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Trump election time foreign policy platform

Trump was the only candidate who during his election campaign was against neoliberal globalization as well as against neoliberal wars for the expansion of US-led global neoliberal empire (but also only until he was elected)

During elections he looked like the best chance to prevent military confrontation with Russia in Syria and the risk of WWIII. After elections he looks quote opposite experiencing political metamorphose similar to Obama who became Bush II in foreign policy in just 100 days: another masterful "bait and switch maneuver"

The last time America saw a strong paleo-conservative was Pat Buchanan in 1996. An early win in Louisiana caused Buchanan to place second in Iowa and first in New Hampshire. Lacking money, Buchanan was steamrolled by the establishment in Arizona and, in terms of paleo-conservatism, many thought he was the Last of the Mohicans. Trump's campaign is Buchananesque with one difference: Trump has money... --  by Joseph R. Murray II (Orlando Sentinel, Aug 12, 2015)

News Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Donald Trump -- an unusual fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Recommended Links  Trump vs. Deep State Anti Trump Hysteria Shoot-first-ask-questions-later: Trump adventurism in ME Trump betrayal of his foreign policy platform Trump Colin Powell moment
The Deep State Trump economic platform TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates Anti-globalization movement Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Blowback against neoliberal globalization Immigration and free movement of workers Hillary role in Syria bloodbath
 Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Nation under attack meme  American Exceptionalism  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
Corporatist Corruption Predator state Neocons New American Militarism Myth about intelligent voter Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Corporatism National Security State Non-Interventionism
Libertarian Philosophy The Iron Law of Oligarchy Principal-agent problem Neoliberalism US Presidential Elections of 2012   Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
 
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

In the “democracy” that America has evolved to, money counts more than people. In past elections, the votes were counted, now they are going to start weighing them.

America The Counter-Revolution - Salem-News.Com

(T)he rich elites of (the USA) have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris, and Tokyo than with their fellow American citizens … the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.”

-- Mike Lofgren

Note: On April 6, 2016 Trump surrendered to neocons. Events after April 6, 2017 are discussed at Trump after his Colin Powell moment. The election image of Trump
(like in case of king of "bait and switch" Obama it proved to be false) -- he easily betrayed his election promises


Introduction

Note: this article was written long before the election as as such does not reflect subsequent events such as Trump attack on Syria.

Both choices in US Presidential election 2016 were dismal, but they are unequal in their gravity options. All this blabbering about Trump future appointment of "wrong" (aka reactionary) Supreme Court justices, slashing taxes for rich, elimination of inheritance tax,  and other similar things make sense if and only if the country continues to exist. Which is not given due to the craziness and the level of degeneration of neoliberal elite, especially neocons that infest Washington, DC, Obama administration (including Obama himself),   as well as "bloodthrusty" democrats like  Hillary (“no fly zone in Syria” is one example of her craziness). While formally neocons are aligned with Republican party, they feel at home at Democratic Party too as it became the second War Party in Washington. And war (cold or hot are OK, as long as neocons personally do not need to fight in the trenches and somebody else need to die in wars of neoliberal empire expansion) is all they want. Neocons are, in essence, MIC lobbyists. Playing chicken with a nuclear power for the sake of providing MIC with outside profits and maintaining the US global dominance is a crazy policy that exhausts country resources, and impoverish population, like previously was the case with British and Spanish empires.

Neocons rule the roost in both parties, which essentially became a single War Party with two wings. They completely appropriated formulation of the US foreign policy and dominate the State Department and Pentagon. In this sense Trump is a real outlier (or was, before he was elected). Simplified his foreign policy platform includes two simple and very attractive for the US population slogan, that are completely opposite to Washington official foreign policy doctrine, enforced by "deep state"

So the hissy fit the deep state displayed before December 19  (classic "Russians are under every bed" hysteria, supported by all neoliberal MSM, including WaPo, NYT, CNN, ABC, MSBNC, etc) was not about Russia, it was about the danger that the current neocon-driven foreign policy that was a hallmark of the US forign policy during the  last four administrations (Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama) will be abandoned by Trump administration.

The fact the American people discarded  Hillary Clinton is encouraging. As a neocon warmonger she belongs to the dust bin of history. But as it  is not clear whether Trump is capable to deliver his key foreign policy promises/objectives, such a detente with Russia, and no new wars of neoliberal empire expansion. Deep state is way too strong for a single maverick, or even a group of like minded mavericks  change the US foreign policy. Even if they have unconditional support of US military (as Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard demonstrated with her recent bill):

On December 8, 2016, Gabbard introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act to prevent the U.S. government from sponsoring international terrorist groups through funding and the provision of armaments, intelligence, and training. The act was modeled on the Boland Amendment and was endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America and the U.S. Peace Council.[107][108]

The chances are high that Trump he will be co-opted by Washington neocons and gradually will became Bush IV or Obama II.  That will be really unfortunate development.  In this chess game, Trump having weaker figures and position in labyrinth of power will need to find  new people ready to go and skillfully navigate around the neocon swamp and MIC land mines. The only countervailing force are US military, who are fighting all those neocon wars and who really hate neocon chickenhawks, and know their real price. Separately, Trump has suggested a new rules prohibiting lobbying for five years after service in his administration and total prohibition of being lobbyist of foreign states. That is really revolutionary  and this alone make Trump distinct from a typical Washington politicians. But those parasites will definitely fiercely resists such sensitive for their family budget change.

Trump looks like the only chance somewhat to limit their influence and reach some détente with Russia. And I would not be surprised one bit if Dick Cheney, Victoria Nuland, Paul Wolfowitz and Perle voted for Hillary. Robert Kagan and papa Bush publicly declared such an intention. And the fact Hillary is a staunch neocon, and always was.  A wolf in sheep clothing, if we are talking about real anti-war democrats, not the USA brand of DemoRats. She is a crazy warmonger, no question about it, trying to compensate a complete lack of diplomatic skills with jingoism and saber rattling. In foreign policy area she was John McCain in pantsuit. Here is one interesting quote ( nakedcapitalism.com )

“What scares me is my knowledge of her career-long investment in trying to convince the generals and the admirals that she is a ‘tough bitch’, ala Margaret Thatcher, who will not hesitate to pull the trigger. An illuminating article in the NY Times  revealed that she always advocates the most muscular and reckless dispositions of U.S. military forces whenever her opinion is solicited. ”

But it looks that many people in the USA were able to understand that the choice in this particular case was between the decimation of the last remnants of the New Deal and a real chance of WWIII. Those are two events of completely difference magnitude: one is reversible (and please note that Trump is bound by very controversial obligations to his electorate and faces hostile Congress), the other is not.

Neoliberalism after 2008 entered zombie state so while it is still strong aggressive and bloodthirsty it might not last for long. And in such cases the defeat of democratic forces on domestic front is temporary. That means vote against Hillary.

Trump rejects neocon platform of forcefully converting all states in the globe into neoliberal protectorates using color revolutions and brute military force, including drone based assassinations (The Wholesale Failure of American Foreign Policy The American Conservative): 

Airstrikes and drone attacks are accidentally killing thousands of civilians, aid workers, wedding parties, and now even the troops of a nation against whom we are not at war. Each of these mistakes, repeated hundreds of times over the past 15 years, creates more antagonism and hatred of the United States than any other single event. Whatever tactical benefit some of the strikes do accomplish, they are consumed in the still-worsening strategic failure the misfires cause.

Bottom line: The use of military power since 2001 has:

These continued and deepening failures kill unknown numbers of innocent civilians each year, intensify and spread the hatred many have of America, and incrementally weaken our national security. But these military failures have another, less obvious but more troubling cost.

Official election platform

With the exception of Iran, which for some reason he hates so much, that he wants to risk a war with it, Trump speaks more like a paleoconservative  then a neocon.  He is more reasonable as for US-Russian relation that bloodthirsty warmonger Hillary (which is an easy task because "this woman" wet kiss neocons all the time).

His focus in relations with China, while also hawkish  in more about trade balance and "bringing jobs home" issues, not so much about South Sea military adventures (U.S.-China Trade Reform Donald J Trump for President):

How We Got Here: Washington Politicians Let China Off The Hook

In January 2000, President Bill Clinton boldly promised China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WTO) “is a good deal for America. Our products will gain better access to China’s market, and every sector from agriculture, to telecommunications, to automobiles. But China gains no new market access to the United States.” None of what President Clinton promised came true. Since China joined the WTO, Americans have witnessed the closure of more than 50,000 factories and the loss of tens of millions of jobs. It was  not a good deal for America then and it’s a bad deal now. It is a typical example of how politicians in Washington have failed our country.

The most important component of our China policy is leadership and strength at the negotiating table. We have been too afraid to protect and advance American interests and to challenge China to live up to its obligations. We need smart negotiators who will serve the interests of American workers – not Wall Street insiders that want to move U.S. manufacturing and investment offshore.

The Goal Of The Trump Plan: Fighting For American Businesses And Workers

America has always been a trading nation. Under the Trump administration trade will flourish. However, for free trade to bring prosperity to America, it must also be fair trade. Our goal is not protectionism but accountability. America fully opened its markets to China but China has not reciprocated. Its Great Wall of Protectionism uses unlawful tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep American companies out of China and to tilt the playing field in their favor.

If you give American workers a level playing field, they will win. At its heart, this plan is a negotiating strategy to bring fairness to our trade with China. The results will be huge for American businesses and workers. Jobs and factories will stop moving offshore and instead stay here at home. The economy will boom. The steps outlined in this plan will make that a reality.

