of the conventional economic wisdom prevailing in financial circles, largely subscribed to as a basis for governmental policy, and widely accepted by the media and the public, is based on incomplete analysis, contrafactual assumptions, and false analogy. For instance, encouragement to saving is advocated without attention to the fact that for most people encouraging saving is equivalent to discouraging consumption and reducing market demand, and a purchase by a consumer or a government is also income to vendors and suppliers, and government debt is also an asset. Equally fallacious are implications that what is possible or desirable for individuals one at a time will be equally possible or desirable for all who might wish to do so or for the economy as a whole.

And often analysis seems to be based on the assumption that future economic output is almost entirely determined by inexorable economic forces independently of government policy so that devoting more resources to one use inevitably detracts from availability for another. This might be justifiable in an economy at chock-full employment, or it might be validated in a sense by postulating that the Federal Reserve Board will pursue and succeed in a policy of holding unemployment strictly to a fixed "non-inflation-accelerating" or "natural" rate. But under current conditions such success is neither likely nor desirable.

Some of the fallacies that result from such modes of thought are as follows.

Fallacy 1

Deficits are considered to represent sinful profligate spending at the expense of future generations who will be left with a smaller endowment of invested capital. This fallacy seems to stem from a false analogy to borrowing by individuals.

Fallacy 2

Urging or providing incentives for individuals to try to save more is said to stimulate investment and economic growth. This seems to derive from an assumption of an unchanged aggregate output so that what is not used for consumption will necessarily and automatically be devoted to capital formation.

Fallacy 3

Government borrowing is supposed to "crowd out" private investment.

Fallacy 4

Inflation is called the "cruelest tax." The perception seems to be that if only prices would stop rising, one's income would go further, disregarding the consequences for income.

Fallacy 5

"A chronic trend towards inflation is a reflection of living beyond our means." Alfred Kahn, quoted in Cornell '93, summer issue.

Fallacy 6

It is thought necessary to keep unemployment at a "non-inflation-accelerating" level ("NIARU") in the range of 4% to 6% if inflation is to be kept from increasing unacceptably.

Fallacy 7

Many profess a faith that if only governments would stop meddling, and balance their budgets, free capital markets would in their own good time bring about prosperity, possibly with the aid of "sound" monetary policy. It is assumed that there is a market mechanism by which interest rates adjust promptly and automatically to equate planned saving and investment in a manner analogous to the market by which the price of potatoes balances supply and demand. In reality no such market mechanism exists; if a prosperous equilibrium is to be achieved it will require deliberate intervention on the part of monetary authorities.

Fallacy 8

If deficits continue, the debt service would eventually swamp the fisc.

Fallacy 9

The negative effect of considering the overhanging burden of the increased debt would, it is claimed, cancel the stimulative effect of the deficit. This sweeping claim depends on a failure to analyze the situation in detail.

Fallacy 10

The value of the national currency in terms of foreign exchange (or gold) is held to be a measure of economic health, and steps to maintain that value are thought to contribute to this health. In some quarters a kind of jingoistic pride is taken in the value of one's currency, or satisfaction may be derived from the greater purchasing power of the domestic currency in terms of foreign travel.

Fallacy 11

It is claimed that exemption of capital gains from income tax will promote investment and growth.

Fallacy 12

Debt would, it is held, eventually reach levels that cause lenders to balk with taxpayers threatening rebellion and default.

Fallacy 13

Authorizing income-generating budget deficits results in larger and possibly more extravagant, wasteful and oppressive government expenditures.

Fallacy 14

Government debt is thought of as a burden handed on from one generation to its children and grandchildren.

Fallacy 15

Unemployment is not due to lack of effective demand, reducible by demand-increasing deficits, but is either "structural," resulting from a mismatch between the skills of the unemployed and the requirements of jobs, or "regulatory", resulting from minimum wage laws, restrictions on the employment of classes of individuals in certain occupations, requirements for medical coverage, or burdensome dismissal constraints, or is "voluntary," in part the result of excessively generous and poorly designed social insurance and relief provisions.

anne -> anne... , May 30, 2018 at 11:56 AM
This post can be used to abstract Vickrey...
mulp said in reply to anne... , May 31, 2018 at 01:07 PM
"Fallacy 14

Government debt is thought of as a burden handed on from one generation to its children and grandchildren."

So, Trump, and the GOP starting with Reagan, but especially in the 21st century, have created great fantastic wealth to lift away all burden from future generations!

Huge lifting of burden!

The future is life of ease in a huge hammock of debt!

ken melvin , May 30, 2018 at 06:50 PM
Branko was panelist on the Debate, France 24 last night

http://www.france24.com/en/20180530-debate-italy-populism-elections-sergio-mattarella

anne -> ken melvin... , May 30, 2018 at 07:08 PM
Nicely done.
Christopher H. , May 30, 2018 at 07:35 PM
I think Trump's victory broke the brains of the toxic trio (PGL, EMichael, kurt). They say it's pure racism. America is racist. We knew that, but Obama won twice. Oh it was a "backlash." Nah, Ben Rhodes knows.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/us/politics/obama-reaction-trump-election-benjamin-rhodes.html

How Trump's Election Shook Obama: 'What if We Were Wrong?'

By Peter Baker
May 30, 2018

WASHINGTON -- Riding in a motorcade in Lima, Peru, shortly after the 2016 election, President Barack Obama was struggling to understand Donald J. Trump's victory.

"What if we were wrong?" he asked aides riding with him in the armored presidential limousine.

He had read a column asserting that liberals had forgotten how important identity was to people and had promoted an empty cosmopolitan globalism that made many feel left behind. "Maybe we pushed too far," Mr. Obama said. "Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe."

His aides reassured him that he still would have won had he been able to run for another term and that the next generation had more in common with him than with Mr. Trump. Mr. Obama, the first black man elected president, did not seem convinced. "Sometimes I wonder whether I was 10 or 20 years too early," he said.

In the weeks after Mr. Trump's election, Mr. Obama went through multiple emotional stages, according to a new book by his longtime adviser Benjamin J. Rhodes. At times, the departing president took the long view, at other points, he flashed anger. He called Mr. Trump a "cartoon" figure who cared more about his crowd sizes than any particular policy. And he expressed rare self-doubt, wondering whether he had misjudged his own influence on American history.

[Obama's painfully slow recovery influenced history. Read Benjamin Friedman and Chris Dillow]

...

Mr. Obama and his team were confident that Mrs. Clinton would win and, like much of the country, were shocked when she did not. "I couldn't shake the feeling that I should have seen it coming," Mr. Rhodes writes. "Because when you distilled it, stripped out the racism and misogyny, we'd run against Hillary eight years ago with the same message Trump had used: She's part of a corrupt establishment that can't be trusted to bring change."

...

kurt -> Christopher H.... , May 31, 2018 at 09:07 AM
Funny you call me toxic when you just posted a smear and a lie. I have NEVER said it was all racism or only racism and you know it. What I have said is that 1. economic insecurity does not appear - due to study as opposed to your feelings - to have been a primary factor in the decision of Trump voters, and 2. that the studies show that the primary motivators were racism, fear of cultural change, sexism, and fear of immigrants. Economic insecurity fell several orders of magnitude below the primary motivators. In fact, you missed the "fall back into tribalism" part of your own post. Then again, you have never displayed even the slightest modicum of reading comprehension ability.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to kurt... , May 31, 2018 at 09:47 AM
[What a difference a year makes at times. At other times not so much.]

https://www.attomdata.com/news/foreclosure-trends/2017-year-end-u-s-foreclosure-market-report/

U.S. Foreclosure Activity Drops to 12-Year Low in 2017

But New York Foreclosure Auctions, New Jersey REOs Both at 11-Year High;
Biggest Backlogs of Legacy Foreclosures in New York, New Jersey, Florida

IRVINE, Calif. – Jan. 18, 2018 – ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation's largest multi-sourced property database, today released its Year-End 2017 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows foreclosure filings -- default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions -- were reported on 676,535 U.S. properties in 2017, down 27 percent from 2016 and down 76 percent from a peak of nearly 2.9 million in 2010 to the lowest level since 2005...

*

[When people that voted for Trump answer the question "Why" would it be too much to expect that their answer might change over time with their perception of both the economy and Donald Trump? There has always been a shortage of real world ceteris paribus in economics going back before Adam Smith.]

Christopher H. said in reply to kurt... , May 31, 2018 at 09:57 AM
You're being obtuse again. The effect of the center left liberal (see the Toxic Troika) campaign to mock economic anxiety's explanatory power is to deny it had anything to with Trump winning. They (you) deny he was populist when his rhetoric was very anti-elite and he's a new kind of Republican whose dog whistles are out in the open. THAT's why Obama was alarmed you obtuse moron!!!!

Benjamin Friedman and Chris Dillow are not hard to understand. A stagnating economy causes people to retreat to tribalism and become susceptible to demagogues. Of course a lot of people were already racist, but if the recovery had been good, had the last 40 years been prosperous for your average voter Hillary would have won instead of Trump.

Yet just yesterday the Toxic Troika's hero Krugman tweeted this straw man:

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1001566129456910340

Paul Krugman
Verified account
@paulkrugman

Hey, Roseanne Barr is only worth $80 million, and was being paid only 250K per episode. So her tweets were clearly driven by economic anxiety

1:49 PM - 29 May 2018

----------------------------------------

Does Krugman understand how dislike he is by the Left? I think he does. This kind of thing is him lashing back at the Left.

-----------------------------

As Krugman blogged about Bernie Sanders's policies during the primary, he said they didn't combat populism in Europe which is clearly wrong.

You can keep going about your stupid meaningless studies/paid propaganda but Krugman went on to contradict himself by saying populism in Italy WAS CAUSED by economic anxiety!!!

If the European Central Bank hadn't forced slow growth on Italy maybe the new government wouldn't be made up of populist parties who blame immigrants and the EU.

Not hard to understand but no doubt the Italian center left party Democrats (who nobody voted for) sad it was all about anti-immigrant racism nothing more.

The studies show it!!!

kurt -> Christopher H.... , May 31, 2018 at 10:31 AM
Wow you are thick. You are completely unable to understand the nuance of reality. You continue to claim things that are not true - about what I posted and about what Krugman posted. You cannot understand that what motivated Americans was different - substantively - than what motivated Italians. You claim that Krugman was wrong, yet provide zero evidence. Krugman provided evidence. Where is yours. Why do you deny study. Why do you deny rigor? I think I know - it is because your entire world view comes crashing down in the face of evidence. The world is not binary no matter how much you want it to be. It is complicated and messy.
Christopher H. , May 31, 2018 at 10:18 AM
I think the Toxic Troika would agree on the bad effects of Fox news and conservative UK tabloid media. This helps translate economic stagnation into conservative majorities.

[I always thought Thoma did the website as a way to combat this with free discussion among experts and hobbyists. Banning people as the Troika wants isn't going to help.]

https://mainlymacro
blogspot.com/2017/12/if-we-treat-plutocracy-as-democracy.html

Saturday, 2 December 2017
If we treat plutocracy as democracy, democracy dies
by Simon Wren-Lewis

The snake-oil salesmen

There are many similarities between Brexit and Trump. They are both authoritarian movements, where authority either lies with a single individual or a single vote: the vote that bindsthem all. This authority expresses the movement's identity. They are irrational movements, by which I mean that they cast aside expertise where that conflicts with the movements wishes. As a result, you will find their base of supporters among the less well educated, and that universities are seen as an enemy. Both groups are intensely nationalistic: both want to make America or England great again.

It is easy to relate each group to familiar concepts: class, race or whatever. But I think this classification misses something important. It misses what sustains these groups in their beliefs, allows them to maintain their world view which is so often contradicted by reality. Both groups get their information about the world from a section of the media that has turned news into propaganda. In the US this is Fox, and in the UK the right wing tabloids and the Telegraph.

A profound mistake is to see this media as a symptom rather than a cause. As the study I spoke about here clearly demonstrates, the output of Fox news is not designed to maximise its readership, but to maximise the impact of its propaganda on its readership. I think you could say exactly the same about the Sun and the Mail in the UK. Fox and the Sun are owned by the same man.

Even those who manage to cast off the idea that this unregulated media just reflects the attitude of its readers, generally think of this media as supportive of political parties. There is the Conservative and Labour supporting press in the UK, and similarly for the US. In my view that idea is ten or twenty years out of date, and even then it underestimates the independence of the media organisations. (The Sun famously supported Blair in 1997). More and more it is the media that calls the shots, and the political parties follow.

Brexit would not have happened if it had remained the wish of a minority of Conservative MPs. It happened because of the right wing UK press. Brexit happened because this right wing press recognised a large section of their readership were disaffected from conventional politics, and began grooming them with stories of EU immigrants taking jobs, lowering wages and taking benefits (and sometimes much worse). These stories were not (always) false, but like all good propaganda they elevated a half-truth into a firm belief. Of course this grooming played on age old insecurities, but it magnified them into a political movement. Nationalism does the same. It did not just reflect readers existing views, but rather played on their doubts and fears and hopes and turned this into votes.

This is not to discount some of the very real grievances that led to the Brexit vote, or the racism that led to the election of Trump. This analysis of today's populism is important, as long as it does not get sidetracked into debates over identity versus economics. Stressing economic causes of populism does not devalue identity issues (like race or immigration), but it is the economics that causes the swings that help put populists in power. It was crucial, for example, to the trick that the media played to convince many to vote for Brexit: that EU immigrants and payments were reducing access to public services, whereas in reality the opposite is true.

Yet while economic issues may have created a winning majority for both Brexit and Trump, the identity issues sustained by the media make support for both hard to diminish. Brexit and Trump are expressions of identity, and often of what has been lost, which are very difficult to break down when sustained by the group's media. In addition both Trump and Brexit maintain, because their proponents want it to be maintained, the idea that it represents the normally ignored, striking back against the government machine in the capital city with all its experts.

But to focus on what some call the 'demand' for populism is in danger of missing at least half the story. Whatever legitimate grievances Brexit and Trump supporters may have had, they were used and will be betrayed. There is nothing in leaving the EU that will help the forgotten towns of England and Wales. Although he may try, Trump will not bring many manufacturing jobs back to the rust belt, and his antics with NAFTA may make things worse. Identifying the left behind is only half the story, because it does not tell you why they fell for the remedies of snake-oil salesmen.

As I wrote immediately after the vote in my most widely read post, Brexit was first and foremost a triumph for the UK right wing press. That press first fostered a party, UKIP, that embodied the views the press pushed. The threat of that party and defections to it then forced the Prime Minister to offer the referendum the press wanted. It was a right wing press that sold a huge lie about the UK economy, a lie the broadcast media bought, to ensure the Conservatives won the next election. When the referendum came, it was this right wing press that ensured enough votes were won and thereby overturned the government.

Equally Donald Trump was first and foremost the candidate of Fox News. As Bruce Bartlett has so eloquently written, Fox may have started off as a network that just supported Republicans, but its power steadily grew. Being partisan at Fox became misinforming its viewers, such that Fox viewers are clearly less well informed than viewers of other news providers. One analysis suggested over half of the facts stated on Fox are untrue: UK readers may well remember them reporting that Birmingham was a no-go area for non-Muslims.

Fox became a machine for keeping the base angry and fired up, believing that nothing could be worse than voting for a Democrat. It was Fox News that stopped Republican voters seeing that they were voting for a demagogue, concealed that he lied openly all the time, that incites hatred against other religions and ethnic groups, and makes its viewers believe that Clinton deserves to be locked up. It is not reflecting the views of its viewers, but moulding them. As economists have shown, the output of Fox does not optimise their readership, but optimises the propaganda power of its output. Despite occasional tiffs, Trump was the candidate of Fox in the primaries.

We have a right wing media organisation that has overthrown the Republican political establishment, and a right wing press that has overthrown a right wing government. How some political scientists can continue to analyse this as if the media were simply passive, supportive or even invisible when it brings down governments or subverts political parties I do not know.

The plutocracy

Trump and Brexit are the creations of a kind of plutocracy. Politics in the US has had strong plutocratic elements for some time, because of the way that money can sway elections. That gave finance a powerful influence in the Democratic party, and made the Republicans obsessive about cutting higher tax rates. In the UK plutocracy has been almost non-existent by comparison, and operated mainly through party funding and seats in the House of Lords, although we are still finding out where the money behind the Brexit campaign came from.

By focusing on what some call the demand side of populism rather than the supply side, we fail to see both Trump and Brexit as primarily expressions of plutocratic power. Trump's administration is plutocracy personified, and as Paul Pierson argues, its substantive agenda constitutes a full-throated endorsement of the GOP economic elite's long-standing agenda. The Brexiteers want to turn the UK into Singapore, a kind of neoliberalism that stresses markets should be free from government interference, rather than free to work for everyone, and that trade should be free from regulations, rather than regulations being harmonised so that business is free to trade.

It is also a mistake to see this plutocracy as designed to support capital. This should again be obvious from Brexit and Trump. It is in capital's interest to have borders open to goods and people rather than creating barriers and erecting walls. What a plutocracy will do is ensure that high inequality, in terms of the 1% or 0.1% etc, is maintained or even increased. Indeed many plutocrats amassed their wealth by extracting large sums from the firms for which they worked, wealth that might otherwise have gone to investors in the form of dividends. In this sense they are parasitic to capital. And this plutocracy will also ensure that social mobility is kept low so the membership of the plutocracy is sustained: social mobility goes with equality, as Pickett and Wilkinson show.

It is also a mistake to see what is happening as somehow the result of some kind of invisible committee of the 1% (or 0.1% and so on). The interests of the Koch brothers are not necessarily the interests of Trump (it is no accident the former want to help buy Time magazine). The interests of Arron Banks are not those of Lloyd Blankfein. Instead we are finding individual media moguls forming partnerships with particular politicians to press not only their business interests, but their individual political views as well. And in this partnership it is often clear who is dependent on whom. After all, media competition is slim while there are plenty of politicians.

What has this got to do with neoliberalism? which is supposed to be the dominant culture of the political right. As I argued here, it is a mistake to see neoliberalism as some kind of unified ideology. It may have a common core in terms of the primacy of the market, but how that is interpreted is not uniform. Are neoliberals in favour of free trade, or against? It appears that they can be both. Instead neoliberalism is a set of ideas based around a common belief in the market that different groups have used and interpreted to their advantage, while at the same time also being influenced by the ideology. Both interests and ideas matter. While some neoliberals see competition as the most valuable feature of capitalism, others will seek to stifle competition to preserve monopoly power. Brexiters and their press backers are neoliberals, just as the Cameron government they brought down were neoliberals.

I think there is some truth in the argument, made by Philip Mirowski among others, that a belief in neoliberalism can easily involve an anti-enlightenment belief that people need to be persuaded to subject themselves fully to the market. Certainly those on the neoliberal right are more easily persuaded to invest time and effort in the dark arts of spin than those on the left. But it would be going too far to suggest that all neoliberals are anti-democratic: as I have said, neoliberalism is diverse and divided. What I argued in my neoliberal overreach post was that neoliberalism as formulated in the UK and US had made it possible for the plutocracy we now see to become dominant.

....

kurt -> Christopher H.... , May 31, 2018 at 10:33 AM
Nobody wants you banned because you provide alternative opinions. I actually enjoy having a well considered argument with people who have differing opinions. We want you banned because you lie - constantly - about other peoples positions and you constantly gaslight. You are an expert propagandist, but not an expert in much else. In fact, you get most things wrong. Also - you are obnoxiously rude all the time. And you are always on the side of the Alex Jones/Rush Limbaugh types.
mulp said in reply to kurt... , May 31, 2018 at 12:28 PM
It's not so much that he lies but that he never defends his arguments when countered with facts and logic, basically doubling down like Trump in attacks on liberals arguing with facts and logic.

But most important, he never explains why an African economy or Cuba economy or Chavez-Maduro economy would be so much better. If they have such great economies, why hasn't he moved there?

Hey Cuba is close by. And the fact trade is been cut off by the US embargo should be a big plus given global trade is horrible for workers. The US government trade embargoes on Cuba are providing great benefits to Cuban workers who never lose their job from evil imports from the US.

And workers in Cuba benefit from lack of competition.

[May 18, 2018] Was it Trump political inexperience or yet another shrwed Obama-style bait and switch operation ?

Lemmings get what they deserve. Almost always as the iron law of oligarchy implies. Period of revolution and social upheaval are probably the only exceptions.
In 2018 there is no doubt that Trump is an agent of Deep State, and probably the most militant part of neocons. What he the agent from the beginning or not is not so important. He managed to fool electorate with false promises like Obama before him and get elected.
May 18, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

bowie28 -> The First Rule Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:18 Permalink

" Of course it was setup. Rod Rosenstein & Co. have been in on this from the beginning. "

Rosenstein was appointed by Trump. If he is involved in a setup it's more likely it is a setup organized by Trump. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Rosenstein

President Donald Trump nominated Rosenstein to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice on February 1, 2017. [25] [26] He was one of the 46 United States Attorneys ordered on March 10, 2017, to resign by Attorney General Jeff Sessions ; Trump declined his resignation. [ 27] Rosenstein was confirmed by the Senate on April 25, 2017, by a vote of 94–6

In May 2017, he authored a memo which President Trump said was the basis of his decision to dismiss FBI Director James Comey . [5] Later that month, Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election and related matters.

Ask yourself why Sessions ordered Rosenstein to resign and Trump declined his resignation? Likely because Sessions was recused from Russia investigation and could not be told Rosenstein was working for Trump from day 1.

(Mueller also met with Trump the day before Rosenstein appointed him SC.)

Also relevant, Rosenstein is Republican and in 2007/8 was blocked from getting a seat on appeals court by Dems. Doesn't seem he would be loyal to the Obama crowd and trying to take down Trump with a phony investigation.

In 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Rosenstein to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit . Rosenstein was a Maryland resident at the time. Barbara Mikulski and new Democratic Maryland senator, Ben Cardin , blocked Rosenstein's confirmation, stating that he did not have strong enough Maryland legal ties, [24] and due to this Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy did not schedule a hearing on Rosenstein during the 110th Congress and the nomination lapsed. Later, Andre M. Davis was renominated to the same seat by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009.

Kayman -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:59 Permalink

Rosenstein slithered in via Sessions.

Withdrawn Sanction -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 18:16 Permalink

"...a cabal of ruthless and dishonest people..."

You better believe it. What's happened to the NYC detectives who viewed the "insurance policy" on Weiner's laptop? The kiddie stuff is the real hot potato here. The power "elite" are pure unadulterated filth.

rosiescenario -> WarPony Fri, 05/18/2018 - 15:55 Permalink

Yes....when you start to add up various facts coming from this investigation it is easy to argue that the prime beneficiary has been Trump. Why would Trump even consider firing this guy? The more Mueller digs the more crap surfaces about the Dems, and they are in full support of it without any seeming awareness of the results. They are so blinded by their hatred they cannot see reality.

The info from Weiner's computer is really going to make for major popcorn sales. All Hitlery's "lost" emails are in there. All the names in his address book will also make for some interesting reading. Just a guess but there are a lot of very nervous NYC elected officials and pedos making sure their passports are up to date. The Lolita Express to Gitmo....

GoingBig -> bowie28 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:22 Permalink

You guys see everything through Trump colored glasses. Trump is dirty and just because the evidence hasn't been shown to you doesn't mean it isn't there. Mueller has the dirt on Trump. It will show. Does everyone here forget that Watergate took 2 1/2 years to play out?

Kayman -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:04 Permalink

Watergate was about a burglary and missing tapes.

It wasn't about the Department of Justice and the FBI being rotten to the core.

Emergency Ward -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:50 Permalink

Being in the business he is in, there is little doubt that Trump has paid out millions of dollars over the years in bribes and payoffs to greedy politicians, regulators, and zoning commissioners given to filthy lucre in return for building permits, zoning variances, and law changes.

I know he is but what are they? This could be one reason the politicians, regulators, and zoning commissioners hate him so much. He knows what they know.

Trump is no dirtier than other politicians and much less than some. He is just dirty in a way (he was usually the payer, they were the payees) that bothers the other ones.

Honest Sam -> GoingBig Fri, 05/18/2018 - 14:32 Permalink

All politicians and most of humanity 'is dirty'.

There is no man or woman who has or ever will run for office that is not dirty.

As Dershowitz so acutely pointed out, every one of them with an opposition Special Counsel on his case, can find at least 3 crimes they committed.

The only reason theBamster wasn't probed at all is because no one dared go after the only black man to ever run and win for POTUS. HE instead, was protected from any probes.

You're an idiot that doesn't know anything about what this is really all about. Or pretending to. Or a troll. Fuck you for being any of them.

jmack -> One of We Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:13 Permalink

Obama has a history of taking out his opponents in their personal life, so that he doesnt have to meet them in the political arena, just look at his state campaigns, and then his senate campaign. Look at how he used the bureaucracy during his admin to preempt opposition, not allowing opposition groups to get tax exempt status and sending osha/fbi/treasury etc to harrass people that were more than marginally effective.

With that context set I would like to know the following.

1. Did the brennan/comey/clapper cabal have investigations running on all the gop primary front runners?

2. Did they promote Trump to win the GOP primary, to eliminate those rivals from consideration, just to attempt to destroy him in the general with the russian collusion narrative and his own words.

3. Was Comey's failure to ensure Hillary's victory due to incompetence or arrogance? I say arrogance, because his little late day announcement of the new emails was obviously ass covering so that he could pass whatever senate hearing that would be required for his new post in the hillary administration.

NoDebt Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:04 Permalink

Having to learn how to deal with mobbed-up lawyers and unions in NYC turns out the be pretty damned good preparation to be President Of The United States. I love watching this guy work.

DingleBarryObummer Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:05 Permalink

The illegitimate liberal MSM is sucking all the oxygen out of the room for legitimate criticism of Trump. This Russian Collusion stormy daniels stuff is a bunch of bologna, and it's making a smokescreen for Trump to carry out his zio-bankster agenda.

Hegelian dialectic, Divide and conquer, kabuki theater

A real left would be covering this===>

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-15/no-one-watched-trump-pardoned
As No One Watched, Trump Pardoned 5 Megabanks For Corruption Charges

Buy they won't because there is no left or right. It's one big uniparty club, and they work together to rob us and lie to us.

Picturing The March Of Tyranny | Zero Hedge

DingleBarryObummer -> brain_glitch Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:11 Permalink

In the second half of peter schiff's most recent podcast he goes on a good rant/lecture about this topic.

I know Peter Schiff is a controversial figure, and I don't agree with a lot of what he does or says, but sometimes he nails it.

Rex Titter -> DingleBarryObummer Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:45 Permalink

For the most part I like Peter Schiff. I don't think he talks enough about the criminal manipulation of commodities by the banksters and the seemingly endless reluctance by our glorious leaders to prosecute them.

On this topic: The lawlessness of the 17 agencies is beyond the pale. They have set themselves apart and for this they will have to pay eventually. I have no doubt that in the minds of the Bureau principals there was motive and there was opportunity. I don't believe anything that comes out of their mouths. Robert Mueller is a three letter word for a donkey. He is a criminal and a totally owned puppet of the deep and dark state. Last I heard, the FBI planted a mole in the Trump campaign. Iff true, that speaks volumes...

Pollygotacracker Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:05 Permalink

It is amazing that President Trump is still standing on his feet and still out there swinging. The man is no coward. I'm glad I voted for him, although I am disappointed in some of his failings.

Son of Captain Nemo -> Pollygotacracker Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:56 Permalink

"although I am disappointed in some of his failings."...

Yeah I know just what ya mean...

The treason of war crimes he's committed exceeding all of his predecessor(s) in his short assed existence as President and threatening war on two nuclear superpowers that could easily wipe his office and 4 thousand square miles of CONUS " off the map "!...

Endorsing a torturer murder to head the CIA condoning her efforts in public "thumbing his nose" at Article 3 Geneva the U.S. Constitution and for his military to tacitly continue disobeying the UCMJ as a response to that "selection"!...

Telling the parasitic partner that owns him through blackmail that Jerusalem is the Capital of IsraHell as over 200 Palestinians are murdered and 3 thousand others injured in joyous celebration of that violation of international law which is the equivalent of pouring "gasoline" on a building that has already been reduced to "ash"...

And speaking of "buildings" and "ash"... The pledge he ignored before being "anointed" that he said he would investigate but of course DID NOT ( https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/14/trump-im-reopening-911-inve )

... ... ...

ioniancat21 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:16 Permalink

They didn't really think things through when they plotted against Trump and figured Hillary would win and they could sweep this under the rug and then she lost. Funnier is that many expected her to lose as she never won an election in her life despite her being "The Most Qualified" candidate as her parrots in the media lovingly called her. Now Trump and his team will stomp them all into the ground. My guess is that he'll pinch others in her gang who have big egos so that they'll talk and drop a dime which they will. The libtards are turning on themselves in every area now. Look at Hollywood and the sexual harassment cases in the pipeline.

It's just so pleasurable watching your enemy fall on their sword while you sit back and enjoy life and smile....

Chief Joesph Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:21 Permalink

Was the Trump campaign "Set-up"? It's just another way the oligarchy is deflecting what the real problem is. Americans are fed up with the political status quo in this country, and wanted a change. Neither political party offers any change for the better. It is also why Bernie Sanders had a huge following, but no one is calling his campaign a "set-up", and he would have been the more likely choice the Russians would have helped.

It really doesn't make any sense why the Russians would have selected Trump, but it makes a lot of sense why the oligarchy would want to discredit Trump any means availble to them. And since they have always hated Russia so much, that is the big tip-off of who comes up with these stupid stories about Russians meddling in our elections.

GRDguy Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:15 Permalink

We voted against the powers that be. With Truman, we got a decent man that was manipulated by the Deep State. With Trump, we got a not-so-decent man, but still manipulated by the Deep State. Sigh.

hooligan2009 Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:57 Permalink

there needs to be a schedule drawn up of charges against individuals. it's all very well talking and talking anf talking around the water cooler, but until the charges are drawn up and a grand jury empowered, it is all pissing into the wind.

the individuals range from obama through clinton, through the loathsome slimebags in the alphabet soup, through foundations, through DNC leaders/politicians, through Weiner, Abedin, Rice and the witches cabal (Wasserstein Schulz etc), UK intel agencies, awan brothers, pakistan intel supplying Iran with classified documents and so on.

there are charges (of treason, sedition, wilful mishandling of classifed documents, bribery, corruption, murder, child trafficking, election rigging, spying for/collusion with foreign powers, funding terrorism, child abuse, election rigging/tampering, misappropriation of federal funds, theft etc as well as general malfeasance, failure to perform duties and so on) that are not being brought that are so obvious, only a snowflake would miss them.

what charges can be brought against the MSM for propaganda, misdirection, lying, fabrication and attempting to ovetthrow a legitimately elected president using these techniques to further their own ends? there is no freedom of the press to lie and further civil unrest.

a list of charges against individuals in the DNC/alphabet soup is what is needed. if the DoJ is so incompetent or corrupt that it is unable to do its job, private law suits need to be brought to get all the facts out in the open.

someone needs to write the book and make it butt hole shaped to shove up all those that try to make a living out of making up gossip in the NYT, WaPo, CNN, BBC, Economist, Madcow, SNL, Oliver and so on.

these people are guilty of being assholes and need their assholes (mouths) plugged with a very think fifteen inch book.

Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 11:57 Permalink

Divide and conquer playing out in front of your faces. Trump, Hitlary, Obama, DiGenova, Giuliani, etc. etc...all "deep state".

Mission accomplished.

Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:01 Permalink

It's amazing that you fools still believe in your hearts that Trump is not a deep stater. LOL

insanelysane -> Anonymous_Bene Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:04 Permalink

Trump might become a deep stater but he definitely wasn't one of them. Google "offer to pay trump to drop out of election" and see how many stories there were. Here is one of them.

http://fortune.com/2017/12/05/donald-trump-2016-race-mike-pence-preside

RedDwarf Fri, 05/18/2018 - 12:45 Permalink

"At some point, the Russia investigation became political. How early was it?"

I am going to go out on the shortest limb in history and say it was political from the beginning.

insanelysane Fri, 05/18/2018 - 13:13 Permalink

I hope someone writes a book on this with all of the timing and all of the "little" things that happened on the way to the coronation of Hillary. Comey "interviews" Hillary on 4th of July weekend. Wraps up case by 9am Tuesday after 4th of July. By noon, Hillary and Obama are on Air Force 1 to begin campaign. Within a few weeks Seth Rich is dead and DWS avoids being "killed in an armed robbery gone bad" when she steps down as head of DNC. Above article forgets to mention that GPS also hired the wife of someone in the government as part of the "fact gathering" team.

[May 09, 2018] Trotskyist Delusions, by Diana Johnstone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There could be no eye witnesses to such sadism, and the very extremism sounds very much like war propaganda – Germans carving up Belgian babies. ..."
"... The notion that Assad himself infected the rebellion with Islamic fanaticism is at best a hypothesis concerning not facts but intentions, which are invisible. But it is presented as unchallengeable evidence of Assad's perverse wickedness. ..."
"... a beleaguered state very much at the mercy of a rapacious Western imperialism that was seeking to carve the country up according to the appetites of the US government and the International Monetary Fund ..."
"... In reality, a much more pertinent "framing" of Western intervention, taboo in the mainstream and even in Moscow, is that Western support for armed rebels in Syria was being carried out to help Israel destroy its regional enemies. ..."
"... The Middle East nations attacked by the West – Iraq, Libya and Syria – all just happen to be, or to have been, the last strongholds of secular Arab nationalism and support for Palestinian rights. ..."
"... There are a few alternative hypotheses as to Western motives – oil pipelines, imperialist atavism, desire to arouse Islamic extremism in order to weaken Russia (the Brzezinski gambit) – but none are as coherent as the organic alliance between Israel and the United States, and its NATO sidekicks. ..."
"... No other mention of Israel, which occupies Syrian territory (the Golan Heights) and bombs Syria whenever it wants to. ..."
"... The Trotskyists keep yearning for a new revolution, just like the Bolshevik revolution. Yes, but the Bolshevik revolution ended in Stalinism. Doesn't that tell them something? Isn't it quite possible that their much-desired "revolution" might turn out just as badly in Syria, if not much worse? ..."
"... In our era, the most successful revolutions have been in Third World countries, where national liberation from Western powers was a powerful emotional engine. Successful revolutions have a program that unifies people and leaders who personify the aspirations of broad sectors of the population. Socialism or communism was above all a rallying cry meaning independence and "modernization" – which is indeed what the Bolshevik revolution turned out to be. ..."
"... "In the context of a global neoliberalism, where governments across the board were enacting the most pronounced forms of deregulation and overseeing the carving up of state industries by private capital, the Assad government responded to the heightening contradictions in the Syrian economy by following suit -- by showing the ability to march to the tempo of foreign investment while evincing a willingness to cut subsidies for workers and farmers." The neoliberal turn impoverished people in the countryside, therefore creating a situation that justified "revolution". ..."
"... This is rather amazing, if one thinks about it. Without the alternative Soviet bloc, virtually the whole world has been obliged to conform to anti-social neoliberal policies. Syria included. Does this make Bashar al Assad so much more a villain than every other leader conforming to U.S.-led globalization? ..."
"... One could turn that around. Shouldn't such a Marxist revolutionary be saying: "if we can't defeat the oligarchs in the West, who are responsible for the neoliberal policies imposed on the rest of the world, how can we possibly begin to provide class-struggle leadership in Syria?" ..."
"... The trouble with Trotskyists is that they are always "supporting" other people's more or less imaginary revolutions. They are always telling others what to do. They know it all. The practical result of this verbal agitation is simply to align this brand of Trotskyism with U.S imperialism. The obsession with permanent revolution ends up providing an ideological alibi for permanent war. ..."
May 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

I first encountered Trotskyists in Minnesota half a century ago during the movement against the Vietnam War. I appreciated their skill in organizing anti-war demonstrations and their courage in daring to call themselves "communists" in the United States of America – a profession of faith that did not groom them for the successful careers enjoyed by their intellectual counterparts in France. So I started my political activism with sympathy toward the movement. In those days it was in clear opposition to U.S. imperialism, but that has changed.

The first thing one learns about Trotskyism is that it is split into rival tendencies. Some remain consistent critics of imperialist war, notably those who write for the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS).

Others, however, have translated the Trotskyist slogan of "permanent revolution" into the hope that every minority uprising in the world must be a sign of the long awaited world revolution – especially those that catch the approving eye of mainstream media. More often than deploring U.S. intervention, they join in reproaching Washington for not intervening sooner on behalf of the alleged revolution.

A recent article in the International Socialist Review (issue #108, March 1, 2018) entitled "Revolution and counterrevolution in Syria" indicates so thoroughly how Trotskyism goes wrong that it is worthy of a critique. Since the author, Tony McKenna, writes well and with evident conviction, this is a strong not a weak example of the Trotskyist mindset.

McKenna starts out with a passionate denunciation of the regime of Bashar al Assad, which, he says, responded to a group of children who simply wrote some graffiti on a wall by "beating them, burning them, pulling their fingernails out". The source of this grisly information is not given. There could be no eye witnesses to such sadism, and the very extremism sounds very much like war propaganda – Germans carving up Belgian babies.

But this raises the issue of sources. It is certain that there are many sources of accusations against the Assad regime, on which McKenna liberally draws, indicating that he is writing not from personal observation, any more than I am. Clearly, he is strongly disposed to believe the worst, and even to embroider it somewhat. He accepts and develops without the shadow of a doubt the theory that Assad himself is responsible for spoiling the good revolution by releasing Islamic prisoners who went on to poison it with their extremism. The notion that Assad himself infected the rebellion with Islamic fanaticism is at best a hypothesis concerning not facts but intentions, which are invisible. But it is presented as unchallengeable evidence of Assad's perverse wickedness.

This interpretation of events happens to dovetail neatly with the current Western doctrine on Syria, so that it is impossible to tell them apart. In both versions, the West is no more than a passive onlooker, whereas Assad enjoys the backing of Iran and Russia.

"Much has been made of Western imperial support for the rebels in the early years of the revolution. This has, in fact, been an ideological lynchpin of first the Iranian and then the Russian military interventions as they took the side of the Assad government. Such interventions were framed in the spirit of anticolonial rhetoric in which Iran and Russia purported to come to the aid of a beleaguered state very much at the mercy of a rapacious Western imperialism that was seeking to carve the country up according to the appetites of the US government and the International Monetary Fund ", according to McKenna.

Whose "ideological lynchpin"? Not that of Russia, certainly, whose line in the early stages of its intervention was not to denounce Western imperialism but to appeal to the West and especially to the United States to join in the fight against Islamic extremism.

Neither Russia nor Iran "framed their interventions in the spirit of anticolonial rhetoric" but in terms of the fight against Islamic extremism with Wahhabi roots.

In reality, a much more pertinent "framing" of Western intervention, taboo in the mainstream and even in Moscow, is that Western support for armed rebels in Syria was being carried out to help Israel destroy its regional enemies.

The Middle East nations attacked by the West – Iraq, Libya and Syria – all just happen to be, or to have been, the last strongholds of secular Arab nationalism and support for Palestinian rights.

There are a few alternative hypotheses as to Western motives – oil pipelines, imperialist atavism, desire to arouse Islamic extremism in order to weaken Russia (the Brzezinski gambit) – but none are as coherent as the organic alliance between Israel and the United States, and its NATO sidekicks.

It is remarkable that McKenna's long article (some 12 thousand words) about the war in Syria mentions Israel only once (aside from a footnote citing Israeli national news as a source). And this mention actually equates Israelis and Palestinians as co-victims of Assad propaganda: the Syrian government "used the mass media to slander the protestors, to present the revolution as the chaos orchestrated by subversive international interests (the Israelis and the Palestinians were both implicated in the role of foreign infiltrators)."

No other mention of Israel, which occupies Syrian territory (the Golan Heights) and bombs Syria whenever it wants to.

Only one, innocuous mention of Israel! But this article by a Trotskyist mentions Stalin, Stalinists, Stalinism no less than twenty-two times !

And what about Saudi Arabia, Israel's de facto ally in the effort to destroy Syria in order to weaken Iran? Two mentions, both implicitly denying that notorious fact. The only negative mention is blaming the Saudi family enterprise for investing billions in the Syrian economy in its neoliberal phase. But far from blaming Saudi Arabia for supporting Islamic groups, McKenna portrays the House of Saud as a victim of ISIS hostility.

Clearly, the Trotskyist delusion is to see the Russian Revolution everywhere, forever being repressed by a new Stalin. Assad is likened to Stalin several times.

This article is more about the Trotskyist case against Stalin than it is about Syria.

This repetitive obsession does not lead to a clear grasp of events which are not the Russian revolution. And even on this pet subject, something is wrong.

The Trotskyists keep yearning for a new revolution, just like the Bolshevik revolution. Yes, but the Bolshevik revolution ended in Stalinism. Doesn't that tell them something? Isn't it quite possible that their much-desired "revolution" might turn out just as badly in Syria, if not much worse?

Throughout history, revolts, uprisings, rebellions happen all the time, and usually end in repression. Revolution is very rare. It is more a myth than a reality, especially as Trotskyists tend to imagine it: the people all rising up in one great general strike, chasing their oppressors from power and instituting people's democracy. Has this ever happened?

For the Trotskyists, this seem to be the natural way things should happen and is stopped only by bad guys who spoil it out of meanness.

In our era, the most successful revolutions have been in Third World countries, where national liberation from Western powers was a powerful emotional engine. Successful revolutions have a program that unifies people and leaders who personify the aspirations of broad sectors of the population. Socialism or communism was above all a rallying cry meaning independence and "modernization" – which is indeed what the Bolshevik revolution turned out to be. If the Bolshevik revolution turned Stalinist, maybe it was in part because a strong repressive leader was the only way to save "the revolution" from its internal and external enemies. There is no evidence that, had he defeated Stalin, Trotsky would have been more tender-hearted.

Countries that are deeply divided ideologically and ethnically, such as Syria, are not likely to be "modernized" without a strong rule.

McKenna acknowledges that the beginning of the Assad regime somewhat redeemed its repressive nature by modernization and social reforms. This modernization benefited from Russian aid and trade, which was lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. Yes, there was a Soviet bloc which despite its failure to carry out world revolution as Trotsky advocated, did support the progressive development of newly independent countries.

If Bashar's father Hafez al Assad had some revolutionary legitimacy in McKenna's eyes, there is no excuse for Bashar.

"In the context of a global neoliberalism, where governments across the board were enacting the most pronounced forms of deregulation and overseeing the carving up of state industries by private capital, the Assad government responded to the heightening contradictions in the Syrian economy by following suit -- by showing the ability to march to the tempo of foreign investment while evincing a willingness to cut subsidies for workers and farmers." The neoliberal turn impoverished people in the countryside, therefore creating a situation that justified "revolution".

This is rather amazing, if one thinks about it. Without the alternative Soviet bloc, virtually the whole world has been obliged to conform to anti-social neoliberal policies. Syria included. Does this make Bashar al Assad so much more a villain than every other leader conforming to U.S.-led globalization?

McKenna concludes by quoting Louis Proyect: "If we line up on the wrong side of the barricades in a struggle between the rural poor and oligarchs in Syria, how can we possibly begin to provide a class-struggle leadership in the USA, Britain, or any other advanced capitalist country?"

One could turn that around. Shouldn't such a Marxist revolutionary be saying: "if we can't defeat the oligarchs in the West, who are responsible for the neoliberal policies imposed on the rest of the world, how can we possibly begin to provide class-struggle leadership in Syria?"

