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In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment

Reporters without conscience: once a nominally left of centre liberal publication became firmly embedded part of the Foreign Office, MI6 and the US Department of State

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

News Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Links Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak US and British media are servants of security apparatus Do the foreign state influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier
NeoMcCartyism Luke Harding a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Pussy Riot Provocation and Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Hypocrisy of British elite Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Media as a weapon of mass deception Putin-did-it fiasco Edward Lucas as agent provocateur American Exceptionalism
The importance of controlling the narrative Patterns of Propaganda The Real War on Reality Lewis Powell Memo Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Manipulation of the term "freedom of press"
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Color revolutions Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Media-Military-Industrial Complex Manufactured consent The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Bullshit as MSM communication method Big Uncle is Watching You
Groupthink Soft propaganda Fighting Russophobia Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

  • Lapdog is easy role, watchdog is hard.
  • Lapdogs are lazy but get fed, watchdogs stand out in the cold, and get kicked.
  • Lapdogs get rich, watchdogs remain poor.
  • Lapdogs eat shit, and watchdogs kick ass.
  • Lapdogs need many masters, watchdogs are their own master.
  • Lapdogs are part of the problem, watchdogs are part of the solution.

@RIP, lapdogs are dismissed even by the asses they kissed, while history remembers watchdogs for the asses they kicked.

Backbutton

10 October 2014 3:46pm

When Gerald Celente branded the American media “presstitutes,” he got it right. The US print and TV media (and NPR) whore for Washington and the corporations. Reporting the real news is their last concern. The presstitutes are a Ministry of Propaganda and Coverup. This is true of the entire Western media, a collection of bought-and-paid-for whores.

by Paul Craig Roberts, June 4, 2013,

A lot of our problems come from the unwillingness of honest people to call out the liars, cranks, wh*res and hacks.

A Brief Theory of Very Serious People — Crooked Timber

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Guardian as a neoliberal propaganda mouthpeace


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[Mar 11, 2020] Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath Donald Trump triumph by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
Highly recommended !
Notable quotes:
"... by the time Hayek came to write The Constitution of Liberty, the network of lobbyists and thinkers he had founded was being lavishly funded by multimillionaires who saw the doctrine as a means of defending themselves against democracy ..."
"... He begins the book by advancing the narrowest possible conception of liberty: an absence of coercion. He rejects such notions as political freedom, universal rights, human equality and the distribution of wealth, all of which, by restricting the behaviour of the wealthy and powerful, intrude on the absolute freedom from coercion he demands. ..."
"... Democracy, by contrast, "is not an ultimate or absolute value". In fact, liberty depends on preventing the majority from exercising choice over the direction that politics and society might take. He justifies this position by creating a heroic narrative of extreme wealth. He conflates the economic elite, spending their money in new ways, with philosophical and scientific pioneers. ..."
"... Bill Clinton and Tony Blair did not possess a narrative of their own. Rather than develop a new political story, they thought it was sufficient to triangulate . In other words, they extracted a few elements of what their parties had once believed, mixed them with elements of what their opponents believed, and developed from this unlikely combination a "third way" ..."
"... It was inevitable that the blazing, insurrectionary confidence of neoliberalism would exert a stronger gravitational pull than the dying star of social democracy. Hayek's triumph could be witnessed everywhere from Blair's expansion of the private finance initiative to Clinton's repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act , which had regulated the financial sector. ..."
"... The paradoxical result is that the backlash against neoliberalism's crushing of political choice has elevated just the kind of man that Hayek worshipped. Trump, who has no coherent politics, is not a classic neoliberal. But he is the perfect representation of Hayek's "independent"; the beneficiary of inherited wealth, unconstrained by common morality, whose gross predilections strike a new path that others may follow. The neoliberal thinktankers are now swarming round this hollow man, this empty vessel waiting to be filled by those who know what they want. ..."
"... Hayek told us who we are, and he was wrong. Our first step is to reclaim our humanity. ..."
"... Hayek softened his opposition to monopolies and hardened his opposition to trade unions. He lambasted progressive taxation and attempts by the state to raise the general welfare of citizens. He insisted that there is "an overwhelming case against a free health service for all" and dismissed the conservation of natural resources. It should come as no surprise to those who follow such matters that he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics . ..."
"... By the time Thatcher slammed his book on the table, a lively network of thinktanks, lobbyists and academics promoting Hayek's doctrines had been established on both sides of the Atlantic, abundantly financed by some of the world's richest people and businesses , including DuPont, General Electric, the Coors brewing company, Charles Koch, Richard Mellon Scaife, Lawrence Fertig, the William Volker Fund and the Earhart Foundation. Using psychology and linguistics to brilliant effect, the thinkers these people sponsored found the words and arguments required to turn Hayek's anthem to the elite into a plausible political programme. ..."
Nov 14, 2016 | www.theguardian.com
The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek . Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism . It saw competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of winners and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant tax, regulation, trade union activity or state provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would trickle down to everyone.

This, at any rate, is how it was originally conceived. But by the time Hayek came to write The Constitution of Liberty, the network of lobbyists and thinkers he had founded was being lavishly funded by multimillionaires who saw the doctrine as a means of defending themselves against democracy . Not every aspect of the neoliberal programme advanced their interests. Hayek, it seems, set out to close the gap.

He begins the book by advancing the narrowest possible conception of liberty: an absence of coercion. He rejects such notions as political freedom, universal rights, human equality and the distribution of wealth, all of which, by restricting the behaviour of the wealthy and powerful, intrude on the absolute freedom from coercion he demands.

Democracy, by contrast, "is not an ultimate or absolute value". In fact, liberty depends on preventing the majority from exercising choice over the direction that politics and society might take. He justifies this position by creating a heroic narrative of extreme wealth. He conflates the economic elite, spending their money in new ways, with philosophical and scientific pioneers. Just as the political philosopher should be free to think the unthinkable, so the very rich should be free to do the undoable, without constraint by public interest or public opinion.

The ultra rich are "scouts", "experimenting with new styles of living", who blaze the trails that the rest of society will follow. The progress of society depends on the liberty of these "independents" to gain as much money as they want and spend it how they wish. All that is good and useful, therefore, arises from inequality. There should be no connection between merit and reward, no distinction made between earned and unearned income, and no limit to the rents they can charge.

Inherited wealth is more socially useful than earned wealth: "the idle rich", who don't have to work for their money, can devote themselves to influencing "fields of thought and opinion, of tastes and beliefs". Even when they seem to be spending money on nothing but "aimless display", they are in fact acting as society's vanguard.

Thatcherism and Reaganism were not ideologies in their own right: they were just two faces of neoliberalism. Their massive tax cuts for the rich, crushing of trade unions, reduction in public housing, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services were all proposed by Hayek and his disciples. But the real triumph of this network was not its capture of the right, but its colonisation of parties that once stood for everything Hayek detested.

Bill Clinton and Tony Blair did not possess a narrative of their own. Rather than develop a new political story, they thought it was sufficient to triangulate . In other words, they extracted a few elements of what their parties had once believed, mixed them with elements of what their opponents believed, and developed from this unlikely combination a "third way" .

It was inevitable that the blazing, insurrectionary confidence of neoliberalism would exert a stronger gravitational pull than the dying star of social democracy. Hayek's triumph could be witnessed everywhere from Blair's expansion of the private finance initiative to Clinton's repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act , which had regulated the financial sector. For all his grace and touch, Barack Obama, who didn't possess a narrative either (except "hope"), was slowly reeled in by those who owned the means of persuasion.

As I warned in April, the result is first disempowerment then disenfranchisement. If the dominant ideology stops governments from changing social outcomes, they can no longer respond to the needs of the electorate. Politics becomes irrelevant to people's lives; debate is reduced to the jabber of a remote elite. The disenfranchised turn instead to a virulent anti-politics in which facts and arguments are replaced by slogans, symbols and sensation. The man who sank Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency was not Donald Trump. It was her husband.

The paradoxical result is that the backlash against neoliberalism's crushing of political choice has elevated just the kind of man that Hayek worshipped. Trump, who has no coherent politics, is not a classic neoliberal. But he is the perfect representation of Hayek's "independent"; the beneficiary of inherited wealth, unconstrained by common morality, whose gross predilections strike a new path that others may follow. The neoliberal thinktankers are now swarming round this hollow man, this empty vessel waiting to be filled by those who know what they want. The likely result is the demolition of our remaining decencies, -> -> beginning with the agreement to limit global warming .

Those who tell the stories run the world. Politics has failed through a lack of competing narratives. The key task now is to tell a new story of what it is to be a human in the 21st century. It must be as appealing to some who have voted for Trump and Ukip as it is to the supporters of Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn.

A few of us have been working on this, and can discern what may be the beginning of a story. It's too early to say much yet, but at its core is the recognition that – as modern psychology and neuroscience make abundantly clear – human beings, by comparison with any other animals, are both remarkably social and remarkably unselfish . The atomisation and self-interested behaviour neoliberalism promotes run counter to much of what comprises human nature.

Hayek told us who we are, and he was wrong. Our first step is to reclaim our humanity.

Hayek softened his opposition to monopolies and hardened his opposition to trade unions. He lambasted progressive taxation and attempts by the state to raise the general welfare of citizens. He insisted that there is "an overwhelming case against a free health service for all" and dismissed the conservation of natural resources. It should come as no surprise to those who follow such matters that he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics .

By the time Thatcher slammed his book on the table, a lively network of thinktanks, lobbyists and academics promoting Hayek's doctrines had been established on both sides of the Atlantic, abundantly financed by some of the world's richest people and businesses , including DuPont, General Electric, the Coors brewing company, Charles Koch, Richard Mellon Scaife, Lawrence Fertig, the William Volker Fund and the Earhart Foundation. Using psychology and linguistics to brilliant effect, the thinkers these people sponsored found the words and arguments required to turn Hayek's anthem to the elite into a plausible political programme.


ianfraser3 , 16 Nov 2016 17:54

EF Schumacher quoted "seek first the kingdom of God" in his epilogue of "Small Is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered". This was written in the early 1970s before the neoliberal project bit in the USA and the UK. The book is laced with warnings about the effects of the imposition of neoliberalism on society, people and the planet. The predictions have largely come true. New politics and economics needed, by leaders who place at the heart of their approach the premise, and fact, that humans are "by comparison with any other animals, are both remarkably social and remarkably unselfish". It is about reclaiming our humanity from a project that treats people as just another commodity.
LionelKent -> greven , 16 Nov 2016 14:59
And persistent. J.K. Galbraith viewed the rightwing mind as predominantly concerned with figuring out a way to justify the shift of wealth from the immense majority to an elite at the top. I for one regret acutely that he did not (as far as I know) write a volume on his belief in progressive taxation.
courtsfurnishing -> Harryonthehill , 16 Nov 2016 10:05
Millions see no benefit from the wealth generated by these 'entrepreneurs', that is the nub of the matter. 'Trickle-down' economics is the biggest lie of my lifetime: (DOB 1951).
User237167 , 16 Nov 2016 08:40
Albert Einstein said, "capitalism is evil" in his famous dictum called, "Why Socialism" in 1949. He also called communism, "evil", so don't jump to conclusions, comrades. ;)

His reasoning was it distorts a human beings longing for the social aspect. I believe George references this in his statement about people being "unselfish". This is noted by both science and philosophy.

Einstein noted that historically, the conqueror would establish the new order, and since 1949, Western Imperialism has continued on with the predatory phase of acquiring and implementing democracy/capitalism. This needs to end. As we've learned rapidly, capitalism isn't sustainable. We are literally overheating the earth which sustains us. Very unwise.

Einstein wrote, "Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society."

Personally, I'm glad George and others are working on a new economic and social construct for us "human beings". It's time we leave the predatory phase of "us versus them", and construct a new society which works for the good of our now, global society.

zavaell -> LECKJ3000 , 16 Nov 2016 06:28
The problem is that both you and Monbiot fail to mention that your "the spontaneous order of the market" does not recognize externalities and climate change is outside Hayek's thinking - he never wrote about sustainability or the limits on resources, let alone the consequences of burning fossil fuels. There is no beauty in what he wrote - it was a cold, mechanical model that assumed certain human behaviour but not others. Look at today's money-makers - they are nearly all climate change deniers and we have to have government to reign them in.
aLERNO , 16 Nov 2016 04:52
Good, short and concise article. But the FIRST NEOLIBERAL MILESTONE WAS THE 1973 COUP D'ETAT IN CHILE, which not surprisingly also deposed the first democratically-elected socialist government.
willpodmore , 16 Nov 2016 04:10
Neoliberalism is the theory of capitalism in decline. A failed system that cannot produce growth or rising living standards for the majority. A system run by the IMF, the EU and other undemocratic bodies. And Mr Monbiot says we should stay in the neoliberal EU!
FunkyJunkie -> JVRTRL , 16 Nov 2016 03:23
here here, all the Austrians and those of central European descent (Friedman) are paranoid about the ascent of government and unfortunately it both colours their views and distorts their thinking. A recent reading of Friedman's "Capitalism and Freedom" confirmed my view that there was a lot of weak logic and quite poor intellectual thinking overall applied, tho in its day it would have resonated.
MGEvans -> marxmarv , 16 Nov 2016 03:10
You owe me five bucks mate.
accipiter15 , 16 Nov 2016 02:34
A great article and explanation of the influence of Hayek on Thatcher. Unfortunately this country is still suffering the consequences of her tenure and Osborne was also a proponent of her policies and look where we are as a consequence. The referendum gave the people the opportunity to vent their anger and if we had PR I suspect we would have a greater turn-out and nearly always have some sort of coalition where nothing gets done that is too hurtful to the population. As for Trump, again his election is an expression of anger and desperation. However, the American voting system is as unfair as our own - again this has probably been the cause of the low turn-out. Why should people vote when they do not get fair representation - it is a waste of time and not democratic. I doubt that Trump is Keynsian I suspect he doesn't have an economic theory at all. I just hope that the current economic thinking prevailing currently in this country, which is still overshadowed by Thatcher and the free market, with no controls over the city casino soon collapses and we can start from a fairer and more inclusive base!
JVRTRL -> Keypointist , 16 Nov 2016 02:15
The system that Clinton developed was an inheritance from George H.W. Bush, Reagan (to a large degree), Carter, with another large assist from Nixon and the Powell Memo.

Bill Clinton didn't do it by himself. The GOP did it with him hand-in-hand, with the only resistance coming from a minority within the Democratic party.

Trump's victory was due to many factors. A large part of it was Hillary Clinton's campaign and the candidate. Part of it was the effectiveness of the GOP massive resistance strategy during the Obama years, wherein they pursued a course of obstruction in an effort to slow the rate of the economic recovery (e.g. as evidence of the bad faith, they are resurrecting a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that Obama originally proposed in 2012, and now that they have full control, all the talk about "deficits" goes out the window).

Obama and the Democratic party also bear responsibility for not recognizing the full scope of the financial collapse in 2008-2009, passing a stimulus package that was about $1 trillion short of spending needed to accelerate the recovery by the 2010 mid-terms, combined with a weak financial regulation law (which the GOP is going to destroy), an overly complicated health care law -- classic technocratic, neoliberal incremental policy -- and the failure of the Obama administration to hold Wall Street accountable for criminal misconduct relating to the financial crisis. Obama's decision to push unpopular trade agreements didn't help either. As part of the post-mortem, the decision to continuing pushing the TPP may have cost Clinton in the rust belt states that went for Trump. The agreement was unpopular, and her shift on the policy didn't come across as credible. People noticed as well that Obama was trying to pass the measure through the lame-duck session of Congress post-election. With Trump's election, the TPP is done too.

VoltefarcedePfeffel , 15 Nov 2016 21:11
Another nasty neoliberal policy of Reagan and Thatcher, was to close all the mental hospitals, and to sweeten the pill to sell to the voters, they called it Care in the Community, except by the time those hospitals closed and the people who had to relay on those institutions, they found out and are still finding out that there is very little care in the community left any more, thanks to Thatcher's disintegration of the ethos community spirit. In their neoliberal mantra of thinking, you are on your own now, tough, move on, because you are hopeless and non productive, hence you are a burden to taxpayers. Its been that way of thinking for over thirty years, and now the latest group targeted, are the sick and disabled, victims of the neoliberal made banking crash and its neoliberal inspired austerity, imposed of those least able to fight back or defend themselves i.e. vulnerable people again!
TanTan -> crystaltips2 , 15 Nov 2016 20:10

If you claim that the only benefit of private enterprise is its taxability, as you did, then why not cut out the middle man and argue for full state-directed capitalism?


Because it is plainly obvious that private enterprise is not directed toward the public good (and by definition). As we have both agreed, it needs to have the right regulations and framework to give it some direction in that regard. What "the radical left" are pointing out is that the idea of private enterprise is now completely out of control, to the point where voters are disenfranchised because private enterprise has more say over what the government does than the people. Which is clearly a problem.

As for the rest, it's the usual practice of gathering every positive metric available and somehow attributing it to neoliberalism, no matter how tenuous the threads, and as always with zero rigour. Supposedly capitalism alone doubled life expectancy, supports billions of extra lives, invented the railways, and provides the drugs and equipment that keep us alive. As though public education, vaccines, antibiotics, and massive availability of energy has nothing to do with those things.

As for this computer being the invention of capitalism, who knows, but I suppose if one were to believe that everything was invented and created by capitalism and monetary motives then one might believe that. Energy allotments referred to the limit of our usage of readily available fossil fuels which you remain blissfully unaware of.

Children have already been educated to agree with you, in no small part due to a fear of the communist regimes at the time, but at the expense of critical thinking. Questioning the system even when it has plainly been undermined to its core is quickly labelled "radical" regardless of the normalcy of the query. I don't know what you could possibly think left-wing motives could be, but your own motives are plain to see when you immediately lump people who care about the planet in with communist idealogues. If rampant capitalism was going to solve our problems I'm all for it, but it will take a miracle to reverse the damage it has already done, and only a fool would trust it any further.

marxmarv -> hyp Alx , 15 Nov 2016 19:48
Then we can put the entire Washington Consensus to bed and never have to hear any of these awful names we've been hearing on our tellies for the past 30 years. Giant meteors at the hotel where Soros is holding his neoliberal huddle would be nice.
marxmarv -> grittygran , 15 Nov 2016 19:24
Liberalism itself is, to an extent, based on judgment and ritual humiliation, as shown by a few moments spent flipping through <I>The New Republic and other chronicles of their bourgeois aspirations. Whatever this brave new world without neoliberalism shall be, there are parts of this totalizing ideology called liberalism that taking with us seems to lead only to this same drama a few generations hence. Perhaps liberalism itself is toxic to political economy, under the theory that what it has brought is exactly what it brings, and that its influence may be better preserved in social libertinism than economic libertinism.
marxmarv -> greven , 15 Nov 2016 18:52
Communism didn't collapse, so much as neoliberalism took its scalp. Context matters here, and the West can't pretend it wasn't torturing, raping and murdering to make that happen.
yorkslass -> JGreen42 , 15 Nov 2016 18:32

A vote for Trump, Boris, Farage and Aaron Banks is a vote against neoliberal ism? Seriously?

Even these chaps realise that money is made from the 'little guy' and if the little guy is deprived of a reasonable income and the opportunity to spend it as he/she wills, then the 'big guys' eventually lose out as well.

The strategy adopted by all the corporative elites has been to import labour from countries which care about health and education for the masses and whose residents are happy to take low wages and UK government top ups in the form of tax credits and child benefits. After all, the wage differentials ensure they can educate their own children privately in their home countries and they can return home at any time for private health care when necessary.

The leaders of the EU have done all they can to ensure a more even distribution of wealth amongst member states. But in fact it suits no one except their wealthy cronies, who can pick and choose where they pay their taxes (or not). Migrants don't want it - they are happy to earn relatively high wages elsewhere and spend it in their own relatively impoverished home countries; and the native population of the wealthier countries don't want their own standards of living eroded by unfair competition from migrants.

The system is unsustainable long term and everyone knows it. If they weren't aware of what was happening before the Cameron negotiations, they certainly were when they saw the reaction, and the greed, of the Polish Minister in particular. Brexit happened becasue of Cameron's failure.

The Trump triumph is more difficult to understand. He seems to have picked up on Farage's rhetoric and applied it to the US (particularly in regard to Mexican migrants undercutting local wages and the apparent need for fences along the borders). I am not convinced however that the US as a federal superstate faces the same problems as the EU - which is currently a hybrid intergovernmental organisation / federal superstate, or rather in transition from the former to the latter. However if the US is the exemplar or the model into which the EU is morphing then it is best to stop the process right now.

CherryHill -> sadsaddo , 15 Nov 2016 18:15
This is the real scam regarding the NHS:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/nov/15/revealed-temp-agencies-avoidance-scheme-costs-taxpayers-hundreds-of-millions

People can't be expected to work like this. No wonder we have trouble recruiting NHS staff. Who wants to be 'employed' by a two-person company? Shocking.

Also, somebody – and I don't care who it is – needs to get on top of the tax evasion and, now, National Insurance evasion by these companies. Billions are being lost. And to think you're quibbling about the cost of a few imaginary women having babies.

User781652 -> Trouthunter , 15 Nov 2016 17:03
Bernie Sanders, writing in the Boston Globe less than a month before the US election, mentioned 'one family (the Waltons) having more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of our population'. Does anyone know who this family is, as I have never heard of them? Those who think it is the famous family from the American TV series of the same name need not reply.
undercoverguyzer -> Dave_P , 15 Nov 2016 16:57
Well the rich did make a secret of it. Neoliberalism is the pattern that connects policies that roll back state social support and roll out pro-market 'solutions' with pseudoscientific economic explanations. The rich funded the considerable network of think tanks that took the neoliberal agenda to governments as the new truth, and the cover story was that there would be growth that lifts all boats. It hasn't happened. Instead we have inequality and stalled growth, but the new medicine 'austerity', continues to be neoliberal.

[Mar 10, 2020] Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us by Paul Verhaeghe

Highly recommended!
Neoliberalism destroys solidarity; as the result it destroys both the society and individuals
Notable quotes:
"... Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you're reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others. ..."
"... On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won't be you who has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare , the best-known specialist on psychopathy today. ..."
"... the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation. ..."
"... Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other. ..."
"... Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms ..."
"... More important, though, is the serious damage to people's self-respect. Self-respect largely depends on the recognition that we receive from the other, as thinkers from Hegel to Lacan have shown. Sennett comes to a similar conclusion when he sees the main question for employees these days as being "Who needs me?" For a growing group of people, the answer is: no one. ..."
"... A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. ..."
"... the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." ..."
Sep 29, 2014 | www.theguardian.com

An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities

'We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited.'

We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you're reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.

There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. Contact can be superficial, but since this applies to most human interaction nowadays, this won't really be noticed.

It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.

On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won't be you who has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist by Robert Hare , the best-known specialist on psychopathy today.

This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes. Nevertheless, the financial crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation.

Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other.

Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms. This results in what the sociologist Richard Sennett has aptly described as the "infantilisation of the workers". Adults display childish outbursts of temper and are jealous about trivialities ("She got a new office chair and I didn't"), tell white lies, resort to deceit, delight in the downfall of others and cherish petty feelings of revenge. This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults.

More important, though, is the serious damage to people's self-respect. Self-respect largely depends on the recognition that we receive from the other, as thinkers from Hegel to Lacan have shown. Sennett comes to a similar conclusion when he sees the main question for employees these days as being "Who needs me?" For a growing group of people, the answer is: no one.

Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system.

A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. For those who believe in the fairytale of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom. Along with the idea of the perfectible individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of this day and age.

The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything, from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.

Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that is, "make" something of ourselves. You don't need to look far for examples. A highly skilled individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy – unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?

There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us.

Psychology Work & careers Economics Economic policy

See also

[Feb 29, 2020] Boris Johnson s Incredible Landslide by Catte Black

Notable quotes:
"... Corbyn's weakness was always the elephant in the room but was fully revealed when he had to step up to plate and fight. No leader can survive without being able to fight his enemies and no country should be led by such a person. Saddly he squandered the enormous opportunity handed to him in the last election: in hindsight, that opportunity was handed to him by an electorate steeped in wishful thinking ..."
"... Of course it's criticism of the state of Israel. And of course that's not anti-Semitism. But the label "anti-Semitism" is the kiss of death to the executive class i.e. that middle layer who "inform" the masses. If you are one of them and you get called "anti-Semitic", it's the equivalent of your boss saying, "I want a word – and bring your coat!" ..."
"... Corbyn seems like a nice enough guy, an honest, yet unremarkable footsoldier MP, but the idea he was suited to leading the Labour Party into an epic struggle with a revitalised Tory Party under a strong leader like Boris Johnson, is a fantastic notion. Johnson had to be cut down to size, before the election. ..."
"... And, finally, Corbyn could have turned the media bias against him to his advantage, only he's not suited to the strategy that's required. That strategy is the one Donald Trump employed, taking on the media and identifying them as the enemy and explaining why they publish lies. Corbyn should have publically taken on both the Guardian and the BBC, rather than appeasing them, unsuccessfully, because appeasing them isn't possible. ..."
"... Why didn't Corbyn express anger and shock when he was accused of being a paedophile, sorry, an anti-Semite? Those MPs who went along with that sordid narrative, should have been kicked out of Labour immediately by Corbyn himself. ..."
"... "A big part of why Labor and Corbyn lost so badly is the complete abdication of "the Left" on Brexit. The left were supposed to be anti-globalists, in which case their task was to join battle offering an egalitarian, left-populist version of Brexit which would have benefited the people. Instead, faced with a real decision and a real opportunity they punted and ran home to globalist mama. This removed one of the main reasons to bother supporting them. ..."
"... The point about the EU not being directly responsible for Tory austerity is technically true but it is nonetheless a neo liberal monster crushing the shit out of the most vulnerable ..."
"... Especially when it comes to countries like Greece. I don't understand the constant veneration of the EU. By design, our membership did nothing to protect us from the carnage of this Tory crime wave. The EUs constitutional arrangements contains baked in obligations to maintain permanent austerity in the service of ever greater corporate profit. ..."
Dec 13, 2019 | off-guardian.org

... ... ...

No one feels like recalling, for example, that more people voted against the Tories than for them (13.9mn for and 16.2mn against).

Or that 10.3 million people still voted Labour despite the entirety of the unprecedentedly vicious and Stalinist hate campaign conducted against them – and Corbyn in particular – since the latter became leader in 2015.

Which fact, along with Labour's near-win in 2017 and the surprise Brexit victory in 2016, implies the mainstream media's ability to direct and manipulate public opinion is a lot less wholesale and guaranteed than we oftentimes assume, and that this is unlikely to be a single explanation for yesterday's result.

More importantly, no one – even those who are boggling at the implausibility – is questioning the validity of the result.

No one.

It's as if even suggesting election fraud can happen in a nice majority-white western country like the UK is improper and disrespectful. Election fraud is – as every good racist knows – done by brown people or Orientals, or 'corrupt' eastern European nations, not by fine upstanding empire builders like the British.

This seems to be so much of a given that the results of any vote are simply accepted as 100% valid – no matter how improbable they may seem.

And apparently even in the face of clear evidence for at least some level of shady activity.

Remember this? It only happened on Wednesday but it's already some way down the Memory Hole.

Laura Kuenssberg, being the true idiot she really is, blabbing off on prime time telly about apparently institutional election malpractice – and not even having the basic brains to see the import of what she's letting slip.

There's been a lot of effort expended in minimising the significance of this in social media and in the mainstream press – and indeed by resident trolls on OffG. There have been claims it's 'routine' – as if that somehow makes it ok. Or that Kuenssberg was misinformed, or 'tired'.

.... ... ...

Consider the facts

Labour's socialist policies are known to be popular . Poverty has increased so much under the Tories that 22% of the country now lives below the poverty line , including 4 million children. 200,000 people have died as a result of austerity-driven cuts, foodbank use is increasing by tens of thousands year on year . The mortality rate is going up and up . And Boris Johnson was caught in a direct, proven lie about "protecting" the NHS.

And after all this, Labour heartlands – red since World War 2, through Thatcher and Foot and every anti-Labour hate campaign the media could muster – all voted Conservative?

Does that seem likely?

I don't know, all I do know is I think that discussion needs to start. I think it's time to think the unthinkable, and at least open the prospect of electoral fraud up for real discussion.

How secure is our electoral process? Can results be stage-managed, massaged or even rigged? What guarantees do we have that this can't happen here? In an age of growing corruption and decay at the very top, do the checks and balances placed to safeguard our democracy sill work well, or even at all?

This Friday the Thirteenth, with BoJo the Evil Clown back in Downing Street, looks like a good moment to get it going.


aspnaz ,

Corbyn's weakness was always the elephant in the room but was fully revealed when he had to step up to plate and fight. No leader can survive without being able to fight his enemies and no country should be led by such a person. Saddly he squandered the enormous opportunity handed to him in the last election: in hindsight, that opportunity was handed to him by an electorate steeped in wishful thinking. Should he apologise to his supporters, probably not, they backed the wrong horse but the limp was visible from day one.

Bootlyboob ,

NHS in for a rough ride. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JpseLa9_txw

Gezzah Potts ,

How do you mean 'weird'?

That inequality and poverty will continue increasing under neoliberal economic policies, and the majority of us will continue being ground into the dirt, or that Julian Assange will end up in the U.S for certain to face a Stalinesque show trial, or the observation about George Galloway.

George Mc ,

I know it's bad for my health but oh I just can't stop myself. Had another Groan trip. Here's one from that good time gal Jess Phillips:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/14/working-class-voters-didnt-trust-labour-jess-phillips

I only supply the link to see if anyone can see any actual content in this. I suppose it must be a real cushy number to get paid for pitching in a lot of foaming waffle that feels purposeful but remains totally non-commital. That and those nice cheques rolling in from that Hyslop and Merton quiz fluff.

George Mc ,

You have to understand that it's all showbiz. Why did the Tories prefer Boris to Jeremy Hunt? Because Hunt looked and sounded like the oily little tyke everyone wanted to kick. Whereas Boris was the cutesie country womble from a Two Ronnies sketch. When Boris appeared on his test outing as host for Hignfy, all he had to do was to be incompetent i.e. all he had to do was turn up. Oh how we all laughed.

As for Jess – well, she's the ballsy fake prole tomboy – like a WOKE verson of Thatcha. I doubt anyone is "buying this" (to use one of the Americanisms we'll all be spouting as we become the 51st state) but it's all part of "the movie".

ricked by its sharp thorn anywhere near the heart. Don't know what the street name will be for it but it has two current codewords i heard 'stellar' & 'jessa'.

George Mc ,

"Share On Twitter" target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=When+I+said+%26%238220%3Bcome+clean%26%238221%3B+I+meant+as+...+&url=https%3A%2F%2Foff-guardian.org%2F2019%2F12%2F13%2Fboris-johnsons-incredible-landslide%2F%23comment-106199">

When I said "come clean" I meant as in "reveal yourself". I really think you should calm down. Take some deep breaths. Have a nice cup of tea.

Chris Rogers ,

Alan,

By all means comment, but when you slander those who actually felt it important that their vote counted, that their opinion mattered and then were told to fuck off by the very people asking them for their opinion, its expected you get blow back, which is what has happened.

Now, may i enquire, do you have a belief in democracy and upholding democratic outcomes, do you believe that Russian interference actually resulted in the Brexit vote itself, and do you believe that the working class is so fucking pig ignorant that it should never be allowed to vote.

In summation, are you a Blairite by any chance as they way you communicate shows an utter contempt for those poor sods slagged off by Remainiacs for so long to just fuck off.

As for economic decline, strange, but the UK is one of the top 10 wealthy nations globally, much of said wealth now from the FIRE Economy, which means its extractive and put to no real purpose, whilst the break-up of the Union is up to the constituent parts itself – as i support Irish reunification, i don't weep for Northern Ireland, whilst the Scots have every right o be free of Westminster, its not as if they held an actual Referedum on it prior to the signing of the Act of Union is it.

And as for wales, well, here's a small country who's political establishment are incapable of recognising it elected to Leave the EU, which sometimes has aspirations itself to Independence, an Independence it will never gain due to the fact nearly 800K English live within our lands, but the fantasists persist none the less.

Now, as the EU, via the Treaty named after Lisbon is very much a neoliberal organisation, one that puts monetary union above the welfare of its own citizens, please explain why I must support such an Institution that does not benefit the average Joe in most member States?

Alan Tench ,

What you must remember is that a democratic decision isn't always a good one. In my view, the current one concerning Brexit, is a bad one. The fact that a majority support it doesn't make it good or right. We just have to live with it. Consider the death penalty. I'm sure the vast majority of voters in this country would vote in favour of it. Would that might it right?

Ruth ,

Don't blame them. In all likelihood they had their votes hijacked by MI5

Alan Tench ,

All this anti-Semitism stuff – anyone know what it's about? I assume it had zero influence on the electorate. Just how does it manifest itself? Is most of it – maybe nearly all of it – concerned with criticism of the state of Israel? If so, it's not anti-Semitism .

George Mc ,

Of course it's criticism of the state of Israel. And of course that's not anti-Semitism. But the label "anti-Semitism" is the kiss of death to the executive class i.e. that middle layer who "inform" the masses. If you are one of them and you get called "anti-Semitic", it's the equivalent of your boss saying, "I want a word – and bring your coat!"

MichaelK ,

I think the Labour Party's election strategy, and long before, was fatally flawed. I'm shocked by it. How bad it was. First they should never have agreed to an election at this time. Wait, at least until Spring. The idea, surely, was to keep weakening Johnson's brand and splitting the Tories apart. Johnson wanted an election for obvious reasons, that alone should have meant that one did everything in one's power not to give him what he wanted. Labour did the exact opposite of what they should have done, march onto a battleground chose by Johnson.

Of course one can argue that the liberals and the SNP had already hinted that they would support Johnson's demand, but Labour could have 'bought them off' with a little effort. Give the SNP a pledge on a second referendum and give the Liberals a guarantee of electoral reform, whatever.

The Liberals actually had an even more stupid and incompetent leadership than Labour and suffered a terrible defeat too. Why is it that it's only the Tories who know how to play the election game, usually?

Corbyn seems like a nice enough guy, an honest, yet unremarkable footsoldier MP, but the idea he was suited to leading the Labour Party into an epic struggle with a revitalised Tory Party under a strong leader like Boris Johnson, is a fantastic notion. Johnson had to be cut down to size, before the election.

Allowing the Tories to become the People's Party, the Brexit Party in all but name; was a catastrohic mistake by Labour; unforegivabel really.

And, finally, Corbyn could have turned the media bias against him to his advantage, only he's not suited to the strategy that's required. That strategy is the one Donald Trump employed, taking on the media and identifying them as the enemy and explaining why they publish lies. Corbyn should have publically taken on both the Guardian and the BBC, rather than appeasing them, unsuccessfully, because appeasing them isn't possible.

Why didn't Corbyn express anger and shock when he was accused of being a paedophile, sorry, an anti-Semite? Those MPs who went along with that sordid narrative, should have been kicked out of Labour immediately by Corbyn himself. He needed to be far more aggressive and proactive, taking the fight to his enemies and using his position to crush them at once. Call me a kiddy fiddler and I'll rip your fucking throat out! Only Corbyn was passive, defencesive, apathetic and totally hopeless when smeared so terribly. People don't respect a coward, they do respect someone who fights back and sounds righteously angry at being smeared so falsely. Corbyn looked and sounded like someone who had something to hide and appologise about, which only encouraged the Israeli lobby to attack him even more! Un-fuckin' believable.

What's tragic is that the right understood Corbyn's weaknesses and character far better than his supporters, and how to destroy him.

Ruth ,

I agree with you about the election timing

Derek ,

And, finally, Corbyn could have turned the media bias against him to his advantage, only he's not suited to the strategy that's required.

Yes you are absolutely right, he should have stolen a journalists phone or hid in a fridge, maybe stare at the ground when shown a picture of a child sleeping on a hospital floor. Now that's turning turning events to your advantage right?

He made many mistakes and you are right, but caving into "remain" the perceived overturning of the referendum by the Labour party is what dunnit, the final nail in his coffin. I am sorry to see him go.

tonyopmoc ,

Judging by the spelling of "Labour", I guess an American wrote this on The Moon of Alabama's blog. It is however very accurate and I know that MOA is a German man, running his blog from Germany. His analyses, are some of the best in the world.

Tony

"A big part of why Labor and Corbyn lost so badly is the complete abdication of "the Left" on Brexit. The left were supposed to be anti-globalists, in which case their task was to join battle offering an egalitarian, left-populist version of Brexit which would have benefited the people. Instead, faced with a real decision and a real opportunity they punted and ran home to globalist mama. This removed one of the main reasons to bother supporting them.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 13 2019 7:09 utc | 33″

MichaelK ,

I thought the left were supposed to be internationalists too? I dunno. I think they should never have supported the referendum scam in the first place. If the Tories wanted it, that alone should have made them oppose it. Look at what's happened, the referendum and Brexit have massively benefitted the Tories and crushed everyone else. Isn't that an objective fact, or am I missing something; seriously?

What does 'anti-globalist' really mean? The tragedy was allowing the Tories to blame Europe for the devastating consequences of their own 'austerity' policies which hit the North so hard. These policies originated in London, not Bruxelles!

The truth is harsh. Corbyn was a terrible leader with awfully confused policies that he couldn't articulate properly and a team around him that were just as bad.

Pam Ryan ,

The point about the EU not being directly responsible for Tory austerity is technically true but it is nonetheless a neo liberal monster crushing the shit out of the most vulnerable.

Especially when it comes to countries like Greece. I don't understand the constant veneration of the EU. By design, our membership did nothing to protect us from the carnage of this Tory crime wave. The EUs constitutional arrangements contains baked in obligations to maintain permanent austerity in the service of ever greater corporate profit.

Thom ,

'Incredible' is the word. We're expected to believe that for all his personal and intellectual flaws, Johnson achieved a landslide on the scale of Blair and Thatcher; that he drew in Leave supporters from traditional Labour voters while holding on to Remain Tories; that all three major UK opposition parties flopped, including the one party pushing for outright Remain; and that turnout fell even though millions registered just before the election. Sorry, but it doesn't add up.

nottheonly1 ,

"Share On Twitter" target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=What+just+happened+was+an+inverted+U.S.+selectio...+&url=https%3A%2F%2Foff-guardian.org%2F2019%2F12%2F13%2Fboris-johnsons-incredible-landslide%2F%23comment-106262">

What just happened was an inverted U.S. selection. In the U.S., a confused rich man got elected, because the alternative was a psychopathic war criminal. In the U.K. a confused upper class twat got elected, because the alternative was too good to be true.

Something like that?

tonyopmoc ,

Something strange going on in Sedgefield. What the hell is Boris Johnson doing there today? Tony Blair Labour, Boris Johnson Tory. What's the difference? Same neocons. Same sh1t?

tonyopmoc ,

Dungroanin, Jeremy Corbyn is 70 now. He's done his bit. Now its time for him to take it easy.

Incidentally "Viscount Palmerston was over 70 when he finally became Prime Minister: the most advanced age at which anyone has ever become Prime Minister for the first time."

George Mc ,

The Groan is keen to highlight the sheer thanklessness of the BBC's undying fight to objectively bring The Truth to the masses:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/dec/14/bbc-staff-express-fear-of-public-distrust-after-election-coverage

And for all the tireless work they do, they are open to accusations of "conspiracy theory" and worse:

"The conspiracy theories that abound are frustrating. And let's be clear – some of the abuse which is directed at our journalists who are doing their best for audiences day in, day out is sickening. It shouldn't happen. And I think it's something social media platforms really need to do more about."

Sickening social media abuse? Echoes of all those frightfully uncivil – and never verified – messages that wrecked poor little Ruth Smeeth's delicate health.

Thom ,

The only way the BBC and Guardian will understand if people don't pay the licence fee and don't click on their articles (and obviously don't contribute!). Hit them in the pockets.

George Mc ,

It didn't take long for the Groaniad to "dissect" the Labour defeat. Here we get THE FIVE REASONS Labour lost the election:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/dec/13/five-reasons-why-labour-lost-the-election

Interesting. Note the space given to Blairite toadies Ruth Smeeth and Caroline Flint. Note the disingenuousness of this:

"In London, antisemitism and what people perceived as the absence of an apology appeared to be a key issue."

It's always suspicious when we get that expression "what people perceived". What "people"? And note that the dubiousness relates to the absence of an apology for anti-Semitism – not the anti-Semitism itself which is, of course, taken for granted.

Also note the conclusion:

"With a new Conservative government led by Boris Johnson poised for office, the Guardian's independent, measured, authoritative reporting has never been so vital."

Yes – The Groaniad is yer man, yer champion, yer hero!

[Jan 21, 2020] BBC faces existential threat. In the 21st century, it has nobody left to lie to -- RT Op-ed

Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.

Whoever replaces outgoing BBC Director General Tony Hall, be sure that establishment interests will be in safe hands. But multiple scandals the broadcaster has been involved in damaged it quite possibly beyond repair.

... ... ...

Corbyn had to be destroyed at almost ANY cost. Their news and current affairs output (and appointments) over the Corbyn era of 2015-2019 was as crude, and crudely effective, as any screaming, screeching Rupert Murdoch tabloid. Perhaps they were worried the ghost of Sir Alasdair Milne would return to haunt them in the form of his son Seumas Milne, Corbyn's director of communications and strategy and right-hand man. The junior Milne – also Winchester and Oxford – is a considerably harder nut to crack than anyone the BBC had ever had to deal with before

[Jan 21, 2020] HBO hires 'king of fake news' Brian Stelter from CNN to produce documentary on the dangers of fake news

Notable quotes:
"... "disinformation and the cost of fake news." ..."
"... "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," ..."
"... To say Stelter's involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement. "This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault," lawyer and journalist Rogan O'Handley wrote. ..."
"... "HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That's like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television," ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

If you were making a documentary on fake news and wanted to get journalists involved behind the scenes, there are a few people you may want to avoid. One of those is CNN host Brian Stelter. The HBO network is rightly being mocked for putting Stelter – the host of a CNN show ironically named 'Reliable Sources' – on the team for an upcoming documentary on fake news.

According to Stelter himself, the documentary will investigate "disinformation and the cost of fake news." The film, for which Stelter was executive producer, will dive into "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," according to WarnerMedia.

HBO just announced something I've been working on for a couple of years: A documentary titled "AFTER TRUTH: DISINFORMATION AND THE COST OF FAKE NEWS." The film will premiere on TV and online this March. Directed by @a_rossi !

-- Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 15, 2020

To say Stelter's involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement. "This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault," lawyer and journalist Rogan O'Handley wrote.

"HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That's like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television," radio host Mark Simone added.

[Jan 18, 2020] Curbs to Presidential power could be intended to preserve Russia from a West-backed President

Notable quotes:
"... The economic/social model in the neo-liberal West is one of outright parasitism driving ever increasing inequality and elite wealth, which is the expression in real life of the psychopathic elites' INTENSE hatred of others. For Russia to follow China in creating a society of utilitarian concern for ALL the population, of poverty reduction and of social solidarity between all levels of the population, increases the risk of what Chomsky called 'the good example' ..."
"... 'He might be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's OUR son-of-a-bitch'. Surely a 'Yeltsin' must replace or join 'Quisling' in the popular lexicon as a title for a traitor, in future. ..."
Jan 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

The US/NATO/EU bloc is eagerly awaiting the chance to replace Putin with a pro-Western neo-liberal. One who will increase national debt, implement austerity, privatise industry, gut the public sector, and open up Russia to the IMF just like has been done all over the Western world.

Search Jan 18, 2020 15 Russian Reforms: Is Putin planning for his successor? Curbs to Presidential power could be intended to preserve Russia from a West-backed President Kit Knightly Kit Knightly

Last week, after Putin put forward constitutional reforms that would "empower the legislative branch" and his entire government resigned, the Western press (and the West-backed "opposition" in Russia) went on at length about how Putin was preparing to "extend his power", to move to an office "without term limits", or something along those lines.

After years complaining about the amount of power the President of Russia has, the MSM decided that limiting those powers was ALSO bad (or perhaps, never even actually read the speech itself at all).

This isn't deliberate deception on their part, they are just trained animals after all. Criticising Putin is a Pavlovian response to the man saying, or doing absolutely anything.

There's no point in gain-saying it, or analysing it. It is dogs howling at the moon. Instinctive, base and – to a rational mind – entirely meaningless.

Forget what our press says. It is white noise. They have no insight and no interest in acquiring any.

However, even the alternative media are confused on this one. MoA is a good analyst, but he's not sure what's at play here .

.so what IS going on in Russia? Why the constitutional reforms?

Let's take a look at the headline proposals:

Limit the Presidency to a two-term maximum Empower the Duma to appoint the Prime Minister and cabinet, in place of the President Anyone running for President has to have lived in Russia for 25 years Dual-nationals are forbidden from holding public offices

Are these really steps designed centralize the power of the state in an individual? Do they logically support the argument "Putin wants to be in power for life"?

Given that list, I would say "no". I would say, quite the opposite.

The first two points limit the powers of the Presidency, whilst empowering the legislative branch. Why would Putin limit the powers of the President if he intends a third term?

Western "analysts" argue Putin plans to stay on as Prime Minister, but these rule changes don't empower the PM, they only empower the Duma to choose the PM.

If he were going to change the constitution to keep himself in power, why not just scrap term limits? Or increase the Presidental term length?

The third proposed change is interesting – "prevent dual nationals from holding public offices" – is this a way of limiting possible Western interference in Russian politics?

In the days of the Roman Empire, upon conquering a province the Romans would take children of members of the ruling class to back to Rome, to be fostered in Roman families and raised as Romans. Then, when they reached adulthood, the new Romanised Celts or Assyrians or Goths would be sent back to the land of their birth and rule as the province in Rome's name, serving Rome's interests.

The modern Rome, the United States, does exactly the same thing.

Juan Guaido is Venezuela's "acting President". He was educated at Georgetown University in Washington DC . Alexey Navalny is the "leader of the Russian opposition", he was a "world fellow" at Yale .

The US/NATO/EU bloc is eagerly awaiting the chance to replace Putin with a pro-Western neo-liberal. One who will increase national debt, implement austerity, privatise industry, gut the public sector, and open up Russia to the IMF just like has been done all over the Western world.

So: We have rules limiting the power of the office of President, and a rule clearly aimed at making it impossible for a US-backed puppet to be inserted into said office.

Here's where we get into some hardcore speculation:

I think, having done the hard work to fix many of Russia's societal and security-related problems, Putin is seeking to make systemic changes that prevent this work being undone.

I think Putin wants to go – or is at least considering it – and is trying to put rules in place to protect Russia from his possible successors.

To demonstrate my point, we should take a look at the other parts of Putin's speech – the parts no one in the Western press is interested in discussing.

In many ways, it was a speech you could have heard coming out of Jeremy Corbyn's mouth. Laying out a vision of Russia with improved healthcare, free (hot) school meals for all children, internet access for all Russian citizens. (You can read the whole thing here .)

If a British politician made this speech, it would be considered "radical". If an American had done so, they would be called a crazy socialist. But there's more to this than just socialist economic policies.

Here is Putin on pensions:

We have a law on this, but we should formalise this requirement in the Constitution along with the principles of decent pensions, which implies a regular adjustment of pensions according to inflation.

On minimum wage:

Therefore, I believe that the Constitution should include a provision that the minimum wage in Russia must not be below the subsistence minimum of the economically active people.

On local government:

the powers and practical opportunities of the local governments, a body of authority that is closest to the people, can and should be expanded and strengthened.

On the Judiciary:

The country's fundamental law should enshrine and protect the independence of judges, and their subordination only to the Constitution and federal law

On Russian sovereignty:

requirements of international law and treaties as well as decisions of international bodies can be valid on the Russian territory only to the point that they do not restrict the rights and freedoms of our people and citizens and do not contradict our Constitution.

On Constitutional law:

extending the powers of the Constitutional Court to evaluate not only laws, but also other regulatory legal acts adopted by various authorities at the federal and regional levels for compliance with the Constitution.

Is there a pattern here?

Enshrining economic reforms in the constitution Decentralizing the power for the federal government Legally protecting the independence of the courts Protecting Russian law from international bodies Reviewing future laws to make sure they don't breach the constitution

These could be interpreted as legal backstops. Safeguards on the progress Russia has made under Putin.

We've been over the numbers a lot. There's no need to repeat them. Suffice to say, under Putin Russian life expectancy, income, employment rate and birth rate are up. Violent crime, poverty, alcoholism and debt are down .

Under Yeltsin, Russia was a borderline failed state. Putin pulled them back from that brink.

Yeltsin's 1993 Constitutional Referendum drastically enhanced the powers of the President, he doesn't wield quite as supreme executive power as the office of POTUS, but it's comparable:

The referendum approved the new constitution, which significantly expanded the powers of the president, giving Yeltsin the right to appoint the members of the government, to dismiss the Prime Minister and, in some cases, to dissolve the Duma.

It could be argued Putin has used that power as it was intended – for the benefit of the Russian people. Perhaps he feels he cannot rely on anyone who comes after him to be as diligent.

By disempowering the role of President before he leaves office, he ensures that anyone who follows – be they a US-educated plant, a corrupt billionaire, or a hardline hawkish nationalist – can't undo all the good his administration has accomplished.

Whether or not Putin wants to be in "power for life" is an answer known only to the man himself, but there's nothing to suggest it in this speech, and none of the reforms put forward would appear to help in that regard at all. It looks more like a man securing his legacy.

Perhaps the question becomes not "does Putin want another term?", but rather does Putin even intend to serve all of this one?


Baron ,

(1) What he proposed isn't the final word, the proposals will be debated, (2) the danger of Navalny's getting in even with a strong push by the Americans, or their NGO poodles, is minimal, the greater risk is the communist and their fellow travellers gaining power, (3) the last twenty years have shown Putin may not be the ideal leader, but he's as close to an ideal as the Russians may ever hope to get, his remaining in a position of some power after his Presidency term expires should be a positive for Russia.

Putin infuriates the Western Governing Elites (GEs) because he totally contradicts their progressive, PC, woke agenda and, to make matters worse, his stance resonates with the Western unwashed. That's unforgivable for the GEs, but one hopes he'll continue doing so. Just as our Parliament functions best if the opposition has some muscle, so the world also needs a strong opposition to keep the GEs of the nation of the "exceptional people" in check.

Jen ,

The answer to KK's second question, that is, whether Putin intends to serve out his current term, is that any constitutional reforms such as what he proposed in his speech to the Federal Assembly need time to be discussed, analysed, put to referendum, approved and included in the Constitution. Also a succession plan needs to be in place by 2024 when Putin leaves the Presidency. By then we'll know if Mishustin or anyone else (Rogozhin? Glazyev?) might replace him as President....

richard le sarc ,

The economic/social model in the neo-liberal West is one of outright parasitism driving ever increasing inequality and elite wealth, which is the expression in real life of the psychopathic elites' INTENSE hatred of others. For Russia to follow China in creating a society of utilitarian concern for ALL the population, of poverty reduction and of social solidarity between all levels of the population, increases the risk of what Chomsky called 'the good example', like Cuba has been for sixty years as the rest of the Latin American continent, under US terror, descended into a charnel-house and mass immiseration. So 'Russia delenda est', and Putin is Hannibal, and, thankfully, the rotten cadaver called the 'Home of Free', in a fit of malignant self-delusion, ain't gonna produce no Scipios any time soon. They've been reduced to creating Pompeo Adiposus Minors.

Brianeg ,

...Watching a documentary about poverty and homelessness in America by Deutsche Welle, it is criminal what is going on in that country especially when it seems fit to up the military budget to $750 billion. Surely at some point civil war will come to that country to correct the gross imbalance.

Reading about the strange actions of the liquid magma going on deep underground, you almost wish that nature might intervene and deflect America away from its constant onslaught of war and interference in other countries politics.

RobG ,

Boris Yeltsin, (western installed) Russian President from 1991 to 1999, during which the former Soviet Union was totally plundered

https://www.youtube.com/embed/v9YnDirqwT4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

richard le sarc ,

'He might be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's OUR son-of-a-bitch'. Surely a 'Yeltsin' must replace or join 'Quisling' in the popular lexicon as a title for a traitor, in future.

[Jan 18, 2020] Boris Yeltsin, (western installed) Russian President from 1991 to 1999, during which the former Soviet Union was totally plundered

Jan 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

RobG ,

Boris Yeltsin, (western installed) Russian President from 1991 to 1999, during which the former Soviet Union was totally plundered

https://www.youtube.com/embed/v9YnDirqwT4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

richard le sarc ,

'He might be a son-of-a-bitch, but he's OUR son-of-a-bitch'. Surely a 'Yeltsin' must replace or join 'Quisling' in the popular lexicon as a title for a traitor, in future.

[Jan 18, 2020] Trump is following Putin and started grooming his own successor

Jan 18, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Fair dinkum ,

I hear tell that Emperor Trump is also grooming his potential successor/s

It's a neck and neck race between Kim Kardashian, who Trump is giving personal 'hands on' assistance, and Montgomery Burns, who is one of Trump's role models.

[Jan 11, 2020] Atomization of workforce as a part of atomization of society under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness. ..."
"... And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves. ..."
"... The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling. ..."
"... Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation. ..."
"... So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church. ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:09 am
Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what's wrenching society apart George Monbiot, Guardian

George Monbiot on human loneliness and its toll. I agree with his observations. I have been cataloguing them in my head for years, especially after a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness.

A couple of recent trips to Rome have made that point ever more obvious to me: Compared to my North Side neighborhood in Chicago, where every other person seems to have a dog, and on weekends Clark Street is awash in dogs (on their way to the dog boutiques and the dog food truck), Rome has few dogs. Rome is much more densely populated, and the Italians still have each other, for good or for ill. And Americans use the dog as an odd means of making human contact, at least with other dog owners.

But Americanization advances: I was surprised to see people bring dogs into the dining room of a fairly upscale restaurant in Turin. I haven't seen that before. (Most Italian cafes and restaurants are just too small to accommodate a dog, and the owners don't have much patience for disruptions.) The dogs barked at each other for while–violating a cardinal rule in Italy that mealtime is sacred and tranquil. Loneliness rules.

And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves.

That's why the comments about March on Everywhere in Harper's, recommended by Lambert, fascinated me. Maybe, to be less lonely, you just have to attend the occasional march, no matter how disorganized (and the Chicago Women's March organizers made a few big logistical mistakes), no matter how incoherent. Safety in numbers? (And as Monbiot points out, overeating at home alone is a sign of loneliness: Another argument for a walk with a placard.)

Katharine , April 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

I particularly liked this point:

In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet.

With different imagery, the same is true in this country. The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling.

DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation.

So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church.

[Jan 11, 2020] What About "Whataboutism." by Vladimir Golstein

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... One of the most elementary moral truisms is that you are responsible for the anticipated consequences of your own actions. It is fine to talk about the crimes of Genghis Khan, but there isn't much that you can do about them.' ..."
"... 'If Soviet intellectuals chose to devote their energies to crimes of the U.S., which they could do nothing about, that is their business. We honor those who recognized that the first duty is to concentrate on your own country.' ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Wikipedia – the most popular source of information for most people – boldly announces:

"Whataboutism, also known as whataboutery, is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent's position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument. It is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda Prominent usage: Soviet Union propaganda."

Perusal of recent mainstream articles adds one more dimension to the story. Not only everything negative is habitually associated with Soviets and Russians, unless of course, it is Iranians or North Koreans, when the equation has frequently been reversed.

If something negative occurs: Cherchez La Russie.

Mass media bias against President Trump has been observed on numerous occasions, but what is particularly fascinating about this negativity is a persistent desire to paint Trump with the Russian brush.

So it is hardly surprising that Trump has been turned into a practitioner of Russian "Whataboutism," allowing Washington Post to declare triumphantly: "Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump."

The article elaborates:

What about the stock market? What about those 33,000 deleted emails? What about Benghazi? .. What about what about what about. We've gotten very good at what-abouting. The president has led the way. His campaign may or may not have conspired with Moscow, but President Trump has routinely employed a durable old Soviet propaganda tactic."

The WaPo article by Dan Zak goes even further and explains the reasons behind Trump's embrace of Russian Whataboutism. It is moral relativism, you see. It is a ploy of tyrannical regimes, which intend to divert attention from their crimes:

That's exactly the kind of argument that Russian propagandists have used for years to justify some of Putin's most brutal policies," wrote Michael McFaul , former ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration. .. "Moral relativism -- 'whataboutism' -- has always been a favorite weapon of illiberal regimes," Russian chessmaster and activist Garry Kasparov told the Columbia Journalism Review in March. "For a U.S. president to employ it against his own country is tragic.

Viewed from the historical perspective, all this is blatantly false.

It is the democratic systems that need propaganda, spinning, and other soft-power weapons. It is the democracies that rely on one party blaming another party for its own transgressions. It is the liberal economic structures that need to promote one brand of toothpaste by denigrating another brand.

"Whataboutism" is an integral fabric of Western society, as both its business and political models depend on comparing, contrasting, diverting attention and so on.

Soviets, who had difficulty obtaining even one kind of toilet paper, did not need the commercials that claim that the other brand leaks more. Soviet leadership that relied primarily on the power of the gun didn't need to spend time and effort and hone its skills in the art of maligning another party.

In other words, Soviets, and consequently Russians, are plain amateurs when it comes to "whataboutism." When their government felt the need to resort to it, they would do it rather sloppily and amateurishly, so that the people would just laugh it off, as the endless political jokes testify.

Soviets were forced to resort to it during the time of Cold War, however, when there was a real competition for the hearts and minds of several European countries such as France and Italy, where post-war sympathies for Communists were running strong.

Needless to say, the Soviets were beaten soundly. The arguments that American freedoms were worse than Soviets because of American racism did not really work for Europeans, who preferred their Louis Armstrong to Leonid Utesov and their Jackson Pollock to Alexander Gerasimov. In the battle between Georgy Alexandrov's Marion Dixon of Circus (1936) and Ernst Lubitsch's Ninotchka (1939), Ninotchka won.

That's why I find it extremely ironic and peculiar that these methods of "whataboutism," these lines of reasoning that have pervaded the Western news coverage to the core, have been magically turned into a signature method of Soviet Propaganda.

Equally ironic is the fact that any attempt to question Western hypocrisy, spinning, and relentless brainwashing is deflected by a silly counter-attack: this criticism is nothing but "whataboutism," the favorite activity of Russians and other moral relativists and denizens of illiberal regimes.

Additional irony, of course, lies in the fact that Russians are the most self-critical people that I know. That's the one thing they truly excel at – criticizing themselves, their state, their people, their customs and their political system. It is another irony that the information the West habitually exploits in its own shameless "whataboutism" was provided to it free of charge by Russian dissidents from Herzen all the way to Solzhenitsyn and Masha Gessen.

There is rarely an article in the mass media which, while addressing some ills of modern society, doesn't refer to the evils of Gulag, Stalin, lack of democracy and other "ills" of Soviet life. How many articles in the mass media do we read where references to the extermination of the native population, of workers burning in their factories, of thugs dispersing protests or demonstrations, of brutal exploitation, mass incarceration, deportation of the Japanese, witch hunts, or cruel cynical wars – occur without simultaneous references to Stalin's Russia?

You complain about the lack of political choices during elections? What, you want Commies to run you life? You complain about economic inequality? What, you want drab socialism instead? In other words, instead of a traditionally defined "whataboutism," Western propaganda utilizes a slightly more subtle version revealing something bad about itself, but then rapidly switching to demonizing and criticizing its rivals.

The classic example of this approach was described by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their 1988 study Manufacturing Consent .

In the chapter entitled "Worthy and Unworthy Victims," the authors draw the comparison between the coverage of Polish priest, murdered by in Poland in 1984 and the media coverage of Catholic Priests assassinated in Latin America. Jerzy Popieluszko had 78 articles devoted to him, with ten articles on the front page. In the meantime, seventy-two religious victims in Latin America during the period of 1964-78 were subject of only eight articles devoted to all of them combined, with only one article making the front page (Chomsky & Herman, Manufacturing Consent , Pantheon Books, 2002, p. 40).

Presumably, Soviets become a subject of jokes when, instead of addressing the question of Stalin's victims, they embark on discussing the lynching of black Americans. What is worth pondering is why the United States hasn't become the subject of similar jokes when they write hundreds of articles on one death within the Soviet zone of influence while practically ignoring persistent right-wing violence in their own sphere.

"Whataboutism" is not just a rhetorical device invented to deflect criticism; the accusation in "whataboutism" leveled at anyone who defends himself from arbitrary or illogical charges is the accusation that reveals a particular set of power relations.

These accusations of "whataboutism" imply a certain inequality, when the accuser bullies the accused into admitting his guilt.

The accuser puts the accused on the defensive, clearly implying his moral superiority. This moral superiority, of course, is rather fictional, especially if we keep in mind that the Hebrew word "satan" means an accuser. Accusing and blaming others has a satanic ring to that, something that anyone engaged in accusations should remember.

You belched yesterday during dinner. You violated the laws of good table manners.

– But everybody belches!

It is irrelevant, please answer the charge and don't try to avoid it by resorting to 'whataboutism." Did you belch or not?

"Putin's a killer," Bill O'Reilly said to Trump in a February interview. "There are a lot of killers," Trump whatabouted . "We've got a lot of killers. What do you think -- our country's so innocent?"

Here, the media dismisses as "whataboutism" Trump's perfectly logical and correct answer – the one that Trump highlighted himself last week when he ordered the killing of the Iranian general Soleimaini.

Trump's answer, however, was interpreted as somehow outrageous. How dare he compare? As if only a Russian stooge engaged in "whataboutism" can suggest that Western murders and violence are not different from Russian ones.

Dan Zak, who invents a verb "to whatabout" in reference to Trump's exchange with O'Reilly, reveals another highly significant dimension of the term. Due to the abuse of the concept during the Cold War era, and due to the relentless propaganda of the likes of Edward Lucas or the former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, the charge of "whataboutism" began to be leveled at anyone who says anything critical about the United States.

You talk about US racism – you are carrying water for Soviet "whataboutists;" you talk about militarism, police brutality, wars and regime changes, or complain about the destruction of nature – you are a Russian stooge.

And God forbid you criticize failed policies of the Democrats, the Clintons in particular. You are worse than a stooge. You are a Soviet troll spitting "whataboutism," while interfering in the US electoral process.

Trump might have more faults than any of the recent American political leader. Yet, it is the charge of Russian connection and its merging with the charge of "Whataboutism" that began to highlight some sort of sick synergy: if Trump uses this trope of Russian propaganda, he has to be working with Putin. That's the tenor of all recent applications of the term in the mass media.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the Trump administration's murky ties to Vladimir Putin and his associates, whataboutism is viewed by many as a Russian import,"

opines Claire Fallon in her essay on the subject, while the title says it all: "Whataboutism, A Russian Propaganda Technique, Popular With Trump, His Supporters."

The list of publications with very similar titles can obviously go on and on.

And herein lies the most pernicious legacy of the term.