When Donald J. Trump is president, China will be on notice that America is back in the global leadership business and that their days of currency manipulation and cheating are over. We will cut a better deal with China that helps American businesses and workers compete.

The Trump Plan Will Achieve The Following Goals:

  1. Bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator.
  2. Protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws and stop their unfair and unlawful practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.
  3. Reclaim millions of American jobs and reviving American manufacturing by putting an end to China’s illegal export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards. No more sweatshops or pollution havens stealing jobs from American workers.
  4. Strengthen our negotiating position by lowering our corporate tax rate to keep American companies and jobs here at home, attacking our debt and deficit so China cannot use financial blackmail against us, and bolstering the U.S. military presence in the East and South China Seas to discourage Chinese adventurism.

Details of Donald J. Trump’s US China Trade Plan:

Declare China A Currency Manipulator

We need a president who will not succumb to the financial blackmail of a Communist dictatorship. President Obama’s Treasury Department has repeatedly refused to brand China a currency manipulator – a move that would force China to stop these unfair practices or face tough countervailing duties that level the playing field.

Economists estimate the Chinese yuan is undervalued by anywhere from 15% to 40%. This grossly undervalued yuan gives Chinese exporters a huge advantage while imposing the equivalent of a heavy tariff on U.S. exports to China. Such currency manipulation, in concert with China’s other unfair practices, has resulted in chronic U.S. trade deficits, a severe weakening of the U.S. manufacturing base and the loss of tens of millions of American jobs.

In a system of truly free trade and floating exchange rates like a Trump administration would support, America's massive trade deficit with China would not persist. On day one of the Trump administration the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China as a currency manipulator. This will begin a process that imposes appropriate countervailing duties on artificially cheap Chinese products, defends U.S. manufacturers and workers, and revitalizes job growth in America. We must stand up to China’s blackmail and reject corporate America’s manipulation of our politicians. The U.S. Treasury’s designation of China as a currency manipulator will force China to the negotiating table and open the door to a fair – and far better – trading relationship.

End China’s Intellectual Property Violations

China’s ongoing theft of intellectual property may be the greatest transfer of wealth in history. This theft costs the U.S. over $300 billion and millions of jobs each year. China’s government ignores this rampant cybercrime and, in other cases, actively encourages or even sponsors it –without any real consequences. China’s cyber lawlessness threatens our prosperity, privacy and national security. We will enforce stronger protections against Chinese hackers and counterfeit goods and our responses to Chinese theft will be swift, robust, and unequivocal.

The Chinese government also forces American companies like Boeing, GE, and Intel to transfer proprietary technologies to Chinese competitors as a condition of entry into the Chinese market. Such de facto intellectual property theft represents a brazen violation of WTO and international rules. China’s forced technology transfer policy is absolutely ridiculous. Going forward, we will adopt a zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer. If China wants to trade with America, they must agree to stop stealing and to play by the rules.

Eliminate China’s Illegal Export Subsidies And Other Unfair Advantages

Chinese manufacturers and other exporters receive numerous illegal export subsidies from the Chinese government. These include - in direct contradiction to WTO rules - free or nearly free rent, utilities, raw materials, and many other services. China’s state-run banks routinely extend loans these enterprises at below market rates or without the expectation they will be repaid. China even offers them illegal tax breaks or rebates as well as cash bonuses to stimulate exports.

China’s illegal export subsidies intentionally distorts international trade and damages other countries’ exports by giving Chinese companies an unfair advantage. From textile and steel mills in the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast’s shrimp and fish industries to the Midwest manufacturing belt and California’s agribusiness, China’s disregard for WTO rules hurt every corner of America.

The U.S. Trade Representative recently filed yet another complaint with the WTO accusing China of cheating on our trade agreements by subsidizing its exports. The Trump administration will not wait for an international body to tell us what we already know. To gain negotiating leverage, we will pursue the WTO case and aggressively highlight and expose these subsidies.

China’s woeful lack of reasonable environmental and labor standards represent yet another form of unacceptable export subsidy. How can American manufacturers, who must meet very high standards, possibly compete with Chinese companies that care nothing about their workers or the environment? We will challenge China to join the 21 st Century when it comes to such standards.

The Trump Plan Will Strengthen Our Negotiating Position

As the world’s most important economy and consumer of goods, America must always negotiate trade agreements from strength. Branding China as a currency manipulator and exposing their unfair trade practices is not enough. In order to further strengthen our negotiating leverage, the Trump plan will:

  1. Lower the corporate tax rate to 15% to unleash American ingenuity here at home and make us more globally competitive. This tax cut puts our rate 10 percentage points below China and 20 points below our current burdensome rate that pushes companies and jobs offshore.
  2. Attack our debt and deficit by vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the Federal government, ending redundant government programs, and growing the economy to increase tax revenues. Closing the deficit and reducing our debt will mean China cannot blackmail us with our own Treasury bonds.
  3. Strengthen the U.S. military and deploying it appropriately in the East and South China Seas. These actions will discourage Chinese adventurism that imperils American interests in Asia and shows our strength as we begin renegotiating our trading relationship with China. A strong military presence will be a clear signal to China and other nations in Asia and around the world that America is back in the global leadership business.

Trump challenges after the election

This topic is covered in more details at Trump vs. Deep State

As professor  Andrew Levine wrote in Trouble Ahead With Trump and For Himon (CounterPunch, Nov 18, 2016).  

And his views on relations with Russia and China, regime change wars, and imperial overreach, as best they can be ascertained, are a lot wiser and less lethal than hers.  These are not so much left-right issues as matters of common sense.

Clinton’s overriding concern was and always has been to maintain and expand American world domination — in the face of economic decline, and at no matter what cost.  Trump wants, or says he wants, to do business with other countries in the way that he did with sleaze ball real estate moguls and network executives, people like himself.   He wants to make deals.

The Trump way is, as they say, “transactional.”  The idea is to wheel and deal on a case-by-case basis, with no further, non-pecuniary end in view.

... ... ...

Better that, though, than a foreign policy dedicated to keeping America the world’s hegemon. That is the foreign policy establishment’s aim; it is therefore Clinton’s too. It is the way of perpetual war. Trump’s way is far from ideal, but it is less wasteful, less onerous and less reckless.

During the campaign, Trump would sometimes speak out against banksters and financiers, especially the too-big-to-fail and too-big-to-jail kind. For some time, though, the “populist” billionaire has been signaling to his class brothers and sisters in the financial “industry” that he is more likely to deregulate than to regulate their machinations.

This will become even clearer once Trump settles on key Cabinet posts and on his economic advisors. It is already plain, though, that the modern day counterparts of Theodore Roosevelt’s “malefactors of great wealth” have little to fear; they and Trump are joined by indissoluble bonds of class-consciousness and solidarity.

Many of the rich and heinous were skeptical of Trump’s candidacy at first; because he is such a loose cannon. But now that he has won, the bastards are sucking up; and glee is returning to Wall Street.

Trump is now starting too to allay the fears of the movers and shakers of the National Security State. He still has a way to go, however. We can therefore still hope that they are right to worry. What is bad for them is good for the country.

Clinton’s defeat also seems to have unnerved their counterparts in European capitals, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and in Japan, South Korea and other countries where the presence of the American military has been very very good for the few at the top, and disastrous for ordinary people.

If he means it, then more power to him. The United States and the rest of the world would be well rid of the American dominated military alliances now in place; NATO most of all. However, having talked with him, Obama is now telling the Europeans that Trump is fine with NATO. Time will tell.

Then there is Israel. Trump thinks that the blank check the ethnocratic settler state already gets from the United States isn’t nearly enough. So much for allies paying their own way!

However, even if Trump leaves America’s perpetual war regime and its military alliances intact, some good could come just from him being at the helm – not so much because, as a wheeler and dealer, he would be less inclined actually to start wars than has become the norm, but because he is vile enough, and enough of an embarrassment, to undermine America’s prestige, hastening the day when the hegemon is a hegemon no more.

This would be good for most Americans, and good for the world.

The election he won has already done a lot to explode the idea, more widely believed at home than abroad, that American “democracy” is somehow a model for the world.

Trump election time position on Russia

Campaign trail rhetoric is not the same as actual foreign policy after the elections.  As Sputnik reported (Russia-US Relations Under Trump 'There Will Be Dialogue and Agreements')

"The Democrats consider their views to be the ultimate truth. It is impossible to reach any agreement with them in this respect. They are not focused on national interests, but rather on globalist goals and universal human values. In this sense the ability of Obama's team to reach deals has passed into legend," he said. "In recent years, Russia has not tried to engage in meaningful diplomacy with the Obama administration since it was useless."

But negotiation will be tough because Trump explicit position is to seek advantages for the USA, not equal deals. He might possibly cooperate on tackling Daesh in Syria. If so, this will mark a major departure from Russia's relations with the US under the Obama administration in recent years. But the problem is the Congress which is infected with war hawks (mostly chickenhawks).

Real Trump position on Russia would be more clear when he selects his candidate for the Secretary of State. So far his views were encouraging: he is not in favor of direct confrontation that Obama administration pursued and Clinton administration would probably convert into armed conflict. Here are some additional details from Russophobic Guardian presstitute Shawn Walker (The Guardian, July 7, 2016):

Page, an investment banker who previously worked in Russia, insisted he was in Russia on a private visit, although he is likely to meet Russian officials when he gives the commencement speech at the New Economic School in Moscow on Friday. He refused to comment on whether he had any meetings with officials planned.