The trouble with Trotskyists is that they are always "supporting" other people's more or less imaginary revolutions. They are always telling others what to do. They know it all. The practical result of this verbal agitation is simply to align this brand of Trotskyism with U.S imperialism. The obsession with permanent revolution ends up providing an ideological alibi for permanent war.

For the sake of world peace and progress, both the United States and its inadvertent Trotskyist apologists should go home and mind their own business.

[May 04, 2018] Sic Semper Tyrannis The Skripals survived, but their cat and rodents ... not so much.

Notable quotes:
"... I am reading Taleb's recent book "Skin in the game" which has interesting material about the disconnection between risky behaviors and their consequences in modern USA. He also has a chapter about the mechanics involved in why minority viewpoints in our culture become dominant. It's an interesting read. ..."
"... Finally, the Police partially acknowledged their mistake and accused the Russians of not having been completely fair play. Indeed, these thuriferous bastards of Vlad the Impaler had put poison on the OUTDOOR handle of the front door of the house. It's infinitely subtle of these savages. The Brit Police did not suspect what strong part it had to make, the unexpected thwarting its learned calculations. Presumption, again and again. Nevertheless, the detectives are formal: the Russians did the trick well. The evidence is obvious. In this dramatic case, we are not going to make a comparison between insular and continental logic. The hour is too serious for these trifles. Lots of laughter. ..."
"... It's very difficult in any case to believe that such a notice could have been issued. Can't see why it would be needed. The scripting of the official story on such matters as this seems to be a joint enterprise between the media and the press officers. That's a time-honoured consensus so why would the media need bullying to stay in line? ..."
"... My personal view on all this is that the No. 10 press officers aren't that good at this new-fangled information stuff. They don't seem to have their hearts in it somehow. Time for them to go back to counting paperclips and for information campaigns to be handled by the experts. The BBC have a proven track record in this field and it's time that was officially recognised. ..."
May 03, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Sir Mark, bless him, has told an MP during a committee meeting, that the armed forces, MI-5, MI-6 and GCHQ do not know who or indeed what sickened the Skripals, pere et fille , in Salisbury. He doesn't seem to have mentioned the police. So, basically, pilgrims, Teresa May, the queen's first minister has insistently and incessantly accused the Russians of a crime of which our British cousins know precious little. In a closely related development, it is now revealed that the Britishers sealed up Skripal's house after the poisoning event leaving the black Persian shown above and two guinea pigs to die of thirst and hunger within. It would seem likely that they knew they were doing this since they would have searched the house first. No? Perhaps they thought that the cat might be a threat as a being of possible Iranian descent. This is impressive stuff. pl https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-05-01/uk-has-not-yet-identified-skripal-poisoning-suspects


Eric Newhill , 11 hours ago

These false flag ops are all so shabby in their execution. The lack of thoroughness and imagination on the part of the governments running them is really disappointing. For example, if I was running an investigation into the Skripal incident, I would have captured the cat and rodents and run pathology tests on them to see what bio/chem agents might be in their systems. Also, because they might escape and become a vector of further infection. That seems like it would be SOP. So I'd do it even if I knew the story was BS to create the appearance of reality. Then, I could always state that the pets should signs of Russian engineered bio/chem agents. Could even create a video of the pets dying some horrible death due to the agents. That's more better BS.
Threadzilla , 11 hours ago
And yet, this appears to be a lie as well. An earlier piece in the British news claims the pets were taken to Porton Down for examination and testing soon after the incident. Seems more likely they eliminated evidence and then came up with the cover story about how the animals were "forgotten about" and locked in the house for a month, implying totally unimportant for the investigation. http://metro.co.uk/2018/03/...
JohnA , 12 hours ago
I am truly dis-May-ed!

I hope she and Johnson pay the price for this folly. May it be steep! Very. very steep.

How these two suckered so many nations foolishly into sending diplomats home reflected respect for UK policy toward Russia. These nations will need to think long and hard about following any such UK lead in future.

This week, the US took down the Russian flag flying over Russian real estate in Seattle. Shameful!

Sid Finster -> JohnA , 9 hours ago
Sociopaths care nothing for law and everything for enforcement.
Jack , 4 hours ago
I don't know much about the dynamics of British politics but as a light observer of British news I wonder why Theresa May remains prime minister? She became prime minister after the historic Brexit vote. Promptly takes the country to an election and botches it for the Tories. Then bungles the Brexit negotiations. Runs a floundering government. Now comes up with accusations against the Russians in the Skripal affair with no evidence presented but looking more foolish as her story comes under scrutiny.
DH , 11 hours ago
Thirst, yes, hunger, not so much.
Tony , 11 hours ago
I am reading Taleb's recent book "Skin in the game" which has interesting material about the disconnection between risky behaviors and their consequences in modern USA. He also has a chapter about the mechanics involved in why minority viewpoints in our culture become dominant. It's an interesting read.
Sid Finster , 10 hours ago
http://www.theblogmire.com/...
France74 , 10 hours ago
A french view and laughter.

2 cats and 2 guinea pigs were locked up for 9 days in Skipal's house, in the hope of proving that the Russians are guilty.
When the police reopened the house, they found four bodies. the veterinary faculty is positive, both cats died of starvation. Guinea pigs, some say, began to be worked by hungry cats, accelerating their deaths. Unspeakable bloodshed. In this whole case, it's THE revolting detail, among many others. Poor beasts.

Finally, the Police partially acknowledged their mistake and accused the Russians of not having been completely fair play. Indeed, these thuriferous bastards of Vlad the Impaler had put poison on the OUTDOOR handle of the front door of the house. It's infinitely subtle of these savages. The Brit Police did not suspect what strong part it had to make, the unexpected thwarting its learned calculations. Presumption, again and again. Nevertheless, the detectives are formal: the Russians did the trick well. The evidence is obvious. In this dramatic case, we are not going to make a comparison between insular and continental logic. The hour is too serious for these trifles.
Lots of laughter.

kao_hsien_chih , 11 hours ago
Great. There was once a war for Jenkins' ear. I guess we should now have a nuclear war for Skripals' cat.
English Outsider -> kao_hsien_chih , 9 hours ago
Colonel,

There's talk of a D-Notice covering the Skripal affair. Seems unlikely. All concerned were being sat on quite satisfactorily anyway.

I Looked up D-notices on WIKI -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

Presumably there are bigger guns in the background if information that would really threaten national security or the lives of serving officers is in danger of being released. The D-Notice system itself seems to be a more or less voluntary affair -

https://www.theguardian.com...

It's very difficult in any case to believe that such a notice could have been issued. Can't see why it would be needed. The scripting of the official story on such matters as this seems to be a joint enterprise between the media and the press officers. That's a time-honoured consensus so why would the media need bullying to stay in line?

My personal view on all this is that the No. 10 press officers aren't that good at this new-fangled information stuff. They don't seem to have their hearts in it somehow. Time for them to go back to counting paperclips and for information campaigns to be handled by the experts. The BBC have a proven track record in this field and it's time that was officially recognised.

[May 04, 2018] Media Use Disinformation To Accuse Russia Of Spreading Such by b

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A McClatchy journalist investigated further and came to the same conclusion as I did. The 'leak' to the New York Times was disinformation. ..."
"... Russia has not pinned the Novichok to Sweden or the Czech Republic. It said, correctly, that several countries produced Novichok. Russia did not blame the UK for the 'nerve gas attack' in Syria. Russia says that there was no gas attack in Douma. ..."
"... The claims of Russian disinformation these authors make to not hold up to scrutiny. Meanwhile there pieces themselves are full of lies, distortions and, yes, disinformation. ..."
"... Wait for an outbreak of hostilities on the Ukraine-Donbass front shortly before the beginning of the World Cup competition which is as internationally important as the Olympic Games -- as they did in 2014 with Maidan and 2016 with the Sochi Winter Olympics drug uproar, the CIA will create chaos that will take the emphasis off any Russian success, since as to them, anything negative regarding Russia is a positive for them. ..."
"... No traces of chemical weapons have been found in Douma. This means that not only the US/UK/French airstrikes were illegal under international law but even their political justification was inherently flawed. Similarly, in the Salisbury affair, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented, while the two myths on which the British case was built (the Russian origin of the chemical substance used and the existence of proof of Russian responsibility) have been shattered. ..."
"... Given the lack of facts, the Tory leadership seems to be adopting a truly Orwellian logic: that the main proof of Russian responsibility are the Russian denials! It is hard to see how they will be able to sell this to their international partners. Self-respecting countries of G20 would not be willing to risk their reputation. ..."
"... The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote." ..."
"... Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?" ..."
"... Whataboutism seems to deny that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth. ..."
"... 1984, anyone? ..."
"... The absurd story that the OPCW says there was a 100gm/100mg who knows which on the door and other sites is just so stupid its painful. ..."
"... Presumably the Skripals touch the cutlery, plates and wine glasses in the restaurant, so why weren't the staff there infected as they must have had to pick up the plates etc after the meal. Even the door to the entrance of the restaurant should be affected as they would have to push it open, thus leaving the chemical for other people to touch. Nope, nothing in this stupid story adds up and the OPCW can't even get the amounts of the chemical right. ..."
"... Biggest problem with the world today is lazy insouciant citizens. ..."
"... One very important point Lavrov made was the anti-Russian group consists of a very small number of nations representing a small fraction of humanity; ..."
"... while they have some economic and military clout, it's possible for the rest of the world's nations to sideline them and get on with the important business of forming a genuine Multipolar World Order, which is what the UN and its Charter envisioned. ..."
"... Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation. ..."
"... Yes, exactly. The Western hegemony, i.e. the true "Axis of Evil" led by the US, and including the EU and non-Western allies, have invented the Perpetual Big Lie™. ..."
"... Witnesses? They're either confederates, dupes, or terrified by coercion. Evidence and/or technical analysis? All faked! A nominally reliable party, e.g. the president of the Czech Republic, makes statements that undermine the Big Lie Nexus? Again-- he's either been bought off or frightened into making such inconvenient claims. Or he's just a mischievous liar. ..."
"... And, as I seemingly never get tired of pointing out, the Perpetual Big Lie™ strategy arose, and succeeds, because the "natural enemies" of authoritarian government overreach have been coerced or co-opted to a fare-thee-well. So mass-media venues, and even supposedly independent technical and scientific organizations, are part of the Perpetual Big Lie™ apparatus. ..."
"... Putting Kudrin -- an opponent of de-dollarization and an upholder of the Washington Consensus -- in charge of Russia's international outreach would be equal to putting Bill Clinton in charge of a girls' school. ..."
"... In the Guardian I only read the comments, never the article. Here, I read both. That is the difference between propaganda and good reporting. ..."
May 04, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Grauniad is slipping deeper into the disinformation business: Revealed: UK's push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance is the headline of a page one piece which reveals exactly nothing. There is no secret lifted and no one was discomforted by a questioning journalist.

Like other such pieces it uses disinformation to accuse Russia of spreading such.

The main 'revelation' is stenographed from a British government official. Some quotes from the usual anti-Russian propagandists were added. Dubious or false 'western' government claims are held up as truth. That Russia does not endorse them is proof for Russian mischievousness and its 'disinformation'.

The opener:

The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin's aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria.
...
"The foreign secretary regards Russia's response to Douma and Salisbury as a turning point and thinks there is international support to do more," a Whitehall official said. "The areas the UK are most likely to pursue are countering Russian disinformation and finding a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons."

There is a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons. It is the Chemical Weapon Convention and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It was the British government which at first rejected the use of these instruments during the Skripal incident:

Early involvement of the OPCW, as demanded by Russia, was resisted by the British government. Only on March 14, ten days after the incident happened and two days after Prime Minister Theresa may had made accusations against Russia, did the British government invite the OPCW. Only on March 19, 15 days after the incident happen did the OPCW technical team arrive and took blood samples.

Now back to the Guardian disinformation:

In making its case to foreign ministries, the UK is arguing that Russian denials over Salisbury and Douma reveal a state uninterested in cooperating to reach a common understanding of the truth , but instead using both episodes to try systematically to divide western electorates and sow doubt.

A 'common understanding of the truth' is an interesting term. What is the truth? Whatever the British government claims? It accused Russia of the Skripal incident a mere eight days after it happened. Now, two month later, it admits that it does not know who poisoned the Skripals:

Police and intelligence agencies have failed so far to identify the individual or individuals who carried out the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, the UK's national security adviser has disclosed.

Do the Brits know where the alleged Novichok poison came from? Unless they produced it themselves they likely have no idea. The Czech Republic just admitted that it made small doses of a Novichok nerve agent for testing purposes. Others did too.

Back to the Guardian :

British politicians are not alone in claiming Russia's record of mendacity is not a personal trait of Putin's, but a government-wide strategy that makes traditional diplomacy ineffective.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, famously came off one lengthy phone call with Putin – she had more than 40 in a year – to say he lived in a different world.

No, Merkel never said that. An Obama administration flunky planted that in the New York Times :

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. "In another world," she said.

When that claim was made in March 2014 we were immediately suspicious of it:

This does not sound like typically Merkel but rather strange for her. I doubt that she said that the way the "people briefed on the call" told it to the Times stenographer. It is rather an attempt to discredit Merkel and to make it more difficult for her to find a solution with Russia outside of U.S. control.

A day later the German government denied (ger) that Merkel ever said such (my translation):

The chancellery is unhappy about the report in the New York Times. Merkel by no means meant to express that Putin behaved irrational. In fact she told Obama that Putin has a different perspective about the Crimea [than Obama has].

A McClatchy journalist investigated further and came to the same conclusion as I did. The 'leak' to the New York Times was disinformation.

That disinformation, spread by the Obama administration but immediately exposed as false, is now held up as proof by Patrick Wintour, the Diplomatic editor of the Guardian , that Russia uses disinformation and that Putin is a naughty man.

The British Defense Minister Gavin Williamson wants journalists to enter the UK reserve forces to help with the creation of propaganda:

He said army recruitment should be about "looking to different people who maybe think, as a journalist: 'What are my skills in terms of how are they relevant to the armed forces?'

Patrick Wintour seems to be a qualified candidate.

Or maybe he should join the NATO for Information Warfare the Atlantic Council wants to create to further disinform about those damned Russkies:

What we need now is a cross-border defense alliance against disinformation -- call it Communications NATO. Such an alliance is, in fact, nearly as important as its military counterpart.

Like the Guardian piece above writer of the NATO propaganda lobby Atlantic Council makes claims of Russian disinformation that do not hold up to the slightest test:

By pinning the Novichok nerve agent on Sweden or the Czech Republic, or blaming the UK for the nerve gas attack in Syria, the Kremlin sows confusion among our populations and makes us lose trust in our institutions.

Russia has not pinned the Novichok to Sweden or the Czech Republic. It said, correctly, that several countries produced Novichok. Russia did not blame the UK for the 'nerve gas attack' in Syria. Russia says that there was no gas attack in Douma.

The claims of Russian disinformation these authors make to not hold up to scrutiny. Meanwhile there pieces themselves are full of lies, distortions and, yes, disinformation.

The bigger aim behind all these activities, demanding a myriad of new organizations to propagandize against Russia, is to introduce a strict control over information within 'western' societies.

Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation.

That scheme will be used against anyone who deviates from the ordered norm. You dislike that pipeline in your backyard? You must be falling for Russian trolls or maybe you yourself are an agent of a foreign power. Social Security? The Russians like that. It is a disinformation thing. You better forget about it.


c1ue , May 4, 2018 2:27:27 PM | 1

Excellent article, in an ongoing run of great journalism.
I am curious - have you read this? https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/
It purports to be a book by an American military man intimately familiar with the covert ops portion of the US government. The internal Kafka-esque dynamics described certainly feel true.
Mike Maloney , May 4, 2018 2:44:12 PM | 3
One of the reasons newspapers are getting worse is the economics. They aren't really viable anymore. Their future is as some form of government sanctioned oligopoly. Two national papers -- a "left" and a "right" -- and then a handful of regional papers. All spouting the same neoliberal, neoconservative chicanery.
CD Waller , May 4, 2018 2:57:20 PM | 4
Genuine journalist Matt Taibbi warned of this sort of branding of disparate views as enemy a month ago. He was also correct. Evil and insidious. The enemy of a free society.
chet380 , May 4, 2018 2:58:22 PM | 5
Wait for an outbreak of hostilities on the Ukraine-Donbass front shortly before the beginning of the World Cup competition which is as internationally important as the Olympic Games -- as they did in 2014 with Maidan and 2016 with the Sochi Winter Olympics drug uproar, the CIA will create chaos that will take the emphasis off any Russian success, since as to them, anything negative regarding Russia is a positive for them.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:02:57 PM | 6
The later history of the 20th century will one day be read as the triumph and normalization of the Nazi state through liberal democratic capitalism.
Laguerre , May 4, 2018 3:07:19 PM | 7
I agree that it's difficult to see how the drive to renew the Cold War is going to be stopped. I presume that, with the exception of certain NeoCon circles, there isn't a desire for Hot War. Certainly not in the British sources you quote. Britain wouldn't want Hot War with Russia. It's all a question of going to the limit for internal consumption. Do a 1984, in order to keep the population in-line.
james , May 4, 2018 3:11:05 PM | 8
thanks b... i can't understand how any intelligent thinking person would read the guardian, let alone something like the huff post, and etc. etc... why? the propaganda money that pays for the white helmets, certainly goes to these outlets as well..

the uk have gone completely nuts! i guess it comes with reading the guardian, although, in fairness, all british media seems very skewed - sky news, bbc, and etc. etc.

it does appear as though Patrick Wintour is on Gavin Williamson's propaganda bandwagon/payroll already... in reading the comments and articles at craig murrays site, i have become more familiar with just how crazy things are in the uk.. his latest article freedom no more sums it up well... throw the uk msm in the trash can... it is for all intensive purposes, done..

mk , May 4, 2018 3:31:41 PM | 9
Meanwhile, OPCW chief Uzumcu seems to have been pranked again, this time by his own staff (this is how I interpret it):

He claimed that the amount of Novichok found was about 100 g and therefore more than research laboratories would produce, i.e. this was weaponized Novichok.

http://www.startribune.com/large-dose-of-nerve-agent-was-used-in-spy-s-poisoning-watchdog-says/481687061/

However, the story is being retracted right now because OPCW staff says it was only 100 mg .

Uzumcu looks like a fool.

b , May 4, 2018 3:49:03 PM | 10
The Russian embassy in the UK must be reading MoA. It just now tweeted this press release: Embassy press officer comments on the Guardian article concerning a new British anti-Russian strategy
Q: What is our reaction to the Guardian article on a "comprehensive strategy" to "deepen the alliance against Russia" to be pursued by the UK Government at international forums?

A: Judging by the publication, the main current challenge for Whitehall is to preserve the anti-Russian coalition that the Conservatives tried to build after the Salisbury incident. This task is challenging indeed. The "fusion doctrine" promoted by the national security apparatus has led to the Western bloc taking hasty decisions that, as life has shown, were not based on any facts.

No traces of chemical weapons have been found in Douma. This means that not only the US/UK/French airstrikes were illegal under international law but even their political justification was inherently flawed. Similarly, in the Salisbury affair, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented, while the two myths on which the British case was built (the Russian origin of the chemical substance used and the existence of proof of Russian responsibility) have been shattered.

Given the lack of facts, the Tory leadership seems to be adopting a truly Orwellian logic: that the main proof of Russian responsibility are the Russian denials! It is hard to see how they will be able to sell this to their international partners. Self-respecting countries of G20 would not be willing to risk their reputation.

karlof1 , May 4, 2018 3:52:31 PM | 11
Hmmm... My reply to c1ue went sideways it seems. Yes, The late Mr. Prouty's book's the real deal and the website hosting his very rare book is a rare gem itself. Click the JFK at page top left to be transported to that sites archive of writings about his murder. The very important essay by Prouty's there too.
WJ , May 4, 2018 3:53:30 PM | 12
The detail of b's analysis that stands out to me as especially significant and brilliant is his demolition of the Guardian's reuse of the Merkel "quote."

This one detail tells us so much about how propaganda works, and about how it can be defeated. Successful propaganda both depends upon and seeks to accelerate the erasure of historical memory. This is because its truths are always changing to suit the immediate needs of the state. None of its truths can be understood historically. b makes the connection between the documented but forgotten past "truth" of Merkel's quote and its present reincarnation in the Guardian, and this is really all he *needs* to do. What b points out is something quite simple; yet the ability to do this very simple thing is becoming increasingly rare and its exercise increasingly difficult to achieve. It is for me the virtue that makes b's analysis uniquely indispensable.

Related to the above, consider the nature of the recently christened thought-crime, "whataboutism." The crime may be defined as follows: "Whataboutism" is the attempt to understand a truth asserted by propaganda by way of relation to other truths it has asserted contemporaneous with or prior to this one. It is to ask, "What about this *other* truth? Does this *other* truth affect our understanding of *this* truth? And if so, how does it?"

Whataboutism seems to deny that each asserted truth stands on its own, and has no essential relation to any other past, present, or future asserted truth.

Jose Garcia , May 4, 2018 3:56:03 PM | 13
1984, anyone?
john wilson , May 4, 2018 4:03:04 PM | 14
The absurd story that the OPCW says there was a 100gm/100mg who knows which on the door and other sites is just so stupid its painful. This implies that the Skripals both closed the door together and then went off on their day spreading the stuff everywhere, yet no one else was contaminated (apart from the fantasy policeman).

Presumably the Skripals touch the cutlery, plates and wine glasses in the restaurant, so why weren't the staff there infected as they must have had to pick up the plates etc after the meal. Even the door to the entrance of the restaurant should be affected as they would have to push it open, thus leaving the chemical for other people to touch. Nope, nothing in this stupid story adds up and the OPCW can't even get the amounts of the chemical right.

ken , May 4, 2018 4:03:13 PM | 15
The problem is,,, most know it's all BS but find it 'easier' to believe or at most ignore, as then there is no responsibility to 'do something'. Biggest problem with the world today is lazy insouciant citizens. (Yes,,, I'm a PCR reader) :))
karlof1 , May 4, 2018 4:05:15 PM | 16
b @10--

Did you catch the Lavrov interview I linked to on previous Yemen thread? As you might imagine, the verbiage used is quite similar. One very important point Lavrov made was the anti-Russian group consists of a very small number of nations representing a small fraction of humanity; and that while they have some economic and military clout, it's possible for the rest of the world's nations to sideline them and get on with the important business of forming a genuine Multipolar World Order, which is what the UN and its Charter envisioned.

I won't omit linking to Craig Murray's conclusion :

"I cannot sufficiently express my outrage that Leeds City Council feels it is right to ban a meeting with very distinguished speakers, because it is questioning the government and establishment line on Syria. Freedom of speech really is dead."

Ort , May 4, 2018 4:22:35 PM | 17
Anything that may not confirm to the 'truth' as prescribed from above must be overwhelmed with an onslaught of more lies or, if that does not work, be discredited as 'enemy' disinformation.
_______________________________________

Yes, exactly. The Western hegemony, i.e. the true "Axis of Evil" led by the US, and including the EU and non-Western allies, have invented the Perpetual Big Lie™.

This isn't a new insight, but it's worth repeating. It struck me anew while I was listening to a couple of UK "journalists" hectoring OPCW Representative Shulgin, and directing scurrilous and provocative innuendo disguised as "questions" to Mr. Shulgin and the Syrian witnesses testifying during his presentation.

It flashed upon me that there is no longer a reasonable expectation that the Perpetual Big Liars must eventually abandon, much less confess, their heinous mendacity. Just as B points out, there are no countervailing facts, evidence, rebuttals, theories, or explanations that can't be countered with further iterations of Big Lies, however offensively incredible and absurd.

Witnesses? They're either confederates, dupes, or terrified by coercion. Evidence and/or technical analysis? All faked! A nominally reliable party, e.g. the president of the Czech Republic, makes statements that undermine the Big Lie Nexus? Again-- he's either been bought off or frightened into making such inconvenient claims. Or he's just a mischievous liar.

And, as I seemingly never get tired of pointing out, the Perpetual Big Lie™ strategy arose, and succeeds, because the "natural enemies" of authoritarian government overreach have been coerced or co-opted to a fare-thee-well. So mass-media venues, and even supposedly independent technical and scientific organizations, are part of the Perpetual Big Lie™ apparatus.

Even as the Big Liars reach a point of diminishing returns, they respond with more of the same. I wish I were more confident that this reprehensible practice will eventually fail due to the excess of malignant hubris; I'm not holding my breath.

Passer by , May 4, 2018 4:24:44 PM | 18

Is Putin capitulating? Pro US Alexei Kudrin could join new government to negotiate "end of sanctions" with the West.

Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin will be brought back to "mend fences with the West" in order to revive Russia's economy. Kudrin has repeatedly said that unless Russia makes her political system more democratic and ends its confrontation with Europe and the United States, she will not be able to achieve economic growth. Russia's fifth-columnists were exalted: "If Kudrin joined the administration or government, it would indicate that they have agreed on a certain agenda of change, including in foreign policy, because without change in foreign policy, reforms are simply impossible in Russia," said Yevgeny Gontmakher . . . who works with a civil society organization set up by Mr. Kudrin. "It would be a powerful message, because Kudrin is the only one in the top echelons with whom they will talk in the west and towards whom there is a certain trust."

Putting Kudrin -- an opponent of de-dollarization and an upholder of the Washington Consensus -- in charge of Russia's international outreach would be equal to putting Bill Clinton in charge of a girls' school.

It would mark Putin's de facto collapse as a leader. We shall know very soon. Either way, if anyone wondered what the approach to Russia would be from Bolton and Pompeo, we now know: they will play very hard ball with Putin, regardless of what he does (or doesn't do), and with carefree readiness to risk an eventual snap.

https://archive.is/1Ynms#selection-1641.0-1641.66

Formerly T-Bear , May 4, 2018 4:57:25 PM | 21
@ 20 Laguerre

Certainly looks like @ 18 is a fine example of what b is presenting.

A good way to extract one's self from the propaganda is to refuse using whatever meme the disinformation uses, e.g. that Sergei Skripal was a double agent -- that is not a known, only a convenient suggestion.

Military intelligence is far better described as military information needed for some project or mission. Not surreptitious cloak and dagger spying. This is not to say Sergei Scripal was a British spy for which he was convicted, stripped of rank and career and exiled through a spy swap. To continue using Sergei Scripal was a double agent only repeats and verifies the disinformation meme and all the framing that goes with it. Find some alternative to what MSM produces that does not embed truthiness to their efforts.

Peter Schmidt , May 4, 2018 5:08:52 PM | 23
In the Guardian I only read the comments, never the article. Here, I read both. That is the difference between propaganda and good reporting.
Emily Dickinson , May 4, 2018 5:09:00 PM | 24
@Michael Weddington 19

I realize it's from one of the biggest propaganda organs in the world... take this New York Times report of the OPCW's retraction with a 100 grams -- 100mg? -- of salt:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/world/europe/opcw-skripal-attack.html

karlof1 , May 4, 2018 5:12:57 PM | 25
Passer by @18--

This same narrative was put forth in 2016 and is just as false now as then. As I posted on Yemen thread earlier, Putin on 5 May is likely to announce the formation of a Stavka.

Kudrin is a neoliberal and as such is an enemy of humanity and will never again be allowed to hold a position of power within Russia's government. Let him emigrate to the West like his fellow parasites and teach junk economics at some likeminded university.

jalp , May 4, 2018 5:30:35 PM | 26
Anyone seen this reported elsewhere? https://www.rt.com/news/425810-white-helmets-us-funding-freeze/

[May 03, 2018] Alert The Clintonian empire is still here and tries to steal the popular vote throug

Highly recommended!
The dramatic rise fo the number of CIA-democrats as candidates from Democratic Party is not assedental. As regular clintonites are discredited those guys can still appeal to patriotism to get elected.
Notable quotes:
"... Bernie continuously forcing Hillary to appear apologetic about her campaign funding from big financial interests. She tries hard to persuade the public that she will not serve specific interests. Her anxiety can be identified in many cases and it was very clear at the moment when she accused Bernie of attacking her, concerning this funding. Hillary was forced to respond with a deeply irrational argument: anyone who takes money from big interests doesn't mean that he/she will vote for policies in favor of these interests! ..."
"... Bernie drives the discussion towards fundamental ideological issues. He forced Hillary to defend her "progressiveness". She was forced to speak even about economic interests by names. A few years ago, this would be nearly a taboo in any debate between any primaries. ..."
"... After the disastrous defeat by Trump in 2016 election, the corporate Democrats realized that the progressive movement, supported mostly by the American youth, would not retreat and vanish. On the contrary, Bernie Sanders' popularity still goes up and there is a wave of progressive candidates who appear to be a real threat to the DNC establishment and the Clintonian empire. ..."
"... It seems that the empire has upgraded its dirty tactics beyond Hillary's false relocation to the Left. Seeing the big threat from the real progressives, the empire seeks to "plant" its own agents, masked as progressives, inside the electoral process, to disorientate voters and steal the popular vote. ..."
"... This is a Master's class in blatant historical revisionism and outright dishonesty. Beals was not a soldier unwillingly drafted into service, but an intelligence officer who voluntarily accepted an influential and critically important post for the Bush Administration in its ever-expanding crime against humanity in Iraq. ..."
May 03, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing

globinfo freexchange

During the 2016 Democratic party primaries we wrote that what Bernie achieved, is to bring back the real political discussion in America, at least concerning the Democratic camp. Bernie smartly "drags" his primary rival, Hillary Clinton, into the heart of the politics. Up until a few years ago, you could not observe too much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, who were just following the pro-establishment "politics as usual", probably with a few, occasional exceptions. The "politics as usual" so far, was "you can't touch the Wall Street", for example.

Bernie continuously forcing Hillary to appear apologetic about her campaign funding from big financial interests. She tries hard to persuade the public that she will not serve specific interests. Her anxiety can be identified in many cases and it was very clear at the moment when she accused Bernie of attacking her, concerning this funding. Hillary was forced to respond with a deeply irrational argument: anyone who takes money from big interests doesn't mean that he/she will vote for policies in favor of these interests!

Bernie drives the discussion towards fundamental ideological issues. He forced Hillary to defend her "progressiveness". She was forced to speak even about economic interests by names. A few years ago, this would be nearly a taboo in any debate between any primaries.

After the disastrous defeat by Trump in 2016 election, the corporate Democrats realized that the progressive movement, supported mostly by the American youth, would not retreat and vanish. On the contrary, Bernie Sanders' popularity still goes up and there is a wave of progressive candidates who appear to be a real threat to the DNC establishment and the Clintonian empire.

It seems that the empire has upgraded its dirty tactics beyond Hillary's false relocation to the Left. Seeing the big threat from the real progressives, the empire seeks to "plant" its own agents, masked as progressives, inside the electoral process, to disorientate voters and steal the popular vote.

Eric Draitser gives us valuable information for such a type of candidate. Key points:

One candidate currently generating some buzz in the race is Jeff Beals, a self-identified "Bernie democrat" whose campaign website homepage describes him as a " local teacher and former U.S. diplomat endorsed by the national organization of former Bernie Sanders staffers, the Justice Democrats. " And indeed, Beals centers his progressive bona fides to brand himself as one of the inheritors of the progressive torch lit by Sanders in 2016. A smart political move, to be sure. But is it true?

Beals describes himself as a "former U.S. diplomat," touting his expertise on international issues born of his experience overseas. In an email interview with CounterPunch, Beals describes his campaign as a " movement for diplomacy and peace in foreign affairs and an end to militarism my experience as a U.S. diplomat is what drives it and gives this movement such force. " OK, sounds good, a very progressive sounding answer. But what did Beals actually do during his time overseas?

By his own admission, Beals' overseas career began as an intelligence officer with the CIA. His fluency in Arabic and knowledge of the region made him an obvious choice to be an intelligence spook during the latter stages of the Clinton Administration.

Beals shrewdly attempts to portray himself as an opponent of neocon imperialism in Iraq. In his interview with CounterPunch, Beals argued that " The State Department was sidelined as the Bush administration and a neoconservative cabal plunged America into the tragic Iraq War. As a U.S. diplomat fluent in Arabic and posted in Jerusalem at the time, I was called over a year into the war to help our country find a way out. "

This is a Master's class in blatant historical revisionism and outright dishonesty. Beals was not a soldier unwillingly drafted into service, but an intelligence officer who voluntarily accepted an influential and critically important post for the Bush Administration in its ever-expanding crime against humanity in Iraq.

Moreover, no one who knows anything about the Iraq War could possibly swallow the tripe that CIA/State Department officials in Iraq were " looking to help our country find a way out " a year into the war. A year into the war, the bloodletting was only just beginning, and Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, and the other corporate vultures had yet to fully exploit the country and make billions off it. So, unfortunately for Beals, the historical memory of the anti-war Left is not that short.

It is self-evident that Beals has a laundry list of things in his past that he must answer for. For those of us, especially Millennials, who cut our activist teeth demonstrating and organizing against the Iraq War, Beals' distortions about his role in Iraq go down like hemlock tea. But it is the associations Beals maintains today that really should give any progressive serious pause.

When asked by CounterPunch whether he has any connections to either Bernie Sanders and his surrogates or Hillary Clinton and hers, Beals responded by stating: " I am endorsed by Justice Democrats, a group of former Bernie Sanders staffers who are pledged to electing progressives nationwide. I am also endorsed for the Greene County chapter of the New York Progressive Action Network, formerly the Bernie Sanders network. My first hire was a former Sanders field coordinator who worked here in NY-19. "

However, conveniently missing from that response is the fact that Beals' campaign has been, and continues to be, directly managed in nearly every respect by Bennett Ratcliff, a longtime friend and ally of Hillary Clinton. Ratcliff is not mentioned in any publicly available documents as a campaign manager, though the most recent FEC filings show that as of April 1, 2018, Ratcliff was still on the payroll of the Beals campaign. And in the video of Beals' campaign kickoff rally, Ratcliff introduces Beals, while only being described as a member of the Onteora School Board in Ulster County . This is sort of like referring to Donald Trump as an avid golfer.

Beals has studiously, and rather intelligently, avoided mentioning Ratcliff, or the presence of Clinton's inner circle on his campaign. However, according to internal campaign documents and emails obtained by CounterPunch, Ratcliff manages nearly every aspect of the campaign, acting as a sort of éminence grise behind the artifice of a progressive campaign fronted by a highly educated and photogenic political novice.

By his own admission, Ratcliff's role on the campaign is strategy, message, and management. Sounds like a rather textbook description of a campaign manager. Indeed, Ratcliff has been intimately involved in "guiding" Beals on nearly every important campaign decision, especially those involving fundraising .

And it is in the realm of fundraising that Ratcliff really shines, but not in the way one would traditionally think. Rather than focusing on large donations and powerful interests, Ratcliff is using the Beals campaign as a laboratory for his strategy of winning elections without raising millions of dollars.

In fact, leaked campaign documents show that Ratcliff has explicitly instructed Beals and his staffers not to spend money on food, decorations, and other standard campaign expenses in hopes of presenting the illusion of a grassroots, people-powered campaign with no connections to big time donors or financial elites .

It seems that Ratcliff is the wizard behind the curtain, leveraging his decades of contact building and close ties to the Democratic Party establishment while at the same time manufacturing an astroturfed progressive campaign using a front man in Beals .

One of Ratcliff's most infamous, and indefensible, acts of fealty to the Clinton machine came in 2009 when he and longtime Clinton attorney and lobbyist, Lanny Davis, stumped around Washington to garner support for the illegal right-wing coup in Honduras, which ousted the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya in favor of the right-wing oligarchs who control the country today. Although the UN, and even U.S. diplomats on the ground in Honduras, openly stated that the coup was illegal, Clinton was adamant to actively keep Zelaya out.

Essentially then, Ratcliff is a chief architect of the right-wing government in Honduras – the same government assassinating feminist and indigenous activists like Berta Cáceres, Margarita Murillo, and others, and forcibly displacing and ethnically cleansing Afro-indigenous communities to make way for Carribbean resorts and golf courses.

And this Washington insider lobbyist and apologist for war criminals and crimes against humanity is the guy who's on a crusade to reform campaign finance and fix Washington? This is the guy masquerading as a progressive? This is the guy working to elect an "anti-war progressive"?

In a twisted way it makes sense. Ratcliff has the blood of tens of thousands of Hondurans (among others) on his hands, while Beals is a creature of Langley, a CIA boy whose exceptional work in the service of Bush and Clinton administration war criminals is touted as some kind of merit badge on his resume.

What also becomes clear after establishing the Ratcliff-Beals connection is the fact that Ratcliff's purported concern with campaign financing and "taking back the Republic" is really just a pretext for attempting to provide a "proof of concept," as it were, that neoliberal Democrats shouldn't fear and subvert the progressive wing of the party, but rather that they should co-opt it with a phony grassroots facade all while maintaining links to U.S. intelligence, Wall Street, and the power brokers of the Democratic Party .

Info from the article How Clintonites Are Manufacturing Faux Progressive Congressional Campaigns by Eric Draitser

[May 01, 2018] It is disgusting how anti-war pre-president Trump becomes Hillary copycat after election: another Obama-style bait and switch maneuver to deceive US electorate

Notable quotes:
"... disgusting how anti-war pre-president trump becomes military pandering trumpanyahoo after election...his handlers, knowing he will need them in the near future, set him to constantly stroke the military every opportunity he has... ..."
"... The Western globalist billionaires and elites are ultimately responsible for any aggression coming from Israel. If they can conquer and control Iran and take over its oil and gas reserves, risking the fate of the millions of people in Iran, Syria and in Israel, then the losses to them will be incidental. ..."
"... I'm sure I'm missing some of the many "dots" but it logic suggests that both Obama and Trump are faux populists that - at least in foreign policy (where Presidential powers are greatest) - are greatly influenced by foreign(albeit "allied") interests. ..."
"... IMO Apologists for the faux populists also play an important part. They respond voraciously to the "crazy opposition" and thereby keep alive faith in the faux hero. ..."
"... Faux populist leaders seem to be a natural fit for our inverted totalitarian form of government. Perhaps any Empire will naturally gravitate to such a compromised government? Funny thing is, most Americans would say that USA is NOT an Empire. ..."
May 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Not that there was much doubt who was behind it, but two days after "enemy" warplanes attacked a Syrian military base near Hama on Sunday, killing at least 11 Iranians and dozens of others, and nobody had yet "claimed responsibility" the attack, US officials told NBC that it was indeed Israeli F-15 fighter jets that struck the base, NBC News reported .

Ominously, the officials said Israel appears to be preparing for open warfare with Iran and is seeking U.S. help and support .

"On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at the top of the list right now," said one senior U.S. official.

The US officials told NBC that Israeli F-15s hit Hama after Iran delivered weapons to a base that houses Iran's 47th Brigade, including surface-to-air missiles. In addition to killing two dozen troops, including officers, the strike wounded three dozen others. The report adds that the U.S. officials believe the shipments were intended for Iranian ground forces that would attack Israel.

Meanwhile, as we reported yesterday, the Syrian army said early on Monday that "enemy" rockets struck military bases belonging to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. According to several outlets, the strikes targeted the 47th Brigade base in the southern Hama district, a military facility in northwestern Hama and a facility north of the Aleppo International Airport.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday that Israel on Tuesday morning had four problems, one more than the day before: "Iran, Iran, Iran and hypocrisy." The comment came one day after Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu "revealed" a cache of documents the Mossad stole from Iran detailing the country's nuclear program, which however critics said were i) old and ii) not indicative of Iran's current plans.

"This is the same Iran that cracks down on freedom of expression and on minorities. The same Iran that tried to develop nuclear weapons and entered the [nuclear] deal for economic benefits," Lieberman said.

"The same Iran is trying to hide its weapons while everyone ignores it. The state of Israel cannot ignore Iran's threats, Iran, whose senior officials promise to wipe out Israel," he said. "They are trying to harm us, and we'll have a response.

Iran's Defense Minister Amir Khatami threatened Israel on Tuesday, saying it should stop its "dangerous behavior" and vowing that the "Iranian response will be surprising and you will regret it." Khatami's remarks came Following Netanyahu's speech which Khatami described as Israeli "provocative actions," and two days after the strikes in Syria.

* * *

Meanwhile, in a potential hint at the upcoming conflict, Haaretz writes that two and a half weeks after the bombing in which seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards were killed at the T4 base in Syria, Israel is bracing for an Iranian retaliation for the Syrian strikes (and if one isn't forthcoming, well that's what false flags are for).

As Haaretz writes, the Iranians' response, despite their frequent threats of revenge, is being postponed, screwing up Iran's war planning. It's also possible that as time passes, Tehran is becoming more aware of the possible complex consequences of any action. Still, the working assumption of Israeli defense officials remains that such a response is highly probable.

The Iranians appear to have many options. Revenge could come on the Syrian border, from the Lebanese border via Hezbollah, directly from Iran by the launch of long-range missiles, or against an Israeli target abroad. In past decades Iran and Hezbollah took part, separately and together, in two attacks in Argentina, a suicide attack in Bulgaria and attempts to strike at Israeli diplomats and tourists in countries including India, Thailand and Azerbaijan.

In any case, Lebanon seems all but out of bounds until the country's May 6 parliamentary elections, and amid Hezbollah's fear of being portrayed as an Iranian puppet. The firing of missiles from Iran would exacerbate the claims about Tehran's missile project a moment before a possible U.S. decision on May 12 to abandon the nuclear agreement. Also, a strike at a target far from the Middle East would require long preparation.

* * *

For now, an Israeli war with Iran in Syria is far from inevitable: the clash of intentions is clear: Iran is establishing itself militarily in Syria and Israel has declared that it will prevent that by force. The question, of course, is whether this unstable equilibrium will devolve into a lethal escalation, or if it will somehow be resolved through peaceful negotiation. Unfortunately, in the context of recent events, and the upcoming breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal, the former is looking like the most likely outcome.

BullyBearish -> FireBrander Tue, 05/01/2018 - 13:30 Permalink

disgusting how anti-war pre-president trump becomes military pandering trumpanyahoo after election...his handlers, knowing he will need them in the near future, set him to constantly stroke the military every opportunity he has...

Chupacabra-322 -> BullyBearish Tue, 05/01/2018 - 13:36 Permalink

The Western globalist billionaires and elites are ultimately responsible for any aggression coming from Israel. If they can conquer and control Iran and take over its oil and gas reserves, risking the fate of the millions of people in Iran, Syria and in Israel, then the losses to them will be incidental. The Western-globalist-Zio-hawk Axis no doubt feels it has to act now against Iran in case everything settles down in the ME with the Syrian war cooling off. Any expansion of Israeli turf or getting control of resources to the north would be stymied with further waiting and allowing both Syrian and Iranian defense systems to be further fortified. The Israelis appear to be completely confident that if they can instigate a war with Iran that it will be backed by the US, the UK, France and other NATO nations.

That confidence could only come from the Western elites running things. However, after their last fizzled false-flag poison-gas attack in Syria, the support by many NATO nations for more Axis aggression may not be that solid. So what does the Israeli tough talk and threats mean at this time? Perhaps it means that Israel is in the process of concocting a massive and much more sophisticated false-flag attack, like the taking out of a US war ship and blaming Iran for starting the war.

Remember Five points:

  1. Isreal will fight to the very last American Soldiers Death.
  2. The Zionist screams in Pain as he Stikes you.
  3. The Yinon Plan.
  4. Operation TALPIOT.
  5. Qatari Pipeline Petro Dollar Vs. Russia / China Petro Yaun.