It subconsciously invokes the spirit of Joe McCarthy. And as such it is still very effective in stifling discourse, in dismissing criticism, while character-assassinating dissenting voices.

Never mind that the press, as in the good old days of Father Popieluszko, is still filled to the brim with endless stories of Russian discrimination of the gay community, of Chinese abuse of the Uighurs, or the absence of new and old freedoms in the countries that Pentagon classifies as adversary.

To complain about the lack of balance and the biased focus would be engaging in "Soviet Style of Whataboutism," wouldn't it be?

Vladimir Golstein, former associate professor at Yale University, is currently Chair of the Department of Slavic Studies at Brown University.


Charlotte Russe ,

US propaganda has been quite effective. After all, isn't it merely the merchandising and selling of ideas. So why wouldn't a hyper-capitalist country be extremely effective at using words and images to control behavior. That's how multibillion dollar corporations stimulate consumerism. They convince the public to buy goods and services they don't really need. So why not use those same marketing skills to impart ideological beliefs.

Essentially, isn't that how the notion of "exceptionalism" became rooted in the American psyche, establishing a rationale to pursue a slew of military misadventures. And think of the ingenious propagandist who invented the idea of "spreading democracy" via bombs, drones, and bullets. For decades this secured public consent for innumerable military escapades.

However, the arrival of Trump changed everything. He unwittingly forced the US propaganda machine to stumble and fumble with contradictory messages disassembling the control mainstream media news once happily secured over the entire population.

In desperation to avoid building political consciousness the US state-run media neglected to attack Trump exclusively over reactionary policies, but misguidedly warmongered against Russia for more than three years. Liberal media accused right-wing Trump of being a Russian asset a tactic used more than half a century ago by McCarthyite Russophobes to discredit the Left. Perhaps, the silliness of this propaganda could only produce "lackluster" results consequently never gaining substantial traction among the working-class.

The security state ultimately loses its ability to control the population with sloppy propaganda–they just tune it out. Americans are becoming similar to their Russian counterparts who just assume that all mainstream media news is contrived and not to be believed.

George Mc ,

I thought the reference to the Wiki article was a piss take until I went direct to the source. I see no logical connection between Russia or indeed any country and the rhetorical device of "whataboutism". But it seems the mighty omniscient Wiki says otherwise. Yes – and there's Trump getting a prominent place in the Wiki entry. Is every entry in Wiki geared to the current demands of propaganda? What next I wonder? How about:

Willem ,

I first read about whataboutism at Chomsky's website. I thought Chomsky made a very good definition at the time, so I looked up what he actually said and thought of quoting him here. Well his definition is typical for Chomsky where he says some truthful things, which he immediately buries under a pack of lies

Chomsky on whataboutism:

'CHOMSKY: One of the most elementary moral truisms is that you are responsible for the anticipated consequences of your own actions. It is fine to talk about the crimes of Genghis Khan, but there isn't much that you can do about them.'

That is correct. But unfortunately for the professor, he is not devoid of a little whataboutism himself, where he continues to say that

'If Soviet intellectuals chose to devote their energies to crimes of the U.S., which they could do nothing about, that is their business. We honor those who recognized that the first duty is to concentrate on your own country.'

Then Chomsky buries this whataboutism with another lie saying that:

'And it is interesting that no one ever asks for an explanation, because in the case of official enemies, truisms are indeed truisms.'

Which isn't a truism at all, but apparantly all official enemies of the US are, by definition enemies of Chomsky.Then Chomsky continues by saying that

'It is when truisms are applied to ourselves that they become contentious, or even outrageous. But they remain truisms.'

Not necessarily so, but it's close enough to pass for truth when discussing whataboutism. After which Chomsky adds another lie, i.e., that

'In fact, the truisms hold far more for us than they did for Soviet dissidents, for the simple reason that we are in free societies, do not face repression, and can have a substantial influence on government policy.'

I mean, that is just so much bullshit that I do not even know where to start. For instance Solzjenitsyn, SU greatest dissident, wrote his books in the SU, the Russians didn't like it, and they let Solzjenitsyn go to Switzerland where he become famous and a millionaire, a Nobel price winner, everything that money could buy. He returned to Russia in 1990 and was lauded by amongst others Putin himself and died peacefully in 2008.

'Free society', bollocks: most of us have the freedom to watch the show that others play on their behalf and toil, 'no repression': tell that to Assange, 'substantial influence on government policy': quite difficult when most of the government's decisions are faceless.

This type of lying by Chomsky just goes on and on and I am amazed that I hadn't seen through it the first time I read Chomsky.

Worst is his hypocrisy where professor Chomsky, the worlds best known 'dissident', whose books are sold at airports, who received grants from the MIC to work on linguistics, and who became a millionaire by airing his convoluted views that are not what they are supposed to be (ie dissident), dares to write in the same interview that

'Elementary honesty is often uncomfortable, in personal life as well, and there are people who make great efforts to evade it. For intellectuals, throughout history, it has often come close to being their vocation. Intellectuals are commonly integrated into dominant institutions. Their privilege and prestige derives from adapting to the interests of power concentrations, often taking a critical look but in very limited ways.'

I mean that is just Chomsky writing about himself, but pretending a whataboutism about all those other bad intellectuals.

Interview: https://chomsky.info/2003____/

Jack_Garbo ,

Chomsky's an example of the establishment "pet intellectual" who quietly rages against his master. Youthful dissidence, he found after a few police beatings, is a fool's game, noisy, bloody and futile. Better to growl from a safe distance, repeat the obvious with clear logic and wallow in unearned respect.

lundiel ,

According to a 2019 Gallop poll 40% of American women under 30 would like to leave the US.

Given the economic burden forced upon south/central american countries by the land of the free, it's understandable that America has net migration.

If you up sticks and move to another country it becomes survival at any cost. However, a lot don't make it and return home .if they can afford to.

lundiel ,

When you move to a racist, nationalist country, you have to spend every opportunity thanking them for taking you and congratulating them for allowing you to work yourself to death so you can pay the mortgage on your shed home.

Estaugh ,

Calm doctor, calm, you will wake up Napoleon in the next ward https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnzHtm1jhL4

Gall ,

Many of them are economic refugees who come here after B-52s have turned their country into a parking lot or the elite of other countries who were caught selling out their nations and enriching themselves or those that actually believed the PR that the USG actually gives a flying phuk about "freedom and democracy" propagated by the child molesting perverts in Pedo Wood.

There are also a number who have specifically come here to get even and who can blame them?

Dungroanin ,

What about the 'Russian influence' report not published by Bozo The PM?

& while I'm here

What about the Durham investigation into Russiagate which also seems to have disappeared from imminent publication over a month ago?

Hmm – wasn't it Kruschevs staffers who admired the US propaganda / Perception Management advertising/PR industry by saying in Russia nobody believed the Russian propaganda because Russians knew that's what it was; but all westerners swallowed it and rushed out to buy ever 'better' washing powders, poisonous foods and products without realising they were being lied to.

Steve Hayes ,

What about US violations of international law?
What about US wars of aggression?
What about US regime change operations?
What about US lying propaganda?
What about US murderous sanctions?
What about US funding, arming and training of jihadist terrorists?
What about US funding, arming and training of fascist terrorists?
What about US threats and intimidation of the International Criminal Court?
What about US exceptionalism, which mirrors nothing so much as the Nazi ideas of ubermensch and untermensch?

richard le sarc ,

In Trump and Pompeo you see the evolution of a new type-the Ubumensch.

Gall ,

Just like to add: What about the genocide of the Indigenous population? What about all those broken treaties? What about all the lies?

[Jan 11, 2020] Sheldon Adelson the casino mogul driving Trump's Middle East policy by Chris McGreal

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Las Vegas billionaire gave Republicans $82m for the 2016 elections and his views, notably staunch support for Netanyahu's Israel, are now the official US line ..."
"... Adelson's considerable support for Republicans is in no small part motivated by what he regards as their more reliable support for the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu , which appear intent on preventing the creation of an independent Palestinian state. ..."
"... Adelson gave $82m toward Trump's and other Republican campaigns during the 2016 election cycle – more than three times the next largest individual donor, according to Open Secrets . ..."
"... That commitment bought him an attentive hearing from the new administration as he pushed for the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser knowing that he would be an important ally in getting the White House to kill the Iran nuclear deal. The New York Times reported that Adelson is a member of a " shadow National Security Council " advising Bolton. ..."
"... The day after Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Iran agreement, Adelson was reported to have held a private meeting at the White House with the president, Bolton and Vice-President Mike Pence. ..."
"... Adelson was so enthusiastic about the move that he offered to pay for some of the costs and provided a jet to fly Guatemala's official delegation to Israel for the ceremony. (The Central American country has also announced plans to follow Trump and move its own embassy .) ..."
"... "Adelson is a linchpin in bringing together the radical extremists on the Israeli right and this group of hardliners on Israel and neoconservatives," said Levy, who is now president of the US-based Middle East Project. ..."
"... He paid for a new headquarters for the most powerful pro-Israel lobby group in Washington (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), spent $100m to fund "birthright" trips for young Jewish Americans to Israel, and funds a group opposing criticism of the Jewish state at US universities. ..."
"... In 2015 he secretly bought the Las Vegas newspaper, the Review-Journal , which had led the way in critical coverage of the billionaire's business dealings. Several reporters subsequently left the paper complaining of editorial interference and curbs on reporting of the gambling industry. ..."
"... Right now, Adelson is concentrated on ensuring the Republicans remain in control of Congress, and is pouring $30m into funding the GOP's midterm elections campaign. ..."
"... Adelson is no less active in Israel where he owns the country's largest newspaper, a publication so closely linked with Netanyahu's administration it has been dubbed the "Bibipaper" after the prime minister's nickname. ..."
"... In 2014, he told a conference during a discussion about the implications for democracy of perpetual occupation or annexation of parts of the West Bank without giving Palestinians the right to vote in Israeli elections: "Israel isn't going to be a democratic state. So what?" ..."
Jun 08, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The Las Vegas billionaire gave Republicans $82m for the 2016 elections and his views, notably staunch support for Netanyahu's Israel, are now the official US line

Sheldon Adelson has spent millions on backing Israel and attacking supporters of Palestinian rights in the US. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP In 2015, the billionaire casino owner and Republican party funder Sheldon Adelson spent days in a Las Vegas courtroom watching his reputation torn apart and wondering if his gambling empire was facing ruin.

An official from Nevada's gaming control board sat at the back of the court listening to mounting evidence that Adelson bribed Chinese officials and worked with organised crime at his casinos in Macau – allegations that could have seen the magnate's Las Vegas casinos stripped of their licenses.

The case, a civil suit by a former manager of the Macau gaming operations who said he was fired for curbing corrupt practices, was another blow in a bad run for Adelson.

He had thrown $150m into a futile effort to unseat the "socialist" and "anti-Israel" Barack Obama in the 2012 election. His credibility as a political player was not enhanced by his backing of Newt Gingrich for president.

But three years on from the court case, Adelson's influence has never been greater.

The imprint of the 84-year-old's political passions is seen in an array of Donald Trump's more controversial decisions, including violating the Iran nuclear deal , moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem , and appointing the ultra-hawkish John Bolton as national security adviser .

"Adelson's established himself as an influential figure in American politics with the amount of money that he has contributed," said Logan Bayroff of the liberal pro-Israel group, J Street. "There's no doubt that he has very strong, very far-right dangerous positions and that – at very least – those positions are really being heard and thought about at the highest levels of government."

As the 2015 court hearing unfolded, the billionaire swallowed his considerable pride and paid millions of dollars to settle the lawsuit, heading off the danger of the graft allegations being tested at a full trial.

The casinos stayed in business and continued to contribute to a vast wealth that made Adelson the 14th richest person in America last year with a net worth of $35bn, according to Forbes.

Adelson has put some of that money toward pushing an array of political interests ranging from protecting his business from online gambling to opposition to marijuana legalisation.

But nothing aligns more closely with his world view than the intertwining of the Republican party and Israel .

Adelson's considerable support for Republicans is in no small part motivated by what he regards as their more reliable support for the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu , which appear intent on preventing the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Adelson gave $82m toward Trump's and other Republican campaigns during the 2016 election cycle – more than three times the next largest individual donor, according to Open Secrets .

That commitment bought him an attentive hearing from the new administration as he pushed for the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser knowing that he would be an important ally in getting the White House to kill the Iran nuclear deal. The New York Times reported that Adelson is a member of a " shadow National Security Council " advising Bolton.

The day after Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Iran agreement, Adelson was reported to have held a private meeting at the White House with the president, Bolton and Vice-President Mike Pence.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Sheldon Adelson attends the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem in May. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

The casino magnate also pushed hard to see the US embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – an action previous presidents had shied away from because of the diplomatic ramifications.

Adelson was so enthusiastic about the move that he offered to pay for some of the costs and provided a jet to fly Guatemala's official delegation to Israel for the ceremony. (The Central American country has also announced plans to follow Trump and move its own embassy .)

Daniel Levy, a former member of Israeli negotiating teams with the Palestinians and policy adviser to the then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, said that Adelson's money had helped resurface neoconservative policies which had been discredited after the US invasion of Iraq.

"Adelson is a linchpin in bringing together the radical extremists on the Israeli right and this group of hardliners on Israel and neoconservatives," said Levy, who is now president of the US-based Middle East Project.

The billionaire is also deeply committed to protecting Israel within the US.

An example of an anti-BDS poster funded by Sheldon Adelson. Photograph: Courtesy of Robert Gardner

He paid for a new headquarters for the most powerful pro-Israel lobby group in Washington (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), spent $100m to fund "birthright" trips for young Jewish Americans to Israel, and funds a group opposing criticism of the Jewish state at US universities.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently revealed that Adelson funded an investigation by an Israeli firm with ties to the country's police and military into the American activist Linda Sarsour, a co-chair of the Women's March movement who campaigns for Palestinian rights and supports a boycott of the Jewish state.

Adelson also funds Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and his World Values Network which published a full-page personal attack in the New York Times on the actor Natalie Portman for refusing an award from Israel because of its government's policies.

For his part, the casino magnate does not take criticism well.

In 2015 he secretly bought the Las Vegas newspaper, the Review-Journal , which had led the way in critical coverage of the billionaire's business dealings. Several reporters subsequently left the paper complaining of editorial interference and curbs on reporting of the gambling industry.

Right now, Adelson is concentrated on ensuring the Republicans remain in control of Congress, and is pouring $30m into funding the GOP's midterm elections campaign.

Adelson is no less active in Israel where he owns the country's largest newspaper, a publication so closely linked with Netanyahu's administration it has been dubbed the "Bibipaper" after the prime minister's nickname.

Personal relations with Netanyahu have soured but Adelson remains committed to the prime minister's broader "Greater Israel" political agenda and to strengthening ties between the Republicans' evangelical base and Israel.

It's not always a welcome involvement by a man who is not an Israeli citizen – not least because Adelson's vision for the Jewish state does not represent how many of its people see their country.

In 2014, he told a conference during a discussion about the implications for democracy of perpetual occupation or annexation of parts of the West Bank without giving Palestinians the right to vote in Israeli elections: "Israel isn't going to be a democratic state. So what?"

[Jan 04, 2020] Critical thinking is anathema to the neoliberal establishment. That s why they need to corrupt the language, to make the resistance more difficult and requiring higher level of IQ

Highly recommended!
Manipulation of the language is one of the most powerful Propaganda tool. See the original Orwell essay at George Orwell Politics and the English Language. among other things he stated "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."
Notable quotes:
"... we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying. ..."
"... It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BluebellWood -> Supermassive , 29 Nov 2018 12:41

Yep - education is the key.

I remember at school we read Orwell's essay Politics and the English Language in an English class and then we were set a writing task as a follow-up, reporting on the same story using the same facts, from completely opposing points of view, using euphemism and mind-numbing cliches. Teach children to do this themselves and they can see how language can be skewed and facts distorted and misrepresented without technically lying.

How many children in schools are taught such critical thinking these days, I wonder? It might be taught in Media Studies, I suppose - but gosh, don't the right really hate that particular subject! Critical thinking is anathema to them.

[Dec 21, 2019] Lessons of the past: all changed in 1999 with the war in Kosovo. For the first time I witnessed shocking images of civilian targets being bombed, TV stations, trains, bridges. The NATO spokesman boasted of hundreds of Serbian tanks being destroyed. There was something new and disturbing about his manner, language and tone, something I'd not encountered from coverage of previous conflicts. For the first time I found myself not believing one word of the narrative

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Every US military action and ultimatum to a foreign state has been aggressively pushed by the losing Democrats and particularly 'liberal' mainstream media, any dissent met with smears, censorship or worse. I would argue that today similarities with events leading up to previous global conflicts are too striking and numerous to ignore. ..."
"... Israel and its US relationship – I think Syria is where global conflict is still likely to start. As Syria has been winning, the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia appears to receding. More recently Israel have taken their place and is relentless and unyielding and has its own wider, destructive plans for the Middle East. Israeli influence in the US is now so great that the US has more or less ceded its foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel. In 1914 Austro-Hungary pursued a series of impossible demands against Serbia managing to drag its close and more powerful ally Germany (led by someone equally as obstinate and militaristic as the US leadership) into World War I. Incidentally, some readers may have noticed the similarity between the 1914 diktats and modern-day US bullying towards Venezuala and other states – and perhaps most striking, by Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Qatar not long ago ..."
"... Ideology, paranoia and unstable leaders – history tells us that ideology, paranoia and power are not a good mix and this is in abundance in western elites and media. These establishments are rabidly hostile to Iran and Russia. ..."
"... Media deception and propaganda – The media have been responsible for getting us to where we are today. Without them, the public would have woken up long ago. Much of the deception has been about the presentation of the narrative and the leaders. And it's been a campaign of distraction on our news where the daily genocide in Yemen gives way to sensationalised non-events and celebrity trivia. ..."
"... Appeasement – because of its relative weakness and not wanting a war, Russia has to some extent appeased Western and Israeli aggression in Syria and beyond. To be fair, given the aggression it faces I don't think Russia has had much choice than playing for time. However at some point soon, with the West pushing more and more, something will have to give. Likewise, in the 1930s a militarily unprepared UK and France appeased Germany's expansion. The more they backed off the more Germany pushed until war was the only way. ..."
"... False flags – for those watching events in Syria know that the majority of the 'chemical attacks' have been carried out by Western supported opposition. The timing and nature of these suggest co-ordination at the highest levels. Intelligence Services of the UK and other agencies are believed to co-ordinate these fabrications to provoke a western response aimed at the Syrian Army. On more than one occasion these incidents have nearly escalated to a direct conflict with Russia showing the dangerous game being played by those involved and those pushing the false narrative in the media ..."
Apr 23, 2019 | off-guardian.org

As a history student years ago I remember our teacher explaining how past events are linked to what happens in the future. He told us human behaviour always dictates that events will repeat in a similar way as before. I remember we studied 20th century history and discussed World War I and the links to World War II. At this time, we were in the middle of the Cold War and in unchartered waters and I couldn't really link past events to what was likely to happen next. Back then I guess like many I considered US presidents more as statesman. They talked tough on the Soviet Union but they talked peace too. So, the threat to humanity was very different then to now. Dangerous but perhaps a stable kind of dangerous. After the break up of the Soviet Union we then went through a phase of disorderly change in the world. In the early 1990s the war in the Former Yugoslavia erupted and spread from republic to republic. Up until the mid-to-late nineties I didn't necessarily sense that NATO and the West were the new threat to humanity. While there was a clear bias to events in Yugoslavia there was still some even-handedness or fairness. Or so I thought. This all changed in 1999 with the war in Kosovo. For the first time I witnessed shocking images of civilian targets being bombed, TV stations, trains, bridges and so on. But my wake-up call was the daily NATO briefings on the war. The NATO spokesman boasted of hundreds of Serbian tanks being destroyed. There was something new and disturbing about his manner, language and tone, something I'd not encountered from coverage of previous conflicts. For the first time I found myself not believing one word of the narrative.

When the peace agreement was reached, out of 300 Serbian tanks which had entered Kosovo at the start of the conflict, over 285 were counted going back into Serbia proper which was confirmation he had been lying .

From this conflict onwards I started to see clear parallels with events of the past and some striking similarities with the lead up to previous world wars. This all hit home when observing events in Syria and more recently Venezuala. But looking around seeing people absorbed in their phones you wouldn't think the world is on the brink of war. For most of us with little time to watch world events there are distractions which have obscured the picture historians and geopolitical experts see more clearly.

Recent and current western leaders haven't been short people in military uniform shouting. That would be far too obvious. It's still military conflict and mass murder but in smart suits with liberal sound-bites and high-fives. Then the uncool, uncouth conservative Trump came along and muddied the waters.

Briefly it seemed there might be hope that these wars would stop. But there can be little doubt he's been put under pressure to comply with the regime change culture embedded in the Deep State. Today, through their incendiary language we see US leaders morphing into the open style dictators of the past. The only thing missing are the military uniforms and hats.

Every US military action and ultimatum to a foreign state has been aggressively pushed by the losing Democrats and particularly 'liberal' mainstream media, any dissent met with smears, censorship or worse. I would argue that today similarities with events leading up to previous global conflicts are too striking and numerous to ignore.

Let's look at some of these:

1) Military build up, alliances and proxy wars – for all the chaos and mass murder pursued by the Obama Administration he did achieve limited successes in signing agreements with Iran and Cuba. But rather than reverse the endless wars as promised Trump cancels the agreements leaving the grand sum of zilch foreign policy achievements. NATO has been around for 70 years, but in the last 20 or so has become obsessed with military build up. Nowadays it has hundreds of bases around the world but keeps destablising non-aligned states, partly to isolate Russia and China. And Syria sums up the dangers of the regime change model used today. With over a dozen states involved in the proxy war there is a still high risk of conflict breaking out between US and Russia. The motives for military build up are many. First there are powerful people in the arms industry and media who benefit financially from perpetual war. The US while powerful in military terms are a declining power which will continue, new powers emerging. The only return on their money they can see is through military build up. Also there are many in government, intelligence services and media who can see that if the current order continues to crumble they are likely to be prosecuted for various crimes. All this explains the threatening language and the doubling-down on those who challenge them. In 1914, Europe had two backward thinking military alliance blocks and Sarajevo showed how one event could trigger an unstoppable escalation dragging in many states. And empires such as Austro-Hungary were crumbling from within as they are now. So a similar mentality prevails today where the powerful in these empires under threat favour conflict to peace. For these individuals it's a last throw of the dice and a gamble with all our lives.

2) Israel and its US relationship – I think Syria is where global conflict is still likely to start. As Syria has been winning, the involvement of Turkey and Saudi Arabia appears to receding. More recently Israel have taken their place and is relentless and unyielding and has its own wider, destructive plans for the Middle East. Israeli influence in the US is now so great that the US has more or less ceded its foreign policy in the Middle East to Israel. In 1914 Austro-Hungary pursued a series of impossible demands against Serbia managing to drag its close and more powerful ally Germany (led by someone equally as obstinate and militaristic as the US leadership) into World War I. Incidentally, some readers may have noticed the similarity between the 1914 diktats and modern-day US bullying towards Venezuala and other states – and perhaps most striking, by Saudi Arabia in its dispute with Qatar not long ago .

3) Ideology, paranoia and unstable leaders – history tells us that ideology, paranoia and power are not a good mix and this is in abundance in western elites and media. These establishments are rabidly hostile to Iran and Russia. In addition we face a situation of highly unpredictable, ideological regional leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Most worrying of all, the language, threats and actions of Trump, Pompeo and Bolton suggests there are psychopathic tendencies in play. Behind this is a Deep State and Democrat Party pushing even harder for conflict. The level of paranoia is discouraging any notion of peace. 30 years ago Russia and US would sit down at a summit and reach a consensus. Today a US leader or diplomat seen talking to a Russian official is accused of collusion. When there are limited channels to talk in a crisis, you know we are in trouble. In Germany in the 1930s, ideology, propaganda and creating enemies were key in getting the population on side for war. The leaders within the Nazi clique, Hitler, Goring and Himmler look disturbingly similar to the Trump, Pompeo, Bolton line up.

4) Media deception and propaganda – The media have been responsible for getting us to where we are today. Without them, the public would have woken up long ago. Much of the deception has been about the presentation of the narrative and the leaders. And it's been a campaign of distraction on our news where the daily genocide in Yemen gives way to sensationalised non-events and celebrity trivia. The terms and words; regime change, mass murder and terrorist have all been substituted by the media with 'humanitarian intervention', 'limited airstrikes' and 'moderate rebels' to fool a distracted public that the victims of the aggression are the bad guys. Western funded 'fact checking' sites such as Bellingcat have appeared pushing the misdirections to a surreal new level. Obama was portayed in the media as a cool guy and a little 'soft' on foreign policy. This despite the carnage in Libya, Syria and his drones. Sentiments of equal rights and diversity fill the home affairs sections in the liberal press, while callous indifference and ethno-centrism towards the Middle East and Russia dominate foreign affairs pages. In the press generally, BREXIT, non-existent anti-Semitism and nonsense about the 'ISIS bride' continues unabated. This media circus seeks to distract from important matters, using these topics to create pointless divisions, causing hostility towards Muslims and Jews in the process. The majority of a distracted public have still not twigged largely because the propaganda is more subtle nowadays and presented under a false humanitarian cloak. A small but vocal group of experts and journalists challenging these narratives are regularly smeared as Putin or Assad "apologists" . UK journalists are regularly caught out lying and some long standing hoaxes such as Russiagate exposed. Following this and Iraq WMDs more people are starting to see a pattern here. Yet each time the media in the belief they've bamboozled enough move on to the next big lie. This a sign of a controlled media which has reached the point of being unaccountable and untouchable, deeply embedded within the establishment apparatus. In the lead up to World War II the Nazis ran an effective media propaganda campaign which indoctrinated the population. The media in Germany also reached the point their blindingly obvious lies were rarely questioned. The classic tactic was to blame others for the problems in Germany and the world and project their crimes on to their victims. There are some differences as things have evolved. The Nazis created the media and state apparatus to pursue war. Nowadays this is the opposite way around. Instead the state apparatus is already in place so whoever is leader whether they describe themself as liberal or conservative, is merely a figurehead required to continue the same pro-war policies. Put a fresh-looking president in a shiny suit and intoduce him to the Queen and you wouldn't think he's the biggest mass murderer since Hitler. Although there are some differences in the propaganda techniques, all the signs are that today's media are on a similar war-footing as Germany's was just prior to the outbreak of World War II.

5) Appeasement – because of its relative weakness and not wanting a war, Russia has to some extent appeased Western and Israeli aggression in Syria and beyond. To be fair, given the aggression it faces I don't think Russia has had much choice than playing for time. However at some point soon, with the West pushing more and more, something will have to give. Likewise, in the 1930s a militarily unprepared UK and France appeased Germany's expansion. The more they backed off the more Germany pushed until war was the only way.

6) False flags – for those watching events in Syria know that the majority of the 'chemical attacks' have been carried out by Western supported opposition. The timing and nature of these suggest co-ordination at the highest levels. Intelligence Services of the UK and other agencies are believed to co-ordinate these fabrications to provoke a western response aimed at the Syrian Army. On more than one occasion these incidents have nearly escalated to a direct conflict with Russia showing the dangerous game being played by those involved and those pushing the false narrative in the media. The next flashpoint in Syria is Idlib, where it's highly likely a new chemical fabrication will be attempted this Spring. In the 1930s the Nazis were believed to use false flags with increasing frequency to discredit and close down internal opposition. Summary – We now live in a society where exposing warmongering is a more serious crime than committing it. Prisons hold many people who have bravely exposed war crimes – yet most criminals continue to walk free and hold positions of power. And when the media is pushing for Julian Assange to be extradicted you know this is beyond simple envy of a man who has almost single-handedly done the job they've collectively failed to do. They are equally complicit in warmongering hence why they see Assange and others as a threat. For those not fooled by the smart suits, liberal platitudes and media distraction techniques, the parallels with Germany in the 1930s in particular are now fairly obvious. The blundering military alliances of 1914 and the pure evil of 1939 – with the ignorance, indifference and narcissism described above make for a destructive mix. Unless something changes soon our days on this planet are likely be numbered. Depressing but one encouraging thing is that the indisputable truth is now in plain sight for anyone with internet access to see and false narratives have collapsed before. It's still conceivable that something may create a whole chain of events which sweep these dangerous parasites from power. So anything can happen. In the meantime we should keep positive and continue to spread the message.

Kevin Smith is a British citizen living and working in London. He researches and writes down his thoughts on the foreign wars promoted by Western governments and media. In the highly controlled and dumbed down UK media environment, he's keen on exploring ways of discouraging ideology and tribalism in favour of free thinking.

comite espartaco says Apr, 24, 2019

2- 'Israel and its US relationship'. The 'hands off' policy of the Western powers, guarantees that Syria cannot even be a trigger to any 'global conflict', supposing that a 'global conflict' was on the cards, especially when Russia is just a crumbling shadow of the USSR and China a giant with feet of clay, heavily dependent on Western oligarchic goodwill, to maintain its economy and its technological progress.

In 1914, the Serbian crisis was just trigger of WWI and not a true cause. It is not even clear if it was Germany that dragged Austria-Hungary into the war or Russia. Although there was a possibility (only a possibility), that a swift and 'illegal' attack by Austria-Hungary (without an ultimatum), would have localised and contained the conflict.

There is no similarity whatsoever between the 1914 'diktats' and modern US policy, as the US is the sole Superpower and its acts are not opposed by a balancing and corresponding alliance. Save in the Chinese colony of North Korea, where the US is restrained by a tacit alliance of the North Eastern Asiatic powers: China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, that oppose any military action and so promote and protect North Korean bullying. Qatar, on the other hand, is one of the most radical supporters of the Syrian opposition and terrorist groups around the muslim world, even more than Saudi Arabia and there are powerful reasons for the confrontation of the Gulf rivals.

olavleivar says Apr, 24, 2019
You should go back in Time and STUDY what really happened .. that means going back to the Creation of the socalled British Empire ..the Bank of England , the British East Indian Company , the Opium Wars and the Opium Trafficing , the Boer Wars for Gold and Diamonds , the US Civil War and its aftermath , the manipulations of Gold and Silver by socalled british Financial Interests , The US Spanish Wars , the Japanese Russian War , the failed Coup against Czar Russia 1905 , the Young Turk Coup against the Ottoman Empire 1908, the Armenian Genocide , the Creation of the Federal Reserve 1913 , the Multitude of Assinations and other Terror Attacks in the period from 1900 and upwards , WHO were the perpetraders ? , , WW 1 and its originators , the Bolshevik Coup 1917 , the Treaty of Versailles and the Actors in that Treaty ,the Plunder of Germany , the dissolution of Austria Hungary , the Bolshevik Coup attempts all over Europe , and then the run up to WW 2 , the Actions of Poland agianst Germans and Czechs .. Hitler , Musolini and finally WW 2 .the post war period , the Nuernberg Trials , the Holocaust Mythology , the Creation of Israel , Gladio , the Fall of the Sovjet Empire and the Warshav Pact , the Wars in the Middle East , the endless Terror Actions , the murder of Kennedy and a mass of False Flag Terrorist Attacks since then , the destruction of the Balkans and the Middle east THERE IS PLENTY of EXCELLENT LITERATURE and ANALYSIS on all subjects .
comite espartaco says Apr, 23, 2019
1- Military buildup, alliances and proxy wars.

It was your Obama that 'persecuted' Mr Assange !!!

Syria demonstrates that there has NOT been a Western strategy for regime change (specially after the 'defeats' in Iraq and Afghanistan), let alone a proxy war, but, on the contrary, an effort to keep the tyranny of Assad in power, in a weaker state, to avoid any strong, 'revolutionary' rival near Israel. Russia has been given a free hand in Syria, otherwise, if the West had properly armed the resistance groups, it would have been a catastrophe for the Russian forces, like it was in Afghanistan during the Soviet intervention.

Trump's policy of 'equal' (proportional) contributions for all members of NATO and other allies, gives the lie to the US military return 'argument' and should be understood as part of his war on unfair competition by other powers.

The 'military' and diplomatic alliances of 1914 were FORWARD thinking, so much so that they 'repeated' themselves during WWII, with slight changes. But it is very doubtful that the Empires, like the Austro-Hungarian o the Russian ones, would have 'crumbled' without the outbreak of WWI. They were never under threat, as their military power during the war showed. Only a World War of cataclysmic character could destroy them. A war, triggered, but not created, by the 'conflict seeking mentality' of the powerful in the small countries of the Balkans.

Shardlake says Apr, 23, 2019
Generally attributed to Senator Hiram Warren Johnson in 1918 that 'when war comes the first casualty is truth' is as much a truism now as it was then.

I'm more inclined to support hauptmanngurski's proposition that the members of the armed forces, from both sides, who return from conflicts with life-changing injuries or even in flag-draped caskets defended only the freedom of multinational enterprises and conglomerates to make and continue to make vast profits for the privileged few at the population's expense.

As Kevin Smith makes abundantly clear we are all subject to the downright lies and truth-stretching from our government aided and abetted by a compliant main stream media as exemplified in the Skripal poisoning affair, which goes far beyond the counting of Serbian tanks supposedly destroyed during the Balkans conflict. The Skripals' are now God knows where either as willing participants or as detainees and our government shows no signs of clarifying the matter, so who would believe what it put out anyway in view of its track record of misinformation ? The nation doesn't know what to believe.

Sadly, I believe this has always been the way of things and I cannot even speculate on how long it will be before this nation will realise it is being deliberately mis-led.

[Dec 20, 2019] Intelligence community has become a self licking ice cream cone

Highly recommended!
Dec 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org

J_Garbo ,

I suspected that Deep State has at least two opposing factions. The Realistists want him to break up the empire, turn back into a republic; the Delusionals want to extend the empire, continue to exploit and destroy the world. If so, the contradictions, reversals, incoherence make sense. IMO as I said.

Gary Weglarz ,

I predict that all Western MSM will begin to accurately and vocally cover Mr. Binney's findings about this odious and treasonous U.S. government psyop at just about the exact time that -- "hell freezes over" -- as they say.

Jen ,

They don't need to, they have Tony Blair's fellow Brit psycho Boris Johnson to go on autopilot and blame the Russians the moment something happens and just before London Met start their investigations.

[Nov 29, 2019] Where s the Collusion

Highly recommended!
Now after her deposition Aaron should interview Fiona Hill. I would like to see how she would lose all the feathers of her cocky "I am Specialist in Russia" stance. She a regular MIC prostitute (intelligence agencies are a part of MIC) just like Luke Harding. And probably both have the same handlers.
Brilliant interview !
Harding is little more than an intelligence asset himself and his idea of speaking to "Russians" is London circle of Russian emigrants which are not objective source by any means.
He's peddling a his Russophobic line with no substantiation. In fact, the interview constitutes an overdue exposure of this pressitute.
Notable quotes:
"... He's little more than an intelligence asset himself if his idea of speaking to "Russians" is to go and speak to a bunch of people who most certainly have their own ties back to the western intelligence agencies. ..."
"... Also "well this is the kind of person Putin is" is a terrible argument. This isn't about either Putin or Trump really, its about the long history of US-Russia relations and all that has occurred. ..."
"... This interview is a wonderful illustration of everything that is horribly wrong with corporate media. I hope it goes viral. ..."
"... Very well put! Everything that is labeled as "conspiracy theory" when aimed towards the West, is "respectable journalism" when aimed at Russia. ..."
"... Navalny is a corrupt ex-politician just like his mentor that was caught red-handed taking a bribe from a German businessman "all on camera" at a restaurant. Most of corrupt politicians and businessmen that get caught by the Russian government always cry that they are politically repressed and the government is evil. ..."
"... Navalnys brother was the owner of a small transport company that Navalny helped secure contracts with government enterprises '' anywhere in the world that would be a conflict of interest" but that's not why he is in jail! His brother is in jail for swindling the postal service company for transportation costs. ..."
"... Aaron Mate is a brilliant interviewer. He keeps a calm demeanor, but does not let his guest get away with any untruths or non sequiturs. This one of the many reasons I love The Real News. I encourage anyone who appreciates solid journalism to donate to The Real News. ..."
"... GREAT follow up questions Aaron... Harding did not expect to get a real reporter... he obfuscates and diverts to other issues because he can not EVER provide any evidence... Going to Moscow will not tell you anything about whether or not the DNC server was hacked. ..."
"... Luke Harding is a complete and total idiot. He kept qualifying his arguments with "I've been to Moscow... I don't know if you know this, but I've been to Moscow..." and even at one point, "Some of my friends have been murdered." LOL, sure, whatever you say, Luke! Like you're so big time and such an all star journalist who isn't just trying to capitalize on the wild goose chase that is psychologically trapping leftists into delusions and wishful thinking. ..."
"... NSA monitors every communication over the internet. if the Russians hacked the DNC, there would be proof, and it would not take years to uncover. Look at the numbers: Clinton spent 2 billion, Russian "agents" spent 200k to "influence" the election. Great job Aaron for holding this opportunist's feet to the fire. Oh he's a story teller all right. You know a synonym of storyteller? LIAR!!!! ..."
"... Hes making so many factual wrong statements I don't know where to start here. ..."
"... His logic seems to be: Putin does things we don't like -> Trump getting elected is something we don't like -> Putin got Trump elected. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Our Hidden History , 4 days ago (edited)

That Harding tells Mate to meet Alexi Navalny, who is a far right nationalist and most certainly a tool of US intelligence (something like Russia's Richard Spencer) was all I needed to hear to understand where Luke is coming from.

He's little more than an intelligence asset himself if his idea of speaking to "Russians" is to go and speak to a bunch of people who most certainly have their own ties back to the western intelligence agencies. That's not how you're going to get the truth about Russia. He's all appeals to authority - Steele's most of all, even name dropping Kerry. To finally land on "oh well if you would read my whole book" is just getting to the silly season.

Also "well this is the kind of person Putin is" is a terrible argument. This isn't about either Putin or Trump really, its about the long history of US-Russia relations and all that has occurred. Also, the ubiquitous throwing around of accusations of the murder of journalists in Russia is a straw man argument, especially when it is just thrown in as some sort of moral shielding for a shabby argument.

Few in the US know about these cases or what occurred, or of the many forces inside of Russia that might be involved in murdering journalists just as in Mexico or Turkey. But these cases are not explained - blame is merely assigned to Putin himself. Of course if someone here discusses he death of Michael Hastings, they're a "conspiracy theorist", but if the crime involves a Russian were to assign the blame to Vladimir Putin and, no further explanation is required.

Elizabeth Ferrari , 4 days ago

This interview is a wonderful illustration of everything that is horribly wrong with corporate media. I hope it goes viral.

Esen B. , 3 days ago

He is far right, he is calling "cockroaches" Central Asian/ex-USSR workers coming to Moscow and in general his tone is quite ultra-nationalistic.

Lemmy Motorhead , 3 days ago

Very well put! Everything that is labeled as "conspiracy theory" when aimed towards the West, is "respectable journalism" when aimed at Russia.

Esen B. , 3 days ago

That is the video about fire arm legalization "cockroaches ", even if you are not Russian speaking it's pretty graphic to understand the idea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8ILxqIEEMg

Esen B. , 3 days ago (edited)

And FYI - Central Asian workers do the low-wage jobs in Moscow, pretty like Mexicans or Puerto Ricans in US. Yet, that "future president" is trying to gain some popularity by labeling and demonizing them. Sounds familiar a bit?

trdi , 3 days ago (edited)

"definitelly ddissagree with that assertation about Alexei he's had nationalist views but he's definitely not far right and calling him a tool of US intelligence is pretty bs this is the exact same assertation that the Russian state media says about him."

I disagree that there is any evidence of Navalny being tool of US intelligence, but you are wrong for not recognizing that Navalny is ultranationalist. His public statements are indefensible. He is a Russian ultra nationalist, far right and a racist. Statements about cockroaches, worse than rats, bullets being too good etc - there is no way to misunderstand that.

Sendan , 3 days ago

Navalny is a corrupt ex-politician just like his mentor that was caught red-handed taking a bribe from a German businessman "all on camera" at a restaurant. Most of corrupt politicians and businessmen that get caught by the Russian government always cry that they are politically repressed and the government is evil.

Navalnys brother was the owner of a small transport company that Navalny helped secure contracts with government enterprises '' anywhere in the world that would be a conflict of interest" but that's not why he is in jail! His brother is in jail for swindling the postal service company for transportation costs.

MrChibiluffy , 3 days ago

I know he said that i agree he has those views but that was in 2010.

Yarrski , 3 days ago

@trdi I am a Russian. And I remember the early Navalny who made me sick to my stomach with absolutely disgusting, RACIST, anti-immigration commentaries. The guy is basically a NEO-NAZI who has toned down his nationalist diatribes in the past 10 or so years. Has he really reformed? I doubt it.

Mohamed Elmaazi , 2 days ago

This is a solid comment mate. Well thought out, with solid reasoning. How refreshing.

Nikita Gusarov , 2 days ago

MrChibiluffy, Navalny became relatively popular in Russia precisely at that time, especially during the White Ribbon protests in 2011/2012. I remember it very well myself.

I am Russian and I lived in Moscow at that time and he was the darling of the Russian opposition. He publicly defined his views and established himself back then and hasn't altered his position to this day.

What's more important is that around 2015 or so he made an alliance with the far-right and specifically Diomushkin who is a neo-nazi activist. I understand that people change their views, it's just that he hasn't.

MrChibiluffy , 2 days ago

Nikita Gusarov it still feels like the best chance for some form of populist opposition atm. Even though they just rejected him he has a movement. Would you rather vote for Sobchak?

annalivia1308 , 1 day ago

Yes. The US are looking to repeat Ukraine's regime change.

Ind Aus , 1 day ago

Lets not forget that one reason many voted for Trump was his rhetoric about improving the peace-threatening antagonism towards Russia, especially in order to help resolve the situation in Syria. It's not like it was secret he was trying to hide. He only moderated his views somewhat when the Democrat-engineered anti-Russian smear campaign took off and there was a concerted effort to tie him to Russia.

Is it crime surround yourself with people that will help you fullfill your pledges?

artemis12061966 , 1 day ago

Or the death of Gary Webb, prosecution of whistleblowers.....like Private Manning...

RipTheJackR , 9 hours ago

Our Hidden History... beautiful. Very well put mate :)

Gabriel Olsen , 3 hours ago

Yep, when he talked about murdering journalists, I paused the video and told my girlfriend about the murder of Michael Hastings. Oh an PS the USA puts journalists in Guantanamo. We play real baseball.

Luca Clemente , 4 days ago (edited)

Aaron Mate is a brilliant interviewer. He keeps a calm demeanor, but does not let his guest get away with any untruths or non sequiturs. This one of the many reasons I love The Real News. I encourage anyone who appreciates solid journalism to donate to The Real News.

TheJagjr4450 , 3 days ago

GREAT follow up questions Aaron... Harding did not expect to get a real reporter... he obfuscates and diverts to other issues because he can not EVER provide any evidence... Going to Moscow will not tell you anything about whether or not the DNC server was hacked.

dzedo53 , 4 days ago

Putin is a bad guy. Therefore he colluded with Trump back in 1987 to help Trump win the election in 2016. Why is that so hard to see?? LOL.

Noah , 14 hours ago

Luke Harding is a complete and total idiot. He kept qualifying his arguments with "I've been to Moscow... I don't know if you know this, but I've been to Moscow..." and even at one point, "Some of my friends have been murdered." LOL, sure, whatever you say, Luke! Like you're so big time and such an all star journalist who isn't just trying to capitalize on the wild goose chase that is psychologically trapping leftists into delusions and wishful thinking.

jodi houts , 4 days ago

Thank you Aaron Matθ for calling out the bullshit. The dem party is dead until they take care of their own espionage and corruption.

KAREN Nichols , 4 days ago

Thank you for "holding his feet to the fire"...I wish more media was more skeptical as well. Good work!

david ackerman , 4 days ago

NSA monitors every communication over the internet. if the Russians hacked the DNC, there would be proof, and it would not take years to uncover. Look at the numbers: Clinton spent 2 billion, Russian "agents" spent 200k to "influence" the election. Great job Aaron for holding this opportunist's feet to the fire. Oh he's a story teller all right. You know a synonym of storyteller? LIAR!!!!

shadex08 , 4 days ago

Great job Aaron, your work here makes me feel even better about my contribution to the real news.

95percent air , 4 days ago

Wow Aaron Matte NICE JOB. I'm only half through, I hope you don't make him cry. Do u make him cry? Did I hear this guy say he's ultimately a storyteller? Lol.

Mal c.H , 4 days ago

It may seem like Trump has an alarming amount of associations with Russia, because he does.. that's how rich oligarchs work. But it's all just SPECULATION still. Why publish a book on this without a smoking gun to prove anything? Collusion isn't even a legal term, it's vague enough for people to make it mean whatever they want it to mean. People investigating and reporting on this are operating under confirmation bias. Aaron, you're always appropriately critical and you're always asking the right questions. You seem to be one of the few sane people left in media. Trump is a disgrace but there still is no smoking gun.

jodi houts , 4 days ago

As he gets deeper in the weeds of speculation he starts attacking Aaron's credibility.

Fixel Heimer , 4 days ago

Omg a bunch of unproven conspiracy crap.. Hes making so many factual wrong statements I don't know where to start here.. How would anyone in the years before his candidacy have thought Trump would gain any political relevance. I mean even the pro Hillary media thought until the end, their massive trump coverage would only help to get him NOT elected, but the opposite was the case. This guy is a complete joke as are his theses. Actually reminding me of the guardian's so called report about Russian Hacking in the Brexit referendum. Look here if you want to have a laugh http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/12/how-097-changed-the-fate-of-britain-not.html

Hugh Mungus , 4 days ago

His logic seems to be: Putin does things we don't like -> Trump getting elected is something we don't like -> Putin got Trump elected.

Katie B , 4 days ago

Collusion Rejectionist! Ha Ha. Funniest interview ever. Well done Aaron. The Real News taking a stand for truth. So what's in the book if there's no evidence? Guardian journalism? Stop questioning the official narrative, oh and have you heard of Estonia. :)) ps that smiley face was not an admission of my working for the Kremlin.

Antman4656 , 4 days ago

Best interview ever. Aaron held him to his theories and asked what evidence or proof he had and he didn't come up with one spec of evidence only hearsay and disputed theories. What a sad indictment this is on America. 1 year on a sensationalized story and still nothing concrete. What a joke and proof of gullibility to anyone who believes this corporate media Narritive. I guess at least they don't have to cover policies like the tax theft or net neutrality. This is why we need The Real news.

maskedavenger777 , 4 days ago (edited)

I'd rather have American business making business deals with Russia for things like hotels, rather than business deals with the Pentagon to aim more weapons at the Russians. When haven't we been doing business with Russians? We might as well investigate Cargill, Pepsi, McDonald's, John Deere, Ford, and most of our wheat farmers.

[Nov 02, 2019] WATCH Udo Ulfkotte – Bought Journalists by Terje Maloy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... We drove for hours through the desert, towards the Iraqi border. Approx. 20-30 kilometers from the border, there really was nothing. First of all no war. There were armored vehicles and tanks, burned-out long ago. The journalist left the bus, splashed the contents of the cans on the vehicles. We had Iraqi soldiers with us as an escort, with machine guns, in uniform. You have to imagine: tanks in a desert, burned out long ago, now put on fire. Clouds of smoke. And there the journalists assemble their cameras. ..."
"... So I gathered courage and asked one of the reporters: 'I understand one thing, they are great pictures, but why are they ducking all the time? ' ..."
"... I'll finish, because I am not here to make satire today. I just want to say that this was my first experience with truth in journalism and war reporting. ..."
"... Then a certain type of reporting is expected. Which one? Forget my newspaper, this applies in general. At the start of the trip, the journalist gets a memo – today it is electronic – in his hand. If you are traveling abroad, it is info about the country, or the speeches that will be held. This file contains roughly what will happen during this trip. In addition there are short conversations, briefings with the politician's press manager. He then explains to you how one views this trip. Naturally, you should see it the same way. No one says it in that way. But is is approximately what one would have reported. ..."
"... He explained that a recruitment board from the intelligence services had participated. But I had no idea that the seminar Introduction to Conflict Studies was arranged by the defense forces and run by the foreign intelligence service BND, to have a closer look at potential candidates among the students, not to commit them. They only asked if they, after four such seminars, possibly could contact me later, in my occupation. ..."
"... Two persons from BND came regularly to the paper, to a visiting room. And there were occasions when the report not only was given, but also that BND had written articles, largely ready to go, that were published in the newspaper under my byline. ..."
"... But a couple of journalists were there, they told about it. Therefore I repeat: Merkel invited the chief editors several times, and told them she didn't want the population to be truthfully and openly informed about the problems out there. For example, the background for the financial crisis. If the citizens knew how things were, they would run to the bank and withdraw their money. So beautifying everything; everything is under control; your savings are safe; just smile and hold hands – everything will be fine. ..."
"... From one hour 18 minutes onwards, Ulfkotte details EU-Inter-State Terror Co-operation, with returning IS Operatives on a Free Pass, fully armed and even Viktor Orban had to give in to the commands of letting Terrorists through Hungary into Germany & Austria. ..."
"... Everybody who works in the MSM, without exception, are bought and paid for whores peddling lies on behalf of globalist corporate interests. ..."
"... Udo's voice (in the form of his book) was silenced for a reason – that being that he spoke the truth about our utterly and completely corrupt Western fantasy world in which we in the West proclaim our – "respect international law" and "respect for human rights." His work, such as this interview and others he has done, pulled the curtain back on the big lie and exposed our oligarchs, politicians and the "journalists" they hire as simply a cadre of professional criminals whose carefully crafted lies are used to soak up the blood and to cover the bodies of the dead, all in order to hide all that mayhem from our eyes, to insure justice is an impossibility and to make sure we Western citizens sleep well at night, oblivious to our connection to the actual realities that are this daily regime of pillage and plunder that is our vaunted "neoliberal order." ..."
"... "The philosopher Diogenes (of Sinope) was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, 'If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.' To which Diogenes replied, 'Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king"." ..."
"... So Roosevelt pushed Hitler to attack Stalin? Hitler didn't want to go East? Revisionism at it most motive free. ..."
"... Pushing' is synonymous for a variety of ways to instigate a desired outcome. Financing is just one way. And Roosevelt was in no way the benevolent knight history twisters like to present him. You are outing yourself again as an easliy duped sheep. ..."
"... Lebensraum was first popularized in 1901 in Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensraum Hitler's "Mein Kampf" ( 1925) build on that: he had no need for any American or other push, it was intended from the get go. ..."
"... This excellent article demonstrates how the Controlling Elite manipulates the Media and the Message for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objective of securing Global Ownership (aka New World Order). ..."
"... Corporate Journalism is all about corporatism and the continuation of it. If the Intelligence Community needs greater fools for staffing purposes in the corporate hierarchy they look for anyone that can be compromised via inducements of whatever the greater fools want. ..."
"... Bought & paid for corporate Journalists are controlled by the Intelligence Agencies and always have been since at least the Second World War. The CIA typically runs bribery & blackmail at the state & federal level so that when necessary they have instant useless eaters to offer up as political sacrifice when required via state run propaganda, & impression management. ..."
"... Assuming that journalism is an ethical occupation is naοve and a fools' game even in the alternative news domain as all writers write from bias & a lack of real knowledge. Few writers are intellectually honest or even aware of their own limits as writers. The writer is a failure and not a hero borne in myth. Writers struggle to write & publish. Bought and paid for writers don't have a struggle in terms of writing because they are told what to write before they write as automatons for the Intelligence Community knowing that they sold their collective souls to the Prince of Darkness for whatever trinkets, bobbles, or bling they could get their greedy hands on at the time. ..."
"... Once pond scum always pond scum. ..."
"... It is a longer process in which one is gradually introduced to ever more expensive rewards/bribes. Never too big to overwhelm – always just about what one would accept as 'motivation' to omit aspects of any issue. Of course, omission is a lie by any other name, but I can attest to the life style of a journalist that socializes with the leaders of all segments of society. ..."
"... Professional whoring is as old as the hills and twice as dusty. Being ethical is difficult stuff especially when money is involved. Money is always a prime motivator but vanity works wonders too. Corporatists will offer whatever inducements they can to get what they want. ..."
"... All mainstream media voices are selling a media package that is a corporatist lie in and of itself. Truth is less marketable than lies. Embellished news & journalistic hype is the norm ..."
Oct 06, 2019 | off-guardian.org

WATCH: Udo Ulfkotte – Bought Journalists Terje Maloy

Subtitled and transcribed by Terje Maloy

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3ZLgW3hgRBY

In 2014, the German journalist and writer Udo Ulfkotte published a book that created a big stir, describing how the journalistic profession is thoroughly corrupt and infiltrated by intelligence services.

Although eagerly anticipated by many, the English translation of the book, Bought Journalists , does not seem to be forthcoming anytime soon.

[We covered that story at the time – Ed.]

So I have made English subtitles and transcribed this still very relevant 2015-lecture for those that are curious about Ulfkotte's work. It covers many of the subjects described in the book.

Udo Ulfkotte died of a heart attack in January 2017, in all likelihood part of the severe medical complications he got from his exposure to German-made chemical weapons supplied to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.

Transcription

[Only the first 49 minutes are translated; the second half of the lecture deals mostly with more local issues]

Introducer Oliver: I am very proud to have such a brave man amongst us: Udo Ulfkotte

Udo Ulfkotte: Thanks Thanks for the invitation Thanks to Oliver. I heard to my great surprise from Oliver that he didn't know someone from the intelligence services (VVS) would be present. I wish him a warm welcome. I don't mean that as a joke, I heard this in advance, and got to know that Oliver didn't know. If he wants – if it is a man – he can wave. If not? no? [laughter from the audience]

I'm fine with that. You can write down everything, or record it; no problem.

To the lecture. We are talking about media. we are talking about truth. I don't want to sell you books or such things. Each one of us asks himself: Why do things develop like they do, even though the majority, or a lot of people shake their heads.

The majority of people in Germany don't want nuclear weapons on our territory. But we have nuclear weapons here. The majority don't want foreign interventions by German soldiers. But we do.

What media narrates and the politicians say, and what the majority of the population believes – seems often obviously to be two different things.

I can tell you this myself, from many years experience. I will start with very personal judgments, to tell you what my experiences with 'The Lying Media' were – I mean exactly that with the word 'lying'.

I was born in a fairly poor family. I am a single child. I grew up on the eastern edge of the Ruhr-area. I studied Law, Political Science and Islamic Studies. Already in my student years, I had contact with the German Foreign Intelligence, BND. We will get back to that later.

From 1986 to 2003, I worked for a major German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), amongst other things as a war reporter. I spent a lot of time in Eastern and African countries.

Now to the subject of lying media. When I was sent to the Iran-Iraq war for the first time, the first time was from 1980 to July 1986, I was sent to this war to report for FAZ. The Iraqis were then 'the good guys'.

I was bit afraid. I didn't have any experience as a war reporter. Then I arrived in Baghdad. I was fairly quickly sent along in a bus by the Iraqi army, the bus was full of loud, experienced war reporters, from such prestigious media as the BBC, several foreign TV-stations and newspapers, and me, poor newbie, who was sent to the front for the first time without any kind of preparation. The first thing I saw was that they all carried along cans of petrol. And I at once got bad consciousness, because I thought: "oops, if the bus gets stuck far from a petrol station, then everyone chips in with a bit of diesel'. I decided to in the future also carry a can before I went anywhere, because it obviously was part of it.

We drove for hours through the desert, towards the Iraqi border. Approx. 20-30 kilometers from the border, there really was nothing. First of all no war. There were armored vehicles and tanks, burned-out long ago. The journalist left the bus, splashed the contents of the cans on the vehicles. We had Iraqi soldiers with us as an escort, with machine guns, in uniform. You have to imagine: tanks in a desert, burned out long ago, now put on fire. Clouds of smoke. And there the journalists assemble their cameras.

It was my first experience with media, truth in reporting.

While I was wondering what the hell I was going to report for my newspaper, they all lined up and started: Behind them were flames and plumes of smoke, and all the time the Iraqis were running in front of camera with their machine guns, casually, but with war in their gaze. And the reporters were ducking all the time while talking.

So I gathered courage and asked one of the reporters: 'I understand one thing, they are great pictures, but why are they ducking all the time? '

'Quite simply because there are machine guns on the audio track, and it looks very good at home.'

That was several decades ago. It was in the beginning of my contact with war. I was thinking, the whole way back:'Young man, you didn't see a war. You were in a place with a campfire. What are you going to tell?'

I returned to Baghdad. There weren't any mobile phones then. We waited in Hotel Rashid and other hotels where foreigners stayed, sometimes for hours for an international telephone line. I first contacted my mother, not my newspaper. I was in despair, didn't know what to do, and wanted to get advice from an elder person.

Then my mother shouted over the phone: 'My boy, you are alive!' I thought: 'How so? Is everything OK?'

'My boy, we thought ' 'What's the matter, mother?' 'We saw on TV what happened around you' TV had already sent lurid stories, and I tried to calm my mother down, it didn't happen like that. She thought I had lost my mind from all the things that had happened in the war – she saw it with her own eyes!

I'll finish, because I am not here to make satire today. I just want to say that this was my first experience with truth in journalism and war reporting.

That is, I was very shocked by the first contact, it was entirely different from what I had experienced. But it wasn't an exceptional case.

In the beginning, I mentioned that I am from a fairly poor family. I had to work hard for everything. I was a single child, my father died when I was young. It didn't matter further on. But, I had a job, I had a degree, a goal in life.

I now had the choice: Should I declare that the whole thing was nonsense, these reports? I was nothing, a newbie straight out of uni, in my first job. Or if I wanted to make money, to continue, look further. I chose the second option. I continued, and that for many years.

Over these years, I gained lots of experience. When one comes from university to a big German newspaper – everything I say doesn't only apply to FAZ, you can take other German or European media. I had contact with other European journalists, from reputable media outlets. I later worked in other media. I can tell you: What I am about to tell you, I really discovered everywhere.

What did I experience? If you, as a reporter, work either in state media financed by forced license fees, or in the big private media companies, then you can't write what you want yourself, what you feel like. There are certain guidelines.

Roughly speaking: everyone knows that you won't, for example in the Springer-newspapers – Bild, die Welt – get published articles extremely critical of Israel. They stand no chance there, because one has to sign a statement that one is pro-Israel, that one won't question the existence of the state of Israel or Israeli points of view, etc.

There are some sort of guidelines in all the big media companies. But that isn't all: I learned very fast that if one doesn't – I don't mean this negatively – want to be stuck in the lower rungs of editors, if one wants to rise; for me this rise was that I was allowed to travel with the Chancellor, ministers, the president and politicians, in planes owned by the state; then one has to keep to certain subjects. I learned that fast.

That is, if one gets to follow a politician – and this hasn't changed to this day – I soon realized that when I followed the president or Chancellor Helmut Kohl etc, one of course isn't invited because your name is Udo Ulfkotte, but because you belong to the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

Then a certain type of reporting is expected. Which one? Forget my newspaper, this applies in general. At the start of the trip, the journalist gets a memo – today it is electronic – in his hand. If you are traveling abroad, it is info about the country, or the speeches that will be held. This file contains roughly what will happen during this trip. In addition there are short conversations, briefings with the politician's press manager. He then explains to you how one views this trip. Naturally, you should see it the same way. No one says it in that way. But is is approximately what one would have reported.

All the time you no one tells you to write it this or that way but you know quite exactly that if you DON'T write it this or that way,then you won't get invited next time. Your media outlet will be invited, but they say 'we don't want him along'. Then you are out.

Naturally you want to be invited. Of course it is wonderful to travel abroad and you can behave like a pig, no one cares. You can buy what you want, because you know that when you return, you won't be checked. You can bring what you want. I had colleagues who went along on a trip to the US.

They brought with them – it was an air force plane – a Harley Davidson, in parts. They sold it when they were back in Germany, and of course earned on it. Anyway, just like the carpet-affair with that development minister, this is of course not a single instance. No one talks about it.

You get invited if you have a certain way of seeing things. Which way to see things? Where and how is this view of the world formed? I very often get asked: 'Where are these people behind the curtain who pulls the wires, so that everything gets told in a fairly similar way?'

In the big media in Germany – just look yourself – who sit in the large transatlantic think-tanks and foundations,the foundation The Atlantic Bridge, all these organizations, and how is one influenced there? I can tell from my own experience.

We mustn't talk only theoretically. I was invited by the think-tank The German Marshall Fund of the United States as a fellow. I was to visit the United States for six weeks. It was fully paid. During these six weeks I could this think-tank has very close connections to the CIA to this day, they acquired contacts in the CIA for me and they got me access to American politicians, to everyone I wanted. Above all, they showered me with gifts.

Already before the journey with German Marshall Fund, I experienced plenty of bought journalism. This hasn't to do with a particular media outlet. You see, I was invited and didn't particularly reflect over it, by billionaires, for example sultan Quabboos of Oman on the Arabian peninsula.

When sultan Qabboos invited, and a poor boy like me could travel to a country with few inhabitants but immense wealth, where the head of state had the largest yachts in the world, his own symphony orchestra which plays for him when he wants – by the way he bought a pub close to Garmisch-Patenkirchen, because he is a Muslim believer, and someone might see him if he drank in his own country, so he rather travels there. The place he bought every day fly in fresh lamb from Ireland and Scotland with his private jet. He is also the head of an environmental foundation.

But this is a digression. If such a person, who is so incredibly rich, invites someone like me, then I arrive first class. I had never traveled first class before. We arrive, and a driver is waiting for me. He carries your suitcase or backpack. You have a suite in the hotel. And from the very start, you are showered with gifts. You get a platinum or gold coin. A hand-weaved carpet or whatever.

I interviewed the sultan, several times. He asked me what I wanted. I answered among other things a diving course. I wanted to learn how to dive. He flew in a PADI-approved instructor from Greece. I was there for two weeks and got my first diving certificate. On later occasions, the sultan flew me in several times, and the diving instructor. I got a certificate as rescue diver, all paid for by the sultan. You see, when one is attended to in such a way, then you know that you are bought. For a certain type of journalism. In the sultan's country, there is no freedom of the press.

There are no human rights. It is illegal to import many writings, because the sultan does not wish so. There are reports about human rights violations, but my eyes are blind. I reported, like all German media when they report about the Sultanate of Oman, to this day, only positive things. The great sultan, who is wonderful. The fantastic country of the fairy tale prince, overshadowing everything else – because I was bought.

Apart from Oman, many others have bought me. They also bought colleagues. I got many invitations through the travel section in my big newspaper. 5-star. The reportage never mentioned that I was bought, by country A or B or C. Yemenia, the Yemeni state airline, invited me to such a trip.

I didn't report about the dirt and dilapidation in the country, because I was influenced by this treatment, I only reported positively, because I wanted to come back. The Yemenis asked me when I had returned to Frankfurt what I wished In jest, I said "your large prawns, from the Red Sea, from the Indian Ocean, they were spectacular.", from the seaport of Mocha (Mocha-coffee is named after it). Two days later, Yemenia flew in a buffet for the editorial office, with prawns and more.