... ... ...

Trump himself has has often praised the Russian leader during the campaign, saying in a December interview “he’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country”.

The presumptive Republican nominee has expressed his confidence that he would build a good relationship with the Russian president telling reporters last year: “I think I would get along very well with Vladimir Putin.”

He also defended the Russian leader against accusations that Putin has ordered the killing of journalists, telling ABC News “In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed? Because I’ve been – you know, you’ve been hearing this, but I haven’t seen the names,”

The announced topic of Page’s discussion was “the evolution of the world economy”, but much of it involved semi-coherent analysis of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

In passing, Page castigated the US for interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and pursuing "regime change" in former Soviet countries. He said Russia and the US could have better relations in future, but this would be “contingent upon US’s refocus toward resolution of domestic challenges”. However, when pressed on details he was evasive.

In March, Page told Bloomberg that his experience on the ground doing deals in Russia and Central Asia would make him better placed to give advice than “people from afar, sitting in the comfort of their think tanks in Washington”. It is unclear how close he is to Trump and how much weight his advice holds with the presidential candidate.

Page repeatedly emphasised that he was in Russia as a private citizen rather than as an emissary of Trump. However, it is connections with the presidential candidate which prompted the New Economic School to invite him to give their keynote annual speech. In previous years, the commencement speeches at the university have been given by high-profile figures, including Barack Obama in 2009.

In December, Putin referred to Trump as a “colourful” person who was the “absolute leader” of the US presidential race, comments which prompted Trump to respond in turn that he was flattered by the praise. “When people call you brilliant, it’s always good, especially when the person heads up Russia,” Trump said, adding incorrectly that Putin had called him a “genius”.

Last month, Putin clarified the comments, saying he had not endorsed Trump, but welcomed his stance on relations with Russia.

“Here’s where I will pay close attention, and where I exactly welcome and where on the contrary I don’t see anything bad: Mr Trump has declared that he’s ready for the full restoration of Russian-American relations. Is there anything bad there? We all welcome this, don’t you?”

Trump election time position on Iran

Trump declared the Obama nuclear deal, the deal which helped to keep oil prices very low since mid 2014, "disastrous" and suggested it would be one of the first arrangements he would "renegotiate" after he assumes the office of the presidency in January, 2017.

"They are laughing at the stupidity of the deal we’re making on nuclear," Trump said of the Iranians, in an interview last summer with CNN. "We should double up and triple up the sanctions and have them come to us. They are making an amazing deal."

It is unlear why he calls this stupidity. IMHO this was a very shrewd move, then decimated Russia economic, as Russia budget depends of world prices and also heavily hit KAS, Venezuela and other oil producing nations. Putting some of them on the wedge of bankruptcy. In American Conservative   Daniel Larison  gave very insightful overview of Trump position, which is shared by his close advisors such as General Flynn (Trump and Iran The American Conservative):

Scott McConnell asks what we could expect from Trump on foreign policy, specifically on Iran:

The greater neoconservative goal, of course, is the prevention any American rapprochement with Iran, keeping the sanctions going till they have a president willing to start a war on the country. How does Trump fit into that?

I have tried to avoid writing about Trump as much as possible over the last few months, because it is generally a waste of time to attempt to analyze the policy views of an opportunistic demagogue, but since the question has been asked here I’ll try to answer it.

As far as I can tell, Trump endorses the hard-liners’ position on the nuclear deal. He has characteristically denounced it in the most hyperbolic terms, he is preparing to share a stage with the only other presidential candidate that can match him in demagogic rhetoric to repeat these denunciations, and two of the groups sponsoring the rally that Trump will attend are among the most fanatical hawkish organizations in the U.S. He has also repeated some of the most ludicrous and dishonest hawkish talking points about what the deal requires of the U.S. For instance, he recently repeated the lie that the deal obliges the U.S. to defend Iran from an Israeli attack:

He then claimed that there’s something in the Iran deal saying if someone attacks Iran, “we have to come to their defense.” And so he interpreted that to conclude, “If Israel attacks Iran, according to that deal, I believe the way it reads… that we have to fight with Iran against Israel.”

This is complete and utter nonsense, so it doesn’t surprise me that Trump believes it (or at least claims to believe it). This is the sort of deliberate distortion of the deal’s contents that hard-line “pro-Israel” hawks like to indulge in. Rubio said something similar to this in his questioning of Kerry earlier in the summer.

It should tell us everything we need to know about Trump’s views on foreign policy that he buys into these lies and repeats them. There are all kinds of reasons not to trust Trump’s judgment, but his statements on the nuclear deal are sufficient to prove that his foreign policy judgment is horrible.

Trump election time position on free trade and victims of neoliberal globalization

From Gaius Publius When Trump Talks Trade, Voters Listen naked capitalism

Before you read, though, take a moment to watch less than two minutes of Donald Trump above, from his victory speech after winning in Michigan and Mississippi. I’ve cued it up to start at the remarks I want to highlight, Trump discussing our trade deficit.

Now Thomas Frank, writing in The Guardian. He starts by noting the utter invisibility of real working Americans to our elite class, including our media elites, and especially our liberal media elites (my emphasis throughout):

Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why

When he isn’t spewing insults, the Republican frontrunner is hammering home a powerful message about free trade and its victims

Let us now address the greatest American mystery at the moment: what motivates the supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump?

I call it a “mystery” because the working-class white people who make up the bulk of Trump’s fan base show up in amazing numbers for the candidate, filling stadiums and airport hangars, but their views, by and large, do not appear in our prestige newspapers. On their opinion pages, these publications take care to represent demographic categories of nearly every kind, but “blue-collar” is one they persistently overlook. The views of working-class people are so foreign to that universe that when New York Times columnist Nick Kristof wanted to “engage” a Trump supporter last week, he made one up, along with this imaginary person’s responses to his questions.

When members of the professional class wish to understand the working-class Other, they traditionally consult experts on the subject. And when these authorities are asked to explain the Trump movement, they always seem to zero in on one main accusation: bigotry. Only racism, they tell us, is capable of powering a movement like Trump’s, which is blowing through the inherited structure of the Republican party like a tornado through a cluster of McMansions.

The conclusion of these writers is this:

The Trump movement is a one-note phenomenon, a vast surge of race-hate. Its partisans are not only incomprehensible, they are not really worth comprehending.

And yet…

A lot of people are racists, including those not supporting Trump. But people have other concerns as well, especially working people. They are dying faster than they used to, from drugs and despair, and they fear for their jobs and their families, for very good reasons. This economy is failing them.

They also hate — and understand — “free trade.”

Trump Also Talks Trade

Donald Trump talks about more than just race and immigration. He talks about trade and the trade deficit, an issue that powered Bernie Sanders to his Michigan victory as well. From the New York Times:

Trade and Jobs Key to Victory for Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate had campaigned in Traverse City, Mich., in decades until Senator Bernie Sanders pulled up to the concert hall near the Sears store on Friday. Some 2,000 people mobbed him when he arrived, roaring in approval as he called the country’s trade policies, and Hillary Clinton’s support for them, “disastrous.”

“If the people of Michigan want to make a decision about which candidate stood with workers against corporate America and against these disastrous trade agreements, that candidate is Bernie Sanders,” Mr. Sanders said in Traverse City, about 250 miles north of Detroit.

Mr. Sanders pulled off a startling upset in Michigan on Tuesday by traveling to communities far from Detroit and by hammering Mrs. Clinton on an issue that resonated in this still-struggling state: her past support for trade deals that workers here believe robbed them of manufacturing jobs. Almost three-fifths of voters said that trade with other countries was more likely to take away jobs, according to exit polls by Edison Research, and those voters favored Mr. Sanders by a margin of more than 10 points.

There is no question — America’s billionaire-friendly, job-destroying trade policy is toxic — again, literally. That’s why Obama and his bipartisan “free trade” enablers in Congress have to pass TPP, if they can, in post-election lame duck session. TPP is also toxic to political careers, and only lame ducks and the recently-elected can vote for it.

Frank again on Trump:

Last week, I decided to watch several hours of Trump speeches for myself. I saw the man ramble and boast and threaten and even seem to gloat when protesters were ejected from the arenas in which he spoke. I was disgusted by these things, as I have been disgusted by Trump for 20 years. But I also noticed something surprising. In each of the speeches I watched, Trump spent a good part of his time talking about an entirely legitimate issue, one that could even be called left-wing.

Yes, Donald Trump talked about trade. In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy. Not even his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, the issue that first won him political fame. He did it again during the debate on 3 March: asked about his political excommunication by Mitt Romney, he chose to pivot and talk about … trade.

It seems to obsess him: the destructive free-trade deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands, the phone calls he will make to those companies’ CEOs in order to threaten them with steep tariffs unless they move back to the US.

On the subject more generally, Frank adds:

Trade is an issue that polarizes Americans by socio-economic status. To the professional class, which encompasses the vast majority of our media figures, economists, Washington officials and Democratic power brokers, what they call “free trade” is something so obviously good and noble it doesn’t require explanation or inquiry or even thought. Republican and Democratic leaders alike agree on this, and no amount of facts can move them from their Econ 101 dream.

To the remaining 80 or 90% of America, trade means something very different. There’s a video going around on the internet these days that shows a room full of workers at a Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana being told by an officer of the company that the factory is being moved to Monterrey, Mexico and that they’re all going to lose their jobs.