One bright aspect is the Anti-Isreal / Jew Zionist movement is gaining steam. More & more Individuals are speaking openly against Israel's War Crimes, False Flag involvements, The Yinon Plan along with Pro Zionist immigrantion policy of migrating Muslim's & Arabs to the EU & US without fear of retribution. Pro migration policy which supports territory boarder expansion via the Yinon Plan & ethnic cleansing & migration of Arabs & Muslim's.

Not to mention the Billions in US foreign aid, AIPAC, ZioNeoConFascist NGO's & dual Israeli Citizen's which hold Political Office in CONgress. Which must be outlawed.

Jackrabbit , May 1, 2018 3:44:58 PM | 31
As people become more disillusioned with Trump I think it's worthwhile to spend a moment to take stock of what happened in th 2016 election.

1) The US President is the primary determinant of US foreign and military power. The President is much weaker when addressing domestic policy / internal affairs. Any small, paranoid nation with ambitious plans in its neighborhood would want ensure that they have the President's ear ( or his balls). Too much at stake to take chances. And political influence is even easier when you've developed close relation with an oil-rich ally (Saudis) with deep pockets.

2) US democracy is money-driven and no real populist stands much of a chance.

3) Despite a groundswell of discontent on both the left and the right, here were only two populists that ran in the election (note: I'm not counting Rand Paul's because he didn't make an outright populist appeal - he merely spoke in a sensible way.

4) When Obama was President, he was kept in line by the "Birthers". Trump is kept in line by the allegation of Russian interference.

5) "Never Trump-ers" were mainly Jewish (AFAIK) and almost certainly pro-Israel. The Never Trump campaign began in earnest with Kagan's Op-Ed in February 2016 ( some might date it to Bloomberg's public statement in January 2016 that neither Sanders or Trump could be allowed to win).

6) AFAIK Pro-Israel oligarchs (like Saban, Soros, Bloomberg) are big donors to Democratic Party. Hillarry and DNC are known to have colluded against 'sheep-dog' Sanders. Wouldn't Hillary just as easily collide FOR Trump (the Cinton's And Trump's are known to have had close ties - and their daughters are still close).

I'm sure I'm missing some of the many "dots" but it logic suggests that both Obama and Trump are faux populists that - at least in foreign policy (where Presidential powers are greatest) - are greatly influenced by foreign(albeit "allied") interests.

IMO Apologists for the faux populists also play an important part. They respond voraciously to the "crazy opposition" and thereby keep alive faith in the faux hero.

Faux populist leaders seem to be a natural fit for our inverted totalitarian form of government. Perhaps any Empire will naturally gravitate to such a compromised government? Funny thing is, most Americans would say that USA is NOT an Empire.

Jackrabbit , May 1, 2018 3:58:01 PM | 33
I should point out that "kept in line" (point #4) appears to be a convenience needed to excuse the faux populist's betrayals.

Both Obama and Trump seem more than willing to do as they are told.

And don't bother citing Obama's Iran deal as "proof" that Obama was independent. IMO That deal was made simply to buy time because regime-change in Syria was taking longer than expected. It is foolish to think that Obama did everything the establishment wanted but refused IN THAT ONE MATTER.

[Apr 29, 2018] Pompeo's Contempt for Diplomacy and the Nuclear Deal by Daniel Larison

Trump betrayal of his voters is as staggering as Obama betrayal. May even more so.
Notable quotes:
"... It is fitting that one of the first things that will happen during Pompeo's tenure as chief diplomat is the repudiation of a successful diplomatic agreement solely for reasons of spite and ideology. That reflects the contempt for diplomacy and compromise that Pompeo shares with the president. It is an early reminder why having Pompeo in charge of U.S. diplomacy is so dangerous and why it would have been better not to confirm him. ..."
"... North Korea wasn't going to give up its nuclear weapons anyway, and now it will look at Trump's reneging on the nuclear deal as proof that they are right to keep them. ..."
"... Pompeo's recent statements are those of an ignorant and incompetent jackass. Barely two weeks in and sane Americans are already nostalgic for Tillerson. ..."
"... Instead, as Pompeo's current trip and whereabouts make very clear, he's aping the same old tired Bush/Obama Middle East crap and still running errands for the corrupt rulers of Israel and Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... And if Trump doesn't stop betraying his voters with all this pointless, staggeringly expensive Middle East crap, he'll be gone in 2020. ..."
Apr 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

It is fitting that one of the first things that will happen during Pompeo's tenure as chief diplomat is the repudiation of a successful diplomatic agreement solely for reasons of spite and ideology. That reflects the contempt for diplomacy and compromise that Pompeo shares with the president. It is an early reminder why having Pompeo in charge of U.S. diplomacy is so dangerous and why it would have been better not to confirm him.

Pompeo also said this weekend that he didn't think North Korea would care if the U.S. withdrew from the agreement:

"I don't think Kim Jong Un is staring at the Iran deal and saying, 'Oh goodness, if they get out of that deal, I won't talk to the Americans anymore,'" Pompeo told reporters traveling on his plane en route from Saudi Arabia to Israel. "There are higher priorities, things that he is more concerned about than whether or not the Americans stay in the [agreement]."

It is obvious that North Korea has bigger concerns than U.S. adherence to the JCPOA, but it doesn't follow that they won't take U.S. withdrawal as another sign that negotiating with Washington is pointless. North Korea already has other reasons to doubt U.S. trustworthiness. John Bolton's endorsement of using negotiations with Libya as a model couldn't be more tone-deaf, since North Korean officials frequently cite the overthrow and death of Gaddafi as a cautionary tale of what happens when a government makes a deal with the U.S. It is possible that North Korea won't put much stock in what happens to the JCPOA one way or another for a very different reason: unlike Iran, North Korea has no intention of making significant concessions, and it is engaged in talks with the U.S. to get as much as it can out of the fact that it is now a full-fledged nuclear weapons state.

North Korea wasn't going to give up its nuclear weapons anyway, and now it will look at Trump's reneging on the nuclear deal as proof that they are right to keep them.

Cincinnati G April 29, 2018 at 3:52 pm

Our involvement in international "diplomacy", already weird, embarrassing, and destabilizing because of Trump's random behavior, now seems to be spinning out of control. Pompeo's recent statements are those of an ignorant and incompetent jackass. Barely two weeks in and sane Americans are already nostalgic for Tillerson.

Wake me up when any senior member of this government turns out to be something other than crooked, stupid, vulgar, incompetent, or some kind of foreign agent. We voted for Trump hoping for a radical re-dedication to American interests. Instead, as Pompeo's current trip and whereabouts make very clear, he's aping the same old tired Bush/Obama Middle East crap and still running errands for the corrupt rulers of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

November 2018 is already slated to be a Republican bloodbath, in great part because our government, the Congress in particular, is serving foreign interests and Wall Street instead of America. And if Trump doesn't stop betraying his voters with all this pointless, staggeringly expensive Middle East crap, he'll be gone in 2020.

[Apr 24, 2018] Notes on Trump betrayal of his voters

Trump is just Republican Obama. Same masterful bait and switch maneuver.
Apr 24, 2018 | www.unz.com

Steve Gittelson , April 17, 2018 at 3:13 pm GMT

I suspect Goad is verboten on UR, but allow me to excerpt from "I Didn't Vote for This" of recent Goad production.
  • I voted for Trump because he promised to build a wall. Fifteen months into his presidency, the wall has not been built.
  • He promised to repeal Obamacare. It has not been repealed.
  • He promised to focus on domestic rather than foreign issues and pledged a huge program to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure. No such program has materialized.
  • He promised to remove the nation's millions of illegal aliens. They are still here.
  • He promised to defund sanctuary cities. They have not been defunded.
  • He promised a complete ban on new Muslim immigration.
  • He promised to eliminate the massive federal debt in eight years. Rather than even beginning to leave a dent in the debt, it is now over $1.1 trillion higher than it was the day he took office.
  • One of the keystones of his campaign was that China was a currency manipulator and therefore needed to be dealt with harshly. Only three months into his presidency, he reneged and declared that China was not a currency manipulator.
  • On the campaign trail, he relentlessly hammered the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Only three days into his presidency, he withdrew the US from the TPP. And now he's openly considering rejoining it.

Cogent points, in Reed's context. The only consolation is recognition that a Clinton presidency would have been much worse. Maybe so, huh?

Achmed E. Newman , Website April 17, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Steve Gittelson

I just read that column yesterday, Steve. He lays it out pretty good.

Maybe so, huh?

No doubt in the world.

Steve Gittelson , April 17, 2018 at 6:14 pm GMT
@Achmed E. Newman

No doubt in the world.

Yes, but the order of magnitude ebbs. Not that I would make the trade, but dammit, what happened to America? We've been fucked, and fucked ROYAL, yet all that climbs out of the political woodwork is flying monkeys.

It's clobbering time.

seeing-thru , April 17, 2018 at 11:29 pm GMT
@Steve Gittelson

Copying-in Achmed Newman as well

Aye, clobbering time it may well come to. But pray do not leave out the media whores when loving ministrations are being meted out. The whole bunch of these lying, whoring, war drumbeating progeny of Satan need special ministrations, perhaps even more care than the flying monkeys. Stringing these bastards upside down from meat hooks in public squares may be too ordinary a ministration, so better and brighter ideas need to be supplied by minds keener than mine.

[Apr 24, 2018] Constant and persistent nudging generally results in an angry backlash. Somewhere around when a person realizes "This is not where I wanted to be." That's now very true for neoclassic economy courses. Many students understand the game and hate it

Notable quotes:
"... cognitive infiltration ..."
Apr 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith, April 21, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Nudge was the title of a book by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein on how to manipulate people in their supposed best interest, like in cafeteria lines, to put whole fruit before desserts made with sugar.

See here for more detail:

blennylips , April 21, 2018 at 1:49 pm

If you liked Nudge , you'll love " cognitive infiltration ":

Conspiracy Theories
Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-03

Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.
Keywords: conspiracy theories, social networks, informational cascades, group polarization
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585

Is not this what discerning MIC's all do these days, via FBI FB?

Synoia , April 21, 2018 at 11:25 am

A nudge too far?

Constant and persistent nudging generally results in an angry backlash. Somewhere around when a person realizes "This is not where I wanted to be."

JTMcPhee , April 21, 2018 at 12:40 pm

And of course we mopes have been "nudged" into pretty much that blind serfdom alluded to. Back in the Cave, with not much chance of dispelling the belief in and subjection to the shadows projected on the wall we are forced to face

oaf , April 21, 2018 at 1:52 pm

manipulation is the sowing of a Karmic garden

Tom_Doak , April 21, 2018 at 6:09 pm

The classic nudge example is opting you into a 401(k) unless you opt out.

That's supposedly better for you but it is DEFINITELY better for the brokerage handling your account.

none , April 21, 2018 at 10:01 pm

I had to look it up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_theory

I hadn't heard of it before.

Tyronius , April 22, 2018 at 12:21 am

I rather detest the notion of someone or entity 'nudging' me in the direction of some behavior, especially in a paternalistic mode where the assumption is that they know better than I what I 'should' be doing or thinking.

On one level, isn't that a working definition of advertising? On another, it smacks of authoritarianism. Don't we have enough of this kind of thing already? Worse, what's the first reaction one naturally has when they realize they're being manipulated? Seems to be a strategy fraught with risk of getting exactly the wrong response.

If I'm to be encouraged to behave in a given way, show me the respect of offering a conscious, intelligent argument to do so on the merits, or kindly go (family blog) yourself!

Anti-Schmoo , April 23, 2018 at 4:18 am

In economics, the single most important thing to understand is debt.
If you understand debt; you won't have any debt.
Debt and freedom are the antithisis of each other.
Without debt; nudges have no influence.

Anti-Schmoo , April 23, 2018 at 4:24 am

A follow up:
https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/money/a19181300/nassim-nicholas-taleb-money-advice/
A very frank discussion of debt and freedom.

[Apr 24, 2018] The term scientism generally points to the facile application of science in unwarranted situations not amenable to application of the scientific method.

Apr 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

skippy , April 21, 2018 at 10:28 pm

The term scientism generally points to the facile application of science in unwarranted situations not amenable to application of the scientific method.

Soddy's attempts at linking the physical world via a quasi scientific approach without doing a thorough heterodox examination of our species wrt monies is my point i.e.

"Being scientist/technologists, Fuller and Soddy felt the need to define wealth, to quantify it in an equation. They knew the components of wealth were physical resources – matter and energy – and the level of knowledge available to most effectively employ these resources. Simplistically stated:

WEALTH = (MATTER + ENERGY) x HUMAN KNOWLEDGE

Energy stored in fossil fuels – Earth's energy savings account – is, of course, unavailable after the fuels are burned. But both Fuller and Soddy understood that expanding human knowledge would eventually make it possible for humanity to operate on Earth's energy income using solar, wind, tidal, biofuels, etc. (but for lack of political will and resistance from the fossil fuel industry, we have reached this potential today). Additionally, the First Law of Thermodynamics says the total amount of matter and energy in the universe is constant and can be neither created nor destroyed, only interchanged. Since knowledge can only grow, wealth can only grow.

It is critical to understand that wealth is governed by the laws of physics and is incorruptible, whereas money is governed by the laws of man and is infinitely corruptible."

I could start with models and applications of theory between interdisciplinary modes of inquire – chalk and cheese. Was Soddy an accountant, deal with issues like sound finance vs functional, or have any depth wrt international systems – no. Worse bit in my book is it moralizes the money question without dealing with the broader social ethos and how that is forwarded via dominate ideology.

To that quandary I brought up atomistic individualism on this blog some time ago, Syll has recently mentioned it. Its in these things that proceed baked in human tool user problems like money.

drumlin woodchuckles , April 22, 2018 at 5:37 pm

Thank you skippy and the follow-on commenters for a serious genuine reply-to-and discussion-of my question.

It has been years since I read " Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt – – The Solution of the Economic Paradox". In light of this subthread I will have to dig it back out of my bookpile and read it again . . . and slower next time . . . to see what I end up thinking.

Why would I even bother to do that? Because it still seems to me that Soddy was at least trying to understand "economics" in terms of the biophysical world in which we all live and in which we do everything we do, including trying to understand "economics". He was at least trying to see how matter-and-energy harvesting in order to do thing-making and stuff-doing could actually be reality-based understood in terms of the best actual knowledge of matter-and-energy reality
existing in his day. If that fails to take account of all the cultural/psychomental/etc. things that humans will do within the picture frame of nature's biophysical constraints, that is a problem we will have to try taking account of in our own extremely troubled day.

But his scientism was at least an effort to ground "economic" understanding within real scientific knowledge. His scientism is still better than the cardboard replica scientism practiced by today's mainstream economists who are merely spray-painting a bunch of scientism onto the paper-mache' sewage-filled pig which is all that their mainstream discipline of mainstream economics ever even is.

Or ever even will be.

[Apr 22, 2018] The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite

Highly recommended!
The quotes are from A Conversation on Race, by Paul Craig Roberts - The Unz Review
Notable quotes:
"... The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers. ..."
"... Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history. ..."
Apr 22, 2018 | www.unz.com

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 2:43 am GMT

PCR's latest is really good. I love it when he gets to ripping, and doesn't stop for 2000+ words or so. It reads a lot better than Toynbee, fersher.

The working class, designated by Hillary Clinton as "the Trump deplorables," is now the victimizer, not the victim. Marxism has been stood on its head.

The American ruling class loves Identity Politics, because Identity Politics divides the people into hostile groups and prevents any resistance to the ruling elite. With blacks screaming at whites, women screaming at men, and homosexuals screaming at heterosexuals, there is no one left to scream at the rulers.

The ruling elite favors a "conversation on race," because the ruling elite know it can only result in accusations that will further divide society. Consequently, the ruling elite have funded "black history," "women's studies," and "transgender dialogues," in universities as a way to institutionalize the divisiveness that protects them. These "studies" have replaced real history with fake history.

Steve Gittelson , April 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT

Just a bit more real truth from PCR. Carry on

All of America, indeed of the entire West, lives in The Matrix, a concocted [and false] reality. Western peoples are so propagandized, so brainwashed, that they have no understanding that their disunity was created in order to make them impotent in the face of a rapacious ruling class, a class whose arrogance and hubris has the world on the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

History as it actually happened is disappearing as those who tell the truth are dismissed as misogynists, racists, homophobes, Putin agents, terrorist sympathizers, anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists. Liberals who complained mightily of McCarthyism now practice it ten-fold.

The United States with its brainwashed and incompetent population -- indeed, the entirety of the Western populations are incompetent -- and with its absence of intelligent leadership has no chance against Russia and China, two massive countries arising from their overthrow of police states as the West descends into a gestapo state. The West is over and done with. Nothing remains of the West but the lies used to control the people. All hope is elsewhere.

[Apr 18, 2018] Obama vs Trump: That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Apr 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit | Apr 18, 2018 11:42:04 AM | 142

Don Bacon

Trump's actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also "caved" to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing "bipartisanship".

That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again

Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp

Obama: Deceiver: "Man of Peace" engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas

Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton's) - "Muslim socialist"!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by 'NeverTrump' Clinton loyalists) - Putin's bitch!

There's more but I won't belabor the point.

[Apr 17, 2018] Poor Alex

Highly recommended!
Now the color revolution against Trump just does not make any sense. We got to the point where Trump=Hillary. Muller should embrace and kiss Trump and go home... Nobody care if Trump is impeached anymore.
Apr 17, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

Donald Trump's far-right loyal fans must be really pissed off right now after permanently switching himself to pro-war mode with that evil, warmongering triplet in charge and the second bombing against Syria. Even worse, this time he has done it together with Theresa May and the neoliberal globalist Emmanuel Macron.

We can tell that by watching the mind-blowing reactions of one of his most fanatic alt-right media supporters: Alex Jones. Jones nearly cried(!) in front of the camera, feeling betrayed from his 'anti-establishment', 'anti-interventionist' idol and declared that he won't support Trump anymore. Well, what did you expect, Alex? expect, Alex?

A year before the 2016 US national elections, the blog already warned that Trump is a pure product of the neoliberal barbarism , stating that the rhetoric of extreme cynicism used by Trump goes back to the Thatcherian cynicism and the division of people between "capable" and "useless".
Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders. Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Donnie sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008!

The only hope that has been left, was to resist against starting a war with Russia, as the US deep state (and Hillary of course) wanted. Well, it was proven to be only a hope too. Last year, Trump bombed Syria under the same pretext resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of confrontation with Russia. Indeed, a year later, Trump already built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish triplet.

And then, Donnie ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neo-colonial friends.

It seems that neither this strike was a serious attempt against the Syrian army and its allies. Yet, Donnie probably won't dare to escalate tension in the Syrian battlefield before the next US national elections. That's because many of his supporters are already pissed off with him and therefore, he wants to go with good chances for a second term.

Although we really hope that we are are wrong this time, we guess that, surrounded by all these warmongering hawks, Donnie, in a potential second term, will be pushed to open another war front in Syria and probably in Iran, defying the Russians and the consequent danger for a WWIII.

Poor Alex et al: we told you about Trump from the beginning. You didn't listen ...

[Apr 11, 2018] It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

Apr 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [280] Disclaimer , April 10, 2018 at 5:33 am GMT

It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

This is worrying. Nobody is that stupid so it's more like they don't care about credibility going forward. Like it won't matter.

Kiza , April 10, 2018 at 5:40 am GMT
We have moved way beyond the Skripals case now. Simply put, if US shoots in Syria, Russia will shoot back this time, yes back at US. USS Donald Duck has been placed as a bait to be sent to the bottom of Mediterrenain sea by the Russians, similar to Arizona et al at Pearl Harbour.

Many dissenter websites are currently under attack by the cyber forces of the Western regimes and Israel, one of them being this one. Another site under attack is my favorite johnhelmer.com. In addition to saying that he is under attack, the current message from John is:
WHEN THE RULE OF LAW WAS DESTROYED IN SALISBURY, LONDON AND THE HAGUE, AND THE RULE OF FRAUD DECLARED IN WASHINGTON, THAT LEAVES ONLY THE RULE OF FORCE IN THE WORLD. THE STAVKA MET IN MOSCOW ON GOOD FRIDAY AND IS READY. THE FOREIGN MINISTRY ANNOUNCED ON SUNDAY "THE GRAVEST CONSEQUENCES". THIS MEANS ONE AMERICAN SHOT AT A RUSSIAN SOLDIER, THEN WE ARE AT WAR. NOT INFOWAR, NOT CYBERWAR, NOT ECONOMIC WAR, NOT PROXY WAR. WORLD WAR.

The West is utterly bankrupt, morally as well as financially and we are experiencing the Western remedial plan and actions – war!

annamaria , April 10, 2018 at 5:52 am GMT
"In 2016 an official British government inquiry determined that Bush and Blair had indeed together rushed to war. The Global Establishment has nevertheless rewarded Tony Blair for his loyalty with Clintonesque generosity. He has enjoyed a number of well-paid sinecures and is now worth in excess of $100 million."

– The character of Blair and the Establishment is well established: Blair is a major war criminal supported by the major war profiteers. His children and grandchildren are a progeny of a horrible criminal.

What is truly amazing is the complacency of the Roman Catholic Church that still has not excommunicated and anathematized the mass murderer. Blair should be haunted and hunted for his crimes against humanity.

With age, Blair's face has become expressively evil. His wife Theresa Cara "Cherie" Blair shows the same acute ugliness coming from her rotten soul of a war profiteer.

Blanco Watts , April 10, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
The UK is governed by the same Neo-liberal psychotic cabal that runs the US, Israel and France.
JR , April 10, 2018 at 7:06 am GMT
Keep in mind how long ago all this is:
Skripal was recruited around 1990 and arrested in 2004. Guess that the Russian attitude towards Skripal took the chaos of the 90′s as mitigating circumstances into account.
Skripal served his sentence of only 13 years till 2010 when he was pardoned and given the option to leave. Russia did not revoke Skripal's citizenship. The UK issued Skripal a passport too. On arrival in the UK Skripak was extensively debriefed by UK intelligence services. Skripal has lived for 8 years in the UK now.

And now out of the blue this incident nicely dovetailing with May ratcheted up anti Russia language only a few months before this false flag incident and the rapidly failing traction of the Steele/Orbis/MI6 instigated Russia collusion story on the basis of that fake Trump Dossier. By the way Orbis affiliated Steele and Miller have been among Skripal's handlers.

Ronald Thomas West , Website April 10, 2018 at 8:43 am GMT
From the Steele dossier lies falling apart to the Skripal lies falling apart to the 'Assad did it' lies falling apart:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/08/open-letter-to-die-linke/

^

Paul Craig Roberts is correct when quoting The Saker:

"The Russian view is simple: the West is ruled by a gang of thugs supported by an infinitely lying and hypocritical media while the general public in the West has been hopelessly zombified." -- The Saker

I expect that makes the Russians right

[Apr 11, 2018] Unfortuntely, even among friends and aquaintances, the story about evil Assad killing Children is often readily believed

White Helmets was the greatest war propaganda invention since Goebbels "big lie"
The sheeple might realize that they were duped only when it's too late... It's all very darwinian: Elite is too nasty and common people are too stupid and too busy with surviving in economic uncertanty to decipher lies
Notable quotes:
"... "the West is ruled by a gang of thugs" ..."
"... It is depressing to see that there are very few people in the MSM speaking out for reason. One of the few ones is Tucker Carlson. ..."
"... The US, British etc. taxpayer funded propaganda arm of Islamists, the media trained "white helmets" are delivering videos that look almost as real as Hollywood products and most of the sheeple in the western world don't question their propaganda narrative. ..."
"... Well here you go Dutti. Both Glen Greenwald and Amy Goodman are out there in media land championing the 'truth' for good old Isramerika. ..."
Apr 11, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Stuck on Zero -> IridiumRebel Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:16 Permalink

No other nation will go to war with the U.S. They are too smart. All they have to do is wait till we burn ourselves out and fight amongst ourselves.

IridiumRebel -> Stuck on Zero Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:18 Permalink

This is my hope.....

beepbop -> IridiumRebel Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

"the West is ruled by a gang of thugs"

Those THUGS are Jewish Neocons/Zionists/Bolsheviks. They've got the USG in their pockets. They're the HIDDEN HAND .

Let's tell it like it is.

Dutti -> DownWithYogaPants Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:38 Permalink

It is depressing to see that there are very few people in the MSM speaking out for reason. One of the few ones is Tucker Carlson.

Unfortunately, even among friends and acquaintances, the story about "evil Assad killing Children" is often readily believed.

The US, British etc. taxpayer funded propaganda arm of Islamists, the media trained "white helmets" are delivering videos that look almost as real as Hollywood products and most of the sheeple in the western world don't question their propaganda narrative.

Very sad and disheartening.

FBaggins -> Dutti Tue, 04/10/2018 - 23:45 Permalink

Well here you go Dutti. Both Glen Greenwald and Amy Goodman are out there in media land championing the 'truth' for good old Isramerika.

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=168513

[Apr 09, 2018] In my opinion, the forces that push for war know they are lying and don't care if a small percentage are on to them. They have the microphone and we do not.

Notable quotes:
"... Without sufficient domain knowledge, you have no immunity from MSM narratives. And, to acquire that knowledge you need to read non-MSM sources (or know people with first-hand experience). ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Babak Makkinejad -> Prince Monolulu , 4 hours ago

Reasonably intelligent people? Like this Iranian woman (in US) whose postings during the war for Aleppo was full of righteous indignation for the rebels. when I told her that the people whose fate she was bemoaning would do many evil things to her as a Shia Iranian woman; she would not hear of it.
ceasley7 -> Babak Makkinejad , 2 hours ago
Couldn't agree with you more Babak. My dad is a 78 year old Orthopedic physician here in the US. He would be considered intelligent by most people. And he is. Except when it comes to Geopolitics. He believes everything the MSM parrots and I gave up long ago in voicing my opinion to him. It's hopeless. And consider the vast majority of the citizens of my country are far less intelligent than him. In my opinion, the forces that push for war know they are lying and don't care if a small percentage are on to them. They have the microphone and we do not.
Prince Monolulu -> Babak Makkinejad , 4 hours ago
Yes, people like that. Without sufficient domain knowledge, you have no immunity from MSM narratives. And, to acquire that knowledge you need to read non-MSM sources (or know people with first-hand experience).

[Apr 09, 2018] Hi, I am from the government. I am here to lie to you

The Brits blinked and did not punish the criminal liar Blair. Since then, the war profiteering based on false flag operations has become a national British pastime.
Notable quotes:
"... The problem for governments using false flag operations like this is many more people are no longer trusting their own governments and quite rightly so. ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

are we there yet -> DuneCreature Sun, 04/08/2018 - 17:56 Permalink

Hi, I am from the government. I am here to lie to you. I have so many lies on top of other lies that sometimes they are true. Even the government has lost track. I am not sure if even MIC or Israel knows anymore.

GreatUncle Sun, 04/08/2018 - 10:51 Permalink

The problem for governments using false flag operations like this is many more people are no longer trusting their own governments and quite rightly so. Human minds are reinforcing the concept of untrustworthy governments that actually lasts far longer than the elected period of time of those who purport to represent the population we now know to be a deceit.

As example, take Blair ex-UK prime minister who concocted the whole Iraq dodgy dossier in the UK who most people I know now call him a war criminal but nobody will put on trial in the Hague. He has not been PM since 2007 but nobody forgets the criminal acts he instigated and supported and will be remembered for a long time for this. So how do you make Blair appear human again to the population?

You can apply this concept to so many elected criminals in the west ... join it up those that rule us are in fact criminals not ordinary people. The psychos rule over us and to them we are no more than dead meat.

[Apr 08, 2018] Do brighter minds incline to honesty by James Thompson

Apr 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Simon Gächter & Jonathan F. Schulz. Intrinsic honesty and the prevalence of rule violations across societies. Nature, Letter doi:10.1038/nature17160

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3c4TxciNeJZS0JfOGZQNnBhVkE/view?usp=sharing

The authors argued thus:

Good institutions that limit cheating and rule violations, such as corruption, tax evasion and political fraud are crucial for prosperity and development. Yet, even very strong institutions cannot control all situations that may allow for cheating. Well-functioning societies also require the intrinsic honesty of citizens. Cultural characteristics, such as whether people see themselves as independent or part of a larger collective, that is, how individualist or collectivist a society is, might also influence the prevalence of rule violations due to differences in the perceived scope of moral responsibilities, which is larger in more individualist cultures.

If cheating is pervasive in society and goes often unpunished, then people might view dishonesty in certain everyday affairs as justifiable without jeopardising their self-concept of being honest. Experiencing frequent unfairness, an inevitable by-product of cheating, can also increase dishonesty. Economic systems, institutions and business cultures shape people's ethical values, and can likewise impact individual honesty.

I described Gachter and Schultz's work in April 2016, and thought I could immediately see a problem with the interpretation that the authors placed on the results. Putting forward a different perspective took a few days. Getting that new approach published has taken 2 years. For how long will researchers put up with these absurd delays which impede the prompt assessment of arguments?

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/honestly

The authors of this very interesting study, having revealed the cheats, interpreted the national differences as being due to cultural factors, particularly whether there were institutions in each society which encouraged honesty. Of course, this leaves open why one society would have such institutions and another would not. Culture must come from somewhere. A reasonable hypothesis is that the institutions of a county are built by the people who live there. Here is our reply:

Honesty, rule violation and cognitive ability: A reply to Gächter and Schulz
Heiner Rindermann, David Becker, James Thompson.
Intelligence, Volume 68, May–June 2018, Pages 66–69.

https://authors.elsevier.com/c/1Wl5h_3fG8aUwo

Our argument is that both institutions and honesty are determined by the intelligence of people, and that bright people can see the long-term benefits of honesty and of institutions that support honest behaviour. Any institution with a code of conduct leads its members toward probity, and shows prospective applicants what standards are expected of them. However, those institution do not arise randomnly.

Gächter & Schulz assumed that institutional rules affect individual honesty.
We added cognitive ability as further factor explaining national differences.
Stronger effect of IQ (total 0.55) than of rule violation (total −0.34) on honesty.
Stronger effect of IQ (total −0.68) than of honesty (total −0.26) on rule violation.
________________________________________
Abstract
Gächter and Schulz (2016) assumed an effect of institutional rule violation on individual honesty within societies. In this reply we challenge this approach by including a nation's cognitive ability as a further factor for cross-national variations in the prevalence of rule violations and intrinsic honesty. Theoretical considerations, correlational and path analyses show that a nation's cognitive ability level (on average β = |.62|) better explains and predicts honesty and rule violation. While institutional and cultural factors are not unimportant, cognitive factors are more relevant.

The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others.

Cognitive ability seems to have the strongest causal effect on the honesty of a society:

The same pattern holds true if you assume that social levels of honesty intermediate individual levels of honesty as shown by rule violation.

Either way, it seems that intelligence explains whether some societies cheat at games and cheat in real life.


KA , March 23, 2018 at 2:15 pm GMT

Society rots from top and doesn't matter who is at the top. It still remains valid even when the so called least intellectually developed honest poor people get shafted for hundred of years by so called high IQ nations who bring cheating,dishonesty,and violations of existing laws and destruction of existing institutions without replacing them nationwide. Often these newly created institutions are nothing but vehicle to whitewash the corrupting and corrupted new system.

Public moral status has a lot to do with corruption at the top -both local and international in these days of neoliberalism and post -colonization. It sounds painful and hurtful though.

res , March 23, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
Interesting work! I am amazed academics have the patience to deal with such a long lag time for letting arguments play out.

Is there any chance of you publishing a scatter plot matrix of the variables you used and/or the data itself?

Do you have the correlation matrix for your variables? By any chance did you try single and multiple variable models to try to predict rule violation from the other variables? It would be interesting to see how much variance an assortment of those models explained.

Has anyone explored the idea of "cheater fraction" (analogous to smart fraction) to explain dishonesty in societies?

James Thompson , Website March 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT
@res

Cheater fraction sounds interesting. I assume that if it is higher than 16% then the society in question is worth avoiding, if at all possible.

Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:17 pm GMT
Honesty can be anything, it's look like obedience to authority instead true or pure honesty
Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:34 pm GMT
@Santoculto

I mean, based on proto-concept used.

Santoculto , March 23, 2018 at 8:37 pm GMT
So ashekl jews [on very avg or not] are the exception in collective terms **
Miro23 , March 23, 2018 at 11:59 pm GMT
It's an interesting question. Some years ago The Economist did a "European Honest Test " leaving a wallet with a fair amount of cash in it (but also including clear contact details of the owner), in capital cities around Europe.

The test was to see how many wallets were returned – and they found that the Scandinavians returned almost all of them, and the Italians returned almost none – with a clear North/South gradient in the results.

By coincidence, at about the same time, I found a wallet beside some rubbish bins with € 400 in it and some credit cards (one from my own bank). So on my next visit, I told them about it and soon got a call from the owner ( a Spanish carpenter working in Germany). His reaction was 1) to check that the money was still in the wallet 2) say that not many people would return a wallet with € 400 in it 3) leave 2 bottles of wine at my front gate.

I checked this reaction with my secretary at the time, and asked her what she would have done, with the answer that it would be a "Regalo de Dios" (Gift of God), i.e. it was not going to be returned to the owner, so there seems to be some anecdotal evidence for the result.

Godfree Roberts , Website March 24, 2018 at 12:31 am GMT
China's position on the Intrinsic Honesty chart is puzzling both at the macro level (remarkably honest, competent policy-makers) and at the individual level (above average IQ).

The Edelman Corporation, which has a lock on international surveys of personal and institutional honesty has consistently found the Chinese to be among the most trusting people on earth, as have World Values Surveys in their own, independent polls of the Chinese.

The source of the discrepancy appears to be the source of the data: "a n indicator of political rights by Freedom House that measures the democratic quality of a country's political practices; the size of a country's shadow economy as a proxy for tax evasion; and corruption as measured by the World Bank's Control of Corruption Index (Supplementary Methods)".

Relying on George Soros' Freedom House for information about China is akin to relying on the neighborhood fox to keep an eye on your chickens while you go on vacation. Garbage in, garbage out

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSwBCAPkkvGYMGa-7qn79nTF-eX-EnPauQYK8a_NqIAxY7nO7gwjp-m4u9BpRpcOOGZXnkrfe65MOaz/pub .

James Thompson , Website March 24, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@Miro23

Regalado.

Anonymous [388] Disclaimer , March 24, 2018 at 10:30 am GMT
I would rate Japan pretty high for getting things returned, but this ethic has eroded over the past three or four decades.

Also, in the past you'd see adult males scolding unrelated misbehaving teens in public, who'd slink away with their tails between their legs. This you do not currently see: men are less masculine and assertive and some teens at least are more beligerant.

Dieter Kief , March 24, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
I think, David Perkins' findings about high IQ-people being also very tribal would make for a nice addendum here, to better understand how IQ and honesty are related.

I refer to Jonathan Haidt's argument, that he bases explicitly on Perkins' findings, that because of the tendency of high IQ-people to be even more tribal than the lower IQ ranks, ist is so crucial, to understand with J. S. Mill's On Liberty (and I add: with Kant and – – the Kantian Habermas' "Theory of Communicative Action"), that the core achievement of modernity is the institutionalization of disconformation in the democratic/liberal rational discourse and liberal public sphere (universities, the media, etc.).

Here's Jonathan Haidt, referring to Perkins and Mill to make clear, how important the institutionalization of disconformation actually is:

Ilya G Poimandres , March 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm GMT
Correlation≠causation. Maybe honesty leads to brighter minds. Is it your knowing the right answer that makes you follow it, or is it you looking at the situation, as it is, considering evidence and proof, and getting the right answer through correct deductive reasoning, which is then to be followed? You can't be honest and act ideologically, because by definition you follow your observations of the world, not your ideas of the world. An honest person is bound to direct observation, an intelligent person is not. Honesty is probably primary to an accurate understanding of the world.
Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@James Thompson

I think that 16 per cent is a bit arbitrary. In a class or caste dominated society you might, if of a class which can choose to avoid countries, decide that it really doesn't matter if your butler and housekeeper have to terrify the lower orders to stop them ripping you off (and the butler and housekeeper have enough relations they want to place in employment to keep them to the rules as to how much they cheat you).

Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 2:12 pm GMT
@Miro23

I recently lost my wallet for a short time in a supermarket-plus-other-shops complex as I wheeled my trolley to the car park. I thought my pocket had been picked so went to a nearby poluce station to see if they could accelerate access to CCTV. Mr Plod was useless and unhelpful. (Fortunately I didn't start cancelling credit cards immediately as he pretty well demanded). Back in the shopping centre I was directed to a caretaker's office where a 30 ish man of Pakistani origin had my wallet that had fallen out of my pocket as I went up a ramp. He had taken the trouble to count the cash and wrap it separately with a note on it that the amount was $915 or whatever. I never bothered to count it myself or even unwrap it for several days. What does that say about the standard of civilisation in one of Australia's biggest cities?

Wizard of Oz , March 24, 2018 at 2:41 pm GMT
As anyone who has seen how inadequate religion is today to form moral young people may have thought, the obvious starting point is to ask oneself how I bring up my children and what moral rules I rub in (preferably by example as well as preaching). One knows children are not going to be cunning ruthless sophisticates by nature – unless psychopaths – and will not benefit from being taught to think immediately how they can get away with some theft or lie. So you bring them up with rules which will help to make sure they are both trusted and trustworthy – seeing you return the small amount of change over paid for exsmple to rub in the message about rules they should still be obeying without thought when they have children. Morality is about the customs of the tribe, its mores, and children are rarely done any sort of favour by not being trained to be strictly moral (even if taught Christian forgiveness, especially for the "poor in spirit"). However ..

It occurs to me that the place of intelligence in this may extend to what hss been called Divergent Thinking (does this overlap with Lateral Thinking? Or imagination?)
A quick imaginative laterally thinking brain may think of several ways some dishonest subterfuge may go wrong almost st the moment temptation arises. So honesty for him he quickly concludes is the best policy. And so down the speculative path on which little evidence is to be found. After all what is one to make of the arrogant lawyer that one reads about in the big tax case who thought arrogantly he could get away with something and the Mr Plods of the tax office would never sus him out and prove his wrongdoing to a court?

James Thompson , Website March 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

I was guided by my recollection of the modelling of neighbourhood crime risk, but it is a sliding scale, I agree. I assumed, years ago, that at the 16-20% level one would begin to notice a difference from base rate. See, in this particular example, Fig 2 and Fig 3

http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/hood.htm

Miro23 , March 24, 2018 at 8:06 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz

What does that say about the standard of civilization in one of Australia's biggest cities?

It doesn't really say anything. You need some standardized parameters and a reasonable sample size. Then you can draw some conclusions and assess the level of accuracy – like The Economist did with their wallet test – quite a good experiment.

However , at the individual level, a continuing positive outcome would be the wallet owner saying thank you, and being more inclined to return the favor one day.

Wizard of Oz , March 25, 2018 at 1:52 am GMT
Yep. Fair enough. (All of it).
Wizard of Oz , March 25, 2018 at 2:08 am GMT
@James Thompson

It occurs to me that 5 per cent might be a horrible worrying prospect if you, as a lawyer or doctor, thought it applied to the five or ten thousand you might come across as fellow professionals in your city or state. But then it could be that you rarely gossip about others and only regard as liars and cheats those who have done it to you (apart from the few who have been busted for insurance fraud). Maybe 16 per cent sometimes fudge or fiddle something but you don't know so you remain happily (and honestly) complacent, and proud of your profession.

Jonathan Mason , March 25, 2018 at 3:24 am GMT
More intelligent people may be more adept at calculating the possible negative consequences of personal dishonesty and they are likely to have more to lose. However, put them in a corporate situation and no doubt they will be as gung-ho as anyone to figure out ways to rip off customers.
Drapetomaniac , March 25, 2018 at 4:13 am GMT
@Miro23

I only look at the lost wallet in one light: it's not my property.

One of the factors I consider when looking at whether a person is a member of mankind or humankind – property.

szopen , March 25, 2018 at 8:57 am GMT
@Miro23

I've lost a wallet once and then I was visited home by shop owner, who carefuly tracked where I could live by using data from the wallet. She wanted nothing in exchange.

On university, I also was also given back a wallet once; I got back also a cellphone (which was quite expansive at the time) I left somewhere few years ago.

OTOH once I left a wallet with cash at university and it was not returned.

So, here you are my anecdotal evidence from Poland: three wallets and one cellphone, one time not returned, two plus one times returned.

szopen , March 25, 2018 at 9:07 am GMT
@James Thompson

"my recollection", " _I_ assumed, years ago" ??? Does that mean La Griffe du Lion is you?!?

Svigor , March 25, 2018 at 9:28 am GMT

More intelligent people may be more adept at calculating the possible negative consequences of personal dishonesty and they are likely to have more to lose. However, put them in a corporate situation and no doubt they will be as gung-ho as anyone to figure out ways to rip off customers.

The purpose of the institution in question is to "figure out ways to rip off customers." It's neither dishonesty nor cheating. The trick is not to have a culture that puts corporate/employer concerns first.

Obviously smarter people are going to tend to be more moral; you need to know what the fuck morality and ethics even are, and assess the circumstances, before you can make your decisions. Retards can't even get to the point of making a decision. Stupid people are great at missing the moral implications of their behavior. Smart people are the ones who need to come up with rationalizations.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 9:54 am GMT
All "honesty" begins with the self. Lying to your self, about your self is the basis of delusion and
in-authenticity. How can you know reality when reality is constantly reinterpreted to fit the needs of a run-away ego ?
The general point, that intelligence is linked to long term thinking seems sound to me. Dishonestly is often about immediate gratification: a question of gaining or avoiding immediate pleasure/displeasure. Honesty is a strategy that "pays off" over the long term.
Honesty, or truth telling (in so far as one can) is also a factor in an Honour culture. The liar is a "base" person, a person who has no sense (or no care about) their own social (self conscious) standing. Honesty also has a close correlation with such things as "loyalty", "promising" etc.
animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:02 am GMT
@Jonathan Mason

Oh yes !
That's the joy of the corporate structure: no one is responsible. EVERYONE acts because they "owe" obligations to another. (Executives to higher executives; Higher executives to the Board; the Board to Shareholders) Personal, moral responsibility becomes entirely lost in this deliberately confected ethical melange. The Large organisation is the perfect environment for crafting crimes safe from individual consequence.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:06 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz

It says you are damn lucky. If I had $ 915 in my wallet I'd super-glue the damn thing to my chest. Rather lose a couple layers of skin than that kind of dosh.

animalogic , March 25, 2018 at 10:25 am GMT
@Ilya G Poimandres

Self honesty is a long tortuous process.
Ideology is a relief: it removes the constant anxiety of needing to "question".
Science is -- should be -- the strictest form of public honesty.
Its frightening how many reports we so often get now about the systemic "dishonesty" in the scientific realm. (Dishonesty driven usually (not exclusively) by the demands of corporate profits)

m___ , March 25, 2018 at 10:46 am GMT
Sublime opportunism, entwined inside collective incentives, converges into supreme ethics, moral behaviour.
Sadly, the convergence is beyond the gradients of our elites.
The why of hard-wired human elites as are, cannot transcend to long term survival strategies, and society resembles a chicken coop.