Of course we were bought. We were bought in several ways. In your situation: when you buy a car or something else, you trust consumer tests. Look closer. How well is the car tested? I know of no colleagues, no journalists, who do testing of cars, that aren't bribed – maybe they do exist.

They get unlimited access to a car from the big car manufacturers, with free petrol and everything else. I had a work car in my newspaper, if not, I might have exploited this. I had a BMW or Mercedes in the newspaper. But there are, outside the paper, many colleagues who only have this kind of vehicle all year round. They are invited to South Africa, Malaysia, USA, to the grandest travels, when a new car is presented.

Why? So that they will write positively about the car. But it doesn't say in these reports "Advertisement from bought journalists".

But that is the reality. You should also know – since we are on the subjects of tests – who owns which test magazines? Who owns the magazine Eco-test? It is owned by the Social Democrats. More than a hundred magazines belong to the Social Democrats. It isn't about only one party, but many editorial rooms have political allegiance. Behind them are party political interests.

I mentioned the sultan of Oman and the diving course, and I have mentioned German Marshall Fund. Back to the US and the German Marshall Fund. There one told me, they knew exactly, 'hello, you were on a diving course in Oman ' The CIA knew very precisely. And the CIA also gave me something: The diving gear. I received the diving gear in the United States, and I received in the US, during my 6-week stay there, an invitation from the state of Oklahoma, from the governor. I went there. It was a small ceremony, and I received an honorary citizenship.

I am now honorary citizen of an American state. And in this certificate, it is written that I will only cover the US positively. I accepted this honorary citizenship and was quite proud of it. I proudly told about it to a colleague who worked in the US. He said 'ha, I already have 31 of these honorary citizenships!'

I don't tell about this to be witty, today I am ashamed, really.

I was greedy. I accepted many advantages that a regular citizen at my age in my occupation doesn't have, and shouldn't have. But I perceived it – and that is no excuse – as entirely normal, because my colleagues around me all did the same. But this isn't normal. When journalists are invited to think-tanks in the US, like German Marshall Fund, Atlantic Bridge, it is to 'bring them in line', for in a friendly way to make them complicit, naturally to buy them, to grease them with money.

This has quite a few aspects that one normally doesn't talk about. When I for the first time was in Southern Africa, in the 80s, Apartheid still existed in South Africa, segregated areas for blacks and whites. We didn't have any problems with this in my newspaper, we received fully paid journeys from the Apartheid regime to do propaganda work.

I was invited by the South-African gold industry, coal industry, tourist board. In the first invitation, this trip was to Namibia – I arrived tired to the hotel room in Windhoek and a dark woman lay in my bed. I at once left the room, went down to the reception and said 'excuse me, but the room is already occupied' [laughter from the audience]

Without any fuss I got another room.

Next day at the breakfast table, this was a journalist trip, my colleagues asked me 'how was yours?' Only then I understood what had happened. Until then, I had believed it was a silly coincidence.

With this I want to describe which methods are used, maybe to film journalists in such situations, buy, make dependent. Quite simply to win them over to your side with the most brutal methods, so that they are 'brought in line'.

This doesn't happen to every journalist. It would be a conspiracy theory if I said that behind every journalist, someone pulls the wires.

No. Not everyone has influence over the masses. When you – I don't mean this negatively – write about folk costume societies or if you work with agriculture or politics, why should anyone from the upper political spheres have an interest in controlling the reporting? As far as I know, this doesn't happen at all.

But if you work in one of the big media, and want up in this world, if you want to travel with politicians, heads of state, with CEOs, who also travel on these planes, then it happens. Then you are regularly bought, you are regularly observed.

I said earlier that I already during my study days had contact with the intelligence services.

I will quickly explain this to you, because it is very important for this lecture.

I studied law, Political Science and Islamology, among other places in Freiburg. At the very beginning of my study, just before end of the term, a professor approached me. Professors were then still authority figures.

He came with a brochure, and asked me: 'Mr. Ulfkotte, what are your plans for this vacation?'

I couldn't very well say that I first planned to work a bit at a building site, for then to grab my backpack and see the ocean for the first time in my life, to Italy, 'la dolce vita', flirting with girls, lie on the beach and be a young person.

I wondered how I would break it to him. He then came with a brochure [Ulfkotte imitating professor]: 'I have something for you a seminar, Introduction to Conflict Studies, two weeks in Bonn I am sure you would want to participate!'

I wondered how I would tell this elderly gentleman that I wanted to flirt with girls on the beach. Then he said 'you will get 20 Marks per day as support, paid train journey, money for books 150 Marks You will naturally get board and lodging.' He didn't stop telling me what I would receive.

It buzzed around in my head that I had to achieve everything myself, work hard. I thought 'You have always wanted to participate in a seminar on Introduction to Conflict Studies!'

So I went to Bonn from Freiburg, and I saw other students who had this urge to participate in this seminar. There were also girls one could flirt with, about twenty people. The whole thing was very strange, because we sat in a room like this one, there were desks and a lectern, and there sat some older men and a woman, they always wrote something down. They asked us about things; What we thought of East Germany, we had to do role play.

The whole thing was a bit strange, but it was well paid. We didn't reflect any further. It was very strange that in this house, in Ubierstraίe 88 in Bonn, we weren't allowed to go to the second floor. There was a chain over the stairs, it was taboo.

We were allowed to go to the basement, there were constantly replenished supplies of new books that we were allowed to get for free. Ebay didn't exist then, but we could still sell them used. Anyway, it was curious, but at the end of the fortnight, we were allowed to go up these stairs, where we got an invitation to a continuation course in Conflict Studies.

After four such seminars, that is, after two years, someone asked me 'you have probably wondered what we are doing here'.

He explained that a recruitment board from the intelligence services had participated. But I had no idea that the seminar Introduction to Conflict Studies was arranged by the defense forces and run by the foreign intelligence service BND, to have a closer look at potential candidates among the students, not to commit them. They only asked if they, after four such seminars, possibly could contact me later, in my occupation.

They gave me a lot of money. My mother has always taught me to be polite. So I said 'please do', and they came to me. I was then working in the newspaper FAZ from 1986, straight after my studies.

Then the intelligence services came fairly soon to me. Why am I telling you this? The newspaper knew very soon. It is also written in my reference, therefore I can say it loud and clear. I had very close contact with the intelligence service BND.

Two persons from BND came regularly to the paper, to a visiting room. And there were occasions when the report not only was given, but also that BND had written articles, largely ready to go, that were published in the newspaper under my byline.

I highlight certain things to explain them. But if I had said here: 'There are media that are influenced by BND', you could rightly say that 'these are conspiracy theories, can you document it?'

I CAN document it. I can say, this and that article, with my byline in the paper, is written by the intelligence services, because what is written there, I couldn't have known. I couldn't have known what existed in some cave or other in Libya, what secret thing were there, what was being built there. This was all things that BND wanted published. It wasn't like this only in FAZ.

It was like this also in other media. I told about it. If we had rule of law, there would now be an investigation commission. Because the political parties would stand up, regardless of if they are on the left, in the center or right, and say: What this Ulfkotte fella says and claims he can document, this should be investigated. Did this occur in other places? Or is it still ongoing?'

I can tell you: Yes it still exists. I know colleagues who still have this close contact. One can probably show this fairly well until a few years ago. But I would find it wonderful if this investigation commission existed.

But it will obviously not happen, because no one has an interest in doing so. Because then the public would realize how closely integrated politics, media, and the secret services are in this country.

That is, one often sees in reporting, whether it is from the local paper, regional papers, TV-channels, national tabloids and so-called serious papers.

Put them side by side, and you will discover that more than 90% looks almost identical. A lot of subjects and news, that are not being reported at all, or they are – I claim reported very one-sided. One can only explain this if one knows the structures in the background, how media is surrounded, bought and 'brought onboard' by politics and the intelligence services; Where politics and intelligence services form a single unity. There is an intelligence coordinator by the Chancellor.

I can tell you, that under the former coordinator Bernd Schmidbauer, under Kohl, I walked in and out of the Chancellery and received stacks of secret and confidential documents, which I shouldn't have received.

They were so many that we in the newspaper had own archive cabinets for them. Not only did I receive these documents,but Schmidbauer should have been in jail if we had rule of law. Or there should have been a parliamentary commission or an investigation, because he wasn't allowed

For example if I couldn't bring along the documents if the case was too hot, there was another trick. They locked me in a room. In this room were the documents, which I could look through. I could record it all on tape, photograph them or write them down. When I was done, I could call on the intercom, so they could lock me out. There were thousands of these tricks. Anonymous documents that I and my colleagues needed could be placed in my mail box.

These are of course illegal things. BUT, you ONLY get them if you 'toe the line' with politics.

If I had written that Chancellor Helmut Kohl is stupid, a big idiot, or about what Schmidbauer did, I would of course not have received more. That is, if you today, in newspapers, read about 'soon to be revealed exposures, we will publish a big story based on material based on intelligence', then none of these media have dug a tunnel under the security services and somehow got hold of something secret. It is rather that they work so well with intelligence services, with the military counterespionage, the foreign intelligence, police intelligence etc, that if they have got hold of internal documents, it is because they cooperate so well that they received them as a reward for well performed service.

You see, in this way one is in the end bought. One is bought to such a degree that at one point one can't exit this system anymore.

If I describe how you are supplied with prostitutes, bribed with cars, money; I tried to write down everything I received in gifts, everything I was bribed with. I stopped doing so several years ago, more than a decade ago.

It doesn't make it any better, but today I regret everything. But I know that it goes this way with many journalists.

It would make me very happy if journalists stood up and said they won't participate in this any longer, and that they think this is wrong.

But I see no possibility, because media corporations in any case are doing badly. Where should a journalist find work the next day? It isn't so that tens of thousands of employers are waiting for you. It is the other way round. Tens of thousands of journalists are looking for work or commissions.

That is, from pure desperation one is happy to be bribed. If a newsroom stands behind or not an article that in reality is advertising, doesn't matter, one goes along. I know some, even respected journalists, who want to leave this system.

But imagine if you are working in one of the state channels, that you stand up and tell what you have received. How will that be received by your colleagues? That you have political ulterior motives etc.

September 30 [2015], a few days ago, Chancellor Merkel invited all the directors in the state channels to her in the Chancellery. I will claim that she talked with them about how one should report the Chancellors politics. Who of you [in the audience] heard about this incident? 3-4-5? So a small minority. But this is reality. Merkel started already 6 years ago, at the beginning of the financial crisis, to invite chief editors ..she invited chief editors in the large media corporations, with the express wish that media should embellish reality, in a political way. This could have been only claims, one could believe me or not.

But a couple of journalists were there, they told about it. Therefore I repeat: Merkel invited the chief editors several times, and told them she didn't want the population to be truthfully and openly informed about the problems out there. For example, the background for the financial crisis. If the citizens knew how things were, they would run to the bank and withdraw their money. So beautifying everything; everything is under control; your savings are safe; just smile and hold hands – everything will be fine.

In such a way it should be reported. Ladies and gentlemen, what I just said can be documented. These are facts, not a conspiracy theory.

I formulated it a bit satirically, but I ask myself when I see how things are in this country: Is this the democracy described in the Constitution? Freedom of speech? Freedom of the press?

Where one has to be afraid if one doesn't agree with the ruling political correctness, if one doesn't want to get in trouble. Is this the republic our parents and grandparents fought for, that they built?

I claim that we more and more – as citizens – are cowards 'toeing the line', who don't open our mouths.

It is so nice to have plurality and diversity of opinions.

But it is at once clamped down on, today fairly openly.

Of my experiences with journalism, I can in general say that I have quit all media I have to pay for, for the reasons mentioned. Then the question arises, 'but which pay-media can I trust?'

Naturally there are ones I support. They are definitely political, I'll add. But they are all fairly small. And they won't be big anytime soon. But I have quit all big media that I used to subscribe to, Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine, etc. I would like to not having to pay the TV-license fee, without being arrested because I won't pay fines. But maybe someone here in the audience can tell me how to do so without all these problems?

Either way, I don't want to financially support this kind of journalism. I can only give you the advice to get information from alternative, independent media and all the forums that exist.

I'm not advertising for any of them. Some of you probably know that I write for the publishing house Kopp. But there are so many portals. Every person is different in political viewpoint, culturally etc. The only thing uniting us, whether we are black or white, religious or non-religious, right or left, or whatever; we all want to know the truth. We want to know what really happens out there, and exactly in the burning political questions: asylum seekers, refugees, the financial crisis, bad infrastructure, one doesn't know how it will continue. Precisely with this background, is it even more important that people get to know the truth.

And it is to my great surprise that I conclude that we in media, as well as in politics, have a guiding line.

To throw more and more dust in the citizens' eyes to calm them down. What is the sense in this? One can have totally different opinions on the subject of refugees with good reasoning.

But facts are important for you as citizens to decide the future. That is, how many people will arrive? How will it affect my personal affluence? Or will it affect my affluence at all? Will the pensions shrink? etc. Then you can talk with people about this, quite openly. But to say that we should open all borders, and that this won't have any negative consequences, is very strange. What I now say isn't a plug for my books. I know that some of them are on the table in front.

I'm not saying this so that you will buy books. I am saying this for another reason that soon will be clear. I started to write books on certain subjects 18 years ago. They have sold millions. It is no longer about you buying my books. It is important that you hear the titles, then you will see a certain line throughout the last ten years. One can have different opinions about this line, but I have always tried to describe, based on my subjective experiences, formed over many years in the Middle East and Africa.

That there will be migration flows, from people from culture areas that are like; if one could compare a cultural area with an engine, that one fills petrol in a diesel engine then everyone knows what will happen, the engine is great, diesel is great, but if there too much petrol, then the engine starts to splutter and stop.

I have tried to make you aware of this, with drastic and less drastic words. What we can expect, and ever faster. The book titles are SOS Occident; Warning Civil War; No Black,Red, Yellow [the colors in the German flag], Holy War in Europe; Mecca Germany.

I just want to say, when politicians and media today claim no one could have predicted it, everything is a complete surprise; Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not at all surprising. The migration flows, for years warnings have been coming from international organizations, politicians, experts, exactly about what happened and it is predictable, if we had a map over North Africa and the Middle East..

If the West continues to destabilize countries like Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, country by country, Iraq when we toppled Saddam Hussein, Afghanistan. We as Europeans and Germans have spent tens of billions on a war where we allegedly defend peace and liberty, at the mountain range Hindu Kush [in Afghanistan]. And here, in front of our own door, we soon have Hindu Kush.

We have no stabilization in Afghanistan. Dozens of German soldiers have lost their lives for nothing. We have a more unstable situation than ever.

You can have your own opinions. I am only saying that these refugee flows didn't fall from the sky. It is predicable, that if I bomb and destabilize a country, that people – it is always so in history – it hasn't anything to do with the Middle East or North Africa. I have seen enough wars in Africa. Naturally they created refugee flows.

But all of us didn't want to see this. We haven't prepared. And now one is reacting in full panic, and what is most disconcerting with this, is when media and politicians, allegedly from deepest inner conviction, say: 'this was all a complete surprise!'

Are they drunk? What are they smoking? What sort of pills are they eating? That they behave this way?

End transcription

The transcription has been edited for clarity, and may differ from the spoken word. The subtitles and transcription are for the first 49 minutes of the lecture only. Subtitled and transcribed by Terje Maloy. This article is Creative Commons 4.0 for non-commercial purposes.
Terje Maloy ( Website ) is a Norwegian citizen, with roots north of the Arctic Circle. Nowadays, he spends a lot of time in Australia, working in the family business. He has particular interests in liberty, global justice, imperialism, history, media analysis and what Western governments really are up to. He runs a blog , mostly in Norwegian, but occasionally in English. He likes to write about general geopolitical matters, and Northern Europe in particular, presenting perspectives that otherwise barely are mentioned in the dominant media (i.e. most things that actually matter).
Tim Jenkins
From 1:18 minutes, Ulfkotte reveals without question, that the EU Political 'elite's' combined intelligence services work with & propagate . . .

Terror, Terrorists & Terrorism / a conscious organised Politics of FEAR ! / Freedom of Movement, of fully armed IS Agents Provocateurs & with a Secret Services get out of jail free card, 'Hδnde Weg Nicht anfassen', it's 'Hammertime', "U Can't Touch this", we're armed state operatives travelling to Germany & Austria, " don't mess with my operation !" & all journalists' hands tied, too.

The suggestions & offers below to translate fully, what Ulfkotte declares publicly, make much sense. It is important to understand that even an 'Orban' must bow occasionally, to deep state Security State Dictators and the pressures they can exert in so many ways. Logic . . . or else one's life is made into hell, alive or an 'accidental' death: – and may I add, it is a curiously depressing feeling when you have so many court cases on the go, that when a Gemeinde/Municipality Clerk is smiling, celebrating and telling you, (representing yourself in court, with only independent translator & recorder), "You Won the Case, a superior judge has over-ruled " and the only reply possible is,

"Which case number ?"

life gets tedious & time consuming, demanding extreme patience. Given his illness, surely Ulfkotte and his wife, deserve/d extra credit & 'hot chocolate'. Makes a change to see & read some real journalism: congrats.@OffG

Excellent Professional Journalism on "Pseudo-Journalist State Actors & Terrorists". If you see a terrorist, guys, at best just reason with him or her :- better than calling

INTERPOL or Secret Services @theguardian, because you wouldn't want a member of the public, grassing you up to your boss, would you now ? ! Just tell the terrorist who he really works for . . . Those he resents ! Rather like Ulfkotte had to conclude, with final resignation. My condolences to his good wife.

Wilmers31
Very good of you to not forget Ulfkotte. If I did not have sickness in the house, I would translate it. Maybe I can do one chapter and someone else can do another one? What's the publisher saying?
jgiam
It's just a long unedited speech.
Tim Jenkins
You wouldn't say that if you could speak German, my friend ! ?

From one hour 18 minutes onwards, Ulfkotte details EU-Inter-State Terror Co-operation, with returning IS Operatives on a Free Pass, fully armed and even Viktor Orban had to give in to the commands of letting Terrorists through Hungary into Germany & Austria.

But, don't let that revelation bother you, living under a Deep State 'Politic of Fear' in the West and long unedited speeches gets kinda' boring now, I know a bit like believing in some kinda' dumbfuk new pearl harbour, war on terror &&& all phoney propaganda fairy story telling, just like on the 11/9/2001, when the real target was WTC 7, to hide elitist immoral endeavours, corruption & the missing $$$TRILLIONS$$$ of tax payers money, 'mislaid' by the D.o.D. announced directly the day before by Rumsfeld, forgotten ? Before ramping the Surveillance States abilities in placing & employing "Parallel Platforms" on steroids, so that our secret services can now employ terror & deploy terrorists at will .., against us, see ?

Plus ca change....
I remember on a similar note a 60 Minutes piece just prior to Clinton's humanitarian bombing of Serbian civilian infrastructure (and long ago deleted, I'm sure) on a German free-lancer staging Kosovo atrocities in a Munich suburb, and having the German MSM eating it up and asking for more. (WWII guilt assuagement at work, no doubt).
mark
Everybody who works in the MSM, without exception, are bought and paid for whores peddling lies on behalf of globalist corporate interests.
That is their job.
That is what they do.
They have long since forfeited all credibility and integrity.
They have lied to us endlessly for decades and generations, from the Bayonetted Belgian Babies and Human Bodies Turned Into Soap of WW1 to the Iraq Incubator Babies and Syrian Gas Attacks of more recent times.

You can no longer take anything at face value.
The default position has to be that every single word they print and every single word that comes out of their lying mouths is untrue.
If they say it's snowing at the North Pole, you can't accept that without first going there and checking it out for yourself.
You can't accept anything that has not been independently verified.

This applies across the board.
All of the accepted historical narrative, including things like the holocaust.
And current Global Warming "science."
We know we have been lied to again and again and again.
So what else have we been lied to without us realising it?

mark
Come to think of it, I need to apologise to sex workers.
I have known quite a few of them who have quite high ethical and moral standards, certainly compared to the MSM.
And they certainly do less damage.
Vert few working girls have blood on their hands like the MSM.
Compared to them, working girls are the salt of the earth and pillars of the community.
Seamus Padraig

Compared to them, working girls are the salt of the earth and pillars of the community.

I heartily agree. Even if one disapproves morally of prostitution, how can it possibly be worse to sell your body than to sell your soul?

Oliver
Quite. Checking things out for yourself is the way to go. Forget 'Peer Reviews', just as bent as the journalism Ulfkotte described. DIY.
Mortgage
So natural, all it seems

Part II:
Bought Science

Part III:
Bought Health Services

mapquest directions
The video you shared with great info. I really like the information you share. boxnovel
Gary Weglarz
I knew we were in dangerous new territory regarding government censorship when after waiting several years for Ulfkotte's best selling book to finally be available in English – it suddenly, magically, disappeared completely – a vanishing act – and I couldn't get so much as a response from, much less an explanation from, the would be publisher. Udo's book came at a time when it could have made a difference countering the fact-free complete and total "fabrication of reality" by the U.S. and Western powers as they have waged a brutal and ongoing neocolonial war on the world's poor under the guise of "fighting terrorism."

Udo's voice (in the form of his book) was silenced for a reason – that being that he spoke the truth about our utterly and completely corrupt Western fantasy world in which we in the West proclaim our – "respect international law" and "respect for human rights." His work, such as this interview and others he has done, pulled the curtain back on the big lie and exposed our oligarchs, politicians and the "journalists" they hire as simply a cadre of professional criminals whose carefully crafted lies are used to soak up the blood and to cover the bodies of the dead, all in order to hide all that mayhem from our eyes, to insure justice is an impossibility and to make sure we Western citizens sleep well at night, oblivious to our connection to the actual realities that are this daily regime of pillage and plunder that is our vaunted "neoliberal order."

Ramdan
After watching the first 20 min I couldn't help but remembering this tale:

"The philosopher Diogenes (of Sinope) was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, 'If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.' To which Diogenes replied, 'Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king"."

which is also the reason why such a large part of humanity lives in voluntary servitude to power structures, living the dream, the illusion of being free..

Ramdan
"English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte's "Bought Journalists" Suppressed?" at Global Research 2017!!

https://www.globalresearch.ca/english-translation-of-udo-ulfkottes-bought-journalists-suppressed/5601857

Francis Lee
Just rechecked Amazon. Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News by Udo Ulfkotte PH.D. The tag line reads.

Hard cover – currently unavailable; paperback cover – currently unavailable; Kindle edition – ?

Book burning anyone?

nottheonly1
No translation exists for this interview with Udo Ulfkotte on KenFM, the web site of Ken Jebsen. Ken Jebsen has been in the cross hairs of the CIA and German agencies for his reporting of the truth. He was smeared and defamed by the same people that Dr. Ulfkotte had written extensively about in his book 'Gekaufte Journalisten' ('Bought Journalists').

The reason why I add this link to the interview lies in the fact that Udo Ulfkotte speaks about an important part of Middle Eastern and German history – a history that has been scrubbed from the U.S. and German populations. In the Iraq war against Iran – that the U.S. regime had pushed for in the same fashion the way they had pushed Nazi Germany to invade the U.S.S.R. – German chemical weapons were used under the supervision of the U.S. regime. The extend of the chemical weapons campaign was enormous and to the present day, Iranians are born with birth defects stemming from the used of German weapons of mass destruction.

Dr. Ulfkotte rightfully bemoans, that every year German heads of state are kneeling for the Jewish victims of National socialism – but not for the victims of German WMD's that were used against Iran. He stresses that the act of visual asking for forgiveness in the case of the Jewish victims becomes hypocrisy, when 40 years after the Nazis reigned, German WMD's were used against Iran. The German regime was in on the WMD attack on Iran. It was not something that happened because they had lost a couple of thousand containers with WMDs. They delivered the WMD's to Iraq under U.S. supervision.

Ponder that. And there has never been an apology towards Iran, or compensations. Nada. Nothing. Instead, the vile rhetoric and demagogery of every U.S. regime since has continued to paint Iran in the worst possible ways, most notably via incessant psychological projection – accusing Iran of the war crimes and crimes against humanity the U.S. and its Western vassal regimes are guilty of.

Here is the interview that was recorded shortly before Udo Ulfkotte's death:

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

If enough people support the effort, I am willing to contact KenFM for the authorization to translate the interview and use it for subtitles to the video. However, I can't do that on my own.

nottheonly1
Correction: the interview was recorded two years before his passing.
Antonym
the U.S. regime had pushed for in the same fashion the way they had pushed Nazi Germany to invade the U.S.S.R.

So Roosevelt pushed Hitler to attack Stalin? Hitler didn't want to go East? Revisionism at it most motive free.

nottheonly1
It would help if you would use your brain just once. 'Pushing' is synonymous for a variety of ways to instigate a desired outcome. Financing is just one way. And Roosevelt was in no way the benevolent knight history twisters like to present him. You are outing yourself again as an easliy duped sheep.

But then, with all the assaults by the unintelligence agencies, it does not come as a surprise when facts are twisted.

Antonym
Lebensraum was first popularized in 1901 in Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebensraum Hitler's "Mein Kampf" ( 1925) build on that: he had no need for any American or other push, it was intended from the get go. The timing of operation Barbarossa was brilliant though: it shocked Stalin into a temporary limbo as he had his own aggressive plans.
Casandra2
This excellent article demonstrates how the Controlling Elite manipulates the Media and the Message for purposes of misdirecting attention and perception of their true intentions and objective of securing Global Ownership (aka New World Order).

This approach has been assiduously applied, across the board, over many years, to the point were they now own and run everything required to subjugate the 'human race' to the horrors of their psychopathic inclinations. They are presently holding the global economy on hold until their AI population (social credit) control system/grid is in place before bringing the house down.

Needless to say, when this happens a disunited and frightened Global Population will be at their mercy.

If you wish to gain a full insight of what the Controlling Elite is about, and capable of, I recommend David Icke's latest publication 'Trigger'. I know he's been tagged a 'nutter' over the past thirty years, but I reckon this book represents the 'gold standard' in terms of generating awareness as a basis for launching a united global population counter-attack (given a great strategy) against forces that can only be defined as pure 'EVIL'.

MASTER OF UNIVE
Corporate Journalism is all about corporatism and the continuation of it. If the Intelligence Community needs greater fools for staffing purposes in the corporate hierarchy they look for anyone that can be compromised via inducements of whatever the greater fools want. Engaging in compromise allows both parties to have complicit & explicit understanding that corruption and falsehood are the tools of the trade. To all-of-a-sudden develop a conscience after decades of playing the part of a willing participant is understandable in light of the guilt complex one must develop after screwing everyone in the world out of the critical assessment we all need to obtain in order to make decisions regarding our futures.

Bought & paid for corporate Journalists are controlled by the Intelligence Agencies and always have been since at least the Second World War. The CIA typically runs bribery & blackmail at the state & federal level so that when necessary they have instant useless eaters to offer up as political sacrifice when required via state run propaganda, & impression management.

Assuming that journalism is an ethical occupation is naοve and a fools' game even in the alternative news domain as all writers write from bias & a lack of real knowledge. Few writers are intellectually honest or even aware of their own limits as writers. The writer is a failure and not a hero borne in myth. Writers struggle to write & publish. Bought and paid for writers don't have a struggle in terms of writing because they are told what to write before they write as automatons for the Intelligence Community knowing that they sold their collective souls to the Prince of Darkness for whatever trinkets, bobbles, or bling they could get their greedy hands on at the time.

Developing a conscience late in life is too late.

May all that sell their souls to the Intel agencies understand that pond scum never had a conscience to begin with.

Once pond scum always pond scum.

MOU

nottheonly1
What is not addressed in this talk is the addictive nature of this sort of public relation writing. Journalism is something different altogether. I know that, because I consider myself to be a journalist at heart – one that stopped doing it when the chalice was offered to me. The problem is that one is not part of the cabal one day to another.

It is a longer process in which one is gradually introduced to ever more expensive rewards/bribes. Never too big to overwhelm – always just about what one would accept as 'motivation' to omit aspects of any issue. Of course, omission is a lie by any other name, but I can attest to the life style of a journalist that socializes with the leaders of all segments of society.

And I would also write a critique about a great restaurant – never paying a dime for a fantastic dinner. The point though is that I would not write a good critique for a nasty place for money. I have never written anything but the truth – for which I received sometimes as much as a bag full of the best rolls in the country.

Twisting the truth for any form of bribes is disgusting and attests of the lowest of any character.

MASTER OF UNIVE
Professional whoring is as old as the hills and twice as dusty. Being ethical is difficult stuff especially when money is involved. Money is always a prime motivator but vanity works wonders too. Corporatists will offer whatever inducements they can to get what they want.

All mainstream media voices are selling a media package that is a corporatist lie in and of itself. Truth is less marketable than lies. Embellished news & journalistic hype is the norm.

If the devil offers inducements be sure to up the ante to outsmart the drunken sot.

MOU

[Oct 09, 2019] George Orwell assumes that if such societies as he describes in Nineteen Eighty-Four come into being there will be several super states. These super states will naturally be in opposition to each other or (a novel point) will pretend to be much more in opposition than in fact they are

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This is the direction in which the world is going at the present time, and the trend lies deep in the political, social and economic foundations of the contemporary world situation. ..."
"... Specifically the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on Liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the U.S.S.R. and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours. ..."
"... Two of the principal super states will obviously be the Anglo-American world and Eurasia. If these two great blocks line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents and will not dramatize themselves on the scene of history as Communists. Thus they will have to find a new name for themselves. The name suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the U.S.A. the phrase "Americanism" or "hundred per cent Americanism" is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as anyone could wish. ..."
"... Pretty much explains the SDP and NuLabourInc and his name sake Blair and our political landscape of the last 50 years, don't you think? ..."
"... Also pay attention to the 'parody phrase. ' ..."
Oct 09, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Dungroanin -> MikeE Oct 9, 2019 12:46 AM

That is my down tick.

Because i feel that some agenda is at play. I'm not going to accuse you of trolling, or even a bit of gas lighting, but it seems like a slide into classic red scaring and recasting of Eric Blair

By way of explaining my emotion and since you mention Warburg, here is an example of Orwellian post humous attribution. He never said "imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever."

'from a post-publication press release directed by publisher Fredric Warburg toward readers who "had misinterpreted [Orwell's] aim, taking the novel as a criticism of the current British Labour Party, or of contemporary socialism in general." The quotation from the press release was "soon given the status of a last statement or deathbed appeal, given that Orwell was hospitalized at the time and dead six months later."

You can read more at georgeorwellnovels.com, which provides a great deal of context on this press release, which runs, in full, as follows:

It has been suggested by some of the reviewers of Nineteen Eighty-Four that it is the author's view that this, or something like this, is what will happen inside the next forty years in the Western world. This is not correct. I think that, allowing for the book being after all a parody, something like Nineteen Eighty-Four could happen. This is the direction in which the world is going at the present time, and the trend lies deep in the political, social and economic foundations of the contemporary world situation.

Specifically the danger lies in the structure imposed on Socialist and on Liberal capitalist communities by the necessity to prepare for total war with the U.S.S.R. and the new weapons, of which of course the atomic bomb is the most powerful and the most publicized. But danger lies also in the acceptance of a totalitarian outlook by intellectuals of all colours.

The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: Don't let it happen. It depends on you.

George Orwell assumes that if such societies as he describes in Nineteen Eighty-Four come into being there will be several super states. This is fully dealt with in the relevant chapters of Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is also discussed from a different angle by James Burnham in The Managerial Revolution. These super states will naturally be in opposition to each other or (a novel point) will pretend to be much more in opposition than in fact they are.

Two of the principal super states will obviously be the Anglo-American world and Eurasia. If these two great blocks line up as mortal enemies it is obvious that the Anglo-Americans will not take the name of their opponents and will not dramatize themselves on the scene of history as Communists. Thus they will have to find a new name for themselves. The name suggested in Nineteen Eighty-Four is of course Ingsoc, but in practice a wide range of choices is open. In the U.S.A. the phrase "Americanism" or "hundred per cent Americanism" is suitable and the qualifying adjective is as totalitarian as anyone could wish.

If there is a failure of nerve and the Labour party breaks down in its attempt to deal with the hard problems with which it will be faced, tougher types than the present Labour leaders will inevitably take over, drawn probably from the ranks of the Left, but not sharing the Liberal aspirations of those now in power. Members of the present British government, from Mr. Attlee and Sir Stafford Cripps down to Aneurin Bevan will never willingly sell the pass to the enemy, and in general the older men, nurtured in a Liberal tradition, are safe, but the younger generation is suspect and the seeds of totalitarian thought are probably widespread among them. It is invidious to mention names, but everyone could without difficulty think for himself of prominent English and American personalities whom the cap would fit.'
http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/george-orwells-final-warning.html

-- -- -- -

Pretty much explains the SDP and NuLabourInc and his name sake Blair and our political landscape of the last 50 years, don't you think?

Also pay attention to the 'parody phrase. '
'
As i wrote earlier, perhaps Blair of Eton ultimately saw how clearly hist talents had been misused by the 'totalitarians' before he died.

I understand that some of his works are still censored and others never published. As are his state employment in propaganda on which he probably based his 'parody' on.

[Sep 15, 2019] How the UK Security Services neutralised the country s leading liberal newspaper by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis

Highly recommended!
Essentially neoliberal MSM were hijacked. Which was easy to do. The current anti-Russian campaign is conducted under the direct guidance of MI6 and similar agencies
Notable quotes:
"... committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it." ..."
"... These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media". ..."
"... "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story." ..."
"... The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies. ..."
"... The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen". ..."
"... But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member". ..."
"... The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing. ..."
"... In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article. ..."
"... The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files." ..."
"... Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004". ..."
"... The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again. ..."
"... The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law." ..."
"... A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian." ..."
"... The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM ..."
Jan 01, 2019 | dailymaverick.co.za

The Guardian, Britain's leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the 'security state', according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists.

The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.

Snowden's bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.

According to minutes of meetings of the UK's Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence.

" This event was very concerning because at the outset The Guardian avoided engaging with the [committee] before publishing the first tranche of information," state minutes of a 7 November 2013 meeting at the MOD.

The DSMA Committee, more commonly known as the D-Notice Committee, is run by the MOD, where it meets every six months. A small number of journalists are also invited to sit on the committee. Its stated purpose is to "prevent inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations". It can issue "notices" to the media to encourage them not to publish certain information.

The committee is currently chaired by the MOD's director-general of security policy Dominic Wilson, who was previously director of security and intelligence in the British Cabinet Office. Its secretary is Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE, who describes himself as an "accomplished, senior ex-military commander with extensive experience of operational level leadership".

The D-Notice system describes itself as voluntary , placing no obligations on the media to comply with any notice issued. This means there should have been no need for the Guardian to consult the MOD before publishing the Snowden documents.

Yet committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it."

' Considerable efforts'

These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media".

Clearly the committee did not want its issuing of the notice to be publicised, and it was nearly successful. Only the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes made it public.

At the time, according to the committee minutes , the "intelligence agencies in particular had continued to ask for more advisories [i.e. D-Notices] to be sent out". Such D-Notices were clearly seen by the intelligence services not so much as a tool to advise the media but rather a way to threaten it not to publish further Snowden revelations.

One night, amidst the first Snowden stories being published, the D-Notice Committee's then-secretary Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance personally called Alan Rusbridger, then editor of The Guardian. Vallance "made clear his concern that The Guardian had failed to consult him in advance before telling the world", according to a Guardian journalist who interviewed Rusbridger.

Later in the year, Prime Minister David Cameron again used the D-Notice system as a threat to the media.

" I don't want to have to use injunctions or D-Notices or the other tougher measures," he said in a statement to MPs. "I think it's much better to appeal to newspapers' sense of social responsibility. But if they don't demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act."

The threats worked. The Press Gazette reported at the time that "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story."

The Guardian, however, remained uncowed.

According to the committee minutes , the fact The Guardian would not stop publishing "undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system's future usefulness". If the D-Notice system could not prevent The Guardian publishing GCHQ's most sensitive secrets, what was it good for?

It was time to rein in The Guardian and make sure this never happened again.

GCHQ and laptops

The security services ratcheted up their "considerable efforts" to deal with the exposures. On 20 July 2013, GCHQ officials entered The Guardian's offices at King's Cross in London, six weeks after the first Snowden-related article had been published. At the request of the government and security services, Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson, along with two others, spent three hours destroying the laptops containing the Snowden documents.

The Guardian staffers, according to one of the newspaper's reporters, brought "angle-grinders, dremels – drills with revolving bits – and masks". The reporter added, "The spy agency provided one piece of hi-tech equipment, a 'degausser', which destroys magnetic fields and erases data."

Johnson claims that the destruction of the computers was "purely a symbolic act", adding that "the government and GCHQ knew, because we had told them, that the material had been taken to the US to be shared with the New York Times. The reporting would go on. The episode hadn't changed anything."

Yet the episode did change something. As the D-Notice Committee minutes for November 2013 outlined: "Towards the end of July [as the computers were being destroyed], The Guardian had begun to seek and accept D-Notice advice not to publish certain highly sensitive details and since then the dialogue [with the committee] had been reasonable and improving."

The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies.

The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen".

Moreover, he added , there were now "regular dialogues between the secretary and deputy secretaries and Guardian journalists". Rusbridger later testified to the Home Affairs Committee that Air Vice-Marshal Vallance of the D-Notice committee and himself "collaborated" in the aftermath of the Snowden affair and that Vallance had even "been at The Guardian offices to talk to all our reporters".

But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member".

At some point in 2013 or early 2014, Johnson – the same deputy editor who had smashed up his newspaper's computers under the watchful gaze of British intelligence agents – was approached to take up a seat on the committee. Johnson attended his first meeting in May 2014 and was to remain on it until October 2018 .

The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing.

A new editor

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger withstood intense pressure not to publish some of the Snowden revelations but agreed to Johnson taking a seat on the D-Notice Committee as a tactical sop to the security services. Throughout his tenure, The Guardian continued to publish some stories critical of the security services.

But in March 2015, the situation changed when the Guardian appointed a new editor, Katharine Viner, who had less experience than Rusbridger of dealing with the security services. Viner had started out on fashion and entertainment magazine Cosmopolitan and had no history in national security reporting. According to insiders, she showed much less leadership during the Snowden affair than Janine Gibson in the US (Gibson was another candidate to be Rusbridger's successor).

Viner was then editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, which was launched just two weeks before the first Snowden revelations were published. Australia and New Zealand comprise two-fifths of the so-called "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance exposed by Snowden.

This was an opportunity for the security services. It appears that their seduction began the following year.

In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article.

The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files."

Parker told the two reporters, "We recognise that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it."

Four months after the MI5 interview, in March 2017, the Guardian published another unprecedented "exclusive", this time with Alex Younger, the sitting chief of MI6, Britain's external intelligence agency. This exclusive was awarded by the Secret Intelligence Service to The Guardian's investigations editor, Nick Hopkins, who had been appointed 14 months previously.

The interview was the first Younger had given to a national newspaper and was again softball. Titled "MI6 returns to 'tapping up' in an effort to recruit black and Asian officers", it focused almost entirely on the intelligence service's stated desire to recruit from ethnic minority communities.

" Simply, we have to attract the best of modern Britain," Younger told Hopkins. "Every community from every part of Britain should feel they have what it takes, no matter what their background or status."

Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004".

None of this featured in The Guardian article, which did, however, cover discussions of whether the James Bond actor Daniel Craig would qualify for the intelligence service. "He would not get into MI6," Younger told Hopkins.

More recently, in August 2019, The Guardian was awarded yet another exclusive, this time with Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer. This was Basu's " first major interview since taking up his post" the previous year and resulted in a three-part series of articles, one of which was entitled "Met police examine Vladimir Putin's role in Salisbury attack".

The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again.

What, if any, private conversations have taken place between Viner and the security services during her tenure as editor are not known. But in 2018, when Paul Johnson eventually left the D-Notice Committee, its chair, the MOD's Dominic Wilson, praised Johnson who, he said, had been "instrumental in re-establishing links with The Guardian".

Decline in critical reporting

Amidst these spoon-fed intelligence exclusives, Viner also oversaw the breakup of The Guardian's celebrated investigative team, whose muck-racking journalists were told to apply for other jobs outside of investigations.

One well-placed source told the Press Gazette at the time that journalists on the investigations team "have not felt backed by senior editors over the last year", and that "some also feel the company has become more risk-averse in the same period".

In the period since Snowden, The Guardian has lost many of its top investigative reporters who had covered national security issues, notably Shiv Malik, Nick Davies, David Leigh, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Ian Cobain. The few journalists who were replaced were succeeded by less experienced reporters with apparently less commitment to exposing the security state. The current defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, started at The Guardian as head of media and technology and has no history of covering national security.

" It seems they've got rid of everyone who seemed to cover the security services and military in an adversarial way," one current Guardian journalist told us.

Indeed, during the last two years of Rusbridger's editorship, The Guardian published about 110 articles per year tagged as MI6 on its website. Since Viner took over, the average per year has halved and is decreasing year by year.

" Effective scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies -- epitomised by the Snowden scoops but also many other stories -- appears to have been abandoned," a former Guardian journalist told us. The former reporter added that, in recent years, it "sometimes seems The Guardian is worried about upsetting the spooks."

A second former Guardian journalist added: "The Guardian no longer seems to have such a challenging relationship with the intelligence services, and is perhaps seeking to mend fences since Snowden. This is concerning, because spooks are always manipulative and not always to be trusted."

While some articles critical of the security services still do appear in the paper, its "scoops" increasingly focus on issues more acceptable to them. Since the Snowden affair, The Guardian does not appear to have published any articles based on an intelligence or security services source that was not officially sanctioned to speak.

The Guardian has, by contrast, published a steady stream of exclusives on the major official enemy of the security services, Russia, exposing Putin, his friends and the work of its intelligence services and military.

In the Panama Papers leak in April 2016, which revealed how companies and individuals around the world were using an offshore law firm to avoid paying tax, The Guardian's front-page launch scoop was authored by Luke Harding, who has received many security service tips focused on the "Russia threat", and was titled "Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin".

Three sentences into the piece, however, Harding notes that "the president's name does not appear in any of the records" although he insists that "the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage".

There was a much bigger story in the Panama Papers which The Guardian chose to downplay by leaving it to the following day. This concerned the father of the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who "ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork".

We understand there was some argument between journalists about not leading with the Cameron story as the launch splash. Putin's friends were eventually deemed more important than the Prime Minister of the country where the paper published.

Getting Julian Assange

The Guardian also appears to have been engaged in a campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who had been a collaborator during the early WikiLeaks revelations in 2010.

One 2017 story came from investigative reporter Carole Cadwalladr, who writes for The Guardian's sister paper The Observer, titled "When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange". This concerned the visit of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2017, organised by the radio station LBC, for whom Farage worked as a presenter. Farage's producer at LBC accompanied Farage at the meeting, but this was not mentioned by Cadwalladr.

Rather, she posited that this meeting was "potentially a channel of communication" between WikiLeaks, Farage and Donald Trump, who were all said to be closely linked to Russia, adding that these actors were in a "political alignment" and that " WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything".

Yet Cadwalladr's one official on-the-record source for this speculation was a "highly placed contact with links to US intelligence", who told her, "When the heat is turned up and all electronic communication, you have to assume, is being intensely monitored, then those are the times when intelligence communication falls back on human couriers. Where you have individuals passing information in ways and places that cannot be monitored."

It seems likely this was innuendo being fed to The Observer by an intelligence-linked individual to promote disinformation to undermine Assange.

In 2018, however, The Guardian's attempted vilification of Assange was significantly stepped up. A new string of articles began on 18 May 2018 with one alleging Assange's "long-standing relationship with RT", the Russian state broadcaster. The series, which has been closely documented elsewhere, lasted for several months, consistently alleging with little or the most minimal circumstantial evidence that Assange had ties to Russia or the Kremlin.

One story, co-authored again by Luke Harding, claimed that "Russian diplomats held secret talks in London with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK, The Guardian has learned". The former consul in the Ecuadorian embassy in London at this time, Fidel Narvaez, vigorously denies the existence of any such "escape plot" involving Russia and is involved in a complaint process with The Guardian for insinuating he coordinated such a plot.

This apparent mini-campaign ran until November 2018, culminating in a front-page splash , based on anonymous sources, claiming that Assange had three secret meetings at the Ecuadorian embassy with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

This "scoop" failed all tests of journalistic credibility since it would have been impossible for anyone to have entered the highly secured Ecuadorian embassy three times with no proof. WikiLeaks and others have strongly argued that the story was manufactured and it is telling that The Guardian has since failed to refer to it in its subsequent articles on the Assange case. The Guardian, however, has still not retracted or apologised for the story which remains on its website.

The "exclusive" appeared just two weeks after Paul Johnson had been congratulated for "re-establishing links" between The Guardian and the security services.

The string of Guardian articles, along with the vilification and smear stories about Assange elsewhere in the British media, helped create the conditions for a deal between Ecuador, the UK and the US to expel Assange from the embassy in April. Assange now sits in Belmarsh maximum-security prison where he faces extradition to the US, and life in prison there, on charges under the Espionage Act.

Acting for the establishment

Another major focus of The Guardian's energies under Viner's editorship has been to attack the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

The context is that Corbyn appears to have recently been a target of the security services. In 2015, soon after he was elected Labour leader, the Sunday Times reported a serving general warning that "there would be a direct challenge from the army and mass resignations if Corbyn became prime minister". The source told the newspaper: "The Army just wouldn't stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that."

On 20 May 2017, a little over two weeks before the 2017 General Election, the Daily Telegraph was fed the story that "MI5 opened a file on Jeremy Corbyn amid concerns over his links to the IRA". It formed part of a Telegraph investigation claiming to reveal "Mr Corbyn's full links to the IRA" and was sourced to an individual "close to" the MI5 investigation, who said "a file had been opened on him by the early nineties".

The Metropolitan Police Special Branch was also said to be monitoring Corbyn in the same period.

Then, on the very eve of the General Election, the Telegraph gave space to an article from Sir Richard Dearlove, the former director of MI6, under a headline: "Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to this nation. At MI6, which I once led, he wouldn't clear the security vetting."

Further, in September 2018, two anonymous senior government sources told The Times that Corbyn had been "summoned" for a "'facts of life' talk on terror" by MI5 chief Andrew Parker.

Just two weeks after news of this private meeting was leaked by the government, the Daily Mail reported another leak, this time revealing that "Jeremy Corbyn's most influential House of Commons adviser has been barred from entering Ukraine on the grounds that he is a national security threat because of his alleged links to Vladimir Putin's 'global propaganda network'."

The article concerned Andrew Murray, who had been working in Corbyn's office for a year but had still not received a security pass to enter the UK parliament. The Mail reported, based on what it called "a senior parliamentary source", that Murray's application had encountered "vetting problems".

Murray later heavily suggested that the security services had leaked the story to the Mail. "Call me sceptical if you must, but I do not see journalistic enterprise behind the Mail's sudden capacity to tease obscure information out of the [Ukrainian security service]," he wrote in the New Statesman. He added, "Someone else is doing the hard work – possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer. I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows?"

Murray told us he was approached by the New Statesman after the story about him being banned from Ukraine was leaked. "However," he added, "I wouldn't dream of suggesting anything like that to The Guardian, since I do not know any journalists still working there who I could trust."

The Guardian itself has run a remarkable number of news and comment articles criticising Corbyn since he was elected in 2015 and the paper's clearly hostile stance has been widely noted .

Given its appeal to traditional Labour supporters, the paper has probably done more to undermine Corbyn than any other. In particular, its massive coverage of alleged widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has helped to disparage Corbyn more than other smears carried in the media.

The Guardian and The Observer have published hundreds of articles on "Labour anti-Semitism" and, since the beginning of this year, carried over 50 such articles with headlines clearly negative to Corbyn. Typical headlines have included " The Observer view: Labour leadership is complicit in anti-Semitism ", " Jeremy Corbyn is either blind to anti-Semitism – or he just doesn't care ", and " Labour's anti-Semitism problem is institutional. It needs investigation ".

The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law."

Analysis of two YouGov surveys, conducted in 2015 and 2017, shows that anti-Semitic views held by Labour voters declined substantially in the first two years of Corbyn's tenure and that such views were significantly more common among Conservative voters.

Despite this, since January 2016, The Guardian has published 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-Semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles. In the same period, The Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party's much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory Party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.

At the same time, some stories which paint Corbyn's critics in a negative light have been suppressed by The Guardian. According to someone with knowledge of the matter, The Guardian declined to publish the results of a months-long critical investigation by one of its reporters into a prominent anti-Corbyn Labour MP, citing only vague legal issues.

In July 2016, one of this article's authors emailed a Guardian editor asking if he could pitch an investigation about the first attempt by the right-wing of the Labour Party to remove Corbyn, informing The Guardian of very good inside sources on those behind the attempt and their real plans. The approach was rejected as being of no interest before a pitch was even sent.

A reliable publication?

On 20 May 2019, The Times newspaper reported on a Freedom of Information request made by the Rendition Project, a group of academic experts working on torture and rendition issues, which showed that the MOD had been "developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to the abuse of detainees".

This might traditionally have been a Guardian story, not something for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times. According to one civil society source, however, many groups working in this field no longer trust The Guardian.

A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian."

The Times published its scoop under a strong headline , "Torture: Britain breaks law in Ministry of Defence secret policy". However, before the article was published, the MOD fed The Guardian the same documents The Times were about to splash with, believing it could soften the impact of the revelations by telling its side of the story.

The Guardian posted its own article just before The Times, with a headline that would have pleased the government: "MoD says revised torture guidance does not lower standards".

Its lead paragraph was a simple summary of the MOD's position: "The Ministry of Defence has insisted that newly emerged departmental guidance on the sharing of intelligence derived from torture with allies, remains in line with practices agreed in the aftermath of a series of scandals following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." However, an inspection of the documents showed this was clearly disinformation.

The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM

The Guardian did not respond to a request for comment.

Daily Maverick will formally launch Declassified – a new UK-focused investigation and analysis organisation run by the authors of this article – in November 2019.

Matt Kennard is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Declassified . He was previously director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, and before that a reporter for the Financial Times in the US and UK. He is the author of two books, Irregular Army and The Racket .

Mark Curtis is a leading UK foreign policy analyst, journalist and the author of six books including Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World and Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam .

[Aug 16, 2019] Ministry of truth materialized in XXI century in a neoliberal way by Kit Knightly

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name. ..."
"... In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO. ..."
"... "The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

OffGuardian already covered the Global Media Freedom Conference, our article Hypocrisy Taints UK's Media Freedom Conference , was meant to be all there was to say. A quick note on the obvious hypocrisy of this event. But, in the writing, I started to see more than that. This event is actually creepy. Let's just look back at one of the four "main themes" of this conference:

Building trust in media and countering disinformation
"Countering disinformation"? Well, that's just another word for censorship. This is proven by their refusal to allow Sputnik or RT accreditation. They claim RT "spreads disinformation" and they "countered" that by barring them from attending. "Building trust"? In the post-Blair world of PR newspeak, "building trust" is just another way of saying "making people believe us" (the word usage is actually interesting, building trust not earning trust). The whole conference is shot through with this language that just feels off. Here is CNN's Christiane Amanpour :
Our job is to be truthful, not neutral we need to take a stand for the truth, and never to create a false moral or factual equivalence."
Being "truthful not neutral" is one of Amanpour's personal sayings , she obviously thinks it's clever. Of course, what it is is NewSpeak for "bias". Refusing to cover evidence of The White Helmets staging rescues, Israel arming ISIS or other inconvenient facts will be defended using this phrase – they will literally claim to only publish "the truth", to get around impartiality and then set about making up whatever "truth" is convenient. Oh, and if you don't know what "creating a false moral quivalence is", here I'll demonstrate: MSM: Putin is bad for shutting down critical media. OffG: But you're supporting RT being banned and Wikileaks being shut down. BBC: No. That's not the same. OffG: It seems the same. BBC: It's not. You're creating a false moral equivalence . Understand now? You "create a false moral equivalence" by pointing out mainstream media's double standards. Other ways you could mistakenly create a "false moral equivalence": Bringing up Gaza when the media talk about racism. Mentioning Saudi Arabia when the media preach about gay rights. Referencing the US coup in Venezuela when the media work themselves into a froth over Russia's "interference in our democracy" Talking about the invasion of Iraq. Ever. OR Pointing out that the BBC is state funded, just like RT. These are all no-longer flagrant examples of the media's double standards, and if you say they are , you're "creating a false moral equivalence" and the media won't have to allow you (or anyone who agrees with you) air time or column inches to disagree. Because they don't have a duty to be neutral or show both sides, they only have a duty to tell "the truth" as soon as the government has told them what that is. Prepare to see both those phrases – or variations there of – littering editorials in the Guardian and the Huffington Post in the coming months. Along with people bemoaning how "fake news outlets abuse the notion of impartiality" by "being even handed between liars the truth tellers". (I've been doing this site so long now, I have a Guardian-English dictionary in my head).

Equally dodgy-sounding buzz-phrases litter topics on the agenda. "Eastern Europe and Central Asia: building an integrated support system for journalists facing hostile environments" , this means pumping money into NGOs to fund media that will criticize our "enemies" in areas of strategic importance. It means flooding money into the anti-government press in Hungary, or Iran or (of course), Russia. That is ALL it means. I said in my earlier article I don't know what "media sustainability" even means, but I feel I can take a guess. It means "save the government mouthpieces". The Guardian is struggling for money, all print media are, TV news is getting lower viewing figures all the time. "Building media sustainability" is code for "pumping public money into traditional media that props up the government" or maybe "getting people to like our propaganda". But the worst offender on the list is, without a doubt "Navigating Disinformation"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vbSj1WQqUw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

"Navigating Disinformation" was a 1 hour panel from the second day of the conference. You can watch it embedded above if you really feel the need. I already did, so you don't have to. The panel was chaired by Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister. The members included the Latvian Foreign Minister, a representative of the US NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information

Have you guessed what "disinformation" they're going to be talking about? I'll give you a clue: It begins with R. Freeland, chairing the panel, kicks it off by claiming that "disinformation isn't for any particular aim" . This is a very common thing for establishment voices to repeat these days, which makes it all the more galling she seems to be pretending its is her original thought. The reason they have to claim that "disinformation" doesn't have a "specific aim" is very simple: They don't know what they're going to call "disinformation" yet. They can't afford to take a firm position, they need to keep their options open. They need to give themselves the ability to describe any single piece of information or political opinion as "disinformation." Left or right. Foreign or domestic. "Disinformation" is a weaponised term that is only as potent as it is vague. So, we're one minute in, and all "navigating disinformation" has done is hand the State an excuse to ignore, or even criminalise, practically anything it wants to. Good start. Interestingly, no one has actually said the word "Russia" at this point. They have talked about "malign actors" and "threats to democracy", but not specifically Russia. It is SO ingrained in these people that "propaganda"= " Russian propaganda" that they don't need to say it.

The idea that NATO as an entity, or the individual members thereof, could also use "disinformation" has not just been dismissed it was literally never even contemplated. Next Freeland turns to Edgars Rinkēvičs, her Latvian colleague, and jokes about always meeting at NATO functions. The Latvians know "more than most" about disinformation, she says. Rinkēvičs says disinformation is nothing new, but that the methods of spreading it are changing then immediately calls for regulation of social media. Nobody disagrees. Then he talks about the "illegal annexation of Crimea", and claims the West should outlaw "paid propaganda" like RT and Sputnik. Nobody disagrees. Then he says that Latvia "protected" their elections from "interference" by "close cooperation between government agencies and social media companies". Everyone nods along. If you don't find this terrifying, you're not paying attention. They don't say it, they probably don't even realise they mean it, but when they talk about "close cooperation with social media networks", they mean government censorship of social media. When they say "protecting" their elections they're talking about rigging them. It only gets worse. The next step in the Latvian master plan is to bolster "traditional media".

The problems with traditional media, he says, are that journalists aren't paid enough, and don't keep up to date with all the "new tricks". His solution is to "promote financing" for traditional media, and to open more schools like the "Baltic Centre of Media Excellence", which is apparently a totally real thing .

It's a training centre which teaches young journalists about "media literacy" and "critical thinking". You can read their depressingly predictable list of "donors" here . I truly wish I was joking. Next up is Courtney Radsch from CPJ – a US-backed NGO, who notionally "protect journalists", but more accurately spread pro-US propaganda. (Their token effort to "defend" RT and Sputnik when they were barred from the conference was contemptible).

She talks for a long time without saying much at all. Her revolutionary idea is that disinformation could be countered if everyone told the truth. Inspiring. Beata Balogova, Journalist and Editor from Slovakia, gets the ship back on course – immediately suggesting politicians should not endorse "propaganda" platforms. She shares an anecdote about "a prominent Slovakian politician" who gave exclusive interviews to a site that is "dubiously financed, we assume from Russia". They assume from Russia. Everyone nods.

It's like they don't even hear themselves.

Then she moves on to Hungary. Apparently, Orban has "created a propaganda machine" and produced "antisemitic George Soros posters". No evidence is produced to back-up either of these claims. She thinks advertisers should be pressured into not giving money to "fake news sites". She calls for "international pressure", but never explains exactly what that means. The stand-out maniac on this panel is Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Information Policy. (She works for the Ministry of Information – nicknamed the Ministry of Truth, which was formed in 2014 to "counter lies about Ukraine". Even The Guardian thought that sounded dodgy.)

She talks very fast and, without any sense of irony, spills out a story that shoots straight through "disinformation" and becomes "incoherent rambling". She claims that Russian citizens are so brainwashed you'll never be able to talk to them, and that Russian "cognitive influence" is "toxic like radiation." Is this paranoid, quasi-xenophobic nonsense countered? No. Her fellow panelists nod and chuckle. On top of that, she just lies. She lies over and over and over again. She claims Russia is locking up Crimean Tartars "just for being muslims", nobody questions her. She says the war in Ukraine has killed 13,000 people, but doesn't mention that her side is responsible for over 80% of civilian deaths.

She says only 30% of Crimeans voted in the referendum, and that they were "forced". A fact not supported by any polls done by either side in the last four years, and any referenda held on the peninsula any time in the last last 30 year. It's simply a lie. Nobody asks her about the journalists killed in Ukraine since their glorious Maidan Revolution . Nobody questions the fact that she works for something called the "Ministry of Information". Nobody does anything but nod and smile as the "countering disinformation" panel becomes just a platform for spreading total lies.

When everyone on the panel has had their ten minutes on the soapbox, Freeland asks for recommendations for countering this "threat" – here's the list:

  1. Work to distinguish "free speech" from "propaganda", when you find propaganda there must be a "strong reaction".
  2. Pressure advertisers to abandon platforms who spread misinformation.
  3. Regulate social media.
  4. Educate journalists at special schools.
  5. Start up a "Ministry of Information" and have state run media that isn't controlled, like in Ukraine.

This is the Global Conference on Media Freedom and all these six people want to talk about is how to control what can be said, and who can say it. They single only four countries out for criticism: Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia .and Russia takes up easily 90% of that. They mention only two media outlets by name: RT and Sputnik. This wasn't a panel on disinformation, it was a public attack forum – a month's worth of 2 minutes of hate. These aren't just shills on this stage, they are solid gold idiots, brainwashed to the point of total delusion.

They are the dangerous glassy eyes of a Deep State that never questions itself, never examines itself, and will do anything it wants, to anyone it wants whilst happily patting itself on the back for its superior morality. They don't know, they don't care. They're true believers. Terrifyingly dead inside. Talking about state censorship and re-education camps under a big sign that says "Freedom". And that's just one talk. Just one panel in a 2 day itinerary filled to the brim with similarly soul-dead servants of authority. Truly, perfectly Orwellian.


Jonathan Jarvis

https://southfront.org/countering-russian-disinformation-or-new-wave-of-freedom-of-speech-suppression/

Read and be appalled at what America is up to .keep for further reference. We are in danger.

Tim Jenkins
It would serve Ms. Amanpour well, to relax, rewind & review her own interview with Sergei Lavrov:-

Then she might see why Larry King could stomach the appalling corporate dictatorship, even to the core of False & Fake recording of 'our' "History of the National Security State" , No More

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H7aKGOpSwE

Amanpour was forced to laugh uncontrollably, when confronted with Lavrov's humorous interpretations of various legal aspects of decency & his Judgement of others' politicians and 'Pussy Riots' >>> if you haven't seen it, it is to be recommended, the whole interview, if nothing else but to study the body language and micro-facial expressions, coz' a belly up laugh is not something anybody can easily control or even feign that first spark of cognition in her mind, as she digests Lavrov's response :- hilarious

Einstein
A GE won't solve matters since we have a Government of Occupation behind a parliament of puppets.

Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name.

In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO.

Pryce's ventriloquist's dummy in parliament, the pompous Alan Duncan, announced another £10 million of public money for this odious brainwashing programme.

Tim Jenkins
That panel should be nailed & plastered over, permanently:-

and as wall paper, 'Abstracts of New Law' should be pasted onto a collage of historic extracts from the Guardian, in offices that issue journalistic licenses, comprised of 'Untouchables' :-

A professional habitat, to damp any further 'Freeland' amplification & resonance,

of negative energy from professional incompetence.

Francis Lee
Apropos of the redoubtable Ms Freeland, Canada's Foreign Secretary.

The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland's maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army's winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht's "success" at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

Those Ukrainian 'Refugees' admitted to Canada in 1945 were almost certainly members of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galizia 1. These Ukie collaboraters – not to be confused with the other Ukie Nazi outfit – Stepan Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army -were held responsible for the massacre of many Poles in the Lviv area the most infamous being carried out in the Polish village of Huta Pienacka. In the massacre, the village was destroyed and between 500] and 1,000 of the inhabitants were killed. According to Polish accounts, civilians were locked in barns that were set on fire while those attempting to flee were killed. That's about par for the course.
Canada's response was as follows:

The Canadian Deschκnes Commission was set up to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the collaborators

Memorial to SS-Galizien division in Chervone, Lviv Oblast, western Ukraine

The Canadian "Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes" of October 1986, by the Honourable Justice Jules Deschκnesconcluded that in relation to membership in the Galicia Division:

''The Galicia Division (14. Waffen grenadier division der SS [gal.1]) should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission. Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.''

However, the Commission's conclusion failed to acknowledge or heed the International Military Tribunal's verdict at the Nuremberg Trials, in which the entire Waffen-SSorganisation was declared a "criminal organization" guilty of war crimes. Also, the Deschκnes Commission in its conclusion only referenced the division as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr.1), thus in legal terms, only acknowledging the formation's activity after its name change in August 1944, while the massacre of Poles in Huta Pieniacka, Pidkamin and Palikrowy occurred when the division was called SS Freiwilligen Division "Galizien". Nevertheless, a subsequent review by Canada's Minister of Justice again confirmed that members of the Division were not implicated in war crimes.