As I watched it, I thought of all the arguments over trade that we’ve had in this country since the early 1990s, all the sweet words from our economists about the scientifically proven benevolence of free trade, all the ways in which our newspapers mock people who say that treaties like the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement allow companies to move jobs to Mexico.

Well, here is a video of a company moving its jobs to Mexico, courtesy of Nafta. This is what it looks like. The Carrier executive talks in that familiar and highly professional HR language about the need to “stay competitive” and “the extremely price-sensitive marketplace.” A worker shouts “Fuck you!” at the executive. The executive asks people to please be quiet so he can “share” his “information”. His information about all of them losing their jobs.

Frank goes to greater length, and again, please click through. But you get the idea. This is what Trump is speaking to, whether he means what he says or not, and this is what his voters are responding to, whether they like his racism or not. After all, haven’t you, at least once, voted for someone with qualities you dislike because of policies you do like?

Whose Fault Is This? Both Parties, But Especially the Democratic Elites

One final point. Frank takes on the issue of responsibility:

Trump’s words articulate the populist backlash against liberalism that has been building slowly for decades … Yet still we cannot bring ourselves to look the thing in the eyes. We cannot admit that we liberals bear some [or most] of the blame for its emergence, for the frustration of the working-class millions, for their blighted cities and their downward spiraling lives. So much easier to scold them for their twisted racist souls, to close our eyes to the obvious reality of which Trump_vs_deep_state is just a crude and ugly expression: that neoliberalism has well and truly failed.

I am certain, if this comes up in a general election debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, she could very likely get her clock cleaned; not certainly, but certainly very likely. First, she can only equivocate, and Trump will have none of it. (Trump: “Let me understand. You were for this before you were against it? So … will you be for it again next year? I’m just trying to understand.”)

Second, this is a change election, Trump is one of only two change candidates in the race, and Clinton is not the other one.

Here’s that Carrier Air Conditioning “we’re moving to Mexico” video that Frank mentioned above. Take a look, but prepare to feel some pain as you watch:


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[Jan 12, 2019] Tucker Carlson Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it's infuriating Fox News

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on January 2, 2019. ..."
Jan 02, 2019 | www.foxnews.com
Tucker: America's goal is happiness, but leaders show no obligation to voters

Voters around the world revolt against leaders who won't improve their lives.

Newly-elected Utah senator Mitt Romney kicked off 2019 with an op-ed in the Washington Post that savaged Donald Trump's character and leadership. Romney's attack and Trump's response Wednesday morning on Twitter are the latest salvos in a longstanding personal feud between the two men. It's even possible that Romney is planning to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. We'll see.

But for now, Romney's piece is fascinating on its own terms. It's well-worth reading. It's a window into how the people in charge, in both parties, see our country.

Romney's main complaint in the piece is that Donald Trump is a mercurial and divisive leader. That's true, of course. But beneath the personal slights, Romney has a policy critique of Trump. He seems genuinely angry that Trump might pull American troops out of the Syrian civil war. Romney doesn't explain how staying in Syria would benefit America. He doesn't appear to consider that a relevant question. More policing in the Middle East is always better. We know that. Virtually everyone in Washington agrees.

Corporate tax cuts are also popular in Washington, and Romney is strongly on board with those, too. His piece throws a rare compliment to Trump for cutting the corporate rate a year ago.

That's not surprising. Romney spent the bulk of his business career at a firm called Bain Capital. Bain Capital all but invented what is now a familiar business strategy: Take over an existing company for a short period of time, cut costs by firing employees, run up the debt, extract the wealth, and move on, sometimes leaving retirees without their earned pensions. Romney became fantastically rich doing this.

Meanwhile, a remarkable number of the companies are now bankrupt or extinct. This is the private equity model. Our ruling class sees nothing wrong with it. It's how they run the country.

Mitt Romney refers to unwavering support for a finance-based economy and an internationalist foreign policy as the "mainstream Republican" view. And he's right about that. For generations, Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars. Modern Democrats generally support those goals enthusiastically.

There are signs, however, that most people do not support this, and not just in America. In countries around the world -- France, Brazil, Sweden, the Philippines, Germany, and many others -- voters are suddenly backing candidates and ideas that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. These are not isolated events. What you're watching is entire populations revolting against leaders who refuse to improve their lives.

Something like this has been in happening in our country for three years. Donald Trump rode a surge of popular discontent all the way to the White House. Does he understand the political revolution that he harnessed? Can he reverse the economic and cultural trends that are destroying America? Those are open questions.

But they're less relevant than we think. At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be gone, too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live? These are the only questions that matter.

The answer used to be obvious. The overriding goal for America is more prosperity, meaning cheaper consumer goods. But is that still true? Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven't so far. A lot of Americans are drowning in stuff. And yet drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country. Anyone who thinks the health of a nation can be summed up in GDP is an idiot.

The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It's happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children. They're what our leaders should want for us, and would want if they cared.

But our leaders don't care. We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They're day traders. Substitute teachers. They're just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows. They can't solve our problems. They don't even bother to understand our problems.

One of the biggest lies our leaders tell us that you can separate economics from everything else that matters. Economics is a topic for public debate. Family and faith and culture, meanwhile, those are personal matters. Both parties believe this.

Members of our educated upper-middle-classes are now the backbone of the Democratic Party who usually describe themselves as fiscally responsible and socially moderate. In other words, functionally libertarian. They don't care how you live, as long as the bills are paid and the markets function. Somehow, they don't see a connection between people's personal lives and the health of our economy, or for that matter, the country's ability to pay its bills. As far as they're concerned, these are two totally separate categories.

Social conservatives, meanwhile, come to the debate from the opposite perspective, and yet reach a strikingly similar conclusion. The real problem, you'll hear them say, is that the American family is collapsing. Nothing can be fixed before we fix that. Yet, like the libertarians they claim to oppose, many social conservatives also consider markets sacrosanct. The idea that families are being crushed by market forces seems never to occur to them. They refuse to consider it. Questioning markets feels like apostasy.

Both sides miss the obvious point: Culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible. You can't separate the two. It used to be possible to deny this. Not anymore. The evidence is now overwhelming. How do we know? Consider the inner cities.

Thirty years ago, conservatives looked at Detroit or Newark and many other places and were horrified by what they saw. Conventional families had all but disappeared in poor neighborhoods. The majority of children were born out of wedlock. Single mothers were the rule. Crime and drugs and disorder became universal.

What caused this nightmare? Liberals didn't even want to acknowledge the question. They were benefiting from the disaster, in the form of reliable votes. Conservatives, though, had a ready explanation for inner-city dysfunction and it made sense: big government. Decades of badly-designed social programs had driven fathers from the home and created what conservatives called a "culture of poverty" that trapped people in generational decline.

There was truth in this. But it wasn't the whole story. How do we know? Because virtually the same thing has happened decades later to an entirely different population. In many ways, rural America now looks a lot like Detroit.

This is striking because rural Americans wouldn't seem to have much in common with anyone from the inner city. These groups have different cultures, different traditions and political beliefs. Usually they have different skin colors. Rural people are white conservatives, mostly.

Yet, the pathologies of modern rural America are familiar to anyone who visited downtown Baltimore in the 1980s: Stunning out of wedlock birthrates. High male unemployment. A terrifying drug epidemic. Two different worlds. Similar outcomes. How did this happen? You'd think our ruling class would be interested in knowing the answer. But mostly they're not. They don't have to be interested. It's easier to import foreign labor to take the place of native-born Americans who are slipping behind.

But Republicans now represent rural voters. They ought to be interested. Here's a big part of the answer: male wages declined. Manufacturing, a male-dominated industry, all but disappeared over the course of a generation. All that remained in many places were the schools and the hospitals, both traditional employers of women. In many places, women suddenly made more than men.

Now, before you applaud this as a victory for feminism, consider the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don't want to marry them. Maybe they should want to marry them, but they don't. Over big populations, this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out-of-wedlock births, and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow -- more drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation.

This isn't speculation. This is not propaganda from the evangelicals. It's social science. We know it's true. Rich people know it best of all. That's why they get married before they have kids. That model works. But increasingly, marriage is a luxury only the affluent in America can afford.

And yet, and here's the bewildering and infuriating part, those very same affluent married people, the ones making virtually all the decisions in our society, are doing pretty much nothing to help the people below them get and stay married. Rich people are happy to fight malaria in Congo. But working to raise men's wages in Dayton or Detroit? That's crazy.

This is negligence on a massive scale. Both parties ignore the crisis in marriage. Our mindless cultural leaders act like it's still 1961, and the biggest problem American families face is that sexism is preventing millions of housewives from becoming investment bankers or Facebook executives.

For our ruling class, more investment banking is always the answer. They teach us it's more virtuous to devote your life to some soulless corporation than it is to raise your own kids.

Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook wrote an entire book about this. Sandberg explained that our first duty is to shareholders, above our own children. No surprise there. Sandberg herself is one of America's biggest shareholders. Propaganda like this has made her rich.

We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They're day traders. Substitute teachers. They're just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows.

What's remarkable is how the rest of us responded to it. We didn't question why Sandberg was saying this. We didn't laugh in her face at the pure absurdity of it. Our corporate media celebrated Sandberg as the leader of a liberation movement. Her book became a bestseller: "Lean In." As if putting a corporation first is empowerment. It is not. It is bondage. Republicans should say so.