To add another factor randomly, embedded into the above, it does not matter, how intelligence plays out between individuals, because individual opportunity feeds back into a pool of extended family, group, tribe, waves of culture and ad-hocs, lastingly and durably not encased in cognitive ambition, itself a consequence of cognitive genetic effort. Colleges and universities worldwide are a better example of petty games.

The "truth" and other concepts of "honesty" are a psychological, relative variant, depending on context. The agnostic concept of real and it's pursuit is unknown to our archaic, analogue brain without the preposition of a limited context, opportune in the now.

EliteCommInc. , March 25, 2018 at 1:35 pm GMT
I would be interested in how honesty was explicated. And the valuation of cross cultural rules that note the value of said rule equally across cultures. Now perhaps, these are fully layed out in the study, but I was unable to access the sight provided.

I would also be interested how the study rated honesty as a national value. Thus far the model looks to be applied by survey data. As I was reading I kept thinking of the multiple national scandals in which dishonesty played a central role. Once one figures out the definition and meaning of what constitutes honesty among individuals and or societal groups as agreed upon by those groups, then a model of measuring said honesty is built. This is essential because the article indicates that the difference in variable is largely cultural. So I have to conclude that a standard was established that recognizes what honesty is across cultures.

Because even withing culture, honesty varies. If intelligence is the key demarcation than one would expect those groupings with supposedly higher intelligence to have a higher degree of honesty. But again, even withing culture an agreed upon understanding of honesty is required.
Assuming intelligence matters to some set post of morality, in this case honesty -- could the model replicate supposed intelligence to honesty withing a given system in which the rules are more readily identifiable and agreed upon. Assuming that the students at the US military academies rank higher in intelligence than say the students at any comparable sized university would the students among the military academies rank higher or lower as to the being or practicing honesty. Considering the value placed on meritocratic institutions such as Harvard when measuring that intelligence grouping demonstrate a higher degree of honesty than a comparable public university.

Assuming we agree what the rules are,

"The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others"

it could be interesting whether said tested data is measuring awareness verses adherence.

Here are a bare list of some developed nation's honesty issues regarding rule adherence.

http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Scientific-misconduct

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheating (rare use of Wikipedia)

https://phys.org/news/2014-11-business-culture-banking-industry-favors.html

Again assuming that the players agree on what the rules are across countries or cultures a comparison of honesty across varying fields as to scandals and or practices might tell us something regarding the impact of intelligence to honesty across said cultures.

Found the article interesting and just expressed to thoughts on the read.

James Thompson , Website March 25, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@szopen

No, someone else.

ThreeCranes , March 26, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
Well, I'll speak (honestly) from the other perspective.

I used to ride my bike of a Sunday morning on a scenic route that boasted a few first class restaurants. Twice I found wallets lying on the pavement just downstream from these establishments. Apparently, the owners, a little tipsy, had set their wallets on top of their cars while they fumbled for their keys and then drove off.

The first I took to the local police station. The second I took home and called the owner (who lived in Canada) using their credit card number to pay for the call and left a message reassuring her that her wallet (and money) was safe and sound, not to worry (because I knew she would, having lost it outside her home country). I didn't want to take it to the police because I figured they'd begin to suspect me of stealing the wallets if I kept showing up with them.

She and her husband drove down to a prearranged place to meet me for the return. She was very grateful.

The owner of the first lost wallet called me and asked if they could donate $100 in my name to my favorite charity.

Another time I found a perfectly nice fleece-lined, leather aviation jacket lying in the road just outside a golf course. Luckily there was a receipt from his fee for 18 holes in the pocket. I called him and arranged to return the coat. We met. He treated me as though I had stolen the jacket from his car. Not so much as a thank you.

I don't know if I'm inclined to honesty because I'm bright, it's just that I've lost my wallet in the past and it's such a pain in the butt that I feel sorry for anyone who shares that fate. Credit cards, ID etc. the money is the least of it.

Mishra , March 26, 2018 at 7:14 am GMT
Honesty and trust are just two more archaic notions to be discarded along the way toward our new third-world future.
The Alarmist , March 26, 2018 at 11:08 am GMT

"Good institutions that limit cheating and rule violations, such as corruption, tax evasion and political fraud are crucial for prosperity and development."

I'd argue that these institutions derive from a well-functioning, high-trust society and are rarely a catalyst for more honesty in other societies.

As for the connection to intelligence, look at India and China to test your hypothesis.

JackOH , March 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

"Another time I found a perfectly nice fleece-lined, leather aviation jacket lying in the road just outside a golf course. Luckily there was a receipt from his fee for 18 holes in the pocket. I called him and arranged to return the coat. We met. He treated me as though I had stolen the jacket from his car. Not so much as a thank you."

TC, yep. I found a wallet stuffed with cash and credit cards on the campus of our local state university. A campus policeman was nearby so I turned the wallet over to him. He cautioned me that people who recover lost or abandoned property are sometimes blamed by the owners of that property for any real or imagined loss, damage, or inconvenience to the owners.

My rough rule of thumb is that if the property can be readily linked to an owner, I return it. If not, and the property has trivial value, say under USD $100, it's a judgment call. Found a few bottles of liquor, seals unbroken, in a trash can. Kept them. Found an untagged but well-kept dog once, which I judged to have strong sentimental value to its owner, so I placed an ad in a local newspaper, got a response, and returned the dog. His children were very grateful.

Santoculto , March 26, 2018 at 10:53 pm GMT
@Mishra

Most of corruption in third world countries came back from the top of social hierarchy, i mean, higher IQ.

dux.ie , March 27, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
The Gachter experiment on rule violation is based on die throwing in sterile experimental conditions where the financial incentives are trivial and more seriously there are no competition between the participants and there are no mechanism to identify specific individual cheating and no resulting blemish to ones' reputation. So how much of that are relevant to real life situations?

Real life cheating data where there are great advantage to be gained and also with consequences that might affect ones future are more appropriate to be studied. One aspect of the OECD TALIS project dealt with real life cheating in 8645 schools and over 100K? teachers globally,

"TALIS 2013 Results: An International Perspective on Teaching and Learning – © OECD 2014″

http://www.oecd.org/education/talis/

Table 2.20.Web. School climate – Frequency of student-related factors (cheating)
Percentage of lower secondary education teachers whose school principal reports that the following student behaviours occurred 1 Never, 2 Rarely, 3 Monthly, 4 Weekly, 5 Daily in their schools.

Answers 3, 4 and 5 are considered to be serious indicator of cheating in schools. With the intention to mash the TALIS data with the PISA 2012 data, the primary school data were excluded.

Many popular pre-conceived ideas about cheating in schools were not proven by the data. In fact considerable efforts were needed to find any significant statistical trend. For example at the national levels cheating were not correlated to the average PISA scores, fraction of top or bottom PISA scores, teachers' practice of spliting the class to teach and to test part of the class differently, etc.

The factor that show statistical significance is the proxy factor for competition or meritocracy. Countries have adopted various shades of "no child left behind" policy and that is reflected in the age profile of the class. In country that practice strict "no child left behind", the students are automatically promoted to the next grade in the next academic year regardless of the ability of the students with the results that the student will be exclusive of the same 'academic age'. When meritocracy is practiced, poorly performing students might have to repeat the same grade one or more times resulting in 'academic age' distribution in class. Since the PISA project has data of percentage of 15 yo for that grade, the idea can be tested. To be polite, the marked datapoints are not labelled. Two countries separated by a narrow channel can have drastically different cheating levels.

Q32CheatRpt = -0.404*PctGrade +56.76; #n=32; Rsq=0.1891; p=0.01287 *

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=axb52h&s=9

The school cheating levels is statistically significant to be linearly dependent on the percent of the 15 yo in class. The levels of cheating is dependent on the level of meritocracy practiced. With automatic promotion to the next academic grade there is little need for the students to cheat. The governments are doing the cheating instead. The out-criers of cheating in other countries do not realized that they are in countries with lesser meritocracy.

Peter Frost , Website March 27, 2018 at 1:37 pm GMT
The paper argues that there is a causal link between intellectual development and moral awareness: the individual process of development represents an advance from cognitive egocentrism to de-centered thinking, from ethical egocentrism to the consideration of the interests and rights of others.

This is what Jean Piaget concluded from his studies of Swiss children. He believed that empathy was an integral part of a child's intellectual development. It doesn't follow, however, that there is some kind of genetic linkage between intellectual capacity and the capacity for empathy. These are two different mental traits. It's more likely that the same selection pressure that favored an increase in intellectual capacity also favored an increase in the capacity for empathy.

It's impossible to build an advanced society unless most of its members have a high capacity for both intelligence and empathy. On an individual level, however, high intelligence can co-exist with low empathy. There have been many cases of ruthless sociopaths who are very intelligent and yet totally self-centered. Such people can be very successful as long as they aren't too numerous. Otherwise, they'll destroy the very society that makes their existence possible.

An advanced society requires a combination of high intelligence and high empathy, although this may come about in different ways. In northwest Europeans, a high intellectual capacity co-exists with high capacities for guilt proneness and affective empathy. In East Asians, a high intellectual capacity co-exists with high capacities for cognitive empathy and pro-social behavior. In other words, there is more emphasis in East Asian societies on learning correct moral rules.

J.Ross , Website March 27, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
@Peter Frost

I am not following the credit gift of empathy to East Asians, or the connection of morality and intelligence to the obeying of complex rules, because of the stolen oranges in the Book of Rites and the counterfeit antiques that impressed the Emperor. The Chinese literally explain how to lie in their moral teachings. "Lying" is right there among the morality-guaranteeing complex rules. There are examples in the Talmud I will not specify, or regard as unreasonable, but I will note that nobody saw the Talmud as less than a downright complex system of rules. Some African tribes have rules so stringent (eg, no wet dreams) that nobody could possibly obey them. If anything I would expect that systems of compelled obedience to complex rules guarantee dishonesty. The only alternative is Billy Budd getting the captain to take his side.
What I would start with is power. In China, even in periods of decay or civil war, power is always centralized to a degree only approached in Europe by a few temporarily competent monarchs, and with an effectiveness that has never been accomplished in Europe. I think this and not math scores or cheap shoes is the basis of the elite adoration of the Han. The man who observes that a cow is not a nightingale, or that two and two are four, when the opposite is being claimed by an officer of the government (be it communist, imperial, or partisan) is an idiot. He, and probably his family, maybe his hamlet, will be exterminated with efficiency the European Enlightened Despots could only dream of. Truth, insofar as it is objective, is the hair of Liberty. It cannot exist at all except in the empty space left by the rolling back of power. The trick here is embracing negativism instead of falling into the positivistic trap. We in the West accidentally stumbled across Liberty and Truth and Science, not because we are good, objectively not because we are smarter, but because we just couldn't get that mandate of heaven thing together, despite the unambiguous desires of numerous monarchs. I predict that this will be an unpopular answer but it will not go away.
(but the Japanese are massively more ethical than the Chinese. Yeah. And they are also all but European, especially in a lot of their political history. They dreamed of imitating Chinese centralization but never came close.)
Also, how soon can we expect an update to that graph, now plotting IQ (or PISA, or tetris scores, etc) against something like the Transparency Index? Apologies if this has already been done and I missed it.

James Thompson , Website March 28, 2018 at 9:27 am GMT
@dux.ie

thanks for this interesting additional measure of cheating.

Steve Sailer , Website March 30, 2018 at 6:27 am GMT
Personally, I have a hard time understanding scams. I would make a terrible white collar criminal.
Wally , March 30, 2018 at 7:03 am GMT
@Jonathan Mason

Got examples?

Biff , March 30, 2018 at 7:31 am GMT
Those studies are bunk because everybody lies:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/09/everybody-lies-how-google-reveals-darkest-secrets-seth-stephens-davidowitz

What can we learn about ourselves from the things we ask online? US data scientist Seth Stephens‑Davidowitz analysed anonymous Google search results, uncovering disturbing truths about our desires, beliefs and prejudices

Tbbh , March 30, 2018 at 8:19 am GMT
@Santoculto

I almost thought I had found a thread on unz where somebody didn't mention joos. Thanks for not disappointing me.

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT
Have no idea where the data come from, but scandals with Dutch politicians seem to increase all the time, most with Rutte's VVD.

Condemned politicians for fraud etc., a novelty.
But until now just one behind bars.

But about honesty, our prime minister Rutte is nicknamed Pinocchio for his lies.
The VVD quickly rid itself of the chairman Keiser, who manipulated himself into possession of the crematoria of the organisation he advised.
The Dutch tax authority presented him with a claim of € 12 million, our FIOD, the authority for fiscal crimes is investigating him.

Condemned business men for fraud, more than we like.
Even the former Philips CEO Boonstra was condemned for trade with foreknowledge.
Solicitors also are not above suspicion any more.

At the recent municipality elections measures were applied to prevent criminals being elected.

Unreliable policemen, also a novelty, the first serious conviction was a short time ago, he sold information from police data bases to criminals.
How he was not discovered earlier, unbelievable, police salaries are insufficient for driving Porsches.

Wizard of Oz , March 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm GMT
Your last paragraph is ill timed and at best insensitive in the opinion of this Australian who once got some pleasure from the game of cricket
anarchyst , March 30, 2018 at 12:48 pm GMT
Catholic bishop Fulton J. Sheen said it best: "It is much easier for an educated person to rationalize evil".
All one has to do is look at abortion supporters who insist that abortion merely removes "a clump of cells", when they damn well know better, that it is HUMAN LIFE that they are destroying.
The old "ends justifies the means" excuse also comes into play, which is used by communist societies to purge millions of those who oppose them, not unlike the purges in the old Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and other communist "paradises".
I would state that it is easier for an educated person to rationalize evil–this including dishonesty
ANON [436] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 1:01 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Do I detect a matter of class? The golfer seems not to have been a gentleman belonging to a golf club where proper behaviour was de rigeur, very likely passed from father, uncle and club pro to son. The sort of chap who pays green fees could be a wannabe upwardly mobile agent for subdivided swamp land

ANON [436] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 1:06 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

PS I gave up golf after my father died 20+ years ago. Not so much that I couldn't match his ethical standards but that after two heart attacks and hip replacements he was still a scratch golfer and all I could do was occasionally outdrive him if my slice or pull allowed.

TG , March 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm GMT
Interesting post. Some additional thoughts.

1. Perhaps smart people are just better at not getting caught?

2. Overall, there is one major factor in the honesty of a society, and that is poverty. When an overpopulated third-world society is crushed into misery, when people cannot earn a half-way decent living – or indeed, any living – through honest effort, eventually they come to cheat. This has been demonstrated in all cultures and all races.

Does integrity promote prosperity? Surely. But the reverse is if anything more powerful: poverty promotes corruption and nepotism. For people to behave honorably, yes there must be a culture of this, but it must also be the case that behaving honorably is not cutting your own throat. Because few people are saints.

Cindy , March 30, 2018 at 2:37 pm GMT
@JackOH

"Found a few bottles of liquor, seals unbroken, in a trash can. "

Dumpster-diving is a different thing than keeping lost goods. I think you're *morally* in the clear, there, even if sorely lacking in judgement. This doesn't seem very wise. Did it not occur to you that they were probably in the TRASH for a reason? Probably not poisonous or anything, since the seals were on. Probably some alcoholic decided to quit drinking. But do you want to take the chance that this wasn't a bootleg batch full of lead? Obviously the answer was yes. Your butt, I reckon

Anonymous [739] Disclaimer , March 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm GMT
We have been flooded here at the University of Chicago by Mainland/Communist Chinese students. There are lots of accusations that the Chinese Communist government assists these students by cheating, getting other English language proficient students to take the English part of the SAT tests.

There appear to be lots and lots of Mainland Chinese/Communist China students here who supposedly aced the English SAT test but can't seem to speak English.

Twodees Partain , March 30, 2018 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Miro23

"like The Economist did with their wallet test – quite a good experiment."

But, The Economist is hardly a bastion of truth. I would tend to dismiss their entire story of the wallet experiment as a fabrication, having caught their writers in so many lies.

Willem , March 30, 2018 at 4:06 pm GMT
I interpreted the Simon Gächter graph as follows: the more money a country has, the more honest the citizens are.

Perhaps one should do an experiment and make countries like Tanzania as rich as e.g. The Netherlands, and then do the comparisons.

Same applies to IQ.

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 5:05 pm GMT

Do Brighter Minds Incline to Honesty?

Possibly.

But certainly that accounts for the fact that politicians are dull, ignorant, dissemblers at best.

In many governments the candidates for the highest stations are above the law; and, if they can attain the object of their ambition, they have no fear of being called to account for the means by which they acquired it. They often endeavour, therefore, not only by fraud and falsehood, the ordinary and vulgar arts of intrigue and cabal; but sometimes by the perpetration of the most enormous crimes, by murder and assassination, by rebellion and civil war, to supplant and destroy those who oppose or stand in the way of their greatness.

Adam Smith, Essays Pt I, Sec III, Chap III. ed. Joseph Black and James Hutton (London: Alex. Murray & Son, 1869). 3/30/2018. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2721#Smith_Essays1649_206

denk , March 30, 2018 at 5:36 pm GMT
Uk, the perpetrator of Iraq WMD and the current Russiagate, a more 'ethical' country than China ?

What a joke !

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm GMT
@Willem

Honesty to me seems a cultural phenomenon.
Once people get away with dishonesty, others think 'why not me ?'.

The Dutch erosion, in my recollection, already began in the seventies, with leftist people, at the time social democrats.
It was said then 'thinking left, filling pockets at the right'.
People as my father, life long socialists, left the party in great numbers.
It took a long time for THE socialist party, PvdA, to disappear, until the last parliamentary elections.
The self destruction had much to do with EU support, socialism is at odds with globalisation, even within the EU.

Few in the USA will have followed all the French scandals before the last presidential elections.
Even Macron was accused of not declaring all his possessions.
And indeed, I also cannot understand how he spent or lost the millions he got while working for the Rothschild bank.

Another well known politician, presidential candidate, cannot now remember the name, disappeared after gifts for suits for some € 50.000 were published, there was also a very expensive watch, the job his wife had, what she in fact did, nobody understands, and the temporary jobs for his children.
When one sees the small castle where the family lives one understands that he could not buy his suits himself.

Now at last there seems to be sufficient proof against Sarkozy.

Now many French presidents were persecuted after their immunity ended, when they no longer were president.
But the frauds etc. they seem to have perpetrated seem worse and worse, in the Sarko case, intimidating a judge, among other things.
When Hollande will be persecuted, I wonder.
He had a reputation for sacking editors in chief.

jilles dykstra , March 30, 2018 at 5:53 pm GMT
@denk

Ask Ghandi, alas he does not live, when Britain was an ethical country.
Just a few years ago, in BBCW Hard Talk, I saw an Indian minister getting quite angry 'the British did not have to teach the Indians anything'.

JackOH , March 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Cindy

Cindy, both gut and butt survived my "rescue" hooch. I did some due diligence: examined the bottles, carefully tasted the contents, etc. My guess was a domestic quarrel in the parking garage over the high-end vodka and liqueurs, perhaps over someone's drinking problem, and the quarrel was settled by chucking the booze.

" . . . [S]orely lacking in judgment." Not really. My judgment turned out to be okay, because I was informed by the totality of the circumstances and then made my call. Had the booze been low-end stuff found in an unfamiliar location, etc., I might have judged differently.

BTW-I didn't dumpster-dive. The booze was clearly visible at the top of the trash can.

denk , March 30, 2018 at 6:19 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

How did they measure such 'honesty index' ?
Placing 100 wallets in a park and observe how many are returned to the owners ?

But when the anglos lie, they always lie big time !

Goebel famously oberved .

The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous

Waging wars by false pretexts surely is the highest form of duplicity ?
They dont call them perfidious albions for nuthin you know !

Another Realist , March 30, 2018 at 6:24 pm GMT
How does the author explain the link between the supposed highest IQ group – the Jews, and their reputation for utmost dishonesty, greed and lust throughout history? Same goes for the Chinese.

Propensity for Honesty is the biggest reason why we need to restrict immigration from low trust cultures, i.e. all 3rd world countries. It's why they're 3rd world, because they are low trust, everyone is dishonest from the top down, the few honest ones are called "stupid" and get ripped off left and right. The more we import from these cultures, the more dishonest our society will become, this includes all of Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Southern & Eastern Europe esp. Russia. The only truly honest people in the world are Northwestern Protestant Europeans, and maybe the Japanese. All other groups are dishonest.

Joe Wong , March 30, 2018 at 8:18 pm GMT
@res

Interesting work? This article is a pure misuse of statistics, a fabrication and a classic work of evil minded Eurocentrist attempting to give a new lease of life to their declining rotten Eurocentrism in facing of the rising progressive, peaceful, and pragmatic East.

Look at the graph, its racist Eurocentrism is glaring, all the Western nations are on the good side while rest of the world on the bad side. History has shown all those on the good side are liars, cheaters, murderers, bandits, and pirates, while those on the bad side are the victims of those perpetrators on the good side. The missing of the USA in the chart makes this article an unapologetic white supremacy lie.

To study the link between brightness and honesty, it should pull data from the same pool of population who are in the same environment, i.e. within a nation, then we even can study whether cognitive ability, intellectual development, moral awareness, culture factor, and institutions have any effect on honesty and their relationships.

Besides in spite of being bright, and having cognitive ability, intellectual development, moral awareness, culture factor and strong institutions, the West still bombs, kills and waterboards others on the fabricated phantom allegations as humanitarian intervention without showing remorse; and recently the West lied about the poisoning episode in UK, and brought the world to the edge of anther world war crisis, those evidences prove the Western societies are not honest despite the qualities they processed as prerequisite for honesty, it seems it proves the West is either hypocritical or innate psychopathic.

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 9:18 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra

Ask Ghandi, alas he does not live, when Britain was an ethical country.

Exactly. What a pack of criminals. They were much worse and for a longer period of time, than what they accused the Nazis of doing.

Churchill refused to divert supplies away from already well-supplied British troops at the same time he allegedly blocked American and Canadian ships from delivering aid to India either. Nor would he allow the Indians to help themselves: the colonial government forbade the country from using its own ships or currency reserves to help the starving masses. Meanwhile, London pushed up the price of grain with hugely inflated purchases, making it unaffordable for the dying and destitute. Most-chillingly of all, when the government of Delhi telegrammed to tell him people were dying, Churchill allegedly only replied to ask why Gandhi hadn't died yet.

If all this is true -- and documents support it -- then Winston Churchill may well have starved to death as many innocent people as Stalin did in the Ukrainian genocide. Could the man who held out against Hitler really be capable of such an atrocity? Judging by the rest of this list, it wouldn't be surprising.

https://listverse.com/2014/02/04/10-evil-crimes-of-the-british-empire/

jacques sheete , March 30, 2018 at 9:39 pm GMT
The honest and bright Brits are responsible for starvation in prison camps decades before the Nazis were supposed to have done their thing.:

Picture of Brit camp victim (Boer War) according to the article linked above.:

lavoisier , Website March 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm GMT
@ANON

I cannot play golf without committing a certain amount of larceny. In my mind a mulligan is a reasonable option to excuse a particularly poorly played shot. And I have been known to sweeten my lie on the not rare occasion, which, of course, is a form of lying.

I have often wondered if my ease at dishonesty on the links might suggest a propensity towards darker deeds?

And don't even ask me about gimme putts. That for sure must reflect a lower intelligence!

Joe Wong , March 30, 2018 at 10:33 pm GMT
@James Thompson

Who decides who cheats or being dishonesty? Is misleading advertising cheating? Is empty campaign promises cheating? Is abusing legal loopholes cheating? Is putting one's self-interest ahead of the ones they supposed to serve cheating? Is price fixing cheating? Are cartels of all kind cheating? Are selective reporting, wrongful labelling, and spreading ideology cheating? . . .

Mind you, the people involved in the above activities are all bright, well educated, intelligent, having strong institutions, within well-functioning societies, and a sense of moral responsibilities too, would they be more than 16% in the western societes?

Sollipsist , March 30, 2018 at 11:08 pm GMT
The assumptions behind this are so fragile and unsupportable.

Honesty, as with most of the Judeo-Christian values, largely serves to keep the compliant majority self-correcting while the predatory and parasitic top and bottom of society maintain a more productive relativistic approach – long term dishonesty for the elites, short term dishonesty for the undesirables. In-group honesty is always far more valued than universal honesty – whether you're talking about stockbrokers or Romani.

The most intelligent in any class or group are far more likely to utilize dishonesty when it best serves their needs. To do otherwise would be a clear sign of lack of intelligence.

The idea that intelligent people are more likely to see the purpose of honesty in the long term is not only an unsupportable assumption, it's also ignoring the countless undeniable historical instances of intelligent leaders deploying adaptive fictions to achieve positive social goals (anything from religion to the concept of inalienable rights).

Anyone who uses the phrase "speaking truth to power" can absolutely be counted upon to be utterly dishonest when that power comes knocking.

Art , March 30, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
As a boy I had the privilege to attend a Catholic grade school. Part of the education was to go to confession. Admitting to a third party your wrongs, is very powerful. Forgiving the past frees one. Being truthful builds character, and getting over the past is a blessing. It was a struggle to be totally truthful all the time. As a mid to late teen, I fell away from Catholicism.

In my early twenties I came back to believing that truthfulness is the best policy. I attribute that to the Catholic culture and the confessional. I would not say that it was my intelligence that led me.

Think Peace -- Art

Joe Wong , March 31, 2018 at 1:17 am GMT
@Art

Confession has nothing to do with honesty; it breeds psychopath, unrepentance, irresponsibility and repeat offending. The churches use confession to cleanse perpetrators' sins, so the perpetrators can repeat their crimes without moral burden; this is not hypothesis, history bear witness of such fact. This is the trait of the Western culture, it reflects in all aspects of the westerners' behaviour. Most common expression of such morally defunct mentality is that the western governments and officials have no trouble to apologize the wrongs they have done, but they keep on doing the same wrong over and over again after apologizing. The Native Americans are the most abused victim of such morally defunct practice.

The churches use confession to recruit and dominate its members (mentally colonized serfs), expand their domains. Confession is one of the most effective mechanisms that corrupt the basic decency of humanity.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@jacques sheete

Here's another ROFLLMAO,

China much more aggressive than UK ,
WTF !

How did they deduce that ,
Comparing how many people jump queue in UK and China ?

Lies, damn lies and statistics

Coming from those who hog the top 100 hoax of the century chart.

hehehhehe

utu , March 31, 2018 at 2:13 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Perhaps going to confession or a dose of Christianity would be good for Chinese.

Twodees Partain , March 31, 2018 at 2:20 am GMT
@jacques sheete

Adam Smith apparently had their number when he was alive. It seems that little has changed in the quality of politicians between the 19th and 21st centuries. If anything, today's politicians are even more dimwitted and venal. The average Congress member is a moron, and nearly inarticulate in unscripted speaking.

I really enjoyed reading Henry Mencken's observations on political campaigns of the early 20th century. He also seemed to enjoy making those observations as well. It comes through in the way he describes the candidates.

Twodees Partain , March 31, 2018 at 2:26 am GMT
@denk

The government of the UK seems completely unconcerned with ethics, in the same way the US government is. Most members of both governments seem, to me, to be morally retarded.

Malcolm Y , March 31, 2018 at 2:54 am GMT
Since this is statistics there are no counterexamples. But there is one giant "counterexample"
denk , March 31, 2018 at 3:27 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

which begs the question .

How did these two 'ethical' countries keep churning out world class psychopaths as leaders .since 1600 ?

dux.ie , March 31, 2018 at 5:45 am GMT
Flash! Flash! Flash! Stop the press. This is not yet 1st April.

Currently there are a lot of news about cheating in sports, e.g. cricket. Out of a whim the relationship of sports with academic cheating is tested. The OECD PISA project has data on the percentage of students who exercise before or after school PctExercise, and

PctCheatRpt=+1.044*PctExercise-46.25; #n=29; Rsq=0.234; p=0.007889 ** (V Sig)

It is very statistically significant that PctExercise is positively highly correlated to academic cheating. The effect is more than double that for the other percentage variables whether they are statistically significant or not. If students spend too much time on tracks and fields and little time at home studying the results can easily be inferred. Now you know those loud mouths screaming about cheating in another countries and that the students there spend too much time studying, they are on average themselves doing most of the academic cheatings and they might be trying to divert attention away from them.

To be fair, the situation for the nerds should also be checked. The OECD PISA has data on the percentage of students who have more than 4 hours per week of off-school maths tuition PctMathTuitGt4hr,

PctCheatRpt=-0.835*PctMathTuitGt4hr+31.81; #n=28; Rsq=0.0552; p=0.2287 (NotSig)

It is statisticaly not significant. What about those academically very competitive, the percentage who wanted to be the best PctWantBest,

PctCheatRpt=-0.445*PctWantBest+54.07; #n=29; Rsq=0.222; p=0.009944 ** (V Sig)

It is statistically very significant that PctWantBest negatively correlated with cheating, i.e, on average the more academically competitive they are the lesser they will cheat.

It is intuitively that most self-confident students will not cheat. The OECD data can be transformed and normalized into confident quotient CQ similar to the IQ scale where CQ ≥ 115 is considered to be over-confident. However,

PctCheatRpt = -0.362*ConfidantQuotient +61.62; #n=29; Rsq=0.1289; p=0.05581 (NotSig)

Two datapoints are far from the rest and are on opposite sides of the regression line, by excluding them,

PctCheatRpt = -0.473*ConfidentQuotient2 +73.25; #n=27; Rsq=0.1653; p=0.03535 * (SIg)

CQ is negatively correlated to cheating rate as expected.

The summary of the results,

http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=10pvbyt&s=9

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 10:42 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Most common expression of such morally defunct mentality is that the western governments and officials have no trouble to apologize the wrongs they have done, but they keep on doing the same wrong over and over again after apologizing.

Amen!

What's even worse is the goofy idea that one is automatically "forgiven" if s/he's a "believer." It's the works vs faith idea. Some of those people feel free to break every rule in the book (even the 10 supposedly written in stone) with complete impunity.

Those people routinely engage in behavior that's as disgusting as those from the the tribe who think they're "chosen."

G-wd's special ones, goy and non-goy, are forgiven in advance I guess.

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 11:05 am GMT
@Twodees Partain

If anything, today's politicians are even more dimwitted and venal. The average Congress member is a moron, and nearly inarticulate in unscripted speaking.

True.

I think much the same could be said for all hierarchical systems and that includes religious as well as academic ones. I've always been as much amused as amazed at how dimwitted and venal priests and professors usually are.

Frauds-R-Us.

jilles dykstra , March 31, 2018 at 11:19 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Rereading this reaction comes to mind
Edward W. Said & Christopher Hitchens, ed., Blaming the Victims, Spurious scholarship and the Palestinian question', 1988, London

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 11:29 am GMT
@JackOH

"[S]orely lacking in judgment." Not really. My judgment turned out to be okay"

No, it was a bad call regardless of how it turned out. The risk-reward ratio was off the chart.

jacques sheete , March 31, 2018 at 11:30 am GMT
@denk

which begs the question .

How did these two 'ethical' countries keep churning out world class psychopaths as leaders .since 1600 ?

Beg no longer, fine sir! This dude may have an answer.

Henceforth, Britain will do the bidding of her real masters ; she has
become the tool of the schemers against all she holds dear, namely, her
faith, her patriotism, traditions, civilisation. She grants the " returned "
aliens equality of civil rights ; they may and do become mayors over
Christian population, and within a short time Britain is ruled by a
Jewish Prime Minister, Disraeli, first and foremost a Jew and the
flunkey of the powerful Rothschild financiers.

One of the consequences of this disastrous political mistake is the
transformation of the national attitude of Great Britain and her
colonies into that of the British Empire. Disraeli who inspired it
knew what he was scheming for, the British people did not. But with
him, Zionism is carried up to the very heights of the British Throne, a
Zionist World Empire is on the high road to realisation.

-Leslie Fry, "the Jews and the British Empire," 1935

https://archive.org/stream/FryLeslieTheJewsAndTheBritishEmpire/Fry_Leslie_-_The_jews_and_the_British_Empire_djvu.txt

He musta been a kunspirasee theerist er an antee-Semite er sumpin. Prolly lo IQ and jellis too.

Dieter Kief , March 31, 2018 at 11:37 am GMT
@Dieter Kief

In the light of what Jonathan Haidt in the above linked video says with regards to David Perkin's findings, I tend to say this question of yours

Do Brighter Minds Incline to Honesty?

has to be answered: "Yes. But ."

The But has to do with the the history of the term "honesty".

People might say wrong things, while being (and feeling!) honest, because honesty is not necessarily rooted in speaking the truth.

Honesty is a social category alltogether (with close ties to knighthood, chivalry and the like). It therefor is a category, which in it's very core hints at obedience and fellowship, and that's at times what keeps people away from speaking the truth – cf. David Perkins and Jonathan Haidt above (ok – full circle).

Joe Wong , March 31, 2018 at 12:42 pm GMT
@utu

Hit-and-run is common all over the world not just in China, it is a sign of moral decay, confusion, and irresponsibility. Those perpetrators must be denounced.

But if one follows the West or the unrepentant war criminal Japanese, it is easy to white wash those hit-and-run crimes by saying the percentage of such crime in China is way lower than in the US though the absolute number might be higher, so Chinese is more honest than average in the world.

On the other hand killing people with car faces less consequences in the West, most perpetrators in the West get slap on the wrist for such crime, such as suspension of driving license, insurance company paid compensation, short term imprisonment, or get way free by claiming medical conditions, but in China the perpetrators may have to pay their lives for their crimes. It seems the West does not have a balanced morality, harsh on the victims and lenient on the criminals.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:18 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

In the honesty index graph,
Germany is higher than China, OK, thats fair.

As for the five eyes lies , their rightful place is right at the bottom.

UK [half of fukus] the ethical country ?
hehehehhe

Web Of Deceit: Britain's Real Foreign Policy
by Mark Curtis

In his explosive new book, Mark Curtis reveals a new picture of Britain's role in the world since 1945 and in the 'war against terrorism' by offering a comprehensive critique of the Blair government's foreign policy. Curtis argues that Britain is an 'outlaw state', often a violator of international law and ally of many repressive regimes. He reasons not only that Britain's foreign policies are generally unethical but that they are also making the world more dangerous and unequal.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1128541.Web_Of_Deceit

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:21 pm GMT
@utu

kid,

You believe in gawd ?
I pray to the all mighty every day to stop the great satan,
a fat lot of good it does tho !

so how ?

denk , March 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

that utu kid oughtta go out more .

He spend all day in the basement and he thought he knows the world by watching some dubious youtube videos, forchrissake !

hehehhe

Anonymous [184] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 2:59 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

Interesting. Reverse Midas Touch can be a very real phenomenon, apparently.

So who chose them and what were they chosen for?

Anon [436] Disclaimer , March 31, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT
@anarchyst

Why do you condemn over 100,000 years of homo sapiens behaviour. Destroying human lives has been continuously the most effective natural way to achieve important utilitarian ends tight up to today. And given the ancient Hebrew enthusiasm for genocide is it surprising that God's Ten Commandments not only said nothing about abortion but assumed that limiting killing was about the best that could be hoped for.

utu , March 31, 2018 at 6:16 pm GMT
@denk

Quality is also an aspect of honesty: both individual and institutional.

denk , March 31, 2018 at 6:54 pm GMT
Did I mention the top 100 hoaxes of the century chart, kid ?

Here's a partial list,

Iraq WMD
IRAQ babies incubators
Racak 'massacre'
RUSSIAGATE,
Chinagate,
Indo./China war 1962
Indon genocide 1965
GCHQ fake foto
Tibet fake foto,
Tibet genocide,
Libya
Syria
Sinking of the Maine,
Gulf of Tonkin,
911
War OF terror,
R2p[lunder]
TAM 'massacre'
Tibet 2008
Xinjiang 2009

100 reasons why fukus should be at the bottom of the 'honesty' chart !

utu , March 31, 2018 at 8:13 pm GMT
Chinese the most dishonest, Japanese and British the least, study finds

http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/article/1879850/chinese-most-dishonest-japanese-and-british-least-study-finds

Why do Chinese students think it's OK to cheat?

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1974986/why-do-chinese-students-think-its-ok-cheat

99% OF PUBG'S BANNED CHEATERS ARE FROM CHINA

http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/02/16/99-of-pubgs-banned-cheaters-are-from-china

utu , March 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

those hit-and-run crimes

These are not just hit and run. In China you do not run until you make sure the victim is dead. And if the victim is not dead you hit them second time to make sure he/she is dead and then you run. This is very pragmatic and congruent with all Chinese philosophical systems. That's why I suggested to your compatriot (denk) here that a bit of Christian mercy and compassion would do Chinese some good.

Philip Owen , March 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

As Amryata Sen has pointed out. The problem in Bengal was not a lack of food but the lack of purchasing power by the poorest peasants. Hoarding by merchants is a traditional driver of famine in India. The Punjab actually had a good harvest but Bengal ate rice. Churchill's nvolvement was ncidental. India was governed com India, often by Indians. Churchill was an outrageous racist but by no means representative of the British of the time. He lost the post war election.

Philip Owen , March 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm GMT
@jacques sheete

WYes. Grotesque incompetence rather than the intended result but morally wrong just the same.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 1:39 am GMT
@utu

I am surprised that you posted that first link. Its 1500 tested people (selected how?) from 15 countries simply reminded me that the "Climategate" emails also belonged to the University of East Anglia.

I didn't take the time to understand WTF PUBG was all about (third link).

As to the second link it is indeed interesting to learn of what appears to be a formal recognition by the Chinese Communist Party that part of what contributed to the earlier economic success of the West was trust and comparative honesty (as Amy Wax might point out).

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 1:58 am GMT
@utu

First of all Christians have no mercy, and they only have crusade and conversion. Christians are cult. The Christians have been committing crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes using evil and sadist inquisition methods for a very very long time. Their forte is racial and culture genocide. Before Columbus time they only did their carnage between themselves and Muslims within the European continent and ME. After Columbus they spread their plague all over the world.

The most unfortunate victims are the Americans (from North to South). Christian not only took the American's land, and killed them into nearly extinct, they also burnt all books of South Americans, so that there is no indigenous South American civilization left to tell their history and to refute what the Christian casted them as savages.

In China during the late Qing time, the Christians treated Chinese culture and traditions as witchcraft, backed by their governments' guns they used extraterritorial right to expand their control of people and land with organized violence and insidious crimes. Their unscrupulous activities forced Chinese to resist thru Boxer movement because Qing Court was incompetent. The West labelled Boxer as terrorists and crashed them with Eight Nations Alliance armed intervention, Christian was a major force that caused China Century Humiliation.

Since WWII all wars were led by the Christians, their false Christian mercy calls paved the way for the Western governments and war mongers to bomb, kill and waterboard on moral high ground just like their barbaric Christian forebears who have done to the native South Americans and rest of the world.

That kind of morally defunct drivers are not unique to China, they appeare in the West too. In some incidences the driver in the West made sure nobody survives in the other car by pushing the car over the road side, so they have better chance not to be convicted due to no witness.

While guys using assault rifles mowing down tens of school kids for no reasons and claim it is their constitution rights to do so, and tens of millions of killed, tortured and maimed by the NATO false flag wars, why don't you suggest your compatriots in the USA and other NATO nations that a bit of Christian mercy and compassion would do their souls some good? Is it because Christian mercy is myth, fantasy and snakeoil?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 2:37 am GMT
@utu

You are being racist, propagating the pink skin pigs' trashes in HK irresponsibly. You should know those noxious racist trolls in the SCMP are posted by the pink skin pigs and their mentally colonized wannabes in HK out of resentment and frustration, because they lost their colonial privileges in HK and they are being rejected as uneducated unscrupulous colonials back home. They fell from master caste to the bottom of the society and become worthless trash.

Japanese are unrepentant war criminals, their whole society are liars and they have been lying since WWII about their war crimes, their past, their present and their future, they even are lying about the massive toxic nuclear leaking in the Fukushima cripple nuclear power plants that are causing millions of people died of cancer and extinction of marine creatures. While the British is the mentor of the Japanese.

Britain was a ruthless global tyrant and liar, but you seem to believe that all the crimes against humanity and peace and war crimes British committed around the world can be forgiven and glossed over by claiming Britain a democracy; what a lie and morally defunct double think evil psychopathic expression. People said British imitates the Romans and the American is born out of the British, no wonder the American is adopting the same double think logic to white wash and gloss over the war crimes, crimes against humanity and peace they have been committing around the world.

Winston Churchill was a classic imperialist with no moral bearing, he believed for the empire everything goes. WWII is nothing but a dog-eat-dog play rough over the monopoly to plunder the rest of the world; they squandered all the wealth they obtained thru stealing, looting and murdering hundreds of millions of people all over the world in that scrabbling.

About cheating in the exams you must have never seen what the Greeks and Indian are capable of. PUBG is sour grape, they cannot beat the Chinese so they banned Chinese on the fabricated allegation, just like the Opium Wars, the British could not beat Chinese manufactured goods, so they used Opium and wars to steal and cheat Chinese wealth.

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 2:44 am GMT
@denk

Death should be knocking on Iran's door and wearing a Star of David effacing the American flag.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:50 am GMT
@denk

Why do you waste time displaying your prejudices without even acknowledging what question was asked? Your English is up to it – just – so you have no excuse.

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@Joe Wong

Your diatribe is a bit on the simplistic side.

All Utu was pointing out is that deliberately killing someone with a car to escape prosecution is pretty heinous behavior and does suggest something really wrong with the Chinese culture at a fundamental level.

And the treatment of animals in China is generally deplorable compared with Western standards with little concern for their well being. How does this obvious cruelty fit on the ethical plane?

Ethical behavior among human beings is probably more unusual than we would like to believe and we can all be better people. The Chinese are no exception to that rule. If Christian ethics or Buddhist ethics can advance that cause, I support this.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@jacques sheete

I was intrigued to find on the listverse.com site some readable and/or intriguing stuff, e.g. on Charles Darwin, but your particular, well debunked, choice of anachronistic and inaccurate story to believe and post suggests to me that anyone whose intellectual standards allow them to rely on one of those list (usually of 10) sites should not pollute UR. Are you aware that people are paid $100 (with possibility of bonuses) for those lists?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 2:57 am GMT
@utu

You are wrong, not everybody demands the same quality, and Chinese provides different quality for different needs in the market. Besides you get what you paid for, it is fundamental principle of capitalism if you don't count the first principle of capitalism which is monopoly which is charge as much as you can bear and cost is irrelevant, that is not only cheating and it is also blackmailing and looting.

The video just claims but shows no proof what the guy claims. Chinese machinery and parts are taking more markets around the world, this simply fact proves the video is made out of bad faith, and pure propaganda.

Coins can stand up on Chinese High Speed Rail running more than 300km/hr, no German, Japanese or any other nation can do that, it proves the bearing quality in China HSR is unprecedented, it further proves the guys in the video is a troll out of jealous, resentful and fear Chinese achievements.

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:33 am GMT
@utu

hey kiddie,

Spare me all those China videos' [1]

In case you still havent noticed,
Im not here to defend China.
I allow its position below Germany is quite fair.

But,
Can you give me one good reason why UK , that agent provocateur extraordinaire , is so high up that honesty chart ?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:41 am GMT
@utu

In China you do not run until you make sure the victim is dead.

cuz you watch some videos from youtube,
forchrissake !

Can you give me some credible statistics , the percentage of such alleged crimes in China ?

How does such alleged crimes stack up against fukus state terrorism like double tapping , sniping at women and chidlren, obliterating the whole neighborhood of a suspect hideout just to make sure, ?