Yes, the west looks after its Nazis and even makes them and their descendants political figureheads.

mark
Most of these people are so smugly and complacently convinced of their own moral superiority that they just can't see the hypocrisy and doublethink involved in the event.
Mikalina
Eva Bartlett gives a wider perspective:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/londons-media-freedom-conference-smacks-irony-critics-barred-no-mention-jailed-assange/5683808
Harry Stotle
Freedom-lover, Cunt, will be furious when he hears about this!

Apparently Steve Bell is doubleplusbad for alluding to the fact Netanyahu has got his hand shoved deep into Tom Watson's arse – the Guardian pulled Bell's most recent ouvre which suggests the media's antisemitism trope might not be quite as politically untainted as the likes of Freedland, Cohen and Viner would have you believe.
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/guardian-cartoonist-steve-bell-specious-charge-of-antisemitism-in-email-to-all-paper-1.486570

Meanwhile Owen Jones has taken to Twitter to rubbish allegations that a reign of terror exists at Guardian Towers – the socialist firebrand is quoted as saying 'journalists are free to say whatever they like, so long as it doesn't stray too far from Guardian-groupthink'.

Tutisicecream
Good analysis Kit, of the cognitive dissonant ping pong being played out by Nazi sympathisers such as Hunt and Freeland.

The echo chamber of deceit is amplified again by the selective use of information and the ignoring of relevant facts, such as the miss reporting yesterday by Reuters of the Italian Neo-Nazi haul of weapons by the police, having not Russian but Ukrainian links.

Not a word in the WMSM about this devious miss-reporting as the creation of fake news in action. But what would you expect?

Living as I do in Russia I can assure anyone reading this that the media freedom here is on a par with the West and somewhat better as there is no paranoia about a fictitious enemy – Russians understand that the West is going through an existential crisis (Brexit in the UK, Trump and the Clinton war of sameness in the US and Macron and Merkel in the EU). A crisis of Liberalism as the failed life-support of capitalism. But hey, why worry about the politics when there is bigger fish to fry. Such as who will pay me to dance?

The answer is clear from what Kit has writ. The government will pay the piper. How sweet.

I'd like to thank Kit for sitting through such a turgid masquerade and as I'm rather long in the tooth I do remember the old BBC schools of journalism in Yelsin's Russia. What I remember is that old devious Auntie Beeb was busy training would be hopefuls in the art of discretion regarding how the news is formed, or formulated.

In other words your audience. And it ain't the public

Steve Hayes
The British government's "Online Harms" White Paper has a whole section devoted to "disinformation" (ie, any facts, opinions, analyses, evaluations, critiques that are critical of the elite's actual disinformation). If these proposals become law, the government will have effective control over the Internet and we will be allowed access to their disinformation, shop and watch cute cat videos.
Question This
The liberal news media & hypocrisy, who would have ever thought you'd see those words in the same sentence. But what do you expect from professional liars, politicians & 'their' free press?

Can this shit show get any worse? Yes, The other day I wrote to my MP regards the SNP legislating against the truth, effectively making it compulsory to lie! Mr Blackford as much as called me a transphobic & seemed to go to great length publishing his neo-liberal ideological views in some scottish rag, on how right is wrong & fact is turned into fiction & asked only those that agreed with him contact him.

Tim Jenkins
"The science or logical consistency of true premise, cannot take place or bear fruit, when all communication and information is 'marketised and weaponised' to a mindset of possession and control." B.Steere
Mikalina
I saw, somewhere (but can't find it now) a law or a prospective law which goes under the guise of harassment of MPs to include action against constituents who 'pester' them.

I've found a link for the Jo Cox gang discussing it, though.
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/new-research-on-the-intimidation-and-harassment-of-mps-featured-in-inaugural-conference

Question This
I only emailed him once! That's hardly harassment. Anyway I sent it with proton-mail via vpn & used a false postcode using only my first name so unlikely my civil & sincere correspondence will see me locked up for insisting my inalienable rights of freedom of speech & beliefs are protected. But there again the state we live in, i may well be incarcerated for life, for such an outrageous expectation.
Where to?
"The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets.
Harry Stotle
Its the brazen nature of the conference that is especially galling, but what do you expect when crooks and liars no longer feel they even have to pretend?

Nothing will change so long as politicians (or their shady backers) are never held to account for public assets diverted toward a rapacious off-shore economic system, or the fact millions of lives have been shattered by the 'war on terror' and its evil twin, 'humanatarian regime change' (while disingenuous Labour MPs wail about the 'horrors' of antisemitism rather than the fact their former leader is a key architect of the killings).

Kit remains a go-to voice when deconstructing claims made by political figures who clearly regard the MSM as a propaganda vehicle for promoting western imperialism – the self-satisfied smugness of cunts like Jeremy Cunt stand in stark contrast to a real journalist being tortured by the British authorities just a few short miles away.

It's a sligtly depressing thought but somebody has the unenviable task of monitoring just how far our politicians have drifted from the everyday concerns of the 'just about managing' and as I say Mr Knightly does a fine job in informing readers what the real of agenda of these media love-ins are actually about – it goes without saying a very lengthy barge pole is required when the Saudis are invited but not Russia.

Where to?
This Media Freedom Conference is surely a creepy theatre of the absurd.

It is a test of what they can get away with.

Mikalina
Yep. Any soviet TV watcher would recognise this immediately. Message? THIS is the reality – and you are powerless.
mark
When are they going to give us the Ministry of Truth we so desperately need?

[Aug 16, 2019] Lapdogs for the Government and intelligence agencies by Greg Maybury

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.' ..."
"... Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public. ..."
"... All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .) ..."
"... The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.' ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Lapdogs for the Government

Here was, of course, another surreal spectacle, this time courtesy of one of the Deep State's most dangerous, reviled, and divisive figures, a notable protagonist in the Russia-Gate conspiracy, and America's most senior diplomat no less.

Not only is it difficult to accept that the former CIA Director actually believes what he is saying, well might we ask, "Who can believe Mike Pompeo?"

And here's also someone whose manifest cynicism, hypocrisy, and chutzpah would embarrass the much-derided scribes and Pharisees of Biblical days.

We have Pompeo on record recently in a rare moment of honesty admitting – whilst laughing his ample ass off, as if recalling some "Boy's Own Adventure" from his misspent youth with a bunch of his mates down at the local pub – that under his watch as CIA Director:

We lied, cheated, we stole we had entire training courses.'

It may have been one of the few times in his wretched existence that Pompeo didn't speak with a forked tongue.

At all events, his candour aside, we can assume safely that this reactionary, monomaniacal, Christian Zionist 'end-timer' passed all the Company's "training courses" with flying colours.

According to Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times, all this did not stop Pompeo however from name-checking Wikileaks when it served his own interests. Back in 2016 at the height of the election campaign, he had ' no compunction about pointing people toward emails stolen* by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and then posted by WikiLeaks."

[NOTE: Rosenberg's omission of the word "allegedly" -- as in "emails allegedly stolen" -- is a dead giveaway of bias on his part (a journalistic Freudian slip perhaps?), with his employer being one of those MSM marques leading the charge with the "Russian Collusion" 'story'. For a more insightful view of the source of these emails and the skullduggery and thuggery that attended Russia-Gate, readers are encouraged to check this out.]

And this is of course The Company we're talking about, whose past and present relationship with the media might be summed up in two words: Operation Mockingbird (OpMock). Anyone vaguely familiar with the well-documented Grand Deception that was OpMock, arguably the CIA's most enduring, insidious, and successful psy-ops gambit, will know what we're talking about. (See here , here , here , and here .) At its most basic, this operation was all about propaganda and censorship, usually operating in tandem to ensure all the bases are covered.

After opining that the MSM is 'totally infiltrated' by the CIA and various other agencies, for his part former NSA whistleblower William Binney recently added , ' When it comes to national security, the media only talk about what the administration wants you to hear, and basically suppress any other statements about what's going on that the administration does not want get public. The media is basically the lapdogs for the government.'

Even the redoubtable William Casey , Ronald Reagan's CIA Director back in the day was reported to have said something along the following lines:

We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.'

In order to provide a broader and deeper perspective, we should now consider the views of a few others on the subjects at hand, along with some history. In a 2013 piece musing on the modern significance of the practice, my compatriot John Pilger ecalled a time when he met Leni Riefenstahl back in 70s and asked her about her films that 'glorified the Nazis'.

Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public.

All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .)

" Triumph " apparently still resonates today. To the surprise of few one imagines, such was the impact of the film -- as casually revealed in the excellent 2018 Alexis Bloom documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes -- it elicited no small amount of admiration from arguably the single most influential propagandist of recent times.

[Readers might wish to check out Russell Crowe's recent portrayal of Ailes in Stan's mini-series The Loudest Voice , in my view one the best performances of the man's career.]

In a recent piece unambiguously titled "Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems", my other compatriot Caitlin Johnstone also had a few things to say about the subject, echoing Orwell when she observed it was all about "controlling the narrative".

Though I'd suggest the greater "root" problem is our easy propensity to ignore this reality, pretend it doesn't or won't affect us, or reject it as conspiratorial nonsense, in this, of course, she's correct. As she cogently observes,

I write about this stuff for a living, and even I don't have the time or energy to write about every single narrative control tool that the US-centralised empire has been implementing into its arsenal. There are too damn many of them emerging too damn fast, because they're just that damn crucial for maintaining existing power structures.'

The Discreet Use of Censorship and Uniformed Men

It is hardly surprising that those who hold power should seek to control the words and language people use' said Canadian author John Ralston Saul in his 1993 book Voltaire's Bastards–the Dictatorship of Reason in the West .

Fittingly, in a discussion encompassing amongst other things history, language, power, and dissent, he opined, ' Determining how individuals communicate is' an objective which represents for the power elites 'the best chance' [they] have to control what people think. This translates as: The more control 'we' have over what the proles think, the more 'we' can reduce the inherent risk for elites in democracy.

' Clumsy men', Saul went on to say, 'try to do this through power and fear. Heavy-handed men running heavy-handed systems attempt the same thing through police-enforced censorship. The more sophisticated the elites, the more they concentrate on creating intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures. These systems require only the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

In other words, along with assuming it is their right to take it in the first place, ' those who take power will always try to change the established language ', presumably to better facilitate their hold on it and/or legitimise their claim to it.

For Oliver Boyd-Barrett, democratic theory presupposes a public communications infrastructure that facilitates the free and open exchange of ideas.' Yet for the author of the recently published RussiaGate and Propaganda: Disinformation in the Age of Social Media , 'No such infrastructure exists.'

The mainstream media he says, is 'owned and controlled by a small number of large, multi-media and multi-industrial conglomerates' that lie at the very heart of US oligopoly capitalism and much of whose advertising revenue and content is furnished from other conglomerates:

The inability of mainstream media to sustain an information environment that can encompass histories, perspectives and vocabularies that are free of the shackles of US plutocratic self-regard is also well documented.'

Of course the word "inability" suggests the MSM view themselves as having some responsibility for maintaining such an egalitarian news and information environment. They don't of course, and in truth, probably never really have! A better word would be "unwilling", or even "refusal". The corporate media all but epitomise the " plutocratic self-regard" that is characteristic of "oligopoly capitalism".

Indeed, the MSM collectively functions as advertising, public relations/lobbying entities for Big Corp, in addition to acting as its Praetorian bodyguard , protecting their secrets, crimes, and lies from exposure. Like all other companies they are beholden to their shareholders (profits before truth and people), most of whom it can safely be assumed are no strangers to "self-regard", and could care less about " histories, perspectives and vocabularies" that run counter to their own interests.

It was Aussie social scientist Alex Carey who pioneered the study of nationalism , corporatism , and moreso for our purposes herein, the management (read: manipulation) of public opinion, though all three have important links (a story for another time). For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' This former farmer from Western Australia became one of the world's acknowledged experts on propaganda and the manipulation of the truth.

Prior to embarking on his academic career, Carey was a successful sheep grazier . By all accounts, he was a first-class judge of the animal from which he made his early living, leaving one to ponder if this expertise gave him a unique insight into his main area of research!

In any event, Carey in time sold the farm and travelled to the U.K. to study psychology, apparently a long-time ambition. From the late fifties until his death in 1988, he was a senior lecturer in psychology and industrial relations at the Sydney-based University of New South Wales, with his research being lauded by such luminaries as Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, both of whom have had a thing or three to say over the years about The Big Shill. In fact such was his admiration, Pilger described him as "a second Orwell", which in anyone's lingo is a big call.

Carey unfortunately died in 1988, interestingly the year that his more famous contemporaries Edward Herman and Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media was published, the authors notably dedicating their book to him.

Though much of his work remained unpublished at the time of his death, a book of Carey's essays – Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty -- was published posthumously in 1997. It remains a seminal work.

In fact, for anyone with an interest in how public opinion is moulded and our perceptions are managed and manipulated, in whose interests they are done so and to what end, it is as essential reading as any of the work of other more famous names. This tome came complete with a foreword by Chomsky, so enamoured was the latter of Carey's work.

For Carey, the three "most significant developments" in the political economy of the twentieth century were: the growth of democracy the growth of corporate power; and the growth of propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

Carey's main focus was on the following: advertising and publicity devoted to the creation of artificial wants; the public relations and propaganda industry whose principal goal is the diversion to meaningless pursuits and control of the public mind; and the degree to which academia and the professions are under assault from private power determined to narrow the spectrum of thinkable (sic) thought.

For Carey, it is an axiom of conventional wisdom that the use of propaganda as a means of social and ideological control is 'distinctive' of totalitarian regimes. Yet as he stresses: the most minimal exercise of common sense would suggest a different view: that propaganda is likely to play at least as important a part in democratic societies (where the existing distribution of power and privilege is vulnerable to quite limited changes in popular opinion) as in authoritarian societies (where it is not).' In this context, 'conventional wisdom" becomes conventional ignorance; as for "common sense", maybe not so much.

The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.'

An extreme example of this view playing itself right under our noses and over decades was the cruel fiction of the " trickle down effect " (TDE) -- aka the 'rising tide that would lift all yachts' -- of Reaganomics . One of several mantras that defined Reagan's overarching political shtick, the TDE was by any measure, decidedly more a torrent than a trickle, and said "torrent" was going up not down. This reality as we now know was not in Reagan's glossy economic brochure to be sure, and it may have been because the Gipper confused his prepositions and verbs.

Yet as the GFC of 2008 amply demonstrated, it culminated in a free-for all, dog eat dog, anything goes, everyman for himself form of cannibal (or anarcho) capitalism -- an updated, much improved version of the no-holds-barred mercenary mercantilism much reminiscent of the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons who 'infested' it, only one that doesn't just eat its young, it eats itself!

Making the World Safe for Plutocracy

In the increasingly dysfunctional, one-sided political economy we inhabit then, whether it's widgets or wars or anything in between, few people realise the degree to which our opinions, perceptions, emotions, and views are shaped and manipulated by propaganda (and its similarly 'evil twin' censorship ,) its most adept practitioners, and those elite, institutional, political, and corporate entities that seek out their expertise.

It is now just over a hundred years since the practice of propaganda took a giant leap forward, then in the service of persuading palpably reluctant Americans that the war raging in Europe at the time was their war as well.

This was at a time when Americans had just voted their then-president Woodrow Wilson back into office for a second term, a victory largely achieved on the back of the promise he'd "keep us out of the War." Americans were very much in what was one of their most isolationist phases , and so Wilson's promise resonated with them.

But over time they were convinced of the need to become involved by a distinctly different appeal to their political sensibilities. This "appeal" also dampened the isolationist mood, one which it has to be said was not embraced by most of the political, banking, and business elites of the time, most of whom stood to lose big-time if the Germans won, and/or who were already profiting or benefitting from the business of war.

For a president who "kept us out of the war", this wasn't going to be an easy 'pitch'. In order to sell the war the president established the Committee on Public Information (aka the Creel Committee) for the purposes of publicising the rationale for the war and from there, garnering support for it from the general public.

Enter Edward Bernays , the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who's generally considered to be the father of modern public relations. In his film Rule from the Shadows: The Psychology of Power , Aaron Hawkins says Bernays was influenced by people such as Gustave le Bon , Walter Lippman , and Wilfred Trotter , as much, if not moreso, than his famous uncle.

Either way, Bernays 'combined their perspectives and synthesised them into an applied science', which he then 'branded' "public relations".

For its part the Creel committee struggled with its brief from the off; but Bernays worked with them to persuade Americans their involvement in the war was justified -- indeed necessary -- and to that end he devised the brilliantly inane slogan, "making the world safe for democracy" .

Thus was born arguably the first great propaganda catch-phrases of the modern era, and certainly one of the most portentous. The following sums up Bernays's unabashed mindset:

The conscious, intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.'

The rest is history (sort of), with Americans becoming more willing to not just support the war effort but encouraged to view the Germans and their allies as evil brutes threatening democracy and freedom and the 'American way of life', however that might've been viewed then. From a geopolitical and historical perspective, it was an asinine premise of course, but nonetheless an extraordinary example of how a few well chosen words tapped into the collective psyche of a country that was decidedly opposed to any U.S involvement in the war and turned that mindset completely on its head.

' [S]aving the world for democracy' (or some 'cover version' thereof) has since become America's positioning statement, 'patriotic' rallying cry, and the "Get-out-of-Jail Free" card for its war and its white collar criminal clique.

At all events it was by any measure, a stroke of genius on Bernays's part; by appealing to people's basic fears and desires, he could engineer consent on a mass scale. It goes without saying it changed the course of history in more ways than one. That the U.S. is to this day still using a not dissimilar meme to justify its "foreign entanglements" is testament to both its utility and durability.

The reality as we now know was markedly different of course. They have almost always been about power, empire, control, hegemony, resources, wealth, opportunity, profit, dispossession, keeping existing capitalist structures intact and well-defended, and crushing dissent and opposition.

The Bewildered Herd

It is instructive to note that the template for 'manufacturing consent' for war had already been forged by the British. And the Europeans did not 'sleepwalk' like some " bewildered herd ' into this conflagration.

For twenty years prior to the outbreak of the war in 1914, the then stewards of the British Empire had been diligently preparing the ground for what they viewed as a preordained clash with their rivals for empire the Germans.

To begin with, contrary to the opinion of the general populace over one hundred years later, it was not the much touted German aggression and militarism, nor their undoubted imperial ambitions, which precipitated its outbreak. The stewards of the British Empire were not about to let the Teutonic upstarts chow down on their imperial lunch as it were, and set about unilaterally and preemptively crushing Germany and with it any ambitions it had for creating its own imperial domain in competition with the Empire upon which Ol' Sol never set.

The "Great War" is worth noting here for other reasons. As documented so by Jim Macgregor and Gerry Docherty in their two books covering the period from 1890-1920, we learn much about propaganda, which attest to its extraordinary power, in particular its power to distort reality en masse in enduring and subversive ways.

In reality, the only thing "great" about World War One was the degree to which the masses fighting for Britain were conned via propaganda and censorship into believing this war was necessary, and the way the official narrative of the war was sustained for posterity via the very same means. "Great" maybe, but not in a good way!

In these seminal tomes -- World War One Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War and its follow-up Prolonging the Agony: How the Anglo-American Establishment Deliberately Extended WWI by Three-And-A-Half Years -- Macgregor and Docherty provide a masterclass for us all of the power of propaganda in the service of firstly inciting, then deliberately sustaining a major war.

The horrendous carnage and destruction that resulted from it was of course unprecedented, the global effects of which linger on now well over one hundred years later.

Such was the enduring power of the propaganda that today most folks would have great difficulty in accepting the following; this is a short summary of historical realities revealed by Macgregor and Docherty that are at complete odds with the official narrative, the political discourse, and the school textbooks:

It was Great Britain (supported by France and Russia) and not Germany who was the principal aggressor in the events and actions that let to the outbreak of war; The British had for twenty years prior to 1914 viewed Germany as its most dangerous economic and imperial rival, and fully anticipated that a war was inevitable; In the U.K. and the U.S., various factions worked feverishly to ensure the war went on for as long as possible, and scuttled peacemaking efforts from the off; key truths about this most consequential of geopolitical conflicts have been concealed for well over one hundred years, with no sign the official record will change; very powerful forces (incl. a future US president) amongst U.S. political, media, and economic elites conspired to eventually convince an otherwise unwilling populace in America that U.S. entry onto the war was necessary; those same forces and many similar groups in the U.K. and Europe engaged in everything from war profiteering, destruction/forging of war records, false-flag ops, treason, conspiracy to wage aggressive war, and direct efforts to prolong the war by any means necessary, many of which will rock folks to their very core.

But peace was not on the agenda. When, by 1916, the military failures were so embarrassing and costly, some key players in the British government were willing to talk about peace. This could not be tolerated. The potential peacemakers had to be thrown under the bus. The unelected European leaders had one common bond: They would fight Germany until she was crushed.

Prolonging the Agony details how this secret cabal organised to this end the change of government without a single vote being cast. David Lloyd George was promoted to prime minister in Britain and Georges Clemenceau made prime minister in France. A new government, an inner-elite war cabinet thrust the Secret Elite leader, Lord Alfred Milner into power at the very inner-core of the decision-makers in British politics.

Democracy? They had no truck with democracy. The voting public had no say. The men entrusted with the task would keep going till the end and their place-men were backed by the media and the money-power, in Britain, France and America.

Propaganda Always Wins

But just as the pioneering adherents of propaganda back in the day might never have dreamt how sophisticated and all-encompassing the practice would become, nor would the citizenry at large have anticipated the extent to which the industry has facilitated an entrenched, rapacious plutocracy at the expense of our economic opportunity, our financial and material security, our physical, social and cultural environment, our values and attitudes, and increasingly, our basic democratic rights and freedoms.

We now live in the Age of the Big Shill -- cocooned in a submissive void no less -- an era where nothing can be taken on face value yet where time and attention constraints (to name just a few) force us to do so; [where] few people in public life can be taken at their word; where unchallenged perceptions become accepted reality; where 'open-book' history is now incontrovertible not-negotiable, upon pain of imprisonment fact; where education is about uniformity, function, form and conformity, all in the service of imposed neo-liberal ideologies embracing then prioritising individual -- albeit dubious -- freedoms.

More broadly, it's the "Roger Ailes" of this world -- acting on behalf of the power elites who after all are their paymasters -- who create the intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures, whilst ensuring these systems require only 'the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

They are the shapers and moulders of the discourse that passes for the accepted lingua franca of the increasingly globalised, interconnected, corporatised political economy of the planet. Throughout this process they 'will always try to change the established language.'

And we can no longer rely on our elected representatives to honestly represent us and our interests. Whether this decision making is taking place inside or outside the legislative process, these processes are well and truly in the grip of the banks and financial institutions and transnational organisations. In whose interests are they going to be more concerned with?

We saw this all just after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when the very people who brought the system to the brink, made billions off the dodge for their banks and millions for themselves, bankrupted hundreds of thousands of American families, were called upon by the U.S. government to fix up the mess, and to all intents given a blank cheque to so do.

That the U.S. is at even greater risk now of economic implosion is something few serious pundits would dispute, and a testament to the effectiveness of the snow-job perpetrated upon Americans regarding the causes, the impact, and the implications of the 2008 meltdown going forward.

In most cases, one accepts almost by definition such disconnects (read: hidden agendas) are the rule rather than the exception, hence the multi-billion foundation -- and global reach and impact -- of the propaganda business. This in itself is a key indicator as to why organisations place so much importance on this aspect of managing their affairs.

At the very least, once corporations saw how the psychology of persuasion could be leveraged to manipulate consumers and politicians saw the same with the citizenry and even its own workers, the growth of the industry was assured.

As Riefenstahl noted during her chinwag with Pilger after he asked if those embracing the "submissive void" included the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? " Everyone ," she said.

By way of underscoring her point, she added enigmatically: 'Propaganda always wins if you allow it'.

Greg Maybury is a freelance writer based in Perth, Australia. His main areas of interest are American history and politics in general, with a special focus on economic, national security, military, and geopolitical affairs. For 5 years he has regularly contributed to a diverse range of news and opinion sites, including OpEd News, The Greanville Post, Consortium News, Dandelion Salad, Global Research, Dissident Voice, OffGuardian, Contra Corner, International Policy Digest, the Hampton Institute, and others.


nottheonly1

This brilliant essay is proof of the reflective nature of the Universe. The worse the propaganda and oppression becomes, the greater the likelihood such an essay will be written.

Such is the sophistication and ubiquity of the narrative control techniques used today -- afforded increasingly by 'computational propaganda' via automated scripts, hacking, botnets, troll farms, and algorithms and the like, along with the barely veiled censorship and information gatekeeping practised by Google and Facebook and other tech behemoths -- it's become one of the most troubling aspects of the technological/social media revolution.

Very rarely can one experience such a degree of vindication. My moniker 'nottheonly1' has received more meaning with this precise depiction of the long history of the manipulation of the masses. Recent events have destroyed but all of my confidence that there might be a peaceful way out of this massive dilemma. Due to this sophistication in controlling the narrative, it has now become apparent that we have arrived at a moment in time where total lawlessness reigns. 'Lawlessness' in this case means the loss of common law and the use of code law to create ever new restrictions for free speech and liberty at large.

Over the last weeks, comments written on other discussion boards have unleashed a degree of character defamation and ridicule for the most obvious crimes perpetrated on the masses through propaganda. In this unholy union of constant propaganda via main stream 'media' with the character defamation by so called 'trolls' – which are actually virtual assassins of those who write the truth – the ability of the population, or parts thereof to connect with, or search for like minded people is utterly destroyed. This assault on the online community has devastating consequences. Those who have come into the cross hairs of the unintelligence agencies will but turn away from the internet. Leaving behind an ocean of online propaganda and fake information. Few are now the web sites on which it is possible to voice one's personal take on the status quo.

There is one word that describes these kind of activities precisely: traitor. Those who engage in the character defamation of commenters, or authors per se, are traitors to humanity. They betray the collective consciousness with their poisonous attacks of those who work for a sea change of the status quo. The owner class has all game pieces positioned. The fact that Julian Assange is not only a free man, but still without a Nobel price for peace, while war criminals are recipients, shows just how much the march into absolute totalitarianism has progressed. Bernays hated the masses and offered his 'services' to manipulate them often for free.

Even though there are more solutions than problems, the time has come where meaningful participation in the search for such solution has been made unbearable. It is therefore that a certain fatalism has developed – from resignation to the acceptance of the status quo as being inevitable. Ancient wisdom has created a proverb that states 'This too, will pass'. While that is a given, there are still enough Human Beings around that are determined to make a difference. To this group I count the author of this marvelous, albeit depressing essay. Thank you more that words can express. And thank you, OffGuardian for being one of the last remaining places where discourse is possible.

GMW
Really great post! Thanks. I'm part of the way through reading Alex Carey's book: "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty," referenced in this article. I've learned more about the obviously verifiable history of U.S. corporate propaganda in the first four chapters than I learned gaining a "minor" in history in 1974 (not surprisingly I can now clearly see). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in just how pervasive, entrenched and long-standing are the propaganda systems shaping public perception, thought and behavior in America and the West.
Norcal
Wow Greg Maybury great essay, congratulations. This quote is brilliant, I've never see it before, "For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' "

Too, Rodger Ailes was the man credited with educating Nixon up as how to "use" the TV media, and Ailes never looked back as he manipulated media at will. Thank you!

nondimenticare
That is also one of the basic theses of Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize speech.
vexarb
I read in 'Guns, Germs and Steel' about Homo Sapiens and his domesticated animals. Apparently we got on best in places where we could find animals that are very like us: sheep, cattle, horses and other herd animals which instinctively follow their Leader. I think our cousins the chimpanzee are much the same; both species must have inherited this common trait from some pre-chimpanzee ancestor who had found great survival value in passing on the sheeple trait to their progeny. As have the sheep themselves.

By the way, has anybody observed sheeple behaviour in ants and bees? For instance, quietly following a Leader ant to their doom, or noisily ganging up to mob a worker bee that the Queen does not like?

Andy
Almost unbelievable that this was commisioned by the BBC 4 part series covering much of what is in Gregs essay. Some fabulous old footage too. https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/
S.R.Passerby
I'd say the elites are both for and against. Competing factions. It's clear that many are interested in overturning democracy, whilst others want to exploit it.

The average grunt on the street is in the fire, regardless of the pan chosen by the elites.

[Aug 14, 2019] Charge of anti-Semitism as a sign of a bitter factional struggle in UK Labor Party between neoliberal and alternatives to neoliberalism wings

Highly recommended!
It attests inventiveness and vicious amorality of neoliberals, who now promote the idea that criticizing neoliberalism and removing Democratic party in the USA and Labor Party in the UK from clutches of Clintonism//Brairism is inherently Anti-Semitic ;-)
Israel lobby wants to extent the anti-Semitism smear to any critique of Israel. which is of course standard dirty trick in witch hunts like neo-McCarthyism.
Notable quotes:
"... This, of course, is compounded by the over-amplifying of anti-Semitism by the media and the alacrity with which it has been taken up by Corbyn opponents, including hypocrites who floated "rootless cosmopolitan" criticisms of Ed Miliband when it suited just a few years ago. ..."
"... The resolution of the anti-Semitism crisis then is not a matter of compromise -- for each side the issue will only go away with the complete crushing and driving out of the party of the other. ..."
"... A good analysis. But, it emphasizes the point I made in the previous post, which is that, the right are currently engaged in an all out push to remove Corbyn and crush the left with the same old bureaucratic means. Whatever else Williamson may or may not be guilty of, his point that the leadership have facilitated this situation by their continual appeasement of the right is absolutely valid. Its that he is being attacked for, not anti-Semitism. ..."
"... Coming on the day when the FT have a column seriously positing that criticizing capitalism is inherently anti-Semitic, it seems to me that dancing on the head of a pin ..."
"... As many of the comments on your blog on Williamson attest, the salient feature of this - well, call it witch-hunt for the sake of argument - is the double standards where we have to be whiter than white, whilst no account whatsoever is taken of the most egregious racism elsewhere. ..."
"... The other nonsense that has grown up is that it is only those that suffer any form of discrimination who can define what that discrimination is, i.e. only Jews can define anti-Semitism, only black people can define racism against them, only women can define discrimination against women. ..."
"... That then assumes that the members of each of these groups are themselves homogeneous, and agreed in such definitions. In reality, it means that dominant elements, i.e. those connected to the ruling class and ruling ideas get to make those determinations. ..."
"... If we look at anti-Semitism, for example, it is quite clear that there is no agreement amongst Jews on what constitutes anti-Semitism. The JVL, certainly have a different definition than the JLM. ..."
"... Secker wrote a piece in the Morning Star last year comparing claims of anti-Semitism within Labour to the story of the emperor's new clothes. ..."
"... Given that the actual data, even allowing for all of the spurious and mischievous accusations of anti-Semitism in the party, made by right-wing enemies of the the party, and particularly of Corbyn and his supporters, amounts to only 0.1% of the membership, and given that of these, 40% were straight away found to be accusations against people who were not even LP members, with a further 20%, being found to have absolutely no evidence to back them, its quite possible that individual members of the LP, have never seen any instance of it. ..."
"... Take out all those mischievous and malicious allegations made in order to whip up the hysteria, so as to to damage the party, by its enemies, and you arrive at a figure of only 400 potential cases, out of a membership of 600,000, which is 1 member in 1500. ..."
"... In fact, based upon the actual facts, as opposed to the fiction and factional hysteria that is being whipped up by right-wing opponents of Corbyn and the party, and by supporters of Zionism for their own narrow political reasons, the chances are about 14: that you will never see any even potential instance of anti-Semitism, even on the narrow definition that the party has now imposed upon itself, which comes pretty close if not entirely to identifying anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, or even just criticism of the current Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu. ..."
"... In the US, Jewish groups that have long been ardent defenders of Israel have more recently come out to criticize the regime of Netanyahu, and the actions of the Israeli state. The main defenders of Zionism, besides the actual Zionists themselves, appear to be people like the AWL, who for whatever reason hitched their wagon to Zionist ideology some time ago, ..."
"... Just because the only case of stabbing I have witnessed was more than 50 years ago, does not, and should not lead me to think that knife crime was worse 50 years ago than it is today. The actual data would seem to suggest that cases of anti-Semitism were greater in the LP in previous times than they are currently, contrary to what the media and those with factional motives would have us believe. ..."
"... The apparent level of anti-semitism in Labour is a modern phenomenon turbo-charged and amplified by social media. People have their views reinforced within their bunkers where anti-Israeli memes become anti-Zionist and then become anti-Semitic. It is much easier to send an anonymous email than a letter. ..."
"... I wouldn't trust Lansman on this issue, any more than on many others. Lansman abolished democracy, to the extent it existed to begin with, by turning it into his personal fiefdom, reminiscent of the activities of Hyndman and the SDF. His position on anti-Semitism, and fighting the witch-hunt, and of appeasing the Blair-right's as they attacked Corbyn, has been appalling throughout. ..."
"... Having abolished any democracy in Momentum, which he now runs as its CEO, he also appears to want Corbyn to do the same thing with the Labour Party, abolishing its internal democratic procedures, and putting himself personally in charge of those disciplinary measures ..."
"... Its notable that, yesterday, when the Welsh Labour Grass Roots organisation came out to call for Williamson's suspension to be reversed, Kinnock and other Blair-rights immediately called for an investigation into them, ..."
"... This truly is reaching into the realms of McCarthyism, where you are found guilty not just of witchcraft, but of consorting with witches, or even having an opinion as to whether an individual charged with witchcraft is guilty, or even the extent to which the number of witches amongst might be exaggerated. ..."
"... It's not a factually accurate description of global political realities, because Israel does not control the US, if that is what the image is intended to imply. But, the message, is thereby anti-Israeli state, not anti-Semitic. It could only be considered anti-Semitic, if in fact you are a Zionist and claim that Israel and Jews are are interchangeable terms, which they are not. ..."
"... If we replace Zionism with Toryism, and Jew with British, the situation becomes fairly clear. If the we show the British state as being controlled by Tories, who implement their ideology of Toryism, in what way would criticism of the British state, under the control of such Tories, or criticism of Tories be the equivalent of British people as a whole? ..."
"... The hope of a Two-State Solution disappeared long ago, and was never credible. It simply allows Zionists to proclaim they are in favour of it, whilst doing everything to make it practically impossible, such as extending West Bank Settlements. The solution must flow from a struggle for democratic rights for Israeli Arabs, and for a right for all Arabs in occupied territories to be extended the same rights as any other Israeli, including the right to vote, and send representatives to the Knesset. As I argued thirty years ago, the longer-term solution is a Federal Republic of Israel and Palestine, guaranteeing democratic rights to all, as part of building a wider Federal Republic of MENA. ..."
"... Jim Denham: imperialist lackey and sycophant turned Witch hunter in chief ..."
"... Let us be very clear about what this witch hunt is about, it is about purging from public life any credible and effective opposition to Israel in particular and more generally opposition to the imperialist barbarians of the imperialist core. It is about driving from universities, social media and intellectual life any form of opposition to the interests of the imperialists. ..."
"... A UN report has concluded that Israel deliberately targeted and killed hundreds of protesting civilians, including children and disabled people and it shot 20,000+ people (yes 20,000+!). The UN says this likely a war crime. Why are the noble defenders of the Palestinian cause in the dock and not notorious Palestinian haters like Jim Denham? ..."
"... These attacks on Corbyn and his supporters, repeated in all of the most aggressive imperialist countries, are simply a proxy attack on the Palestinian people themselves. ..."
"... Jim Denham's comment here illustrates the problem entirely. The picture he has linked to shows an alien symbiote having attached itself to the face of the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty here represents the US. The symbiote has on its back the Israeli Flag, and likewise, thereby represents the state of Israel. The picture therefore, represents the well-worn, and clearly factually wrong meme that Israel controls the US. ..."
"... But, as a Zionist organisation, the AWL and its members cannot distinguish between the state of Israel and Jews, so they cannot distinguish between criticism of the state of Israel, and criticism if Jews. For them, as for the Zionist ideology of the state of Israel, which is most clearly manifest in the ideology of its current political leadership, in the form of the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, with the recent introduction of blatantly racist laws that discriminate even more openly against not Jewish Israeli citizens, and with his willingness to try to keep his corrupt regime in office by going into coalition with an avowedly Neo-Nazi party that until recent times was considered beyond the pale, even by most Zionists, the term Zionism is synonymous with the term Jew. So, any criticism of Zionism, or of Israel is for them immediately equated with anti-Semitism. ..."
"... Once again Jim Denham reefuses to engage in rational debate, and again resorts instead to his assumption that Israel = Jews, as well as his crude attempts at a typical Stalinist amalgam, to conflate the views of his opponents with some hate figure. ..."
"... Again Jim Denham makes the conflation of Israel and Jews explicit when he says, "This image also plays on the tired and disgraceful antisemitic 'conspiracy theory' trope of undue Israeli (Jewish) influence on world affairs." ..."
"... The way that the right are using anti-Zionism as the equivalent for anti-Semitism, and the appeasement of that attack has led them to widen the scope of that attack. As Labour List reports , right-wing Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh, is now claiming that to be anti-capitalist is also to be "anti-Semitic". The idea was put forward also by former Blair-right spin doctor, John McTernan, who wrote an article in the FT to that same effect ..."
"... As the right-wing extend their witch-hunt against socialists in the LP to claim that Marxists are necessarily misogynist, as well as anti-Semitic – and the same logic presented by McDonagh, McTernon, and Phillips would presumably mean that the Left must also be xenophobic, homophobic, anti- Green, and many other charges they want to throw into the mix – it will be interesting to see whether and to what extent the AWL, join them in that assault, in the same way they have done in their promotion of Zionism. ..."
Aug 14, 2019 | averypublicsociologist.blogspot.com

... ... ...

The problem, however, is because this is overlaid by factional struggle ...

This, of course, is compounded by the over-amplifying of anti-Semitism by the media and the alacrity with which it has been taken up by Corbyn opponents, including hypocrites who floated "rootless cosmopolitan" criticisms of Ed Miliband when it suited just a few years ago.

Here's the thing. Just because your opponents take up an issue, some times cynically and in bad faith. and use it to inflict as much damage as they can does not mean the problem is fictitious.

Precisely because they can point to Facebook groups full of useful fools, and Twitter accounts with Corbyn-supporting hashtags acting as if the Israel lobby and "Zionists" are the only active force in British politics, this is the stuff that makes the attacks effective and trashes the standing of the party in the eyes of many Jews and the community's allies and friends.

The institutional anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is, therefore, somewhat different to the kind you find in other institutions. It is sustained by the battle for the party, a grim battlefront in a zero sum game of entrenched position vs entrenched position. As such, whatever the leadership do, whatever new processes the General Secretary introduces for one side it will never be enough because, as far as many of them concerned, the leadership are politically illegitimate; and for the other it's a sop and capitulation.

The resolution of the anti-Semitism crisis then is not a matter of compromise -- for each side the issue will only go away with the complete crushing and driving out of the party of the other. A situation that can only poison the well further, and guarantee anti-Semitism won't honestly and comprehensively be confronted.


Boffy said... 3 March 2019 at 16:42
A good analysis. But, it emphasizes the point I made in the previous post, which is that, the right are currently engaged in an all out push to remove Corbyn and crush the left with the same old bureaucratic means. Whatever else Williamson may or may not be guilty of, his point that the leadership have facilitated this situation by their continual appeasement of the right is absolutely valid. Its that he is being attacked for, not anti-Semitism.

It is first necessary to close ranks, and defeat the assault of the Right. As Marr said to Blair this morning, had Prescott announced he was forming a separate group, and was establishing his own witch-hunting bureaucratic apparatus in the party, Blair would have sacked him immediately - actually not so easy as the Deputy is elected. But the thrust is valid. Unless Corbyn deals with Watson, the Right will roll over the Left, despite the huge disparity in numbers.

Again it comes down to whether Corbyn is up for that task, or whether we need a leadership of the left with a bit more backbone to see it through.

asquith said... 3 March 2019 at 18:54
I'm afraid this IS due to the "intersectionality" cult, whereby certain groups are always privileged and wrong, and some are always oppressed and right. Jews are, according to this "analysis", the uber-privileged and uber-white.

We've heard several times that according to "intersectionality" that it's impossible to be racist against white people because racism requires both prejudice and power, and white people are by definition powerful. Therefore, anti-Semitism is dismissed because it can't be a thing because Jews are all-powerful and even more oppressive than other whites.

Those who don't subscribe to all of these beliefs are nevertheless tinged with them, which is why people who aren't staunch antisemites will nevertheless fail to take anti-Semitism seriously.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66qe76gkCxo&t=166s

Ian Gibson said... 4 March 2019 at 05:30
Coming on the day when the FT have a column seriously positing that criticizing capitalism is inherently anti-Semitic, it seems to me that dancing on the head of a pin about whether the 'careless' anti-Semitism you've described means the party is institutionally anti-Semitic is rather missing the point. (OK, the column is by John McTernan, but the FT gave him column inches to argue that case, and I guess they didn't mean it as the satire it most certainly is.)

As many of the comments on your blog on Williamson attest, the salient feature of this - well, call it witch-hunt for the sake of argument - is the double standards where we have to be whiter than white, whilst no account whatsoever is taken of the most egregious racism elsewhere. We live in society: we can never, ever be that whiter than white - especially when it comes to Israel/Palestine, which is so full of contradictions and traps for the unwary (e.g. the position of the Israeli state claiming to speak for all Jewry around the world, in the way that the Board of Deputies position themselves as speaking for all British Jews - neither close to being true, but small wonder that opponents of what they do and stand for take that universality at face value.)

The fight we need to take up is to compare and contrast just how pro-active the current party is against anti-Semitism in its constitution and machinery with the glaring absence of such elsewhere, and to present a positive picture of what we are doing, rather than mumbling apologetically into our beards. We need to take the fight to the rigged system at the same time as being unstinting in rooting out the troubling stuff.

Boffy said... 4 March 2019 at 09:47
The other nonsense that has grown up is that it is only those that suffer any form of discrimination who can define what that discrimination is, i.e. only Jews can define anti-Semitism, only black people can define racism against them, only women can define discrimination against women.

That then assumes that the members of each of these groups are themselves homogeneous, and agreed in such definitions. In reality, it means that dominant elements, i.e. those connected to the ruling class and ruling ideas get to make those determinations.

If we look at anti-Semitism, for example, it is quite clear that there is no agreement amongst Jews on what constitutes anti-Semitism. The JVL, certainly have a different definition than the JLM.

But, just rationally, the concept that only those discriminated against get to define the discrimination is bonkers. Suppose you come from Somalia or some other country that practices FGM, you could argue that it is part of your cultural heritage, and that anyone seeking to prevent you from undertaking this barbaric practice was thereby racist, on your self-definition of what that discrimination against you amounts to. Or Saudis might argue that it is racist to argue against their practice of lopping off women's heads, or stoning them to death for adultery, including having been raped, etc.

Jim Denham said... 4 March 2019 at 15:25
The JVL come pretty close to arguing that there is *no* anti-Semitism in the Labour party (Jenny Manson, for instance, says she's never witnessed any)and Glyn Secker wrote a piece in the Morning Star last year comparing claims of anti-Semitism within Labour to the story of the emperor's new clothes.
Boffy said... 5 March 2019 at 09:00
Given that the actual data, even allowing for all of the spurious and mischievous accusations of anti-Semitism in the party, made by right-wing enemies of the the party, and particularly of Corbyn and his supporters, amounts to only 0.1% of the membership, and given that of these, 40% were straight away found to be accusations against people who were not even LP members, with a further 20%, being found to have absolutely no evidence to back them, its quite possible that individual members of the LP, have never seen any instance of it.

Take out all those mischievous and malicious allegations made in order to whip up the hysteria, so as to to damage the party, by its enemies, and you arrive at a figure of only 400 potential cases, out of a membership of 600,000, which is 1 member in 1500. If the average branch size if 100 active members, it means on average there is one potential case of anti-Semitism in every 15 branches. So, if you are a member in any of the other 14 branches, you would never see that one potential case of anti-Semitism.

In fact, based upon the actual facts, as opposed to the fiction and factional hysteria that is being whipped up by right-wing opponents of Corbyn and the party, and by supporters of Zionism for their own narrow political reasons, the chances are about 14: that you will never see any even potential instance of anti-Semitism, even on the narrow definition that the party has now imposed upon itself, which comes pretty close if not entirely to identifying anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, or even just criticism of the current Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu.

In the US, Jewish groups that have long been ardent defenders of Israel have more recently come out to criticize the regime of Netanyahu, and the actions of the Israeli state. The main defenders of Zionism, besides the actual Zionists themselves, appear to be people like the AWL, who for whatever reason hitched their wagon to Zionist ideology some time ago, probably in their usual knee-jerk reaction of putting a plus sign wherever the SWP put a minus. Having done so, and as a result of the bureaucratic centrist nature of the sect, they find themselves now having to follow through on the position they adopted on the basis of the "practical politics" - opportunism - as it dictated itself to them at the time.

If, and probably more likely when, they change position, it will come as with all their previous changes of position with the assertion that "nothing has changed", as when after claiming a few years ago that the LP was a stinking corpse - as they ridiculously stood their own candidates in elections with the inevitable result - and the next minute proclaimed themselves as its most ardent militants, as they sought to use their sharp elbows to gain positions on Momentum's leading bodies!

Boffy said... 5 March 2019 at 09:22
Incidentally, on the question of "observance", the only time I have seen someone get stabbed, is more than 50 years ago, when I was at school. I've seen plenty of other violent stuff in the intervening period, for example, people getting glassed, people having wrought iron tables smashed over their heads. My sister, who is several years older than me, and was out bopping during the days of the Teddy Boys, saw more people getting slashed, in the 1950's, because the flick knife was the Ted's favoured weapon.

But, that doesn't mean that I disbelieve the media when it talks about the current spate of knife crimes. Its just that, however, terrible such crimes are for those that suffer or witness them, and no matter how much the media that has to sensationalise every story, for its own commercial purposes, talks about an epidemic or a knife crime crisis, the number of knife crimes per head of population is extremely small.

The chances that 999 out of 1,000 of us will never be the victim of, or witness knife crime does not mean it doesn't exist. But, those that then claim that the 999 out of 1,000 of us who say we have not seen it, must be somehow being dishonest, are not dealing with the facts, and are simply fuelling a moral panic.

When some phenomena is statistically insignificant, which 1 in 1,500 cases, is, and when as with many such phenomena there is no normal distribution of the occurrence of such cases - for example, knife crime will tend to be concentrated in particular areas - trying to present any kind of rational analysis based upon personal observation is a mug's game.

Just because the only case of stabbing I have witnessed was more than 50 years ago, does not, and should not lead me to think that knife crime was worse 50 years ago than it is today. The actual data would seem to suggest that cases of anti-Semitism were greater in the LP in previous times than they are currently, contrary to what the media and those with factional motives would have us believe. It is certainly thec ase that anti-Semitism is a bigger problem in the Tory party, and other right-wing organisations than it is in the LP, again not that you would know that from the reporting of it, or from the attitude of certain factional sects, such as the AWL.

Jim Denham said... 5 March 2019 at 11:14

Labour has 'much larger' group of antisemitic members which Corbyn has failed to deal with, Momentum founder warns

By Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor The Independent, Monday 25 February 2019 16:10 |

Labour has "a much larger" group of antisemitic members than it recognises which Jeremy Corbyn has failed to "deal with", Momentum founder Jon Lansman has warned.

The Labour leader's long-standing ally said "conspiracy theorists" had infiltrated the party – a consequence of its huge surge in membership in recent years.

Mr Lansman stopped short of backing the call from Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, for Mr Corbyn to take personal charge of the antisemitism complaints dogging Labour.

But he said: "I do think we have a major problem and it always seems to me that we underestimate the scale of it. I think it is a widespread problem.

"I think it is now obvious that we have a much larger number of people with hardcore antisemitic opinions which, unfortunately, is polluting the atmosphere in a lot of constituency parties and in particular online. We have to deal with these people."

Speedy said... 6 March 2019 at 06:39
Approaching this from another angle...

The apparent level of anti-semitism in Labour is a modern phenomenon turbo-charged and amplified by social media. People have their views reinforced within their bunkers where anti-Israeli memes become anti-Zionist and then become anti-Semitic. It is much easier to send an anonymous email than a letter.

History is very much the tale of new technology transforming the potential of human behaviour and beliefs, and one of the oldest beliefs ("the blood libel") is anti-Semitism.

This is how Labour has changed - ie, the rise of Corbyn has coincided with the ubiquity of this technology. In fact, arguably the rise of Corbyn was aided by it.

Corbyn's nuanced position on Israel/Palestine gives permission to social media extremists.

The rest is history.

Incidentally, this is why you are less likely to confront anti-Semitism in real-life while the internet may be awash with it - there are the real and virtual identities which only occasionally bleed into each other.

Which is true and which is not? We might wonder if technology has evolved ahead of human adaptation - the "real world" filters that govern apparently "real" behaviour missing.

I'm sure even certain posters here are less bananas in "real life" than their online comments might suggest!

Boffy said... 6 March 2019 at 10:42
I wouldn't trust Lansman on this issue, any more than on many others. Lansman abolished democracy, to the extent it existed to begin with, by turning it into his personal fiefdom, reminiscent of the activities of Hyndman and the SDF. His position on anti-Semitism, and fighting the witch-hunt, and of appeasing the Blair-right's as they attacked Corbyn, has been appalling throughout.

Having abolished any democracy in Momentum, which he now runs as its CEO, he also appears to want Corbyn to do the same thing with the Labour Party, abolishing its internal democratic procedures, and putting himself personally in charge of those disciplinary measures. That truly would be the actions of a Bonapartist. That Tom Watson is prepared to do that, as he sets himself up in a situation of dual power, to confront Corbyn is no surprise that anyone who even remotely considers themselves a part of the Left should support should a move is a disgrace. Perhaps no surprise that the AWL supporters of Zionism, and the witch-hunt, appear to be doing so, then.

Its notable that, yesterday, when the Welsh Labour Grass Roots organisation came out to call for Williamson's suspension to be reversed, Kinnock and other Blair-rights immediately called for an investigation into them, and for its Secretary who sits on Labour's NEC to also be suspended, for interfering in an ongoing investigation! So, why did those same Blair-rights not call for the suspension of Watson, who immediately demanded Williamson's suspension, and withdrawal of the whip, before any investigation, or indeed of Hodge and others who on a daily basis go to the media to sally forth about cases that are under investigation, or waiting for investigation.

This truly is reaching into the realms of McCarthyism, where you are found guilty not just of witchcraft, but of consorting with witches, or even having an opinion as to whether an individual charged with witchcraft is guilty, or even the extent to which the number of witches amongst might be exaggerated.

Jim Denham's comment is a case in point. How much more "anti-Semitism" exists? What is the factual basis of the statement, as opposed to click bait headline. Even if the actual extent is 100% more than the data so far presented, that would mean that potentially 1 in 750 LP members might be guilty of some form of anti-Semitism. Its hardly an epidemic, or institutional anti-Semitism, and far less than exists in the Tory Party, which is also infected by Islamaphobia, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia.

In fact, its probably much less than you would find in the BBC, Sky or other establishment institutions. Anti-Semitism exists, and is a problem, but that does not mean it is not being used by Labour's enemies or the proponents of Zionism for their own political ends. The real conspiracy theorists are those that try to present anti-Semitism as a conspiracy based upon infiltration of the LP, the same people who presented the support for Corbyn from 300,000 new members as really just being a case of far left entryism, by Trots.

Jim Denham said... 7 March 2019 at 09:10
This is a meme, taken from Incog Man, a far-right site. It was posted with positive endorsement by a Labour member, Kayla Bibby, a delegate to conference in fact:

Link to the meme:

https://static.timesofisrael.com/jewishndev/uploads/2019/02/ellmann-640x400.jpg

Bibby subsequently received only a formal warning, with Thomas Gardiner of Labour's Governance and Legal Unit (what used to be the Compliance Unit), saying it was only anti-Israel, and not anti-Semitic.

Not only could a Labour member post something obviously anti-Semitic, it was not deemed to be so by the Compliance Unit. I bet we all know people who would agree.

Boffy said... 7 March 2019 at 12:36
It's not a factually accurate description of global political realities, because Israel does not control the US, if that is what the image is intended to imply. But, the message, is thereby anti-Israeli state, not anti-Semitic. It could only be considered anti-Semitic, if in fact you are a Zionist and claim that Israel and Jews are are interchangeable terms, which they are not.

In fact, there are probably not an inconsiderable number of Jews, who think that the state of Israel does exercise undue influence over US policy, and certainly it seems to be the case that, in the US, more liberal Jewish groups, seem to think that one reason that the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, in Israel, was so supportive of Trump, and we see the same support for Trump amongst Zionists in Britain, is at least in part due to the fact that Obama had been distancing the US from its historical uncritical support for Israel.

If we replace Zionism with Toryism, and Jew with British, the situation becomes fairly clear. If the we show the British state as being controlled by Tories, who implement their ideology of Toryism, in what way would criticism of the British state, under the control of such Tories, or criticism of Tories be the equivalent of British people as a whole?

Clearly it wouldn't, because there are a majority of British people who oppose Toryism, and thereby oppose the actions of the British state under the control of the Tories. A nationalist, or racist might want to equate the nation state with the whole of its people, but the people who are doing that here, by interpreting criticism of the Israeli state with anti-Semitism, are the Zionists themselves, and their apologists, because they seek thereby to delegitimize any criticism of the state of Israel and Zionism by equating it with anti-Semitism.

That in effect makes the Zionists themselves, and their apologists anti-Semites, because in adopting this equation of Jewishness with being Zionist, and with Israel, they make all Jews thereby responsible for the actions of Zionism and of the state of Israel!

Boffy said... 7 March 2019 at 13:47
The problem for the AWL, and its members like Jim Denham, on this issue comes down to this. Until thirty years ago, the organisation, under its previous names, was an ardent defender of the ideas and traditions of Jim Cannon. Cannon's "The Struggle for a Proletarian Party" was required reading for all of its members. Then, in an about face, the organisation overnight collapsed into what Trotsky called "the petit-bourgeois Third Camp", and so became ardent defenders of the enemies of Cannon, the petit-bourgeois Third Camp of Burnham- Shachtman. That kind of wild zig-zag is typical of bureaucratic-centrist organisations, which is what the AWL is.

As part of this collapse into the petit-bourgeois Third Camp, and the moralistic politics it is based upon, the AWL also adopted the ideas of Third Campists like Al Glotzer, in relation to Israel and Zionism, as opposed to the position of Mandel, which represented a continuation of the ideas of Cannon and Trotsky. I set this out in a short blog post 12 years ago Glotzer and the Jews as Special , after the AWL had repeatedly censored it appearing on their website in response to an article setting out Glotzer's position.

Having committed themselves to the reactionary Zionist ideology that essentially underpins Glotzer's stance - the same thing idea of having lost faith in the working-class, and so having to rely on the bourgeois state, or "progressive imperialism" to accomplish the tasks of the working-class, is behind the AWL's support for NATo's war against Serbia, Iraq, Libya etc., but is also behind the politics of other Third Campists such as the SWP, that instead look to other larger forces, such as reactionary "anti-imperialist" states to carry forward its moral agenda - the AWL are left now trying to defend their position of support for the creation of a racist, expansionist state in Israel, as the inevitable consequences of that venture unfold.

For a Marxist, it is not at all difficult to say that the establishment of the state of Israel is one that we should not have supported at the time, because it would lead to the kind of consequences we see today, and yet, to say, 75 years on from the creation of that state, it is an established fact, and trying to unwind history, by calling for the destruction of that state would have even more calamitous consequences for the global working-class. It is quite easy for a Marx to say that the current nature of the Israeli state, as a racist Zionist state, based, like almost no other state in the world on a confessional basis, i.e. of being a Jewish state, a state for Jews in preference to every other ethnic/religious group flows from the ideology, and nature of its creation. But, then to argue that the answer to that is not a destruction of the state of Israel, which could only be done on the bones of millions of Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, but is to wage a working-class based struggle against that racist foundation upon which the state has been founded, and that struggle is one that must unite Jews and Arabs alike. In fact, the position of palestinians today is a mirror image of that of the Jews 75 years ago.

The hope of a Two-State Solution disappeared long ago, and was never credible. It simply allows Zionists to proclaim they are in favour of it, whilst doing everything to make it practically impossible, such as extending West Bank Settlements. The solution must flow from a struggle for democratic rights for Israeli Arabs, and for a right for all Arabs in occupied territories to be extended the same rights as any other Israeli, including the right to vote, and send representatives to the Knesset. As I argued thirty years ago, the longer-term solution is a Federal Republic of Israel and Palestine, guaranteeing democratic rights to all, as part of building a wider Federal Republic of MENA.

Anonymous said... 7 March 2019 at 16:54

Jim Denham: imperialist lackey and sycophant turned Witch hunter in chief

Let us be very clear about what this witch hunt is about, it is about purging from public life any credible and effective opposition to Israel in particular and more generally opposition to the imperialist barbarians of the imperialist core. It is about driving from universities, social media and intellectual life any form of opposition to the interests of the imperialists.

This is nothing but authoritarianism in action, censorship of political opponents and the closing down of any credible definition of free speech.

In other words this is something any leftist worth half an atom would be fighting against with all their energies.

But what do we find, pathetic pro war pro imperialists leftists and post modern liberals joining the witch hunt.

Meanwhile in the real world:

A UN report has concluded that Israel deliberately targeted and killed hundreds of protesting civilians, including children and disabled people and it shot 20,000+ people (yes 20,000+!). The UN says this likely a war crime. Why are the noble defenders of the Palestinian cause in the dock and not notorious Palestinian haters like Jim Denham?

How can anyone on the left get away with supporting and providing ideological cover for Israel How can any leftist allow a socialist movement to be sabotaged by the Israel state and its army of appalling immoral apologists?

These attacks on Corbyn and his supporters, repeated in all of the most aggressive imperialist countries, are simply a proxy attack on the Palestinian people themselves.

Boffy said... 8 March 2019 at 11:15
Jim Denham's comment here illustrates the problem entirely. The picture he has linked to shows an alien symbiote having attached itself to the face of the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty here represents the US. The symbiote has on its back the Israeli Flag, and likewise, thereby represents the state of Israel. The picture therefore, represents the well-worn, and clearly factually wrong meme that Israel controls the US.

But, as a Zionist organisation, the AWL and its members cannot distinguish between the state of Israel and Jews, so they cannot distinguish between criticism of the state of Israel, and criticism if Jews. For them, as for the Zionist ideology of the state of Israel, which is most clearly manifest in the ideology of its current political leadership, in the form of the Bonapartist regime of Netanyahu, with the recent introduction of blatantly racist laws that discriminate even more openly against not Jewish Israeli citizens, and with his willingness to try to keep his corrupt regime in office by going into coalition with an avowedly Neo-Nazi party that until recent times was considered beyond the pale, even by most Zionists, the term Zionism is synonymous with the term Jew. So, any criticism of Zionism, or of Israel is for them immediately equated with anti-Semitism.

It is what leads such Zionists to then also insist on their right to determine who is a Jew or not. The AWL do that with all those Jews, such as the JVL, who refuse to accept the AWL's definition of anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism. Its like the old saw that the definition of a Scot is someone who wears a kilt, and when asked about Jock McTavish, from Arbroath, who does not wear a kilt, the reply comes back, then he cannot really be a Scot!

The Zionists insists on defining anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, and thereby closing down debate. Jim Denham does that most clearly here, in his refusal to debate the actual substantive points. It is typical of the attitude of the AWL, in general which long since gave up trying to defend its bourgeois liberal, opportunist politics by rational debate, and instead turned to bureaucratic censorship, and ill-tempered invective.

Boffy said... 9 March 2019 at 08:58
Once again Jim Denham reefuses to engage in rational debate, and again resorts instead to his assumption that Israel = Jews, as well as his crude attempts at a typical Stalinist amalgam, to conflate the views of his opponents with some hate figure.

Again Jim Denham makes the conflation of Israel and Jews explicit when he says, "This image also plays on the tired and disgraceful antisemitic 'conspiracy theory' trope of undue Israeli (Jewish) influence on world affairs."

The conflation of equating Israel with the term Jew flows directly from the Zionist ideology that underpins the Israeli State, but which also adopted by the AWL, and its members like Jim Denham. It thereby effectively denies statehood to non-Jewish Israeli citizens, making them non-persons, erasing them from history, in the same way that Jim Denham has sought to do in diminishing if not entirely denying the genocides against other ethnic groups such as Native North Americans, Australian and New Zealand aboriginals etc., as a result of his Zionist privileging of the specific genocide against Jews in the Holocaust.

It is the same kind of racism, of course, that is applied by the BNP and other white nationalists, who seek to portray Britain as being a nation for white Britons, and thereby deny other Britons the right to consider themselves really British. Every socialist, can understand the racist nature of that ideology when it is applied to Britain, and elsewhere, but the AWL, and its members, like Jim Denham, deny it when it is applied to Israel, which they want to treat as being different to every other state on the planet, in defence of their Zionist ideology that privileges Israeli Jews over others, and by extension equates the term Jew with the term Israel.

Its most extreme version comes with the fascists that Netanyahu has now gone into alliance with, whose ideology states that God only put gentiels on the Earth to be slaves and serve the needs of Jews, as the chosen people! It means that they see the place of non-Jewish Israelis in those terms, as being allowed to remain in Israel only on that subservient basis. This is the ideology that the AWL is now logically tied to, in having adopted Zionism as the answer to the problems of Jewish workers rather than socialism.

And, of course, the extension of that principle for other Zionists is illustrated in their support for fascists like Orban in Hungary, who wants to adopt a similar nationalist ideology of keeping Hungary, and other "white" European nations exclusively for "whites", in the same way that Zionists want to keep Israel exclusively for Jews.

It is a sorry state when socialists have degenerated to such an extent that not only do they fail to distinguish between nationalist ideology and socialist ideology by adopting nationalist solutions to workers problems such as "nationalisation", by the capitalist state, but where, in adopting such reactionary nationalist ideology, the logic of their position drives them to supporting the idea that nation states should be exclusively for particular ethnic groups, such as Israel for the Jews, Hungary for white Christians and so on.

Boffy said... 9 March 2019 at 16:31
The way that the right are using anti-Zionism as the equivalent for anti-Semitism, and the appeasement of that attack has led them to widen the scope of that attack. As Labour List reports , right-wing Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh, is now claiming that to be anti-capitalist is also to be "anti-Semitic". The idea was put forward also by former Blair-right spin doctor, John McTernan, who wrote an article in the FT to that same effect

Channelling Jim Denham, McTernan writes,

"As the historian Deborah Lipstadt points out, anti-Semitic tropes share three elements: money or finance is always in the mix; an acknowledged cleverness that is also seen as conniving; and, power -- particularly a power to manipulate more powerful entities.

All of these feature in the criticism of Israel and the so-called Israel lobby. They can be easily moulded into a critique of capitalism, too."