They should also speak out against the ugliest parts of our financial system. Not all commerce is good. Why is it defensible to loan people money they can't possibly repay? Or charge them interest that impoverishes them? Payday loan outlets in poor neighborhoods collect 400 percent annual interest.

We're OK with that? We shouldn't be. Libertarians tell us that's how markets work -- consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives. OK. But it's also disgusting. If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it's happening in the inner city or on Wall Street.

And by the way, if you really loved your fellow Americans, as our leaders should, if it would break your heart to see them high all the time. Which they are. A huge number of our kids, especially our boys, are smoking weed constantly. You may not realize that, because new technology has made it odorless. But it's everywhere.

And that's not an accident. Once our leaders understood they could get rich from marijuana, marijuana became ubiquitous. In many places, tax-hungry politicians have legalized or decriminalized it. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner now lobbies for the marijuana industry. His fellow Republicans seem fine with that. "Oh, but it's better for you than alcohol," they tell us.

Maybe. Who cares? Talk about missing the point. Try having dinner with a 19-year-old who's been smoking weed. The life is gone. Passive, flat, trapped in their own heads. Do you want that for your kids? Of course not. Then why are our leaders pushing it on us? You know the reason. Because they don't care about us.

When you care about people, you do your best to treat them fairly. Our leaders don't even try. They hand out jobs and contracts and scholarships and slots at prestigious universities based purely on how we look. There's nothing less fair than that, though our tax code comes close.

Under our current system, an American who works for a salary pays about twice the tax rate as someone who's living off inherited money and doesn't work at all. We tax capital at half of what we tax labor. It's a sweet deal if you work in finance, as many of our rich people do.

In 2010, for example, Mitt Romney made about $22 million dollars in investment income. He paid an effective federal tax rate of 14 percent. For normal upper-middle-class wage earners, the federal tax rate is nearly 40 percent. No wonder Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it's infuriating.

Our leaders rarely mention any of this. They tell us our multi-tiered tax code is based on the principles of the free market. Please. It's based on laws that the Congress passed, laws that companies lobbied for in order to increase their economic advantage. It worked well for those people. They did increase their economic advantage. But for everyone else, it came at a big cost. Unfairness is profoundly divisive. When you favor one child over another, your kids don't hate you. They hate each other.

That happens in countries, too. It's happening in ours, probably by design. Divided countries are easier to rule. And nothing divides us like the perception that some people are getting special treatment. In our country, some people definitely are getting special treatment. Republicans should oppose that with everything they have.

What kind of country do you want to live in? A fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement. A country you might recognize when you're old.

A country that listens to young people who don't live in Brooklyn. A country where you can make a solid living outside of the big cities. A country where Lewiston, Maine seems almost as important as the west side of Los Angeles. A country where environmentalism means getting outside and picking up the trash. A clean, orderly, stable country that respects itself. And above all, a country where normal people with an average education who grew up in no place special can get married, and have happy kids, and repeat unto the generations. A country that actually cares about families, the building block of everything.

Video

What will it take a get a country like that? Leaders who want it. For now, those leaders will have to be Republicans. There's no option at this point.

But first, Republican leaders will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. You'd have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.

Internalizing all this will not be easy for Republican leaders. They'll have to unlearn decades of bumper sticker-talking points and corporate propaganda. They'll likely lose donors in the process. They'll be criticized. Libertarians are sure to call any deviation from market fundamentalism a form of socialism.

That's a lie. Socialism is a disaster. It doesn't work. It's what we should be working desperately to avoid. But socialism is exactly what we're going to get, and very soon unless a group of responsible people in our political system reforms the American economy in a way that protects normal people.

If you want to put America first, you've got to put its families first.

Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on January 2, 2019.

[Jan 12, 2019] Tucker Carlson has sparked the most interesting debate in conservative politics by Jane Coaston

Highly recommended!
Tucker Carlson sounds much more convincing then Trump: See Tucker Leaders show no obligation to American voters and Tucker The American dream is dying
Notable quotes:
"... America's "ruling class," Carlson says, are the "mercenaries" behind the failures of the middle class -- including sinking marriage rates -- and "the ugliest parts of our financial system." He went on: "Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society." ..."
"... He concluded with a demand for "a fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement." ..."
"... The monologue and its sweeping anti-elitism drove a wedge between conservative writers. The American Conservative's Rod Dreher wrote of Carlson's monologue, "A man or woman who can talk like that with conviction could become president. Voting for a conservative candidate like that would be the first affirmative vote I've ever cast for president. ..."
"... The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Growing Broke ..."
"... Carlson wanted to be clear: He's just asking questions. "I'm not an economic adviser or a politician. I'm not a think tank fellow. I'm just a talk show host," he said, telling me that all he wants is to ask "the basic questions you would ask about any policy." But he wants to ask those questions about what he calls the "religious faith" of market capitalism, one he believes elites -- "mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule" -- have put ahead of "normal people." ..."
"... "What does [free market capitalism] get us?" he said in our call. "What kind of country do you want to live in? If you put these policies into effect, what will you have in 10 years?" ..."
"... Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as "the smoke alarm ... telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it." ..."
"... Trump borrowed some of that approach for his 2016 campaign but in office has governed as a fairly orthodox economic conservative, thus demonstrating the demand for populism on the right without really providing the supply and creating conditions for further ferment. ..."
"... Ocasio-Cortez wants a 70-80% income tax on the rich. I agree! Start with the Koch Bros. -- and also make it WEALTH tax. ..."
"... "I'm just saying as a matter of fact," he told me, "a country where a shrinking percentage of the population is taking home an ever-expanding proportion of the money is not a recipe for a stable society. It's not." ..."
"... Carlson told me he wanted to be clear: He is not a populist. But he believes some version of populism is necessary to prevent a full-scale political revolt or the onset of socialism. Using Theodore Roosevelt as an example of a president who recognized that labor needs economic power, he told me, "Unless you want something really extreme to happen, you need to take this seriously and figure out how to protect average people from these remarkably powerful forces that have been unleashed." ..."
"... But Carlson's brand of populism, and the populist sentiments sweeping the American right, aren't just focused on the current state of income inequality in America. Carlson tackled a bigger idea: that market capitalism and the "elites" whom he argues are its major drivers aren't working. The free market isn't working for families, or individuals, or kids. In his monologue, Carlson railed against libertarian economics and even payday loans, saying, "If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it's happening in the inner city or on Wall Street" -- sounding very much like Sanders or Warren on the left. ..."
"... Capitalism/liberalism destroys the extended family by requiring people to move apart for work and destroying any sense of unchosen obligations one might have towards one's kin. ..."
"... Hillbilly Elegy ..."
"... Carlson told me that beyond changing our tax code, he has no major policies in mind. "I'm not even making the case for an economic system in particular," he told me. "All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God or a function or raw nature." ..."
Jan 10, 2019 | www.vox.com

"All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God."

Last Wednesday, the conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson started a fire on the right after airing a prolonged monologue on his show that was, in essence, an indictment of American capitalism.

America's "ruling class," Carlson says, are the "mercenaries" behind the failures of the middle class -- including sinking marriage rates -- and "the ugliest parts of our financial system." He went on: "Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society."

He concluded with a demand for "a fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement."

The monologue was stunning in itself, an incredible moment in which a Fox News host stated that for generations, "Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars." More broadly, though, Carlson's position and the ensuing controversy reveals an ongoing and nearly unsolvable tension in conservative politics about the meaning of populism, a political ideology that Trump campaigned on but Carlson argues he may not truly understand.

Moreover, in Carlson's words: "At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be gone too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then?"

The monologue and its sweeping anti-elitism drove a wedge between conservative writers. The American Conservative's Rod Dreher wrote of Carlson's monologue, "A man or woman who can talk like that with conviction could become president. Voting for a conservative candidate like that would be the first affirmative vote I've ever cast for president." Other conservative commentators scoffed. Ben Shapiro wrote in National Review that Carlson's monologue sounded far more like Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren than, say, Ronald Reagan.

I spoke with Carlson by phone this week to discuss his monologue and its economic -- and cultural -- meaning. He agreed that his monologue was reminiscent of Warren, referencing her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Growing Broke . "There were parts of the book that I disagree with, of course," he told me. "But there are parts of it that are really important and true. And nobody wanted to have that conversation."

Carlson wanted to be clear: He's just asking questions. "I'm not an economic adviser or a politician. I'm not a think tank fellow. I'm just a talk show host," he said, telling me that all he wants is to ask "the basic questions you would ask about any policy." But he wants to ask those questions about what he calls the "religious faith" of market capitalism, one he believes elites -- "mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule" -- have put ahead of "normal people."

But whether or not he likes it, Carlson is an important voice in conservative politics. His show is among the most-watched television programs in America. And his raising questions about market capitalism and the free market matters.

"What does [free market capitalism] get us?" he said in our call. "What kind of country do you want to live in? If you put these policies into effect, what will you have in 10 years?"

Populism on the right is gaining, again

Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as "the smoke alarm ... telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it."

Populism is a rhetorical approach that separates "the people" from elites. In the words of Cas Mudde, a professor at the University of Georgia, it divides the country into "two homogenous and antagonistic groups: the pure people on the one end and the corrupt elite on the other." Populist rhetoric has a long history in American politics, serving as the focal point of numerous presidential campaigns and powering William Jennings Bryan to the Democratic nomination for president in 1896. Trump borrowed some of that approach for his 2016 campaign but in office has governed as a fairly orthodox economic conservative, thus demonstrating the demand for populism on the right without really providing the supply and creating conditions for further ferment.