And .
How does this elevate fukus from its rightful position at the bottom of that honesty chart,
thats all I wanna know ?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 3:44 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz

To think that I recently commended you for some improvement on your comprehension !
, now you go back to my bozo file,

Anonymous [216] Disclaimer , April 1, 2018 at 8:03 am GMT
@Joe Wong

It is propaganda. People tell me that the same stories were circulated when Japan was becoming a tech powerhouse. It will probably take another 5-10 years before it dissipates.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 10:01 am GMT
@denk

Don't avoid the issue. How do you justify your use of the word "aggressive"?

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 11:42 am GMT
@lavoisier

I merely point out the misconception about Christians supported by historical facts. Indian treats animals even worse while China has humane protection laws, it seems you are as impartial as utu.

Joe Wong , April 1, 2018 at 11:58 am GMT
@Anonymous

Chinese is not Japanese. Japanese only steals, their forte is made refinement on the stolen.

A lot of the American and British have been saying China will collapse 30 years already, you are one of them.

Wizard of Oz , April 1, 2018 at 2:52 pm GMT
Your first paragraph comes over as so silly that perhaps it shouldn't surprise that your second paragraph is, to say the least, extremely puzzling. Where did Anonymous [216] say or suggest that China eould collapse? The post you are replying to implies no such thing.
utu , April 1, 2018 at 3:32 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

After every of your visit by you at unz.com I keep wondering to what degree your primitive chauvinism is representative of China. How many millions primitive and hateful Joe Wongs are there? Then I wonder that perhaps you are not Chinese. That you are employed by enemies of China. That Chinese are too smart to show their cards that early in the game. If they really hate they would not show it because only fools show hate.

You, see I carry a positive stereotype of Chinese which is supported by my personal experience with them but you and your sidekick deng do everything possible to undermine it and change it into: Yes, Chinese can be really stupid and thus more dangerous than we thought. Watch, out for stupid and dangerous Chinese. Go to the Plan B: Poke NK and the Rocket Man more to the point that Japan get so paranoid that it starts arming itself with nukes. If there is to be a war let it start with the yellow races killing each other. They hate each other anyway. Ask Joe Wong if you have any doubts.

So what is it? Are you Chinese or an agent of revanchist militarist unreformed Chinese hating interests of Japanese imperialism? And then, if you are Chinese, how many more stupid ones like you are there?

denk , April 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm GMT
@utu

I carry a positive stereotype of Chinese which is supported by my personal experience

sic !

your sidekick deng

Ad hominem is the last resort of the scoundrel.

Why dont you try answering my questions kid ?

*How do you propose to get rid of that plague of the 21C ?

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/do-brighter-minds-incline-to-honesty/#comment-2267831

Why are you evading the issue but indulge in China bashing ?
Are you a diversion agent ?

*Do you agree that UK should be right at the bottom of that honesty chart ?

lavoisier , Website April 1, 2018 at 5:45 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

No. I am unimpressed with the morality of most humans and suspicious of attempts to paint ourselves as more virtuous than we are.

But there are certainly aspects of Christian morality that can serve as a framework to guide human behavior–wherever one lives or whoever you are.

Your diatribe blaming Christians for all the evil of the world is incredibly dishonest and naive.

Anonymous [442] Disclaimer , Website April 1, 2018 at 6:14 pm GMT
What is the difference in per capita income between southern europeans and scandinavians? I think this also plays a role.
Joe Wong , April 2, 2018 at 1:25 am GMT
@lavoisier

It seems your only defense for the Christians is denying historical facts, and stating something that Christians are not.

Naïve? Are you saying the crimes against humanity, crimes against peace and war crimes committed by the Christians were carefully planned, deeply thought through, determined and maturely decided like holocaust?

Bible is zero-sum based narrative, the fundamental dogma of Christianity is "you are either with us or you are with the devil" therefore all Christians have a mission to convert everyone else into "one of us" on the moral high ground with whatever means necessary, Christians believe whatever the Christians do it is necessary with good intention, even bombing, killing and waterboarding on the fabricated allegations is humanitarian intervention.

Christianity assumes humans are primitive and born evil, they need divine force to threaten (go to hell) them not to do harm, and it is tribal. While some other civilizations believe humans are sane, rational, intelligent and compassionate, humans do not need divine force to tell them how to behave properly in order to achieve peace, harmony, cooperation, development and mutual benefits, just logical explanation and some directions will be suffice.

If the past can be any reference, the crimes have been committed against humanity in the name of Christianity, it is doubtful that Christians have any morality, mind you it does not mean the Bible does not have good points in it, there are other way better ways and means to serve as a framework to guide human behaviour for the good.

Joe Wong , April 2, 2018 at 2:25 am GMT
@utu

Chauvinism is someone claims what he is not and based that false claim to demonize others what they are not on the moral high ground, this is what the West has been doing since 1492.

Stating facts does not involve emotion, so please refrain yourself from sensationalize any topic unnecessary that makes dialog on difficult issues impossible, Theresa May and Nikki Haley are not your role model to follow.

For over seventy years the US has dominated Asia, ravaging the continent with two major wars in Korea and Indo-China with millions of casualties, and multiple counter-insurgency interventions in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor, Myanmar, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The strategic goal has been to expand its military and political power, exploit the economies and resources.

Before WWII, the American is just one of the Western imperialists ravaged and wreaked havoc of Asia with barbaric wars, illicit drugs like Opium, slavery, stealing, robbing, looting, plundering, murdering, torturing, exploiting, polluting, culture genocide, 'pious' fanaticism, unmatchable greed and extreme brutality. In fact it is hard to tell the difference between the American and the unrepentant war criminal Japanese who is more lethal and barbaric to Asians until the Pearl Harbour incident.

James Thompson , Website April 2, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
@utu

instructive comparison

lavoisier , Website April 2, 2018 at 3:57 pm GMT
@Joe Wong

If the past can be any reference, the crimes have been committed against humanity in the name of Christianity, it is doubtful that Christians have any morality

Do you really believe this???? No morality in any Christians?

You are even more locked into hate and racism than I thought possible.

Have you attended any of the lectures by the anti-racist Tim Wise??

You might get some talking points from him that can help you in your future postings.

And keep up the good work, you have a bright future in any number of our MSM outlets.

Daniel Chieh , April 2, 2018 at 4:23 pm GMT
@utu

And you have not even met the hardcore commies, who would like to explain that the only thing that Mao did wrong, terribly wrong was that he did not kill nearly enough people.

And the answer to your question is that there are idiots in every country and race, though in China they are mostly excluded from political positions(because insanity is not welcome), so they troll online message boards within and without China.

Like various other fanatics and crazies, they can be entertaining in the appropriate context. If you've been to Finland, he's the equivalent of the old drunk men yelling propositions at girls in some train stations of the small towns. Entertaining in small doses.

utu , April 2, 2018 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Daniel Chieh

Entertaining in small doses.

I think I reached my limit dose of Joe Wong and deng already.

denk , April 3, 2018 at 4:46 am GMT
@utu

So you couldnt even give one good reason why UK should be on top of that 'honesty chart' eh ?

well I can give you 100 why UK should be right at the bottom,

Perfidious albions
exhibit one

How to ethnic cleanse an entire island ?
Declare the residents as tresspassers !

'What the files also reveal is an imperious attitude of brutality. In August 1966, Sir Paul Gore-Booth, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office, wrote: "We must surely be very tough about this. The object of the exercise was to get some rocks that will remain ours.

There will be no indigenous population except seagulls." At the end of this is a handwritten note by DH Greenhill, later Baron Greenhill:

"Along with the Birds go some Tarzans or Men Fridays " Under the heading, "Maintaining the fiction", another official urges his colleagues to reclassify the islanders as "a floating population" and to "make up the rules as we go along".

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/oct/02/foreignpolicy.comment

Perfidious albions at its best !

heheheheheh

I think I reached my limit dose of Joe Wong and deng already.

yEAH,
Scurry away with tail between your legs and declare victory,

that'd be
perfidious albions exhibit 2

hehehhehe

Chris2345 , April 3, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT
@joe Wong You are a foolish, ignorant person. At least in regard to Christianity. The perpetrators of the holocaust and genocide are Christians? You absolutely have no clue about Christianity. Yes, they came from a Christian based culture but Nazis (and American war criminals) have nothing in common with Christianity. The best countries in the world are ones based on Protestant Christianity, meaning Christianity that is the closest to the Biblical teachings. I admire Chinese culture and history (especially the technology which benefited the West) but you need the ability to admit the faults of your culture which has some serious problems.
JackOH , April 4, 2018 at 9:53 am GMT
@Anonymous

Thanks for the concern, but the risk of harm to me was near zero. Numeracy and all that.

Vojkan , April 5, 2018 at 6:13 am GMT
Though I am convinced that honesty is more rational in the long term than lying, I definitely don't believe that people with high IQ are more honest than those more modestly gifted with intellectual talent. Smart people just know better to juggle with fallacies so they are more likely to get away with it than dummies, that's all.
Logic does say that truth is lower maintenance, as it exists per se and is always consistent, and lies so they are not exposed need to be cared of constantly, as they are always intrinsically inconsistent with reality, but people are people, driven by the seven sins, of which greed and vanity are possibly the worst, with the former being more evenly distributed while the latter tends to affect the bright rather than the dim.
Logic and ethics are different categories. Equating them is a sign of, well, vanity.
TT , April 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm GMT
@utu

Only a moron equate honesty = quality using ball bearing as example. There are countries may be very honest like Bhutan, yet they don't produce high quality product.

The US top elites are very intelligent, are producing lots of quality products like Boeing plane & precision weapons for murdering everywhere, yet their politicians & bankers are known habitual liars, with British & French close behind, and Germans reluctantly.

Japanese is producing high quality products, look how frequently their politicians are caught outright lying, corrupted & nepotism, and researchers are now caught recently in their published papers using fake data, with big corporates like Toshiba, Nissan, Steel factories caught cheating systematically for long period.

Its true Germany make top notch quality, undisputed, better than Japan imo.

But look at the chart, beside Germany, who else is producing better ball bearings than China, or precision tools that run aerospace, manned space craft, rockets, 5th gen J20, satellites, nuclear plants(light water pebble), nuclear sub, FSR, a long list to go yet they are rated more honest than China.

Fyi, only 2 countries are able to produce precision steel ball bearings for tiny ball point pen tip, Germany & Japan. So China is importing billion of them for its ball point pen production annually.

Why can't China factory produce it? There was some uproar in China media over this last year. Guess what? Within a mth, some factory is churning out perfect ball bearings, but in better material – ceramic that is cheaper & longer lasting. And the producer explained, its not economical worth the effort & machining to produce those bearings as they cost only $200K p. a. to import. But for national pride, they do it.

And i highly suspect you are either from HK or Taiwan with some bad memory of old China that you simply like to smear China without taking a fairer stand that, out of 1.4B Chinese how many % is doing those crimes, vs 400M murkans more serious crimes.

The new generation Chinese should not be continuously viewed through old communist color lens & West propaganda, they are not responsible for the history but the future. Pres Xi is a good example, he is leading China to their peaceful rise now. He suffered in culture revolution, do you want to blame him for those history?

TT , April 7, 2018 at 4:15 pm GMT
This chart simply look so questionable. Why not include US, France, Oz, Canada, Bhutan, India, Brazil, Agentina, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, HK, Japan, Korea, HK, Taiwan, to give a wider comparison. And how the author do his samplings to derive this graph is very much questionable.

And to say brighter mind = honesty, just look at how honest are most world politicians that are generally top intellectuals of their cohort. I would say more wise = more honesty.

To use wallets returning as a test of honesty is also overly simplified. When a country is poor, these are godsend present unless they are true perfect communist.

As a country get wealthier, their people generally get better education & well off, become indoctrine with social norm of what is so called good behavior(persuaded by praise & blame). They are more inclined to return a wallet found with money that aren't so attractive to them compare to poor. But that can never be equate to genuine honest, im sure most US Pres & UK PM will return wallets.

Take UK as the most glaring example, with its brightest in parliament are consistently been outright shameless liars, such as Blairs lies for Iraq WMD war, and now May's lies of Skripal case, which all getting near unanimous support from their parliament members speak great volumes.

There is a Unz article written on how UK has been the mecca of paedophiles, global capital in grooming children for sexual exploitation, with systematic covered up over decades by their politicians because they & those powerful elites were all involved.

http://www.unz.com/jderbyshire/the-telford-child-sex-scandal-and-the-end-of-england/

Their police chief even suggested not to criminalize Britons watching/owned child porno as so high a proportion of their nation are doing will overwhelm their prisons & judicial system.

So what honesty are we talking about here, UK as over 60% honest? Even their moral value is highly questionable if you ask most UK white people.

And Malaysia getting 3rd highest honesty of near 80% is a great joke just shy from UK. Its one of well known highest crimes & corruption that the West themselves criticized much, even Spore ex-PM LKY openly condemn as violent crime infested. I never know violent criminal is honest, may be yes for the author country when compared to their politicians.

[Mar 27, 2018] It's Wishful Thinking to Blame Trump's Win on Cambridge Analytics by Patrick Cockburn

Notable quotes:
"... Much of what Cambridge Analytica claimed to be able to do for its clients has an exaggerated ring to it. As with the Steele dossier, several of the Cambridge Analytica documents are unintentionally funny, such as a letter from Aleksandr Kogan, the Russian-American academic researcher, suggesting that finding out if people used crossbows or believed in paganism would be useful traits on which to focus. ..."
"... What is lacking in these scandals is much real evidence that Russian "meddling" or Cambridge Analytica "harvesting" – supposing all these tales are true – really did much to determine the outcome of the US election. Keep in mind that many very astute and experienced American politicians, backed by billions of dollars, regularly try and fail to decide who will hold political office in the US. ..."
"... Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
Mar 27, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Many people who hate and fear Donald Trump feel that only political black magic or some form of trickery can explain his election as US President. They convince themselves that we are the victims of a dark conspiracy rather than that the world we live in is changing, and changing for the worse.

Cambridge Analytica has now joined Russia at the top of a list of conspirators who may have helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is satisfactory for Democrats as it shows that they ought to have won, and delegitimises Trump's mandate.

In the Russian and Cambridge Analytica scandals, dodgy characters abound who claim to have a direct line to Putin or Trump, or to have secret information about political opponents or a unique method of swaying the voting intentions of millions of Americans. The most doubtful evidence is treated as credible.

The dossier by the former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, about Trump's romps in Moscow, struck me when I first read it as hilarious but entirely unbelievable. The US media thought the same when this document was first being hawked around Washington before the election, and refused to publish it. It was only after Trump was elected that that they and the US security agencies claimed to find it in any way credible.

Much of what Cambridge Analytica claimed to be able to do for its clients has an exaggerated ring to it. As with the Steele dossier, several of the Cambridge Analytica documents are unintentionally funny, such as a letter from Aleksandr Kogan, the Russian-American academic researcher, suggesting that finding out if people used crossbows or believed in paganism would be useful traits on which to focus.

We are told that Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users have been "harvested" (a good menacing word in this context, suggesting that the poor old users are being chopped off at the ankles), and that information so garnered could be fed into the Trump campaign to put him over the top on election day. In reality, information gathered from such a large number of people is too generalised or too obvious to be of much use.

What is lacking in these scandals is much real evidence that Russian "meddling" or Cambridge Analytica "harvesting" – supposing all these tales are true – really did much to determine the outcome of the US election. Keep in mind that many very astute and experienced American politicians, backed by billions of dollars, regularly try and fail to decide who will hold political office in the US.

It simply is not very likely that the Kremlin – having shown extraordinary foresight in seeing that Trump stood a chance when nobody else did – was able to exercise significant influence on the US polls. Likewise, for all its bombastic sales pitch, Cambridge Analytica was really a very small player in the e-campaign.

The Russian "meddling" story (again, note the careful choice of words, because "meddling" avoids any claim that the Russian actions had any impact) and the Cambridge Analytica saga are essentially conspiracy theories. They may damage those targeted such as Trump, but they also do harm to his opponents because it means that they do not look deeply enough into the real reasons for their defeat in 2016, or do enough to prevent it happening again.

Since Clinton lost the election by less than 1 per cent of the vote in the crucial swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, almost anything that happened in the campaign can be portrayed as decisive. But there are plenty of common-sense reasons for her defeat which are now being submerged and forgotten, as the Democrats and a largely sympathetic media look to Russian plots and such like to show that Trump won the election unfairly.

It is worth looking again at Hillary Clinton's run-for-office in 2016 to take a more rational view of why she unexpectedly lost. A good place to start is Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign , by the journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, which was published a year ago and is based on interviews with senior campaign staffers.

Ironically, the Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook based his approach on a similar sort of analysis of vast quantities of data about voters that Cambridge Analytica claimed it could use to great effect.

Mook's conviction that this data was a sure guide to where to invest the Democrats' best efforts had disastrous consequences, even though Clinton outspent Trump by 2 to 1. For instance, she did not campaign in Wisconsin after winning the nomination, because her election team thought she was bound to win there. She put too little effort into campaigning in Michigan, though her weakness there was underlined there in March when she lost the primary to Bernie Sanders.

Traditional tools of electioneering such as polls and door-to-door canvassing were discounted by Mook, who was absorbed by his own analytical model of how the election was going. In major swing states, the book says that "he declined to use pollsters to track voter preferences in the final three weeks of the campaign".

Clinton carried a lot of political baggage because she had been demonised by the Republicans for 25 years. She had bad lluck, such the decision of the FBI director, James Comey, to send a letter to Congress about her emails two weeks before the election – but Trump somehow managed to survive even worse disasters, such as boasting of how he groped women.

Opponents of Trump tend to underestimate him because they are convinced that his faults are so evident that he will implode when the electorate find him out. Somehow they never do, or at least not those parts of the electorate which votes for him.

The very scandals that Trump's critics believe will sink him have enabled him dominate the news agenda in a way no American politician has ever done before. The New York Times and CNN may detest him, but they devote an extraordinary proportion of their news output to covering his every action.

The accusation that the Kremlin and companies like Cambridge Analytica put Trump in the White House may do him damage. But I suspect that the damage will mostly be among people who never liked him and would never vote for him.

Perhaps the one thing would have lost Trump the election is if his campaign had truly relied on Cambridge Analytica's data about the political proclivities of pagan crossbow enthusiasts.

[Mar 27, 2018] Facebook Suspends Donald Trump's Data Operations Team For Misusing People's Personal Information

Mar 27, 2018 | yro.slashdot.org

(theverge.com) BeauHD on Friday March 16, 2018 @11:30PM from the violation-of-terms dept. An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Facebook said late Friday that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies around data collection and retention. The companies, which ran data operations for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign , are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook than his rival, Hillary Clinton. While the exact nature of their role remains somewhat mysterious, Facebook's disclosure suggests that the company improperly obtained user data that could have given it an unfair advantage in reaching voters . Facebook said it cannot determine whether or how the data in question could have been used in conjunction with election ad campaigns.

In a blog post, Facebook deputy general counsel Paul Grewal laid out how SCL came into possession of the user data. In 2015, Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge, created an app named "thisisyourdigitallife" that promised to predict aspects of users' personalities. About 270,000 people downloaded it and logged in through Facebook, giving Kogan access to information about their city of residence, Facebook content they had liked, and information about their friends. Kogan passed the data to SCL and a man named Christopher Wylie from a data harvesting firm known as Eunoia Technologies, in violation of Facebook rules that prevent app developers from giving away or selling users' personal information. Facebook learned of the violation that year and removed his app from Facebook. It also asked Kogan and his associates to certify that they had destroyed the improperly collected data. Everyone said that they did. The suspension is not permanent, a Facebook spokesman said. But the suspended users would need to take unspecified steps to certify that they would comply with Facebook's terms of service.

[Mar 27, 2018] Did Cambridge Analytica Harvest 50 Million Facebook Profiles?

Mar 27, 2018 | tech.slashdot.org

(theguardian.com) umafuckit shared this article from The Guardian: The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump's election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of U.S. voters , in one of the tech giant's biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box... Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer : "We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles . And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on."

Documents seen by the Observer , and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale . However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals... On Friday, four days after the Observer sought comment for this story, but more than two years after the data breach was first reported, Facebook announced that it was suspending Cambridge Analytica and Kogan from the platform, pending further information over misuse of data. Separately, Facebook's external lawyers warned the Observer on Friday it was making "false and defamatory" allegations, and reserved Facebook's legal position...

The evidence Wylie supplied to U.K. and U.S. authorities includes a letter from Facebook's own lawyers sent to him in August 2016, asking him to destroy any data he held that had been collected by GSR, the company set up by Kogan to harvest the profiles... Facebook did not pursue a response when the letter initially went unanswered for weeks because Wylie was travelling, nor did it follow up with forensic checks on his computers or storage, he said. "That to me was the most astonishing thing. They waited two years and did absolutely nothing to check that the data was deleted. All they asked me to do was tick a box on a form and post it back."
Wylie worked with Aleksandr Kogan, the creator of the "thisisyourdigitallife" app, "who has previously unreported links to a Russian university and took Russian grants for research," according to the article. Kogan "had a licence from Facebook to collect profile data, but it was for research purposes only. So when he hoovered up information for the commercial venture, he was violating the company's terms...

"At the time, more than 50 million profiles represented around a third of active North American Facebook users, and nearly a quarter of potential U.S. voters."

[Mar 27, 2018] Integrity Has Vanished From The West by Paul Craig Roberts,

Mar 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored Among Western political leaders there is not an ounce of integrity or morality . The Western print and TV media is dishonest and corrupt beyond repair. Yet the Russian government persists in its fantasy of "working with Russia's Western partners." The only way Russia can work with crooks is to become a crook. Is that what the Russian government wants?

Finian Cunningham notes the absurdity in the political and media uproar over Trump (belatedly) telephoning Putin to congratulate him on his reelection with 77 percent of the vote, a show of public approval that no Western political leader could possibly attain. The crazed US senator from Arizona called the person with the largest majority vote of our time "a dictator." Yet a real blood-soaked dictator from Saudi Arabia is feted at the White House and fawned over by the president of the United States.

The Western politicians and presstitutes are morally outraged over an alleged poisoning, unsupported by any evidence, of a former spy of no consequence on orders by the president of Russia himself. These kind of insane insults thrown at the leader of the world's most powerful military nation -- and Russia is a nation, unlike the mongrel Western countries -- raise the chances of nuclear Armageddon beyond the risks during the 20th century's Cold War. The insane fools making these unsupported accusations show total disregard for all life on earth. Yet they regard themselves as the salt of the earth and as "exceptional, indispensable" people.

Think about the alleged poisoning of Skirpal by Russia. What can this be other than an orchestrated effort to demonize the president of Russia? How can the West be so outraged over the death of a former double-agent, that is, a deceptive person, and completely indifferent to the millions of peoples destroyed by the West in the 21st century alone. Where is the outrage among Western peoples over the massive deaths for which the West, acting through its Saudi agent, is responsible in Yemen? Where is the Western outrage among Western peoples over the deaths in Syria? The deaths in Libya, in Somalia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Afghanistan? Where is the outrage in the West over the constant Western interference in the internal affairs of other countries? How many times has Washington overthrown a democratically-elected government in Honduras and reinstalled a Washington puppet?

The corruption in the West extends beyond politicians, presstitutes, and an insouciant public to experts. When the ridiculous Condi Rice, national security adviser to president George W. Bush, spoke of Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction sending up a nuclear cloud over an American city, experts did not laugh her out of court. The chance of any such event was precisely zero and every expert knew it, but the corrupt experts held their tongues. If they spoke the truth, they knew that they would not get on TV, would not get a government grant, would be out of the running for a government appointment. So they accepted the absurd lie designed to justify an American invasion that destroyed a country.

This is the West. There is nothing but lies and indifference to the deaths of others. The only outrage is orchestrated and directed against a target: the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Iran, Assad, Russia and Putin, and against reformist leaders in Latin America. The targets for Western outrage are always those who act independently of Washington or who are no longer useful to Washington's purposes.

The quality of people in Western governments has collapsed to the very bottom of the barrel. The British actually have a person, Boris Johnson, as Foreign Secretary, who is so low-down that a former British ambassador has no compunction in calling him a categorical liar. The British lab Porton Down, contrary to Johnson's claim, has not identified the agent associated with the attack on Skirpal as a Russian novichok agent. Note also that if the British lab is able to identify a novichok agent, it also has the capability of producing it, a capability that many countries have as the formulas were published years ago in a book.

That the novichok poisoning of Skirpal is an orchestration is obvious. The minute the event occurred the story was ready. With no evidence in hand, the British government and presstitute media were screaming "the Russians did it." Not content with that, Boris Johnson screamed "Putin did it." In order to institutionalize fear and hatred of Russia into British consciousness, British school children are being taught that Putin is like Hitler.

Orchestrations this blatant demonstrate that Western governments have no respect for the intelligence of their peoples. That Western governments get away with these fantastic lies indicates that the governments are immune to accountability. Even if accountability were possible, there is no sign that Western peoples are capable of holding their governments accountable. As Washington drives the world to nuclear war, where are the protests? The only protest is brainwashed school children protesting the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment.

Western democracy is a hoax. Consider Catalonia. The people voted for independence and were denounced for doing so by European politicians. The Spanish government invaded Catalonia alleging that the popular referendum, in which people expressed their opinion about their own future, was illegal. Catalonian leaders are in prison awaiting trial, except for Carles Puigdemont who escaped to Belgium. Now Germany has captured him on his return to Belgium from Finland where he lectured at the University of Hesinki and is holding him in jail for a Spanish government that bears more resemblance to Francisco Franco than to democracy. The European Union itself is a conspiracy against democracy.

The success of Western propaganda in creating non-existent virtues for itself is the greatest public relations success in history. Tags Politics

[Mar 26, 2018] NEO Mueller and Trump, Why Russia didn't do it Veterans Today

Notable quotes:
"... Evidence of Israel's role in gas attacks in Syria was overwhelming even though Russia was blocked from presenting same to the United Nations time and time again. ..."
"... the Likudist extremists who run that nation are mostly former Russian gangsters and enemies of Russia's current leadership. ..."
"... As anger grew toward Cambridge Analytica on Monday after Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a report showing company executives boasting about their extreme propaganda strategies, including filming opponents in compromising situations with Ukrainian sex workers, authorities in the U.K. and the U.S. also questioned whether Facebook mishandled the alleged breach and it's now facing damaging investigations that will further tarnish its brand. ..."
"... Britain's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, confirmed she was applying to the courts for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica's London offices and said Tuesday morning that she has been left frustrated by the company's reluctance to cooperate with her investigation. ..."
Mar 26, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com
Now we know they not only kept files on 50 million Americans through Facebook, using the data there to profile fears and emotions, targeting and manipulating millions but when Google added their incredible mass of data, billions of illegally read emails and more, the American people became little more than pawns.

Again we reiterate, Russia didn't do it. It was the tech companies, all working as is now being made public, for Israeli intelligence and the mob. From the Daily Beast, March 20, 2018 by Jamie Ross:

"Facebook has been plunged into crisis over the allegations that Cambridge Analytica misused data from more than 50 million people to help elect Donald Trump. Nearly $40 billion was wiped off Facebook's market value Monday, an emergency meeting is due to be held Tuesday morning, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been criticized for remaining silent during what some analysts are describing as a threat to the company's existence.

Zuckerberg has been summoned to the British parliament to give evidence about the how it handles people's personal data. The head of a British inquiry into 'fake news,' Damian Collins, has accused Facebook of previously 'misleading' a parliament committee, adding: 'It is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process.'"

What is being left out is more telling, that Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, has long openly worked for Israeli intelligence and that evidence now exists that Israel not only ran the program to rig the American election, as many believe it did in both 2000 and 2004, leading to the destruction of Iraq, but that it did so again in 2016.

Few note the real policies of former Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama, the even handedness in the Middle East and their use of leverage against Israel. Obama never accepted wild claims made against Syria as Trump has and never attacked Damscus.

Evidence of Israel's role in gas attacks in Syria was overwhelming even though Russia was blocked from presenting same to the United Nations time and time again.

But then we hypothesize, what are we speaking of when we talk of Israel? This is where so many back off as anyone who questions Israel is smeared as an "anti-Semite" though the Likudist extremists who run that nation are mostly former Russian gangsters and enemies of Russia's current leadership.

The reason for what appears to be Israeli animosity toward Russia in reality originated when Putin cleaned out the oligarchs that looted Russia for two decades, plunging that nation into poverty and then fleeing to Tel Aviv or New York with endless billions of ill gotten gains. This is real history, not the history written down in books or reported in fake news.

More on happenings in London as reported by Jamie Ross:

"As anger grew toward Cambridge Analytica on Monday after Britain's Channel 4 broadcast a report showing company executives boasting about their extreme propaganda strategies, including filming opponents in compromising situations with Ukrainian sex workers, authorities in the U.K. and the U.S. also questioned whether Facebook mishandled the alleged breach and it's now facing damaging investigations that will further tarnish its brand.

Britain's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, confirmed she was applying to the courts for a warrant to search Cambridge Analytica's London offices and said Tuesday morning that she has been left frustrated by the company's reluctance to cooperate with her investigation.

[ Editor's Note : There appears to have been the classic "fix" in at the British Court by delaying for days the seizure of Cambridge's computer files, giving the needed time to remove any incriminating evidence Jim W. Dean ]

Fears have also been raised that the investigation may have been compromised by the presence of cybersecurity consultants from Stroz Friedberg -- the company hired by Facebook to audit Cambridge Analytica on its behalf -- who were in the London offices on Monday evening, until they were asked to leave by the information commissioner.

Asked if there was a risk of Cambridge Analytica or Facebook destroying evidence, Denham said on Sky News: "As this point we're not satisfied with the cooperation we're getting from Cambridge Analytica, so the next step is for us to apply to the court and to do an audit to get some answers as to whether data was misused and shared inappropriately."

British Parliament Culture Committee Chairman Damian Collins said:

'This is a matter for the authorities. Facebook sent in data analysts and lawyers who they appointed. What they intended to do there, who knows? The concern would have been, were they removing information or evidence which could have been vital to the investigation? It's right they stood down but it's astonishing they were there in the first place.'"

The issue now is one of accepting what is happening for all to see rather than absorbing the fake narrative sold the world. For those unaware, it isn't just millions of Americans but government officials as well, who form their opinions and prejudices against nations, races of people, religions and even ideas themselves.

The are imprinted via fictional television shows like Homeland , whose writers and producers are in actuality as complicit in psychological warfare as those who run Cambridge Analytical, Google or Facebook, the groups now under the public microscope.

As for Mueller and his investigation, it is pure theatre. As for Trump, more theatre as well, a buffoon long shown to be a mob asset, now wielding nukes and threatening the world, holding it hostage to his bad brain chemistry and his criminal handlers.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He's a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."

[Mar 26, 2018] The Mind-Benders How to Harvest Facebook Data, Brainwash Voters, and Swing Elections by Roberto J. González

I would not exaggerate the voodoo science behind Cambridge Analitica activities -- all this crap about the Big Five personality traits borrowed from social psychology: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
But it really can create "plausible lies" to targeted groups of voters in best "change we can believe in" style. Essentially promoting "bat and switch" politics.
Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... In July 2005, SCL underwent a dramatic transformation. It very publicly rebranded itself as a psychological warfare company by taking part in the UK's largest military trade show. ..."
"... The company's efforts paid off. Over the next ten years, SCL won contracts with the US Defense Department's Combatant Commands, NATO, and Sandia National Labs. ..."
"... Along the way it created Cambridge Analytica, a subsidiary firm which differs from SCL Group in that it focuses primarily on political campaigns. Its largest investors include billionaire Robert Mercer, co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, who is best known for his advocacy of far-right political causes and his financial support of Breitbart News. Steve Bannon briefly sat on Cambridge Analytica's board of directors. ..."
"... Although Cruz ultimately failed, Cambridge Analytica's CEO, Alexander Nix, claimed that Cruz's popularity grew largely due to the company's skillful use of aggregated voter data and personality profiling methods. ..."
"... Cambridge Analytica relies upon "psychographic" techniques that measure the Big Five personality traits borrowed from social psychology: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. ..."
"... In the US, Cambridge Analytica developed psychological profiles of millions of Americans by hiring a company called Global Science Research (GSR) to plant free personality quizzes. Users were lured by the prospect of obtaining free personality scores, while Cambridge Analytica collected data–and access to users' Facebook profiles. Last week, The Guardian ..."
"... Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet ..."
"... Twitter And Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest ..."
"... Roberto J. González is chair of the anthropology department at San José State University. He has written several books including American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain and Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State . He can be reached at roberto.gonzalez@sjsu.edu . ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
In the days and weeks following the 2016 presidential elections, reports surfaced about how a small British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, might have played a pivotal role in Donald Trump's surprise victory. The company claimed to have formulated algorithms to influence American voters using individually targeted political advertisements. It reportedly generated personality profiles of millions of individual citizens by collecting up to 5000 data points on each person. Then Cambridge Analytica used these "psychographic" tools to send voters carefully crafted online messages about candidates or hot-button political issues.

Although political consultants have long used "microtargeting" techniques for zeroing in on particular ethnic, religious, age, or income groups, Cambridge Analytica's approach is unusual: The company relies upon individuals' personal data that is harvested from social media apps like Facebook. In the US, such activities are entirely legal. Some described Cambridge Analytica's tools as " mind-reading software " and a " weaponized AI [artificial intelligence] propaganda machine ." However, corporate media outlets such as CNN and the Wall Street Journal often portrayed the company in glowing terms.

Cambridge Analytica is once again in the headlines–but under somewhat different circumstances. Late last week, whistleblower Christopher Wylie went public , explaining how he played an instrumental role in collecting millions of Facebook profiles for Cambridge Analytica. This revelation is significant because until investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr published her exposé in The Guardian , Cambridge Analytica's then-CEO Alexander Nix had adamantly denied using Facebook data. And although Facebook officials knew that Cambridge Analytica had previously gathered data on millions of users, they did not prohibit the company from advertising until last Friday, as the scandal erupted. To make matters worse, the UK's Channel 4 released undercover footage early this week in which Cambridge Analytica executives boast about using dirty tricks–bribes, entrapment, and "beautiful girls" to mention a few.

The case of Cambridge Analytica brings into focus a brave new world of electoral politics in an algorithmic age–an era in which social media companies like Facebook and Twitter make money by selling ads, but also by selling users' data outright to third parties. Relatively few countries have laws that prevent such practices–and it turns out that the US does not have a comprehensive federal statute protecting individuals' data privacy. This story is significant not only because it demonstrates what can happen when an unorthodox company takes advantage of a lax regulatory environment, but also because it reveals how Internet companies like Facebook have played fast and loose with the personal data of literally billions of users.

From Public Relations to Psychological Warfare

In order to make sense of Cambridge Analytica it is helpful to understand its parent company, SCL Group, which was originally created as the PR firm Strategic Communications Laboratory. It was founded in the early 1990s by Nigel Oakes , a flamboyant UK businessman. By the late 1990s, the company was engaged almost exclusively in political projects. For example, SCL was hired to help burnish the image of Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid–but Oakes and SCL employees had to shut down their operations center when SCL's cover was blown by the Wall Street Journal .

In July 2005, SCL underwent a dramatic transformation. It very publicly rebranded itself as a psychological warfare company by taking part in the UK's largest military trade show. SCL's exhibit included a mock operations center featuring dramatic crisis scenarios–a smallpox outbreak in London, a bloody insurgency in a fictitious South Asian country–which were then resolved with the help of the company's psyops techniques. Oakes told a reporter : "We used to be in the business of mindbending for political purposes, but now we are in the business of saving lives." The company's efforts paid off. Over the next ten years, SCL won contracts with the US Defense Department's Combatant Commands, NATO, and Sandia National Labs.

Over the past few years SCL–now known as SCL Group –has transformed itself yet again. It no longer defines itself as a psyops specialist, nor as a political consultancy–now, it calls itself a data analytics company specializing in "behavioral change" programs.

Along the way it created Cambridge Analytica, a subsidiary firm which differs from SCL Group in that it focuses primarily on political campaigns. Its largest investors include billionaire Robert Mercer, co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, who is best known for his advocacy of far-right political causes and his financial support of Breitbart News. Steve Bannon briefly sat on Cambridge Analytica's board of directors.

Cambridge Analytica first received significant media attention in November 2015, shortly after the firm was hired by Republican presidential nominee Ted Cruz's campaign. Although Cruz ultimately failed, Cambridge Analytica's CEO, Alexander Nix, claimed that Cruz's popularity grew largely due to the company's skillful use of aggregated voter data and personality profiling methods.

In August 2016, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica as part of a desperate effort to challenge Hillary Clinton's formidable campaign machine. Just a few months later, reports revealed that Cambridge Analytica had also played a role in the UK's successful pro-Brexit "Leave.EU" campaign.

Hacking the Citizenry

Cambridge Analytica relies upon "psychographic" techniques that measure the Big Five personality traits borrowed from social psychology: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

In the US, Cambridge Analytica developed psychological profiles of millions of Americans by hiring a company called Global Science Research (GSR) to plant free personality quizzes. Users were lured by the prospect of obtaining free personality scores, while Cambridge Analytica collected data–and access to users' Facebook profiles. Last week, The Guardian reported that Cambridge Analytica collected data from more than 300,000 Facebook users in this way. By agreeing to the terms and conditions of the app, those users also agreed to grant GSR (and by extension, Cambridge Analytica) access to the profiles of their Facebook "friends"–totalling approximately 50 million people.

Psychographics uses algorithms to scour voters' Facebook "likes," retweets and other social media data which are aggregated with commercially available information: land registries, automotive data, shopping preferences, club memberships, magazine subscriptions, and religious affiliation. When combined with public records, electoral rolls, and additional information purchased from data brokers such as Acxiom and Experian, Cambridge Analytica has raw material for shaping personality profiles. Digital footprints can be transformed into real people. This is the essence of psychographics: Using software algorithms to scour individual voters' Facebook "likes," retweets and other bits of data gleaned from social media and then combine them with commercially available personal information. Data mining is relatively easy in the US, since it has relatively weak privacy laws compared to South Korea, Singapore, and many EU countries.

In a 2016 presentation , Nix described how such information might be used to influence voter opinions on gun ownership and gun rights. Individual people can be addressed differently according to their personality profiles: "For a highly neurotic and conscientious audinece, the threat of a burglary–and the insurance policy of a gun. . .Conversely, for a closed and agreeable audience: people who care about tradition, and habits, and family."

Despite the ominous sounding nature of psychographics, it is not at all clear that Cambridge Analytica played a decisive role in the 2016 US presidential election. Some charge that the company and its former CEO Alexander Nix, exaggerated Cambridge Analytica's effect on the election's outcome. In February 2017, investigative journalist Kendall Taggart wrote an exposé claiming that more than a dozen former employees of Cambridge Analytica, Trump campaign staffers, and executives at Republican consulting firms denied that psychographics was used at all by the Trump campaign. Taggart concluded: "Rather than a sinister breakthrough in political technology, the Cambridge Analytica story appears to be part of the traditional contest among consultants on a winning political campaign to get their share of the credit–and win future clients." Not a single critic was willing to be identified in the report, apparently fearing retaliation from Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, who is also an investor in the firm.

Not-So-Innocents Abroad

By no means has Cambridge Analytica limited its work to the US. In fact, it has conducted "influence operations" in several countries around the world.

For example, Cambridge Analytica played a major role in last year's presidential elections in Kenya, which pitted incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta of the right-wing Jubilee Party against Raila Odinga of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement. The Jubilee Party hired Cambridge Analytica in May 2017. Although the company claims to have limited its activities to data collection, earlier this week Mark Turnbull, a managing director for Cambridge Analytica, told undercover reporters a different story . He admitted that the firm secretly managed Kenyatta's entire campaign: "We have rebranded the party twice, written the manifesto, done research, analysis, messaging. I think we wrote all the speeches and we staged the whole thing–so just about every element of this candidate," said Turnbull.

Given the most recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica's planting of fake news stories , it seems likely that the company created persuasive personalized ads based on Kenyans' social media data. Fake Whatsapp and Twitter posts exploded days before the Kenyan elections. It is worth remembering that SCL Group has employed disinformation campaigns for military clients for 25 years, and it seems that Cambridge Analytica has continued this pattern of deception.

The August elections were fraught with accusations of vote tampering, the inclusion of dead people as registered voters, and the murder of Chris Msando , the election commission's technology manager, days before the election. When the dust settled, up to 67 people died in post-election violence–and Kenyatta ultimately emerged victorious. Weeks later, the Kenyan Supreme Court annulled the elections, but when new elections were scheduled for October, Odinga declared that he would boycott.

Given Kenya's recent history of electoral fraud, it is unlikely that Cambridge had much impact on the results. Anthropologist Paul Goldsmith , who has lived in Kenya for 40 years, notes that elections still tend to follow the principle of "who counts the votes," not "who influences the voters."

But the significance of Cambridge Analytica's efforts extends beyond their contribution to electoral outcomes. Kenya is no technological backwater. The world's first mobile money service was launched there in 2007, allowing users to transfer cash and make payments by phone. Homegrown tech firms are creating a "Silicon Savannah" near Nairobi. Two-thirds of Kenya's 48 million people have Internet access. Ten million use Whatsapp; six million use Facebook; two million use Twitter. As Kenyans spend more time in the virtual world, their personal data will become even more widely available since Kenya has no data protection laws.

Goldsmith summarizes the situation nicely:

Cambridge Analytica doesn't need to deliver votes so much as to create the perception that they can produce results. . .Kenya provides an ideal entry point into [Africa]. . .Embedding themselves with ruling elites presents a pivot for exploiting emergent commercial opportunities. . .with an eye on the region's resources and its growing numbers of persuadable youth.

Recent reports reveal that Cambridge Analytica has ongoing operations in Mexico and Brazil (which have general elections scheduled this July and October, respectively). India (which has general elections in about a year) has also been courted by the company, and it is easy to understand why: the country has 400 million smartphone users with more than 250 million on either Facebook or Whatsapp. India's elections are also a potential gold mine. More than half a billion people vote in parliamentary elections, and the expenditures are astonishing: Political parties spent $5 billion in 2014, compared to $6.5 billion in last year's US elections. India also has a massive mandatory ID program based on biometric and demographic data, the largest of its kind in the world.

Cambridge Analytica's global strategy appears focused on expanding its market share in promising markets. Although many people might describe Kenya, Mexico, Brazil, and India as developing countries, each in fact has a rapidly growing high-tech infrastructure, relatively high levels of Internet penetration, and large numbers of social media users. They all have weak or nonexistent Internet privacy laws. Though nominally democratic, each country is politically volatile and has experienced episodic outbursts of extreme political, sectarian, or criminal violence. Finally, these countries have relatively young populations, reflecting perhaps a long-term strategy to normalize a form of political communication that will reap long-term benefits in politically sensitive regions.

The capacity for saturating global voters with charged political messages is growing across much of the world, since the cost of buying Facebook ads, Twitterbots and trolls, bots for Whatsapp and other apps is cheap–and since more people than ever are spending time on social media. Such systems can be managed efficiently by remote control. Unlike the CIA's psyops efforts in the mid-20th century, which required extensive on-the-ground efforts–dropping leaflets from airplanes, bribing local journalists, broadcasting propaganda on megaphones mounted on cars–the new techniques can be deployed from a distance, with minimal cost. Cambridge Analytica relies upon small ground teams to do business with political parties, and partnerships with local business intelligence firms to scope out the competition or provide marketing advice, but most of the work is done from London and New York.