The line of argument was illustrated to me some weeks ago, in a comment I received in relation to an article I wrote about Marx's analysis of fictitious capital, as part of my critique of Paul Mason's Postcapitalism . The commenter, argued that Marx's analysis of fictitious capital appeared to be simply Marx blaming bankers and money lenders, for which read Jews, for the world's ills, and was thereby simply an expression of the well-known fact that Marx was a self-hating Jew, much as the AWL, describe all those other Jews that do not share their commitment to |Zionism. The commenter as evidence of this provided a link to a literary critique of Marx's On The Jewish Question , which is cited as proving that Marx was an anti-semite.

In fact, I pointed out that in nothing that Marx had written about fictitious capital, or what I had written describing Marx's analysis of fictitious capital are bankers discussed, let alone Jewish bankers. The anonymous commenter, has, in fact, since deleted their comments, meaning that my responses to them were also deleted.
But, this is the way this right-wing witch-hunt proceeds, by throwing a net to catch whatever they can trawl in, and at the very least sowing the seeds of doubt as they require those being attacked to respond to their wild accusations. It means that any statement can be framed to mean that there is some subtext beneath the actual words and pictures that is somehow anti-Semitic, if only you know the relevant coda to unlock the true meaning, and anyone who doubts the meaning being placed upon it, is thereby a defender of the anti-Semitic message. As with the attacks on Momentum, and the initial surge of membership supporting Corbyn, it is always phrased in dark conspiratorial language, about unseen forces being behind what is seen on the surface. So, we were supposed to believe that a few hundred Trots in Britain somehow morphed into 300,000 new LP members! But, Momentum now having shown that it is a tame part of the establishment, is even able to recruit McTernan himself as a member.

The appeasement as with all witch-hunts only provokes the witch-hunters to widen the scope of their activities. The AWL, which was at the forefront of helping the witch-hunters with their shameful support for the witch-hunting of Jackie Walker, was repaid by having their own members expelled too, and having right-wing Labour MP's appear on TV, to characterise the AWL themselves as "anti-Semites", despite their well-known Zionist politics. Yet, oddly, the AWL seem to consider that a price worth paying, as their advocacy of Zionism seems to trump any other consideration for them in their politics.

Boffy said... 10 March 2019 at 11:09
It didn't take long for my comment of yesterday to be proved correct. Today we learn that Jess Phillips has claimed that Marxism is necessarily misogynist, because it places class oppression above all else, and so now claims that as well as the Left in the party being anti-Semitic, it is also misogynist. The attack of the Right, as I said yesterday will spread ever wider on this irrational basis, using all of the usual conspiratorial language that such witch-hunts have always adopted. Rather like a Dan Brown novel, it will imply that there are dark (Marxist) forces at work, of which Corbyn is the head of the coven (or even worse that some unseen Dark Overlord is really standing behind Corbyn, who is only its representative on Earth (i.e. in the LP).

It will suggest that these dark forces do not speak openly, but only in codes and symbols that have to be unlocked by the forces of Light, who like Jim Denham, can look into the minds of men and women, and see what is really going inside.

I actually found that despite the anonymous Zionist commenter to my article on Medium having deleted their comments, my replies to them, were in fact still floating around here , here , and here .

As the right-wing extend their witch-hunt against socialists in the LP to claim that Marxists are necessarily misogynist, as well as anti-Semitic – and the same logic presented by McDonagh, McTernon, and Phillips would presumably mean that the Left must also be xenophobic, homophobic, anti- Green, and many other charges they want to throw into the mix – it will be interesting to see whether and to what extent the AWL, join them in that assault, in the same way they have done in their promotion of Zionism.

[Jul 05, 2019] Globalisation- the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world - World news by Nikil Saval

Highly recommended!
Globalization was simply the politically correct term for neocolonialism.
Jul 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

... ... ...

Over the last two years, a different, in some ways unrecognizable Larry Summers has been appearing in newspaper editorial pages. More circumspect in tone, this humbler Summers has been arguing that economic opportunities in the developing world are slowing, and that the already rich economies are finding it hard to get out of the crisis. Barring some kind of breakthrough, Summers says, an era of slow growth is here to stay.

In Summers's recent writings, this sombre conclusion has often been paired with a surprising political goal: advocating for a "responsible nationalism". Now he argues that politicians must recognise that "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good".

One curious thing about the pro-globalisation consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, and its collapse in recent years, is how closely the cycle resembles a previous era. Pursuing free trade has always produced displacement and inequality – and political chaos, populism and retrenchment to go with it. Every time the social consequences of free trade are overlooked, political backlash follows. But free trade is only one of many forms that economic integration can take. History seems to suggest, however, that it might be the most destabilising one.

... ... ...

The international systems that chastened figures such as Keynes helped produce in the next few years – especially the Bretton Woods agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) – set the terms under which the new wave of globalisation would take place.

The key to the system's viability, in Rodrik's view, was its flexibility – something absent from contemporary globalisation, with its one-size-fits-all model of capitalism. Bretton Woods stabilised exchange rates by pegging the dollar loosely to gold, and other currencies to the dollar. Gatt consisted of rules governing free trade – negotiated by participating countries in a series of multinational "rounds" – that left many areas of the world economy, such as agriculture, untouched or unaddressed. "Gatt's purpose was never to maximise free trade," Rodrik writes. "It was to achieve the maximum amount of trade compatible with different nations doing their own thing. In that respect, the institution proved spectacularly successful."

Partly because Gatt was not always dogmatic about free trade, it allowed most countries to figure out their own economic objectives, within a somewhat international ambit. When nations contravened the agreement's terms on specific areas of national interest, they found that it "contained loopholes wide enough for an elephant to pass", in Rodrik's words. If a nation wanted to protect its steel industry, for example, it could claim "injury" under the rules of Gatt and raise tariffs to discourage steel imports: "an abomination from the standpoint of free trade". These were useful for countries that were recovering from the war and needed to build up their own industries via tariffs – duties imposed on particular imports. Meanwhile, from 1948 to 1990, world trade grew at an annual average of nearly 7% – faster than the post-communist years, which we think of as the high point of globalisation. "If there was a golden era of globalisation," Rodrik has written, "this was it."

Gatt, however, failed to cover many of the countries in the developing world. These countries eventually created their own system, the United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD). Under this rubric, many countries – especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia – adopted a policy of protecting homegrown industries by replacing imports with domestically produced goods. It worked poorly in some places – India and Argentina, for example, where the trade barriers were too high, resulting in factories that cost more to set up than the value of the goods they produced – but remarkably well in others, such as east Asia, much of Latin America and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where homegrown industries did spring up. Though many later economists and commentators would dismiss the achievements of this model, it theoretically fit Larry Summers's recent rubric on globalisation: "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good."

The critical turning point – away from this system of trade balanced against national protections – came in the 1980s. Flagging growth and high inflation in the west, along with growing competition from Japan, opened the way for a political transformation. The elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were seminal, putting free-market radicals in charge of two of the world's five biggest economies and ushering in an era of "hyperglobalisation". In the new political climate, economies with large public sectors and strong governments within the global capitalist system were no longer seen as aids to the system's functioning, but impediments to it.

Not only did these ideologies take hold in the US and the UK; they seized international institutions as well. Gatt renamed itself as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the new rules the body negotiated began to cut more deeply into national policies. Its international trade rules sometimes undermined national legislation. The WTO's appellate court intervened relentlessly in member nations' tax, environmental and regulatory policies, including those of the United States: the US's fuel emissions standards were judged to discriminate against imported gasoline, and its ban on imported shrimp caught without turtle-excluding devices was overturned. If national health and safety regulations were stricter than WTO rules necessitated, they could only remain in place if they were shown to have "scientific justification".

The purest version of hyperglobalisation was tried out in Latin America in the 1980s. Known as the "Washington consensus", this model usually involved loans from the IMF that were contingent on those countries lowering trade barriers and privatising many of their nationally held industries. Well into the 1990s, economists were proclaiming the indisputable benefits of openness. In an influential 1995 paper, Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner wrote: "We find no cases to support the frequent worry that a country might open and yet fail to grow."

But the Washington consensus was bad for business: most countries did worse than before. Growth faltered, and citizens across Latin America revolted against attempted privatisations of water and gas. In Argentina, which followed the Washington consensus to the letter, a grave crisis resulted in 2002 , precipitating an economic collapse and massive street protests that forced out the government that had pursued privatising reforms. Argentina's revolt presaged a left-populist upsurge across the continent: from 1999 to 2007, leftwing leaders and parties took power in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, all of them campaigning against the Washington consensus on globalisation. These revolts were a preview of the backlash of today.


Rodrik – perhaps the contemporary economist whose views have been most amply vindicated by recent events – was himself a beneficiary of protectionism in Turkey. His father's ballpoint pen company was sheltered under tariffs, and achieved enough success to allow Rodrik to attend Harvard in the 1970s as an undergraduate. This personal understanding of the mixed nature of economic success may be one of the reasons why his work runs against the broad consensus of mainstream economics writing on globalisation.

"I never felt that my ideas were out of the mainstream," Rodrik told me recently. Instead, it was that the mainstream had lost touch with the diversity of opinions and methods that already existed within economics. "The economics profession is strange in that the more you move away from the seminar room to the public domain, the more the nuances get lost, especially on issues of trade." He lamented the fact that while, in the classroom, the models of trade discuss losers and winners, and, as a result, the necessity of policies of redistribution, in practice, an "arrogance and hubris" had led many economists to ignore these implications. "Rather than speaking truth to power, so to speak, many economists became cheerleaders for globalisation."

In his 2011 book The Globalization Paradox , Rodrik concluded that "we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalisation." The results of the 2016 elections and referendums provide ample testimony of the justness of the thesis, with millions voting to push back, for better or for worse, against the campaigns and institutions that promised more globalisation. "I'm not at all surprised by the backlash," Rodrik told me. "Really, nobody should have been surprised."

But what, in any case, would "more globalisation" look like? For the same economists and writers who have started to rethink their commitments to greater integration, it doesn't mean quite what it did in the early 2000s. It's not only the discourse that's changed: globalisation itself has changed, developing into a more chaotic and unequal system than many economists predicted. The benefits of globalisation have been largely concentrated in a handful of Asian countries. And even in those countries, the good times may be running out.

Statistics from Global Inequality , a 2016 book by the development economist Branko Milanović, indicate that in relative terms the greatest benefits of globalisation have accrued to a rising "emerging middle class", based preponderantly in China. But the cons are there, too: in absolute terms, the largest gains have gone to what is commonly called "the 1%" – half of whom are based in the US. Economist Richard Baldwin has shown in his recent book, The Great Convergence, that nearly all of the gains from globalisation have been concentrated in six countries.

Barring some political catastrophe, in which rightwing populism continued to gain, and in which globalisation would be the least of our problems – Wolf admitted that he was "not at all sure" that this could be ruled out – globalisation was always going to slow; in fact, it already has. One reason, says Wolf, was that "a very, very large proportion of the gains from globalisation – by no means all – have been exploited. We have a more open world economy to trade than we've ever had before." Citing The Great Convergence, Wolf noted that supply chains have already expanded, and that future developments, such as automation and the use of robots, looked to undermine the promise of a growing industrial workforce. Today, the political priorities were less about trade and more about the challenge of retraining workers , as technology renders old jobs obsolete and transforms the world of work.

Rodrik, too, believes that globalisation, whether reduced or increased, is unlikely to produce the kind of economic effects it once did. For him, this slowdown has something to do with what he calls "premature deindustrialisation". In the past, the simplest model of globalisation suggested that rich countries would gradually become "service economies", while emerging economies picked up the industrial burden. Yet recent statistics show the world as a whole is deindustrialising. Countries that one would have expected to have more industrial potential are going through the stages of automation more quickly than previously developed countries did, and thereby failing to develop the broad industrial workforce seen as a key to shared prosperity.

For both Rodrik and Wolf, the political reaction to globalisation bore possibilities of deep uncertainty. "I really have found it very difficult to decide whether what we're living through is a blip, or a fundamental and profound transformation of the world – at least as significant as the one that brought about the first world war and the Russian revolution," Wolf told me. He cited his agreement with economists such as Summers that shifting away from the earlier emphasis on globalisation had now become a political priority; that to pursue still greater liberalisation was like showing "a red rag to a bull" in terms of what it might do to the already compromised political stability of the western world.

Rodrik pointed to a belated emphasis, both among political figures and economists, on the necessity of compensating those displaced by globalisation with retraining and more robust welfare states. But pro-free-traders had a history of cutting compensation: Bill Clinton passed Nafta, but failed to expand safety nets. "The issue is that the people are rightly not trusting the centrists who are now promising compensation," Rodrik said. "One reason that Hillary Clinton didn't get any traction with those people is that she didn't have any credibility."

Rodrik felt that economics commentary failed to register the gravity of the situation: that there were increasingly few avenues for global growth, and that much of the damage done by globalisation – economic and political – is irreversible. "There is a sense that we're at a turning point," he said. "There's a lot more thinking about what can be done. There's a renewed emphasis on compensation – which, you know, I think has come rather late."

[Jul 02, 2019] Yep! The neolibs hate poor people and have superiority complex

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good. ..."
"... Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable. ..."
"... At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes. ..."
"... The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around. ..."
Apr 10, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

Originally from: Seven signs of the neoliberal apocalypse - Van Badham - Opinion - The Guardian

slorter, 27 Apr 2018 01:37

Both neoliberal-driven governments and authoritarian societies share one important factor: They care more about consolidating power in the hands of the political, corporate and financial elite than they do about investing in the future of young people and expanding the benefits of the social contract and common good.

Michael Yates (economist) points out throughout his book 'The Great Inequality', capitalism is devoid of any sense of social responsibility and is driven by an unchecked desire to accumulate capital at all costs. As power becomes global and politics remains local, ruling elites no longer make political concessions to workers or any other group that they either exploit or consider disposable.

At bottom, neoliberals believe in a social hierarchy of "haves" and "have nots". They have taken this corrosive social vision and dressed it up with a "respectable" sounding ideology which all boils down to the cheap labor they depend on to make their fortunes.

The ugly truth is that cheap-labour conservatives just don't like working people. They don't like "bottom up" prosperity, and the reason for it is very simple. "Corporate lords" have a harder time kicking them around.

Once you understand this about the cheap-labor conservatives, the real motivation for their policies makes perfect sense. Remember, cheap-labour conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely nothing that benefits those who work for an hourly wage.

You also need to remember that voting the coalition out, which you need to do, will not necessarily give you a neoliberal free zone; Labor needs to shed some the dogma as well.

bryonyed -> slorter , 27 Apr 2018 01:41

Yep! The neolib scum hate poor people and have complexes of deservedness.

[Jun 23, 2019] It never stops to amaze me how the US neoliberals especially of Republican variety claims to be Christian

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Republicanism and true Christianity are mutually exclusive. There is nothing for them to quote. Sharing your wealth? Giving to the poor? Egalitarianism? Loving your neighbour? The Good Samaritan? ..."
"... Best to pretend that Christianity is about extreme right wing economic policy (and fascist social mores), even though it is the opposite. ..."
"... And Tea Partiers like Ayn Rand? The most anti-Christian and anti-American lunatic you can find? The corporate agenda and Wall Street interests trump everything else. No news there. ..."
"... A lot of these people describe themselves as Christian, makes you wonder which part of Jesus' message they loved more, the part that said the poor should rot without help, or the part where he said violence was justified and the chasing of wealth is to be lauded. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

JohannesL , Mar 6, 2012

It never stops to amaze me how the American Republican Right claims to be Christian. Have you noticed that they NEVER quote the words of Jesus Christ? I don't blame them, Republicanism and true Christianity are mutually exclusive. There is nothing for them to quote. Sharing your wealth? Giving to the poor? Egalitarianism? Loving your neighbour? The Good Samaritan?

Dirty words all. Best to pretend that Christianity is about extreme right wing economic policy (and fascist social mores), even though it is the opposite.

If Jesus came to the US today, he would not like Republicans and they would not like him. Santorum, Palin, Limbaugh etc. would strap him to the electric chair and pull the lever if they could, no doubt.

And Tea Partiers like Ayn Rand? The most anti-Christian and anti-American lunatic you can find? The corporate agenda and Wall Street interests trump everything else. No news there.

acorn7817 -> PeaceGrenade , 6 Mar 2012 06:21

The most bizarre aspect of the rights infatuation with Ayn Rand is that she was an ardent Atheist who's beliefs are diametrically opposite to those of Jesus & the Bible.

A lot of these people describe themselves as Christian, makes you wonder which part of Jesus' message they loved more, the part that said the poor should rot without help, or the part where he said violence was justified and the chasing of wealth is to be lauded.

richmanchester -> anindefinitearticle , 6 Mar 2012 05:40

"the only way you're gonna be able to sleep at night (and go to heaven in the afterlife) is to believe that the system has some moral justification based on the laws of nature"

I think this is one of the drivers in the shift from Catholicism to Protestanism, especially in Northern Europe.

For Medieval Catholics everyone was where God had put them, so the rich were rich and the poor poor as part of Gods plan, and anyone trying to change it was going against God.

Which is handy if you are a Baron or Bishop living the high life surrounded my thousands of starving peasants (having armed retainers also helped).

Come the industrial revolution and the rise of the business and trade classes that's not so appealing, so now God rewards the virtuous and hard working, who naturally rise to the top.

[Jun 23, 2019] How Ayn Rand became the new right's version of Marx by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
George Monbiot is right: Rand was probably a female sociopath...
Notable quotes:
"... Through her novels (such as Atlas Shrugged) and her nonfiction (such as The Virtue of Selfishness) she explained a philosophy she called Objectivism. This holds that the only moral course is pure self-interest. We owe nothing, she insists, to anyone, even to members of our own families. She described the poor and weak as "refuse" and "parasites", and excoriated anyone seeking to assist them. Apart from the police, the courts and the armed forces, there should be no role for government: no social security, no public health or education, no public infrastructure or transport, no fire service, no regulations, no income tax. ..."
"... Rand's is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed. Yet, as Gary Weiss shows in his new book, Ayn Rand Nation, she has become to the new right what Karl Marx once was to the left: a demigod at the head of a chiliastic cult. Almost one third of Americans, according to a recent poll, have read Atlas Shrugged, and it now sells hundreds of thousands of copies every year. ..."
"... the Tea Party movement has taken her to its heart. No rally of theirs is complete without placards reading "Who is John Galt?" and "Rand was right". Rand, Weiss argues, provides the unifying ideology which has "distilled vague anger and unhappiness into a sense of purpose". She is energetically promoted by the broadcasters Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santelli. She is the guiding spirit of the Republicans in Congress. ..."
"... It is not hard to see why Rand appeals to billionaires. She offers them something that is crucial to every successful political movement: a sense of victimhood. She tells them that they are parasitised by the ungrateful poor and oppressed by intrusive, controlling governments. ..."
"... the most devoted member of her inner circle was Alan Greenspan , former head of the US Federal Reserve. ..."
"... As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he maintains, is a "superlatively moral system". ..."
"... Once in government, Greenspan applied his guru's philosophy to the letter, cutting taxes for the rich, repealing the laws constraining banks, refusing to regulate the predatory lending and the derivatives trading which eventually brought the system down. Much of this is already documented, but Weiss shows that in the US, Greenspan has successfully airbrushed history. ..."
Mar 05, 2012 | www.theguardian.com
Her psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats Comments 1,227 Illustration by Daniel Pudles I t has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand , who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

Rand was a Russian from a prosperous family who emigrated to the United States. Through her novels (such as Atlas Shrugged) and her nonfiction (such as The Virtue of Selfishness) she explained a philosophy she called Objectivism. This holds that the only moral course is pure self-interest. We owe nothing, she insists, to anyone, even to members of our own families. She described the poor and weak as "refuse" and "parasites", and excoriated anyone seeking to assist them. Apart from the police, the courts and the armed forces, there should be no role for government: no social security, no public health or education, no public infrastructure or transport, no fire service, no regulations, no income tax.

Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, depicts a United States crippled by government intervention in which heroic millionaires struggle against a nation of spongers. The millionaires, whom she portrays as Atlas holding the world aloft, withdraw their labour, with the result that the nation collapses. It is rescued, through unregulated greed and selfishness, by one of the heroic plutocrats, John Galt .

The poor die like flies as a result of government programmes and their own sloth and fecklessness. Those who try to help them are gassed. In a notorious passage, she argues that all the passengers in a train filled with poisoned fumes deserved their fate. One, for instance, was a teacher who taught children to be team players; one was a mother married to a civil servant, who cared for her children; one was a housewife "who believed that she had the right to elect politicians, of whom she knew nothing".

Rand's is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed. Yet, as Gary Weiss shows in his new book, Ayn Rand Nation, she has become to the new right what Karl Marx once was to the left: a demigod at the head of a chiliastic cult. Almost one third of Americans, according to a recent poll, have read Atlas Shrugged, and it now sells hundreds of thousands of copies every year.

Ignoring Rand's evangelical atheism, the Tea Party movement has taken her to its heart. No rally of theirs is complete without placards reading "Who is John Galt?" and "Rand was right". Rand, Weiss argues, provides the unifying ideology which has "distilled vague anger and unhappiness into a sense of purpose". She is energetically promoted by the broadcasters Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santelli. She is the guiding spirit of the Republicans in Congress.

Like all philosophies, Objectivism is absorbed, secondhand, by people who have never read it. I believe it is making itself felt on this side of the Atlantic: in the clamorous new demands to remove the 50p tax band for the very rich, for instance; or among the sneering, jeering bloggers who write for the Telegraph and the Spectator, mocking compassion and empathy, attacking efforts to make the word a kinder place.

It is not hard to see why Rand appeals to billionaires. She offers them something that is crucial to every successful political movement: a sense of victimhood. She tells them that they are parasitised by the ungrateful poor and oppressed by intrusive, controlling governments.

It is harder to see what it gives the ordinary teabaggers, who would suffer grievously from a withdrawal of government. But such is the degree of misinformation which saturates this movement and so prevalent in the US is Willy Loman syndrome (the gulf between reality and expectations) that millions blithely volunteer themselves as billionaires' doormats. I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security. She had railed furiously against both programmes, as they represented everything she despised about the intrusive state. Her belief system was no match for the realities of age and ill health.

But they have a still more powerful reason to reject her philosophy: as Adam Curtis's BBC documentary showed last year, the most devoted member of her inner circle was Alan Greenspan , former head of the US Federal Reserve. Among the essays he wrote for Rand were those published in a book he co-edited with her called Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal . Here, starkly explained, you'll find the philosophy he brought into government. There is no need for the regulation of business – even builders or Big Pharma – he argued, as "the 'greed' of the businessman or, more appropriately, his profit-seeking is the unexcelled protector of the consumer". As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he maintains, is a "superlatively moral system".

Once in government, Greenspan applied his guru's philosophy to the letter, cutting taxes for the rich, repealing the laws constraining banks, refusing to regulate the predatory lending and the derivatives trading which eventually brought the system down. Much of this is already documented, but Weiss shows that in the US, Greenspan has successfully airbrushed history.

Despite the many years he spent at her side, despite his previous admission that it was Rand who persuaded him that "capitalism is not only efficient and practical but also moral", he mentioned her in his memoirs only to suggest that it was a youthful indiscretion – and this, it seems, is now the official version. Weiss presents powerful evidence that even today Greenspan remains her loyal disciple, having renounced his partial admission of failure to Congress.

Saturated in her philosophy, the new right on both sides of the Atlantic continues to demand the rollback of the state, even as the wreckage of that policy lies all around. The poor go down, the ultra-rich survive and prosper. Ayn Rand would have approved.

Twitter: @georgemonbiot. A fully referenced version of this article can be found at www.monbiot.com

[Jun 23, 2019] These submerged policies obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry.

Highly recommended!
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Kikinaskald , 6 Mar 2012 14:14

I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security.

In case nobody mentioned this book before, which is relevant to the theme:

The Submerged State by Suzanne Mettler

From the Amazon book description:

These submerged policies, Mettler shows, obscure the role of government and exaggerate that of the market. As a result, citizens are unaware not only of the benefits they receive, but of the massive advantages given to powerful interests, such as insurance companies and the financial industry. Neither do they realize that the policies of the submerged state shower their largest benefits on the most affluent Americans, exacerbating inequality.

[Jun 23, 2019] The return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself. ..."
"... Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. ..."
"... Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. ..."
"... Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. ..."
"... This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. ..."
"... It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal. ..."
"... However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23

The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.

Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism.

In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.

The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue.

Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood. A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy.

The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.

Pinkie123 -> economicalternative , 12 Apr 2019 02:57

Yes, the EU is an ordoliberal institution - the state imposing rules on the market from without. Thus, it is not the chief danger. The takeover of 5G, and therefore our entire economy and industry, by Huawei - now that would be a loss of state sovereignty. But because Huawei is nominally a corporation, people do not think about is a form of governmental bureaucracy, but if powerful enough that is exactly what it is.
economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33
Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?
economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01
ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.
subtropics , 11 Apr 2019 13:51
Neoliberalism allows with impunity pesticide businesses to apply high risk toxic pesticides everywhere seriously affecting the health of children, everyone as well as poisoning the biosphere and all its biodiversity. This freedom has gone far too far and is totally unacceptable and these chemicals should be banished immediately.
Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives.

Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.

Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'.

Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism.

This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism.

Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.

It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.

However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.

[Jun 05, 2019] Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.

Highly recommended!
Jun 05, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Francis Lee says May 5, 2019

Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.

Thus:

Capital controls = fuddy duddy Capital Account liberalisation = cool Worker's Rights = fuddy duddy Flexible Labour markets = cool World Peace -- fuddy duddy War = Cool National Sovereignty = fuddy duddy Globalization = Cool Social Mobility = fuddy duddy Inequality = cool Respect for elections/referenda = fuddy-duddy Flexible referenda/elections = cool Social solidarity = fuddy-duddy Rampant nihilistic invidualism = cool Respect for human rights and the UN International Law = fuddy-duddy Blatant Imperialism = cool

And so the agenda goes on. Counter-revolution qua revolution

[May 07, 2019] Look! A whale!

Highly recommended!
May 07, 2019 | amp.theguardian.com

Hannah Ellis-Petersen

Mon 29 Apr 2019 01.55 EDT Marine experts in Norway believe they have stumbled upon a white whale that was trained by the Russian navy as part of a programme to use underwater mammals as a special ops force.

1 week ago

The whale was the secret intermediary between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. The messages were transmitted during weekly 'Whales-R-Us' peer support sessions. It's ironic it turns up now, after Mr. Mueller's report has already been issued.

1 week ago (Edited)

I'm pretty sure "Nessie" is a mobile underwater propoganda base used by the Russians since the time of the Bolshevic revolution. Originally, it was merely a base to hide the Reds operating on the outskirts of the Capitalist capitol of London. Scotland was the perfect hiding place.

Now however, it's outfitted with the most sophisticated internet hacking equipment, AI technology so advanced it can alter your political ideology just by selling you a mailorder slavic blow-up doll.

[Apr 26, 2019] Mueller investigation was launched in order to investigate the obstruction of his investigation

Highly recommended!
Apr 26, 2019 | off-guardian.org

In any event, the publication of the Mueller report has cleared things up for me. I get it now. The investigation was never about Trump colluding with Russia. It was always about Trump obstructing the investigation of the collusion with Russia that the investigation was not about. Mueller was never looking for collusion. It was not his job to look for collusion.

His job was to look for obstruction of his investigation of alleged obstruction of his investigation of non-collusion, which he found, and detailed at length in his report, and which qualifies as an impeachable offense.

... ... ...

In other words, his investigation was launched in order to investigate the obstruction of his investigation. And, on those terms, it was a huge success. The fact that it didn't prove "collusion" means nothing -- that's just a straw man argument that Trump and his Russian handlers make. The goal all along was to prove that Trump obstructed an investigation of his obstruction of that investigation, not that he was "colluding" with Putin, or any of the other paranoid nonsense that the corporate media were forced to report on, once an investigation into his obstruction of the investigation was launched.

[Mar 07, 2019] Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you by Dylan Curran

Highly recommended!
Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you've been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone. After reading this you might start sympathizing to Ted Kaczynski ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices . ..."
"... Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep. ..."
"... Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you're going to be a parent soon, if you're a conservative, if you're a progressive, if you're Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you're feeling depressed or suicidal, if you're anorexic ..."
"... Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you've liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic "girl"). ..."
"... The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to. ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look .

A slice of the data that Facebook keeps on the author: 'This information has millions of nefarious uses.' Photograph: Dylan Curran W ant to freak yourself out? I'm going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it. Google knows where you've been

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you've been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Here is every place I have been in the last 12 months in Ireland. You can see the time of day that I was in the location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one.

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices .

Click on this link to see your own data: myactivity.google.com/myactivity

Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other sites so willingly?
Google has an advertisement profile of you

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lb in one day?) and income.

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/settings/ads/

Google knows all the apps you use

Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.

Click on this link to see your own data: security.google.com/settings/secur

Google has all of your YouTube history

Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you're going to be a parent soon, if you're a conservative, if you're a progressive, if you're Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you're feeling depressed or suicidal, if you're anorexic

Click on this link to see your own data: youtube.com/feed/history/s

The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents

Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. I've requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big , which is roughly 3m Word documents.

Manage to gain access to someone's Google account? Perfect, you have a diary of everything that person has done

This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you've taken on your phone, the businesses you've bought from, the products you've bought through Google

They also have data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you've purchased, the Google groups you're in, the websites you've created, the phones you've owned, the pages you've shared, how many steps you walk in a day

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/takeout

Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too

Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.

This includes every message you've ever sent or been sent, every file you've ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you've ever sent or been sent.

Click here to see your data: https://www.facebook.com/help/131112897028467

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'A snapshot of the data Facebook has saved on me.' Photograph: Dylan Curran Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location

Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you've liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic "girl").

Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you've ever sent on Facebook (I have no idea why they do this. It's just a joke at this stage).

They also store every time you log in to Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.

And they store all the applications you've ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess I'm interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November.

(Side note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10)

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Privacy options in Windows 10. Photograph: Dylan Curran They can access your webcam and microphone

The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.

Facebook told me it would act swiftly on data misuse – in 2015 | Harry Davies
Here are some of the different ways Google gets your data

I got the Google Takeout document with all my information, and this is a breakdown of all the different ways they get your information.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'My Google Takeout document.' Photograph: Dylan Curran

Here's the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed the Pirate Bay section to show how much damage this information can do).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'My search history document has 90,000 different entries.' Photograph: Dylan Curran Google knows which events you attended, and when

Here's my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I've ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is when I went for an interview for a marketing job, and what time I arrived).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Here is my Google calendar showing a job interview I attended.' Photograph: Dylan Curran And Google has information you deleted

This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my rιsumι, my monthly budget, and all the code, files and websites I've ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google can know your workout routine

This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I've ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I've recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I've done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit's permissions).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest And they have years' worth of photos

This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google has every email you ever sent

Every email I've ever sent, that's been sent to me, including the ones I deleted or were categorised as spam.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest And there is more

I'll just do a short summary of what's in the thousands of files I received under my Google Activity.

First, every Google Ad I've ever viewed or clicked on, every app I've ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I've ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I've ever installed or searched for.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'They have every single Google search I've made since 2009.'

They also have every image I've ever searched for and saved, every location I've ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I've ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I've made since 2009. And then finally, every YouTube video I've ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.

This information has millions of nefarious uses. You say you're not a terrorist. Then how come you were googling Isis? Work at Google and you're suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last 10 years. Manage to gain access to someone's Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last 10 years.

This is one of the craziest things about the modern age. We would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us. But we just went ahead and did it ourselves because – to hell with it! – I want to watch cute dog videos.

NOTE: A caption was corrected on 28 March 2018 to replace "privacy options in Facebook" with "privacy options in Windows 10".

Dylan Curran is a data consultant and web developer, who does extensive research into spreading technical awareness and improving digital etiquette

[Feb 10, 2019] Neoliberalism is dead. Now let's repair our democratic institutions by Richard Denniss

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement. Neoliberalism taught us that "there is no alternative" to cutting taxes, cutting services and letting the banks treat us as they see fit. But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more. These days they proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form. ..."
"... While the hypocrisy is staggering, at least voters can now see that politics, and elections, matter. Having been told for decades that it was "global markets" that shaped our society, it's now clear that it is actually the likes of Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott who decide whether we get new coal mines or power stations. Luckily, millions of voters now realise that if it's OK to subsidise new coal mines, there's no reason we can't subsidise renewables instead. ..."
"... So, what to nationalise? What new machinery of state should we build first? Should we create a national anti-corruption watchdog, replace the productivity commission with a national interest commission, or abolish the failed network of finance sector regulators and build a new one from scratch? ..."
"... The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build. ..."
"... class warfare (by the rich against the 99%, though I should not need to say that) is still very much alive. ..."
"... The rise of nationalism is indeed worrying situation.. but its clear that mass discontent is driving a 'shift' away from the status quo and that opportunists of every creed are all trying to get in on the action.. ..."
"... the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is population growth and lack of natural resources and meaningful 'employment' .. which self serving politicians are exploiting via playing the fear card and creating further division in society in order to embrace and increase their own power. Further more, no one, it seems, has any valid answers as regards resolving the division and creating a path forward.. thereby making more conflict an inevitability. ..."
"... Like Octopus, the globalists have every one of their eight legs in a different pot of gold. On their arms, suction cups maintain an iron grip. Trying to pull those suckers out, leaves us raw and bleeding. To release their grip, without hurting ourselves, we must aim for the brain. ..."
"... Murdoch's media empire has arms in every Democracy on earth. As his poisonous ink spread across our lands, we wallowed in the dark. ..."
"... The Oil and Coal Tycoons have arms in every black hole on earth. As their suckers pull black gold from the land beneath our feet, we choke on the air we breathe. ..."
"... The Financial Tyrants have arms in our buildings, factories, farms and homes. Their suckers stripped our pockets bare and we ran out of money. ..."
"... The False Prophets spread their arms into our private lives. Their suckers turned our modest, humble faiths into global empires filled with mega-churches, televangelists, jet-setting preachers and evangelical armies Hell bent on disruption and destruction. ..."
"... Neoliberalism may be dead but the former Trotskyites who invented it are still alive and they still have an agenda. ..."
"... Neo Liberalism was a project cooked up back in the late 1970s by the Capital owning classes & enacted by successive govts of "right" or "left" ever since. They feared the growing power of the working & middle classes which they felt threatened their own power & wealth. So they set out to destroy any ability of the working class to organise & to gut the middle class. ..."
"... Key to this was decoupling wages from productivity & forcing us all into debt peonage. Deregulation of the financial markets & the globalization of capital markets, disastorous multilateral trade deals & off shoring jobs, slashing state social programmes, Union busting laws all part of the plan. All covered with a lie that we live in meritocracies & the "best & brightest" are in charge. The result has been evermore riches funneled to the wealthiest few percent & a wealth gap bigger than that of the gilded age ..."
"... The majority press are so organised around the idea that neoliberalism in the sense captured economically and to some extent socially as construed in the article above; ..."
"... Rumours of neoliberalism's death have been somewhat exaggerated. Its been on life support provided by the LNP since John Howard and there are still a few market fundamentalists lurking in the ranks of the ALP, just waiting for their chance to do New Labor MkII in memory of Paul Keating. ..."
"... Neoliberalism's lasting legacy will not be the ludicrous economic programs, privatizations and deregulation, those can all be rolled back if some party would grow a spine. The real damage was caused by the aping of the US and UK's cult of individual responsibility, the atomizing effects of neoliberal anti-social policy and demonization of collective action including unionism. ..."
Oct 31, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement. Neoliberalism taught us that "there is no alternative" to cutting taxes, cutting services and letting the banks treat us as they see fit. But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more. These days they proudly subsidise their friends and regulate their enemies in order to reshape Australia in their preferred form.

While the hypocrisy is staggering, at least voters can now see that politics, and elections, matter. Having been told for decades that it was "global markets" that shaped our society, it's now clear that it is actually the likes of Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott who decide whether we get new coal mines or power stations. Luckily, millions of voters now realise that if it's OK to subsidise new coal mines, there's no reason we can't subsidise renewables instead.

Neoliberalism: the idea that swallowed the world Read more

The parliament is filling with people of all political persuasions who, if nothing else, decry the neoliberal agenda to shrink our government and our national vision. While there's obviously quite a distance between MPs who want to build the nation, one new coal mine at a time, and those who want to fill our cities with renewable energy, the whole purpose of democracy is to settle such disputes at the ballot box.

The Liberals want to nationalise coal-fired power stations and pour public money into Snowy 2.0 . The ALP want much bigger renewable energy targets and to collect more revenue by closing billions of dollars in tax-loopholes . The Greens want a publicly owned bank and some unions are pushing to nationalise aged care. It's never been a more exciting time to support a bigger role for government.

So, what to nationalise? What new machinery of state should we build first? Should we create a national anti-corruption watchdog, replace the productivity commission with a national interest commission, or abolish the failed network of finance sector regulators and build a new one from scratch?

... ... ...

The death of neoliberalism means we can finally have a national debate about the size and role of government, and the shape of the economy and society we want to build. But we need to do more than talk about tax and regulation. Australia is one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world, and we once helped lead the world in the design of democratic institutions and the creation of an open democratic culture. Let's not allow the legacy of neoliberalism to be a cynical belief that there is no point repairing and rebuilding the democratic institutions that ensure not just our economy thrives, but our society as well. A quick look around the world provides clear evidence that there really are a lot of alternatives.

Richard Denniss is chief economist for the Australia Institute


R_Ambrose_Raven , 1 Nov 2018 16:38

Mmmm, well, class warfare (by the rich against the 99%, though I should not need to say that) is still very much alive.

Globalisation-driven financial deregulation was commenced here by Hawke Labor from 1983 as a Laberal facade for the Australian chapter of the transnational ruling class policy of self-enrichment. It was sold to the aspirationals as the ever-popular This Will Make You Rich - as ever-rising house prices did, for home-owners then (paid for now through housing unaffordability for their descendants). Then, transnational capital was able to loot both aspirationals' productivity gains (easily 10% of GDP) plus usurious interest from the borrowings made by the said aspirationals (easily 6% of GDP) to keep up with the Joneses. Now, it loots 90% of all increases in GDP, leaving just 10% in crumbs from the filthy rich man's table for 15 million workers to share.

We don't notice as much as we should, because the mainstream (mainly but not only Murdoch) media is very good at persuading us - then and now - that there is nothing to see. It is a tool of that transnational class, its role being to manufacture our consent to our own exploitation. Thus they play the man because it is politically easier than open demands that the public be robbed. In the case of penalty rates, thus adopting the obvious hypocrisy of which "The Australian" accuses Shorten. Or they play the woman, in the case of the ferocious, relentless media vilification of Julia Gillard and Gillard Labor – five years after the demonization of Gillard Labor's Great Big New (Carbon) Tax, the need for one is now almost universally accepted. Or they play the players, hence a focus on Dutton's challenge that pretends that he has meaningful policies.

Labor's class traitors clearly intended to aggressively apply the standard neoliberal model – look at how it helps their careers after politics (ask Anna Blight)! Shorten is not working to promote some progressive agenda, he is doing as little as possible, and expects to simply be voted into The Lodge as a committed servant of transnational capitalism.

Colinn -> bushranga , 1 Nov 2018 16:14
Wait till the revolution comes and we get the bastards up against the wall.
Colinn , 1 Nov 2018 15:53
I stopped voting 40 years ago because the voting system is mathematically rigged to favor the duopoly. Until a large number of minor parties can share their preferences and beat the majors, which is now starting to happen. This is not just voting for a good representative, but voting against the corrupt parties. A minority government should lead to proper debate in parliament. More women will lead to lower levels of testosterone fuelled sledging and better communication. A "Coalition of Representative Independents" could form government in the future, leading by consensus and constantly listening to the community.
tjt77 -> BlueThird , 1 Nov 2018 11:35
The rise of nationalism is indeed worrying situation.. but its clear that mass discontent is driving a 'shift' away from the status quo and that opportunists of every creed are all trying to get in on the action..

The big nut to crack is HOW do we collectively find sane and honest leadership ? A huge part of the problem is the ongoing trend of disdain for government in favor of embracing private monopolies as the be all and end all for solving the ongoing societal rift. .. which has created a centralization of wealth and the power that that wealth yields.. allied to the fact that huge swaths of the population in EVERY nation were hiding when the brains were allocated.. and hence are very easy to dupe..

the elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is population growth and lack of natural resources and meaningful 'employment' .. which self serving politicians are exploiting via playing the fear card and creating further division in society in order to embrace and increase their own power. Further more, no one, it seems, has any valid answers as regards resolving the division and creating a path forward.. thereby making more conflict an inevitability.

MeRaffey , 1 Nov 2018 08:05
Like Octopus, the globalists have every one of their eight legs in a different pot of gold. On their arms, suction cups maintain an iron grip. Trying to pull those suckers out, leaves us raw and bleeding. To release their grip, without hurting ourselves, we must aim for the brain.

Murdoch's media empire has arms in every Democracy on earth. As his poisonous ink spread across our lands, we wallowed in the dark.

The Oil and Coal Tycoons have arms in every black hole on earth. As their suckers pull black gold from the land beneath our feet, we choke on the air we breathe.

The Financial Tyrants have arms in our buildings, factories, farms and homes. Their suckers stripped our pockets bare and we ran out of money.

The False Prophets spread their arms into our private lives. Their suckers turned our modest, humble faiths into global empires filled with mega-churches, televangelists, jet-setting preachers and evangelical armies Hell bent on disruption and destruction.

Denniss offers us the cure! Start thinking fresh and new and starve the globalists to death. They fed us BS, we ate BS and now we are mal-nourished. We need good, healthy ideas.

Land. Infrastructure. Time.

Time - "WE" increased productivity and the globalists stole the rewards. Time to increase our FREE time. 32 hours is the NEW full time. Pay us full time wages, give us full time benefits, and reduce our work days by 20% and suddenly we have 20% more jobs. As the incomes of billionaires drop, the money in circulation will increase. We are the job creators - not globalists.

21st Century Infrastructure is about healthy human beings - not the effing economy. Think healthcare, education, senior care and child care. If we find out you have sent your money off-shore, your local taxes will increase by ten. So please, do, send your money off-shore - our cities and towns would love to increase taxes on your stores, offices and real estate by ten.

No more caps on taxes. If you are a citizen, you pay social taxes on every dime you get. In America you will be paying 15.3% of every dollar to social security. That's $153,000.00 a year for every million dollars you take out of our economy.

Land is not something you put in a museum, lock away in a vault, or wear on your neck. Think fresh and new. If you own land, you are responsible for meeting community rules.

No more empty, weed filled lots allowed. If you have empty land, you better put in a nice garden, pretty trees and walkways or we will do it for you and employ "eminent-domain" on your bank accounts to pay for it.

No more empty buildings. If you own an empty building you will put it to good use, or we will do it for you - and keep the profits to fund our local governments, schools, hospitals, and senior/child care centers.

No more slumlords allowed. We have basic standards, for everyone. If we catch you renting a slum to anyone, we will make repairs for you, and if you do not pay the bill, we will put a lien on your building and wait until you sell it to pay ourselves back.

We do not trust you big-box types anymore. If you want to build your mega-store in our cities, towns or communities, you must, first, deposit the entire cost of tearing it down, and landscaping a park, or playground when you leave. While you stay, we will invest your deposit in index funds and assure ourselves enough money down the road.

Sorry you BIG guys and gals, but you will find our countries are very expensive places for you to invest. We put our families, our neighborhoods and our lives first.

Proselytiser -> FarmerDave , 1 Nov 2018 07:30
That would be fantastic.

However - and it's a big however - there is a very real danger that at the next election the libs will again win by default due to the fact that many traditional labour voters are defecting to the greens instead. Sadly, LNP supporters are a lot less likely to vote green. Our best hope is to wipe the LNP out at the next election by voting labour, and then at the election after that establishing the greens in opposition. It is unfortunatly unlikely to happen at the next election....and I just hope that voters in certain seats understand that by voting for the greens they might be in fact unwittingly handing the reins back to the least green party of all: the LNP.

childofmine , 1 Nov 2018 04:04
Neoliberalism may be dead but the former Trotskyites who invented it are still alive and they still have an agenda.
Idiotgods , 1 Nov 2018 03:25
Neo Liberalism was a project cooked up back in the late 1970s by the Capital owning classes & enacted by successive govts of "right" or "left" ever since. They feared the growing power of the working & middle classes which they felt threatened their own power & wealth. So they set out to destroy any ability of the working class to organise & to gut the middle class.

Key to this was decoupling wages from productivity & forcing us all into debt peonage. Deregulation of the financial markets & the globalization of capital markets, disastorous multilateral trade deals & off shoring jobs, slashing state social programmes, Union busting laws all part of the plan. All covered with a lie that we live in meritocracies & the "best & brightest" are in charge. The result has been evermore riches funneled to the wealthiest few percent & a wealth gap bigger than that of the gilded age

Phalaris -> fabfreddy , 1 Nov 2018 03:18
The essential infrastructure to ensure a base level quality of life for all. Really it's not difficult. What are you afraid of?
Phalaris , 1 Nov 2018 03:15
The majority press are so organised around the idea that neoliberalism in the sense captured economically and to some extent socially as construed in the article above; as normal and natural that nothing can be done. As the system folds we see in its place Brexit, neoconservatism, Trump.

This is not new found freedom or Liberatarianism but a post liberal world where decency and open mindedness and open nuanced debate take a a back seat to populism and demagoguery.

Citizen0 , 1 Nov 2018 00:52
The whole purpose of Anglophone liberal democracy has been twofold: 1. to establish and protect private property rights and 2. TO guarantee some individual liberties. Guess who benefits from the enshrinement of private property rights as absolute? Big owners, and you know who they are. ... Individual tights are just not that sacred, summon the latest bogeyman, and they can be shrunken or tossed.
Alan Ritchie , 31 Oct 2018 22:24
Neoliberalism, the economic stablemate of big religion's Prosperity Evangelism cult. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology . Dual streams of bull shit to confuse the citizens while the Country's immense wealth is stolen.
PaulC_Fitzroy -> Bearmuchly , 31 Oct 2018 22:19
I certainly agree with you.

It seems there's been a turning point recently though in the ideas of neoliberalism, as pointed out by Denniss that suddenly it's okay for all and sundry to talk about nationalising industries and infrastructure. It will probably take a couple of decades to turn things around in practical ways. And there are surely plenty of powerful supporters of the ideas of neoliberalism still around.

HonestQuestion , 31 Oct 2018 19:00
Is neo-liberalism really dead or is it wishful thinking?
If neo-liberalism really is on the decline in Australia, all i can say is bravo to Australia, use this opportunity to build a stronger government and regain the terrain that was lost during the TINA (there is no alternative) years.
Here in Canada neo-liberalism is stronger than ever, maybe because of the proximity to the cancerous tumor at the south, so when i read this article, i did it with a bit of skepticism but also with a bit of envy and a bit of hope for the future.
MrTallangatta , 31 Oct 2018 18:58
Neoliberalism is *not* dead, and it is counter-productive to claim that it is. It is clearly the driver of what passes for policy by the LNP government. Just as trickle-down economics remains as the basis of the government's economic actions.
sangela -> mikedow , 31 Oct 2018 18:50
I love it!!
Nintiblue , 31 Oct 2018 18:48
It will look like it's dead when back bone services and infrastructure utilities are returned to public ownership.

Those things are not fit for market style private ownership for a few big reasons:

They are by their nature natural monopolies (so a market private ownership won't work and will rapidly creep up prices of reduced service precisely because they not in a natural market context.

These core services and utilities are mega scale operations beyond a natural market ROI value.

These core sovereign services and utilities, are nation critical to the national economy and political stability. The last thing we want to do is hand that sovereign power over to private control.

PaulMan , 31 Oct 2018 18:47
Australia is a very fortunate country. It enjoys national sovereignty, unshackled by crippling bonds to anything like the neoliberal EU. It is thus able to concentrate on solving its own issues.
StephenO -> ildfluer , 31 Oct 2018 18:47
When The Guardian's editorial staff goes down to Guatamala City, they can stand on a soap box in front of Subway sandwich or McDonalds or Radio Shack.

Europe doesn't do socialism. It's a capitalist system with a high rate of taxes to support a generous social welfare.

sangela -> Matt4720 , 31 Oct 2018 18:46
Jane is too radical and progressive for Warringah...maybe they don't know that?
sangela , 31 Oct 2018 18:45
Great article. Must say that we do have more than one vote per electorate. They're called preference votes. Kerryn Phelps get 23% of the primary PLUS a heap of preferences! But a proportional system would change a whole lot of results
ildfluer -> Matt4720 , 31 Oct 2018 18:41
Yes. But only if she relinquishes her British citizenship in time.
Fred1 -> Alpo88 , 31 Oct 2018 18:38
Firstly we are not in America. America is a basket case and has been since, well, forever.

Secondly the so called "housing crisis" is a simple consequence of a growing population. In the 1950s there were just 8m people in Australia, there 10m in the 1960s and 12m in the 1970s. And, no, neo-liebralism didn't cause the growing population. People having sex and living longer caused the growing population. It is therefore all the more remarkable that we have actually built enough houses to house a population which has doubled in size.

Thirdly, in the last 30 years 1 billion people have been lifted out of poverty. When you talk about huge, unprecedented, un-fucking-believable levels of poverty, super-massive inequality, dissatisfaction (Really? This is now a measure?), unemployment/sub-employment and casualization, collapse (collapse?) of public services, high(er) costs of living.....do you think you're being a little overly dramatic?

Do you really think it all comes to back to one silly economic theory?

Nothing to do with the reality of automation, globalisation, growing populations and the realities of living in 2018 rather than 1978?

Are voters around the world going hard against Neoliberalism? (I note it's now a capitalised term).

In the US they voted for a billionaire who blamed immigrants for people's problems while promising tax and spending cuts.....sounds like an even more extreme version of neo-liberlaism to me.

In Britain they voted for Brexit to....oh that's right....kick out immigrants and burn "red tape".

In Brazil, yep, more neo-liberalism on steroids.

In fact, looking around the world it's actually the far right which are seizing power.

And this is the issue with the obsessive preoccupation with community decline. It feeds directly into the hands of fascism and the far right.

I'm not saying things are perfect. I would prefer to see much more government investment. The only way we'll get that is to educate ourselves about how government finances work so that we're not frightened off by talk of deficits.

However, by laying this all on the door of one rather silly economic theory is to ignore that economics is nothing without human beings. It is human beings who are responsible for all of the good and bad in the world. No theory is going change that. If the world is the way it is it's because humans made it like this.

The "deterioration of the environment"? We did that not neo-liberalism .....

JustInterest , 31 Oct 2018 18:37
In answer to the headline article question, yes WE citizens should collectively strive to think radically, bigger and better than the existing status quo.

PAY CITIZENS TO VOTE!

We must bypass the vested interests and create a new system which encourages active, regular participation in democracy.... lest we wake up one day and realise too late that, by stealth and citizen apathy, the plutocrats and their corporate fascist servants have usurped our nation state, corrupted our law and weakened our institutions, to such a point that our individual rights are permanently crushed.

Change is coming, like it or not. This century - there is great risk to society that advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and lifespan enhancing genetic engineering will be used by ultra-rich plutocrats to make the vast majority of humanity redundant (within a couple of generations).

Citizens should advocate for DIRECT DEMOCRACY in which citizens are PAID on a per vote per issue basis (subject to verification checks that support the rewarding of effort- citizens should be asked to first demonstrate that they have made effort to obtain sufficient knowledge on a particular topic, prior to being rewarded for their service of voting. Such a process can be opt-in, those who want to be paid, work to do so by learning about the governance issue which is to be voted upon. In this way, a minimum wage can be obtained by direct citizen participation in the governance of communities and our nation). We have the technologies TODAY to undertake open-ledger, smart-phone enabled, digital/postal voting on a per issue basis... which can be funded by EFFECTIVE taxation on large multinational corporations and ultra-wealthy (foreign) shareholders. Citizen will is needed to influence change - the major political parties did not want a Federal ICAC and they certainly will not support paid direct citizen democracy unless voters overwhelming demand it.

Citizens already accept that politicians are paid to vote (and frequently "rewarded" for their "service" to large corporations and wealthy (foreign) shareholders by unethical, corrupt means). Thus, in principle, why can society not collectively accept direct payment to citizens for their individual vote upon an issue? Why do citizens continue to accept archaic systems of democracy which have clearly FAILED to meet the needs of our population in the 21st century?

Citizens are not sufficiently politically engaged in democracy and their civic responsibilities BECAUSE they are not incentivised to do so and because they are economic slaves without the luxury of time to sort through deliberate overload of disinformation, distortion, distraction and deception. Citizens are struggling to obtain objective understanding and to think critically because these crucial functions of democracy are innately discouraged by our existing 20th century economy (that is, slaves are busy support the systems of plutocrats in order that they may live, ants to a queen).

We must advocate for change in the systems of democracy which are failing our communities, our nation, our planet. For too long, plutocrats and their servants have maintained control over economic slaves and the vast majority of the population because citizens have accepted the status quo of being governed by the powerful.

Technology has permanently changed our species. We must all collectively act before innate human greed, lust for power and fear of loss of control (by the wealthy few) lead the majority on an irrational path toward destruction - using the very technologies which helped set us free from the natural world!

JustInterest -> NoSoupforNanna , 31 Oct 2018 18:35
In answer to the headline article question, yes WE citizens should collectively strive to think radically, bigger and better than the existing status quo.
PAY CITIZENS TO VOTE!

We must bypass the vested interests and create a new system which encourages active, regular participation in democracy.... lest we wake up one day and realise too late that, by stealth and citizen apathy, the plutocrats and their corporate fascist servants have usurped our nation state, corrupted our law and weakened our institutions, to such a point that our individual rights are permanently crushed.

Change is coming, like it or not. This century - there is great risk to society that advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics and lifespan enhancing genetic engineering will be used by ultra-rich plutocrats to make the vast majority of humanity redundant (within a couple of generations).

Citizens should advocate for DIRECT DEMOCRACY in which citizens are PAID on a per vote per issue basis (subject to verification checks that support the rewarding of effort- citizens should be asked to first demonstrate that they have made effort to obtain sufficient knowledge on a particular topic, prior to being rewarded for their service of voting. Such a process can be opt-in, those who want to be paid, work to do so by learning about the governance issue which is to be voted upon. In this way, a minimum wage can be obtained by direct citizen participation in the governance of communities and our nation). We have the technologies TODAY to undertake open-ledger, smart-phone enabled, digital/postal voting on a per issue basis... which can be funded by EFFECTIVE taxation on large multinational corporations and ultra-wealthy (foreign) shareholders. Citizen will is needed to influence change - the major political parties did not want a Federal ICAC and they certainly will not support paid direct citizen democracy unless voters overwhelming demand it.

Citizens already accept that politicians are paid to vote (and frequently "rewarded" for their "service" to large corporations and wealthy (foreign) shareholders by unethical, corrupt means). Thus, in principle, why can society not collectively accept direct payment to citizens for their individual vote upon an issue? Why do citizens continue to accept archaic systems of democracy which have clearly FAILED to meet the needs of our population in the 21st century?

Citizens are not sufficiently politically engaged in democracy and their civic responsibilities BECAUSE they are not incentivised to do so and because they are economic slaves without the luxury of time to sort through deliberate overload of disinformation, distortion, distraction and deception. Citizens are struggling to obtain objective understanding and to think critically because these crucial functions of democracy are innately discouraged by our existing 20th century economy (that is, slaves are busy support the systems of plutocrats in order that they may live, ants to a queen).

We must advocate for change in the systems of democracy which are failing our communities, our nation, our planet. For too long, plutocrats and their servants have maintained control over economic slaves and the vast majority of the population because citizens have accepted the status quo of being governed by the powerful.

Technology has permanently changed our species. We must all collectively act before innate human greed, lust for power and fear of loss of control (by the wealthy few) lead the majority on an irrational path toward destruction - using the very technologies which helped set us free from the natural world!

exTen , 31 Oct 2018 17:13
Richard went off the rails in his opening sentence: "The opposite of a neoliberal economic agenda isn't a progressive economic agenda, but democratic re-engagement."

I say this because economically misinformed democratic engagement is a shackle around democracy, at best, if not fatal to democracy. And the biggest and most fundamental misinformation, spouted every bit as much by ALP and Greens as the Libs, is that we must strive for a "sustainable surplus".

As Richard rightly observes, "Neoliberalism taught us that "there is no alternative" to cutting taxes, cutting services and letting the banks treat us as they see fit. But of course not even the Coalition believes that any more." But that doesn't stop them, or Labor, or the Greens from guaranteeing the continuance of the neoliberal cut & privatise mania by insisting that they believe in "budget repair" and "return to surplus" - an insistence which their economically illiterate or misled supporters accept. If you believe in the obviously ridiculous necessity for a currency issuer to run balanced budgets, you are forced into invalid neoliberal thinking, into accepting a false "necessity" for cuts and privatisations, or economy-sedating taxation increases.

Thorlar1 , 31 Oct 2018 08:13
Rumours of neoliberalism's death have been somewhat exaggerated. Its been on life support provided by the LNP since John Howard and there are still a few market fundamentalists lurking in the ranks of the ALP, just waiting for their chance to do New Labor MkII in memory of Paul Keating.

Neoliberalism's lasting legacy will not be the ludicrous economic programs, privatizations and deregulation, those can all be rolled back if some party would grow a spine. The real damage was caused by the aping of the US and UK's cult of individual responsibility, the atomizing effects of neoliberal anti-social policy and demonization of collective action including unionism.

All of which have hastened the atrophy of our democracy.

First things first lets get rid of the neo-liberal national dinosaurs still wallowing in parliament unaware of the mass extinction awaiting them in March next year. At the same time vote in a minority Labor government with enough independent cross benchers, including a preponderance of Greens to keep the bastards honest.

Then just maybe we can start looking at the wider project of repairing Australian society and democracy while we try and reverse the near-decade of damage the LNP have done with their dangerous pro-fossil fuel stance, their insane climate change denial and hypocritical big business friendly economic policies.

Should be a snap!

exTen -> Loco Jack , 31 Oct 2018 08:05
The irony is that it's simple. It's the Heath Robinson contraptions that the economic priesthood for the plutocracy snow us with that are complicated, that turn us off economic thinking because they are impenetrable and make no sense. The simplicity comes from accepting the blinding obvious truth, once you think about it. The federal government is the monopoly issuer of the AUD. The rest of the world are users, not issuers. Its "budgets" are not our budgets. Nothing like them. Kind of the opposite. Its surpluses are the economy's deficits. Its deficits are the economy's surpluses.

[Feb 04, 2019] The US decision to send weapons to Syria repeats a historical mistake

Highly recommended!
This was true in 2015 for Syria. Now this is true for Venezuela... So one can expect iether chemical attack opposition from Madura government or "Snipergate" in EuroMaydan style. Or may some some more sophisticated, more nasty "false flag" operation in British style like Skripal poisoning.
It will be interesting if Madura manage to survive despite the pressute...
Notable quotes:
"... Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked! ..."
"... To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya! ..."
"... This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have. ..."
"... Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad. ..."
"... In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head. ..."
"... ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources. ..."
"... The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck! ..."
"... The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department. ..."
Sep 19, 2015 | The Guardian
Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

As pretty much everyone who was paying attention predicted, the $500m program to train and arm "moderate" Syrian rebels is an unmitigated, Bay of Pigs-style disaster, with the head of US central command admitting to Congress this week that the year-old program now only has "four or five" rebels fighting inside Syria, with dozens more killed or captured.

Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong." The New York Times reported, "In effect, Mr Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment."

This bizarre "I was peer pressured into sending more weapons into the Middle East" argument by the president is possibly the most blatant example of blame shifting in recent memory, since he had every opportunity to speak out against it, or veto the bill. Instead, this is what Obama said at the time: "I am pleased that Congress...have now voted to support a key element of our strategy: our plan to train and equip the opposition in Syria."

But besides the fact that he clearly did support the policy at the time, it's ridiculous for another reason: years before Congress approved the $500m program to arm the Syrian rebels, the CIA had been running its own separate Syrian rebel-arming program since at least 2012. It was reported prominently by the New York Times at the time and approved by the president.

In fact, just before Congress voted, Senator Tom Udall told Secretary of State John Kerry, who was testifying in front of the foreign relations committee, "Everybody's well aware there's been a covert operation, operating in the region to train forces, moderate forces, to go into Syria and to be out there, that we've been doing this the last two years." In true Orwellian fashion, Kerry responded at the time: "I hate to do this. But I can't confirm or deny whatever that's been written about and I can't really go into any kind of possible program."

Also conveniently ignored by Congress and those advocating for arming the rebels was a classified study the CIA did at the time showing that arming rebel factions against sitting governments almost always ends in disaster or tragedy.

You'd think whether or not the current weapons-running program was effective – or whether any similar program ever was – would have been a key factor in the debate. But alas, the CIA program is never mentioned, not by politicians, and not by journalists. It's just been conveniently forgotten.

It is true that perhaps the best advocate for why we never should've armed the Syrian rebels to begin with came from President Obama himself. He told the New Yorker in early 2014 that "you have an opposition that is disorganized, ill-equipped, ill-trained and is self-divided. All of that is on top of some of the sectarian divisions." Critically, he cited that same above-mentioned classified study:

Very early in this process, I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn't come up with much.

He didn't mention the CIA's already-active weapons-running program. Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension. Instead, he supported Congress's measure to create yet another program that sent even more weapons to the war-torn region.

Per usual, Republicans are taking the entirely wrong lessons from this disaster, arguing that if only there was more force then everything would've worked out. Marco Rubio exclaimed during the GOP presidential debate on Wednesday that if we armed the rebels earlier – like he allegedly wanted, before voting against arming them when he had the chance – then the program would've worked out. Like seemingly everyone else in this debate, Rubio has decided to ignore the actual facts.

Sadly, instead of a debate about whether we should continue sending weapons to the Middle East at all, we'll probably hear arguments that we should double down in Syria in the coming days and get US troops more cemented into a war we can call our own (that still to this day has not been authorized by Congress). There are already reports that there are US special operations forces on the ground in Syria now, assisting Kurdish forces who are also fighting Isis.

When the vicious and tragic cycle will end is anyone's guess. But all signs point to: not anytime soon.

Oliver2014 19 Sep 2015 21:27

" Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time? "

Because the US doesn't understand the culture of the people it meddles with.

The US goes in with a messianic belief in the righteousness of its objective. This objective is framed in naive terms to convince itself and the people that it's motives are benevolent - such as "we must fight communism" or "we will bring democracy to Iraq" or "Saddam Hussein is an evil man who uses chemical weapons on his own people and hence must be ousted" or "Assad is an evil man who is fighting a civil war with his own people".

As a superpower it feels compelled to interfere in conflicts lest it be seen as impotent. When it does not interfere, as in WW2, things do indeed get out of control. So it's damned if it does and damned if it doesn't.

The CIA did not understand Afghan history of fighting off invaders when it was arming the Mujaheddin and that after the Soviets were defeated it would perceive the Americans as invaders and not as liberators who were there to bring them democracy and teach them that growing poppy was bad. (Like alcohol in the 1930s, a national addiction problem cannot be solved on the supply side - as the CIA and DEA learnt in South America.)