When right-leaning pundit Ann Coulter spoke with Breitbart Radio about Trump's Tuesday evening Oval Office address to the nation regarding border wall funding, she said she wanted to hear him say something like, "You know, you say a lot of wild things on the campaign trail. I'm speaking to big rallies. But I want to talk to America about a serious problem that is affecting the least among us, the working-class blue-collar workers":

Coulter urged Trump to bring up overdose deaths from heroin in order to speak to the "working class" and to blame the fact that working-class wages have stalled, if not fallen, in the last 20 years on immigration. She encouraged Trump to declare, "This is a national emergency for the people who don't have lobbyists in Washington."

Ocasio-Cortez wants a 70-80% income tax on the rich. I agree! Start with the Koch Bros. -- and also make it WEALTH tax.

-- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 4, 2019

These sentiments have even pitted popular Fox News hosts against each other.

Sean Hannity warned his audience that New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's economic policies would mean that "the rich people won't be buying boats that they like recreationally, they're not going to be taking expensive vacations anymore." But Carlson agreed when I said his monologue was somewhat reminiscent of Ocasio-Cortez's past comments on the economy , and how even a strong economy was still leaving working-class Americans behind.

"I'm just saying as a matter of fact," he told me, "a country where a shrinking percentage of the population is taking home an ever-expanding proportion of the money is not a recipe for a stable society. It's not."

Carlson told me he wanted to be clear: He is not a populist. But he believes some version of populism is necessary to prevent a full-scale political revolt or the onset of socialism. Using Theodore Roosevelt as an example of a president who recognized that labor needs economic power, he told me, "Unless you want something really extreme to happen, you need to take this seriously and figure out how to protect average people from these remarkably powerful forces that have been unleashed."

"I think populism is potentially really disruptive. What I'm saying is that populism is a symptom of something being wrong," he told me. "Again, populism is a smoke alarm; do not ignore it."

But Carlson's brand of populism, and the populist sentiments sweeping the American right, aren't just focused on the current state of income inequality in America. Carlson tackled a bigger idea: that market capitalism and the "elites" whom he argues are its major drivers aren't working. The free market isn't working for families, or individuals, or kids. In his monologue, Carlson railed against libertarian economics and even payday loans, saying, "If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it's happening in the inner city or on Wall Street" -- sounding very much like Sanders or Warren on the left.

Carlson's argument that "market capitalism is not a religion" is of course old hat on the left, but it's also been bubbling on the right for years now. When National Review writer Kevin Williamson wrote a 2016 op-ed about how rural whites "failed themselves," he faced a massive backlash in the Trumpier quarters of the right. And these sentiments are becoming increasingly potent at a time when Americans can see both a booming stock market and perhaps their own family members struggling to get by.

Capitalism/liberalism destroys the extended family by requiring people to move apart for work and destroying any sense of unchosen obligations one might have towards one's kin.

-- Jeremy McLallan (@JeremyMcLellan) January 8, 2019

At the Federalist, writer Kirk Jing wrote of Carlson's monologue, and a response to it by National Review columnist David French:

Our society is less French's America, the idea, and more Frantz Fanon's "Wretched of the Earth" (involving a very different French). The lowest are stripped of even social dignity and deemed unworthy of life . In Real America, wages are stagnant, life expectancy is crashing, people are fleeing the workforce, families are crumbling, and trust in the institutions on top are at all-time lows. To French, holding any leaders of those institutions responsible for their errors is "victimhood populism" ... The Right must do better if it seeks to govern a real America that exists outside of its fantasies.

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy , wrote that the [neoliberal] economy's victories -- and praise for those wins from conservatives -- were largely meaningless to white working-class Americans living in Ohio and Kentucky: "Yes, they live in a country with a higher GDP than a generation ago, and they're undoubtedly able to buy cheaper consumer goods, but to paraphrase Reagan: Are they better off than they were 20 years ago? Many would say, unequivocally, 'no.'"

Carlson's populism holds, in his view, bipartisan possibilities. In a follow-up email, I asked him why his monologue was aimed at Republicans when many Democrats had long espoused the same criticisms of free market economics. "Fair question," he responded. "I hope it's not just Republicans. But any response to the country's systemic problems will have to give priority to the concerns of American citizens over the concerns of everyone else, just as you'd protect your own kids before the neighbor's kids."

Who is "they"?

And that's the point where Carlson and a host of others on the right who have begun to challenge the conservative movement's orthodoxy on free markets -- people ranging from occasionally mendacious bomb-throwers like Coulter to writers like Michael Brendan Dougherty -- separate themselves from many of those making those exact same arguments on the left.

When Carlson talks about the "normal people" he wants to save from nefarious elites, he is talking, usually, about a specific group of "normal people" -- white working-class Americans who are the "real" victims of capitalism, or marijuana legalization, or immigration policies.

In this telling, white working-class Americans who once relied on a manufacturing economy that doesn't look the way it did in 1955 are the unwilling pawns of elites. It's not their fault that, in Carlson's view, marriage is inaccessible to them, or that marijuana legalization means more teens are smoking weed ( this probably isn't true ). Someone, or something, did this to them. In Carlson's view, it's the responsibility of politicians: Our economic situation, and the plight of the white working class, is "the product of a series of conscious decisions that the Congress made."

The criticism of Carlson's monologue has largely focused on how he deviates from the free market capitalism that conservatives believe is the solution to poverty, not the creator of poverty. To orthodox conservatives, poverty is the result of poor decision making or a lack of virtue that can't be solved by government programs or an anti-elite political platform -- and they say Carlson's argument that elites are in some way responsible for dwindling marriage rates doesn't make sense .

But in French's response to Carlson, he goes deeper, writing that to embrace Carlson's brand of populism is to support "victimhood populism," one that makes white working-class Americans into the victims of an undefined "they:

Carlson is advancing a form of victim-politics populism that takes a series of tectonic cultural changes -- civil rights, women's rights, a technological revolution as significant as the industrial revolution, the mass-scale loss of religious faith, the sexual revolution, etc. -- and turns the negative or challenging aspects of those changes into an angry tale of what they are doing to you .

And that was my biggest question about Carlson's monologue, and the flurry of responses to it, and support for it: When other groups (say, black Americans) have pointed to systemic inequities within the economic system that have resulted in poverty and family dysfunction, the response from many on the right has been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic .

Really, it comes down to when black people have problems, it's personal responsibility, but when white people have the same problems, the system is messed up. Funny how that works!!

-- Judah Maccabeets (@AdamSerwer) January 9, 2019

Yet white working-class poverty receives, from Carlson and others, far more sympathy. And conservatives are far more likely to identify with a criticism of "elites" when they believe those elites are responsible for the expansion of trans rights or creeping secularism than the wealthy and powerful people who are investing in private prisons or an expansion of the militarization of police . Carlson's network, Fox News, and Carlson himself have frequently blasted leftist critics of market capitalism and efforts to fight inequality .

I asked Carlson about this, as his show is frequently centered on the turmoils caused by " demographic change ." He said that for decades, "conservatives just wrote [black economic struggles] off as a culture of poverty," a line he includes in his monologue .

He added that regarding black poverty, "it's pretty easy when you've got 12 percent of the population going through something to feel like, 'Well, there must be ... there's something wrong with that culture.' Which is actually a tricky thing to say because it's in part true, but what you're missing, what I missed, what I think a lot of people missed, was that the economic system you're living under affects your culture."

Carlson said that growing up in Washington, DC, and spending time in rural Maine, he didn't realize until recently that the same poverty and decay he observed in the Washington of the 1980s was also taking place in rural (and majority-white) Maine. "I was thinking, 'Wait a second ... maybe when the jobs go away the culture changes,'" he told me, "And the reason I didn't think of it before was because I was so blinded by this libertarian economic propaganda that I couldn't get past my own assumptions about economics." (For the record, libertarians have critiqued Carlson's monologue as well.)

Carlson told me that beyond changing our tax code, he has no major policies in mind. "I'm not even making the case for an economic system in particular," he told me. "All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God or a function or raw nature."

And clearly, our market economy isn't driven by God or nature, as the stock market soars and unemployment dips and yet even those on the right are noticing lengthy periods of wage stagnation and dying little towns across the country. But what to do about those dying little towns, and which dying towns we care about and which we don't, and, most importantly, whose fault it is that those towns are dying in the first place -- those are all questions Carlson leaves to the viewer to answer.

[Jan 02, 2019] Britain must surely be in the running for the Wooden Spoon award doe 2018

Notable quotes:
"... Britain must surely be in the running for many reasons: among others, the sheer disaster that is Theresa May's government (and the various clowns and thuggish goons that constitute her Cabinet), the Brexit mess, the Skripal poisoning circus, Britain's own collapse in controlling the propaganda narrative on Syria and the revelations about Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, and their ties to the British military establishment. ..."
Jan 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Dec 31, 2018 3:36:34 PM | link

If Syria wins the award for Country of the Year 2018, I'd hate to see who gets the Wooden Spoon for 2018. There must be quite a few serious contenders for that prize!

Britain must surely be in the running for many reasons: among others, the sheer disaster that is Theresa May's government (and the various clowns and thuggish goons that constitute her Cabinet), the Brexit mess, the Skripal poisoning circus, Britain's own collapse in controlling the propaganda narrative on Syria and the revelations about Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, and their ties to the British military establishment.