Weaponizing Big Data?

From its beginnings, Cambridge Analytica has declared itself to be a "data-driven" group of analytics experts practicing an improved form of political microtargeting, but there are indications that the firm has broader ambitions.

In March 2017, reports emerged that top executives from SCL Group met with Pentagon officials, including Hriar Cabayan, head of a branch which conducts DoD research and cultural analysis. A decade ago, Cabayan played an instrumental role in launching the precursor to the Human Terrain System , a US Army counterinsurgency effort which embedded anthropologists and other social scientists with US combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A few months later, in August 2017, the Associated Press reported that retired US Army General Michael Flynn, who briefly served as National Security Director in the Trump administration, had signed a work agreement with Cambridge Analytica in late 2016, though it is unclear whether he actually did any work for the firm. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian operatives in late 2017, when he was working with Trump's transition team. Given his spot in the media limelight, it is easy to forget that he once headed US intelligence operations in Afghanistan, advocating for a big data approach to counterinsurgency that would, among other things, include data collected by Human Terrain Teams.

The connections between Cambridge Analytica/SCL Group and the Pentagon's champions of data-driven counterinsurgency and cyberwarfare may be entirely coincidental, but they do raise several questions: As Cambridge Analytica embarks on its global ventures, is it undertaking projects that are in fact more sinister than its benign-sounding mission of "behavioral change"? And are the company's recent projects in Kenya, India, Mexico, and Brazil simply examples of global market expansion, or are these countries serving as laboratories to test new methods of propaganda dissemination and political polarization for eventual deployment here at home?

Here the lines between military and civilian applications become blurred, not only because ARPANET–the Internet's immediate precursor–was developed by the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency, but also because the technology can be used for surveillance on a scale that authoritarian regimes of the 20th century could only have dreamed about. As Yasha Levine convincingly argues in his book Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet , the Internet was originally conceived as a counterinsurgency surveillance program.

Neutralizing Facebook's Surveillance Machine

It appears that many people are finally taking note of the digital elephant in the room: Facebook's role in enabling Cambridge Analytica and other propagandists, publicists, and mind-benders to carry out their work–legally and discreetly. As recently noted by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai in the online journal Motherboard , Cambridge Analytica's data harvesting practices weren't security breaches, they were "par for the course. . .It was a feature, not a bug. Facebook still collects -- and then sells -- massive amounts of data on its users." In other words, every Facebook post or tweet, every g-mail message sent or received, renders citizens vulnerable to forms of digital data collection that can be bought and sold to the highest bidder. The information can be used for all kinds of purposes in an unregulated market: monitoring users' emotional states, manipulating their attitiudes, or disseminating tailor-made propaganda designed to polarize people.

It is telling that Facebook stubbornly refuses to call Cambridge Analytica's actions a "data breach." As Zeynep Tufekci, author of the book Twitter And Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest puts it, the company's defensive posture reveals much about the social costs of social media. She recently wrote :

"If your business is building a massive surveillance machinery, the data will eventually be used and misused. Hacked, breached, leaked, pilfered, conned, targeted, engaged, profiled, sold. There is no informed consent because it's not possible to reasonably inform or consent."

Cambridge Analytica is significant to the extent that it illuminates new technological controlling processes under construction. In a supercharged media environment in which Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) have become the primary means by which literally billions of people consume news, mass producing propaganda has never been easier. With so many people posting so much information about the intimate details of their lives on the Web, coordinated attempts at mass persuasion will almost certainly become more widespread in the future.

In the meantime, there are concrete measures that we can take to rein in Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and other technology giants. Some of the most lucid suggestions have been articulated by Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist and early Facebook investor. He recommends a multi-pronged approach : demanding that the social media companies' CEOs testify before congressional and parliamentary committees in open sessions; imposing strict regulations on how Internet platforms are used and commercialized; requiring social media companies to report who is sponsoring political and issues-based advertisements; mandating transparency about algorithms ("users deserve to know why they see what they see in their news feeds and search results," says McNamee); requiring social media apps to offer an "opt out" to users; banning digital "bots" that impersonate humans; and creating rules that allow consumers (not corporations) to own their own data.

In a world of diminishing privacy, our vulnerabilities are easily magnified. Experimental psychologists specializing in what they euphemistically call "behavior design" have largely ignored ethics and morality in order to help Silicon Valley companies create digital devices, apps, and other technologies that are literally irresistible to their users. As the fallout from Cambridge Analytica's activities descends upon the American political landscape, we should take advantage of the opportunity to impose meaningful controls on Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other firms that have run roughshod over democratic norms–and notions of individual privacy–in the relentless pursuit of profit. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Roberto J. González

Roberto J. González is chair of the anthropology department at San José State University. He has written several books including American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain and Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State . He can be reached at roberto.gonzalez@sjsu.edu .

[Mar 25, 2018] Tonight Is The Beginning Seven Things To Watch For In Stormy Daniels' Interview

Can you EVER imagine the MSM doing this to Slick Willy? Fukin' hypocrites!
Can you imagine the CBS of twenty or thirty years ago wading in the sewer like this?
Mar 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Tonight at 7pm ET/PT, 60 Minutes will air a controversial interview with Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, the adult-film star who says she had an affair with Donald Trump. Daniels will talk to Anderson Cooper about the relationship she says she had with Trump in 2006 and 2007, unveiling details that bring her story up to the present. It will be the first - and so far only - television interview in which she speaks about the alleged relationship.

The 60 Minutes interview will include an examination of the potential legal and political ramifications of the $130,000 payment that Trump's attorney Michael Cohen says he made to Daniels using his own funds. Daniels accepted the money in return for signing a confidentiality agreement, although she recently violated the CA, claiming Trump never signed it.

The president has denied having an affair with Daniels, while Trump's legal team - in this case led by Charles Harder who won a $140MM verdict for Hulk Hogan against Gawker - is seeking to move the case to federal court and claims that Stormy is liable for up to $20 million in damages. This in turn prompted Daniels to launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund her lawsuit against Trump, which at last check had raised over $290K .

Cooper conducted the interview earlier this month, shortly after Cohen obtained a temporary restraining order against Daniels. Meanwhile, Daniels is seeking a ruling that the confidentiality agreement between her and the president is invalid, in part because Mr. Trump never signed it. The president's attorneys are seeking to move the case to federal court and claim Daniels is liable for more than $20 million in damages for violations of the agreement.

On Thursday, the lawyer representing Daniels fired off a tweet with a picture of what appeared to be a compact disc in a safe - hinting that he has video or photographic evidence of Clifford's affair with President Trump.

"If 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' how many words is this worth?????" tweeted lawyer Michael Avenatti.

me title=

Avenatti has been a frequent guest on cable news as he promotes Stormy's upcoming 60 minutes tell-all about her alleged affair with President Trump. When CBS Evening News' Julianna Goldman asked Avenatti if he had photos, texts or videos of her alleged relationship with Trump, he replied "No comment," adding that Clifford just "wants to set the record straight." (which you can read more about in her upcoming book, we're sure).

Previewing today's 60 Minutes segment, Avenatti purposefully built up the suspense, tweeting that, among other things, "tonight is not the end – it's the beginning"

me title=

And while it is highly unlikely that the Stormy Daniels scandal will escalate into anything of Clinton-Lewinsky proportions, not to mention that Trump has enough other headaches on his hands, here according to The Hill , are seven things to watch for in tonight's interview:

1. Will she give details about the nondisclosure agreement?

Daniels has never spoken publicly about the nondisclosure agreement that purportedly bars her from speaking about her alleged affair with Trump. But a lawsuit filed by Daniels earlier this month confirmed the existence of such a document, arguing that it is invalid because it was never co-signed by Trump himself.

Whether Daniels will discuss the details of the agreement in the "60 Minutes" interview remains to be seen. Her lawsuit seeking to void the contract is still pending, and NDAs often prohibit signatories from speaking about the agreements.

Daniels has hinted that is true of her NDA. During an interview with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel in January, Kimmel pointed out that Daniels would likely be barred from discussing the agreement if it, in fact, existed. "You're so smart, Jimmy," was her cagey response.

2. Will she talk openly about the alleged affair?

Daniels has implied she was paid $130,000 by Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen weeks before the 2016 presidential election to keep quiet about the alleged affair. Speaking openly about her claims would certainly violate the terms of the disputed NDA, and could subject Daniels to legal penalties.

In court papers filed earlier this month, Trump's lawyers said that Daniels could face up to $20 million in damages for violating the terms of the agreement. One question that remains is whether Daniels could toss out the NDA completely in her "60 Minutes" interview, and provide details about her alleged relationship with the president. The last time she spoke about it was 2011, when she gave an interview to In Touch magazine that wasn't published until this year.

3. Will she mention possible video or photographic evidence?

Avenatti has repeatedly hinted that video or photographic evidence of Daniels's alleged affair with Trump exists. The March 6 lawsuit filed by Daniels to void the nondisclosure agreement with Trump refers to "certain still images and/or text messages which were authored by or relate to" the president. While the NDA reportedly required her to turn over such material and get rid of her own copies, Avenatti has suggested that Daniels may have retained it.

Avenatti hinted this week that he may be in possession of such material, tweeting a cryptic photo of a compact disc inside of what appeared to be a safe. "If 'a picture is worth a thousand words,' how many words is this worth?????" he wrote on Twitter.

4. Will she address whether she was physically threatened?

Avenatti prompted questions earlier this month when he said that Daniels had been threatened with physical harm in connection with the alleged affair with Trump. Asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" whether Daniels had been physically threatened, Avenatti bluntly replied, "yes." Exactly who may have threatened Daniels or what the nature of those threats may have been is unclear, and Avenatti has declined to discuss the matter in greater detail. Daniels herself has not addressed any potential physical threats that she may have gotten, leaving open whether she will discuss the topic in the "60 Minutes" interview.

5. Will she discuss whether Trump knew about the $130K payment?

Cohen himself has acknowledged making the payment to Daniels, but has insisted that the money came from his personal funds and that Trump was never made aware of the transaction. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said she does not believe Trump knew about the payment. But Avenatti has argued otherwise, saying the fact that Cohen used a Trump Organization email address backs up his claim that the real estate mogul was aware of the transaction. In an interview on "Morning Joe" last week, Avenatti also suggested that he had more evidence that Trump knew about the payment. Asked by Willie Geist if his "belief that the president directed this payment is based on more than a hunch," Avenatti simply replied, "yes," but declined to provide any evidence.

6. Why does she want to talk about the affair now?

Daniels's lawsuit claims she expressed interest in discussing the alleged affair publicly in 2016 after The Washington Post published a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump could be heard boasting about groping and kissing women without their permission. It was at this point that Cohen and Trump "aggressively sought to silence Ms. Clifford," according to the lawsuit, which claims that the $130,000 payment and nondisclosure agreement soon followed. But for more than a year after that, Daniels was silent about the alleged affair, and it was only in recent months that the accusations resurfaced. One thing to watch for is whether Daniels addresses her motives in the "60 Minutes" interview, or answers questions about what she hopes will happen next.

7. What happens next?

There may be hints of what Daniels's next steps are in the interview. A planned court hearing for Daniels's lawsuit is still months away. However, whatever Daniels reveals in the interview may force the hand of Trump's own legal team. After news broke that CBS intended to air the "60 Minutes" segment with Daniels, speculation swirled that Trump's lawyers would take legal action seeking to block the broadcast. Such legal action would have been unlikely to proceed, because courts rarely allow such prior restraint of speech, particularly regarding the news media.

But Trump's legal team has already signaled they're willing to fight Daniels on her claims. They reportedly asked for a temporary restraining order against her last month and have asked to transfer the lawsuit from California state court to a federal court in Los Angeles. But how Trump and his lawyers respond to the interview after it airs will be closely watched. Tags Law Crime News Agencies Internet Service Providers Glasses, Spectacles & Contact lenses

Comments Vote up! 7 Vote down! 0

Moustache Rides Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:02 Permalink

Oh, I can't wait to tune into this. Give me a frackin' break.

wee-weed up -> Moustache Rides Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:03 Permalink

Can you EVER imagine the MSM doing this to Slick Willy? Fukin' hypocrites!

IridiumRebel -> Bes Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

It's 24/7 on the CuntStreamMedia.....like they're gonna find out tonight for the first time?

They probably know already. IT WAS 12 YEARS AGO......

warsev -> IridiumRebel Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:23 Permalink

What I wonder is just how low CBS can go. Can you imagine the CBS of twenty or thirty years ago wading in the sewer like this?

serotonindumptruck -> Mustafa Kemal Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Initially, this ridiculous scandal was mildly amusing.

Now, it has become a tedious circus sideshow that serves to distract the masses from much more important issues.

The disgusting fact that Trump chose to throw his dick into this cum-dumpster skank is bad enough, but now that her lawyer apparently has a Trump dick-pic or some other pornographic evidence, he intends to exploit and extort as much publicity and money that he can in an effort to embarrass the POTUS.

Is it any wonder that the USA has become the laughing stock of the world?

didthatreallyhappen Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:04 Permalink

bill clinton raped women and the left didn't care. They care now about Trump's mistress?

silverer -> didthatreallyhappen Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:12 Permalink

Bill squirted in the White House. Trump squirted on his own time.

Robert Trip Sun, 03/25/2018 - 16:06 Permalink

"Adult film star?"

Interviewed by "I love to suck cocks" Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes.

They are fit for each other.

[Mar 25, 2018] Surveillance is the DNA of the Platform Economy

Creating a malware application which masks itself as some kind of pseudo scientific test and serves as the backdoor to your personal data is a very dirty trick...
Especially dirty it it used by academic researchers, who in reality are academic scum... An additional type of academic gangsters, in addition to Harvard Mafia
Notable quotes:
"... By Ivan Manokha, a departmental lecturer in the Oxford Department of International Development. He is currently working on power and obedience in the late-modern political economy, particularly in the context of the development of new technologies of surveillance. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... The current social mobilization against Facebook resembles the actions of activists who, in opposition to neoliberal globalization, smash a McDonald's window during a demonstration. ..."
"... But as Christopher Wylie, a twenty-eight-year-old Canadian coder and data scientist and a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, stated in a video interview , the app could also collect all kinds of personal data from users, such as the content that they consulted, the information that they liked, and even the messages that they posted. ..."
"... All this is done in order to use data to create value in some way another (to monetize it by selling to advertisers or other firms, to increase sales, or to increase productivity). Data has become 'the new oil' of global economy, a new commodity to be bought and sold at a massive scale, and with this development, as a former Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff has argued , global capitalism has become 'surveillance capitalism'. ..."
"... What this means is that platform economy is a model of value creation which is completely dependant on continuous privacy invasions and, what is alarming is that we are gradually becoming used to this. ..."
"... In other instances, as in the case of Kogan's app, the extent of the data collected exceeds what was stated in the agreement. ..."
"... What we need is a total redefinition of the right to privacy (which was codified as a universal human right in 1948, long before the Internet), to guarantee its respect, both offline and online. ..."
"... I saw this video back in 2007. It was originally put together by a Sarah Lawrence student who was working on her paper on social media. The ties of all the original investors to IN-Q-Tel scared me off and I decided to stay away from Facebook. ..."
"... But it isn't just FB. Amazon, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and many others do the same, and we are all caught up in it whether we agree to participate or not. ..."
"... Platform Capitalism is a mild description, it is manipulation based on Surveillance Capitalism, pure and simple. The Macro pattern of Corporate Power subsuming the State across every area is fascinating to watch, but a little scary. ..."
"... For his part, Aleksandr Kogan established a company, Global Science Research, that contracted with SCL, using Facebook data to map personality traits for its work in elections (Kosinski claims that Kogan essentially reverse-engineered the app that he and Stillwell had developed). Kogan's app harvested data on Facebook users who agreed to take a personality test for the purposes of academic research (though it was, in fact, to be used by SCL for non-academic ends). But according to Wylie, the app also collected data on their entire -- and nonconsenting -- network of friends. Once Cambridge Analytica and SCL had won contracts with the State Department and were pitching to the Pentagon, Wylie became alarmed that this illegally-obtained data had ended up at the heart of government, along with the contractors who might abuse it. ..."
"... This apparently bizarre intersection of research on topics like love and kindness with defense and intelligence interests is not, in fact, particularly unusual. It is typical of the kind of dual-use research that has shaped the field of social psychology in the US since World War II. ..."
"... Much of the classic, foundational research on personality, conformity, obedience, group polarization, and other such determinants of social dynamics -- while ostensibly civilian -- was funded during the cold war by the military and the CIA. ..."
"... The pioneering figures from this era -- for example, Gordon Allport on personality and Solomon Asch on belief conformity -- are still cited in NATO psy-ops literature to this day ..."
"... This is an issue which has frustrated me greatly. In spite of the fact that the country's leading psychologist (at the very least one of them -- ex-APA president Seligman) has been documented taking consulting fees from Guantanamo and Black Sites goon squads, my social science pals refuse to recognize any corruption at the core of their so-called replicated quantitative research. ..."
Mar 24, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. Not new to anyone who has been paying attention, but a useful recap with some good observations at the end, despite deploying the cringe-making trope of businesses having DNA. That legitimates the notion that corporations are people.

By Ivan Manokha, a departmental lecturer in the Oxford Department of International Development. He is currently working on power and obedience in the late-modern political economy, particularly in the context of the development of new technologies of surveillance. Originally published at openDemocracy

The current social mobilization against Facebook resembles the actions of activists who, in opposition to neoliberal globalization, smash a McDonald's window during a demonstration.

On March 17, The Observer of London and The New York Times announced that Cambridge Analytica, the London-based political and corporate consulting group, had harvested private data from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their consent. The data was collected through a Facebook-based quiz app called thisisyourdigitallife, created by Aleksandr Kogan, a University of Cambridge psychologist who had requested and gained access to information from 270,000 Facebook members after they had agreed to use the app to undergo a personality test, for which they were paid through Kogan's company, Global Science Research.

But as Christopher Wylie, a twenty-eight-year-old Canadian coder and data scientist and a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, stated in a video interview , the app could also collect all kinds of personal data from users, such as the content that they consulted, the information that they liked, and even the messages that they posted.

In addition, the app provided access to information on the profiles of the friends of each of those users who agreed to take the test, which enabled the collection of data from more than 50 million.

All this data was then shared by Kogan with Cambridge Analytica, which was working with Donald Trump's election team and which allegedly used this data to target US voters with personalised political messages during the presidential campaign. As Wylie, told The Observer, "we built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons."

'Unacceptable Violation'

Following these revelations the Internet has been engulfed in outrage and government officials have been quick to react. On March 19, Antonio Tajani President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, stated in a twitter message that misuse of Facebook user data "is an unacceptable violation of our citizens' privacy rights" and promised an EU investigation. On March 22, Wylie communicated in a tweet that he accepted an invitation to testify before the US House Intelligence Committee, the US House Judiciary Committee and UK Parliament Digital Committee. On the same day Israel's Justice Ministry informed Facebook that it was opening an investigation into possible violations of Israelis' personal information by Facebook.

While such widespread condemnation of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica is totally justified, what remains largely absent from the discussion are broader questions about the role of data collection, processing and monetization that have become central in the current phase of capitalism, which may be described as 'platform capitalism', as suggested by the Canadian writer and academic Nick Srnicek in his recent book .

Over the last decade the growth of platforms has been spectacular: today, the top 4 enterprises in Forbes's list of most valuable brands are platforms, as are eleven of the top twenty. Most recent IPOs and acquisitions have involved platforms, as have most of the major successful startups. The list includes Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Waze, Uber, Lyft, Handy, Airbnb, Pinterest, Square, Social Finance, Kickstarter, etc. Although most platforms are US-based, they are a really global phenomenon and in fact are now playing an even more important role in developing countries which did not have developed commercial infrastructures at the time of the rise of the Internet and seized the opportunity that it presented to structure their industries around it. Thus, in China, for example, many of the most valuable enterprises are platforms such as Tencent (owner of the WeChat and QQ messaging platforms) and Baidu (China's search engine); Alibaba controls 80 percent of China's e-commerce market through its Taobao and Tmall platforms, with its Alipay platform being the largest payments platform in China.

The importance of platforms is also attested by the range of sectors in which they are now dominant and the number of users (often numbered in millions and, in some cases, even billions) regularly connecting to their various cloud-based services. Thus, to name the key industries, platforms are now central in Internet search (Google, Yahoo, Bing); social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat); Internet auctions and retail (eBay, Taobao, Amazon, Alibaba); on-line financial and human resource functions (Workday, Upwork, Elance, TaskRabbit), urban transportation (Uber, Lyft, Zipcar, BlaBlaCar), tourism (Kayak, Trivago, Airbnb), mobile payment (Square Order, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet); and software development (Apple's App Store, Google Play Store, Windows App store). Platform-based solutions are also currently being adopted in more traditional sectors, such as industrial production (GE, Siemens), agriculture (John Deere, Monsanto) and even clean energy (Sungevity, SolarCity, EnerNOC).

User Profiling -- Good-Bye to Privacy

These platforms differ significantly in terms of the services that they offer: some, like eBay or Taobao simply allow exchange of products between buyers and sellers; others, like Uber or TaskRabbit, allow independent service providers to find customers; yet others, like Apple or Google allow developers to create and market apps.

However, what is common to all these platforms is the central role played by data, and not just continuous data collection, but its ever more refined analysis in order to create detailed user profiles and rankings in order to better match customers and suppliers or increase efficiency.

All this is done in order to use data to create value in some way another (to monetize it by selling to advertisers or other firms, to increase sales, or to increase productivity). Data has become 'the new oil' of global economy, a new commodity to be bought and sold at a massive scale, and with this development, as a former Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff has argued , global capitalism has become 'surveillance capitalism'.

What this means is that platform economy is a model of value creation which is completely dependant on continuous privacy invasions and, what is alarming is that we are gradually becoming used to this.

Most of the time platform providers keep track of our purchases, travels, interest, likes, etc. and use this data for targeted advertising to which we have become accustomed. We are equally not that surprised when we find out that, for example, robotic vacuum cleaners collect data about types of furniture that we have and share it with the likes of Amazon so that they can send us advertisements for pieces of furniture that we do not yet possess.

There is little public outcry when we discover that Google's ads are racially biased as, for instance, a Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney found by accident performing a search. We are equally hardly astonished that companies such as Lenddo buy access to people's social media and browsing history in exchange for a credit score. And, at least in the US, people are becoming accustomed to the use of algorithms, developed by private contractors, by the justice system to take decisions on sentencing, which often result in equally unfair and racially biased decisions .

The outrage provoked by the Cambridge Analytica is targeting only the tip of the iceberg. The problem is infinitely larger as there are countless equally significant instances of privacy invasions and data collection performed by corporations, but they have become normalized and do not lead to much public outcry.

DNA

Today surveillance is the DNA of the platform economy; its model is simply based on the possibility of continuous privacy invasions using whatever means possible. In most cases users agree, by signing the terms and conditions of service providers, so that their data may be collected, analyzed and even shared with third parties (although it is hardly possible to see this as express consent given the size and complexity of these agreements -- for instance, it took 8 hours and 59 minutes for an actor hired by the consumer group Choice to read Amazon Kindle's terms and conditions). In other instances, as in the case of Kogan's app, the extent of the data collected exceeds what was stated in the agreement.

But what is important is to understand that to prevent such scandals in the future it is not enough to force Facebook to better monitor the use of users' data in order to prevent such leaks as in the case of Cambridge Analytica. The current social mobilization against Facebook resembles the actions of activists who, in opposition to neoliberal globalization, smash a McDonald's window during a demonstration.

What we need is a total redefinition of the right to privacy (which was codified as a universal human right in 1948, long before the Internet), to guarantee its respect, both offline and online.

What we need is a body of international law that will provide regulations and oversight for the collection and use of data.

What is required is an explicit and concise formulation of terms and conditions which, in a few sentences, will specify how users' data will be used.

It is important to seize the opportunity presented by the Cambridge Analytica scandal to push for these more fundamental changes.



Arizona Slim , , March 24, 2018 at 7:38 am

I am grateful for my spidey sense. Thanks, spidey sense, for ringing the alarm bells whenever I saw one of those personality tests on Facebook. I never took one.

Steve H. , , March 24, 2018 at 8:05 am

First they came for

The most efficient strategy is to be non-viable . They may come for you eventually, but someone else gets to be the canary, and you haven't wasted energy in the meantime. TOR users didn't get that figured out.

Annieb , , March 24, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Never took the personality test either, but now I now that all of my friends who did unknowingly gave up my personal information too. I read an article somewhere about this over a year ago so it's really old news. Sent the link to a few people who didn't care. But now that they all know that Cambridge Analytical used FB data in support of the Trump campaign it's all over the mainstream and people are upset.

ChrisPacific , , March 25, 2018 at 4:07 pm

You can disable that (i.e., prevent friends from sharing your info with third parties) in the privacy options. But the controls are not easy to find and everything is enabled by default.

HotFlash , , March 24, 2018 at 3:13 pm

I haven't FB'd in years and certainly never took any such test, but if any of my friends, real or FB, did, and my info was shared, can I sue? If not, why not?

Octopii , , March 24, 2018 at 8:06 am

Everyone thought I was paranoid as I discouraged them from moving backups to the cloud, using trackers, signing up for grocery store clubs, using real names and addresses for online anything, etc. They thought I was overreacting when I said we need European-style privacy laws in this country. People at work thought my questions about privacy for our new location-based IoT plans were not team-based thinking.

And it turns out after all this that they still think I'm extreme. I guess it will have to get worse.

Samuel Conner , , March 24, 2018 at 8:16 am

In a first for me, there are surface-mount resistors in the advert at the top of today's NC links page. That is way out of the ordinary; what I usually see are books or bicycle parts; things I have recently purchased or searched.

But a couple of days ago I had a SKYPE conversation with a sibling about a PC I was scavenging for parts, and surface mount resistors (unscavengable) came up. I suspect I have been observed without my consent and am not too happy about it. As marketing, it's a bust; in the conversation I explicitly expressed no interest in such components as I can't install them. I suppose I should be glad for this indication of something I wasn't aware was happening.

Collins , , March 24, 2018 at 9:14 am

Had you used your computer keyboard previously to search for 'surface mount resistors', or was the trail linking you & resistors entirely verbal?

Samuel Conner , , March 24, 2018 at 10:15 am

No keyboard search. I never so much as think about surface mount components; the inquiry was raised by my sibling and I responded. Maybe its coincidental, but it seems quite odd.

I decided to click through to the site to generate a few pennies for NC and at least feel like I was punishing someone for snooping on me.

Abi , , March 25, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Its been happening to me a lot recently on my Instagram, I don't like pictures or anything, but whenever I have a conversation with someone on my phone, I start seeing ads of what I spoke about

ChiGal in Carolina , , March 25, 2018 at 10:12 am

I thought it came out a while ago that Skype captures and retains all the dialogue and video of convos using it.

Eureka Springs , , March 24, 2018 at 8:44 am

What we need is a total redefinition of the right to privacy (which was codified as a universal human right in 1948, long before the Internet), to guarantee its respect, both offline and online.

Are we, readers of this post, or citizens of the USA supposed to think there is anything binding in declarations? Or anything from the UN if at all inconvenient for that matter?

https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
Article 12.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Platforms like facebook allow individuals to 'spy' on each other and people love it. When I was a kid i always marveled at how some households would leave a police scanner on 24/7. With the net we have this writ large with baby, puppy and tv dinner photos. Not to forget it's a narcissist paradise. I have friends who I've tried to gently over time inject tidbits of info like this article provides for many years and they still just refuse to try and get it. If they looked over their shoulder and saw how many people/entities are literally following them everywhere they go, they would become rabid gun owners (don't tread on me!) overnight, but the invisible hand/eye registers not at all.

Pelham , , March 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

A side note: If Facebook and other social media were to assume ANY degree of responsibility for content appearing on their platforms, they would be acknowledging their legal liability for ALL content.

Hence they would be legally responsible just as newspapers are. And major newspapers have on-staff lawyers and editors exquisitely attuned to the possibility of libelous content so they can avoid ruinous lawsuits.

If the law were applied as it should be, Facebook and its brethren wouldn't last five minutes before being sued into oblivion.

albert , , March 24, 2018 at 6:27 pm

" being sued into oblivion ." If only.

Non-liability is a product of the computer age. I remember having to agree with Microsofts policy to absolve them of -any- liability when using their software. If they had their druthers, -no- company would be liable for -anything-. It's called a 'perfect world'.

Companies that host 'social media' should not have to bear any responsibility for their users content. Newspapers employ writers and fact checkers. They are set up to monitor their staff for accuracy (Okay, in theory). So you can sue them and even their journalist employees. Being liable (and not sued) allows them to brag about how truthful they are. Reputations are a valuable commodity these days.

In the case of 'social media' providers, liability falls on the authors of their own comments, which is only fair, in my view. However, I would argue that those 'providers' should -not- be considered 'media' like newspapers, and their members should not be considered 'journalists'.

Also, those providers are private companies, and are free to edit, censor, or delete anything on their site. And of course it's automated. Some conservative Facebook members were complaining about being banned. Apparently, there a certain things you can't say on Facebook.

AFAIC, the bottom line is this: Many folks tend to believe everything they read online. They need to learn the skill of critical thinking. And realize that the Internet can be a vast wasteland; a digital garbage dump.

Why are our leaders so concerned with election meddling? Isn't our propaganda better than the Russians? We certainly pay a lot for it.
. .. . .. -- .

PlutoniumKun , , March 24, 2018 at 9:52 am

It seems even Elon Musk is now rebelling against Facebook.

Musk Takes Down the Tesla and SpaceX Facebook Pages.

Today, Musk also made fun of Sonos for not being as committed as he was to the anti-Facebook cause after the connected-speaker maker said it would pull ads from the platform -- but only for a week.

"Wow, a whole week. Risky " Musk tweeted.

saurabh , , March 24, 2018 at 11:43 am

Musk, like Trump, knows he does not need to advertise because a fawning press will dutifully report on everything he does and says, no matter how dumb.

Jim Thomson , , March 25, 2018 at 9:39 am

This is rich.

I can't resist: It takes a con to know a con.
(not the most insightful comment)

Daniel Mongan , , March 24, 2018 at 10:14 am

A thoughtful post, thanks for that. May I recommend you take a look at "All You Can Pay" (NationBooks 2015) for a more thorough treatment of the subject, together with a proposal on how to re-balance the equation. Full disclosure, I am a co-author.

JimTan , , March 24, 2018 at 11:12 am

People are starting to download copies of their Facebook data to get an understanding of how much information is being collected from them.

JCC , , March 24, 2018 at 11:29 am

A reminder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRT9On7qie8

I saw this video back in 2007. It was originally put together by a Sarah Lawrence student who was working on her paper on social media. The ties of all the original investors to IN-Q-Tel scared me off and I decided to stay away from Facebook.

But it isn't just FB. Amazon, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and many others do the same, and we are all caught up in it whether we agree to participate or not.

Anyone watch the NCAA Finals and see all the ads from Google about being "The Official Cloud of the NCAA"? They were flat out bragging, more or less, about surveillance of players. for the NCAA.

Platform Capitalism is a mild description, it is manipulation based on Surveillance Capitalism, pure and simple. The Macro pattern of Corporate Power subsuming the State across every area is fascinating to watch, but a little scary.

oh , , March 24, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Caveat Emptor: If you watch YouTube, they'll only add to the information that they already have on you!

HotFlash , , March 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Just substitute "hook" for 'you" in the URL, you get the same video, no ads, and they claim not to track you. YMMV

Craig H. , , March 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Privacy no longer a social norm, says Facebook founder; Guardian; 10 January 2010

The Right to Privacy; Warren & Brandeis; Harvard Law Review; 15 December 1890

It was amusing that the top Google hit for the Brandeis article was JSTOR which requires us to surrender personal detail to access their site. To hell with that.

The part I like about the Brandeis privacy story is the motivation was some Manhattan rich dicks thought the gossip writers snooping around their wedding party should mind their own business. (Apparently whether this is actually true or just some story made up by somebody being catty at Brandeis has been the topic of gigabytes of internet flame wars but I can't ever recall seeing any of those.)

Ed , , March 24, 2018 at 2:50 pm

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-23/digital-military-industrial-complex-exposed

" Two young psychologists are central to the Cambridge Analytica story. One is Michal Kosinski, who devised an app with a Cambridge University colleague, David Stillwell, that measures personality traits by analyzing Facebook "likes." It was then used in collaboration with the World Well-Being Project, a group at the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Center that specializes in the use of big data to measure health and happiness in order to improve well-being. The other is Aleksandr Kogan, who also works in the field of positive psychology and has written papers on happiness, kindness, and love (according to his résumé, an early paper was called "Down the Rabbit Hole: A Unified Theory of Love"). He ran the Prosociality and Well-being Laboratory, under the auspices of Cambridge University's Well-Being Institute.

Despite its prominence in research on well-being, Kosinski's work, Cadwalladr points out, drew a great deal of interest from British and American intelligence agencies and defense contractors, including overtures from the private company running an intelligence project nicknamed "Operation KitKat" because a correlation had been found between anti-Israeli sentiments and liking Nikes and KitKats. Several of Kosinski's co-authored papers list the US government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, as a funding source. His résumé boasts of meetings with senior figures at two of the world's largest defense contractors, Boeing and Microsoft, both companies that have sponsored his research. He ran a workshop on digital footprints and psychological assessment for the Singaporean Ministry of Defense.

For his part, Aleksandr Kogan established a company, Global Science Research, that contracted with SCL, using Facebook data to map personality traits for its work in elections (Kosinski claims that Kogan essentially reverse-engineered the app that he and Stillwell had developed). Kogan's app harvested data on Facebook users who agreed to take a personality test for the purposes of academic research (though it was, in fact, to be used by SCL for non-academic ends). But according to Wylie, the app also collected data on their entire -- and nonconsenting -- network of friends. Once Cambridge Analytica and SCL had won contracts with the State Department and were pitching to the Pentagon, Wylie became alarmed that this illegally-obtained data had ended up at the heart of government, along with the contractors who might abuse it.

This apparently bizarre intersection of research on topics like love and kindness with defense and intelligence interests is not, in fact, particularly unusual. It is typical of the kind of dual-use research that has shaped the field of social psychology in the US since World War II.

Much of the classic, foundational research on personality, conformity, obedience, group polarization, and other such determinants of social dynamics -- while ostensibly civilian -- was funded during the cold war by the military and the CIA. The cold war was an ideological battle, so, naturally, research on techniques for controlling belief was considered a national security priority. This psychological research laid the groundwork for propaganda wars and for experiments in individual "mind control."

The pioneering figures from this era -- for example, Gordon Allport on personality and Solomon Asch on belief conformity -- are still cited in NATO psy-ops literature to this day .."

Craig H. , , March 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm

This is an issue which has frustrated me greatly. In spite of the fact that the country's leading psychologist (at the very least one of them -- ex-APA president Seligman) has been documented taking consulting fees from Guantanamo and Black Sites goon squads, my social science pals refuse to recognize any corruption at the core of their so-called replicated quantitative research.

I have asked more than five people to point at the best critical work on the Big 5 Personality theory and they all have told me some variant of "it is the only way to get consistent numbers". Not one has ever retreated one step or been receptive to the suggestion that this might indicate some fallacy in trying to assign numbers to these properties.

They eat their own dog food all the way and they seem to be suffering from a terrible malnutrition. At least the anthropologists have Price . (Most of that book can be read for free in installments at Counterpunch.)

[Mar 25, 2018] CA was able to provide the campaign with predictive analytics based on more than 5,000 data points on every voter in the United States

This is really deception as an art form: presenting a specially crafted false message to group of voters bating them into voting for this candidate with explicit goal to deceive. This is the same method pedophiles used to groom victims.
Notable quotes:
"... "CA was able to provide the campaign with predictive analytics based on more than 5,000 data points on every voter in the United States. From there, CA's team of political consultants and psychologists guided the campaign on what to say and how to say it to specific groups of voters." ..."
Mar 25, 2018 | www.eurasiafuture.com
"CA was able to provide the campaign with predictive analytics based on more than 5,000 data points on every voter in the United States. From there, CA's team of political consultants and psychologists guided the campaign on what to say and how to say it to specific groups of voters."

This is a vocal acknowledgement from Trump's data guru that he was able to change the behaviour of American voters in favour of a Trump victory in the presidential election, but unfortunately, the American deep state blamed Russia for hacking American democracy – a claim which is totally baseless and untrue. In a total disingenuous move, American mainstream media tried to link-up CA with WikiLeaks. While CA did contact Wikileaks, Julian Assange is on the record as rebuffing CA's advances.

American warmongers within the deep state worked for a Hillary Clinton victory through their control of American mainstream media, but they nevertheless failed to elect her. As a result, Clinton's team blamed her loss on Russia, in order to accelerate hostility towards Moscow and to apply pressure on President Trump so that he could not establish friendly relations with Russia. They have succeeded in this regard as Trump surrendered to the war hungry deep state. That being said, the fight within the deep state between FBI and CIA also helped Trump to use the situation in his favour, as the FBI investigated Clinton after emails leaks scandal.

The CIA blamed Russia for hacking Hillary Clinton's DNC emails and allegedly passing them to Wikileaks. The purpose of this blame was to influence the FBI investigation against her. To a degree they succeeded. While she did not go to jail, she ended up losing the election. US intelligence agencies propagated a myth that Wikileaks worked for Russia, but it is a fact that Russia has no links with Wikileaks.

... ... ...

Recently Russian President Vladimir Putin held up a mirror to western global manipulator elite and addressed their baseless 'blame campaign' against Russia. Speaking with NBC news anchor Megyn Kelly, Putin said, "We're holding discussions with our American friends and partners, people who represent the government, by the way, and when they claim that some Russians interfered in the US elections, we tell them and we did so fairly recently at a very level, 'But you are constantly interfering in our political life'. Can you imagine, they don't even deny it, you know what they told us last time? They said, 'Yes, we do interfere but we are entitled to do it because we are spreading democracy and you're not, and you can't do it'. Does this seem like a civilized and modern approach to international affairs? At the level of the Russian government and the level of Russian President, there has never been any interference in the internal political process of the United States."

President Putin further explained, "Not long ago President Trump said something, he said that if Russia goal was to sow chaos it has succeeded, but that's not the result, that's the result of your political system; the internal struggle, the disorder, and division. Russia has nothing to do with it. Whatsoever we have nothing to do with it all. Get your own affairs in order first and the way the question's been framed as I mentioned –that you can interfere anywhere you want because you bring democracy but we can't –that's what causes conflicts. You have to show your partners respect and they will respect you."

President Putin's statement clearly indicates that it is the USA who is behind the effort to hack democracy and bring about regime changes throughout the world with the aim to install puppet regimes in targeted states. Cambridge Analytica and its mother company SCL are working for the strategic interests of the USA and its western partner NATO in order to achieve these regime change ambitions. Hence, this is the reason that Facebook after the publication of my previous article, suspended the CA/SCL group from its social media network by saying, "Protecting people's information is at the heart of everything we do, and we require the same from people who operate apps on Facebook. In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe. He also passed that data to Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, Inc."

[Mar 25, 2018] Cambridge Analytica Scandal Rockets to Watergate Proportions and Beyond by Adam Garrie

Highly recommended!
Mar 25, 2018 | www.eurasiafuture.com

Manipulating democracy -- brainwashing the public for a large fee

Cambridge Analytica, the data harvesting firm that worked for the Trump campaign, is in the midst of a scandal that should make everyone who cares about a clean political process demand major investigations of anyone who has procured the services of the company, major prosecutions of those who have violated laws across multiple nations and a wholesale revitalisation of electoral laws to prevent politicians from ever again procuring the services of unethical companies like Cambridge Analytica.

Days ago, whistleblower Christopher Wylie went public about his time working for Cambridge Analytica and specifically about how the firm illegally obtained the public and private data, including the private messages of 50 million Facebook users. He also exposed how Cambridge Analytica used this data to run highly scientific social manipulation campaigns in order to effectively brainwash the public in various countries to support a certain political candidate or faction.

Cambridge Analytica's dubious methods were used to meddle in the US election after the Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica substantial sums of money for their services. The firm also meddled in the last two Kenyan Presidential elections, elections in Nigeria, elections in Czech Republic, elections in Argentina, elections in India, the Brexit campaign, UK Premier Theresa May's recently election and now stands accused of working with the disgraced former Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif in an attempt to reverse his judicial ban on holding public office, while helping his PML-N party win the forthcoming general election.

Beyond the scandalous use of personal data from Facebook users and the illegal access to people's private messages, Cambridge Analytica has now been exposed as a company that, by the hidden-camera admission of its CEO Alexander Nix, engages in nefarious, illegal and outrageous activities across the globe.

The UK Broadcaster Channel 4 just released a video of Cambridge Analytica's CEO and Managing DIrector Mark Turnbull in a conversation with an undercover reporter posing as a Sri Lankan businessman interested in meddling in domestic elections. During the conversation Nix boasted of Cambridge Analytica's history of using entrapment, bribery and intimidation against the political opponents of its wealthy clients. Furthermore, Nix boasted about his firm's ability to procure Ukrainian prostitutes as a means to entrap adversaries while also procuring the services of "Israeli spies" as part of dirty smear operations.

The activities that Nix boasted of using in the past and then offered to a prospective client are illegal in virtually every country in the world. But for Nix and his world of ultra-rich clients, acting as though one is above the law is the rule rather than the exception. Thus far, Cambridge Analaytica has been able to escape justice throughout the world both for its election meddling, data harvesting, data theft and attempts to slander politicians through calculated bribery and entrapment schemes.

One person who refused to be tempted by Cambridge Analytica was Julian Assange. Alexander Nix personally wrote to Julian Assange asking for direct access to information possessed by Wikileaks and Assange refused. This is a clear example of journalistic ethics and personal integrity on the part of Assange. Justice must be done

Cambridge Analytica stands accused of doing everything and more that the Russian state was accused of doing in respect of meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election. While meetings and conversations that Trump campaign officials, including Steve Bannon had with Cambridge Analyatica big wigs were not recorded, any information as to what was said during these exchanges should be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement and eventually made public for the sake of restoring transparency to politics.

Just as the Hillary Clinton campaign openly conspired to deprive Bernie Sanders of the Democratic Party's nomination, so too did Donald Trump's campaign pay Cambridge Analytica to conspire against the American voters using a calculated psychological manipulation campaign that was made possible through the use of unethically obtained and stolen data.

While Facebook claims it was itself misled and consequently victimised by Cambridge Analytica and has subsequently banned the firm from its platform, many, including Edward Snowden have alleged that Facebook knew full well what Cambridge Analytica was doing with the data retrieved from its Facebook apps. Already, the markets have reacted to the news and the verdict is not favourble in terms of the public perception of Facebook as an ethical company. Facebook's share prices are down over 7% on the S&P 500. This represents the biggest tumble in the price of Facebook share prices since 2014. Moreover, the plunge has knocked Facebook out of the coveted big five companies atop the S&P 500. Furthermore, Alex Stamos, Facebook's security director has announced that he will soon leave the company.