Bush Sr. was right when he left Saddam alone after bloodying his nose for invading Kuwait because he understood that Saddam was playing a vital Tito-esque role in keeping his country and the neighborhood in check. He had no WMDs but wanted his adversaries in the region to believe otherwise. If Saddam were alive today we wouldn't have an Iraq problem, an ISIS problem, an Iran problem and a Syria problem.

Smedley Butler 19 Sep 2015 21:12

"Why he didn't stick to his guns since he supposedly was weary of getting the US military involved in yet another quagmire it could not get out of is beyond anyone's comprehension."

Maybe it's because he hasn't stuck to his guns on anything during the entire time he's been President. He always takes the path of least resistance, the easy way out, and a "conservative-lite" position that tries to satisfy everyone and actually satisfies no one.

What an utter disappointment.

DavidEG 19 Sep 2015 20:01

The Machiavellian machinations of the empire become less relevant with every passing day. It's Europeans now who are eating sweet fruits of "mission accomplished". And they may rebel, and kick out last remnants of their "unity", and sacred NATO alliance alongside.


PamelaKatz AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 18:33

Obama said the US would take 10,000 Syrian refugees. When I heard this, I thought surely a zero must be missing from this figure. And what no one has publicly mentioned is the immigration process for these few will require at least a year of investigative background checks.

PamelaKatz jvillain 19 Sep 2015 18:15

The largest manufacturers and global distributors of weaponry are the US, the UK, France, Russia and China, in that order....... also known as the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. One should read the UN Charter, which states the purpose and parameters for forming this international organization. The word 'irony' comes to mind.

ID108738 19 Sep 2015 17:36

Saddam Hussein was a friend while he gassed the Iranians, then he invaded Kuwait; as long as Bin Laden fought the Russians, he was tolerated and funded; now there's Syria. The only thing needed to take the strategy to new levels of idiocy was a compliant nincompoop as prime minister in Britain. Will they ever learn?

Toi Jon 19 Sep 2015 17:27

The US understands how to create a market for their military hardware industry but has never understood how their interference in the Middle East creates mass human misery.

Samantha Stevens 19 Sep 2015 17:09

Quite simply the US is breaking international law by doing this. Every time they do it the world ends up with another shit storm. If they cannot behave responsibly they should be removed from the security council of the UN. Same goes for the Russians and any other power abusing their position.
Syria may not have been the epitome of humanity before being destabilised but it is certainly worse now. The same is true of Iraq. In fact have the US successfully overturned any government they deem un-American (LOL) without it leading to a civil war?

Andy Freeman 19 Sep 2015 17:06

Sorry but you're wrong. The funding a training of rebel forces by the west has done exactly what is was intended to do, mainly destabilise an entire region, sell billions in extra arms, introduce extra anti-terrorism laws in the west, create more fear and panic, then destabilise Europe through the mass-migration. This was the plan and it worked!

People will call for a solution, the solution will be tighter integration in Europe, the abolition of national governments, the removal of cash to stop payments to "terrorists", more draconian spying laws, less from and eventually compulsory registration and ID for all Europeans.

Meanwhile, we'll have a few more false flag attacks supposedly caused by the refugees and more fear in the news. Open your eyes


Laurie Calhoun 19 Sep 2015 16:49

"Why he didn't stick to his guns..." Not the most felicitous metaphor in this case, but here is the answer to your question:

To the great disappointment of those of us who voted for Obama, the first time out of hope for change, and the second time out of fear for someone even worse, he is a weak and chameleonic leader whose policies are determined by the strongest willed person in the room. Recall that he was also "talked into" bombing Libya!

Sad but true. For more details on how this works, read Daniel Klaidman's book Kill or Capture: The war on terror and the soul of the Obama presidency.


littlewoodenblock geniusofmozart 19 Sep 2015 16:39

turkey should be thrown out of NATO immediately!

littlewoodenblock 19 Sep 2015 16:36

after the libya disaster the US should have abandoned plans for regim change in syria.

and the US missed a golden opportunity to recitfy what had already become a syria disaster by allowing turkey and the ludicrous SNC to so thoroughly undermine the Geneva talks.

nnedjo -> Havingalavrov , 19 Sep 2015 15:40

The U.S and U.K's commitment should be to those in Iraq. Secure, rebuild and invest in helping that Nation come with the best solution to a, rid itself of ISIS, b, be able to stay that way, c have a government that is inclusive to the needs of the Sunni's, Shia's and Kurds

Just as I thought that you can not surpass yourself in writing stupid comments, and you are immediately reassured me.
Thus, the US and the UK spent nearly ten years in Iraq and failed to make any of this what you write, but but the whole mess practically they themselves have created. And now you're saying that if the US and UK troops returned again to Iraq they will be able to fix everything that they had previously screwed and to create an "inclusive society" of Iraq. So, if the US and UK troops set foot again on the soil of Iraq, it will be the strongest reason for Iraqi Sunnis to reject the inclusion in the Iraqi society. Iraqi officials themselves are aware of this very well, and for that reason they are the first to oppose such an intervention.
Iraq's prime minister says no to foreign troops

BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister strongly rejected the idea of the U.S. or other nations sending ground forces to his country to help fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying Wednesday that foreign troops are "out of the question."...
Al-Abadi, a Shiite lawmaker who faces the enormous task of trying to hold Iraq together as a vast array of forces threaten to rip it apart, welcomed the emerging international effort, but stressed that he sees no need for other nations to send troops to help fight ISIS.

"Not only is it not necessary," he said, "We don't want them. We won't allow them. Full stop."
"The only contribution the American forces or the international coalition is going to help us with is from the sky," al-Abadi said. "We are not giving any blank check to the international coalition to hit any target in Iraq."
He said that the Iraqi military will choose and approve targets, and that the U.S. will not take action without consulting with Baghdad first. Failure to do so, he warned, risks causing civilian casualties like in Pakistan and Yemen, where the U.S. has conducted drone strikes for years.

Well, Well, whether i notice here distrust even of Iraqi Shiites toward the US Air Force. On the other hand, they want to strengthen friendship with neighboring governments in Syria and Iran: ;

Al-Abadi, however, said that Iraq doesn't have the luxury of testy relations with Damascus, and instead pushed for some sort of coordination.

"We cannot afford to fight our neighbor, even if we disagree on many things," al-Abadi said. "We don't want to enter into problems with them. For us sovereignty of Syria is very important." The two countries, both of which are allies of Iran, appear to already be coordinating on some level, and Iraq's national security adviser met Tuesday with Assad in the Syrian capital, where the two agreed to strengthen cooperation in fighting "terrorism," according to Syria's state news agency.

The U.S. hopes to pull together a broad coalition to help defeat the extremist group, but has ruled out cooperating with neighboring Iran or Syria, both of which also view ISIS as a threat. Both countries were excluded from a conference this week in Paris that brought the U.S., France and other allies together to discuss how to address the militant threat.

Al-Abadi said that excluding Damascus and Tehran was counterproductive.

So, it is obvious that the Iraqi government is not against inclusion, but they're for such inclusion, which will exclude the US and UK of interfering in their internal affairs. I think it is a good step towards reconciliation with their Sunni brothers because they also seem to support such a thing. And if they managed to do it, maybe Ukrainians will also draw some lesson from it and be able to reconcile with their brothers Russians.


Ieuan ytrewq 19 Sep 2015 14:04

ytrewq said: "USSR and China supplied a lot of support and material to N. Vietnam."

Very true.

However the Viet Minh were formed and initially supplied by OSS (later called the CIA) forces from the US. In fact Ho Chi Min had a naive hope that the US would support him in his struggle against foreign occupation of the country after the war (French colonialism) and made several appeals to President Truman for help (all of which were ignored).

Instead of which, the US supported the French, so Ho asked around and got help from the Russians and Chinese. The rest we know.


marginline AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 13:54

The UK and France [...], they destroyed Libya.

The causality of which led to an Islamic terror attack on June 26th, 2015 ten kilometers north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia, where thirty-eight people; thirty of whom were British - were murdered.


sashasmirnoff JoJo McJoJo 19 Sep 2015 13:40

The US is always wrong, and always responsible for every bad thing that happens on Earth.

They are always wrong, and are indeed responsible for almost every geopolitical disaster, usually a result of overthrowing governments and installing their own tyrant, or else leaving a vacuum that Islamists fill.


Zaarth 19 Sep 2015 13:34

This $500m program cost less than 0.1% of the US annual defense budget. When you're dealing with sums of money as obscenely large as the US spends on its military, its inevitable that huge quantities will be wasted because you've passed the point where there's worthwhile things to spend it on. This isn't Bay of Pigs; its a bloated military trying to figure out what to do with its extra cash. Financially, it doesn't matter if the program is a failure. The cost is minuscule for the budget they have.

In recent years the right has been very concerned with balancing the national budget and shrinking debt. They're willing to cut spending for social programs and research, but god forbid you take money away from the military. It just wouldn't be patriotic.


marginline -> GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 13:14

Great summary GeneralMittens. You have expressed in layman's terms the facts eluded to by journalist Mehdi Hasan when he quantified the depth of the strategic disaster the Iraq war actually was – or, as the Conservative minister Kenneth Clarke put it back in a 2013 BBC radio discussion...

the most disastrous foreign policy decision of my lifetime [ ] worse than Suez

The invasion and occupation of Iraq undermined the moral standing of the western powers; empowered Iran and its proxies; heightened the threat from al-Qaeda at home and abroad; and sent a clear signal to 'rogue' regimes that the best (the only?) means of deterring a preemptive, US-led attack was to acquire weapons of mass destruction. [ ] Iraq has been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of innocent people have lost their lives, as the direct result of an unnecessary, unprovoked war that, according to the former chief justice Lord Bingham, was a...

serious violation of international law

This leads me to the conclusion and I apologies for flogging this dead horse yet again BUT...why are Bush and Bliar not being detained at The Hague?


Ieuan 19 Sep 2015 12:45

" I actually asked the CIA to analyze examples of America financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well."

Well, they (the OSS at the time) supplied arms and training to the Viet Minh. When they were fighting the Japanese. Which worked out well, when they were only fighting the Japanese.

But when they used their expertise (and the arms they had left over) to carry on fighting the French, and later the Americans themselves, it worked out very well for the Viet Minh, not so well for the French and Americans.


GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:27

The first President Bush, who decided not to topple President Saddam Hussein after routing his military forces out of Kuwait, and instead to leave him in power for the sake of the Middle East stability is, in retrospect, probably the wisest foreign policy decision ever made by the 41st President, thanks not only to his own personal judgment but also to his foreign policy aides' wisdom. Though it is now too late for the son to learn from his father, it is still not too late for the present administration to learn a thing or two from the former senior President Bush.

twoheadednightingale 19 Sep 2015 12:25

Nice to read an article coming at the war from this angle, seems like people are finally starting to question the effectiveness US foreign policy - ie bombing for peace. However the article is fairly nieve in places - like who actually believes the president of the US has control over all its intelligence agencies? JFK told the world in april '61, not long after the CIA had set him up over the bay of pigs and months before being assassinated exactly that. So enough of the 'blame the president' bullshit, it doesn't get to the root of the problem


GangZhouEsq 19 Sep 2015 12:17

The last major armament, including heavy guns, tanks and armored personnel carriers, as sent by the United States to the now notoriously incompetent Iraqi military forces is now reportedly in the hands of ISIS after these US-trained Iraqi military personnel simply abandoned their posts of defense and deserted for their own dear lives, thus leaving the centuries-old, formerly safe haven of Mosul for Iraqi Christians to the mercy of ISIS. See "60 Minutes", Sunday, September 13, 2015, "Iraq's Christians", at http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/iraqs-christians-the-shooting-at-chardon-high-king-of-crossfit.


pfox33 19 Sep 2015 12:04

The fact that Putin is coming to Assad's aid is a game-changer that the US was unprepared for. For one thing, it's highlighted how inconsequential US efforts to bolster "moderate" rebels and degrade ISIS capabilities have been.

From the time it was reported that the Russians were upgrading an airbase at Latakia to the time that it was reported that they had dispatched helicopters and jets and that the Syrians had started to take the fight to ISIS in Raqqah and Palmyra was only a matter of weeks. The CIA's program, after a year, had produced five soldiers at a cost of 500 million.

Previously the US had free reign over Syrian skies as did Israel who would bomb what they deemed to be convoys of military supplies for Hezbollah. Things aren't so free and easy now with the Russians in town. And both the Americans and Israelis now realize they have to check in with them before them they make sorties over northern Syria.

It's fairly obvious, to me anyway, that the US and Israel's only endgame was the fall of Assad and that ISIS had their tacit approval. Assad's good relations with Iran and Hezbollah meant he was a marked man. Putin, as is his wont, has complicated their plans and the results are yet to be seen.


BradfordChild TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:58

"Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US."

Actually, Gaddafi had shown an interest in engaging with the West-- happened under Bush, but was never really followed up on. Still, it was headed in a more positive direction until Obama rather arbitrarily decided that Gaddafi had to go.

The real net effect of US intervention in the Middle East has been to destabilize Europe.


Tony Page bravo7490 19 Sep 2015 11:32

I would agree but, as a former intelligence professional, I'd remind you that there's always a story behind the story. Not that it's a "good" story! But more must be going on there...


ByThePeople 19 Sep 2015 11:12

"Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?"

It depends on how you define better. To think that these ops take place with the intent to solve an issue is naive, they don't. You state yourself that the CIA freely admits it's never worked.

The reason the United States funds and arms groups in the Middle East is that 9 times out of 10, these same groups are then later labeled 'terrorists' and a new US war campaign is justified.

It's not about solving problems - unless the problem being solved is: How do we create more opportunities to half-ass justify engaging in another war effort so the US coffers can be continuously raped.

Iraq is the perfect example of succeeding in achieving this goal. Years before the Iraq war ever began, US war planners knew that a power vacuum, attracting the likes of Al-Qaeda and or ISIS would subsequently result. Thus, providing a for a second war, derived from the first seemingly pointless invasion. The Iraq plan worked fabulously as not only did the newly created enemy materialize, they also became a much more formidable enemy once they conveniently came into possession of all the military equipment we let behind.

Point is, they wouldn't continue implementing all these operations if the goal wasn't being achieved.

I will add too - McCain and Co. clamored so hard to arm the al-Assad opposition McCain might as well have claimed that if we did not, then America would be blown up in its entirety in 48 hours the same as all the other fear mongering done in a effort to continue the war efforts. Who knows, maybe he did, I try not to listen to him anymore - he needs to be put out to pasture.

TastySalmon 19 Sep 2015 11:10

Iraq, Libya, Syria. What do/did these countries have in common? Unfriendly leaders who want nothing to do with the US.

To suggest that funding radicals to overthrow these governments is a "whoops" or something that will never work is completely wrong. The plan has worked exactly as planned: destabilize the region by promoting dissent, covertly arm and fund "rebels" through back-channels (Saudi, UAE, Turkey, etc.), create a new boogeyman (ISIS), and reforge alliances with enemies (AQ) who will then turn on us again in the future.

The goal is to flatten Syria, and it seems to be working out very well. When you consider what the ultimate outcome will be, it starts becoming fairly clear: push Russia into a corner militarily and economically, open new LNG pipelines, appease allied caliphates, and put billions of dollars into the pockets of the wealthiest people.

LeftOrRightSameShite -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 10:51

Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.

I think the problem may well be the bloated MIC in the US. Too many strategic game plans for to many, often contradictory ends.

There are no doubt there are intelligence analysts in the US MIC who have a genuine interest in collecting actual information and present it honestly. The numerous leaks show us this.

The problem is, this often good information, once it's been spun through political/economic vested interests, think tanks, cold war jar head imperialists and so forth, it (foreign policy) ends up complete fubar.

To the point where, as you rightly say imo, their foreign policy looks like nothing more than "malicious wily manipulators, deliberately buggering up the world to make money out of the consequences."


david wright 19 Sep 2015 10:49

For a full century now, from the Balfour Declaration and the secret Sykes-Picot arrangement, the currently-top 'Western' dog (UK; then US) has been meddling and futzing around in the Middle East, notionally in someone's 'National Interest.'

Oil, access to Empire (route to India etc) and 'national prestige' have been the usual excuses. The result has been unmitigated disaster.

Ignoring everything up to Gulf 1 (1991) we've a quarter century century of determined scoring of own-goals. This shows no sign of changing. This is a helter-skelter race to destruction, greatly presently aided and abetted by Asad. So far, it's lasted two-and-a-half times longer than the combined lengths of both World Wars.

One conclusion is that by any rational assessment, we don't deserve to 'win', whatever that would constitute, any more than did one side or the other in the 16th -17th century's European religious wars. An equally rational assessment is that we neither have, nor can. The final rational conclusion, that we find a way to disengage - remarkably simply, by stopping doing all the things we have been - is a fence refused by the relevant horses - again, mainly US and (as very eager, jr partner indeed) UK.All apart from the monstrous outcomes for the people in the region, we destabilize our own security then make things worse by tightening our own internal 'security' at the expense of civil liberties. This gives away, at no gain, the slow and scrabbling accretion of these, over centuries. And Cameron and co remain sufficiently delusional to want to keep on bombing, but whatever toys they have, whatever seems a good idea on the day. How can we win? the war isn't on 'terror', but ion logic. Ours. |Neither the US nor UK governments have ever shown much interest in the fates of the millions of people their casual actions have ended, or made hell. Of the multiple ironies (shall I count the ways?) attending all this is that Saddam, while a murderous thug, and no friend to his own people, was doing for us, for free, what we've been unable to do for ourselves - keep Iraq al-Quaida free. AS to his murderous propensities, clearly far fewer of his people (alone) would have been killed had we not intervened, than we have directly or indirectly killed. Much of this stems from the fact that during the same recent period (1991 on) there has been no effective counter to Western power and inclination, which has simply projectile-vomited its baneful influence. Ironic too that the reason we armed and greatly helped create al-Quaida was to destabilize Russia by getting it bogged down in Afghanistan. Thus the only real fear which limited US action, was removed when that policy was successful. We removed the brakes as the train was beginning to accelerate down the incline. Wheeee!


teaandchocolate smifee 19 Sep 2015 10:47

Bush reached the Oval Office not because he was bright, for indeed he was not, he reached the Oval Office because he was dumb enough not to realise he was clearly easily manipulated, believed in neoliberalism and was rich and rich backers and a rich Dad.

As to "not having a serious mark against his name", forgive me if I laugh hysterically while crying with pain.

The least said about the moron Reagan and his jolly pal Thatcher the better. Oh how well their unregulated market shenanigans have turned out.

Crackpots the lot of them.


LethShibbo AndyMcCarthy 19 Sep 2015 10:35

Doing nothing and minding your own business is kinda the same thing.

And the civil war in Syria isn't purely a result of what happened in neighbouring Iraq.

What you're essentially saying is 'America, you've started this fire. Now let it burn.'


pansapians DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 10:28

Well of course ISIS were miffed that the U.S. was paying lip service to not arming ISIS. If you think there was ever any serious difference between the FSA and ISIS then I hear that the Queen having to sell Buckingham palace due to losses gambling on corgi races and I can get you a good deal for a cash sale


IrateHarry Havingalavrov 19 Sep 2015 10:17

Make Iraq work first..

ROFLMFAO...

Iraq has been so thoroughly screwed over by the UKUSA clusterfuck, there is no chance of it working ever again.


AndyMcCarthy LethShibbo 19 Sep 2015 10:12

Sorry, the US doesn't HAVE to make a choice, do nothing or bomb. All the US needs to do is mind it's own business.

We wouldn't be having this refugee crises if the US hadn't invaded Iraq.


Tomasgolfer 19 Sep 2015 10:10

For a little insight, see "The Red Line and the Rat Line", by Seymour M. Hersh. Published in the
London Review of Books


LeftOrRightSameShite contextandreality 19 Sep 2015 10:01

you write a article on myth that US armed rebels

The US (and the UK and France for that matter) has been openly arming and training the "rebels". The US had a vote in congress to openly do just that last year. Covertly, they've been doing it since 2012, again this has been well reported and admitted to.

The problem for the US is their so called "moderates" don't exist. They either switch allegiance once back in Syria or end up captured or killed just as quickly.
Your user name seems somewhat of a parody.


ArtofLies richardoxford 19 Sep 2015 10:00

How does that compute ?

it computes once one answers this slightly naive question from the article

Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

surely at some point people have to realise that chaos is the result the US is looking for.

IrateHarry 19 Sep 2015 09:56

Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East

Because that is the backbone business of America - making and selling deadly weapons. Deadlier the better, and no matter whom they are supplied to. If foreign governments don't buy, does not matter, just supply it to "rebels", and they will be paid for by the tax payers across the west (not just the American ones, NATO has been set up as the mechanism to tap into European tax payers as well).

The rest of the bullshit like democracy, freedom, etc are marketeers' crap.

LeftOrRightSameShite -> geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 09:53

No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

There was a report in the NY Times last year by a reporter who was kidnapped by the FSA (his mission was to find them and find out who they were) and handed straight over to Al-Nusra. Twice. He was imprisoned and tortured by them.

In his revealing report, talking of the couple of days he spent back with the "FSA", his release having been negotiated by the west, he asked the "FSA" fighters about the training they received from the US in Jordan. The reporter put it to the fighters that the training was to fight AN/IS. Their response? "We lied to the Americans about that".
The WSJ also recently reported that the CIA mission to arm/train "moderates/FSA" had gone totally tits up. Most of them reported as defecting to one of the number of more extreme groups, some having been captured or killed.

It's been clear for about 2 years now that these so called "moderates" only exist in the deluded minds of western policy makers.


JacobHowarth MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 09:51

ISIS do not control that large a number of people. Many Kurds are fleeing because of IS, that's true, but for the most part the civil war is a horror show from both sides and Syrians are - rightly - getting the hell out of there.

Or are all of those 'taking advantage of the opportunity to move to Europeans [sic] countries' proposing to do so by going to Lebanon and Jordan?


Quadspect -> kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 09:22

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/10218288/CIA-running-arms-smuggling-team-in-Benghazi-when-consulate-was-attacked.html

The suspiciously unasked questions as to motives of all parties at Benghazi, by all twelve (12) members of the Select Committee, suggests collaboration to question Hillary Clinton to make her appear responsible only for bungling security and rescue, for the sole purpose of diverting attention from Hillary Clinton's role in the CIA and the CIA operative Ambassador Stevens' arming of terrorists. The obvious question to ask would have gone to motives: "What activities were Stevens and the CIA engaged in, when they were attacked at Benghazi?"


GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 09:10

The use of religion(Islam specifically) in politics was first employed by the British in the Middle East in the early parts of the 20th century. In Iran, we have a saying which says; take off a Mullah's turban and you will find the words "Made in England" stamped on his head.


nnedjo 19 Sep 2015 09:09

Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president's "critics" who "were wrong."

Yes, it seems that it has become a tradition of US presidents to boast with the fact that "they do not interfere much in their own job".

For example, in the last campaign for the GOP candidate for the US president, Jeb Bush defended his brother George for a false pretext for war in Iraq in the form of non-existent WMD, claiming that everyone else would bring the same decision on the start of the war, if the same false intelligence would be presented to him.

Thus, the president of the United States can not be held accountable for its decisions if the CIA deliver him false intelligence, or deliberately conceal the true intelligence. On the other hand, since no one has heard of any person from the CIA which is held responsible for the wrong war in Iraq, it turns out that nobody is responsible for this war.

And, to us, mere mortals, it remains only to conclude that the most powerful war machine in the world moves "without a driver", or maybe it is "driven by some automatic pilot".

So, how tragic it is, and yet we can not help laughing. :-)


mikiencolor 19 Sep 2015 09:06

It was obvious to anyone with a modicum of sense from the beginning that the "moderate" rebel training programme would be an utter disaster. But if the lessons you are taking is that nothing should be done at all, I'd submit you are taking the wrong lessons from the debacle. Doing nothing at all would have condemned tens of thousands more to genocide. Doing something saved thousands of Yezidi and saved Rojava.

Wherever the Kurds have been supported they have proved capable, trustworthy and have created functional civil societies. To broadly and undiscerningly dismiss "sending weapons to the Middle East" is disingenuous. Something must be done, and things can be done to help rather than harm if there is a sensible policy maker, and doing nothing certainly can be more immoral and evil than doing something - as I thought we'd learned from Nazi Germany.

The reality is one that neither right wing nor left wing hardliners are willing to face: the Sunni Arab jihadis are the source of most of the problems and the reason is entirely to do with their noxious genocidal and imperialistic ideology and culture. They are a source of instability, enmity and fear, and not just in the Middle East either. And they are being supported and bankrolled by Western allies in the Gulf. The world is a big place with many peoples and ways of thought, and many disagreements - but we nearly all of us seem able to find a way to coexist in this new globalised technological human civilisation. The jihadis are a barbarian throwback, a movement of violent primitivists. There is no place for jihadism in the future and they are a threat to everyone in the world.


ID0020237 -> teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 09:01

Insanity I believe, not madness, but what's the difference. The CIA may get it right, but after political interference and manipulation, they change their conclusions. We've seen this with the Iraq debacle and elsewhere. Just as political interference in military operations, Viet Nam for example, causes imminent failure, so it is with intelligence ignored.


GeneralMittens 19 Sep 2015 09:01

So basically America invades and bombs the shit out of everywhere and the europeans have to clean up the mess and deal with the resulting refugee crisis?

At some point America should be held accountable for their actions in the middle east. Whether thats taking their fair share of refugees from syria or footing the bill for this clusterfuck.

At the very least, other countries should stop enabling their warmongering.


LittleGhost 19 Sep 2015 08:58

US foreign policy in the ME proves Einstein's maxim

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

GreenRevolution 19 Sep 2015 08:57

It has been 14 years since 911 and Bush's so called "war on terror". Not only barbaric wahabi terror has not been defeated it has grown its barbarism to magnitudes unimaginable previously. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been allowed to arm them to the teeth by the very states who claim to be waging "war on terror". Since Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey are close allies of the west and one is a member of NATO, it follows that the west is in fact arming the wahabi terrorists who have turned the Middle East into a wasteland murdering and looting at will. Millions are now refugees, countries laid to waste and yet Mr Kerry and Hammond talk as if they have done such magnificent jobs and Russian involvement would only "complicate" things.


teaandchocolate 19 Sep 2015 08:56

I don't think they have the brightest people working in the CIA and the military in the USA. They are probably bullies, relics from the Cold War, jar-heads, devout 6000-year-old-world Christians, neocons and fruitcakes. Their policy is chaotic and consists of repeating the same thing over and over again hoping to get different results, which is, as we all know, the definition of madness.


smifee 19 Sep 2015 08:52

To be honest, I don't see any confusion.

Obama comes across as a (comparatively) humane person, and I am sure that his personal preference would be for there to be no violence in the middle east. As President of the USA, however, he has to set aside his personal preferences and act in the wider interests of his country.

The US set out to realign the political make up of the middle east. No doubt, they want to make sure Islam will never again be able attack US interests.

Successive Administrations have controlled the funding and arming of various factions within the Middle East to ensure that Muslims kill each other and weaken social structures. The US will fill the ensuing political vacuum and economic waste-land with local leaders loyal to 'freedom, democracy and the American Way'. The next Administration will continue to stoke up the violence, and the one after, and the one after that until the US is satisfied it has achieved its objective.

It seems almost all of us have to contain our personal views if we want to succeed in our place of work. Even the P of the USA.

GoldMoney -> celloswiss 19 Sep 2015 08:51

True, in a democracy, moderates don't need bombs and assault weapons.

Consider this - how would you feel if foreign governments were arming and funding the IRA in Northern Ireland?

What if foreign governments recognised the IRA as a legitimate opposition to the Belfast government and gave them bombs to take over the country?


MichaelGuess 19 Sep 2015 08:46

Who are the real terrorists, the group that bombs indiscriminately, the group that sells arms to both sides, the group that's lies to its "coalition" partners, the group that spies on all its friends, the group that is happy to be starting wars everywhere and then blame other parties for their lack of support.
These are the real terrorists.

MushyP8 19 Sep 2015 08:46

ISIS/ISIL is a creation of the US in an attempt to remove Assad. The long-term goal being to isolate Iran before going in there for the natural resources.

Assad won 89% of the vote in a 74% turnout, how many world leaders have 65% of the population supporting them, hence why Assad hasn't fallen. Naturally the US refuted this alongside its lapdogs, the EU and the UK, as it disproves all the propaganda they've been feeding the west. RT news did an interview with Assad which was very insightful.

Putin seems to be the only one who's got his head screwed on in this situation, which is of course leading to hissy fits by the US because he's proving a stumbling block. More nations need to get behind Putin and Assad, although of course the US wont.

GoldMoney DrDrug 19 Sep 2015 07:52

Moderates do, when the simple act of protesting against the mutilation of children detained by the states secret police are met with a volley of snipers.

No such evidence has been bought to the UN security council. Even the chemical attack that the media claimed from day one was Assad's forces doing turned out to be IS rebels actions. The two human rights groups operating in Syria are western funded NGO's - hardly a neutral point of view given the US's long stated aim of removing Assad (even before 2011).

geedeesee 19 Sep 2015 07:25

This $500 million from June 2014 was for recruiting Syrian rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad - not to fight iSIS.

The White House said at the time:

"This funding request would build on the administration's longstanding efforts to empower the moderate Syrian opposition, both civilian and armed, and will enable the Department of Defense to increase our support to vetted elements of the armed opposition."

The White House statement specifically refers to the "Syrian opposition". That's the term we use to describe anti-government forces. This recruitment and training programme has gone awry because the people originally recruited would have been anti-Assad. Now the Obama administration has tried to change the same people to fighting to ISIS instead. No wonder there's only "four to five" left. This is one big fustercluck!

kingcreosote 19 Sep 2015 07:12

The CIA has probably been the greatest destabalising force in the world since the second world war and seem like more a subsidiary of the weapons trade than a government department.

[Jan 29, 2019] These 2020 hopefuls are courting Wall Street. Don t be fooled by their progressive veneer by Bhaskar Sunkara

Highly recommended!
Taming of financial oligarchy and restoration of the job market at the expense of outsourcing and offshoring is required in the USA and gradually getting support. At least a return to key elements of the New Deal should be in the cards. But Clinton wing of Dems is beong redemption. They are Wall Street puddles. all of the them.
Issues like Medicare for All, Free College, Restoring Glass Steagall, Ending Citizen's United/Campaign finance reform, federal jobs guarantee, criminal justice reform, all poll extremely well among the american populace
If even such a neoliberal pro globalization, corporations controlled media source as Guardian views centrist neoliberal Democrats like Booker unelectable, the situation in the next elections might be interesting.
Notable quotes:
"... Bhaskar Sunkara is a Guardian US columnist and the founding editor of Jacobin ..."
"... 2016 has shown that the Democratic party is beyond redemption. When it comes down to the choice of either win with a platform that may impact the wealth and power of their owners, or losing, they will always choose the latter, and continue as useful (and well paid) idiots in the charade presented as US democracy. ..."
Jan 15, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

In their rhetoric and policy advocacy, this trio has been steadily moving to the left to keep pace with a leftward-moving Democratic party. Booker , Harris and Gillibrand know that voters demand action and are more supportive than ever of Medicare for All and universal childcare.
Gillibrand, long considered a moderate, has even gone as far as to endorse abolishing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) and, along with Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders' single-payer healthcare bill. Harris has also backed universal healthcare and free college tuition for most Americans.

But outward appearances aren't everything. Booker, Harris and Gillibrand have been making a very different pitch of late -- on Wall Street. According to CNBC , all three potential candidates have been reaching out to financial executives lately, including Blackstone's Jonathan Gray, Robert Wolf from 32 Advisors and the Centerbridge Partners founder Mark Gallogly.

Wall Street, after all, played an important role getting the senators where they are today. During his 2014 Senate run, in which just 7% of his contributions came from small donors, Booker raised $2.2m from the securities and investment industry. Harris and Gillibrand weren't far behind in 2018, and even the progressive Democrat Sherrod Brown has solicited donations from Gallogly and other powerful executives.

When CNBC's story about Gillibrand personally working the phones to woo Wall Street executives came out, her team responded defensively, noting her support for financial regulation and promising that if she did run she would take "no corporate Pac money". But what's most telling isn't that Gillibrand and others want Wall Street's money, it's that they want the blessings of financial CEOs. Even if she doesn't take their contributions, she's signaling that she's just playing politics with populist rhetoric. That will allow capitalists to focus their attention on candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have shown a real willingness to abandon the traditional coziness of the Democratic party with the finance, insurance and real estate industries.

Gillibrand and others are behaving perfectly rationally. The last presidential election cost $6.6bn -- advertising, staff and conventions are expensive. But even more important than that, they know that while leftwing stances might help win Democratic primaries, the path of least resistance in the general election is capitulation to the big forces of capital that run this country. Those elites might allow some progressive tinkering on the margins, but nothing that challenges the inequities that keep them wealthy and their victims weak.

Big business is likely to bet heavily on the Democratic party in 2020, maybe even more so than it did in 2016. In normal circumstances, the Democratic party is the second-favorite party of capital; with an erratic Trump around, it is often the first.

The American ruling class has a nice hustle going with elections. We don't have a labor-backed social democratic party that could create barriers to avoid capture by monied interests. It's telling that when asked about the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper's recent chats with Wall Street political financiers, a staff member told CNBC: "We meet with a wide range of donors with shared values across sectors."

Plenty of Democratic leaders believe in the neoliberal growth model. Many have gotten personally wealthy off of it. Others think there is no alternative to allying with finance and then trying to create progressive social policy on the margins. But with sentiments like that, it doesn't take fake news to convince working-class Americans that Democrats don't really have their interests at heart.

Of course, the Democratic party isn't a monolith. But the insurgency waged by newly elected representatives such as the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna and others is still in its infancy. At this stage, it isn't going to scare capital away from the Democratic party, it's going to make Wall Street invest more heavily to maintain its stake in it.

Men like Mark Gallogly know who their real enemy is: more than anyone else, the establishment is wary of Bernie Sanders . It seems likely that he will run for president, but he's been dismissed as a 2020 frontrunner despite his high favorability rates, name recognition, small-donor fundraising ability, appeal to independent voters, and his team's experience running a competitive national campaign. As 2019 goes on, that dismissal will morph into all-out war.

Wall Street isn't afraid of corporate Democrats gaining power. It's afraid of the Democrats who will take them on -- and those, unfortunately, are few and far between.

Bhaskar Sunkara is a Guardian US columnist and the founding editor of Jacobin

memo10 -> Karen Maddening , 15 Jan 2019 14:05

Just like universal health care, let's give up, it's too hard, we're not winners, we're not number one or problem solvers and besides, someone at some time for some reason might get something that someone else might not get regardless if that someone else needs it. Let's go with the Berners who seem to believe there will never be none so pure enough to become president.

The corporate state does not cast the votes. The public does.

Leaning farther to the left on issues like universal healthcare and foreign wars would be agreeing with the public. Not only the progressive public, but the GENERAL public. The big money donors are the ONLY force against the Democrats resisting these things.

mp66 , 15 Jan 2019 13:38
2016 has shown that the Democratic party is beyond redemption. When it comes down to the choice of either win with a platform that may impact the wealth and power of their owners, or losing, they will always choose the latter, and continue as useful (and well paid) idiots in the charade presented as US democracy.
Pete Healey , 15 Jan 2019 13:31
Bernie's challenge will "morph into all-out war". "Wall Street isn't afraid of corporate Democrats", blah, blah, blah. But we're going to continue to play along? Why? Oh yeah, Bhaskar Sunkara will have us believe "There is no alternative". Remember TINA? Give it up, man, just give it up.
yayUSA , 15 Jan 2019 13:17
Tulsi entering is big news.
Danexmachina , 15 Jan 2019 12:31
One dollar, one vote.
If you want Change, keep it in your pocket.
We can't turn this sinking ship around unless we know what direction it's going. So far, that direction is just delivering money to private islands.
Democrats have a lot of talk, but they still want to drive the nice cars and sell the same crapft that the Republicans are.
Taxing the rich only works when you worship the rich in the first place.
Tim Cahill , 15 Jan 2019 12:00
Election financing is the single root cause for our democracy's failure. Period.

I really don't care too much about the mouthing of progressive platitudes from any 2020 Dem Prez candidate. The only ones that will be worth voting for are the ones that sign onto Sanders' (or similar) legislation that calls for a Constitutional amendment that allows federal and state governments to limit campaign contributions.

And past committee votes to prevent amendment legislation from getting to a floor vote - as well as missed co-sponsorship opportunities - should be interesting history for all the candidates to explain.

Campaign financing is what keeps scum entrenched (because primary challengers can't overcome the streams of bribes from those wonderful people exercising their 'free speech' "rights" to keep their puppet in govt) and prevents any challenges to the corporate establishment who serve the same rich masters.

Lenny Dirges -> Vintage59 , 15 Jan 2019 11:55
Lol, Social Security, Medicare, unemployement protections, so many of the things you mentioned, and so much more, were from the PROGRESSIVE New Deal, which managed to implement this slew of changes in 5 years! 5 years! You can't criticize "progressives" in one sentence and then use their accomplishments to support your argument. Today, the New Deal would be considered too far left by most so called "pragmatic liberals." I assume you are getting fully behind the proposed "Green New Deal" then, right?
memo10 -> L C , 15 Jan 2019 11:54

Vintage59 pointed out lots of things people have changed. Here's an exhaustive list of the legislation passed by people who didn't get elected but were more progressive than the people who did:

There is also a steadily growing list of Democrats who did worse in elections than a hypothetical Democratic candidate had been projected to do.

The party can either continue being GOP-Lite or it can start winning elections. It can't do both.

memo10 -> 2miners , 15 Jan 2019 11:49

Forget it Bernie and Co. -with the women haters in his ranks and his apparent tepid support from African Americans he's way off the pace

Way off the pace compared to who? Trump?

memo10 -> IamDolf , 15 Jan 2019 11:44

Nobody is going to get elected on a far left platform. Not in the USA and not anywhere. That's just a fact. And everybody is going to need $$$ in the campaign. Of course candidates are going to suck up to Wall street and business in general.
And we would have been a thousand percent better off with HRC in the white house than we are now with the Trumpostor.

We don't need a candidate with far-left platform, we need one that is left-leaning at all. HRC and her next generation of clones are mild Republicans.

memo10 -> xxxaaaxxx , 15 Jan 2019 11:40

Those who want to push the Democrats to the left in order to win perhaps need to stop talking to each other and talk to people who live outside of LA and NY. If you stay within your bubble it seems the whole world thinks like you.
How old will Sanders be in 2020?

The people (outside the coasts) lean to the left some big issues. Medicare for all. Foreign wars. etc.

A sane person might ask why in the hell the left-side party is leaning farther to the right than the general public.

memo10 -> Peter Krall , 15 Jan 2019 11:17

Sanders is a dinosaur. If there is a reason for Wall Street to be wary of him then it is that the mentally challenged orange guy may win another term if the Democrats run with Sanders.

Hopefully, Sanders will understand what many of his supporters do not want to see: At some time age becomes a problem. If the Democrats decide to move to the left rather than pursuing a pragmatic centrist approach, Ocasio-Cortez might be an option. If they opt for the centrist alternative, it might be Harris or Gillibrand. Or, in both cases, a surprise candidate. But Sanders' time is over, just as Biden's Bloomberg's.

It's true, but Trump is such a clusterfuck that an 80yo president is still be a better situation. Many countries have had rulers in their 80s at one time or another.

Trump is clearly showing early-stage dementia now. Compare footage of him 10+ years ago to anything within the last 6-12 months and it's obvious. The stress levels of being the POTUS + blackmailed by Putin + investigations bearing down on him . . . it's wearing him down fast.

L C -> HobbesianWorlds , 15 Jan 2019 11:15
Anti-trust would be a very good place to start with.

Universal healthcare is a lot harder than you seem to think. I'd love it, but getting there means putting so many people out of work, it'll be a massive political challenge, even if corporations have no influence. Progressives might be better off focusing on how to ensure the existing system works better and Medicaid can slowly expand to fill the universal roll in the future.

Vintage59 -> BaronVonAmericano , 15 Jan 2019 11:05
Wall Street is a casino. The House never loses.
Vintage59 -> Lenny Dirges , 15 Jan 2019 11:02
Everything changes constantly.

Where has offering candidates who actually have a chance to win gotten us? Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, the ADA, Title 9, Social Security, and more. None of these exist without constant changes. All took years to pass against heavy opposition. None went far enough. All were improvements.

The list of wrongheaded things that were also passed is longer but thinking nothing changes because it takes time is faulty logic.

ytram -> ChesBay , 15 Jan 2019 10:30
Our capitalist predators are still alive and well. The finance, insurance, and real estate
organizations are the worst predators in the USA.
They will eat your babies if you let them.

[Jan 29, 2019] Guardian became Deep State Guardian

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian has lost all sense of proportion – mention Tommy Robinson and the entire staff through themselves to floor and roll round like dying flies – yet for when it comes to US neocons they go all misty eyed, redolent of a broody couple when they come across a particularly adorable baby. ..."
"... I would wager a medium sum that Tisdall is on a payroll other than the Grauniad's, or he's an actual asset per Ulfkφtte's books and media appearances. ..."
"... George Bush spent his adult life organizing operations and wars that killed a few million people. Anyone who has spiritual beliefs must wonder how it is to die with so much killing on your record or conscience (if you have one). ..."
"... That's something I've wondered about many times. If you review John McCain's actions and comments before he died, it seems these people don't have a conscience. ..."
"... Reagan was primarily a mantle piece for the banking, oil and defense sectors to run wild. Is it really so hard to believe GHW Bush was running the National Security Council? It was a CIA wet dream come true (especially after the alligator-armed "investigations" of the 70's. ..."
"... The Deep State Guardian. Why don't they just change their name to 'The Daily Thatcherite' and have done with it. ..."
"... They should just show it's full title: The Guardian Of The Establishment ..."
"... well, yeah. but for us mad people it goes deeper even than that: https://geopolitics.co/2018/12/02/in-memoriam-george-h-scherff-jr-aka-george-hw-bush-sr/ ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Oslo - Norway, Dec 4, 2018

Let's never forget George H W Bush's love for incubator babies. He loved fake incubator babies.

The incubator baby actress wasn't just any 15 year old, she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Canada –

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cqiq8P8dRtY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Philpot, Dec 4, 2018
British and most western media are either in the direct or indirect pay of their governments. What journalist can expose this for us? Any of you willing to make the biggest scoop of the 21st century? Tom Bradbury at ITN must be on the spook payroll, for starters? MI6 had foreign correspondents for years, but domestic mouthpieces must now be on the take too? All paid to demonise Russia and Putin.
harry stotle, Dec 4, 2018

The Guardian has lost all sense of proportion – mention Tommy Robinson and the entire staff through themselves to floor and roll round like dying flies – yet for when it comes to US neocons they go all misty eyed, redolent of a broody couple when they come across a particularly adorable baby.

Simon 'white helmets' Tisdall is especially egregious – one can imagine him throwing darts at a picture of Putin while producing his latest homily to the murderous actions of gangsters like Bush and his crime family.

Its hard not to despair now this has become the official face of Britains so-called liberal media.

Yarkob, Dec 4, 2018
I would wager a medium sum that Tisdall is on a payroll other than the Grauniad's, or he's an actual asset per Ulfkφtte's books and media appearances. As with Michael White, with whom I had a very illuminating argument via email a few years back. He *is* an asset, not a journalist (and a massive dick, to boot)
George cornell, Dec 4, 2018
I thought the attitude of the Bush family to their fellow Americans was best illustrated by Barbara's response to the plight of the homeless victims of Katrina who had been transported to the Houston domed stadium. They spent their nights there sleeping on hard benches and when good ole Babs heard of it, she opined that they probably had never had it so good so why were they complaining. Could Mother Theresa have had greater generosity of spirit?
Gekaufte Journalisten (bought journalism), Dec 4, 2018
Not just one article, the awful Guardian is full of contents eulogising [yet another] mongrel of a president.

But look at conservative media. The crazy Infowars.com described this Bush as an Anti-American Globalist and Traitor!! .. and zerohedge.com is celebrating: "The Evil Has Died" and "In 2016 he voted for Hillary Clinton, because the Deep State Swamp sticks together". https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-02/exploring-dark-side-bush-41

Just tell me, who is the rabid neo-con right-wing rag that is glorifying wars and mass murderers?

Norcal, Dec 4, 2018
Speaking of neighbors you might appreciate this excellent Journalism by Robert Parry: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/12/03/bush-41s-october-surprise-denials-2/
DunGroanin, Dec 4, 2018
The late Robert Parry, sad to say. Maybe that now both the 'MacBeths' are stains on the tarmac – Parry's notes of the bloodstained legacy of that dynasty can finally be displayed? That Barbara was one cold blooded mother! Would have happily pulled a trigger on JFK, MLK herself (some think).

Just about the whole century from the setup of the Fed, the two world wars, the depression, Hitler, Korea, Cuba all of it, had a a Bush hand in it. He was the self crowned Caesar having publicly executed the whole of Camelot and left us with a poison toad, reminds us how low the Bush's took the USA.

David Eire, Dec 3, 2018
George Bush spent his adult life organizing operations and wars that killed a few million people. Anyone who has spiritual beliefs must wonder how it is to die with so much killing on your record or conscience (if you have one).
Loverat, Dec 4, 2018
That's something I've wondered about many times. If you review John McCain's actions and comments before he died, it seems these people don't have a conscience. If you surround yourself with people of similar mindset and in a climate where war is considered obligatory for US Presidents, you go into self denial. Wars are probably like an addiction for these people and once you get to that stage you no longer have a conscience.

During John McCain's funeral where all living ex-presidents were in attendance, someone remarked on Twitter, 'Quick, lock the church doors and hold the war crimes trial in the church!'. This was a far more realistic observation than the sickening McCain apologist BBC coverage we were subjected to.

At the weekend I went to the place where Oliver Cromwell lived. There was an American tourist who told us she was shocked about Oliver Cromwell being dug up from his grave and his head stuck on a pike. She said it was gruesome. I was tempted to say that at least that was 350 years ago, and similar things are happening today in Iraq, Syria and Libya – all places where the US has instigated the chaos and supports the perpretators. I resisted the temptation.

I note that Cromwell thought he was chosen by God to do what he did. But again that was in different times and there were some redeeming factors in what he did, Probably on par with Obama – who wreaked havoc on the Middle East but reached agreements on Iran and Cuba. Plus Obama looked cool while killing and droning.

But what goes around comes around. I sense the pure evil involved in the current regime change wars, government, media etc will pay a heavy price – whether in this life or the next.

mark, Dec 4, 2018
The state controlled BBC has just done another puff piece on McCain saying what a splendid chap and great statesman and all round good egg he was.

The MSM likes to slag off Vlad The Bad by droning on about how he was in the KGB. But Bush wasn't just IN the CIA, he was the BOSS of the CIA, at a time when hundreds of thousands of Central American peasant farmers and Indians were being killed by CIA trained and orchestrated death squads.

Gezzah Potts, Dec 4, 2018
Mark: jayzus Mark, don't you just want to projectile vomit when you see all this absolute bullshit, just straight out revising of history, just the lies, on and on . I was involved in a Central American solidarity group in the 1980s – early 90s here in Aussie, found out then all about U.S style 'democracatic values' and 'human rights concerns' and death squads and various fascists fully supported by the United States, and places like Guatemala and Nicaragua. Its all an illusion for 'polite society' and the gullible to believe in. Sigh
mark, Dec 5, 2018
I can't remember the exact figures but I think it was over 200,000 murdered in Guatemala out of a population of 4 million. It was the same story in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia. And of course the CIA satrap Noriega was hauled off in chains when that country was invaded. But Uncle Sam is finally paying a price for his antics south of the border. Those societies were wrecked and brutalised beyond repair. There is now an unbelievably high murder rate of women in Guatemala. Millions of those people have sought some kind of refuge in the belly of the beast, causing an immigration crisis, with an illegal immigrant population that may be as high as 30 million. Hence all the uproar over Trump's wall. The immigration crisis was a factor in Trump's election, just as the tidal wave of migrants from the destroyed countries of the Middle East was a factor in Brexit. Cameron, Sarko and Clinton thought it was a spiffing idea and quite a wizard wheeze to bomb Libya back to the Stone Age. So we now have a Mad Max failed state complete with warlords and slave markets just across the Med. What goes around, comes around. You can't expect to export violence and mayhem abroad and remain immune to it at home.
Gezzah Potts, Dec 5, 2018
Mark: after Efrain Rios Montt seized power in a coup in Guatemala in 1982, US Ambassador Frederick Chapin declared that thanks to the coup of Rios Montt "the Guatemalan Govt has come out of the darkness into the light". That sums it up in one sentence, and you're probably aware of the mass killing and disappearances under his genocidal tyranny. Reagan kindly submitted that Rios Montt was 'getting a bum rap on human rights, the same Reagan who declared the Contra's were 'The moral equal of our founding fathers'. In El Salvador, the same mass slaughter, the same mass upheaval, and even murdering Archbishop Romero. You only need to look at what happened in Central & South America to understand what the United States really represents.
Jen, Dec 4, 2018
I would have bypassed the war crimes trial, locked the church and then built a moat stocked with crocodiles and piranhas around it.
mark, Dec 4, 2018
That's entirely right. People understandably despise and revile people like Brady and Hindley, Sutcliffe, Dahmer, Bundy and the like. But they killed a handful of people and were often very damaged individuals to begin with. And at least they did their own dirty work. Subhuman scum sucking filth like Bush, Bush 2, Obama, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Blair, Straw and Campbell are a thousand times worse. They kill millions without getting their hands dirty, and preen and posture as great statesmen and public servants, expecting deference and state funerals and puff piece obituaries from nauseating, loathsome, lickspittle media hacks like Tisdall.
Caitlin Ni Chonaill, Dec 6, 2018
You left out Kissinger and Albright.
Gezzah Potts, Dec 3, 2018
Nailed it Kit. The attempt at revionism and rewriting history by these craven creatures, these sycophantic slimebag shills for Imperialism and War and the Anglo Zionist Empire. They don't speak truth to power, they protect and grovel to the powerful. The eulogising and fawning of Bush was stomach churning, as it was for the arch Imperialist McCain when he croaked. Thank God for alternative news sites, and yeah Caitlin Johnston @ medium nailed it as well, as Fair Dinkum mentioned. Where's John Pilger when you need him?
Badger Down, Dec 3, 2018
GBH Bush's Highway of Death deserves mention. I'll spare you the pictures.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=highway+of+death+desert+storm&t=h_&atb=v92-2_f&ia=web
systemicfraud, Dec 3, 2018
What no one seems to realize is that the VP often takes charge of the US National Security Council when POTUS is not able to attend meetings, which are held weekly. Under Eisenhower it was Richard Nixon who often took charge of the meetings -- Tim Weiner's book "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA" gives some details on this. Reagan was primarily a mantle piece for the banking, oil and defense sectors to run wild. Is it really so hard to believe GHW Bush was running the National Security Council? It was a CIA wet dream come true (especially after the alligator-armed "investigations" of the 70's.
Fair dinkum, Dec 3, 2018
Caitlin sums it up: https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/12/01/if-you-murdered-a-bunch-of-people-mass-murder-is-your-single-defining-legacy/
Simon Hodges, Dec 3, 2018
The Deep State Guardian. Why don't they just change their name to 'The Daily Thatcherite' and have done with it.
Frankly Speaking, Dec 4, 2018
They should just show it's full title: The Guardian Of The Establishment
kevin morris, Dec 3, 2018
'Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years' by Russ Baker -- a fascinating account of the Bush family's involvement in a great deal of nefarious activity. Bush senior is one of the few people who didn't remember where he was when Kennedy was shot. Baker puts him in Dallas.
lysias, Dec 4, 2018
Now that G.H.W. Bush hss died, is there anybody suspected of involvement in the JFK assassination still alive?
kevin morris, Dec 4, 2018
I don't know but as a fairly apolitical individual, I never much bothered with the Kennedy Assasination. All that changed when during the fiftieth anniversary, BBC Radio Four ran a program which included an interview with the Dallas police officer who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby. The consensus of that program was that the case was open shut and Oswald did it. Around that time, several newspapers in the UK featured articles claiming that Oswald acted alone.

Whether or not anyone actively involved still lives, their descendants still do and the probable organising body too. There still appears to be determination in some quarters to spread disinformation about the case. Given that as long ago as the late seventies the House of Representatives Assassination Committee concluded that JFK's death was probably the consequence of a conspiracy, determination amongst the mainstream media to lay Kennedy's death at the hands of Oswald alone suggests that there is still determination that the truth never becomes public.

Frankly Speaking, Dec 3, 2018
Exactly what i was thinking!

I'm sickened by the Guardian's and BBC's obedience to the US neocon project to seek, or create, and destroy "enemies" and whilst ignoring all the disgusting atrocities that arise as a consequence.

The Guardian is not even worth the paper it's printed on. It's become The Guardian Of The Establishment rather than of the Truth which it used to proclaim.

George cornell, Dec 4, 2018
It is in danger of losing its budgie-cage-liner status. If budgies can talk they may refuse to evacuate on it. What kind of person maintains ties to such a a poor excuse for cage toiletry. The moral crunch time for their journalists (actually their opinionists) came and went a long time ago.
Brutally Remastered, Dec 3, 2018
What a great piece. My parents knew them in New York and they came over once and left behind an embossed packet of White House cigs. I asked my father (before he died) what he thought of them and all he ever said was he thought that Barbara was the intellect in the family.
Bloody annoying, thanks Pater.
Marianne Birkby, Dec 3, 2018
From 2004

"The induction of DU weapons in 1991 in Iraq broke a 46-year taboo. This Trojan Horse of nuclear war continues to be used more and more. DU remains radioactive longer than the age of the earth (estimated at 4.5 billion years). The long-term effects from over a decade of DU exposures are devastating. The increased quantities of radioactive material used in Afghanistan are 3 to 5 times greater than Iraq, 1991. In Iraq, 2003, they are already estimated to be 6 to 10 times 1991, and will travel through a larger area and affect many more people, babies and unborn. Countries within a 1000-mile radius of Baghdad and Kabul are being affected by radiation poisoning

Badger Down, Dec 3, 2018
"DU remains radioactive longer than [ ] 4.5 billion years." It's worse than that. It loses half of its radioactivity in that time. The good news is that that slow release means "D"U doesn't zap you much. The bad news is it's chemically toxic, like a heavy metal (which it is).
nwwoods, Dec 3, 2018
Also no mention of the body of circumstantial evidence linking Bush to JFK's murder, though Bush repeatedly insisted that he couldn't recall his whereabouts that day (I can precisely recall where I was, and I was 9 years old in 1963), in spite of the fact that solid documentary evidence exists that puts him in Dallas on Nov 22, 1963.
Norcal, Dec 4, 2018
The very first Google Search I did was this, (George H.W. Bush+November 22, 1963) and it yielded a page like the following link, which began my research into the JFK Assassination.

http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewstory.php?storyid=5420

nomad, Dec 3, 2018

well, yeah. but for us mad people it goes deeper even than that: https://geopolitics.co/2018/12/02/in-memoriam-george-h-scherff-jr-aka-george-hw-bush-sr/

Bush Sr. : Crypto-Nazi patriarch and his disciples
https://eclinik.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/barbara-bush-funeral-four-presidents-four-first-ladies.jpg?w=672&h=372&crop=1

[Jan 21, 2019] Beyond BuzzFeed The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing US Media Failures On The Trump-Russia Story by Glenn Greenwald

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via The Intercept,

Buzzfeed was once notorious for traffic-generating "listicles" , but has since become an impressive outlet for deep investigative journalism under editor-in-chief Ben Smith. That outlet was prominently in the news this week thanks to its "bombshell" story about President Trump and Michael Cohen: a story that, like so many others of its kind, blew up in its face , this time when the typically mute Robert Mueller's office took the extremely rare step to label its key claims "inaccurate."

But in homage to BuzzFeed's past viral glory, following are the top ten worst media failures in two-plus-years of Trump/Russia reporting. They are listed in reverse order, as measured by the magnitude of the embarrassment, the hysteria they generated on social media and cable news, the level of journalistic recklessness that produced them, and the amount of damage and danger they caused. This list was extremely difficult to compile in part because news outlets (particularly CNN and MSNBC) often delete from the internet the video segments of their most embarrassing moments. Even more challenging was the fact that the number of worthy nominees is so large that highly meritorious entrees had to be excluded, but are acknowledged at the end with (dis)honorable mention status.

Note that all of these "errors" go only in one direction: namely, exaggerating the grave threat posed by Moscow and the Trump circle's connection to it. It's inevitable that media outlets will make mistakes on complex stories. If that's being done in good faith, one would expect the errors would be roughly 50/50 in terms of the agenda served by the false stories. That is most definitely not the case here. Just as was true in 2002 and 2003, when the media clearly wanted to exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and thus all of its "errors" went in that direction, virtually all of its major "errors" in this story are devoted to the same agenda and script:

10. RT Hacked Into and Took Over C-SPAN (Fortune)

On June 12, 2017, Fortune claimed that RT had hacked into and taken over C-SPAN and that C-SPAN "confirmed" it had been hacked. The whole story was false :

9. Russian Hackers Invaded the U.S. Electricity Grid to Deny Vermonters Heat During the Winter (WashPost)

On December 30, 2016, the Washington Post reported that "Russian hackers penetrated the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont," causing predictable outrage and panic, along with threats from U.S. political leaders. But then they kept diluting the story with editor's notes – to admit that the malware was found on a laptop not connected to the U.S. electric grid at all – until finally acknowledging, days later, that the whole story was false, since the malware had nothing to do with Russia or with the U.S. electric grid:

8. A New, Deranged, Anonymous Group Declares Mainstream Political Sites on the Left and Right to be Russian Propaganda Outlets and WashPost Touts its Report to Claim Massive Kremlin Infiltration of the Internet (WashPost)

On November 24, 2016, the Washington Post published one of the most inflammatory, sensationalistic stories to date about Russian infiltration into U.S. politics using social media, accusing "more than 200 websites" of being "routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans." It added: "stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign [on Facebook] were viewed more than 213 million times."

Unfortunately for the paper, those statistics were provided by a new, anonymous group that reached these conclusions by classifying long-time, well-known sites – from the Drudge Report to Clinton-critical left-wing websites such as Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, and Naked Capitalism, as well as libertarian venues such as Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute. – as "Russian propaganda outlets," producing one of the longest Editor's Note in memory appended to the top of the article (but not until two weeks later , long after the story was mindlessly spread all throughout the media ecosystem):

7. Trump Aide Anthony Scaramucci is Involved in a Russian Hedge Fund Under Senate Investigation (CNN)

On June 22, 2017, CNN reported that Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci was involved with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, under Senate investigation. He was not. CNN retracted the story and forced the three reporters who published it to leave the network.

6. Russia Attacked U.S. "Diplomats" (i.e. Spies) at the Cuban Embassy Using a Super-Sophisticated Sonic Microwave Weapon (NBC/MSNBC/CIA)

On September 11, 2017, NBC News and MSNBC spread all over its airwaves a claim from its notorious CIA puppet Ken Dilanian that Russia was behind a series of dastardly attacks on U.S. personnel at the Embassy in Cuba using a sonic or microwave weapon so sophisticated and cunning that Pentagon and CIA scientists had no idea what to make of it.

But then teams of neurologists began calling into doubt that these personnel had suffered any brain injuries at all – that instead they appear to have experienced collective psychosomatic symptoms – and then biologists published findings that the "strange sounds" the U.S. "diplomats" reported hearing were identical to those emitted by a common Caribbean male cricket during mating season.

5. Trump Created a Secret Internet Server to Covertly Communicate with a Russian Bank (Slate)

4. Paul Manafort Visited Julian Assange Three Times in the Ecuadorian Embassy and Nobody Noticed (Guardian/Luke Harding)

On November 27, 2018, the Guardian published a major "bombshell" that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had somehow managed to sneak inside one of the world's most surveilled buildings, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and visit Julian Assange on three different occasions. Cable and online commentators exploded.

Seven weeks later, no other media outlet has confirmed this ; no video or photographic evidence has emerged; the Guardian refuses to answer any questions; its leading editors have virtually gone into hiding; other media outlets have expressed serious doubts about its veracity; and an Ecuadorian official who worked at the embassy has called the story a complete fake:

3. CNN Explicitly Lied About Lanny Davis Being Its Source – For a Story Whose Substance Was Also False: Cohen Would Testify that Trump Knew in Advance About the Trump Tower Meeting (CNN)

On July 27, 2018, CNN published a blockbuster story : that Michael Cohen was prepared to tell Robert Mueller that President Trump knew in advanced about the Trump Tower meeting. There were, however, two problems with this story: first, CNN got caught blatantly lying when its reporters claimed that "contacted by CNN, one of Cohen's attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment" (in fact, Davis was one of CNN's key sources, if not its only source, for this story), and second, numerous other outlets retracted the story after the source, Davis, admitted it was a lie. CNN, however, to this date has refused to do either:

2. Robert Mueller Possesses Internal Emails and Witness Interviews Proving Trump Directed Cohen to Lie to Congress (BuzzFeed)

1. Donald Trump Jr. Was Offered Advanced Access to the WikiLeaks Email Archive (CNN/MSNBC)

The morning of December 9, 2017, launched one of the most humiliating spectacles in the history of the U.S. media. With a tone so grave and bombastic that it is impossible to overstate, CNN went on the air and announced a major exclusive: Donald Trump, Jr. was offered by email advanced access to the trove of DNC and Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks – meaning before those emails were made public. Within an hour, MSNBC's Ken Dilanian, using a tone somehow even more unhinged, purported to have "independently confirmed" this mammoth, blockbuster scoop, which, they said, would have been the smoking gun showing collusion between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over the hacked emails (while the YouTube clips have been removed, you can still watch one of the amazing MSNBC videos here ).

There was, alas, just one small problem with this massive, blockbuster story: it was totally and completely false. The email which Trump, Jr. received that directed him to the WikiLeaks archive was sent after WikiLeaks published it online for the whole world to see, not before. Rather than some super secretive operative giving Trump, Jr. advanced access, as both CNN and MSNBC told the public for hours they had confirmed, it was instead just some totally pedestrian message from a random member of the public suggesting Trump, Jr. review documents the whole world was already talking about. All of the anonymous sources CNN and MSNBC cited somehow all got the date of the email wrong.

To date, when asked how they both could have gotten such a massive story so completely wrong in the same way, both CNN and MSNBC have adopted the posture of the CIA by maintaining complete silence and refusing to explain how it could possibly be that all of their "multiple, independent sources" got the date wrong on the email in the same way, to be as incriminating – and false – as possible. Nor, needless to say, will they identify their sources who, in concert, fed them such inflammatory and utterly false information.