[Dec 24, 2018] Did Someone Slip Donald Trump Some Kind Of Political Viagra

Dec 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

After two years of getting rolled by the Washington establishment, it seems that President Donald Trump woke up and suddenly realized , "Hey – I'm the president! I have the legal authority to do stuff!"

All of this should be taken with a big grain of salt. While this week's assertiveness perhaps provides further proof that Trump's impulses are right, it doesn't mean he can implement them.

The Syria withdrawal will be difficult. The entire establishment, including the otherwise pro-Trump talking heads on Fox News , are dead set against him – except for Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham .

Senator Lindsey Graham is demanding hearings on how to block the Syria pullout . Congress hardly ever quibbles with a president's putting troops into a country, where the Legislative Branch has legitimate Constitutional power. But if a president under his absolute command authority wants to pull them out – even someplace where they're deployed illegally, as in Syria – well hold on just a minute!

We are being told our getting out of Syria and Afghanistan will be a huge "gift" to Russia and Iran . Worse, it is being compared to Barack Obama's " premature" withdrawal from Iraq ( falsely pointed to as the cause of the rise of ISIS ) and will set the stage for "chaos." By that standard, we can never leave anywhere.

This will be a critical time for the Trump presidency. (And if God is really on his side, he soon might get another Supreme Court pick .) If he can get the machinery of the Executive Branch to implement his decision to withdraw from Syria, and if he can pick a replacement to General Mattis who actually agrees with Trump's views, we might start getting the America First policy Trump ran on in 2016.

Mattis himself said in his resignation letter, "Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these [i.e., support for so-called "allies"] and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position."

Right on, Mad Dog! In fact Trump should have had someone "better aligned" with him in that capacity from the get-go. It is now imperative that he picks someone who agrees with his core positions, starting with withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan, and reducing confrontation with Russia.

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel complains that "our government is not a one-man show." Well, the "government" isn't, but the Executive Branch is. Article II, Section 1 : "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." Him. The President. Nobody else. Period.

Already the drumbeat to saddle Trump with another Swamp critter at the Pentagon is starting: "Several possible replacements for Mattis this week trashed the president's decision to pull out of Syria. Retired Gen. Jack Keane called the move a "strategic mistake" on Twitter. Republican Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) signed a letter demanding Trump reconsider the decision and warning that the withdrawal bolsters Iran and Russia." If Trump even considers any of the above as Mattis's replacement, he'll be in worse shape than he has been for the past two years.

On the other hand, if Trump does pick someone who agrees with him about Syria and Afghanistan, never mind getting along with Russia , can he get that person confirmed by the Senate? One possibility would be to nominate someone like Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney specifically to run the Pentagon bureaucracy and get control of costs, while explicitly deferring operational decisions to the Commander in Chief in consultation with the Service Chiefs.

Right now on Syria Trump is facing pushback from virtually the whole Deep State establishment, Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as the media from Fox News , to NPR , to MSNBC . Terror has again gripped the establishment that the Trump who was elected president in 2016 might actually start implementing what he promised. It is imperative that he pick someone for the Pentagon (and frankly, clear out the rest of his national security team) and appoint people he can trust and whose views comport with his own. Just lopping off a few heads won't suffice – he needs a full housecleaning.

In the meantime in Syria, watch for another "Assad poison gas attack against his own people." The last time Trump said we'd be leaving Syria "very soon " was on March 29 of this year. Barely a week later, on April 7, came a supposed chemical incident in Douma, immediately hyped as a government attack on civilians but soon apparent as likely staged . Trump, though, dutifully took the bait, tweeting that Assad was an "animal." Putin, Russia, and Iran were "responsible" for "many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack" – "Big price to pay." He then for the second time launched cruise missiles against Syrian targets. A confrontation loomed in the eastern Med that could to have led to war with Russia. Now, in light of Trump's restated determination to get out, is MI6 already ginning up their White Helmet assets for a repeat ?

Trump's claim that the US has completed its only mission, to defeat ISIS, is being compared to George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" banner following defeat of Iraq's army and the beginning of the occupation (and, as it turned out, the beginning of the real war). But if it helps get us out, who cares if Trump wants to take credit? Whatever his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad national security team told him, the US presence in Syria was never about ISIS. We are there as Uncle Sam's Rent-an-Army for the Israelis and Saudis to block Iranian influence and especially an overland route between Syria and Iran (the so-called "Shiite land bridge" to the Mediterranean ).

For US forces the war against ISIS was always a sideshow, mainly carried on by the Syrians and Russians and proportioned about like the war against the Wehrmacht: about 20% "us," about 80% "them." The remaining pocket ISIS has on the Syria-Iraq border has been deliberate ly left alone, to keep handy as a lever to force Assad out in a settlement (which is not going to happen). Thus the claim an American pullout will lead to an ISIS "resurgence " is absurd. With US forces ceasing to play dog in the manger, the Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and Iraqis will kill them. All of them.

If Trump is able to follow through with the pullout, will the Syrian war wind down? It needs to be kept in mind that the whole conflict has been because we (the US, plus Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, the United Kingdom, etc) are the aggressors. We sought to use al-Qaeda and other jihadis to effect regime change via the tried and true method. It failed.

Regarding Trump's critics' claim that he is turning over Syria to the Russians and Iranians, Assad is nobody's puppet. He can be allied with a Shiite theocracy but not controlled by it; Iran, likewise, can also have mutually beneficial ties with an ideologically dissimilar country, like it does with Christian Armenia. The Russians will stay and expand their presence but unlike our presence in many countries – which seemingly never ends, for example in Germany, Japan, and Korea, not to mention Kosovo – they'll be there only as long and to the extent the Syrians want them. (Compare our eternal occupations with the Soviets' politely leaving Egypt when Anwar Sadat asked them, or leaving Somalia when Siad Barre wanted them out. Instead of leaving, why didn't Moscow just do a " Diem " on them?) It seems that American policymakers have gotten so far down the wormhole of their paranoid fantasies about the rest of the world – and it can't be overemphasized, concerning areas where the US has no actual national interests – that we no longer recognize classic statecraft when practiced by other powers defending genuine national interests (which of course are legitimate only to the extent we say so).

What happens over the next few days on funding for the Border Wall – which is fully within the power of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to deliver – and over the next few weeks over Syria and Afghanistan may be decisive for the balance of the Trump presidency. If he can prevail, and if he finally starts assembling an America First national security team beginning with a good Pentagon chief, he still has a chance to deliver on his 2016 promises.

Anyway, if this week's developments are the result of someone putting something into Donald's morning Egg McMuffin , America and the world owe him (or her) a vote of thanks. Let's see more of the wrecking ball we Deplorables voted for !


Karmageddon , 23 seconds ago link

Trump thought that by bringing the swamp into his fold he might be able to defang it. He bent the knee, played nice and kissed the ring but still they kept at him. I think Trump has had enough of giving a mile for getting an inch. I like Trump when he presents himself as a human wrecking ball to all the evil plans of the Washington establishment and if he continues like this I honestly believe he will be reelected in 2020, and one day will be acknowleged as a true chapion for every day Americans but if he shrinks back into his shadow and gives the likes of Bolton and Pompeo free reign to **** all over the globe with their insane scheming he will be a one term failure.

francis scott falseflag , 6 minutes ago link

Don't get too excited about the possibility that there may be more kinds of viagra to try out, Jattras. If Trump recently seems to be more like the candidate we voted for, the real reason for his reversion back is because the midterm elections are over and Trump kept the Senate.

Check with me before you start making a lot of crack-pot statements

Clear blue sky , 25 minutes ago link

Anybody that wants foreign wars and open borders does not have Americas best interest at heart and is a traitor.

[Dec 24, 2018] How to fix America's dysfunctional trade system by Ryan Cooper

Dec 20, 2018 | theweek.com
America's trade policy is in incoherent shambles. Decades of neoliberal "free trade" pacts -- which as often as not simply gave corporations an end run around the state, or their very own rigged, pseudo-legal system -- have created terrible social carnage around the world and a furious political backlash. And President Trump's incoherent, haphazard response has done little to change the system, let alone reform it in a sensible fashion.

Overhauling such a gargantuan, world-spanning system is a dizzying task. But Timothy Meyer and Ganesh Sitaraman at the Great Democracy Initiative have a new paper that presents a solid starting point for developing a fundamental reform of American trade structure.

Meyer and Sitaraman identify three large problems with the status quo, and propose policy solutions for each:

Let's take these in turn.

The extant trade bureaucracy -- as usual for the American state -- is highly fragmented and bizarrely structured. There is the Department of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, plus the International Development Finance Corporation coming soon. Then there are a slew of other agencies that have some bearing on trade-related security or economic development.

Meyer and Sitaraman logically suggest combining most of these functions into a single Department of Economic Growth and Security. The point is not just to streamline the trade oversight structure, but also to make it consider a broader range of objectives. Neoliberals insist that trade is simply about making the self-regulating market more "efficient," but trade very obviously bears on employment, domestic industry, and especially security.

For instance, for all its other disastrous side effects, Trump's haphazard tax on aluminum has dramatically revived the American aluminum industry . Ensuring a reasonable domestic supply of key metals like that is so obviously a security concern -- for military and consumer uses alike -- that it wouldn't have even occurred to New Deal policymakers to think otherwise. It takes a lot of ideological indoctrination to think there's no problem when a small price disadvantage causes a country to lose its entire supply chain of key industrial commodities.