The Trump myth and Russia myth exposed

Donald Trump has frequently boasted of his expert campaigning skills as being the reason he won an election that few thought he could have ever won. While Trump was a far more charismatic and exciting platform speaker than his rival Hillary Clinton, it seems that for the Trump campaign, Trump ultimately needed to rely on the expensive and nefarious services of Cambridge Analytica in order to manipulate the minds of American voters and ultimately trick them into voting for him. It is impossible to say whether Trump would have still won his election without Cambridge Analaytica's services, but the fact they were used, should immediately raise the issue of Trump's suitability for office.

Ultimately, the Trump campaign did conspire to meddle in the election, only it was not with Russia or Russians with whom the campaign conspired, it was with the British firm Cambridge Analytica. Thus one sees that both the narrative about Trump the electoral "genius" and the narrative about Trump the Kremlin puppet are both false. The entire time, the issue of Trump campaign election meddling was one between a group of American millionaires and billionaires and a sleaze infested British firm.

Worse than Watergate

In 1972, US President Richard Nixon conspired to cover-up a beak-in at the offices of his political opponents at the Watergate Complex. The scandal ultimately led to Nixon's resignation in 1974. What the Trump campaign did with Cambridge Analytica is far more scandalous than the Watergate break-in and cover-up. Where Nixon's cronies broke into offices to steal information from the Democratic party, Trump's paid cyber-thugs at Cambridge Analytica broke in to the private data of 50 million people, the vast majority of whom were US citizens.

Richard Nixon, like Donald Trump, was ultimately driven by a love of power throughout his life. Just as Trump considered running for President for decades, so too did Nixon try to run in 1960 and lost to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, while he also failed to become governor of California in 1962 election. By 1968 he finally got into the White House at the height of the Vietnam War. When time came for his re-election, Nixon's team weren't going to take any chances and hence the Watergate break-in was orchestrated to dig up dirt on Nixon's opponent. As it turned out Nixon won the 1972 by a comfortable margin, meaning that the Watergate break-in was probably largely in vain.

Likewise, Trump may well have won in 2016 even without Cambridge Analytica, but in his quest for power, Trump has resorted to dealing with a company whose practices have done far more damage to the American people than the Watergate break-in.

New laws are needed

While existing laws will likely be sufficient to bring the fiends at Cambridge Analytica to justice, while also determining the role that Trump campaign officials, up to and including Trump played in the scandal, new laws must be enshrined across the globe in order to put the likes of Cambridge Analytica out of business for good.

The following proposals must be debated widely and ideally implemented at the soonest possible date:

-- A total ban on all forms of data mining/harvesting for political purposes.

-- A total ban on the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence in any political campaign or for any political purpose.

-- A mandatory seizing of the assets of any company involved in data mining/harvesting for political purposes, after which point such a company would be forcibly shut down permanently.

-- A mandatory seizing of the assets of any company involved in the use of artificial intelligence or algorithms in the course of a public political campaign.

-- A total ban on the use of internet based platforms, including social media by political candidates and their direct associates for anything that could reasonably be classified as a misinformation and/or manipulation scheme.

-- A total ban on politicians using third party data firms or advertising firms during elections. All such advertising and analysis must be devised by advisers employed directly by or volunteering for an individual candidate or his or her party political organisation.

-- A total ban on any individual working for a political campaign, who derives at least half of his or her income from employment, ownership and/or shares in a company whose primary purpose is to deliver news and analysis.

-- A total ban on anyone paid by a political candidate to promote his or her election from an ownership or major share holding role in any company whose primary purpose is to deliver news and analysis until 2 years after the said election.

If all of these laws were implemented along with thorough campaign finance reform initiatives, only then can anything remotely resembling fair elections take place.

The elites eat their own

While many of the media outlets who have helped to publish the revelations of whistleblower Christopher Wylie continue to defame Russia without any evidence about Russian linkage to the 2016 US election (or any other western vote for that matter), these outlets are nevertheless exposing the true meddling scandal surrounding the Trump campaign which has the effect of destroying the Russia narrative.

In this sense, a divided elite are turning against themselves. While the billionaire property tycoon Donald Trump can hardly be described as anything but a privileged figure who moved in elite public circles for most of his life, his personal style, rhetoric and attitude towards fellow elites has served to alienate Trump from many. Thus, there is a desire on the part of the mainstream media to expose a scandal surrounding Trump in a manner that would be unthinkable in respect of exposing a cause less popular among western elites, for example the brutal treatment of Palestine by the Zionist regime.

In this sense, Trump's own unwillingness or lack of desire to endear himself to fellow elites and instead present himself as a 'man of the people', might be his penultimate undoing. His rich former friends are now his rich present day enemies and many ordinary voters will be completely aghast at his involvement with Cambridge Analytica, just as many Republicans who voted for Nixon, became converts to the anti-Nixon movement once the misdeeds and dishonesty of Richard Nixon were made public. Many might well leave the 'Trump train' and get on board the 'political ethics express'.

Conclusion

This scandal ultimately has nothing to do with one's opinion on Trump or his policies, let alone any of the other politicians who have hired Cambridge Analytica. The issue is that a company engaged in the most nefarious, dangerous, sleazy and wicked behaviour in the world, is profiting from their destruction of political institutions that ought to be based on open policy debates rather than public manipulation, brainwashing and artificial intelligence.

The issue is also one of privacy. 50 million people have been exploited by an unethical company and what's more is that the money from the Trump campaign helped to empower this unethical company. This is therefore as unfair to non-voters as it is to voters. Cambridge Analytica must be shut down and all companies like it must restrict the scope of their operations or else face the same consequence.

[Mar 25, 2018] Cambridge Analytica was involved in basically all recent elections

Mar 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

veritas semper -> Four chan Sun, 03/25/2018 - 14:05 Permalink

Look at this great interview with Adam Garrie. This is a must watch video.

This scandal is HUUUGE

He discusses Cambridge Analytica involvement in basically all elections, involvement of Facebook and its Sugar daddy, UK ,US gov. How they tried to co-opt Mr.Assange and he said FO.

How UK tries to cover it up . There is a whistleblower and soon more ,it seems

http://www.eurasiafuture.com/2018/03/24/cambridge-analytica-scandal-fro

[Mar 25, 2018] Cambridge Analytica was always anti Russia. Involved in operations in most of the ex soviet countries to create a hatred of ethnic Russians and I think will work with non nationalist types who are very anti Russia.

Mar 25, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU 1 , Mar 25, 2018 1:23:38 PM | 4
James 1

I ran onto something about that when researching SCL/Cambridge Analytica

The Mercer/Cambridge Analytica US wing of SCL put a lot of funding into the leave campaign which was undeclared. Like a political campaign, donations above a threshold have to be declared.

Threshold for declaring donations I think was around 3 to 7000 and CA put in over 300 000.

Peter AU 1 , Mar 25, 2018 2:31:01 PM | 10
james 6

I have been researching SCL the last few days now. It is starting to look as though, rather than being political mercenary's working for whoever pays, they seem to back nationalist leaning groups or individuals. They have a political or geo-political agenda but not sure what at the moment. Always anti Russia. Involved in operations in most of the ex soviet countries to create a hatred of ethnic Russians and I think will work with non nationalist types who are very anti Russia.

[Mar 23, 2018] http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2018/4512_poisoning_brit_desperate.html

Notable quotes:
"... [ Print version of this article ] ..."
"... A short statement of the reasons why the British are now staging the Skripal provocation can be found in a March 14 London Daily Telegraph call to arms by Allister Heath, who rants: "We need a new world order to take on totalitarian capitalists in Russia and China. Such an alliance would dramatically shift the global balance of power, and allow the liberal democracies finally to fight back. It would endow the world with the sorts of robust institutions that are required to contain Russia and China. Britain needs a new role in the world; building such a network would be our perfect mission." Across the pond, as they say, a similar foundational statement was made by 68 former Obama Administration officials who have formed a group called National Security Action, aimed at securing Trump's impeachment and attacking Russia and China. ..."
"... China's "Belt and Road Initiative" now encompasses more than 140 nations in the largest infrastructure-building project ever undertaken in human history. This project is a true economic engine for the future. At the same time, the neo-liberal economies of the trans-Atlantic region continue to see their productive potentials sucked dry by the massive piles of debt they have created since the 2008 financial collapse. ..."
"... Just look at the events of February and March from this standpoint. It is no accident that Christopher Steele turns up, smack dab in the middle of the Skripal poisoning hoax. ..."
"... None of the true facts about the actual motive for, and sponsors of, the DOJ applications involving Carter Page were revealed to the FISA Court in the filings made by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Director James Comey, or current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. ..."
"... Since Steele has been discredited in the United States, a huge fawning publicity campaign has been undertaken on his behalf. The campaign involves journalists who have collaborated directly with Steele in his smear job against Trump. Books by Luke Harding and Michael Isikoff seek to rebuild Steele's reputation. ..."
"... A fawning piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, as implausible as it is long, has been foisted on the public for the same reason. ..."
"... Steele described his business to Luke Harding as primarily providing research and reports to competing and feuding Russian oligarchs, many of whom use London as a base of operations. This is obviously a perfect cover for intelligence operations. It is also a very violent theater of operations. The oligarchs intersect both Western intelligence operations and Russian organized crime. They engage in deadly gang warfare. ..."
"... Steele and his partners are mentored by Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6 and a critical player in the infamous "sexing up" and fabrication of the claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, ..."
"... Steele had been tasked to claim that Russia was interfering in Western elections during the entire post-Ukraine coup time-frame, when this black propaganda line began to be circulated widely. ..."
"... The background to Porton Down's reluctance, is of course former Prime Minister Blair's phony dossier on Iraqi WMD, which Lyndon LaRouche fought, alongside the late British arms expert David Kelly, who exposed the "dodgy dossier," at the time. ..."
"... Thus, after being disclosed by a dissident Russian chemist living in the United States, novichoks have been widely copied by other countries, according to the press accounts. ..."
"... The insane McCarthyite reactions to Corbyn's simple statements of fact show that he hit the nail on the head. If you want to find Skripal's poisoners, then, like Edgar Allen Poe, you must take in the whole picture first. The field of play involves the British intelligence services and the anti-Putin Russian oligarchs, each of which services the other, acting on behalf of British strategic objectives. It is no accident that the coup against Donald Trump and the latest British intelligence fraud, putting the entire world in peril, absolutely intersect one another. ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.larouchepub.com

Skripal Poisoning a Desperate British Attempt To Resurrect Their American Coup

by Barbara Boyd

[ Print version of this article ]

March 18 -- In this report, we will explore the strategic significance of major events in the world starting in February 2018. Our goal is to precisely situate British Prime Minister Theresa May's March 12-14 mad effort to manufacture a new "weapons of mass destruction" hoax based on the alleged Skripal poisoning, using the same people (the MI6 intelligence grouping around Sir Richard Dearlove) and script (an intelligence fraud concerning weapons of mass destruction) which were used to draw the United States into the disastrous Iraq War.

The Skripal poisoning fraud also directly involves British agent Christopher Steele, the central figure in the ongoing coup against Donald Trump. This time the British information warfare operation is aimed at directly provoking Russia, while maintaining the targeting of the U.S. population and President Trump.

As the fevered, war-like media coverage and hysteria surrounding the case make clear, a certain section of the British elite seems prepared to risk everything on behalf of its dying imperial system. Despite the hype, economic warfare and sanctions appear to be the British weapons of choice -- Vladimir Putin, as we shall see, recently called the West's nuclear bluff. With the British "Russiagate" coup against Donald Trump fizzling, exposing British agent Christopher Steele and a slew of his American friends to criminal prosecution, a new tool was desperately needed to back the President of the United States into the British geopolitical corner shared by most of the American establishment. The tool they are using to do this is an intelligence hoax, a tried-and-true British product.

According to the British spy tale, a former Russian military intelligence colonel, Sergei Skripal, who spied for Great Britain in Russia from the early 1990s until 2004, was poisoned, along with his daughter, on March 4 in Salisbury, England, using a nerve agent "of a type developed by Russia." In 2010, Skripal had been exchanged in a spy swap between the United States and Russia. He had served six years in a Russian prison for spying for Britain. He had been living in the open in Britain for the last eight years. Skripal's MI6 recruiter and handler, Pablo Miller, listed himself as a consultant to Orbis Business Intelligence, Christopher Steele's British company, on his LinkedIn profile. When the London Daily Telegraph called attention to the Orbis reference, it was removed from the profile. Steele, who worked on the Trump dossier through his company Orbis, has denied that Miller worked directly on that dossier.

Theresa May and her foreign minister, Boris Johnson, insist there is only one person who could be responsible for the poisoning -- described as an act of war -- and that person is Vladimir Putin. No evidence has been offered to support this claim. No plausible motive has been provided as to why Putin would order such a provocative murder now, ahead of the World Cup, when the Russiagate coup in the United States has lost all momentum. Rather than following the protocols of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which require that evidence of the alleged agent be presented to Russia, the eccentric and unpopular May instead delivered an ultimatum to Russia, and whipped up war fever throughout the UK. She now seeks to pull Donald Trump and NATO into ever more aggressive moves against Russia.

Thus, as with Christopher Steele's dirty dossier against Donald Trump, the British claims against Putin are an evidence-free exercise of raw power. The Anglo-American establishment instructs us: "trust this, ignore the stinky factless content presented in this dossier -- just note that it is backed by very important intelligence agencies which could cook your goose if you object."

A short statement of the reasons why the British are now staging the Skripal provocation can be found in a March 14 London Daily Telegraph call to arms by Allister Heath, who rants: "We need a new world order to take on totalitarian capitalists in Russia and China. Such an alliance would dramatically shift the global balance of power, and allow the liberal democracies finally to fight back. It would endow the world with the sorts of robust institutions that are required to contain Russia and China. Britain needs a new role in the world; building such a network would be our perfect mission." Across the pond, as they say, a similar foundational statement was made by 68 former Obama Administration officials who have formed a group called National Security Action, aimed at securing Trump's impeachment and attacking Russia and China.

Russia and China have embarked on a massive infrastructure building project in Eurasia, the center of all British geopolitical fantasies since the time of Halford Mackinder. China's "Belt and Road Initiative" now encompasses more than 140 nations in the largest infrastructure-building project ever undertaken in human history. This project is a true economic engine for the future. At the same time, the neo-liberal economies of the trans-Atlantic region continue to see their productive potentials sucked dry by the massive piles of debt they have created since the 2008 financial collapse. This debt is now on a hair trigger for implosion. It is estimated by banking insiders that the City of London is sitting on a derivatives powderkeg of $700 trillion, with over-the-counter derivatives accounting for another $570 trillion. The City of London will bear the major impact of the coming derivatives collapse.

In this strategic geometry, President Trump's support for peaceful collaboration with Russia during the campaign, and his personal friendship with China's President Xi Jinping, have marked him for the relentless coup-drive waged by the British and their U.S. friends.

On top of that, President Putin delivered a mammoth strategic shock on March 1, showing new Russian weapons systems based on new physical principles, which render present U.S. ABM systems and much of current U.S. war-fighting doctrine obsolete, together with the vaunted first strike capacity with which NATO has surrounded Russia. Not only is the West sitting on a new financial collapse, its vaunted military superiority has just been flanked.

It is very clear that a strategic choice now confronts the human race. In 1984, Lyndon LaRouche wrote a very profound document, " Draft Memorandum of Agreement Between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. " In it, he developed the concrete basis for peace between the two superpowers at the moment when the United States had adopted the LaRouche/Reagan doctrine of strategic defense. Both Reagan and LaRouche had proposed that the Russians and the United States cooperate in building and developing strategic defense against offensive nuclear weapons, based on new physical principles, thereby eliminating the threat of nuclear annihilation.

According to the LaRouche Doctrine, "The political foundation for durable peace must be: a) the unconditional sovereignty of each and all nation states, and b) cooperation among sovereign states to the effect of promoting unlimited opportunities to participate in the benefits of technological progress, to the mutual benefit of each and all."

Both China, in President Xi's October Address to the Party Congress, and Russia, in Putin's March 1 address to the Federal Assembly, have set a course to produce technological progress capable of being shared in by all. They both outline major infrastructure projects and dedicating massive funding to exploring the frontiers of science, technology, and space exploration. Donald Trump, in both his campaign and his presidency, has embraced similar views. The British and their American friends, however, are devotees of a completely different and failing economic system, a system soundly rejected in Brexit, in the election of Donald Trump, and most recently in the Italian elections.

Just look at the events of February and March from this standpoint. It is no accident that Christopher Steele turns up, smack dab in the middle of the Skripal poisoning hoax.

Exposure of British as U.S. Election Meddlers Weakens Anti-Trump Coup

On Feb. 2, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a memo demonstrating that the Obama Justice Department and FBI committed an outright fraud on the FISA court in obtaining surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a volunteer for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The bogus warrant applications relied heavily on the dirty British dossier authored by MI6's "former" Russian intelligence chief, Christopher Steele, who had been paid by Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee to paint Donald Trump as a Manchurian candidate -- as a pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the House Intelligence memo and other aspects of its investigation, Steele confided to Bruce Ohr, a high official in the DOJ, that he, Steele, hated Trump with a passion and would do "anything" to prevent Trump's election. Steele was using the fact of an FBI investigation of his allegations as part of a "full spectrum" British information warfare campaign conducted against candidate Trump with the full complicity of Obama's intelligence chiefs. (See Peter Van Buren, " Christopher Steele: The Real Foreign Influence in the 2016 U.S. Election? " The American Conservative, February 15, 2018.) None of the true facts about the actual motive for, and sponsors of, the DOJ applications involving Carter Page were revealed to the FISA Court in the filings made by former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI Director James Comey, or current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The House Intelligence Committee memo was quickly followed by a declassified letter on Feb. 5, in which Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham referred Christopher Steele to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for criminal prosecution, based on false statements he made to the FBI about his contacts with the news media. No doubt the criminal referral sent chills down the spines not only of Christopher Steele and his British colleagues, but also of those former Obama officials conspiring against Trump.

In the same week, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes announced that he would be conducting investigations into the role of the Obama State Department and intelligence chiefs in the circulation and use of Christopher Steele's dirty dossier. These investigations have been widely reported to focus on John Brennan and James Clapper -- Brennan for widely promoting the dirty British work product, and Clapper for leaks associated with BuzzFeed's publication and legitimization of the dirty British work product. Remind yourself every time you hear media explosions against Trump by either Clapper (congressional perjurer and proponent of the theory that the Russians are genetically predisposed to screw the United States) or Brennan (gopher for George Tenet's perpetual war and torture regime and Grand Inquisitor for Barack Obama's serial
assassinations by baseball card). They are next in the barrel, so to speak.

The January 11, 2017 BuzzFeed publication of the Steele dossier was meant to permanently poison Trump's incoming administration, and is the subject of libel suits both in Florida and London. In the London case, the British are ready to invoke the Official Secrets Act to protect Christopher Steele. In the Florida case, Steele has been ordered to sit for deposition despite numerous delays and stalling tactics.

The Congressional investigation of the State Department is focused on John Kerry, Kerry's aide Jonathan Winer, Victoria Nuland, and Clinton operative Cody Shearer. Nuland utilized Christopher Steele as a primary intelligence source while running the U.S. regime change operations in Ukraine in alliance with neo-Nazis. She greenlighted Steele's initial meetings with the FBI about Donald Trump. Winer deployed himself to vouch for Steele to various news publications collaborating with British agent Steele and his U.S. employer, Fusion GPS, in Steele's media warfare operations against Trump.

Horowitz's report on the Clinton investigations -- which have already unearthed the texts between former Russiagate lead case agent Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, proclaiming their hatred of Donald Trump and the need for an "insurance policy" against his election -- is expected to be released very soon. According to the House Intelligence Committee, the Strzok/Page texts also reveal that Strzok was a close friend of U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras. Contreras sits on the FISA court, took Michael Flynn's guilty plea, and then promptly recused himself from Michael Flynn's case for reasons which remain undisclosed.

Despite its exoneration of the President and thorough discrediting of the British Steele operation, the House Intelligence Committee dangerously accepts the myth that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the emails of Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta, and then provided the hacked information to WikiLeaks for publication. Its final report states, however, that Putin's intervention was not in support of Donald Trump, as previously claimed by Obama's intelligence chiefs. The Senators seeking a new Special Counsel also salute this dangerous fraud.

As we have previously reported, the myth that Putin hacked the Democrats and provided the hacked emails to WikiLeaks, has been substantively refuted by the investigations of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). In summary, the evidence points to a leak rather than a hack in the case of the DNC. Further, the NSA would have the evidence of any such hack or hacks, according to former NSA technical director Bill Binney, and would have provided it, even if in a classified setting. It is clear that the NSA has no such evidence. It is also clear that the United States and the British have cyber warfare capabilities fully capable of creating "false flag" cyber war incidents.

North Korea Talks Planned, While Russia and China Continue to Create the Conditions for a New Human Renaissance

In addition to the fizzling of the coup, the Western elites suffered through February and March for additional reasons. To the shock of the entire, smug Davos crowd, Donald Trump, working with Russia, China, and South Korea, appears to have gotten Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table concerning denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Substantive talks have been scheduled for May. The breakthrough was announced by President Trump and South Korea on March 8.

On March 1, President Putin gave his historic two-hour address to the Russian Federal Assembly and the Russian people. Like President Xi's address to the Chinese Party Congress in October 2017, Putin focused on the goal of deeply reducing poverty in Russian society. Xi vowed in October to eliminate poverty from Chinese society altogether by 2020. In addition, Putin emphasized that Russia would undertake a huge city-building project across its vast rural frontiers and dramatically expand its modern infrastructure, including Russia's digital infrastructure. He put major emphasis on directing funds to basic scientific and technological progress. He emphasized that harnessing and stimulating the creative powers of individual human beings is the true driver of all economic progress.

China's Belt and Road Initiative also continued to advance. Great infrastructure projects are popping up throughout the world, including most specifically in Africa, which had been consigned to be a permanent, primitive looting-ground for Western interests. Among the recent breakthroughs is the great project to refill Lake Chad, a project known as "Transaqua," involving the Italian engineering firm Bonifica, the Chinese engineering and construction firm PowerChina, and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, which represents the African countries directly benefiting from the project. But the biggest strategic news of the last six weeks was contained in the last part of President Putin's speech. He showed various weapons, developed by Russian scientists in the wake of the U.S. abrogation of the ABM treaty and the Anglo-American campaign of color revolutions and NATO base-building in the former Soviet bloc. These weapons, based on new physical principles, render U.S. ABM defenses obsolete, together with many U.S. utopian war-fighting doctrines developed under the reigns of Obama and Bush. Putin emphasized that the economic and "defense" aspects of his speech were not separate. Rather, the scientific breakthroughs were based on an in-depth economic mobilization of the physical economy. He stressed that Russia's survival was dependent upon marshalling continuous creative breakthroughs in basic science and the high-technology spinoffs which result, and their propagation through the entire population. He stressed that such breakthroughs are the product of providing an actually human existence to the entire society.

Compare what Russia and China have set out to accomplish with respect to the physical economy of the Earth, with the second and third paragraphs of Lyndon LaRouche's prescription for a durable peace in the LaRouche Doctrine:

The most crucial feature of present implementation of such a policy of durable peace is a profound change in the monetary, economic, and political relations between dominant powers and those relatively subordinated nations often classed as "developing nations." Unless the inequities lingering in the aftermath of modern colonialism are progressively remedied, there can be no durable peace on this planet.

Insofar as the United States and the Soviet Union acknowledge the progress of the productive powers of labor throughout the planet to be in the vital strategic interests of each and both, the two powers are bound to that degree and in that way by a common interest. This is the kernel of the political and economic policies of practice indispensable to the fostering of a durable peace between those two powers.

This is the perspective which has the British terrified and acting-out, insanely. Were Trump, Putin, and Xi to enter into negotiations based on the LaRouche Doctrine, a breakthrough will have occurred for all of mankind, a breakthrough to a permanent and durable peace. No neo-liberal, post-industrial, unipolar order can match this, no matter how much Allister Heath, Ms. May, or Boris Johnson rant and rave about it.

Christopher Steele's British Playground

As is well known by now, Christopher Steele was a long-time MI6 agent before "retiring" to form his own extremely lucrative private intelligence firm. The firm is said to have earned $200 million since its formation. Steele was an MI6 agent in Moscow around the time Skripal was recruited. He also later ran the MI6 Russia desk and would have known everything there was to know about Skripal. Pablo Miller, who recruited Skripal, worked for Steele's firm according to Miller's LinkedIn profile, and lived in the same town as Skripal.

Since Steele has been discredited in the United States, a huge fawning publicity campaign has been undertaken on his behalf. The campaign involves journalists who have collaborated directly with Steele in his smear job against Trump. Books by Luke Harding and Michael Isikoff seek to rebuild Steele's reputation.

A fawning piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, as implausible as it is long, has been foisted on the public for the same reason.

There are some fascinating facts, however, in all this fawning prose:

Leaving aside Sergei Skripal's relationship with the central figure in the British-led coup against Donald Trump, it is clear that the May government's claim that he and his daughter were poisoned by a "novichok" nerve-agent, even if it is true, by no means makes a case that Putin's government was responsible. (It is of interest that as we were going to press on March 19, the foreign ministers of the European Union, after a briefing by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that indicted Putin as responsible, issued a statement which condemned the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, but pointedly failed to blame Putin or Russia.)

Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan who maintains contacts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, wrote March 16 that Britain's chemical-warfare scientists at Porton Down, "are not able to identify the nerve agent as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation of a type developed by Russia, after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the novichok program, a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilizers. This substance is a novichok in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China."

The background to Porton Down's reluctance, is of course former Prime Minister Blair's phony dossier on Iraqi WMD, which Lyndon LaRouche fought, alongside the late British arms expert David Kelly, who exposed the "dodgy dossier," at the time.

"To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days," Murray continues. "The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation of a type developed by Russia was used by Theresa May in Parliament, used by the U.K. at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, 'of a type developed by Russia,' is the precise phrase used in the joint communique‚ issued by the U.K., U.S.A., France, and Germany yesterday."

The main account of the chemical weapons cited by Theresa May was written by a Soviet dissident chemist named Vil Mirzayanov who now lives in the United States and published a book about his work at the Soviets' Uzbekistan chemical-warfare laboratory. In his much-publicized book, Mirzayanov sets out the formulas for the claimed substances. According to the March 16 Wall Street Journal, that publicity led to the novichoks' chemical structure being leaked, making them readily available for reproduction elsewhere. Ralf Trapp, a France-based consultant and expert on the control of chemical and biological weapons, told the Journal, "The chemical formula has been publicized and we know from publications from then-Czechoslovakia that they had worked on similar agents for defense in the 1980s. I'm sure other countries with developed programs would have as well."

But it does not seem that those "other countries" include Russia. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the independent agency charged by treaty with investigating claims like those just made by the British government, certified in September 2017 that the Russian government had destroyed its entire chemical weapons program, inclusive of its nerve agent production capabilities. In addition to Trapp's account, Seamus Martin, writing in the March 14 Irish Times, posits, based on personal knowledge, that novichoks were widely expropriated by East Bloc oligarchs and criminal elements in the Russian economic chaos of the 1990s.

Thus, after being disclosed by a dissident Russian chemist living in the United States, novichoks have been widely copied by other countries, according to the press accounts.

Further trouble for May's attempted hoax is found in the condition of the Skripals and of a police officer who went to their home. All were made critically ill, although they are still alive. Yet the emergency personnel who treated the Skripals, allegedly the victims of a deadly and absolutely lethal nerve poison, suffered no ill effects whatsoever.

The Skripal poisoning is being compared in the British press to the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in 2006. The former KGB and FSB officer was granted asylum in London and worked for the infamous anti-Putin British-intelligence-directed oligarch Boris Berezovsky in information warfare and other attacks on the Russian state, inclusive of McCarthyite accusations against any European politician seeking sane relations with Putin.

Litvinenko's case officer was none other than Christopher Steele, and Christopher Steele conducted MI6's investigation of the case, which, of course, found Putin himself culpable. Berezovsky's use of the disgraced British PR firm Bell, Pottinger is also credited with a significant role in public acceptance of this result. Berezovsky was a prime suspect in organizing the murder of American journalist Paul Klebnikov. Many believe that Berezovsky arranged Litvinenko's demise. Berezovsky himself died in Britain in mysterious circumstances following the loss of a major court case to another Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich.

In the parliamentary debate in which Theresa May issued her provocation, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn cautioned against a rush to judgment and pointed to the bloody playing field of Russian oligarchs and Russian organized crime as alternative areas for investigation. Had Corbyn added to that mix, "Western intelligence agencies," he would have been entirely on the right track. Corbyn also pointed out that these oligarchs had contributed millions to May's Conservative Party. The reaction by the British media, May's Conservatives, and Tony Blair's faction of the Labour Party was to paint Corbyn as a Putin dupe, including photoshopped images of the Labour leader in a Russian winter hat in front of the Kremlin.

The insane McCarthyite reactions to Corbyn's simple statements of fact show that he hit the nail on the head. If you want to find Skripal's poisoners, then, like Edgar Allen Poe, you must take in the whole picture first. The field of play involves the British intelligence services and the anti-Putin Russian oligarchs, each of which services the other, acting on behalf of British strategic objectives. It is no accident that the coup against Donald Trump and the latest British intelligence fraud, putting the entire world in peril, absolutely intersect one another.

[Mar 20, 2018] We read that Vladimir Putin's passport was found three days later at the Scripaal's poisoning scene.

Notable quotes:
"... Just like MH17, or the alleged (but fake) poison gas attacks in Syria, the policy has been to launch an initial barrage of accusations completely unsupported by the slightest shred of evidence – and then drop the matter abruptly, leaving the public with a strong impression of "Russian wickedness" although nothing has actually been proved. ..."
"... Skripal and daughter cheap, convenient, collateral damage for the warmongers. A person trained to handle organic nerve material introduces it into Skripal's car, they go for a morning drive and stop to have a pizza. After pizza, they begin to feel a little queasy. Go sit on a park bench. A passing citizen sees them, calls for medical assistance. Doctor says probably poisoned by toxic agent. Doctor knows it was not highly refined military grade. ..."
"... Car is lifted by straps so as not poison others and hauled to Potent Downs or whatever the Nerve Agent Factory is called. Now it can be doctored to fit the crime and I don't mean the Russians. How am I doing? Got a better tale? ..."
"... Now, I do understand that you – and most Brits – think that you are special. That there is one set of rules for you, and another for the ' others '. You have been conditioned by propaganda to assert this without any shame and to demonise Russia based on decades of half-witted stories (most taken out of context and exaggerated). Why would anyone take you seriously? ..."
"... People who walk around saying that they are exceptional, meaning they are 'Gods', or that they talk 'to God', are generally ignored or kept in an institution. Claiming that you are 'exceptional and special' is the same as claiming that you are divine – that's what it has meant historically. ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

remo , Website Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 8:36 am GMT

"Sir, Further to your report ("Poison exposure leaves almost 40 needing treatment", TIMES Mar 14)' may I clarify that no patients have experienced symptoms of nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury and there have only ever been three patients with significant poisoning. Several people have attended the emergency department concerned that they may have been exposed. None has had symptoms of poisoning and none has needed treatment. Any blood tests performed have shown no abnormality. No member of the public has been contaminated by the agent involved."
Stephen Davies. Consultant in emergency medicine, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Meanwhile, a doctor who was one of the first people at the scene has described how she found Ms Skripal..She said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying "there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripals face or body."

The woman, who asked not to be named, told the NNC she moved Ms Skripal into the recovery position and opened her airway, as others tended to her father.

she said she treated her for almost 30 minutes, saying there was no sign of any chemical agent on Ms Skripal's face or body.

The doctor said she had been worried she would be affected by the nerve agent, hut added that she "feels fine".

Some nerve agent. We read that Vladimir Putin's passport was found three days later at the scene.

Tom Welsh , Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 8:53 am GMT
One wonders how the Skripals are right now. Have they recovered completely, or partially? Are they still deathly ill? Has one or both of them died?

In any case, why have there been no public announcements of these important facts? It is useless to cite privacy, when the government hastened to trumpet the case – and its own dubious conclusions – as publicly as possible.

Just like MH17, or the alleged (but fake) poison gas attacks in Syria, the policy has been to launch an initial barrage of accusations completely unsupported by the slightest shred of evidence – and then drop the matter abruptly, leaving the public with a strong impression of "Russian wickedness" although nothing has actually been proved.

Incidentally, I wonder where the Skripals are and why. Apparently the Russian government applied for consular access to Yulia (who is a Russian citizen) but this was bluntly refused – against all norms of international law and civilized behaviour.

Ger , Next New Comment March 20, 2018 at 6:17 pm GMT
Skripal and daughter cheap, convenient, collateral damage for the warmongers. A person trained to handle organic nerve material introduces it into Skripal's car, they go for a morning drive and stop to have a pizza. After pizza, they begin to feel a little queasy. Go sit on a park bench. A passing citizen sees them, calls for medical assistance. Doctor says probably poisoned by toxic agent. Doctor knows it was not highly refined military grade.

How does the doctor know this: He is just down the street from the British Nerve Agent Factory and has been trained to recognize and treat real exposures to potent nerve agents. A policeman ends up in same hospital as Skripal because he sees car parked overtime or illegally, opens door to check for ownership gets zapped by toxic agent. Car is lifted by straps so as not poison others and hauled to Potent Downs or whatever the Nerve Agent Factory is called. Now it can be doctored to fit the crime and I don't mean the Russians. How am I doing? Got a better tale?

Beckow , March 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm GMT

We understand we are not being taken seriously

Good, understanding that you are a joke is the first step on the road to possible recovery.

Try for once to imagine a reverse scenario: an Englishman dies under suspicious circumstances in a provincial town in Russia. (Or 3-4 of them over 15-20 years.) He was considered a 'traitor' by UK for whatever reason. Immediately Russia declares that it was an ' unacceptable attack on Russia's sovereignty, that Britain did it, and that it is 'highly likely' that Teresa May ordered it herself' . Russian government also says that they will not disclose any details, show no evidence and will not even allow basis diplomatic protocol for UK embassy. Why? For reasons of ' state security '. Wouldn't any rational outsider consider that a joke?

Now, I do understand that you – and most Brits – think that you are special. That there is one set of rules for you, and another for the ' others '. You have been conditioned by propaganda to assert this without any shame and to demonise Russia based on decades of half-witted stories (most taken out of context and exaggerated). Why would anyone take you seriously?

People who walk around saying that they are exceptional, meaning they are 'Gods', or that they talk 'to God', are generally ignored or kept in an institution. Claiming that you are 'exceptional and special' is the same as claiming that you are divine – that's what it has meant historically.

This 'joke' is not that funny any more. Grow up.

[Mar 17, 2018] "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life: In November 2017 British TV 6th session episode 5 of 'Strike Back" Novichok was used

Mar 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

Art , March 16, 2018 at 6:51 am GMT

George Orwell sure can write beautiful words.

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it ( ) To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality"

Think Peace -- Art

Seraphim , March 16, 2018 at 7:18 am GMT
In an essay "The Decay of Lying" (1889), Oscar Wilde launched that famous sentence: "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life".

In November 2017 British TV presented the 6th session episode 5 of 'Strike Back", a British/American action-adventure/spy-drama television series based on a novel of the same name by novelist and former Special Air Service (SAS) soldier Chris Ryan. In it the Section 20 ("a secretive unit of British military intelligence, a team of special operations personnel conducting several high risk missions across the globe") foiled a terrorist attack with the gas Novichok made by Karim Markov, a Russian scientist who allegedly killed his colleagues who invented the gas. The team duly trace the labs where Markov continues to produce more Novichok, in Ukraine and Belarus. The cast is full with the assorted jihadis, Russian Mafia bosses with their cruel henchmen, Hungarian white supremacists and nasty Serbians.
You find summaries of the episodes @https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike_Back:_Retribution

Melotte22 , March 16, 2018 at 8:40 am GMT
Anyone heard of 'Strike Back', TV Drama:

"It is strange that a British-American intelligence TV drama Strike Back had several episodes featuring Novichok nerve agent and Evil Russkies last year. Someone orchestrating political theater in the UK watches a lot of TV, or is advised by its producers."

Check episodes 50&51

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike_Back:_Retribution

Seraphim , March 16, 2018 at 8:49 am GMT
Nobody will miss the fact that the countries which emitted the 'Joint statement' blaming Russia's aggression are the countries which repeatedly aggressed and invaded Russia or allied themselves with Russia's enemies. None of them were ever invaded by Russia but in pursuit of the repelled invaders. None of them were ever threatened by a Russian invasion.

[Mar 16, 2018] NATO to display common front in Skripal case

Highly recommended!
France previously stated that they do not react to British "Fantasy politics". French president Emmanuel Macron wants more evidence Vladimir Putin was involved and his spokesman accused Britain of "fantasy politics" -- Theresa May accused of punishing Russia too SOON by France who demand more evidence .
Later Macron was forced to change the tune
Notable quotes:
"... Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Curious fact. Although Russia stopped all its CW programmes in 1992, the UK & the US received specialists/defectors & documentation on these projects incl. so-called Novichok in mid-1990s, continued researching CW as evidenced by open sources ..."
"... .@RussiaUN: in 1992 Russia closed all Soviet chemical weapons programmes. Some of the scientists were flown to the West (incl UK) where they continued research. To identify a substance, formula and samples are needed – means UK has capacity to produce suspected nerve agent. ..."
"... Craig Murray's excellent essay's been heavily attacked, and he's written a stimulating and educational response that further bolsters the initial essay. Quite interesting the so-called journalists supporting May's propaganda. ..."
"... Oh dear, in sacred Europe!! How about the West using nerve agents on a grand scale against its enemy Iran in the Middle East (since the Second World War)? Twenty thousand Iranians were killed on the spot by nerve gas, according to reports, with thousands of people hospitalized. According to Iraqi documents, assistance in the development of chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. A report stated that Dutch, Australian, Italian, French and both West and East German companies were involved in the export of raw materials to Iraqi chemical weapons factories. ..."
"... This is the same sort of "highly likely" language that has worked so well with the false-flag attacks in Syria. It's obviously "highly likely" that there is no actual evidence. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:17:24 AM | 90

In joint statement, world leaders agree Russia behind nerve agent attack on former spy
This is the joint statement of the whirled leaders:
We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018. A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened. We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response.

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all.

The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia´s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behaviour. We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security. . . here

b , Mar 15, 2018 11:35:19 AM | 92
Russian Embassy, UK @RussianEmbassy
Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Russia destroyed all of its chemical weapons arsenals by 2017, a fact attested by @OPCW. No research, development or manufacturing of projects codenamed Novichok has ever been carried out in Russia, all CW programmes were stopped back in 1991-92

-

Russian Envoy to the UN #Nebenzya: Curious fact. Although Russia stopped all its CW programmes in 1992, the UK & the US received specialists/defectors & documentation on these projects incl. so-called Novichok in mid-1990s, continued researching CW as evidenced by open sources

-

later:

-

.@RussiaUN: in 1992 Russia closed all Soviet chemical weapons programmes. Some of the scientists were flown to the West (incl UK) where they continued research. To identify a substance, formula and samples are needed – means UK has capacity to produce suspected nerve agent.

source:
karlof1 , Mar 15, 2018 11:44:05 AM | 94
Craig Murray's excellent essay's been heavily attacked, and he's written a stimulating and educational response that further bolsters the initial essay. Quite interesting the so-called journalists supporting May's propaganda.
Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:51:02 AM | 96
from the Joint Statement:
. . . the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War
Oh dear, in sacred Europe!! How about the West using nerve agents on a grand scale against its enemy Iran in the Middle East (since the Second World War)? Twenty thousand Iranians were killed on the spot by nerve gas, according to reports, with thousands of people hospitalized. According to Iraqi documents, assistance in the development of chemical weapons was obtained from firms in many countries, including the United States, West Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France. A report stated that Dutch, Australian, Italian, French and both West and East German companies were involved in the export of raw materials to Iraqi chemical weapons factories.
Don Bacon , Mar 15, 2018 11:55:15 AM | 97
from the Joint Statement:
. . . it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack
This is the same sort of "highly likely" language that has worked so well with the false-flag attacks in Syria. It's obviously "highly likely" that there is no actual evidence.

[Mar 16, 2018] Does Western civilization now reject real, objective truth emulating the USSR

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Liza , March 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm GMT

With "principles" such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all "for the greater glory of God" the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth

Excuse me? What about western civilization before the ten commandments? Was it better or worse in your eyes? What's so damn special about your ten commandments that their (forced) acceptance by westerners should mark some sort of magical beginning of the true western civilization? So we had no morality of any kind before this?

I can think of other civilizations that have nothing – and I mean nothing – to be proud of. They make us look like amateurs in the rejection of real, objective truth.

[Mar 16, 2018] The method attributed to poisoning of Skripal is the best indication of the false flag operation. Looks more and more like a recycled WMD hoax to justify attack on Syria

Notable quotes:
"... Ask this, "who is pathologically obsessed with execution by gas?" Who is spearheading the "Russia is Evil" propaganda campaign? ..."
"... If Russian leadership wanted KGB/FSB/GRU/SVR to kill him, they'd done it while the man was in Russia in their custody. He would have never left the Russian prison alive, and nobody would be wiser. ..."
"... He is just not that important, that is why he was let out in a swap after spending only a few years in jail. The orchestrated hysterics and the oversize overreaction by the NATO gang is clear tell that they are the one who did it. ..."
"... Do you remember the Wikileaks about CIA having hacking tools whereby they could spoof cyber attacks form their computers yet have the signature they came from Russia (or some other country)? ..."
"... There is nothing uniquely Russian about the poison. There are no unique poisons or nerve agents. Everybody has the same things. All is being said is that the nerve agent is military grade. And England is refusing to give samples to Russia for analysis, so we don't know what it is. ..."
"... why wouldn't FSB off him by simply clubbing him to death and making it look like a mugging gone wrong: why use a military grade nerve agent of all things. Ridiculous that _anyone_ believes Russians did it. ..."
"... Boris Johnson confirmed widespread suspicions that the attack on Skripal was part of a recycled WMD hoax to justify another U.S. war of aggression, this time in Syria instead of Iraq. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Stan d Mute , March 16, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT

@Mark James

Because of the poison involved, they (Rus/Putin) almost certainly did it. Just because something like this is stupid doesn't mean it should be written off. Stupid things happen.

As I constantly iterate, never attribute to complex conspiracy what can be easily explained by gross stupidity. Look at the Billion plus followers of the lunatic ramblings of a desert cave dwelling freak, or the State of Utah and Planet Kolob. But your Occam's Razor analysis also fails the smell test.

If I want to assassinate someone, using a gas, in public, is about the dumbest way to go about it. Russia may well have wanted to send a message "for the encouragement of others" not to betray mother Russia, but why a gas rather than oral or injected poison? Why not the old favorite of defenestration? Or a simple GSW using Russian manufactured firearm/ammo?

Ask this, "who is pathologically obsessed with execution by gas?" Who is spearheading the "Russia is Evil" propaganda campaign?

Avery , March 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

Answer: none of the above.

If Russian leadership wanted KGB/FSB/GRU/SVR to kill him, they'd done it while the man was in Russia in their custody. He would have never left the Russian prison alive, and nobody would be wiser.

He is just not that important, that is why he was let out in a swap after spending only a few years in jail. The orchestrated hysterics and the oversize overreaction by the NATO gang is clear tell that they are the one who did it.

Avery , March 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm GMT
@Mark James

{Do I think Russia is involved with the Skripal hit? Of course.}

Based on what?

{Because of the poison involved, they (Rus/Putin) almost certainly did it.}

Really?