Sadly, CNN and MSNBC have deleted most traces of the most humiliating videos from the internet, including demanding that YouTube remove copies. But enough survives to document just what a monumental, horrifying, and utterly inexcusable debacle this was. Particularly amazing is the clip of the CNN reporter (see below) having to admit the error for the first time, as he awkwardly struggles to pretend that it's not the massive, horrific debacle that it so obviously is:

Dishonorable Mention:

Special mention:

As I've said many times, the U.S. media has become quite adept at expressing extreme indignation when people criticize them; when politicians conclude that it is advantageous to turn the U.S. media into their main adversary; and when people turn to "fake news" sites.

If, however, they were willing to devote just a small fraction of that energy to examining their own conduct, perhaps they would develop the tools necessary to combat those problems instead of just denouncing their critics and angrily demanding that politicians and news consumers accord them the respect to which they believe they are entitled.

[Jan 11, 2019] Facts does not matter in the current propoganda environment, the narrative is everything

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Look at Russiagate. An excellent recent article by Ray McGovern for Consortium News titled "A Look Back at Clapper's Jan. 2017 'Assessment' on Russia-gate" reminds us on the two-year anniversary of the infamous ODNI assessment that the entire establishment Russia narrative is built upon nothing but the say-so of a couple dozen intelligence analysts hand-picked and guided by a man who helped deceive the world into Iraq, a man who is so virulently Russophobic that he's said on more than one occasion that Russians are genetically predisposed to subversive behavior. ..."
"... That January 2017 intelligence assessment has formed the foundation underlying every breathless, conspiratorial Russia story you see in western news media to this very day, and it's completely empty. The idea that Russia interfered in the US election in any meaningful way is based on an assessment crafted by a known liar , from which countless relevant analysts were excluded, which makes no claims of certainty, and contains no publicly available evidence. It's pure narrative from top to bottom, and therefore the "collusion" story is as well since Trump could only have colluded with an actual thing that actually happened, and there's no evidence that it did. ..."
"... So now you've got Trump being painted as a Putin lackey based on a completely fabricated election interference story, despite the fact that Trump has actually been far more hawkish towards Russia than any administration since the fall of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The narrative matrix of America's political/media landscape is a confusing labyrinth of smoke and funhouse mirrors distorting and manipulating the public consciousness at every turn. It's psychologically torturous, which is largely why people who are deeply immersed in politics are so on-edge all the time regardless of where they're at on the political spectrum. The only potentially good thing I can see about this forceful brutalization of the public psyche is that it might push people over the edge and shatter the illusion altogether. ..."
"... Trust in the mass media is already at an all-time low while our ability to network and share information that casts doubt on official narratives is at an all-time high, which is why the establishment propaganda machine is acting so weird as it scrambles to control the narrative, and why efforts to censor the internet are getting more and more severe. ..."
Jan 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump tweeted the following:

"Endless Wars, especially those which are fought out of judgement mistakes that were made many years ago, & those where we are getting little financial or military help from the rich countries that so greatly benefit from what we are doing, will eventually come to a glorious end!"

The tweet was warmly received and celebrated by Trump's supporters, despite the fact that it says essentially nothing since "eventually" could mean anything.

Indeed, it's looking increasingly possible that nothing will come of the president's stated agenda to withdraw troops from Syria other than a bunch of words which allow his anti-interventionist base to feel nice feelings inside. Yet everyone laps it up, on both ends of the political aisle, just like they always do:

How are such wildly different pictures being painted about the same non-event? By the fact that both sides of the Trump-Syria debate have thus far been reacting solely to narrative.

This has consistently been the story throughout Trump's presidency: a heavy emphasis on words and narratives and a disinterest in facts and actions. A rude tweet can dominate headlines for days, while the actual behaviors of this administration can go almost completely ignored. Trump continues to more or less advance the same warmongering Orwellian globalist policies and agendas as his predecessors along more or less the same trajectory, but frantic mass media narratives are churned out every day painting him as some unprecedented deviation from the norm. Trump himself, seemingly aware that he's interacting entirely with perceptions and narratives instead of facts and reality, routinely makes things up whole cloth and often claims he's "never said" things he most certainly has said. And why not? Facts don't matter in this media environment, only narrative does.

Look at Russiagate. An excellent recent article by Ray McGovern for Consortium News titled "A Look Back at Clapper's Jan. 2017 'Assessment' on Russia-gate" reminds us on the two-year anniversary of the infamous ODNI assessment that the entire establishment Russia narrative is built upon nothing but the say-so of a couple dozen intelligence analysts hand-picked and guided by a man who helped deceive the world into Iraq, a man who is so virulently Russophobic that he's said on more than one occasion that Russians are genetically predisposed to subversive behavior.

That January 2017 intelligence assessment has formed the foundation underlying every breathless, conspiratorial Russia story you see in western news media to this very day, and it's completely empty. The idea that Russia interfered in the US election in any meaningful way is based on an assessment crafted by a known liar , from which countless relevant analysts were excluded, which makes no claims of certainty, and contains no publicly available evidence. It's pure narrative from top to bottom, and therefore the "collusion" story is as well since Trump could only have colluded with an actual thing that actually happened, and there's no evidence that it did.

So now you've got Trump being painted as a Putin lackey based on a completely fabricated election interference story, despite the fact that Trump has actually been far more hawkish towards Russia than any administration since the fall of the Soviet Union. With the nuclear brinkmanship this administration has been playing with its only nuclear rival on the planet, it would be so incredibly easy for Trump's opposition to attack him on his insanely hawkish escalation of a conflict which could easily end all life on earth if any little thing goes wrong, but they don't. Because this is all about narrative and not facts, Democrats have been paced into supporting even more sanctioning, proxy conflicts and nuclear posturing while loudly objecting to any sign of communication between the two nuclear superpowers, while Republicans are happy to see Trump increase tensions with Moscow because it combats the collusion narrative. Now both parties are supporting an anti-Russia agenda which existed in secretive US government agencies long before the 2016 election .

And this to me is the most significant thing about Trump's presidency. Not any of the things people tell me I'm supposed to care about, but the fact that the age of Trump has been highlighting in a very clear way how we're all being manipulated by manufactured narratives all the time.

Humanity lives in a world of mental narrative . We have a deeply conditioned societal habit of heaping a massive overlay of mental labels and stories on top of the raw data we take in through our senses, and those labels and stories tend to consume far more interest and attention than the actual data itself. We use labels and stories for a reason: without them it would be impossible to share abstract ideas and information with each other about what's going on in our world. But those labels and stories get imbued with an intense amount of belief and identification; we form tight, rigid belief structures about our world, our society, and our very selves that can generate a lot of fear, hatred and suffering. Which is why it feels so nice to go out into nature and relax in an environment that isn't shaped by human mental narrative.

This problem is exponentially exacerbated by the fact that these stories and labels are wildly subjective and very easily manipulated. Powerful people have learned that they can control the way everyone else thinks, acts and votes by controlling the stories they tell themselves about what's going on in the world using mass media control and financial political influence, allowing ostensible democracies to be conducted in a way which serves power far more efficiently than any dictatorship.

So now America has a president who is escalating a dangerous cold war against Russia , who is working to prosecute Julian Assange and shut down WikiLeaks , who is expanding the same war on whistleblowers and Orwellian surveillance network that was expanded by Bush and Obama before him, who has expanded existing wars and made no tangible move as yet to scale them back, who is advancing the longstanding neocon agenda of regime change in Iran with starvation sanctions and CIA covert ops , and yet the two prevailing narratives about him are that he's either (A) a swamp-draining, establishment-fighting hero of peace or that he's (B) a treasonous Putin lackey who isn't nearly hawkish enough toward Russia.

See how both A and B herd the public away from opposing the dangerous pro-establishment agendas being advanced by this administration? The dominant narratives could not possibly be more different from what's actually going on, and the only reason they're the dominant narratives is because an alliance of plutocrats and secretive government agencies exerts an immense amount of influence over the stories that are told by the political/media class.

The narrative matrix of America's political/media landscape is a confusing labyrinth of smoke and funhouse mirrors distorting and manipulating the public consciousness at every turn. It's psychologically torturous, which is largely why people who are deeply immersed in politics are so on-edge all the time regardless of where they're at on the political spectrum. The only potentially good thing I can see about this forceful brutalization of the public psyche is that it might push people over the edge and shatter the illusion altogether.

Trust in the mass media is already at an all-time low while our ability to network and share information that casts doubt on official narratives is at an all-time high, which is why the establishment propaganda machine is acting so weird as it scrambles to control the narrative, and why efforts to censor the internet are getting more and more severe. It is possible that this is what it looks like when a thinking species evolves into a sane and healthy relationship with thought. Perhaps the cracks that are appearing all over official narratives today are like the first cracks appearing in an eggshell as a bird begins to hatch into the world.

* * *

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My articles are entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet new merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers .

[Jan 08, 2019] Shock Files- What Role Did Integrity Initiative Play in Sergei Skripal Affair- - Sputnik International

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... How could Novichok have poisoned people four months after the Skripal attack? -- ..."
"... The Skripal Files ..."
Jan 08, 2019 | sputniknews.com

Hacking syndicate Anonymous has just released its fourth tranche of documents hacked from the internal servers of the Institute for Statecraft and its subsidiary, the Integrity Initiative. Several explosive files raise serious questions about the shadowy British state and NATO-funded 'think tank' and its connections with the Skripal affair.

The files were released just after 2:30pm GMT on January 4 -- I've barely scratched the surface of the content, but what I've seen so far contains a panoply of bombshell revelations -- to say the least, the organization(s) now have serious questions to answer about what role they played in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in March, and its aftermath both nationally and internationally.

Sinister Timeline

One file apparently dating to "early 2015" -- "Russian Federation Sanctions" -- written by the Institute's Victor Madeira outlines "potential levers" to achieve Russian "behaviour change", "peace with Ukraine", "return [of] Crimea", "regime change" or "other?". The suggested "levers" span almost every conceivable area, including "civil society", "sports", "finance" and "technology".

In the section marked "intelligence", Madeira suggests simultaneously expelling "every RF [Russian Federation] intelligence officer and air/defense/naval attache from as many countries as possible". In parentheses, it references 'Operation Foot' , the expulsion of over 1000 Soviet officials from the UK in September 1971, the largest expulsion of intelligence officials by any government in history.

The section on sports also suggests "advocating the view [Russia] is unworthy of hosting [sporting] events" -- and the section marked "information" recommends the sanctioning of 'Russian' media "in West for not complying with regulators' standards".

2015 File Written By Victor Madeira on Possible Anti-Russian Actions 2015 File Written By Victor Madeira on Possible Anti-Russian Actions

In April that year, Institute for Statecraft chief Chris Donnelly was promoted to Honorary Colonel of SGMI (Specialist Group Military Intelligence), and in October he met with General Sir Richard Barrons. Notes from the meeting don't make clear who said what, but one despaired that "if no catastrophe happens to wake people up and demand a response, then we need to find a way to get the core of government to realise the problem and take it out of the political space."

"We will need to impose changes over the heads of vested interests. We did this in the 1930s. My conclusion is it is we who must either generate the debate or wait for something dreadful to happen to shock us into action. We must generate an independent debate outside government. We need to ask when and how do we start to put all this right? Do we have the national capabilities [and/or] capacities to fix it? If so, how do we improve our harnessing of resources to do it? We need this debate now. There is not a moment to be lost," they said.

Operation IRIS Begins

On 4 March 2018, former Russian military officer and double agent for MI6 Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England.

Within days, the Institute had submitted a proposal to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, "to study social media activity in respect of the events that took place, how news spread and evaluate how the incident is being perceived" in a number of countries.

The bid was accepted, and the Initiative's 'Operation Iris' was launched. Under its auspices, the Institute employed 'global investigative solutions' firm Harod Associates to analyze social media activity related to Skripal the world over.

It also conducted media monitoring of its own, with Institute 'research fellow' Simon Bracey-Lane producing regular 'roundups' of media coverage overseas, based on insights submitted by individuals connected to the Initiative living in several countries. One submission, from an unnamed source in Moldova, says they "cannot firmly say" whether the country's media had its "own point of view" on the issue, or whether news organizations had taken "an obvious pro-Russian or pro-Western position", strongly suggesting these were key questions for the Initiative.

Integrity Initiative Seeks Intelligence On How Overseas Media Reported Skripal Incident Integrity Initiative Seeks Intelligence On How Overseas Media Reported Skripal Incident

Moreover though, there are clear indications the Institute sought to shape the news narrative on the attack -- and indeed the UK government's response. One file dated March 11 appears to be a briefing document on the affair to date, with key messages bolded throughout.

It opens by setting out "The Narrative" of the incident -- namely "Russia has carried out yet another brutal attack, this time with a deadly nerve agent, on someone living in Britain".

"Use of the nerve agent posed a threat to innocent British subjects, affecting 21 people and seriously affecting a police officer. This is not the first time such an attack has been carried out in the UK 14 deaths are believed to be attributable to the Kremlin Russia has poisoned its enemies abroad on other occasions, most notably then-candidate for the Presidency of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, in 2004. Russian political activist Vladimir Kara-Murza has been poisoned twice; and the journalist Anna Politkovskaya was also poisoned and later shot dead. Since Putin has been running Russia, the Kremlin has a history of poisoning its opponents in a gruesome way," the "narrative" reads.

The file goes on to declare the British response has been "far too weak it's essential the government makes a much stronger response this time" -- and then lists "possible, realistic, first actions", including banning RT and Sputnik from operating in the UK, boycotting the 2018 World Cup, withdrawing the UK ambassador from Moscow and expelling the Russian ambassador to the UK, and refusing/revoking visas to leading Russians within Vladimir Putin's "circle", and their families.

Post-Skripal Incident Anti-Russian Actions Recommended by Integrity Initiative Post-Skripal Incident Anti-Russian Actions Recommended by Integrity Initiative

It's not clear who the document was distributed to -- but it may have been given to journalists within the Initiative's UK 'cluster', if not others. This may explain why the Institute's "narrative", and its various recommended "responses" utterly dominated mainstream media reporting of the affair for months afterwards, despite the glaring lack of evidence of Russian state involvement in the attack.

It's extremely curious so many of the briefing document's recommendations almost exactly -- if not exactly -- echo several of the suggested "levers" outlined in the 2015 document. It's also somewhat troubling the "Global Operation Foot" spoken of in that file duly came to pass on March 28 2018, with over 20 countries expelling over 100 Russian diplomats.

Likewise, it's striking Victor Madeira, the Institute staffer who made the recommendations in 2015, made many media appearances discussing the poisoning following the incident routinely documented by the Institute. Security consultant Dan Kaszeta also wrote a number of articles for the Integrity Initiative website about chemical weapons following the attack -- including a July 14 article, How could Novichok have poisoned people four months after the Skripal attack? -- receiving 40 pence per word .

Invoice submitted to Integrity Initiative by Dan Kaszeta Invoice submitted to Integrity Initiative by Dan Kaszeta Strange Connections

The Institute's bizarrely intimate connections with the incident don't end there. Another document apparently dating to July 2018 contains the contact details of Pablo Miller, Skripal's MI6 recruiter, handler and -- unbelievably -- neighbor in Salisbury. Anonymous claims the document is an invitee list for a meeting the Institute convened between a number of individuals and Syria's highly controversial White Helmets group, but this is yet to be verified.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the latest document dump raises yet further questions about how and why it was BBC Diplomatic and Defense Editor Mark Urban -- who was in the same tank regiment as Miller after leaving University -- came to meet with Skripal in the year before his poisoning. When I attended the launch of his book on the affair in October -- The Skripal Files -- he was evasive on whether he played a role in connecting him with Skripal, and denied Miller was Skripal's recruiter.

The latest trove also raises yet further questions about the activities of the Institute for Statecraft and Integrity Initiative. In light of these revelations, reading the record of Donnelly's meeting with General Barrons takes on an acutely chilling quality. It may be that purely serendipitously the pair got their "catastrophe", their "something dreadful", which "[woke] people up" and made the government "realise the problem" posed by Russia -- or it could be they one way or another played a facilitative role of some kind.

After months of refusing to answer the vast number of questions I and thousands of others have submitted to the paired organizations, it's high time for them to break cover, and be honest with the public.

[Jan 08, 2019] Skripal spin doctors- Documents link UK govt-funded Integrity Initiative to anti-Russia narrative

Highly recommended!
Images removed. Please brose the original to view them.
Notable quotes:
"... "Russian disinformation." ..."
"... "network of networks" ..."
"... It's notable that many of the draconian anti-Russia measures that the group advocated as far back as 2015 were swiftly implemented following the Skripal affair – even as London refused to back up its finger-pointing with evidence. ..."
"... "study social media activity in respect of the events that took place, how news spread, and evaluate how the incident is being perceived" ..."
"... "global investigative solutions" ..."
"... What role did # IntegrityInitiative play in the # Skripal affair? I looked for answers from a brief look at the newly released files. More very much to follow.... ..."
"... "pro-Russia troll accounts" ..."
"... "bombarding the audience with pro-Kremlin propaganda and disinformation relevant to the Skripal case." ..."
"... Another document , dated March 11, 2018 – and titled "Sergei Skripal Affair: What if Russia is Responsible?" – contains a "narrative" ..."
"... These included boycotting the 2018 World Cup, starting campaigns to boycott the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, blocking Russian access to the SWIFT international banking system, and banning "RT TV and Sputnik from operating in the UK." ..."
"... "to publicize what has been happening with their Muslim brethren in Crimea since the Russian invasion [sic]" ..."
"... "threat Russia poses." ..."
"... This would certainly explain the evidence-deficient echo chamber that emerged in the aftermath of Skripal's poisoning ..."
"... One of the more intriguing revelations from the fresh leaks is a document from 2015, in which Victor Madeira of the Institute for Statecraft proposes a series of measures targeting Russia, including mass expulsion of diplomats along the lines of 1971's Operation Foot. ..."
"... "the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history." ..."
"... "Makes you think " ..."
"... The new trove of hacked documents also revealed an unexplained link between the II and Skripal himself – a connection made all the more noteworthy by the group's central role in coordinating an evidence-free campaign to blame and punish Moscow for the alleged nerve-agent attack. A document from July 2018 contains contact details for Pablo Miller, Skripal's MI6 recruiter, handler and (conveniently) neighbor in Salisbury. Miller, it seems, had been invited to a function hosted by the Institute. ..."
"... It was already known that Pablo Miller, the MI6 handler of Sergej Skripal, attended # IntegrityInitiative meetings. There is now more material to draw a connection. It is indeed possible that IfS/II initiated the affair. ..."
"... £2,276.80 in July 2018 during the # Skripal # Novichok affair for writing articles on the subjects of poison gas; nerve agents; treatment; nerve agent persistency & # PortonDown @ RTUKproducer 160 1:24 PM - Jan 4, 2019 ..."
"... It's not clear to what degree Miller is or was involved with the group, but his appearance on an Integrity Initiative guest list adds another layer of mystery to a coordinated campaign which sought to impose punishments on Moscow that were drawn up years in advance. ..."
Jan 05, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press

The Integrity Initiative, a UK-funded group exposed in leaked files as psyop network, played a key role in monitoring and molding media narratives after the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal, newly-dumped documents reveal. Created by the NATO-affiliated, UK-funded Institute for Statecraft in 2015, the Integrity Initiative was unmasked in November after hackers released documents detailing a web of politicians, journalists, military personnel, scientists and academics involved in purportedly fighting "Russian disinformation."

The secretive, government-bankrolled "network of networks" has found itself under scrutiny for smearing UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a Kremlin stooge – ostensibly as part of its noble crusade against anti-Russian disinformation. Now, new leaks show that the organization played a central role in shaping media narratives after Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were mysteriously poisoned in Salisbury last March.

It's notable that many of the draconian anti-Russia measures that the group advocated as far back as 2015 were swiftly implemented following the Skripal affair – even as London refused to back up its finger-pointing with evidence.

Operation Iris

Days after the Skripals were poisoned, the Institute solicited its services to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, offering to "study social media activity in respect of the events that took place, how news spread, and evaluate how the incident is being perceived" in a number of countries.

After receiving the government's blessing, the Integrity Initiative (II) launched 'Operation Iris,' enlisting "global investigative solutions" firm Harod Associates to analyze social media activity related to Skripal.

Kit Klarenberg @KitKlarenberg

What role did # IntegrityInitiative play in the # Skripal affair? I looked for answers from a brief look at the newly released files. More very much to follow....

264 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

However, Harod's confidential report did more than just parse social media reactions to the Skripal affair: It compiled a list of alleged "pro-Russia troll accounts" accused of "bombarding the audience with pro-Kremlin propaganda and disinformation relevant to the Skripal case."

Among those who found themselves listed as nefarious thought-criminals were Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa, and a gentleman from Kent who goes by Ian56 on Twitter.

Ian56 @Ian56789 · Jan 4, 2019 # IntegrityInitiative "

Top Kremlin Trolls" aka Truth Tellers. Congratulations if you made the list.

https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-o---russian-propaganda-troll-sites-for-monitoring/appendix-o---russian-propaganda-troll-sites-for-monitoring.pdf

Neocon Fascist, al-Qaeda Supporting Treasonous Scumbag @ Benimmo is having a laugh with £2m of Taxpayers money. Nimmo should be IN JAIL for Fraud & Treason

Ian56 @Ian56789 # IntegrityInitiative

examples of Logical, Critical Thinking & Objective Analysis by yours truly Ian56.

https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-r---ian56789-example-tweets/appendix-r---ian56789-example-tweets.pdf

They didn't even include my best ones and they didn't show the pic that went with each tweet. I wonder why?

# Skripal # Novichok # FalseFlag pic.twitter.com/Zq8W9iJshk 41 1:39 PM - Jan 4, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

34 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy
Moon of Alabama @MoonofA · Jan 4, 2019 @ Ian56789 @ MarkSleboda1 @ Malinka1102 @ ValLisitsa @ NinaByzantina

Folks, you are all noted as "trolls" in some of the files of the new # IntegrityInitiative release

https://www. cyberguerrilla.org/blog/operation -integrity-initiative-british-informational-war-against-all-part-4/ https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-o---russian-propaganda-troll-sites-for-monitoring/appendix-o---russian-propaganda-troll-sites-for-monitoring.pdf https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-p---troll-accounts-mutual-connections-graph/appendix-p---troll-accounts-mutual-connections-graph.pdf https://www. pdf-archive.com/2018/12/28/app endix-q---troll-geolocation-graph/appendix-q---troll-geolocation-graph.pdf

Operation 'Integrity Initiative': British informational war against all. Part 4

Greetings! We are Anonymous.We have warned the UK government that it must conduct an honest and transparent investigation into the activity of the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statec cyberguerrilla.org

Ruslana Boshirova @ValLisitsa

Wanna see something funny?

"The Insider" - the same "Insider", that was credited by Bellingcat with "outing Boshirov and Petrovas GRU agents" - has investigated and found me guilty of passing Putin orders to French yellow jackets. I kid you not.

https:// twitter.com/Antifake_Russi a/status/1073112488072437760?s=19 Antifake @Antifake_Russia СМИ выдали за манифест "желтых жилетов" твиты украинской пианистки с ником "Руслана Боширова" https:// theins.ru/antifake/131804 116 3:21 PM - Jan 4, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

94 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

Pushing a narrative

Another document , dated March 11, 2018 – and titled "Sergei Skripal Affair: What if Russia is Responsible?" – contains a "narrative" of the Skripal incident, which blames Russia and President Vladimir Putin personally, as well as containing a number of recommended actions.

These included boycotting the 2018 World Cup, starting campaigns to boycott the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, blocking Russian access to the SWIFT international banking system, and banning "RT TV and Sputnik from operating in the UK."

Other suggestions included propaganda directed at British Muslims "to publicize what has been happening with their Muslim brethren in Crimea since the Russian invasion [sic]" and getting members of parliament to publicize the "threat Russia poses." It's not clear who the document was drawn up for, but it may have been provided to II-affiliated journalists in the UK and other countries.

This would certainly explain the evidence-deficient echo chamber that emerged in the aftermath of Skripal's poisoning – which the UK and its allies unanimously blamed on Moscow.

Ahead of its time?

One of the more intriguing revelations from the fresh leaks is a document from 2015, in which Victor Madeira of the Institute for Statecraft proposes a series of measures targeting Russia, including mass expulsion of diplomats along the lines of 1971's Operation Foot.

Coincidentally, more than 100 Russian diplomats were expelled from 20 Western countries in an apparently show of solidarity with the UK following the Skripal attack. At the time, UK Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed what she said was "the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history."

Former MP George Galloway noted that the documents, written long before the Salisbury events, also call for the arrest of RT and Sputnik contributors (such as himself), adding: "Makes you think "

George Galloway @georgegalloway

So: # IntegrityInitiative funded by the British Govt called for the arrest of people like me like @ afshinrattansi @ JohnWight1 @ NeilClark66 et al in the event of an "incident" like the # Skripal affair.

Written incidentally before the # Salisbury events. Makes you think...

@ RT_com 688 12:53 PM - Jan 4, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

606 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

A curious connection

The new trove of hacked documents also revealed an unexplained link between the II and Skripal himself – a connection made all the more noteworthy by the group's central role in coordinating an evidence-free campaign to blame and punish Moscow for the alleged nerve-agent attack. A document from July 2018 contains contact details for Pablo Miller, Skripal's MI6 recruiter, handler and (conveniently) neighbor in Salisbury. Miller, it seems, had been invited to a function hosted by the Institute.

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA

It was already known that Pablo Miller, the MI6 handler of Sergej Skripal, attended # IntegrityInitiative meetings. There is now more material to draw a connection. It is indeed possible that IfS/II initiated the affair.

# SergeiSkripal # Disinformation # Propaganda # InformationWar 283 2:38 PM - Jan 4, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

241 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy
Fvnk @WhatTheFvnk

EXPLOSIVE: @ DanKaszeta of @ Strongpoint_UK invoiced @ InitIntegrity # IntegrityInitiative

£2,276.80 in July 2018 during the # Skripal # Novichok affair for writing articles on the subjects of poison gas; nerve agents; treatment; nerve agent persistency & # PortonDown @ RTUKproducer 160 1:24 PM - Jan 4, 2019

188 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy

It's not clear to what degree Miller is or was involved with the group, but his appearance on an Integrity Initiative guest list adds another layer of mystery to a coordinated campaign which sought to impose punishments on Moscow that were drawn up years in advance.

Read also:

[Jan 08, 2019] No, wealth isn t created at the top. It is merely devoured there by Rutger Bregman

Highly recommended!
Financialization is a new type of racket...
Notable quotes:
"... Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook ... a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they're sucking the rest of us dry @rcbregman ..."
"... 'A big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body' ..."
"... This piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state. These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have "made it". By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurialism that are helping to advance the whole world. ..."
"... To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our "human capital" in economic terms) to create something new, whether that's a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth. ..."
"... But there is also a second way to make money. That's the rentier way : by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others' expense, using his power to claim economic benefit. ..."
"... For those who know their history, the term "rentier" conjures associations with heirs to estates, such as the 19th century's large class of useless rentiers, well-described by the French economist Thomas Piketty . These days, that class is making a comeback. (Ironically, however, conservative politicians adamantly defend the rentier's right to lounge around, deeming inheritance tax to be the height of unfairness.) But there are also other ways of rent-seeking. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley , from big pharma to the lobby machines in Washington and Westminster, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere. ..."
"... It may take quite a mental leap to see our economy as a system that shows solidarity with the rich rather than the poor. So I'll start with the clearest illustration of modern freeloaders at the top: bankers. Studies conducted by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements – not exactly leftist thinktanks – have revealed that much of the financial sector has become downright parasitic. How instead of creating wealth, they gobble it up whole. ..."
"... In other words, a big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body. It's not creating anything new, merely sucking others dry. Bankers have found a hundred and one ways to accomplish this. The basic mechanism, however, is always the same: offer loans like it's going out of style, which in turn inflates the price of things like houses and shares, then earn a tidy percentage off those overblown prices (in the form of interest, commissions, brokerage fees, or what have you), and if the shit hits the fan, let Uncle Sam mop it up. ..."
"... Bankers are the most obvious class of closet freeloaders, but they are certainly not alone. Many a lawyer and an accountant wields a similar revenue model. Take tax evasion . Untold hardworking, academically degreed professionals make a good living at the expense of the populations of other countries. Or take the tide of privatisations over the past three decades, which have been all but a carte blanche for rentiers. One of the richest people in the world, Carlos Slim , earned his millions by obtaining a monopoly of the Mexican telecom market and then hiking prices sky high. The same goes for the Russian oligarchs who rose after the Berlin Wall fell , who bought up valuable state-owned assets for song to live off the rent. ..."
"... Even paragons of modern progress like Apple, Amazon, Google , Facebook, Uber and Airbnb are woven from the fabric of rentierism. Firstly, because they owe their existence to government discoveries and inventions (every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll). And second, because they tie themselves into knots to avoid paying taxes, retaining countless bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists for this very purpose. ..."
"... Even more important, many of these companies function as "natural monopolies", operating in a positive feedback loop of increasing growth and value as more and more people contribute free content to their platforms. Companies like this are incredibly difficult to compete with, because as they grow bigger, they only get stronger. ..."
"... Most of Mark Zuckerberg's income is just rent collected off the millions of picture and video posts that we give away daily for free. And sure, we have fun doing it. But we also have no alternative – after all, everybody is on Facebook these days. Zuckerberg has a website that advertisers are clamouring to get onto, and that doesn't come cheap. Don't be fooled by endearing pilots with free internet in Zambia. Stripped down to essentials, it's an ordinary ad agency. In fact, in 2015 Google and Facebook pocketed an astounding 64% of all online ad revenue in the US. ..."
"... Rentierism is, in essence, a question of power. That the Sun King Louis XIV was able to exploit millions was purely because he had the biggest army in Europe. It's no different for the modern rentier. He's got the law, politicians and journalists squarely in his court. That's why bankers get fined peanuts for preposterous fraud, while a mother on government assistance gets penalised within an inch of her life if she checks the wrong box. ..."
"... The biggest tragedy of all, however, is that the rentier economy is gobbling up society's best and brightest. Where once upon a time Ivy League graduates chose careers in science, public service or education, these days they are more likely to opt for banks, law firms, or trumped up ad agencies like Google and Facebook. When you think about it, it's insane. We are forking over billions in taxes to help our brightest minds on and up the corporate ladder so they can learn how to score ever more outrageous handouts. ..."
"... One thing is certain: countries where rentiers gain the upper hand gradually fall into decline. Just look at the Roman Empire. Or Venice in the 15th century. Look at the Dutch Republic in the 18th century. Like a parasite stunts a child's growth, so the rentier drains a country of its vitality. ..."
Mar 30, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Rutger Bregman

Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook ... a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they're sucking the rest of us dry @rcbregman

Comments 890

'A big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body'.

This piece is about one of the biggest taboos of our times. About a truth that is seldom acknowledged, and yet – on reflection – cannot be denied. The truth that we are living in an inverse welfare state. These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have "made it". By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurialism that are helping to advance the whole world.

Now, we may disagree about the extent to which success deserves to be rewarded – the philosophy of the left is that the strongest shoulders should bear the heaviest burden, while the right fears high taxes will blunt enterprise – but across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top.

So entrenched is this assumption that it's even embedded in our language. When economists talk about "productivity", what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like " welfare state ", "redistribution" and "solidarity", we're implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.

In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as "successful" and "innovative" are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it's a non-issue.

To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our "human capital" in economic terms) to create something new, whether that's a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.

But there is also a second way to make money. That's the rentier way : by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others' expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.

'From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere.'

For those who know their history, the term "rentier" conjures associations with heirs to estates, such as the 19th century's large class of useless rentiers, well-described by the French economist Thomas Piketty . These days, that class is making a comeback. (Ironically, however, conservative politicians adamantly defend the rentier's right to lounge around, deeming inheritance tax to be the height of unfairness.) But there are also other ways of rent-seeking. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley , from big pharma to the lobby machines in Washington and Westminster, zoom in and you'll see rentiers everywhere.

There is no longer a sharp dividing line between working and rentiering. In fact, the modern-day rentier often works damn hard. Countless people in the financial sector, for example, apply great ingenuity and effort to amass "rent" on their wealth. Even the big innovations of our age – businesses like Facebook and Uber – are interested mainly in expanding the rentier economy. The problem with most rich people therefore is not that they are coach potatoes. Many a CEO toils 80 hours a week to multiply his allowance. It's hardly surprising, then, that they feel wholly entitled to their wealth.

It may take quite a mental leap to see our economy as a system that shows solidarity with the rich rather than the poor. So I'll start with the clearest illustration of modern freeloaders at the top: bankers. Studies conducted by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements – not exactly leftist thinktanks – have revealed that much of the financial sector has become downright parasitic. How instead of creating wealth, they gobble it up whole.

Don't get me wrong. Banks can help to gauge risks and get money where it is needed, both of which are vital to a well-functioning economy. But consider this: economists tell us that the optimum level of total private-sector debt is 100% of GDP. Based on this equation, if the financial sector only grows, it won't equal more wealth, but less. So here's the bad news. In the United Kingdom, private-sector debt is now at 157.5% . In the United States, the figure is 188.8% .

In other words, a big part of the modern banking sector is essentially a giant tapeworm gorging on a sick body. It's not creating anything new, merely sucking others dry. Bankers have found a hundred and one ways to accomplish this. The basic mechanism, however, is always the same: offer loans like it's going out of style, which in turn inflates the price of things like houses and shares, then earn a tidy percentage off those overblown prices (in the form of interest, commissions, brokerage fees, or what have you), and if the shit hits the fan, let Uncle Sam mop it up.

The financial innovation concocted by all the math whizzes working in modern banking (instead of at universities or companies that contribute to real prosperity) basically boils down to maximizing the total amount of debt. And debt, of course, is a means of earning rent. So for those who believe that pay ought to be proportionate to the value of work, the conclusion we have to draw is that many bankers should be earning a negative salary; a fine, if you will, for destroying more wealth than they create.

Bankers are the most obvious class of closet freeloaders, but they are certainly not alone. Many a lawyer and an accountant wields a similar revenue model. Take tax evasion . Untold hardworking, academically degreed professionals make a good living at the expense of the populations of other countries. Or take the tide of privatisations over the past three decades, which have been all but a carte blanche for rentiers. One of the richest people in the world, Carlos Slim , earned his millions by obtaining a monopoly of the Mexican telecom market and then hiking prices sky high. The same goes for the Russian oligarchs who rose after the Berlin Wall fell , who bought up valuable state-owned assets for song to live off the rent.

But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking.

Take the pharmaceutical industry. Companies like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer regularly unveil new drugs, yet most real medical breakthroughs are made quietly at government-subsidised labs. Private companies mostly manufacture medications that resemble what we've already got. They get it patented and, with a hefty dose of marketing, a legion of lawyers, and a strong lobby, can live off the profits for years. In other words, the vast revenues of the pharmaceutical industry are the result of a tiny pinch of innovation and fistfuls of rent.

Even paragons of modern progress like Apple, Amazon, Google , Facebook, Uber and Airbnb are woven from the fabric of rentierism. Firstly, because they owe their existence to government discoveries and inventions (every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll). And second, because they tie themselves into knots to avoid paying taxes, retaining countless bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists for this very purpose.

Even more important, many of these companies function as "natural monopolies", operating in a positive feedback loop of increasing growth and value as more and more people contribute free content to their platforms. Companies like this are incredibly difficult to compete with, because as they grow bigger, they only get stronger.

Aptly characterising this "platform capitalism" in an article, Tom Goodwin writes : "Uber, the world's largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world's most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world's largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate."

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll.' Photograph: Regis Duvignau/Reuters

So what do these companies own? A platform. A platform that lots and lots of people want to use. Why? First and foremost, because they're cool and they're fun – and in that respect, they do offer something of value. However, the main reason why we're all happy to hand over free content to Facebook is because all of our friends are on Facebook too, because their friends are on Facebook because their friends are on Facebook.

Most of Mark Zuckerberg's income is just rent collected off the millions of picture and video posts that we give away daily for free. And sure, we have fun doing it. But we also have no alternative – after all, everybody is on Facebook these days. Zuckerberg has a website that advertisers are clamouring to get onto, and that doesn't come cheap. Don't be fooled by endearing pilots with free internet in Zambia. Stripped down to essentials, it's an ordinary ad agency. In fact, in 2015 Google and Facebook pocketed an astounding 64% of all online ad revenue in the US.

But don't Google and Facebook make anything useful at all? Sure they do. The irony, however, is that their best innovations only make the rentier economy even bigger. They employ scores of programmers to create new algorithms so that we'll all click on more and more ads. Uber has usurped the whole taxi sector just as Airbnb has upended the hotel industry and Amazon has overrun the book trade. The bigger such platforms grow the more powerful they become, enabling the lords of these digital feudalities to demand more and more rent.

Think back a minute to the definition of a rentier: someone who uses their control over something that already exists in order to increase their own wealth. The feudal lord of medieval times did that by building a tollgate along a road and making everybody who passed by pay. Today's tech giants are doing basically the same thing, but transposed to the digital highway. Using technology funded by taxpayers, they build tollgates between you and other people's free content and all the while pay almost no tax on their earnings.

This is the so-called innovation that has Silicon Valley gurus in raptures: ever bigger platforms that claim ever bigger handouts. So why do we accept this? Why does most of the population work itself to the bone to support these rentiers?

I think there are two answers. Firstly, the modern rentier knows to keep a low profile. There was a time when everybody knew who was freeloading. The king, the church, and the aristocrats controlled almost all the land and made peasants pay dearly to farm it. But in the modern economy, making rentierism work is a great deal more complicated. How many people can explain a credit default swap , or a collateralised debt obligation ? Or the revenue model behind those cute Google Doodles? And don't the folks on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley work themselves to the bone, too? Well then, they must be doing something useful, right?

Maybe not. The typical workday of Goldman Sachs' CEO may be worlds away from that of King Louis XIV, but their revenue models both essentially revolve around obtaining the biggest possible handouts. "The world's most powerful investment bank," wrote the journalist Matt Taibbi about Goldman Sachs , "is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."

But far from squids and vampires, the average rich freeloader manages to masquerade quite successfully as a decent hard worker. He goes to great lengths to present himself as a "job creator" and an "investor" who "earns" his income by virtue of his high "productivity". Most economists, journalists, and politicians from left to right are quite happy to swallow this story. Time and again language is twisted around to cloak funneling and exploitation as creation and generation.

However, it would be wrong to think that all this is part of some ingenious conspiracy. Many modern rentiers have convinced even themselves that they are bona fide value creators. When current Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was asked about the purpose of his job, his straight-faced answer was that he is " doing God's work ". The Sun King would have approved.

The second thing that keeps rentiers safe is even more insidious. We're all wannabe rentiers. They have made millions of people complicit in their revenue model. Consider this: What are our financial sector's two biggest cash cows? Answer: the housing market and pensions. Both are markets in which many of us are deeply invested.

Recent decades have seen more and more people contract debts to buy a home, and naturally it's in their interest if house prices continue to scale new heights (read: burst bubble upon bubble). The same goes for pensions. Over the past few decades we've all scrimped and saved up a mountainous pension piggy bank. Now pension funds are under immense pressure to ally with the biggest exploiters in order to ensure they pay out enough to please their investors.

The fact of the matter is that feudalism has been democratised. To a lesser or greater extent, we are all depending on handouts. En masse, we have been made complicit in this exploitation by the rentier elite, resulting in a political covenant between the rich rent-seekers and the homeowners and retirees.

Don't get me wrong, most homeowners and retirees are not benefiting from this situation. On the contrary, the banks are bleeding them far beyond the extent to which they themselves profit from their houses and pensions. Still, it's hard to point fingers at a kleptomaniac when you have sticky fingers too.

So why is this happening? The answer can be summed up in three little words: Because it can.

Rentierism is, in essence, a question of power. That the Sun King Louis XIV was able to exploit millions was purely because he had the biggest army in Europe. It's no different for the modern rentier. He's got the law, politicians and journalists squarely in his court. That's why bankers get fined peanuts for preposterous fraud, while a mother on government assistance gets penalised within an inch of her life if she checks the wrong box.

The biggest tragedy of all, however, is that the rentier economy is gobbling up society's best and brightest. Where once upon a time Ivy League graduates chose careers in science, public service or education, these days they are more likely to opt for banks, law firms, or trumped up ad agencies like Google and Facebook. When you think about it, it's insane. We are forking over billions in taxes to help our brightest minds on and up the corporate ladder so they can learn how to score ever more outrageous handouts.

One thing is certain: countries where rentiers gain the upper hand gradually fall into decline. Just look at the Roman Empire. Or Venice in the 15th century. Look at the Dutch Republic in the 18th century. Like a parasite stunts a child's growth, so the rentier drains a country of its vitality.

What innovation remains in a rentier economy is mostly just concerned with further bolstering that very same economy. This may explain why the big dreams of the 1970s, like flying cars, curing cancer, and colonising Mars, have yet to be realised, while bankers and ad-makers have at their fingertips technologies a thousand times more powerful.

Yet it doesn't have to be this way. Tollgates can be torn down, financial products can be banned, tax havens dismantled, lobbies tamed, and patents rejected. Higher taxes on the ultra-rich can make rentierism less attractive, precisely because society's biggest freeloaders are at the very top of the pyramid. And we can more fairly distribute our earnings on land, oil, and innovation through a system of, say, employee shares, or a universal basic income .

But such a revolution will require a wholly different narrative about the origins of our wealth. It will require ditching the old-fashioned faith in "solidarity" with a miserable underclass that deserves to be borne aloft on the market-level salaried shoulders of society's strongest. All we need to do is to give real hard-working people what they deserve.

And, yes, by that I mean the waste collectors, the nurses, the cleaners – theirs are the shoulders that carry us all.

• Pre-order Utopia for Realists and How Can We Get There by Rutger Bregman

• Translated from the original Dutch by Elizabeth Manton

See also:

[Jan 06, 2019] British elite fantasy of again ruling the world (with American and Zionist aid) has led to a series of catastrophic blunders and overreaches in both foreign and domestic policies.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If I had the talent and energy, I might write a sequel to the 'Quiet American', to be entitled 'The Noisy Englishmen.' It would feature a series of inept conspiracies, involving ludicrous means used in support of preposterous ends, necessitating one ham-fisted cover-up after another. ..."
"... The central characters might be loosely based on Christopher Steele, Matt Tait, Eliot Higgins, and our former UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, author of the July 2002 Downing Street memorandum, in which Sir Richard Dearlove was quoted explaining how, in Washington, 'the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.' ..."
"... There is a 1990's British historian (whose name I've been trying to rediscover without success) who wrote a sunny book saying Britain should return to its imperialist ways to bring light to the dark and repressive world we live in. It was a great hit with Blair and his henchmen. Blair used its arguments in his notorious 1999 Chicago neo-conservative/liberal interventionist speech. ..."
"... I'd draw attention to "The Brideshead Revisited" generation especially at Oxford in the early 80's. Unashamedly celebrating their wealth and upper middle class privately-educated backgrounds, they viewed themselves as a gilded, golden generation, preened in narcissism, adept at networking and self-promotion. They are the generation now in power - politically, financially, in the deep state. Their fantasy of again ruling the world (with American and Zionist aid) has led to a series of catastrophic blunders and overreaches in both foreign and domestic policies. ..."
"... Our economic power - the base of any imperial power - is shrinking daily. All the Oxfordites (chief amongst them Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove) are still playing Oxford Union/PPE games and stabbing each other joyously in the back as though there's no tomorrow. It most ressembles the halluciogenic decadence of the court of late Imperial Rome. ..."
Jan 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Pat Lang Mod -> David Habakkuk , 2 months ago

After contemplating the likely intelligence and propaganda efforts of HMG over the last 15 years or so I am puzzled as to motivation. Why? Why? The UK is now a regional power for which events in places like Syria would seem to have little to do with the welfare of Britain. Why? I suppose that the same question can be asked for the US and I have.

In re "Our man in Havana" I think there are many issues raised in the work that apply directly to the trade of espionage.

David Habakkuk -> Pat Lang , 2 months ago
Colonel Lang,

The question why? is a very interesting but also very dispiriting one, but also one which it is quite hard to get one's head round. I hope to have something more coherent to say about it.

Among many reasons, however, there has been a kind of intellectual disintegration.

If I had the talent and energy, I might write a sequel to the 'Quiet American', to be entitled 'The Noisy Englishmen.' It would feature a series of inept conspiracies, involving ludicrous means used in support of preposterous ends, necessitating one ham-fisted cover-up after another.

The central characters might be loosely based on Christopher Steele, Matt Tait, Eliot Higgins, and our former UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, author of the July 2002 Downing Street memorandum, in which Sir Richard Dearlove was quoted explaining how, in Washington, 'the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy.'

Subsequently, of course, he set about colluding in the process. And, sixteen years later, Dearlove is still at it, with 'Russiagate' -- and the product being actually accepted much more uncritically by the MSM than it was then.

And that is one of the problems -- nobody any longer pays any penalty for failure, or indeed feels any sense of shame about it..

johnf -> David Habakkuk , 2 months ago
DH

I agree with this.

There is a 1990's British historian (whose name I've been trying to rediscover without success) who wrote a sunny book saying Britain should return to its imperialist ways to bring light to the dark and repressive world we live in. It was a great hit with Blair and his henchmen. Blair used its arguments in his notorious 1999 Chicago neo-conservative/liberal interventionist speech.

As the Colonel eloquently asks:

"I am puzzled as to motivation. Why? Why? The UK is now a regional power for which events in places like Syria would seem to have little todo with the welfare of Britain. Why?"

I'd draw attention to "The Brideshead Revisited" generation especially at Oxford in the early 80's. Unashamedly celebrating their wealth and upper middle class privately-educated backgrounds, they viewed themselves as a gilded, golden generation, preened in narcissism, adept at networking and self-promotion. They are the generation now in power - politically, financially, in the deep state. Their fantasy of again ruling the world (with American and Zionist aid) has led to a series of catastrophic blunders and overreaches in both foreign and domestic policies.

Our economic power - the base of any imperial power - is shrinking daily. All the Oxfordites (chief amongst them Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove) are still playing Oxford Union/PPE games and stabbing each other joyously in the back as though there's no tomorrow. It most ressembles the halluciogenic decadence of the court of late Imperial Rome.

(I don't include the Maurice Cowling-ites in this fandango because they strike me as more Little Englanders. Though Peterhouse is of course, shamefully, the HQ of the Henry Jackson Society).

[Dec 27, 2018] 'Trickle down effect' and pub test

Dec 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Phoroneus57 , 3 Jun 2018 23:03

'Trickle down effect' - the favourite buzzword of neoliberal supporters. I'd like to see trickle down effect tried at the local pub on the taps by the local mp. Imagine what would happen. Definitely doesn't pass the pub test.

[Dec 24, 2018] Income inequality happens by design. We cant fix it by tweaking capitalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Stocks have always been "a legal form of gambling". What is happening now however, is that a pair of treys can beat out your straight flush. Companies that have never turned a profit fetch huge prices on the stock market. ..."
"... The stock market suckered millions in before 2008 and then prices plummeted. Where did the money from grandpa's pension fund go? ..."
"... Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man's greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won't use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership. ..."
"... family wealth" predicts outcomes for 10 to 15 generations. Those with extreme wealth owe it to events going back "300 to 450" years ago, according to research published by the New Republic – an era when it wasn't unusual for white Americans to benefit from an economy dependent upon widespread, unpaid black labor in the form of slavery. ..."
"... Correction: The average person in poverty in the U.S. does not live in the same abject, third world poverty as you might find in Honduras, Central African Republic, Cambodia, or the barrios of Sao Paulo. ..."
"... Since our poor don't live in abject poverty, I invite you to live as a family of four on less than $11,000 a year anywhere in the United States. If you qualify and can obtain subsidized housing you may have some of the accoutrements in your home that you seem to equate with living the high life. You know, running water, a fridge, a toilet, a stove. You would also likely have a phone (subsidized at that) so you might be able to participate (or attempt to participate) in the job market in an honest attempt to better your family's economic prospects and as is required to qualify for most assistance programs. ..."
"... So many dutiful neoliberals on here rushing to the defense of poor Capitalism. Clearly, these commentators are among those who are in the privileged position of reaping the true benefits of Capitalism - And, of course, there are many benefits to reap if you are lucky enough to be born into the right racial-socioeconomic context. ..."
"... Please walk us through how non-capitalist systems create wealth and allow their lowest class people propel themselves to the top in one generation. You will note that most socialist systems derive their technology and advancements from the more capitalistic systems. Pharmaceuticals, software, and robotics are a great example of this. I shutter to think of what the welfare of the average citizen of the world would be like without the advancements made via the capitalist countries. ..."
Dec 05, 2015 | The Guardian

The poorest Americans have no realistic hope of achieving anything that approaches income equality. They still struggle for access to the basics

... ... ...

The disparities in wealth that we term "income inequality" are no accident, and they can't be fixed by fiddling at the edges of our current economic system. These disparities happened by design, and the system structurally disadvantages those at the bottom. The poorest Americans have no realistic hope of achieving anything that approaches income equality; even their very chances for access to the most basic tools of life are almost nil.

... ... ...

Too often, the answer by those who have hoarded everything is they will choose to "give back" in a manner of their choosing – just look at Mark Zuckerberg and his much-derided plan to "give away" 99% of his Facebook stock. He is unlikely to help change inequality or poverty any more than "giving away" of $100m helped children in Newark schools.

Allowing any of the 100 richest Americans to choose how they fix "income inequality" will not make the country more equal or even guarantee more access to life. You can't take down the master's house with the master's tools, even when you're the master; but more to the point, who would tear down his own house to distribute the bricks among so very many others?

mkenney63 5 Dec 2015 20:37

Excellent article. The problems we face are structural and can only be solved by making fundamental changes. We must bring an end to "Citizens United", modern day "Jim Crow" and the military industrial complex in order to restore our democracy. Then maybe, just maybe, we can have an economic system that will treat all with fairness and respect. Crony capitalism has had its day, it has mutated into criminality.

Kencathedrus -> Marcedward 5 Dec 2015 20:23

In the pre-capitalist system people learnt crafts to keep themselves afloat. The Industrial Revolution changed all that. Now we have the church of Education promising a better life if we get into debt to buy (sorry, earn) degrees.

The whole system is messed up and now we have millions of people on this planet who can't function even those with degrees. Barbarians are howling at the gates of Europe. The USA is rotting from within. As Marx predicted the Capitalists are merely paying their own grave diggers.

mkenney63 -> Bobishere 5 Dec 2015 20:17

I would suggest you read the economic and political history of the past 30 years. To help you in your study let me recommend a couple of recent books: "Winner Take all Politics" by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson and "The Age of Acquiescence" by Steve Fraser. It always amazes me that one can be so blind the facts of recent American history; it's not just "a statistical inequality", it's been a well thought-out strategy over time to rig the system, a strategy engaged in by politicians and capitalists. Shine some light on this issue by acquainting yourself with the facts.


Maharaja Brovinda -> Singh Jill Harrison 5 Dec 2015 19:42

We play out the prisoner's dilemma in life, in general, over and over in different circumstances, every day. And we always choose the dominant - rational - solution. But the best solution is not based on rationality, but rather on trust and faith in each other - rather ironically for our current, evidence based society!


Steven Palmer 5 Dec 2015 19:19

Like crack addicts the philanthropricks only seek to extend their individual glory, social image their primary goal, and yet given the context they will burn in history. Philanthroptits should at least offset the immeasurable damage they have done through their medieval wealth accumulation. Collaborative philanthropy for basic income is a good idea, but ye, masters tools.


BlairM -> Iconoclastick 5 Dec 2015 19:10

Well, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, capitalism is the worst possible economic system, except for all those other economic systems that have been tried from time to time.

I'd rather just have the freedom to earn money as I please, and if that means inequality, it's a small price to pay for not having some feudal lord or some party bureaucrat stomping on my humanity.

brusuz 5 Dec 2015 18:52

As long as wealth can be created by shuffling money from one place to another in the giant crap shoot we call our economy, nothing will change. Until something takes place to make it advantageous for the investor capitalists to put that money to work doing something that actually produces some benefit to the society as a whole, they will continue their extractive machinations. I see nothing on the horizon that is going to change any of that, and to cast this as some sort of a racial issue is quite superficial. We have all gotten the shaft, since there is no upward mobility available to anyone. Since the Bush crowd of neocons took power, we have all been shackled with "individual solutions to societal created problems."

Jimi Del Duca 5 Dec 2015 18:31

Friends, Capitalism is structural exploitation of ALL WORKERS. Thinking about it as solely a race issue is divisive. What we need is CLASS SOLIDARITY and ORGANIZATION. See iww.org We are the fighting union with no use for capitalists!

slightlynumb -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 18:04

You'd be better off reading Marx if you want to understand capitalism. I think you are ascribing the word to what you think it should be rather than what it is.

It is essentially a class structure rather than any defined economic system. Neoliberal is essentially laissez faire capitalism. It is designed to suborn nation states to corporate benefit.

AmyInNH -> tommydog

They make $40 a month. Working 7 days a week. At least 12 hour days. Who's fed you that "we're doing them a favor" BS?

And I've news for you regarding "Those whose skills are less adaptable to doing so are seeing their earnings decline." We have many people who have 3 masters degrees making less than minimum wage. We have top notch STEM students shunned so corporations can hire captive/cheaper foreign labor, called H1-Bs, who then wait 10 years working for them waiting for their employment based green card. Or "visiting" students here on J1 visas, so the employers can get out of paying: social security, federal unemployment insurance, etc.

Wake up and smell the coffee tommydog. They've more than a thumb on the scale.

seamanbodine,
I am a socialist. I decided to read this piece to see if Mr. Thrasher could write about market savagery without propounding the fiction that whites are somehow exempt from the effects of it.

No, he could not. I clicked on the link accompanying his assertion that whites who are high school dropouts earn more than blacks with college degrees, and I read the linked piece in full. The linked piece does not in fact compare income (i.e., yearly earnings) of white high school dropouts with those of black college graduates, but it does compare family wealth across racial cohorts (though not educational ones), and the gap there is indeed stark, with average white family wealth in the six figures (full disclosure, I am white, and my personal wealth is below zero, as I owe more in student loans than I own, so perhaps I am not really white, or I do not fully partake of "whiteness," or whatever), and average black family wealth in the four figures.

The reason for this likely has a lot to do with home ownership disparities, which in turn are linked in significant part to racist redlining practices. So white dropouts often live in homes their parents or grandparents bought, while many black college graduates whose parents were locked out of home ownership by institutional racism and, possibly, the withering of manufacturing jobs just as the northward migration was beginning to bear some economic fruit for black families, are still struggling to become homeowners. Thus, the higher average wealth for the dropout who lives in a family owned home.

But this is not what Mr. Thrasher wrote. He specifically used the words "earn more," creating the impression that some white ignoramus is simply going to stumble his way into a higher salary than a cultivated, college educated black person. That is simply not the case, and the difference does matter.

Why does it matter? Because I regularly see middle aged whites who are broken and homeless on the streets of the town where I live, and I know they are simply the tip of a growing mountain of privation. Yeah, go ahead, call it white tears if you want, but if you cannot see that millions (including, of course, not simply folks who are out and out homeless, but folks who are struggling to get enough to eat and routinely go without needed medication and medical care) of people who have "white privilege" are indeed oppressed by global capitalism then I would say that you are, at the end of the day, NO BETTER THAN THE WHITES YOU DISDAIN.

If you have read this far, then you realize that I am in no way denying the reality of structural racism. But an account of economic savagery that entirely subsumes it into non-economic categories (race, gender, age), that refuses to acknowledge that blacks can be exploiters and whites can be exploited, is simply conservatism by other means. One gets the sense that if we have enough black millionaires and enough whites dying of things like a lack of medical care, then this might bring just a little bit of warmth to the hearts of people like Mr. Thrasher.

Call it what you want, but don't call it progressive. Maybe it is historical karma. Which is understandable, as there is no reason why globally privileged blacks in places like the U.S. or Great Britain should bear the burden of being any more selfless or humane than globally privileged whites are or have been. The Steven Thrashers of humanity are certainly no worse than many of the whites they cannot seem to recognize as fully human are.

But nor are they any better.
JohnLG 5 Dec 2015 17:23

I agree that the term "income inequality" is so vague that falls between useless and diversionary, but so too is most use of the word "capitalism", or so it seems to me. Typically missing is a penetrating analysis of where the problem lies, a comprehensibly supported remedy, or large-scale examples of anything except what's not working. "Income inequality" is pretty abstract until we look specifically at the consequences for individuals and society, and take a comprehensive look at all that is unequal. What does "capitalism" mean? Is capitalism the root of all this? Is capitalism any activity undertaken for profit, or substantial monopolization of markets and power?

Power tends to corrupt. Money is a form of power, but there are others. The use of power to essentially cheat, oppress or kill others is corrupt, whether that power is in the form of a weapon, wealth, the powers of the state, or all of the above. Power is seductive and addictive. Even those with good intensions can be corrupted by an excess of power and insufficient accountability, while predators are drawn to power like sharks to blood. Democracy involves dispersion of power, ideally throughout a whole society. A constitutional democracy may offer protection even to minorities against a "tyranny of the majority" so long as a love of justice prevails. Selective "liberty and justice" is not liberty and justice at all, but rather a tyranny of the many against the few, as in racism, or of the few against the many, as by despots. Both forms reinforce each other in the same society, both are corrupt, and any "ism" can be corrupted by narcissism. To what degree is any society a shining example of government of, for, and by the people, and to what degree can one discover empirical evidence of corruption? What do we do about it?

AmyInNH -> CaptainGrey 5 Dec 2015 17:15

You're too funny. It's not "lifting billions out of poverty". It's moving malicious manufacturing practices to the other side of the planet. To the lands of no labor laws. To hide it from consumers. To hide profits.

And it is dying. Legislatively they choke off their natural competition, which is an essential element of capitalism. Monopoly isn't capitalism. And when they bribe legislators, we don't have democracy any more either.

Jeremiah2000 -> Teresa Trujillo 5 Dec 2015 16:53

Stocks have always been "a legal form of gambling". What is happening now however, is that a pair of treys can beat out your straight flush. Companies that have never turned a profit fetch huge prices on the stock market.

The stock market suckered millions in before 2008 and then prices plummeted. Where did the money from grandpa's pension fund go?

Gary Reber 5 Dec 2015 16:45

Abraham Lincoln said that the purpose of government is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves. Government also should serve to keep people from hurting themselves and to restrain man's greed, which otherwise cannot be self-controlled. Anyone who seeks to own productive power that they cannot or won't use for consumption are beggaring their neighbor––the equivalency of mass murder––the impact of concentrated capital ownership.

The words "OWN" and "ASSETS" are the key descriptors of the definition of wealth. But these words are not well understood by the vast majority of Americans or for that matter, global citizens. They are limited to the vocabulary used by the wealthy ownership class and financial publications, which are not widely read, and not even taught in our colleges and universities.

The wealthy ownership class did not become wealthy because they are "three times as smart." Still there is a valid argument that the vast majority of Americans do not pay particular attention to the financial world and educate themselves on wealth building within the current system's limited past-savings paradigm. Significantly, the wealthy OWNERSHIP class use their political power (power always follows property OWNERSHIP) to write the system rules to benefit and enhance their wealth. As such they have benefited from forging trade policy agreements which further concentrate OWNERSHIP on a global scale, military-industrial complex subsidies and government contracts, tax code provisions and loopholes and collective-bargaining rules – policy changes they've used their wealth to champion.

Gary Reber 5 Dec 2015 16:44

Unfortunately, when it comes to recommendations for solutions to economic inequality, virtually every commentator, politician and economist is stuck in viewing the world in one factor terms – human labor, in spite of their implied understanding that the rich are rich because they OWN the non-human means of production – physical capital. The proposed variety of wealth-building programs, like "universal savings accounts that might be subsidized for low-income savers," are not practical solutions because they rely on savings (a denial of consumption which lessens demand in the economy), which the vast majority of Americans do not have, and for those who can save their savings are modest and insignificant. Though, millions of Americans own diluted stock value through the "stock market exchanges," purchased with their earnings as labor workers (savings), their stock holdings are relatively minuscule, as are their dividend payments compared to the top 10 percent of capital owners. Pew Research found that 53 percent of Americans own no stock at all, and out of the 47 percent who do, the richest 5 percent own two-thirds of that stock. And only 10 percent of Americans have pensions, so stock market gains or losses don't affect the incomes of most retirees.

As for taxpayer-supported saving subsidies or other wage-boosting measures, those who have only their labor power and its precarious value held up by coercive rigging and who desperately need capital ownership to enable them to be capital workers (their productive assets applied in the economy) as well as labor workers to have a way to earn more income, cannot satisfy their unsatisfied needs and wants and sufficiently provide for themselves and their families. With only access to labor wages, the 99 percenters will continue, in desperation, to demand more and more pay for the same or less work, as their input is exponentially replaced by productive capital.

As such, the vast majority of American consumers will continue to be strapped to mounting consumer debt bills, stagnant wages and inflationary price pressures. As their ONLY source of income is through wage employment, economic insecurity for the 99 percent majority of people means they cannot survive more than a week or two without a paycheck. Thus, the production side of the economy is under-nourished and hobbled as a result, because there are fewer and fewer "customers with money." We thus need to free economic growth from the slavery of past savings.

I mentioned that political power follows property OWNERSHIP because with concentrated capital asset OWNERSHIP our elected representatives are far too often bought with the expectation that they protect and enhance the interests of the wealthiest Americans, the OWNERSHIP class they too overwhelmingly belong to.

Many, including the author of this article, have concluded that with such a concentrated OWNERSHIP stronghold the wealthy have on our politics, "it's hard to see where this cycle ends." The ONLY way to reverse this cycle and broaden capital asset OWNERSHIP universally is a political revolution. (Bernie Sanders, are you listening?)

The political revolution must address the problem of lack of demand. To create demand, the FUTURE economy must be financed in ways that create new capital OWNERS, who will benefit from the full earnings of the FUTURE productive capability of the American economy, and without taking from those who already OWN. This means significantly slowing the further concentration of capital asset wealth among those who are already wealthy and ensuring that the system is reformed to promote inclusive prosperity, inclusive opportunity, and inclusive economic justice.

yamialwaysright 5 Dec 2015 16:13

I was interested and in agreement until I read about structured racism. Many black kidsin the US grow up without a father in the house. They turn to anti-social behaviour and crime. Once you are poor it is hard to get out of being poor but Journalists are not doing justice to a critique of US Society if they ignore the fact that some people behave in a self-destructive way. I would imagine that if some black men in the US and the UK stuck with one woman and played a positive role in the life of their kids, those kids would have a better chance at life. People of different racial and ethnic origin do this also but there does seem to be a disproportionate problem with some black US men and some black UK men. Poverty is one problem but growing up in poverty and without a father figure adds to the problem.