Do you remember the Wikileaks about CIA having hacking tools whereby they could spoof cyber attacks form their computers yet have the signature they came from Russia (or some other country)?

There is nothing uniquely Russian about the poison. There are no unique poisons or nerve agents. Everybody has the same things. All is being said is that the nerve agent is military grade. And England is refusing to give samples to Russia for analysis, so we don't know what it is.

{Just because something like this is stupid doesn't mean it should be written off. Stupid things happen}

Well, yeah: stupid things happen, and smart individuals sometimes do stupid things – but almost always for a reason, even if their actions are stupid. This should be written off, for a very simple reason: what is the Russian motivation? This guy was released in 2010. He was arrested in 2004: whatever damage he caused was very long ago. Why would Russian leadership risk almost certain exposure? for what?

And as poster [Meyer] posits above in #23, why wouldn't FSB off him by simply clubbing him to death and making it look like a mugging gone wrong: why use a military grade nerve agent of all things. Ridiculous that _anyone_ believes Russians did it.

alley cat , March 16, 2018 at 12:56 pm GMT
Speaking of "great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies," in an article in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Boris Johnson confirmed widespread suspicions that the attack on Skripal was part of a recycled WMD hoax to justify another U.S. war of aggression, this time in Syria instead of Iraq.

The fact that Prime Minister May has produced no evidence that Russia was behind the attack on Skripal, and that Secretary of Defense Mattis admits he has no evidence the Syrian government used sarin against its own people, doesn't deter Boris Johnson from blaming Russia for chemical attacks in both England and Syria.

From Johnson's article:

How much easier does it become for a state [Russia] to deploy chemical weapons when its government has already tolerated and sought to hide their use by others? I would draw a connection between Putin's indulgence of Assad's atrocities in Syria and the Russian state's evident willingness to employ a chemical weapon on British soil.

So a neocon-orchestrated Russiagate hoax merges with a neocon-orchestrated WMD hoax in Syria. It's all coming together.

The neocon strategy of "regime change by jihadi" in Syria has failed, and they're now forced to dust off the bogus WMD script that wreaked so much havoc on Iraq. Unfortunately for the neocons, Vladimir Putin has decided that Russia has nothing to lose, and probably much to gain, by taking a stand against imperialism now, in Syria, instead of later in Iran.

Now the world is both hostage and spectator to a game of nuclear chicken. If neither player swerves in time, planet Earth dies.

If Trump orders a climb down, the neocons will impeach him for losing Syria. But more appeasement by Putin would only embolden the neocons to further acts of aggression.

So Putin asks: "why do we need a world if Russia ceases to exist?" He is right to frame the showdown in Syria as a fight for Russia's existence, and Trump knows it.

Trump will have to take his chances with Mueller and the neocon crazies. Maybe the neocons will overplay their hand and bring about their own downfall, a happy outcome for all of humanity.

[Mar 16, 2018] George Orwell sure can write this quote

Notable quotes:
"... the fact that freedom of speech is under threat shows that the rise of mere emotive speech is still a long way from dominant. Facts and logic can still be heard and make a difference. This is why the political media elite cannot tolerate reasoned evidenced argument and is so concerned to censor dissenting voices. ..."
Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Art , March 16, 2018 at 6:51 am GMT

George Orwell sure can write beautiful words.

"To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it ( )

To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality"

Think Peace -- Art

Steve Hayes , March 16, 2018 at 12:15 pm GMT
Whilst there is much to be said in favour of the argument, the fact that freedom of speech is under threat shows that the rise of mere emotive speech is still a long way from dominant. Facts and logic can still be heard and make a difference. This is why the political media elite cannot tolerate reasoned evidenced argument and is so concerned to censor dissenting voices.

http://viewsandstories.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/knowing-without-finding-out.html

[Mar 16, 2018] Up until now, I was in favor of Putin trying to keep cool demeanor and be reasonable. Time works in favor of Russia, so simply trying to wait the Western collapse out is not unreasonable strategy. But with the West starting to resort to something as extreme as poisoning its own lapdogs and blaming Russia for it without presenting a single shred of evidence, it might be a good time to reconsider and join the escalation train in earnest.

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

alec bell , March 15, 2018 at 11:46 pm GMT

Up until now, I was in favor of Putin trying to keep cool demeanor and be reasonable. Time works in favor of Russia, so simply trying to wait the Western collapse out is not unreasonable strategy. But with the West starting to resort to something as extreme as poisoning its own lapdogs and blaming Russia for it without presenting a single shred of evidence, it might be a good time to reconsider and join the escalation train in earnest.

If we are in the age of ultimatums, then Moscow may want to start issuing a few of its own. One would be to warn the West about its intention to abandon START framework within a year and ultimately rearm to Soviet levels – 20000 strategic warheads at a minimum. Another would be to ask Syrian government to outsource its air-defense to Russia, then issue blanket no-flight order to all aircraft not authorized by Damascus.

Third, start arming insurgencies around the world that struggle against NATO/US presence. Fourth, eliminate USD and GBP from its trade completely. Fifth, consider formalizing military alliance with Iran.

There are many more steps that Russia can undertake. But whatever it chooses to do, the somnolent posture it maintained until yesterday is no more feasible.

[Mar 16, 2018] Truth vs half-truth vs lie

Mar 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

VICB3 , March 15, 2018 at 5:55 pm GMT

@yurivku

Respectfully, I think what he means is something that I've learned to do in the last few years in a rather automatic fashion. Namely, it's to realise that, in the immediate aftermath of any event, it's best to just sit back and wait a bit before you come to any sort of conclusion about blame. In the very short term, the water, the stream is very muddy and clouded as anybody and everybody who has – or think that they have – an interest in the event du jour tries to spin it to their own advantage.

The truth will reveal itself inasmuch as the Internet is the World's best fact checker. The initial story will *always* be shown to have a good deal of exaggerations, contradictions, anomalies and omissions. But those revelations take a (usually relatively short) bit of time. So better to look at whatever the immediate story might be with a good deal of patient skepticism and not immediately fly off the rails in a fit of hand-waving, eye-rolling and pearl-clutching hysterics.

Do this consistently, and I think you'll discover that:

-The truth of the matter is usually gray, with plenty of blame to go around.

-And/or you're being fed a line of pandering BS by people who think that you're a naive and trusting idiot.

In short, act like an adult and not a dimwitted child. Use your brain and not your emotions.

Hope this helps.

Just a thought.

VicB3

P.S. A pithy thought from Mike Rivero:

If it doesn't affect you directly, then it's either advertising or propaganda.

Anders , March 15, 2018 at 8:38 pm GMT
Re: "Almost from day one, the early western civilization began by, shall we say, taking liberties with the truth, which it could bend, adapt, massage and repackage to serve the ideological agenda of the day. It was not quite the full-blown and unapologetic relativism of the 19th century yet, but it was an important first step. With "principles" such as the end justifies the means and the wholesale violation of the Ten Commandants all "for the greater glory of God" the western civilization got cozy with the idea that there was no real, objective truth, only the subjective perception or even representation each person might have thereof."
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
Saker is a good military analyst, but as a historian he is a laughable dilettante. He is a very self-righteous, touchy Orthodox Christian ideologue and moralist.

[Mar 15, 2018] The timing is once again highly suspicious with the fifa world cup around the corner

Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

DisappointeDinTRUMP

The timing is once again highly suspicious with the fifa world cup around the corner. The Empire does not want Russia on center stage with the whole world watching. Trust me, we can expect much more to come regarding this world cup. Boycotting, sanctions and more underhanded tactics happening are what the next month has in store for us.

I wonder just how much more Russia is able to take before it decides not to turn the other cheek. Eventually Russia will start saying that "hold on a second, we are being judged and punished continuously so why dont we start doing some things to at least warrant all this punishment?"

[Mar 15, 2018] This is just another entry in a long list of false flag events carefully crafted to turn Russia, and Putin in particular, into an international pariah

Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Bob In Portland

Also, the poison, Novichok, was stored by the Soviets in states on its borders, like Georgia and Ukraine, and Baltic states, so after those republics broke off from the USSR during its collapse the poison fell into the hands of anti-Russian countries. It is inconceivable that western intelligence at the collapse of the USSR would not have swooped in and grabbed what it could in those stockpiles. In fact, in 1999 American agents spent six million dollars in decommissioning a plant that produced Novichok in the Uzbek city of Nukus. If you don't think that they took a little for a false flag in the future you don't know our intelligence services.

Finally, the chemical formula is available here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/State-Secrets-Insiders-Chronicle-Chemical/dp/1432725661/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520920301&sr=8-1&keywords=vil+mirzayanov

Holmes , March 14, 2018 at 7:04 pm

100% False Flag.

andrew , March 14, 2018 at 8:14 pm

I believe the culprits are ukraine SBU.

This week poroshenko has been trying to convince the EU to designate Russia as the Aggressor nation and to attempt to end Minsk obligations.

Chumpsky , March 14, 2018 at 10:04 pm

The Russian presidential election is coming up on Sunday. A great opportunity now for the CIA / MI6 / Mossad backed candidate to make some noise over Putin's near-guaranteed, shoe-in victory by planting an illegitimate narrative.

The gassing, using Novichok (an open-source formula), is just another in a long list of false flag events carefully crafted to turn Russia, and Putin in particular, into an international pariah and bogeyman in particular. Such an event is an attempt to throw cold water on Trump's thawing of relations by discrediting him now that Steele has been exposed as a fraud.

Who's meddling in whose election now?

[Mar 15, 2018] All those elaborate deception schemes and false flags that we now know of are just another set of deceptive methods of Socializing The Costs, while Privatizing The Profits.

Notable quotes:
"... nd, on June 26, 2006, The Washington Post reported that "the CIA acknowledged that Curveball was a con artist who drove a taxi in Iraq and spun his engineering knowledge into a fantastic but plausible tale about secret bioweapons factories on wheels." ..."
Mar 15, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

cmp , March 13, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Venal Visors. And the all too easy convenience of Socializing The Costs, while Privatizing The Profits.

Oliver North, while under oath during the IranContra Hearings: "..We didn't lose the Vietnam war over there, we lost that war, in this city."

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

On April 8, 2005, CIA Director Porter Goss ordered an internal review of the CIA in order to determine why doubts about Curveball's reliability were not forwarded to policy makers. Former CIA Director George Tenet and his former deputy, John E. McLaughlin, announced that they were not aware of doubts about Curveball's veracity before the war. However, Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA's European division, told the Los Angeles Times that "everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening." .. A nd, on June 26, 2006, The Washington Post reported that "the CIA acknowledged that Curveball was a con artist who drove a taxi in Iraq and spun his engineering knowledge into a fantastic but plausible tale about secret bioweapons factories on wheels."

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

While Mueller Was Head Of The FBI -- Hillary's email firm was run from a loft apartment in Denver with its servers in the bathroom, which of course, should raise some questions over security of sensitive messages (the public's property) that she held.

(..take your pick..) .. Too BIG to jail?

And, is there a softer side -- to actively engaging in war?? .. James Le Mesurier, the creator of the White Helmets, who just happens to be a British private security specialist and a former British military intelligence officer, he has said very recently, "who would you trust more than the fire brigade or a first response NGO?" And, as reported by Vanessa Beeley in a recent Corbett Report interview: "James Le Mesurier, he is now recruiting in Brazil. We know that the White Helmets have appeared in Malaysia and in Venezuela, and in the Philippines."

.. Too BIG to jail?

Venal Visors -- gone viral.. ..Socialize. ..Privatize. .. Feed the beast..

~ Rep. Luther Johnson (D.-Texas), in the debate that preceded the Radio Act of 1927
"American thought and American politics will be largely at the mercy of those who operate these stations, for publicity is the most powerful weapon that can be wielded in a republic. And when such a weapon is placed in the hands of one person, or a single selfish group is permitted to either tacitly or otherwise acquire ownership or dominate these broadcasting stations throughout the country, then woe be to those who dare to differ with them. It will be impossible to compete with them in reaching the ears of the American people."

[Mar 12, 2018] The USA has become completely an oligarchy run by a convoluted mix of intellignce agences and various lobbies with a fight going now on at the top (mafia 1 vs. mafia 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power, revenue, war spoils, etc

Highly recommended!
Trump's game looks more and more like a V2.0 of Obama's "bait and switch" game... Another "change we can believe in" scam to artificially extend the shelf life of neoliberal as a social system.
Notable quotes:
"... My take on his support: DT support is far higher than one would expect (duh.. it just isn't visible in the MSM, remember I predicted he would win when he threw his hat in). ..."
"... DT has lost some who voted for him, typically 'anything but Hillary' types, "give him a chance", who are disapointed at his poor performance on some/any/all issues. Some others have checked out of any involvement in MS pols. and have joined Doomsters, Refusniks, and even (imho) to my surprise, quasi-anarchists (who lack a platform.) ..."
"... The rapidly degrading US socio-economic landscape is no doubt responsible, more so than the person of DT. (Arguably he is contributing to the decline, other story.) Poverty, sagging life expectancy, opioid crisis, homelessness, student debt, crumbling infrastructure, cuts in social aid or 'benefits' as the brits say, no future generation, etc. ..."
"... On the other hand, DT supporters have become more 'radical and committed' ..."
"... The USA has become completely a-political, an oligarchy run by a convoluted circuit of top-dogs and gals, fights going on at the top (mafia 1 vs. team 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power/revenue/capture/ etc., not new but now evident. ..."
"... The top 20% chooses sides, as they have to, merely in function of who is paying them, where their status comes from, what hopes for children. The rest can check out and face their fate, or choose a cult, a tribe The next question is, what are the attitudes to civil war? How is that going to play out? ..."
Mar 12, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Noirette | Mar 12, 2018 10:51:11 AM | 20

Lozion,

I keep vague track of Trump support by consulting various sites. DT enthusiasts are all very keen on GAB, the censorship on twitter - reddit - youtube and other pop. drives them totally crazy.

My take on his support: DT support is far higher than one would expect (duh.. it just isn't visible in the MSM, remember I predicted he would win when he threw his hat in).

DT has lost some who voted for him, typically 'anything but Hillary' types, "give him a chance", who are disapointed at his poor performance on some/any/all issues. Some others have checked out of any involvement in MS pols. and have joined Doomsters, Refusniks, and even (imho) to my surprise, quasi-anarchists (who lack a platform.)

Technotopists are going out of fashion (> global warming disasters.) -- The rapidly degrading US socio-economic landscape is no doubt responsible, more so than the person of DT. (Arguably he is contributing to the decline, other story.) Poverty, sagging life expectancy, opioid crisis, homelessness, student debt, crumbling infrastructure, cuts in social aid or 'benefits' as the brits say, no future generation, etc.

On the other hand, DT supporters have become more 'radical and committed' as is always the case in these kind of 'tribal' belonging scenes, they have dragged in family members / friends, through the usual conduits of social influence in micro-circles. Which has been made exceptionally easy by the terminal idiocy, blindness and contradictions of the MSM, Dems and the PTB (incl. top Republicans, corporations, etc.) generally. Authoritarian impulses (which DT embraces in part - the WALL is a good ex. - for the rest, hmm..) will flourish up to a point.

The USA has become completely a-political, an oligarchy run by a convoluted circuit of top-dogs and gals, fights going on at the top (mafia 1 vs. team 2) for grabbing the leftovers of power/revenue/capture/ etc., not new but now evident.

The top 20% chooses sides, as they have to, merely in function of who is paying them, where their status comes from, what hopes for children. The rest can check out and face their fate, or choose a cult, a tribe The next question is, what are the attitudes to civil war? How is that going to play out?

About non-posts, I was going to go into the murder of Kim Jong-Nam (brother of today's Kim) which ties two threads together - NKorea and murder by nerve gas. (Hoarse mentioned this in the other thread.)

[Mar 06, 2018] Xi Jinping Is Now China's President for Life. What Would Machiavelli Think

Mar 06, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Machiavelli recounts Livy's tale of the sons of Brutus, consul of Rome, to make his point about eradicating foes of a new regime. Roman republicans had just deposed the Tarquin monarchy, and Brutus' sons intrigued to bring the kings back. Why? "As the history shows," observes Machiavelli, the youths "were induced to conspire with other young Romans against the fatherland because of nothing other than that they could not take advantage extraordinarily under the consuls as under the king, so that the freedom of that people appeared to have become their servitude."

In other words, the sons of Brutus subverted the republic because they couldn't turn its institutions to their personal gain. Their enmity left the fledgling regime in an uncomfortable predicament: "a state that is free and that newly emerges," contends Machiavelli, "comes to have partisan enemies and not partisan friends." Those who profited by the old order become implacable foes of the new order, while friends of the new order hedge their bets until and unless the new rulers consolidate their hold on power.

In other words, the new republic faced resolute opposition while commanding only tepid support. The consul had to vanquish Rome's enemies in dramatic fashion to win wholehearted allegiance from the populace. "If one wishes to remedy these inconveniences and . . . disorders," maintains Machiavelli, "there is no remedy more powerful, nor more valid, more secure, and more necessary, than to kill the sons of Brutus." Brutus oversaw the scourging and beheading of the conspirators -- and endeared himself to generations of republicans.

[Mar 02, 2018] Neocon schumer plays identity politics

Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , March 2, 2018 at 2:59 am GMT

Don't worry about republicans ..democrats are ruining themselves all alone .every time the deplorables see something like this they will double down on anything but a Dem.
Regardless of one's view on blacks or whites this is a major Stupid for a politician.

Chuck Schumer votes against South Carolina federal judge nominee because he's white

https://www.postandcourier.com/politics/chuck-schumer-votes-against-s-c-judicial-nominee-because-he/article_8b9f1890-1d6b-11e8-8533-0f7cc33319a9.html

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected President Donald Trump's nominee for a long-vacant South Carolina federal judgeship not because of his qualifications but because of his race.
The decision drew the quick ire of South Carolina's two U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, a former federal prosecutor.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a Senate floor speech Wednesday he would not support Greenville attorney Marvin Quattlebaum for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court in South Carolina

Voting for Quattlebaum, he said, would result in having a white man replace two African-American nominees from the state put forth by former President Barack Obama.

Schumer said he would not be a part of the Trump administration's pattern of nominating white men.

"The nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum speaks to the overall lack of diversity in President Trump's selections for the federal judiciary," Schumer said.

"It's long past time that the judiciary starts looking a lot more like the America it represents," he continued. "Having a diversity of views and experience on the federal bench is necessary for the equal administration of justice."

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate's sole black Republican, pushed back on Schumer's rationale and urged other Senate Democrats to instead address diversity issues by starting with their offices.

"Perhaps Senate Democrats should be more worried about the lack of diversity on their own staffs than attacking an extremely well-qualified judicial nominee from the great state of South Carolina," Scott tweeted Thursday morning.

[Feb 26, 2018] State Department Troll Farm Receives Huge Cash Infusion

Notable quotes:
"... "This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. ..."
"... Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns. ..."
"... With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states). ..."
"... If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck. ..."
"... The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes." ..."
"... money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that... ..."
Feb 26, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. State Department will increase its online trolling capabilities and up its support for meddling in other countries. The Hill reports :

The State Department is launching a $40 million initiative to crack down on foreign propaganda and disinformation amid widespread concerns about future Russian efforts to interfere in elections.

The department announced Monday that it signed a deal with the Pentagon to transfer $40 million from the Defense Department's coffers to bolster the Global Engagement Center, an office set up at State during the Obama years to expose and counter foreign propaganda and disinformation.

The professed reason for the new funding is the alleged but unproven "Russian meddling" in the U.S. election campaign. U.S. Special Counsel Mueller indicted 13 Russians for what is claimed to be interference but which is likely mere commercial activity.

The announcement by the State Department explains that this new money will not only be used for measures against foreign trolling but to actively meddle in countries abroad:

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steve Goldstein said the transfer of funds announced today reiterates the United States' commitment to the fight.

"This funding is critical to ensuring that we continue an aggressive response to malign influence and disinformation and that we can leverage deeper partnerships with our allies, Silicon Valley, and other partners in this fight," said Under Secretary Goldstein. "It is not merely a defensive posture that we should take, we also need to be on the offensive. "

The mentioning of Silicon Valley is of interest. The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:

While the companies call it standard practice to work hand-in-hand with high-spending advertisers like political campaigns, the new research details how the staffers assigned to the 2016 candidates frequently acted more like political operatives, doing things like suggesting methods to target difficult-to-reach voters online, helping to tee up responses to likely lines of attack during debates, and scanning candidate calendars to recommend ad pushes around upcoming speeches.

In May 2016 the Hillary Clinton campaign even set up her own troll farm :

Hillary Clinton's well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet's worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton's campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.

In effect, the effort aims to spend a large sum of money to increase the amount of trolling that already exists online.

Clinton is quite experienced in such issues. In 2009, during protests in Iran, then Secretary of State Clinton pushed Twitter to defer maintenance of its system to "help" the protesters. In 2010 USAid, under the State Department set up a Twitter-like service to meddle in Cuba.

The foreign policy advisor of Hillery Clinton's campaign, Laura Rosenberger, initiated and runs the Hamilton68 project which falsely explains any mentioning of issues disliked by its neo-conservative backers as the result of nefarious "Russian meddling".

The State Department can build on that and other experience.

Since at least 2011 the U.S. military is manipulating social media via sock puppets and trolls:

A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
...
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".

It was then wisely predicted that other countries would follow up:

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

Israel is long known for such information operations in which its paid trolls not only comment on issues on social media but actively manipulate Wikipedia entries. Such astroturfing has since become a common tool in commercial marketing campaigns.

With the new money the State Department will expand its Global Engagement Center (GEC) which is running "public diplomacy", aka propaganda, abroad:

The Fund will be a key part of the GEC's partnerships with local civil society organizations, NGOs, media providers, and content creators to counter propaganda and disinformation. The Fund will also drive the use of innovative messaging and data science techniques.

Separately, the GEC will initiate a series of pilot projects developed with the Department of Defense that are designed to counter propaganda and disinformation. Those projects will be supported by Department of Defense funding.

This money will be in addition to the large funds the CIA traditionally spends on manipulating foreign media:

"We've been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947," said Mr. Johnson, now at the University of Georgia. "We've used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners -- you name it. We've planted false information in foreign newspapers. We've used what the British call 'King George's cavalry': suitcases of cash."
...
C.I.A. officials told Mr. Johnson in the late 1980s that "insertions" of information into foreign news media, mostly accurate but sometimes false, were running at 70 to 80 a day.

Part of the new State Department money will be used to provide grants. If online trolling or sock puppetry is your thing, you may want to apply now.

Posted by b on February 26, 2018 at 02:02 PM | Permalink

Comments


nhs , Feb 26, 2018 2:34:39 PM | 1

The US propaganda machine has just confirmed what establishment's worst nightmare would be
Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 2:40:29 PM | 2
"to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner"

I call these social media watchers rather than trolls. Rather than simply trying to disrupt any and all social media threads they don't like, social media watchers look for comments or comment threads that are disparaging or damaging to their employer.

WorldBLee , Feb 26, 2018 2:49:32 PM | 3
#2 @Peter AU 1 - I would say the language "to find and CONFRONT" sounds pretty much like troll behavior.

With regard to the larger issue, it seems that the US is getting more and more like its allies Ukraine (drives out any press concerned with printing the truth, relies on a bombastic and entirely false narrative to try and convince its hapless citizens that all is great and everything is Russia's fault) and Israel (an early leader in manipulating online info as b states).

Don Bacon , Feb 26, 2018 2:51:50 PM | 4
That $40 million will probably be pissed away on a couple sweetheart contracts to Tillerson friends and nobody will see a difference. US State Department propaganda programs, labeled as "public diplomacy" and other monikers, have been around for a long time but haven't been executed very well.

From the State Dept. historian office, 2013: . .(excerpt):

Public Diplomacy Is Still in Its Adolescent Stage in the State Department , etc.

. . . The process of convergence has been evolutionary. Secretary Powell grasped the power of the information revolution, reallocated positions and resources from traditional diplomatic posting to new areas and recognized the power of satellite television to move publics and constrain governments even in authoritarian regimes. Secretary Rice forwarded this reconceptualization under the rubric of "Transformational Diplomacy," which sought to help people transform their own lives and the relationship between state and society. Secretary Clinton continued the theme under the concept of "Smart Power." "Person-to-person diplomacy in today's work is as important as what we do in official meetings in national capitals across the globe," Clinton said in 2010.The work done by PD officials in Arab Spring countries beginning in 2011 was as much about capacity-building as advocating U.S. policies or directly trying to explain American culture. . . here

notlurking , Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....
nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:18:15 PM | 6
Prior efforts were targeted more at traditional news outlets, this is just an expansion into social media along the lines of previous work, example A being the Rendon Group in Iraq, etc. https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Rendon_Group

If it sounds like a PR monkey banging away on a regurgitated theme, it probably is. For example, the endless repetition in US media about "Syrian chemical weapons attacks" with no on-the-ground supporting evidence is typical of a Rendon Group disinformation campaign; so then they hire a hundred trolls to post outraged comments about 'Syrian chemical weapons use' in comment sections and on twitter; then they hire some State Department intern to write a book about the horrors of the Assad regime, and at the end they collect their $10 million paycheck.

Tediousness, defined.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:19:30 PM | 7
WorldBLee 2

Media watchers target specific comments or comment threads, in the case stated by b, those disparaging or damaging to Clinton.

What I term trolls target blogs or social media accounts that are considered targets, no matter the content of a particular article or comment thread. Social media media watchers are a little more specialized than trolls and look for specific content.

nonsense factory , Feb 26, 2018 3:23:52 PM | 8
P.S. it's funny that you can find out what these clowns are up to by looking for job listings and salary reports:

The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist Salary | Glassdoor

Average [monthly] salaries for The Rendon Group Social Media Specialist: $2,520. The Rendon Group salary trends based on salaries posted anonymously by The Rendon Group employees.

Talk about a soul-destroying job. Right up there with Wikipedia page editor.

Peter AU 1 , Feb 26, 2018 3:27:48 PM | 9
nonsense factory 8. Money looks good. Plenty of people that dont give a shit about their soul will take it up.
la Cariatide , Feb 26, 2018 3:40:19 PM | 11
http://www.voltairenet.org/article194715.html
NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:08:38 PM | 12
@7 peter

I see what you are alluding to, but the only problem with it is that, irrespective of the differing definitions, at heart, these infiltrators are a disrupting force on the message boards, whether paid to be or not. Their medium is disruption and obfuscation. I tried to wade into the neoliberal viper's den at slate.com un the past to post "alt-right" stuff and was quickly attacked by multiple avatars.

In essence, one troll disrupts because he has a need for recognition, and the latter disrupts for money. Both are netgain for the troll and loss for the rest of us.

ben , Feb 26, 2018 4:09:30 PM | 13
The hypocrisy of the U$A continues to be staggering.. If the collective IQ's of the general public approached double digits, the disinformation and propaganda afoot, couldn't gain much traction. As comedian Richard Pryor once said, " Who you gonna' believe, the propagandists, or your lying eyes."

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

james , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:32 PM | 14
thanks b... troll farms looks like a good name for it... farming for the empire.. they could call it that too.. russia as trend setter, lol.. i don't think so!

speaking of troll farms, i see max Blumenthal came out with some 'about time' comments on the sad kettle of fish called 'democracy now'... here is his tweet - "If @democracynow is going to push the neocon project of regime change in Syria so relentlessly and without debate, it should drop the high minded literary NPR aesthetic and just host Nikki Haley for a friendly one-on-one #EstablishmentNow https://twitter.com/democracynow/status/967123918237655041
7:07 AM - Feb 25, 2018 "

money for propaganda... that was back in 1984 - we have progressed from Orwell's version of reality to a new one where reality is what you make of it... meanwhile there will be more dead people that the sponsors of these troll farms, could care less about... although they will frame it - 180% of that...

NemesisCalling , Feb 26, 2018 4:19:33 PM | 15
The silver lining here is that the state dept. is in a sense admitting that there is nothing "in the pipe" relating to outright censorship whether through nefarious agreements between ISP providers and the IC via the repeal of net neutrality.

$40 mil is a lot for liberal college graduates however.

Jen , Feb 26, 2018 4:20:59 PM | 16
Nonsense Factory @ 8, Peter AU 1 @ 9: There are plenty of communities in rural Australia who'd be glad to have troll farms paying that sort of money (even as Australian dollars - 1 Australian dollar being worth about US$0.76 at this time of posting) a month. Real farmers could do trolling on the side during slow seasons of the year and make some money.
karlof1 , Feb 26, 2018 4:26:45 PM | 17
What we need are some Mole Trolls, or maybe that's Troll Moles--double agents if you will that work for 6-12 months recording 100% of all they do then reveal it all in an expose.
Ian , Feb 26, 2018 5:21:58 PM | 18
Getting ready for mid-terms. It's going to be interesting to see if the Democrats get wiped off the map. They should be able to hire quite a few people for $40 million. Don't be surprised if they deploy AI in the first wave, then follow up with a real person.

ben @13:

Turn off your I phones, and think a little.

ROFL After wandering aimlessly in the mall with Her Majesty over the weekend, I'm not sure if that's even possible now.

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:23:20 PM | 19
Hillary Clinton sat on a wall,
Hillary Clinton had a great fall;
All the DNC stooges and all her trolls
Couldn't put her campaign again on the roll.

[department of lame rhymes]

Piotr Berman , Feb 26, 2018 5:29:18 PM | 20
I am retired and can use some extra change....just kidding!!!....

Posted by: notlurking | Feb 26, 2018 2:55:14 PM | 5

Foolish human, who needs the likes of you! Regards, Chief Bot

pantaraxia , Feb 26, 2018 6:42:36 PM | 21
"The big Silicon Valley companies Google, Facebook and Twitter were heavily involved in the U.S. election campaign. The companies embedded people within the campaigns to advise them how to reach a maximum trolling effect:"

It went much further than that . Google actually tweaked its algorithms to alter search recommendations in favor of the Clinton campaign. A comparative analysis of search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo showed that Google differed significantly from the other two in producing search recommendations relevant to Clinton.

Google Manipulates Search Results To Favor Hillary Clinton - Jimmy Dore
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MICXf6viakc

But , but, but...Russia!!!

Nothing to see her folks. Carry on.

che , Feb 26, 2018 6:47:53 PM | 22
The entire U.S. MSM is a F'ing troll farm, disinformation, Orwellian world on steroids. The U.S. public is fed a constant never ending stream of complete Bull sh**, self serving crap. How to stop it is the only question, to stop the impunity with which these criminals like Bush and Trump and Obama and Mattis et.al. lie with their pants on fire and .....they all suck .01% dick.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23
@8 Nonsense Factory

Ahmed Nafeez exposed The Rendon Group and the Pentagon's Highlands Forum a few years ago.

And then there's today's nonsense.

Are You a Russian Troll?

Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:44:21 PM | 24
It's surprising to see the NYT admit the US does it, too. The alt media has been all over this including Corbett's recent video with the Woolsey interview with Fox News where he laughs it off and then says it was for a good cause.
Curtis , Feb 26, 2018 8:47:09 PM | 25
Hillary's Troll Farm = Lipstick on a pig.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 8:51:55 PM | 26
From Nafeez Ahmed :
Two days before 9/11, Condoleeza Rice received the draft of a formal National Security Presidential Directive that Bush was expected to sign immediately. The directive contained a comprehensive plan to launch a global war on al-Qaeda , including an "imminent" invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The directive was approved by the highest levels of the White House and officials of the National Security Council, including of course Rice and Rumsfeld. The same NSC officials were simultaneously running the Dhabol Working Group to secure the Indian power plant deal for Enron's Trans-Afghan pipeline project. The next day, one day before 9/11, the Bush administration formally agreed on the plan to attack the Taliban.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:10 PM | 27
From Nafeez Ahmed :

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

"Then there is the War on Terror, which DoD has started to refer to as the Long War, a term that I first heard at the Forum. It seems very appropriate to describe the overall conflict in which we now find ourselves. This is a truly global conflict the conflicts we are now in have much more of the feel of a battle of civilizations or cultures trying to destroy our very way of life and impose their own."
Debsisdead , Feb 26, 2018 9:01:42 PM | 28
Posted by: Fec | Feb 26, 2018 8:19:04 PM | 23

Yeah well since the writer of the 'quiz' exposes themself as bein a troll of the worst sort there is nothing to be said. I'm currently attempting to ingest only those newstories where the publisher provides space for feedback from readers since if a story is truthful it should be able to withstand challenge. yeah riight cos that means there's bugger all out there anymore. The biggest 'win' populism has had this far is in driving all feedback off all sites with a readership of more than a few hundred. Many of those that do allow feedback only permit humans with credentialed facebook or google accounts to indulge and the comments are only visible to similarly logged in types. That tells us a lot about the lack of faith the corporate media actually have in the nonsense they publish.

Of course 'trolls' are the ones held to be the guilty for causing this but if you actually watch what happens in a feedback column such as the rare occasions when the graun still permits CIF comments it isn't the deliberately offensive arseholes spouting the usual cliches who get deleted, it is those who put forward a considered argument which details why the original writer has reached a faulty conclusion.

We all know this yet it seems as though none of us are prepared to confront it properly as the censorship it is.
IMO media outlets which continually lie or at least distort the truth to advance a particular agenda need to be called to account.
Massed pickets outside newsrooms would be a good way cos as much as media hate us loudmouths who won't swallow their bromides, they like their competition even less. A decently organised picket of NYT, WaPo or the Graun would be news in every other spineless, propagandising & slug-featured media entity.

Lozion , Feb 26, 2018 9:09:10 PM | 29
Cant wait to see the big new shiny gold GEC logo, AMC & GMC anyone? ;)
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:17:57 PM | 30
@ 28 Debsisdead

Said troll was published in Richmond and God only knows who else picked it up. I refuted it in the comments as best I could, also excerpting MOA. Regardless:

From Ahmed Nafeez :

Among Rendon's activities was the creation of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) on behalf of the CIA, a group of Iraqi exiles tasked with disseminating propaganda, including much of the false intelligence about WMD . That process had begun concertedly under the administration of George H W. Bush, then rumbled along under Clinton with little fanfare, before escalating after 9/11 under George W. Bush. Rendon thus played a large role in the manufacture of inaccurate and false news stories relating to Iraq under lucrative CIA and Pentagon contracts  --  and he did so in the period running up to the 2003 invasion as an advisor to Bush's National Security Council: the same NSC, of course, that planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, achieved with input from Enron executives who were simultaneously engaging the Pentagon Highlands Forum.

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/why-google-made-the-nsa-2a80584c9c1
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:26:22 PM | 31
From Ahmed Nafeez :
Mass surveillance and data-mining also now has a distinctive operational purpose in assisting with the lethal execution of special operations, selecting targets for the CIA's drone strike kill lists via dubious algorithms, for instance, along with providing geospatial and other information for combatant commanders on land, air and sea, among many other functions. A single social media post on Twitter or Facebook is enough to trigger being placed on secret terrorism watch-lists solely due to a vaguely defined hunch or suspicion; and can potentially even land a suspect on a kill list.
Fec , Feb 26, 2018 9:40:37 PM | 32
From Ahmed Nafeez :
In 2011, the Forum hosted two DARPA-funded scientists, Antonio and Hanna Damasio, who are principal investigators in the 'Neurobiology of Narrative Framing' project at the University of Southern California. Evoking Zalman's emphasis on the need for Pentagon psychological operations to deploy "empathetic influence," the new DARPA-backed project aims to investigate how narratives often appeal "to strong, sacred values in order to evoke an emotional response," but in different ways across different cultures

This goes a long way toward explaining what is occurring in Hollywood and Nashville.

[Feb 16, 2018] Is Donald Trump Morphing Into A Neocon Interventionist by Doug Bandow

One year later we can say with confidence, yes he morphed into a neocon in foreign policy.
What is especially bad is that Trump executed "bait and switch" maneuver as smoothly as Obama. Devastating.
Notable quotes:
"... So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? ..."
"... Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view. ..."
"... I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street. ..."
"... It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start... ..."
"... While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MUCH more of the same, new wars, vastly increased fighting in current wars. So more of the same is in fact a big step down from the alternative. ..."
"... Stop those wars. They don't serve us. ..."
"... Trump's a liar, and his whole campaign was a calculated fraud from the beginning. We're the victims of a "bait-and-switch" scam. ..."
"... Because he lied. Just like he lied about draining the swamp and just restocked it with new varmints from Goldman Sachs and even an ex-Soros employee. Nothing new for me. Been watching elections for about 60 years and this is same ole. America can't take much more of this before it collapses and splits apart. The world isn't going to take much more from dc either. God help us. We are in a pickle! ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

Why Is Trump Abandoning the Foreign Policy that Brought Him Victory The National Interest Blog

Candidate Donald Trump offered a sharp break from his predecessors. He was particularly critical of neoconservatives, who seemed to back war at every turn.

Indeed, he promised not to include in his administration "those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war." And he's generally kept that commitment, for instance rejecting as deputy secretary of state Elliot Abrams, who said Trump was unfit to be president.

Substantively candidate Trump appeared to offer not so much a philosophy as an inclination. Practical if not exactly realist, he cared more for consequences than his three immediate predecessors, who had treated wars as moral crusades in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. In contrast, Trump promised: "unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct."

Yet so far the Trump administration is shaping up as a disappointment for those who hoped for a break from the liberal interventionist/neoconservative synthesis.

The first problem is staffing. In Washington people are policy. The president can speak and tweet, but he needs others to turn ideas into reality and implement his directives. It doesn't appear that he has any foreign policy realists around him, or anyone with a restrained view of America's international responsibilities.

Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and H. R. McMaster are all serious and talented, and none are neocons. But all seem inclined toward traditional foreign policy approaches and committed to moderating their boss's unconventional thoughts. Most of the names mentioned for deputy secretary of state have been reliably hawkish, or some combination of hawk and centrist-Abrams, John Bolton, the rewired Jon Huntsman.

Trump appears to be most concerned with issues that have direct domestic impacts, and especially with economic nostrums about which he is most obviously wrong. He's long been a protectionist (his anti-immigration opinions are of more recent vintage). Yet his views have not changed even as circumstances have. The Chinese once artificially limited the value of the renminbi, but recently have taken the opposite approach. The United States is not alone in losing manufacturing jobs, which are disappearing around the world and won't be coming back. Multilateral trade agreements are rarely perfect, but they are not zero sum games. They usually offer political as well as economic benefits. Trump does not seem prepared to acknowledge this, at least rhetorically. Indeed he has brought on board virulent opponents of free trade such as Peter Navarro.

The administration's repudiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was particularly damaging. Trump's decision embarrassed Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who had offered important economic concessions to join. More important, Trump has abandoned the economic field to the People's Republic of China, which is pushing two different accords. Australia, among other U.S. allies, has indicated that it now will deal with Beijing, which gets to set the Pacific trade agenda. In this instance, what's good for China is bad for the United States.

In contrast, on more abstract foreign policy issues President Trump seems ready to treat minor concessions as major victories and move on. For years he criticized America's Asian and European allies for taking advantage of U.S. defense generosity. In his March foreign policy speech, he complained that "our allies are not paying their fair share." During the campaign he suggested refusing to honor NATO's Article 5 commitment and leave countries failing to make sufficient financial contributions to their fate.

Yet Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson have insisted that Washington remains committed to the very same alliances incorporating dependence on America. Worse, in his speech to Congress the president took credit for the small uptick in military outlays by European NATO members which actually began in 2015: "based on our very strong and frank discussions, they are beginning" to "meet their financial obligations." Although he declared with predictable exaggeration that "the money is pouring in," no one believes that Germany, which will go from 1.19 to 1.22 percent of GDP this year, will nearly double its outlays to hit even the NATO standard of two percent.

Trump's signature policy initiative, rapprochement with Russia, appears dead in the water. Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America. Contrary to neocon history, Russia and America have often cooperated in the past. Moreover, President Trump's attempt to improve relations faces strong ideological opposition from neoconservatives determined to have a new enemy and partisan resistance from liberal Democrats committed to undermining the new administration.

President Trump also appears to have no appointees who share his commitment on this issue. At least Trump's first National Security Adviser, Mike Flynn, wanted better relations with Russia, amid other, more dubious beliefs, but now the president seems alone. In fact, Secretary Tillerson sounded like he was representing the Obama administration when he demanded Moscow's withdrawal from Crimea, a policy nonstarter. Ambassador-designate Huntsman's views are unclear, but he will be constrained by the State Department bureaucracy, which is at best unimaginative and at worst actively obstructionist.


taavitheman , March 10, 2017 4:04 PM

"Unfortunately, the president's strange personal enthusiasm for Vladimir Putin undercut his desire to accommodate a great power which has no fundamental, irresolvable conflicts with the America."

I did my due diligence on the writer after this absolutely baffling argument that has no basis on certain fundamental laws of geopolitics. Referring to this: https://www.bloomberg.com/n...

So now it gets me thinking like this: Who are Mr. Bandow's clients today? Figures...

Eric Zuesse , March 14, 2017 8:24 AM

Some say that the reason for Trump's total reversal of his campaign-position on Russia is the American Deep State (the U.S. aristocracy and its agents). I agree with that view.

Sarastro92 Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 11:43 AM

And other say you're a sap for believing a bunch of half-baked one-liners that Trump often contradicted in the same sentence... He never had a coherent policy on anything, no less foreign policy... so don't complain now that he's showing his true colors

tom Eric Zuesse , March 19, 2017 10:28 AM

The USA should FORCE other nations to use DIPLOMACY as a means to preventing wars. If they don't, they lose all support, financial and otherwise, from the USA. This would include Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The only thing Trump should take a look at in all this is the INHUMANE policies that previous administrations have used to placate the military/industrial clique's appetite for money and blood! If it's going to be "America First" for Trump's administration, it better start diverting this blood money to shore up America's people and infrastructures!

America2028 , March 12, 2017 1:19 PM

Most of these issues come down to the fact that President Trump doesn't have anything resembling a "grand strategy", or even a coherent foreign policy. His views are often at odds with each other (his desire to counter China economically and his opposition to the TPP, for example), and I suspect that most were motivated by a desire to get votes more than any kind of deep understanding of global affairs.

R. Arandas , March 10, 2017 9:36 PM

Most of his supporters, at least from what I can tell, are actually quite resolutely against entering a new war, and are strongly condemnatory of the neo-conservatism that involved the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In fact, according to the polls taken at the time, more Democrats favored military intervention in Syria than Republicans did.

olde reb R. Arandas , March 21, 2017 5:53 PM

I believe the American people are beginning to realize the CIA has the obsession for multiple, unending wars all for the benefit of Wall Street.

Ref. http://farmwars.info/?p=15338 . A FACE FOR THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT

mladenm , March 11, 2017 8:45 AM

It appears "military-industrial complex" or "deep state" refuses to take step back and insists on sucking more money from taxpayers. On first glance all is great for them, bombing of Middle East will continue, and so will military expansion at cost of civilian programs. However, ramifications to rest of the world should not be dismissed. EU countries are divided on following Washington hard line against Russia or diverge with USA. Currently, EU is cracking and might fall apart. Some in USA would cheer it but in long run it will mean loss of strongest US supporter against China. Regarding Middle East, Trump punished victims of AlQaeda and did nothing against financiers of AlQaeda, which will only increase local tensions. So indeed, not a great start...

Mark Thomason , March 11, 2017 11:13 AM

While I basically agree that Trump is not following through on his campaign, we must keep in mind that the campaign of his opponent was for MU