What the author writes applies to other countries not just the US in relation to the super wealthy being a small proportion of the population yet having the same wealth as a high percentage of the population. This in not a black or latino issue but a wealth distribution issue that affects everyone irrespective of race or ethnic origin. The top 1%, 5% or 10% having most of the wealth is well-known in many countries.

nuthermerican4u 5 Dec 2015 15:59

Capitalism, especially the current vulture capitalism, is dog eat dog. Always was, always will be. My advice is that if you are a capitalist that values your heirs, invest in getting off this soon-to-be slag heap and find other planets to pillage and rape. Either go all out for capitalism or reign in this beast before it kills all of us.

soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:32

Our antiquated class structure demonstrates the trickle up of Capitalism and the need to counterbalance it with progressive taxation.

In the 1960s/1970s we used high taxes on the wealthy to counter balance the trickle up of Capitalism and achieved much greater equality.

Today we have low taxes on the wealthy and Capitalism's trickle up is widening the inequality gap.

We are cutting benefits for the disabled, poor and elderly so inequality can get wider and the idle rich can remain idle.

They have issued enough propaganda to make people think it's those at the bottom that don't work.

Every society since the dawn of civilization has had a Leisure Class at the top, in the UK we call them the Aristocracy and they have been doing nothing for centuries.

The UK's aristocracy has seen social systems come and go, but they all provide a life of luxury and leisure and with someone else doing all the work.

Feudalism - exploit the masses through land ownership
Capitalism - exploit the masses through wealth (Capital)

Today this is done through the parasitic, rentier trickle up of Capitalism:

a) Those with excess capital invest it and collect interest, dividends and rent.
b) Those with insufficient capital borrow money and pay interest and rent.

The system itself provides for the idle rich and always has done from the first civilisations right up to the 21st Century.

The rich taking from the poor is always built into the system, taxes and benefits are the counterbalance that needs to be applied externally.

Iconoclastick 5 Dec 2015 15:31

I often chuckle when I read some of the right wing comments on articles such as this. Firstly, I question if readers actually read the article references I've highlighted, before rushing to comment.

Secondly, the comments are generated by cifers who probably haven't set the world alight, haven't made a difference in their local community, they'll have never created thousands of jobs in order to reward themselves with huge dividends having and as a consequence enjoy spectacular asset/investment growth, at best they'll be chugging along, just about keeping their shit together and yet they support a system that's broken, other than for the one percent, of the one percent.

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies issued this week analyzed the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans and found that "the wealthiest 100 households now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States". That means that 100 families – most of whom are white – have as much wealth as the 41,000,000 black folks walking around the country (and the million or so locked up) combined.

Similarly, the report also stated that "the wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population" of the nation. Here again, the breakdown in actual humans is broke down: 186 overwhelmingly white folks have more money than that an astounding 55,000,000 Latino people.

family wealth" predicts outcomes for 10 to 15 generations. Those with extreme wealth owe it to events going back "300 to 450" years ago, according to research published by the New Republic – an era when it wasn't unusual for white Americans to benefit from an economy dependent upon widespread, unpaid black labor in the form of slavery.

soundofthesuburbs -> soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:26

It is the 21st Century and most of the land in the UK is still owned by the descendants of feudal warlords that killed people and stole their land and wealth.

When there is no land to build houses for generation rent, land ownership becomes an issue.

David Cameron is married into the aristocracy and George Osborne is a member of the aristocracy, they must both be well acquainted with the Leisure Class.

I can't find any hard work going on looking at the Wikipedia page for David Cameron's father-in-law. His family have been on their estate since the sixteenth century and judging by today's thinking, expect to be on it until the end of time.

George Osborne's aristocratic pedigree goes back to the Tudor era:

"he is an aristocrat with a pedigree stretching back to early in the Tudor era. His father, Sir Peter Osborne, is the 17th holder of a hereditary baronetcy that has been passed from father to son for 10 generations, and of which George is next in line."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/george-osborne-a-silver-spoon-for-the-golden-boy-2004814.html

soundofthesuburbs 5 Dec 2015 15:24

The working and middle classes toil to keep the upper class in luxury and leisure.

In the UK nothing has changed.

We call our Leisure Class the Aristocracy.

For the first time in five millennia of human civilisation some people at the bottom of society aren't working.

We can't have that; idleness is only for the rich.

It's the way it's always been and the way it must be again.

Did you think the upper; leisure class, social calendar disappeared in the 19th Century?
No it's alive and kicking in the 21st Century ....

Peer into the lives of today's Leisure Class with Tatler. http://www.tatler.com/the-season

If we have people at the bottom who are not working the whole of civilisation will be turned on its head.

"The modern industrial society developed from the barbarian tribal society, which featured a leisure class supported by subordinated working classes employed in economically productive occupations. The leisure class is composed of people exempted from manual work and from practicing economically productive occupations, because they belong to the leisure class."

The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions, by Thorstein Veblen. It was written a long time ago but much of it is as true today as it was then. The Wikipedia entry gives a good insight.

DBChas 5 Dec 2015 15:13
"income inequality" is best viewed as structural capitalism. It's not as if, did black and brown people and female people somehow (miraculously) attain the economic status of the lower-paid, white, male person, the problem would be solved--simply by adjusting pay scales. The problem is inherent to capitalism, which doesn't mean certain "types" of people aren't more disadvantaged for their "type." No one is saying that. For capitalists, it's easier to rationalize the obscene unfairness (only rich people say, "life's not fair") when their "type" is regarded as superior to a different "type," whether that be with respect to color or gender or both.

Over time--a long time--the dominant party (white males since the Dark Ages, also the life-span of capitalism coincidentally enough) came to dominance by various means, too many to try to list, or even know of. Why white males? BTW, just because most in power and in money are white males does not mean ALL white males are in positions of power and wealth. Most are not, and these facts help to fog the issue.

Indeed, "income inequality," is not an accident, nor can it be fixed, as the author notes, by tweaking (presumably he means capitalism). And he's quite right too in saying, "You can't take down the master's house with the master's tools..." I take that ALSO to mean, the problem can't be fixed by way of what Hedges has called a collapsing liberal establishment with its various institutions, officially speaking. That is, it's not institutional racism that's collapsing, but that institution is not officially recognized as such.

HOWEVER, it IS possible, even when burdened with an economics that is capitalism, to redistribute wealth, and I don't just mean Mark Zuckerberg's. I mean all wealth in whatever form can be redistributed if/when government decides it can. And THIS TIME, unlike the 1950s-60s, not only would taxes on the wealthy be the same as then but the wealth redistributed would be redistributed to ALL, not just to white families, and perhaps in particular to red families, the oft forgotten ones.

This is a matter of political will. But, of course, if that means whites as the largest voting block insist on electing to office those without the political will, nothing will change. In that case, other means have to be considered, and just a reminder: If the government fails to serve the people, the Constitution gives to the people the right to depose that government. But again, if whites as the largest voting block AND as the largest sub-group in the nation (and women are the largest part of that block, often voting as their men vote--just the facts, please, however unpleasant) have little interest in seeing to making necessary changes at least in voting booths, then...what? Bolshevism or what? No one seems to know and it's practically taboo even to talk about possibilities. Americans did it once, but not inclusively and not even paid in many instances. When it happens again, it has to happen with and for the participation of ALL. And it's worth noting that it will have to happen again, because capitalism by its very nature cannot survive itself. That is, as Marx rightly noted, capitalism will eventually collapse by dint of its internal contradictions.


mbidding Jeremiah2000 5 Dec 2015 15:08

Correction: The average person in poverty in the U.S. does not live in the same abject, third world poverty as you might find in Honduras, Central African Republic, Cambodia, or the barrios of Sao Paulo.

Since our poor don't live in abject poverty, I invite you to live as a family of four on less than $11,000 a year anywhere in the United States. If you qualify and can obtain subsidized housing you may have some of the accoutrements in your home that you seem to equate with living the high life. You know, running water, a fridge, a toilet, a stove. You would also likely have a phone (subsidized at that) so you might be able to participate (or attempt to participate) in the job market in an honest attempt to better your family's economic prospects and as is required to qualify for most assistance programs.

Consider as well that you don't have transportation to get a job that would improve your circumstances. You earn too much to qualify for meaningful levels of food support programs and fall into the insurance gap for subsidies because you live in a state that for ideological reasons refuses to expand Medicaid coverage. Your local schools are a disgrace but you can't take advantage of so-called school choice programs (vouchers, charters, and the like) as you don't have transportation or the time (given your employer's refusal to set fixed working hours for minimum wage part time work) to get your kids to that fine choice school.

You may have a fridge and a stove, but you have no food to cook. You may have access to running water and electricity, but you can't afford to pay the bills for such on account of having to choose between putting food in that fridge or flushing that toilet. You can't be there reliably for your kids to help with school, etc, because you work constantly shifting hours for crap pay.

Get back to me after six months to a year after living in such circumstances and then tell me again how Americans don't really live in poverty simply because they have access to appliances.


Earl Shelton 5 Dec 2015 15:08

The Earned Income Tax Credit seems to me a good starting point for reform. It has been around since the 70s -- conceived by Nixon/Moynihan -- and signed by socialist (kidding) Gerald Ford -- it already *redistributes* income (don't choke on the term, O'Reilly) directly from tax revenue (which is still largely progressive) to the working poor, with kids.

That program should be massively expanded to tax the 1% -- and especially the top 1/10 of 1% (including a wealth tax) -- and distribute the money to the bottom half of society, mostly in the form of work training, child care and other things that help put them in and keep them in the middle class. It is a mechanism already in existence to correct the worst ravages of Capitalism. Use it to build shared prosperity.


oKWJNRo 5 Dec 2015 14:40

So many dutiful neoliberals on here rushing to the defense of poor Capitalism. Clearly, these commentators are among those who are in the privileged position of reaping the true benefits of Capitalism - And, of course, there are many benefits to reap if you are lucky enough to be born into the right racial-socioeconomic context.

We can probably all agree that Capitalism has brought about widespread improvements in healthcare, education, living conditions, for example, compared to the feudal system that preceded it... But it also disproportionately benefits the upper echelons of Capitalist societies and is wholly unequal by design.

Capitalism depends upon the existence of a large underclass that can be exploited. This is part of the process of how surplus value is created and wealth is extracted from labour. This much is indisputable. It is therefore obvious that capitalism isn't an ideal system for most of us living on this planet.

As for the improvements in healthcare, education, living conditions etc that Capitalism has fostered... Most of these were won through long struggles against the Capitalist hegemony by the masses. We would have certainly chosen to make these improvements to our landscape sooner if Capitalism hadn't made every effort to stop us. The problem today is that Capitalism and its powerful beneficiaries have successfully convinced us that there is no possible alternative. It won't give us the chance to try or even permit us to believe there could be another, better way.

Martin Joseph -> realdoge 5 Dec 2015 14:33

Please walk us through how non-capitalist systems create wealth and allow their lowest class people propel themselves to the top in one generation. You will note that most socialist systems derive their technology and advancements from the more capitalistic systems. Pharmaceuticals, software, and robotics are a great example of this.

I shutter to think of what the welfare of the average citizen of the world would be like without the advancements made via the capitalist countries.

VWFeature 5 Dec 2015 14:29

Markets, economies and tax systems are created by people, and based on rules they agree on. Those rules can favor general prosperity or concentration of wealth. Destruction and predation are easier than creation and cooperation, so our rules have to favor cooperation if we want to avoid predation and destructive conflicts.

In the 1930's the US changed many of those rules to favor general prosperity. Since then they've been gradually changed to favor wealth concentration and predation. They can be changed back.

The trick is creating a system that encourages innovation while putting a safety net under the population so failure doesn't end in starvation.

A large part of our current problems is the natural tendency for large companies to get larger and larger until their failure would adversely affect too many others, so they're not allowed to fail. Tax law, not antitrust law, has to work against this. If a company can reduce its tax rate by breaking into 20 smaller (still huge) companies, then competition is preserved and no one company can dominate and control markets.

Robert Goldschmidt -> Jake321 5 Dec 2015 14:27

Bernie Sanders has it right on -- we can only heal our system by first having millions rise up and demand an end to the corruption of the corporations controlling our elected representatives. Corporations are not people and money is not speech.

moonwrap02 5 Dec 2015 14:26

The effects of wealth distribution has far reaching consequences. It is not just about money, but creating a fair society - one that is co-operative and cohesive. The present system has allowed an ever divide between the rich and poor, creating a two tier society where neither the twain shall meet. The rich and poor are almost different species on the planet and no longer belong to the same community. Commonality of interest is lost and so it's difficult to form community and to have good, friendly relationships across class differences that are that large.

"If capitalism is to be seen to be fair, the same rules are to apply to the big guy as to the little guy,"

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/2-charts-that-show-what-the-world-really-thinks-about-capitalism-a6719851.html


Jeremiah2000 -> bifess 5 Dec 2015 14:17

Sorry. I get it now. You actually think that because the Washington elite has repealed Glass-Steagel that we live in a unregulated capitalistic system.

This is so far from the truth that I wasn't comprehending that anyone could think that. You can see the graph of pages published in the Federal Register here. Unregulated capitalism? Wow.

Dodd Frank was passed in 2010 (without a single Republican vote). Originally it was 2,300 pages. It is STILL being written by nameless bureaucrats and is over 20,000 pages. Unregulated capitalism? Really?

But the reality is that Goliath is conspiring with the government to regulate what size sling David can use and how many stones and how many ounces.

So we need more government regulations? They will disallow David from anything but spitwads and only two of those.


neuronmaker -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 14:16

Do you understand the concept of corporations which are products of capitalism?

The legal institutions within each capitalist corporations and nations are just that, they are capitalist and all about making profits.

The law is made by the rich capitalists and for the rich capitalists. Each Legislation is a link in the chain of economic slavery by capitalists.

Capitalism and the concept of money is a construction of the human mind, as it does not exist in the natural world. This construction is all about using other human beings like blood suckers to sustain a cruel and evil life style - with blood and brutality as the core ideology.


Marcedward -> MarjaE 5 Dec 2015 14:12

I would agree that our system of help for the less-well-off could be more accessible and more generous, but that doesn't negate that point that there is a lot of help out there - the most important help being that totally free educational system. Think about it, a free education, and to get the most out of it a student merely has to show up, obey the rules, do the homework and study for tests. It's all laid out there for the kids like a helicopter mom laying out her kids clothes. How much easier can we make it? If people can't be bothered to show up and put in effort, how is their failure based on racism


tommydog -> martinusher 5 Dec 2015 14:12

As you are referring to Carlos Slim, interestingly while he is Mexican by birth his parents were both Lebanese.

slightlynumb -> AmyInNH 5 Dec 2015 14:12

Why isn't that capitalism? It's raw capitalism on steroids.

Zara Von Fritz -> Toughspike 5 Dec 2015 14:12

It's an equal opportunity plantation now.

Robert Goldschmidt 5 Dec 2015 14:11

The key to repairing the system is to identify the causes of our problems.

Here is my list:

The information technology revolution which continues to destroy wages by enabling automation and outsourcing.

The reformation of monopolies which price gouge and block innovation.

Hitting ecological limits such as climate change, water shortages, unsustainable farming.

Then we can make meaningful changes such as regulation of the portion of corporate profit that are pay, enforcement of national and regional antitrust laws and an escalating carbon tax.

Zara Von Fritz -> PostCorbyn 5 Dec 2015 14:11

If you can believe these quality of life or happiness indexes they put out so often, the winners tend to be places that have nice environments and a higher socialist mix in their economy. Of course there are examples of poor countries that practice the same but its not clear that their choice is causal rather than reactive.

We created this mess and we can fix it.

Zara Von Fritz -> dig4victory 5 Dec 2015 14:03

Yes Basic Income is possibly the mythical third way. It socialises wealth to a point but at the same time frees markets from their obligation to perpetually grow and create jobs for the sake of jobs and also hereford reduces the subsequent need for governments to attempt to control them beyond maintaining their health.

Zara Von Fritz 5 Dec 2015 13:48

As I understand it, you don't just fiddle with capitalism, you counteract it, or counterweight it. A level of capitalism, or credit accumulation, and a level of socialism has always existed, including democracy which is a manifestation of socialism (1 vote each). So the project of capital accumulation seems to be out of control because larger accumulations become more powerful and meanwhile the power of labour in the marketplace has become less so due to forces driving unemployment. The danger is that capital's power to control the democratic system reaches a point of no return.


Jeremiah2000 -> bifess 5 Dec 2015 13:42

"I do not have the economic freedom to grow my own food because i do not have access to enough land to grow it and i do not have the economic clout to buy a piece of land."

Economic freedom does NOT mean you get money for free. It means that means that if you grow food for personal use, the federal government doesn't trash the Constitution by using the insterstate commerce clause to say that it can regulate how much you grow on your own personal land.

Economic freedom means that if you have a widget, you can choose to set the price for $10 or $100 and that a buyer is free to buy it from you or not buy it from you. It does NOT mean that you are entitled to "free" widgets.

"If capitalism has not managed to eradicate poverty in rich first world countries then just what chance if there of capitalism eradicating poverty on a global scale?"

The average person in poverty in the U.S. doesn't live in poverty:

In fact, 80.9 percent of households below the poverty level have cell phones, and a healthy majority-58.2 percent-have computers.

Fully 96.1 percent of American households in "poverty" have a television to watch, and 83.2 percent of them have a video-recording device in case they cannot get home in time to watch the football game or their favorite television show and they want to record it for watching later.

Refrigerators (97.8 percent), gas or electric stoves (96.6 percent) and microwaves (93.2 percent) are standard equipment in the homes of Americans in "poverty."

More than 83 percent have air-conditioning.

Interestingly, the appliances surveyed by the Census Bureau that households in poverty are least likely to own are dish washers (44.9 percent) and food freezers (26.2 percent).

However, most Americans in "poverty" do not need to go to a laundromat. According to the Census Bureau, 68.7 percent of households in poverty have a clothes washer and 65.3 percent have a clothes dryer.

(Data from the U.S. census.)

[Dec 16, 2018] Neoliberalism has had its day. So what happens next (The death of neoliberalism and the crisis in western politics) by Martin Jacques

Highly recommended!
It is very interesting and educational to read this pre-election article two years later and see where the author is right and where he is wrong. The death of neoliberalism was greatly exaggerated. It simply mutated in the USA into "national neoliberalism" under Trump. As no clear alternative exists it remain the dominant ideology and universities still brainwash students with neoclassical economics. And in way catchy slogan "Make America great again" under Trump means "Make American working and lower middle class great again"
It is also clear that Trump betrayed or was forced to betray most of his election promises. Standrd of living of common americans did not improve under his watch. most of hi benefits of his tax cuts went to large corporations and financial oligarch. He continued the policy of financial deregulation, which is tantamount of playing with open fire trying to warm up the house
What we see under Trump is tremendous growth of political role of intelligence agencies which now are real kingmakers and can sink any candidate which does not support their agenda. And USA intelligence agencies operated in 2016 in close cooperation with the UK intelligence agencies to the extent that it is not clear who has the lead in creating Steele dossier. They are definitely out of control of executive branch and play their own game. We also see a rise of CIA democrats as a desperate attempt to preserve the power of Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ('soft neoliberals" turned under Hillary into into warmongers and neocons) . Hillary and Bill themselves clearly belong to CIA democrats too, not only to Wall Street democrats, despite the fact that they sold Democratic Party to Wall Street in the past. New Labor in UK did the same.
But if it is more or less clear now what happened in the USa in 2016-2018, it is completely unclear what will happen next. I think in no way neoliberalism will start to be dismantled. there is no social forces powerful enough to start this job, We probably need another financial crisi of the scale of 2008 for this work to be reluctantly started by ruling elite. And we better not to have this repetition of 2008 as it will be really devastating for common people.
Notable quotes:
"... the causes of this political crisis, glaringly evident on both sides of the Atlantic, are much deeper than simply the financial crisis and the virtually stillborn recovery of the last decade. They go to the heart of the neoliberal project that dates from the late 70s and the political rise of Reagan and Thatcher, and embraced at its core the idea of a global free market in goods, services and capital. The depression-era system of bank regulation was dismantled, in the US in the 1990s and in Britain in 1986, thereby creating the conditions for the 2008 crisis. Equality was scorned, the idea of trickle-down economics lauded, government condemned as a fetter on the market and duly downsized, immigration encouraged, regulation cut to a minimum, taxes reduced and a blind eye turned to corporate evasion. ..."
"... It should be noted that, by historical standards, the neoliberal era has not had a particularly good track record. The most dynamic period of postwar western growth was that between the end of the war and the early 70s, the era of welfare capitalism and Keynesianism, when the growth rate was double that of the neoliberal period from 1980 to the present. ..."
"... In the period 1948-1972, every section of the American population experienced very similar and sizable increases in their standard of living; between 1972-2013, the bottom 10% experienced falling real income while the top 10% did far better than everyone else. In the US, the median real income for full-time male workers is now lower than it was four decades ago: the income of the bottom 90% of the population has stagnated for over 30 years . ..."
"... On average, between 65-70% of households in 25 high-income economies experienced stagnant or falling real incomes between 2005 and 2014. ..."
"... As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable. ..."
"... Foreign Affairs ..."
"... "'Populism' is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don't like." Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both. ..."
"... According to a Gallup poll, in 2000 only 33% of Americans called themselves working class; by 2015 the figure was 48%, almost half the population. ..."
"... The re-emergence of the working class as a political voice in Britain, most notably in the Brexit vote, can best be described as an inchoate expression of resentment and protest, with only a very weak sense of belonging to the labour movement. ..."
"... Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation . ..."
"... those who have lost out in the neoliberal era are no longer prepared to acquiesce in their fate – they are increasingly in open revolt. We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era. It is not dead, but it is in its early death throes, just as the social-democratic era was during the 1970s. ..."
"... Capital in the Twenty-First Century ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
Aug 21, 2016 | www.theguardian.com

In the early 1980s the author was one of the first to herald the emerging dominance of neoliberalism in the west. Here he argues that this doctrine is now faltering. But what happens next?

The western financial crisis of 2007-8 was the worst since 1931, yet its immediate repercussions were surprisingly modest. The crisis challenged the foundation stones of the long-dominant neoliberal ideology but it seemed to emerge largely unscathed. The banks were bailed out; hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes; and the price of their behaviour was duly paid by the taxpayer. Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight.

After almost nine years, we are finally beginning to reap the political whirlwind of the financial crisis. But how did neoliberalism manage to survive virtually unscathed for so long? Although it failed the test of the real world, bequeathing the worst economic disaster for seven decades, politically and intellectually it remained the only show in town. Parties of the right, centre and left had all bought into its philosophy, New Labour a classic in point. They knew no other way of thinking or doing: it had become the common sense. It was, as Antonio Gramsci put it, hegemonic. But that hegemony cannot and will not survive the test of the real world.

The first inkling of the wider political consequences was evident in the turn in public opinion against the banks, bankers and business leaders. For decades, they could do no wrong: they were feted as the role models of our age, the default troubleshooters of choice in education, health and seemingly everything else. Now, though, their star was in steep descent, along with that of the political class. The effect of the financial crisis was to undermine faith and trust in the competence of the governing elites. It marked the beginnings of a wider political crisis.

But the causes of this political crisis, glaringly evident on both sides of the Atlantic, are much deeper than simply the financial crisis and the virtually stillborn recovery of the last decade. They go to the heart of the neoliberal project that dates from the late 70s and the political rise of Reagan and Thatcher, and embraced at its core the idea of a global free market in goods, services and capital. The depression-era system of bank regulation was dismantled, in the US in the 1990s and in Britain in 1986, thereby creating the conditions for the 2008 crisis. Equality was scorned, the idea of trickle-down economics lauded, government condemned as a fetter on the market and duly downsized, immigration encouraged, regulation cut to a minimum, taxes reduced and a blind eye turned to corporate evasion.

It should be noted that, by historical standards, the neoliberal era has not had a particularly good track record. The most dynamic period of postwar western growth was that between the end of the war and the early 70s, the era of welfare capitalism and Keynesianism, when the growth rate was double that of the neoliberal period from 1980 to the present.

But by far the most disastrous feature of the neoliberal period has been the huge growth in inequality. Until very recently, this had been virtually ignored. With extraordinary speed, however, it has emerged as one of, if not the most important political issue on both sides of the Atlantic, most dramatically in the US. It is, bar none, the issue that is driving the political discontent that is now engulfing the west. Given the statistical evidence, it is puzzling, shocking even, that it has been disregarded for so long; the explanation can only lie in the sheer extent of the hegemony of neoliberalism and its values.

But now reality has upset the doctrinal apple cart. In the period 1948-1972, every section of the American population experienced very similar and sizable increases in their standard of living; between 1972-2013, the bottom 10% experienced falling real income while the top 10% did far better than everyone else. In the US, the median real income for full-time male workers is now lower than it was four decades ago: the income of the bottom 90% of the population has stagnated for over 30 years .

A not so dissimilar picture is true of the UK. And the problem has grown more serious since the financial crisis. On average, between 65-70% of households in 25 high-income economies experienced stagnant or falling real incomes between 2005 and 2014.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot

The reasons are not difficult to explain. The hyper-globalisation era has been systematically stacked in favour of capital against labour: international trading agreements, drawn up in great secrecy, with business on the inside and the unions and citizens excluded, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being but the latest examples; the politico-legal attack on the unions; the encouragement of large-scale immigration in both the US and Europe that helped to undermine the bargaining power of the domestic workforce; and the failure to retrain displaced workers in any meaningful way.

As Thomas Piketty has shown, in the absence of countervailing pressures, capitalism naturally gravitates towards increasing inequality. In the period between 1945 and the late 70s, Cold War competition was arguably the biggest such constraint. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there have been none. As the popular backlash grows increasingly irresistible, however, such a winner-takes-all regime becomes politically unsustainable.

Large sections of the population in both the US and the UK are now in revolt against their lot, as graphically illustrated by the support for Trump and Sanders in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK. This popular revolt is often described, in a somewhat denigratory and dismissive fashion, as populism. Or, as Francis Fukuyama writes in a recent excellent essay in Foreign Affairs : "'Populism' is the label that political elites attach to policies supported by ordinary citizens that they don't like." Populism is a movement against the status quo. It represents the beginnings of something new, though it is generally much clearer about what it is against than what it is for. It can be progressive or reactionary, but more usually both.

Brexit is a classic example of such populism. It has overturned a fundamental cornerstone of UK policy since the early 1970s. Though ostensibly about Europe, it was in fact about much more: a cri de coeur from those who feel they have lost out and been left behind, whose living standards have stagnated or worse since the 1980s, who feel dislocated by large-scale immigration over which they have no control and who face an increasingly insecure and casualised labour market. Their revolt has paralysed the governing elite, already claimed one prime minister, and left the latest one fumbling around in the dark looking for divine inspiration.

The wave of populism marks the return of class as a central agency in politics, both in the UK and the US. This is particularly remarkable in the US. For many decades, the idea of the "working class" was marginal to American political discourse. Most Americans described themselves as middle class, a reflection of the aspirational pulse at the heart of American society. According to a Gallup poll, in 2000 only 33% of Americans called themselves working class; by 2015 the figure was 48%, almost half the population.

Brexit, too, was primarily a working-class revolt. Hitherto, on both sides of the Atlantic, the agency of class has been in retreat in the face of the emergence of a new range of identities and issues from gender and race to sexual orientation and the environment. The return of class, because of its sheer reach, has the potential, like no other issue, to redefine the political landscape.

The working class belongs to no one: its orientation, far from predetermined, is a function of politics

The re-emergence of class should not be confused with the labor movement. They are not synonymous: this is obvious in the US and increasingly the case in the UK. Indeed, over the last half-century, there has been a growing separation between the two in Britain. The re-emergence of the working class as a political voice in Britain, most notably in the Brexit vote, can best be described as an inchoate expression of resentment and protest, with only a very weak sense of belonging to the labour movement.

Indeed, Ukip has been as important – in the form of immigration and Europe – in shaping its current attitudes as the Labour party. In the United States, both Trump and Sanders have given expression to the working-class revolt, the latter almost as much as the former. The working class belongs to no one: its orientation, far from predetermined, as the left liked to think, is a function of politics.

The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007; the United States has done better but even its growth has been anaemic. Economists such as Larry Summers believe that the prospect for the future is most likely one of secular stagnation .

Worse, because the recovery has been so weak and fragile, there is a widespread belief that another financial crisis may well beckon. In other words, the neoliberal era has delivered the west back into the kind of crisis-ridden world that we last experienced in the 1930s. With this background, it is hardly surprising that a majority in the west now believe their children will be worse off than they were. Second, those who have lost out in the neoliberal era are no longer prepared to acquiesce in their fate – they are increasingly in open revolt. We are witnessing the end of the neoliberal era. It is not dead, but it is in its early death throes, just as the social-democratic era was during the 1970s.

A sure sign of the declining influence of neoliberalism is the rising chorus of intellectual voices raised against it. From the mid-70s through the 80s, the economic debate was increasingly dominated by monetarists and free marketeers. But since the western financial crisis, the centre of gravity of the intellectual debate has shifted profoundly. This is most obvious in the United States, with economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, Dani Rodrik and Jeffrey Sachs becoming increasingly influential. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been a massive seller. His work and that of Tony Atkinson and Angus Deaton have pushed the question of the inequality to the top of the political agenda. In the UK, Ha-Joon Chang , for long isolated within the economics profession, has gained a following far greater than those who think economics is a branch of mathematics.

Meanwhile, some of those who were previously strong advocates of a neoliberal approach, such as Larry Summers and the Financial Times 's Martin Wolf, have become extremely critical. The wind is in the sails of the critics of neoliberalism; the neoliberals and monetarists are in retreat. In the UK, the media and political worlds are well behind the curve. Few recognize that we are at the end of an era. Old attitudes and assumptions still predominate, whether on the BBC's Today programme, in the rightwing press or the parliamentary Labor party.

Following Ed Miliband's resignation as Labour leader, virtually no one foresaw the triumph of Jeremy Corbyn in the subsequent leadership election. The assumption had been more of the same, a Blairite or a halfway house like Miliband, certainly not anyone like Corbyn. But the zeitgeist had changed. The membership, especially the young who had joined the party on an unprecedented scale, wanted a complete break with New Labour. One of the reasons why the left has failed to emerge as the leader of the new mood of working-class disillusionment is that most social democratic parties became, in varying degrees, disciples of neoliberalism and uber-globalisation. The most extreme forms of this phenomenon were New Labour and the Democrats, who in the late 90s and 00s became its advance guard, personified by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, triangulation and the third way.

But as David Marquand observed in a review for the New Statesman , what is the point of a social democratic party if it doesn't represent the less fortunate, the underprivileged and the losers? New Labour deserted those who needed them, who historically they were supposed to represent. Is it surprising that large sections have now deserted the party who deserted them? Blair, in his reincarnation as a money-obsessed consultant to a shady bunch of presidents and dictators, is a fitting testament to the demise of New Labour.

The rival contenders – Burnham, Cooper and Kendall – represented continuity. They were swept away by Corbyn, who won nearly 60% of the votes. New Labour was over, as dead as Monty Python's parrot. Few grasped the meaning of what had happened. A Guardian leader welcomed the surge in membership and then, lo and behold, urged support for Yvette Cooper, the very antithesis of the reason for the enthusiasm. The PLP refused to accept the result and ever since has tried with might and main to remove Corbyn.

Just as the Labour party took far too long to come to terms with the rise of Thatcherism and the birth of a new era at the end of the 70s, now it could not grasp that the Thatcherite paradigm, which they eventually came to embrace in the form of New Labour, had finally run its course. Labour, like everyone else, is obliged to think anew. The membership in their antipathy to New Labour turned to someone who had never accepted the latter, who was the polar opposite in almost every respect of Blair, and embodying an authenticity and decency which Blair patently did not.

Labour may be in intensive care, but the condition of the Conservatives is not a great deal better

Corbyn is not a product of the new times, he is a throwback to the late 70s and early 80s. That is both his strength and also his weakness. He is uncontaminated by the New Labour legacy because he has never accepted it. But nor, it would seem, does he understand the nature of the new era. The danger is that he is possessed of feet of clay in what is a highly fluid and unpredictable political environment, devoid of any certainties of almost any kind, in which Labour finds itself dangerously divided and weakened.

Labour may be in intensive care, but the condition of the Conservatives is not a great deal better. David Cameron was guilty of a huge and irresponsible miscalculation over Brexit. He was forced to resign in the most ignominious of circumstances. The party is hopelessly divided. It has no idea in which direction to move after Brexit. The Brexiters painted an optimistic picture of turning away from the declining European market and embracing the expanding markets of the world, albeit barely mentioning by name which countries it had in mind. It looks as if the new prime minister may have an anachronistic hostility towards China and a willingness to undo the good work of George Osborne. If the government turns its back on China, by far the fastest growing market in the world, where are they going to turn?

Brexit has left the country fragmented and deeply divided, with the very real prospect that Scotland might choose independence. Meanwhile, the Conservatives seem to have little understanding that the neoliberal era is in its death throes.

Dramatic as events have been in the UK, they cannot compare with those in the United States. Almost from nowhere, Donald Trump rose to capture the Republican nomination and confound virtually all the pundits and not least his own party. His message was straightforwardly anti-globalisation. He believes that the interests of the working class have been sacrificed in favour of the big corporations that have been encouraged to invest around the world and thereby deprive American workers of their jobs. Further, he argues that large-scale immigration has weakened the bargaining power of American workers and served to lower their wages.

He proposes that US corporations should be required to invest their cash reserves in the US. He believes that the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) has had the effect of exporting American jobs to Mexico. On similar grounds, he is opposed to the TPP and the TTIP. And he also accuses China of stealing American jobs, threatening to impose a 45% tariff on Chinese imports.

To globalisation Trump counterposes economic nationalism: "Put America first". His appeal, above all, is to the white working class who, until Trump's (and Bernie Sander's) arrival on the political scene, had been ignored and largely unrepresented since the 1980s. Given that their wages have been falling for most of the last 40 years, it is extraordinary how their interests have been neglected by the political class. Increasingly, they have voted Republican, but the Republicans have long been captured by the super-rich and Wall Street, whose interests, as hyper-globalisers, have run directly counter to those of the white working class. With the arrival of Trump they finally found a representative: they won Trump the Republican nomination.

Trump believes that America's pursuit of great power status has squandered the nation's resources

The economic nationalist argument has also been vigorously pursued by Bernie Sanders , who ran Hillary Clinton extremely close for the Democratic nomination and would probably have won but for more than 700 so-called super-delegates, who were effectively chosen by the Democratic machine and overwhelmingly supported Clinton. As in the case of the Republicans, the Democrats have long supported a neoliberal, pro-globalisation strategy, notwithstanding the concerns of its trade union base. Both the Republicans and the Democrats now find themselves deeply polarised between the pro- and anti-globalisers, an entirely new development not witnessed since the shift towards neoliberalism under Reagan almost 40 years ago.

Another plank of Trump's nationalist appeal – "Make America great again" – is his position on foreign policy. He believes that America's pursuit of great power status has squandered the nation's resources. He argues that the country's alliance system is unfair, with America bearing most of the cost and its allies contributing far too little. He points to Japan and South Korea, and NATO's European members as prime examples. He seeks to rebalance these relationships and, failing that, to exit from them.

As a country in decline, he argues that America can no longer afford to carry this kind of financial burden. Rather than putting the world to rights, he believes the money should be invested at home, pointing to the dilapidated state of America's infrastructure. Trump's position represents a major critique of America as the world's hegemon. His arguments mark a radical break with the neoliberal, hyper-globalisation ideology that has reigned since the early 1980s and with the foreign policy orthodoxy of most of the postwar period. These arguments must be taken seriously. They should not be lightly dismissed just because of their authorship. But Trump is no man of the left. He is a populist of the right. He has launched a racist and xenophobic attack on Muslims and on Mexicans. Trump's appeal is to a white working class that feels it has been cheated by the big corporations, undermined by Hispanic immigration, and often resentful towards African-Americans who for long too many have viewed as their inferior.

A Trump America would mark a descent into authoritarianism characterised by abuse, scapegoating, discrimination, racism, arbitrariness and violence; America would become a deeply polarised and divided society. His threat to impose 45% tariffs on China , if implemented, would certainly provoke retaliation by the Chinese and herald the beginnings of a new era of protectionism.

Trump may well lose the presidential election just as Sanders failed in his bid for the Democrat nomination. But this does not mean that the forces opposed to hyper-globalisation – unrestricted immigration, TPP and TTIP, the free movement of capital and much else – will have lost the argument and are set to decline. In little more than 12 months, Trump and Sanders have transformed the nature and terms of the argument. Far from being on the wane, the arguments of the critics of hyper-globalisation are steadily gaining ground. Roughly two-thirds of Americans agree that "we should not think so much in international terms but concentrate more on our own national problems". And, above all else, what will continue to drive opposition to the hyper-globalisers is inequality.

[Dec 14, 2018] Neoliberalism has spawned a financial elite who hold governments to ransom by Deborah Orr

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe ..."
"... The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask. ..."
"... Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. ..."
"... Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments. ..."
"... The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised. ..."
"... Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. ..."
Jun 08, 2013 | www.theguardian.com

The crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response should be a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe

Sat 8 Jun 2013 02.59 EDT First published on Sat 8 Jun 2013 02.59 EDT

The IMF's limited admission of guilt over the Greek bailout is a start, but they still can't see the global financial system's fundamental flaws, writes Deborah Orr. Photograph: Boris Roessler/DPA FILE T he International Monetary Fund has admitted that some of the decisions it made in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis were wrong, and that the €130bn first bailout of Greece was "bungled". Well, yes. If it hadn't been a mistake, then it would have been the only bailout and everyone in Greece would have lived happily ever after.

Actually, the IMF hasn't quite admitted that it messed things up. It has said instead that it went along with its partners in "the Troika" – the European Commission and the European Central Bank – when it shouldn't have. The EC and the ECB, says the IMF, put the interests of the eurozone before the interests of Greece. The EC and the ECB, in turn, clutch their pearls and splutter with horror that they could be accused of something so petty as self-preservation.

The IMF also admits that it "underestimated" the effect austerity would have on Greece. Obviously, the rest of the Troika takes no issue with that. Even those who substitute "kick up the arse to all the lazy scroungers" whenever they encounter the word "austerity", have cottoned on to the fact that the word can only be intoned with facial features locked into a suitably tragic mask.

Yet, mealy-mouthed and hotly contested as this minor mea culpa is, it's still a sign that financial institutions may slowly be coming round to the idea that they are the problem. They know the crash was a debt-bubble that burst. What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the merry days of reckless lending are never going to return; even if they do, the same thing will happen again, but more quickly and more savagely. The thing is this: the crash was a write-off, not a repair job. The response from the start should have been a wholesale reevaluation of the way in which wealth is created and distributed around the globe, a "structural adjustment", as the philosopher John Gray has said all along.

The IMF exists to lend money to governments, so it's comic that it wags its finger at governments that run up debt. And, of course, its loans famously come with strings attached: adopt a free-market economy, or strengthen the one you have, kissing goodbye to the Big State. Yet, the irony is painful. Neoliberal ideology insists that states are too big and cumbersome, too centralised and faceless, to be efficient and responsive. I agree. The problem is that the ruthless sentimentalists of neoliberalism like to tell themselves – and anyone else who will listen – that removing the dead hand of state control frees the individual citizen to be entrepreneurial and productive. Instead, it places the financially powerful beyond any state, in an international elite that makes its own rules, and holds governments to ransom. That's what the financial crisis was all about. The ransom was paid, and as a result, governments have been obliged to limit their activities yet further – some setting about the task with greater relish than others. Now the task, supposedly, is to get the free market up and running again.

But the basic problem is this: it costs a lot of money to cultivate a market – a group of consumers – and the more sophisticated the market is, the more expensive it is to cultivate them. A developed market needs to be populated with educated, healthy, cultured, law-abiding and financially secure people – people who expect to be well paid themselves, having been brought up believing in material aspiration, as consumers need to be.

So why, exactly, given the huge amount of investment needed to create such a market, should access to it then be "free"? The neoliberal idea is that the cultivation itself should be conducted privately as well. They see "austerity" as a way of forcing that agenda. But how can the privatisation of societal welfare possibly happen when unemployment is already high, working people are turning to food banks to survive and the debt industry, far from being sorry that it brought the global economy to its knees, is snapping up bargains in the form of busted high-street businesses to establish shops with nothing to sell but high-interest debt? Why, you have to ask yourself, is this vast implausibility, this sheer unsustainability, not blindingly obvious to all?

Markets cannot be free. Markets have to be nurtured. They have to be invested in. Markets have to be grown. Google, Amazon and Apple haven't taught anyone in this country to read. But even though an illiterate market wouldn't be so great for them, they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments.

And further, those who invest in these companies, and insist that taxes should be low to encourage private profit and shareholder value, then lend governments the money they need to create these populations of sophisticated producers and consumers, berating them for their profligacy as they do so. It's all utterly, completely, crazy.

The other day a health minister, Anna Soubry , suggested that female GPs who worked part-time so that they could bring up families were putting the NHS under strain. The compartmentalised thinking is quite breathtaking. What on earth does she imagine? That it would be better for the economy if they all left school at 16? On the contrary, the more people who are earning good money while working part-time – thus having the leisure to consume – the better. No doubt these female GPs are sustaining both the pharmaceutical industry and the arts and media, both sectors that Britain does well in.

As for their prioritising of family life over career – that's just another of the myriad ways in which Conservative neoliberalism is entirely without logic. Its prophets and its disciples will happily – ecstatically – tell you that there's nothing more important than family, unless you're a family doctor spending some of your time caring for your own. You couldn't make these characters up. It is certainly true that women with children find it more easy to find part-time employment in the public sector. But that's a prima facie example of how unresponsive the private sector is to human and societal need, not – as it is so often presented – evidence that the public sector is congenitally disabled.

Much of the healthy economic growth – as opposed to the smoke and mirrors of many aspects of financial services – that Britain enjoyed during the second half of the 20th century was due to women swelling the educated workforce. Soubry and her ilk, above all else, forget that people have multiple roles, as consumers, as producers, as citizens and as family members. All of those things have to be nurtured and invested in to make a market.

The neoliberalism that the IMF still preaches pays no account to any of this. It insists that the provision of work alone is enough of an invisible hand to sustain a market. Yet even Adam Smith, the economist who came up with that theory , did not agree that economic activity alone was enough to keep humans decent and civilised.

Governments are left with the bill when neoliberals demand access to markets that they refuse to invest in making. Their refusal allows them to rail against the Big State while producing the conditions that make it necessary. And even as the results of their folly become ever more plain to see, they are grudging in their admittance of the slightest blame, bickering with their allies instead of waking up, smelling the coffee and realizing that far too much of it is sold through Starbucks.

[Dec 09, 2018] Neoliberalism is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I don't like using the term "neo-liberalism" that much because there is nothing "new" or "liberal" about it, the term itself just helps hide the fact that it's a political project more about power than profit and the end result is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector. ..."
"... Since the word "privatisation" is clearly no longer popular, the latest buzzword from this project is "outsourcing". ..."
"... As far as I can see "neo-liberalism", or what I prefer to call managerial and financialised feudalism is not dead, it's still out and about looking around for the next rent-seeking opportunity. ..."
"... In the political arena, is enabling porkies facilitate each other in every lunatic pronouncement about "Budget repair" and "on track for a surplus". And its spotty, textbook-spouting clones ("all debt is debt! Shriek, gasp, hyperventilate!") fall off the conveyor belts of tertiary education Australia-wide, then turn up on The Drum as IPA 'Research Fellows' to spout their evidence-free assertions. ..."
"... And don't forget the handmaiden of neoliberalism is their macroeconomic mythology about government "debt and borrowing" which will condemn our grandchildren to poverty - inter-generational theft! It also allows them to continue dismantling government social programs by giving tax-cuts to reduce "revenue" and then claiming there is no money to fund those programs. ..."
"... "Competition" as the cornerstone of neoliberal economics was always a lie. Corporations do their best to get rid of competitors by unfair pricing tactics or by takeovers. And even where some competitors hang in there by some means (banks, petrol companies) the competition that occurs is not for price but for profit. ..."
"... We find a shift away from democratic processes and the rise of the "all new adulation of the so-called tough leader" factor, aka Nazism/Fascism. From Trump to Turkey, Netanyahu to Putin, Brazil to China, the rise of the "right" in Europe, the South Americas, where the leader is "our great and "good" Teacher", knows best, and thus infantalises the knowledge and awareness of the rest of the population. Who needs scientists, when the "leader" knows everything? ..."
"... There are indeed alternatives to neoliberalism, most of which have been shown to lead back to neoliberalism. Appeals for fiscal and monetary relief/stimulus can only ever paper over the worst aspects of it's relentless 'progress', between wars, it seems. ..."
"... Neoliberalism seems vastly, catastrophically misunderstood. Widely perceived as the latest abomination to spring from the eternal battle 'twixt Labour and Capital, it's actual origins are somewhat more recent. Neoliberalism really, really is not just "Capitalism gone wrong". It goes much deeper, to a fundamental flaw buried( more accurately 'planted') deep in the heart of economics. ..."
"... In 1879 an obscure journalist from then-remote San Francisco, Henry George, took the world by storm with his extraordinary bestseller Progress and Poverty . Still the only published work to outsell the Bible in a single year, it did so for over twenty years, yet few social justice advocates have heard of it. ..."
"... George gravely threatened privileged global power-elites , so they erased him from academic history. A mind compared, in his time with Plato, Copernicus and Adam Smith wiped from living memory, by the modern aristocracy. ..."
"... In the process of doing so, they emasculated the discipline of economics, stripped dignity from labour, and set in motion a world-destroying doctrine. Neo-Classical Economics(aka neoliberalism) was born , to the detriment of the working-citizen and the living world on which s/he depends. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

ElectricJolt , 31 Oct 2018 04:38

I don't like using the term "neo-liberalism" that much because there is nothing "new" or "liberal" about it, the term itself just helps hide the fact that it's a political project more about power than profit and the end result is more like modern feudalism - an authoritarian system where the lords (bankers, energy companies and their large and inefficient attendant bureaucracies), keep us peasants in thrall through life long debt-slavery simply to buy a house or exploit us as a captured market in the case of the energy sector.

Since the word "privatisation" is clearly no longer popular, the latest buzzword from this project is "outsourcing". If you've had a look at The Canberra Times over the last couple of weeks there have been quite a few articles about outsourcing parts of Medicare and Centrelink, using labour hire companies and so on – is this part of a current LNP plan to "sell off" parts of the government before Labour takes the reins in May?

As far as I can see "neo-liberalism", or what I prefer to call managerial and financialised feudalism is not dead, it's still out and about looking around for the next rent-seeking opportunity.

Friarbird , 31 Oct 2018 04:02
Neoliberalism "dead"? I think not. It is riveted on the country like a straitjacket.

Which is exactly what it was always intended to be, a system gamed and rigged to ensure the wage-earning scum obtain progressively less and less of the country's productive wealth, however much they contributed to it. The wage theft and exploitation Neoliberalism fosters has become the new norm. Neoliberal idealogues thickly infest Federal and State Treasuries.

In the political arena, is enabling porkies facilitate each other in every lunatic pronouncement about "Budget repair" and "on track for a surplus". And its spotty, textbook-spouting clones ("all debt is debt! Shriek, gasp, hyperventilate!") fall off the conveyor belts of tertiary education Australia-wide, then turn up on The Drum as IPA 'Research Fellows' to spout their evidence-free assertions.

The IPA itself has moles in govt at every level--even in your local Council. Certainly in ours.

Neoliberalism is "dead"? Correction. Neoliberalism is alive, thriving---and quick to ensure its glaring deficiencies and inequities are solely attributable to its opponents. Now THERE'S a surprise.....

totaram -> JohnArmour , 31 Oct 2018 03:01
Agree! And don't forget the handmaiden of neoliberalism is their macroeconomic mythology about government "debt and borrowing" which will condemn our grandchildren to poverty - inter-generational theft! It also allows them to continue dismantling government social programs by giving tax-cuts to reduce "revenue" and then claiming there is no money to fund those programs.
exTen , 31 Oct 2018 02:30
Neoliberalism will not be dead until the underpinning of neoliberalism is abandoned by ALP and Greens. That underpinning is their mindless attachment to "budget repair" and "return to surplus". The federal government's "budget" is nothing like a currency user's budget. Currency users collect in order to spend whereas every dollar spent by the federal government is a new dollar and every dollar taxed by the federal government is an ex-dollar. A currency cannot sensibly have "debt" in the currency that it issues and no amount of surplus or deficit now will enhance or impair its capacity to spend in future. A currency issuer does not need an electronic piggybank, or a Future Fund, or a Drought Relief Fund. It can't max out an imaginary credit card. It's "borrowing" is just an exchange of its termless no-coupon liabilities (currency) for term-limited coupon-bearing liabilities (bonds). The federal budget balance is no rational indicator of any need for austerity or for stimulus. The rational indicators are unemployment (too small a "deficit"/too large a surplus) and inflation (too large a "deficit"/too small a "surplus"). Federal taxation is where dollars go to die. It doesn't "fund" a currency issuer's spending - it is there to stop the dollars it issues from piling up and causing inflation and to make room for spending by democratically elected federal parliament. The name of the game is to balance the economy, not the entirely notional and fundamentally irrelevant "budget".
Copperfield , 31 Oct 2018 01:51
"Competition" as the cornerstone of neoliberal economics was always a lie. Corporations do their best to get rid of competitors by unfair pricing tactics or by takeovers. And even where some competitors hang in there by some means (banks, petrol companies) the competition that occurs is not for price but for profit.

And changing the electoral system? Yes indeed. After years of observation it seems to me that the problem with our politics is not individual politicians (although there are notable exceptions) but political parties. Rigid control of policies and voting on party instruction (even by the Greens) makes the proceedings of parliament a complete waste of time. If every policy had to run the gauntlet of 150 people all voting by their conscience we would have better policy. The executive functions could be carried out by a cabinet also elected from those members. But not going to happen - too many vested interests in the parties and their corporate sponsors.

gidrys , 31 Oct 2018 01:34
With the election of Bolsonaro in Brazil (even though nearly 30% of electors refused to vote) it may be a little presumptuous to dissect the dead corpse of neoliberalism, as Richard Denniss' hopes that we can.

What is absolutely gob-smacking is that Brazilians voted for him; a man that Glenn Greenwald describes as "far more dangerous than Trump" , that Bolsonaro envisages military dictatorships as "being a far more superior form of government" advocating a civil war in order to dispose of the left.

Furthermore, the election of this far-right neoliberal extremist also threatens the Amazon forest and its indigenous people; with a global impact that will render combatting climate change even more difficult.

Locally, recent Liberal Party battles over leadership have included the neolib factor, as the lunatic right in that party - who I suspect would all love to be a Bolsonaro themselves - aggressively activate their grumblings and dissension.

Oh, Richard how I wish you were right; but in the Victorian election campaign - currently underway - I have seen Socialist candidates behaving in a manner that doesn't garner hope in a different way of doing politics.

The fact that 'our' democracy is based on an adversarial, partisan system leaves me with little hope. Alain Badiou wrote that "ours is not a world of democracy but a world of imperial conservatism using democratic phraseology" ; and until that imposition is discarded 'our' democracy will remain whatever we are told it is, and neolibs will continue to shove their bullshit down our throats as much as they can.

beeden , 31 Oct 2018 01:33
There is no abatement to the wealthiest in the global communities seeking greater wealth and thus increasing inequality.

Taking a local example,

We find a shift away from democratic processes and the rise of the "all new adulation of the so-called tough leader" factor, aka Nazism/Fascism. From Trump to Turkey, Netanyahu to Putin, Brazil to China, the rise of the "right" in Europe, the South Americas, where the leader is "our great and "good" Teacher", knows best, and thus infantalises the knowledge and awareness of the rest of the population. Who needs scientists, when the "leader" knows everything?

Have the people of the world abrogated their democratic responsibility?

Or is it the gerrymandering chicanery of US Republican backers/politicians( so long as you control the voting machines ) that have sent the ugly message to the world, Power is yours for the making and taking by any means that ignores the public's rights in the decision making process. Has the "neo-liberal" world delivered a corrupted system of democracy that has deliberately alienated the world's population from actively participating fully in the full awareness that their vote counts and will be counted?

Do we need to take back the controls of democracy to ensure that it is the will of the people and not a manipulation by vested interest groups/individuals? You're darn tootin'!!!

Matt Quinn , 31 Oct 2018 01:32
A thoughtful piece. Thanks. There are indeed alternatives to neoliberalism, most of which have been shown to lead back to neoliberalism. Appeals for fiscal and monetary relief/stimulus can only ever paper over the worst aspects of it's relentless 'progress', between wars, it seems.

Neoliberalism seems vastly, catastrophically misunderstood. Widely perceived as the latest abomination to spring from the eternal battle 'twixt Labour and Capital, it's actual origins are somewhat more recent. Neoliberalism really, really is not just "Capitalism gone wrong". It goes much deeper, to a fundamental flaw buried( more accurately 'planted') deep in the heart of economics.

Instead of trying to understand Neo-Classical Economics it is perhaps more instructive to understand what it was built, layer by layer, to obscure. First the Land system, then the Wealth system, and finally the Money system (hived off into a compartment - 'macroeconomics'). Importantly, three entirely different categories of "thing" .

In 1879 an obscure journalist from then-remote San Francisco, Henry George, took the world by storm with his extraordinary bestseller Progress and Poverty . Still the only published work to outsell the Bible in a single year, it did so for over twenty years, yet few social justice advocates have heard of it.

George set out to discover why the worst poverty always seemed to accompany the most progress. By chasing down the production process to its ends, and tracing where the proceeds were going, he succeeded spectacularly. From Progress and Poverty , Chapter 17 - "The Problem Explained" :

Three things unite in production: land, labor, and capital. Three parties divide the output: landowner, laborer, and capitalist. If the laborer and capitalist get no more as production increases, it is a necessary inference that the landowner takes the gain.

George gravely threatened privileged global power-elites , so they erased him from academic history. A mind compared, in his time with Plato, Copernicus and Adam Smith wiped from living memory, by the modern aristocracy.

In the process of doing so, they emasculated the discipline of economics, stripped dignity from labour, and set in motion a world-destroying doctrine. Neo-Classical Economics(aka neoliberalism) was born , to the detriment of the working-citizen and the living world on which s/he depends.

Einstein was a fan of George, and used his methods of thought-experiment and powerful inductive reasoning to discover Relativity, twenty years later. Henry Georges brilliant insights into Land (aka nature), Wealth (what you want, need), and Money (sharing mechanism) are as relevant as ever, and until they are rediscovered, we are likely to re-run the 1900's over and over, with fewer and fewer resources.

~ How Land Barons, Industrialists and Bankers Corrupted Economics .

[Dec 03, 2018] Neoliberalism is a modern curse. Everything about it is bad and until we're free of it, it will only ever keep trying to turn us into indentured labourers. It's acolytes are required to blind themselves to logic and reason to such a degree they resemble Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses more than people with any sort of coherent political ideology, because that's what neoliberalism actually is... a cult of the rich, for the rich, by the rich... and it's followers in the general population are nothing but moron familiars hoping one day to be made a fully fledged bastard.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... What sticks in the neoliberalism craw is that the state provides these services instead of private businesses, and as such "rob" them of juicy profits! The state, the last easy cash cow! ..."
"... Who could look at the way markets function and conclude there's any freedom? Only a neoliberal cult member. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be dissuaded. They cannot be persuaded. Only the market knows best, and the fact that the market is a corrupt, self serving whore is completely ignored by the ideology of their Church. ..."
"... when Thatcher and Reagan deregulated the financial markets in the 80s, that's when the trouble began which in turn led to the immense crash in 2008. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism is just another symptom of liberal democracy which is government by oligarchs with a veneer of democracy ..."
"... The state has merged with the corporations so that what is good for the corporations is good for the state and visa versa. The larger and richer the state/corporations are, the more shyster lawyers they hire to disguise misdeeds and unethical behavior. ..."
"... If you support a big government, you are supporting big corporations as well. The government uses the taxpayer as an eternal fount of fresh money and calls it their own to spend as they please. Small businesses suffer unfairly because they cannot afford the shyster lawyers and accountants that protect the government and the corporations, but nobody cares about them. ..."
"... Deborah's point about the illogical demands of neoliberalism are indeed correct, which is somewhat ironic as neoliberalism puts objective rationality at the heart of its philosophy, but I digress... ..."
"... There would not be NHS, free education etc. without socialism; in fact they are socialism. It took the Soviet-style socialism ("statism") 70 years to collapse. The neoliberalistic capitalism has already started to collapse after 30 years. ..."
"... I'm always amused that neoliberal - indeed, capitalist - apologists cannot see the hypocrisy of their demands for market access. Communities create and sustain markets, fund and maintain infrastructure, produce and maintain new consumers. Yet the neolibs decry and destroy. Hypocrites or destructive numpties - never quite decided between Pickles and Gove ..."
"... 97% of all OUR money has been handed over to these scheming crooks. Stop bailing out the banks with QE. Take back what is ours -- state control over the creation of money. Then let the banks revert to their modest market-based function of financial intermediaries. ..."
"... The State can't be trusted to create our money? Well they could hardly do a worse job than the banks! Best solution would be to distribute state-created money as a Citizen's Income. ..."
"... To promote the indecent obsession for global growth Australia, burdened with debt of around 250 billion dollars, is to borrow and pay interest on a further 7 billion dollars to lend to the International Monetary Fund so as it can lend it to poorer nations to burden them with debt. ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | www.theguardian.com
szwalby , 8 Jun 2013 06:03
This private good, public bad is a stupid idea, and a totally artificial divide. After all, what are "public spends"? It is the money from private individuals, and companies, clubbing together to get services they can't individually afford.

What sticks in the neoliberalism craw is that the state provides these services instead of private businesses, and as such "rob" them of juicy profits! The state, the last easy cash cow!

TedSmithAndSon , 8 Jun 2013 06:01
Neoliberalism is a modern curse. Everything about it is bad and until we're free of it, it will only ever keep trying to turn us into indentured labourers. It's acolytes are required to blind themselves to logic and reason to such a degree they resemble Scientologists or Jehovah's Witnesses more than people with any sort of coherent political ideology, because that's what neoliberalism actually is... a cult of the rich, for the rich, by the rich... and it's followers in the general population are nothing but moron familiars hoping one day to be made a fully fledged bastard.

Who could look at the way markets function and conclude there's any freedom? Only a neoliberal cult member. They cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be dissuaded. They cannot be persuaded. Only the market knows best, and the fact that the market is a corrupt, self serving whore is completely ignored by the ideology of their Church.

It's subsumed the entire planet, and waiting for them to see sense is a hopeless cause. In the end it'll probably take violence to rid us of the Neoliberal parasite... the turn of the century plague.

fr0mn0where -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
@CaptainGrey -

"Capitalism, especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won and countless people have gained as a result."

I agree with you and it was this beneficial version of capitalism that brought down the Iron Curtain. Working people in the former Communist countries were comparing themselves with working people in the west and wanted a piece of that action. Cuba has hung on because people there compare themselves with their nearest capitalist neighbor Haiti and they don't want a piece of that action. North Korea well North Korea is North Korea.

Isn't it this beneficial capitalism that is being threatened now though? When the wall came down it was assumed that Eastern European countries would become more like us. Some have but who would have thought that British working people would now be told, by the likes of Kwasi Kwarteng and his Britannia Unchained chums, that we have to learn to accept working conditions that are more like those in the Eastern European countries that got left behind and that we are now told that our version of Capitalism is inferior to the version adopted by the Communist Party of China?

jazzdrum -> bullwinkle , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
@bullwinkle - No , when Thatcher and Reagan deregulated the financial markets in the 80s, that's when the trouble began which in turn led to the immense crash in 2008.
Eddiel899 , 8 Jun 2013 05:51
Neo-liberalism is just another symptom of liberal democracy which is government by oligarchs with a veneer of democracy.

This type of government began in America about 150 years ago with the Rockefellers, Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Ford etc who took advantage of new inventions, cheap immigrant labour and financial deregulation in finance and social mores to amass wealth for themselves and chaos and austerity for workers.

All this looks familiar again today with new and old oligarchs hiding behind large corporations taking advantage of the invention of the €uro, mass immigration into western Europe and deregulation of the financial "markets" and social mores to amass wealth for a super-wealthy elite and chaos and austerity for workers.

So if we want to see where things went wrong we need only go back 150 years to what happened to America. There we can also see our future?

WilliamAshbless -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:49
@CaptainGrey

The beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won

Free education and the NHS are state institutions. As Debbie said, Amazon never taught anyone to read. Beneficial capitalism is an oxymoron resulting from your lack of understanding.

cpp4ever -> CaptainGrey , 8 Jun 2013 05:41
@CaptainGrey -

especially the beneficial capitalism of the NHS, free education etc. has won and countless people have gained as a result.

At one and the same time being privatized and having their funding squeezed, a direct result of the neoliberal dogma capitalism of austerity. Free access is being eroded by the likes of ever larger student loans and prescription costs for a start.

ATrueFinn -> SpinningHugo , 8 Jun 2013 05:41
@ SpinningHugo 08 June 2013 10:02am .

Nah. They achieved this by copying the west.

I would not go that far. The Western Capitalist Party is only now getting to be as powerful as CCP and China started the "reforms" in the late 1970s.

succulentpork , 8 Jun 2013 05:36

they avoid their taxes, because they can, because they are more powerful than governments

Let's not get carried away here. Let's consider some of the things governments can do, subject only to a 5 yearly check and challenge:

  1. force people upon pain of imprisonment to pay taxes to them
  2. pay out that tax money to whomever they like
  3. spend money they don't have by borrowing against obligations imposed on future taxpayers without their agreement
  4. kill people in wars, often from the comfort of a computer screen thousands of miles away
  5. print money and give it to whomever they like,
  6. get rid of nation state currencies and replace them with a single, centrally controlled currency
  7. make laws and punish people who break them, including the ability to track them down in most places in the world if they try and run away.
  8. use laws to create monopolies and favour special interests

Let's now consider what power apple have...

- they can make iPhones and try to sell them for a profit by responding to the demands of the mass consumer market. That's it. In fact, they are forced to do this by their owners who only want them to do this, and nothing else. If they don't do this they will cease to exist.

generalelection , 8 Jun 2013 05:26
The state has merged with the corporations so that what is good for the corporations is good for the state and visa versa. The larger and richer the state/corporations are, the more shyster lawyers they hire to disguise misdeeds and unethical behavior.

If you support a big government, you are supporting big corporations as well. The government uses the taxpayer as an eternal fount of fresh money and calls it their own to spend as they please. Small businesses suffer unfairly because they cannot afford the shyster lawyers and accountants that protect the government and the corporations, but nobody cares about them. Remember, that Green Energy is big business, just like Big Pharma and Big Oil. Most government shills have personally invested in Green Energy not because they care about the environment, only because they know that it is a safe investment protected by government for government. The same goes for large corporations who befriend government and visa versa.

... ... ...

finnkn -> NeilThompson , 8 Jun 2013 05:20
@NeilThompson - It's all