Then there is the problem of pro-rich bias. Put simply, the last few decades of trade deals have been outrageously biased towards corporations and the rich. They have powerfully enabled the growth of parasitic tax havens , which allow companies to book profits in low-tax jurisdictions, starving countries of rightful revenue (and often leading to companies piling up gargantuan dragon hoards of cash they don't know what to do with).

Corporations, meanwhile, have gotten their own fake legal system in the form of Investor-State Dispute Settlement trade deal stipulations. As I have written before , the point of these arbitration systems is to create a legal system ludicrously slanted in favor of the corporation -- allowing them not just to win almost every time, but to sue over nonsensical harms like "taking away imaginary future profits."

Meyer and Sitaraman suggest renegotiating the tax portions of trade deals to enforce a "formulary" tax system -- in which profits are taxed where they are made, not where they are booked. This would go a considerable distance towards cracking down on tax havens -- who knows, perhaps Luxembourg might even develop some productive business.

Finally, there is the problem of distributive justice. Again contrary to neoliberal dogma, trade very often creates winners and losers -- witness the wreckage of Detroit and the fat salaries of the U.S. executive class. Meyer and Sitaraman suggest new mechanisms to consider the side effects of trade deals (and ways to compensate the losers), to take action against abusive foreign nations (for example, by dumping their products below cost, or violating environmental or labor standards), and finally directly taxing the beneficiaries.

Something the authors don't discuss is the problem of trade imbalances . When one country develops a surplus (that is, it exports more than it imports), another country must of necessity be in a deficit. The deficit country in turn must finance its imports, usually by borrowing. That can easily create a severe economic crisis if the deficit country suddenly loses access to loans -- which then harms the exporting country, though not as much. This has been a disastrous problem in the eurozone.

The U.S. does have extremely wide latitude to run a trade deficit, because it controls the global reserve currency, meaning a strong demand for dollar-denominated assets so other countries can settle their international accounts. But this creates its own problems, as discussed above.

More Perspectives James Mattis. Matthew Walther The failure and delusions of the adults in the room Beto ORourke. Matthew Walther The 2020 Democratic frontrunner is a Republican

To be fair, this is not exactly an omission for a paper focused on domestic policy. Creating a specifically international trade architecture would require an entire paper of its own, if not a book or three. But it would be something future trade policymakers will have to consider.

At any rate, it's quite likely that trade policy will be a major topic of discussion in 2020 -- if for no reason other than Trump's ridiculous shenanigans in the area. However, even that demonstrates an important fact: The U.S. president has a great deal of unilateral authority over trade. Democrats should be thinking hard about how they would change things. This paper is a great place to start.

[Dec 23, 2018] Trump proposes cutting food stamps for over 700,000 people just before Christmas by Matthew Rozsa

Dec 20, 2018 | www.salon.com

President Donald Trump is planning on using his executive powers to cut food stamps for more than 700,000 Americans.

The United States Department of Agriculture is proposing that states should only be allowed to waive a current food stamps requirement -- namely, that adults without dependents must work or participate in a job-training program for at least 20 hours each week if they wish to collect food stamps for more than three months in a three-year period -- on the condition that those adults live in areas where unemployment is above 7 percent, according to The Washington Post . Currently the USDA regulations permit states to waive that requirement if an adult lives in an area where the unemployment rate is at least 20 percent greater than the national rate. In effect, this means that roughly 755,000 Americans would potentially lose their waivers that permit them to receive food stamps.

The current unemployment rate is 3.7 percent.

The Trump administration's decision to impose the stricter food stamp requirements through executive action constitutes an end-run around the legislative process. Although Trump is expected to sign an $870 billion farm bill later this week -- and because food stamps goes through the Agriculture Department, it contains food stamp provisions -- the measure does not include House stipulations restricting the waiver program and imposing new requirements on parents with children between the ages of six and 12. The Senate version ultimately removed those provisions, meaning that the version being signed into law does not impose a conservative policy on food stamps, which right-wing members of Congress were hoping for.

"Congress writes laws, and the administration is required to write rules based on the law," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., told The New York Times (Stabenow is the top Democrat on the Senate's agriculture committee). "Administrative changes should not be driven by ideology. I do not support unilateral and unjustified changes that would take food away from families."

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

[Dec 22, 2018] Will Trump Hold Firm on His Syria Pullout

So at the moment when everybody assumed that Trump lost control of the foreign policy, he does this. It's a real surprise. Kind of Christmas gift to his voters. And that's with neocon Pompeo as his State Secretary and neocon Bolton as his national security advisor.
The War Party project of regime change in Tehran suffered a severe setback with the U.S. pullout from Syria.
Notable quotes:
"... Forced to choose between Turkey, with 80 million people and the second-largest army in NATO, which sits astride the Dardanelles and Bosphorus entrance to the Black Sea, and the stateless Kurds with their Syrian Democratic Forces, or YPG, Trump chose Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ..."
"... And Erdogan regards the YPG as kinfolk and comrades of the Kurdish terrorist PKK in Turkey. A week ago, he threatened to attack the Kurds in northern Syria, though U.S. troops are embedded alongside them. What kind of deal did Trump strike with Erdogan? Turkey will purchase the U.S. Patriot anti-aircraft and missile defense system for $3.5 billion, and probably forego the Russian S-400. Trump also told Erdogan that we "would take a look at" extraditing Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen whom the Turkish president says instigated the 2016 coup attempt that was to end with his assassination. ..."
"... The war party project, to bring about regime change in Tehran through either crippling sanctions leading to insurrection or a U.S.-Iranian clash in the Gulf, will suffer a severe setback with the U.S. pullout from Syria. ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

"We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there," wrote President Donald Trump as he ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Syria, stunning the U.S. foreign policy establishment.

Trump overruled his secretaries of state and defense, and jolted this city and capitals across NATO Europe and the Middle East.

Yet Trump is doing exactly what he promised to do in his campaign. And what his decision seems to say is this:

We are extricating America from the forever war of the Middle East so foolishly begun by previous presidents. We are coming home. The rulers and peoples of this region are going to have to find their own way and fight their own wars. We are not so powerful that we can fight their wars while also confronting Iran and North Korea and facing new cold wars with Russia and China.

As for the terrorists of ISIS, says Trump, they are defeated.

Yet despite the heavy casualties and lost battles ISIS has suffered, along with the collapse of the caliphate and expulsion from its Syrian capital Raqqa and Iraqi capital Mosul and from almost all territories it controlled in both countries, the group is not dead. It lives on in thousands of true believers hidden in those countries. And like al-Qaeda, it has followers across the Middle East and inspires haters of the West living in the West.

The U.S. pullout from Syria is being called a victory for Vladimir Putin. "Russia, Iran, Assad are ecstatic!" wailed Senator Lindsey Graham.

Graham was echoed by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse who called the withdrawal a "retreat" and charged that Trump's generals "believe the high-fiving winners today are Iran, ISIS and Hezbollah."

But ISIS is a Sunni terrorist organization. And as such, it detests the Alawite regime of Bashar Assad, and Hezbollah and Iran, both of which are viewed by ISIS as Shiite heretics. "Russia, Iran, Syria are not happy about the US leaving," Trump tweeted, "despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and others, who they hate, without us."

If Putin, victorious in the Syrian civil war, wishes to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS, the last major enemies of Assad in Syria, why not let him?

The real losers?

Certainly the Kurds, who lose their American ally. Any dream they had of greater autonomy inside Syria, or an independent state, is not going to be realized. But then, that was never really in the cards.

Forced to choose between Turkey, with 80 million people and the second-largest army in NATO, which sits astride the Dardanelles and Bosphorus entrance to the Black Sea, and the stateless Kurds with their Syrian Democratic Forces, or YPG, Trump chose Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

And Erdogan regards the YPG as kinfolk and comrades of the Kurdish terrorist PKK in Turkey. A week ago, he threatened to attack the Kurds in northern Syria, though U.S. troops are embedded alongside them. What kind of deal did Trump strike with Erdogan? Turkey will purchase the U.S. Patriot anti-aircraft and missile defense system for $3.5 billion, and probably forego the Russian S-400. Trump also told Erdogan that we "would take a look at" extraditing Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen whom the Turkish president says instigated the 2016 coup attempt that was to end with his assassination.

National security advisor John Bolton, who said U.S. troops would remain in Syria until all Iranian forces and Iran-backed militias have been expelled, appears not to have been speaking for his president. And if the Israelis were relying on U.S. forces in Syria to intercept any Iranian weapons shipments headed to Hezbollah in Lebanon through Damascus, then they are going to have to make other arrangements.

The war party project, to bring about regime change in Tehran through either crippling sanctions leading to insurrection or a U.S.-Iranian clash in the Gulf, will suffer a severe setback with the U.S. pullout from Syria.

However, given the strength of the opposition to a U.S. withdrawal -- Israel, Saudi Arabia, the GOP foreign policy establishment in Congress and the think tanks, liberal interventionists in the Beltway press, Trump's own national security team of advisors -- the battle to overturn Trump's decision has probably only just begun.

From FDR's abandonment of 100 million East Europeans to Stalin at Yalta in 1945 to the abandonment of our Nationalist Chinese allies to Mao in 1949 and of our South Vietnamese allies in 1975, America has often been forced into retreats leading to the deaths of allies. Senator Sasse says Trump is risking the same outcome: "A lot of American allies will be slaughtered if this retreat is implemented."

But is that true?

Trump's decision to pull out of Syria at least has assured us of a national debate on what it will mean to America to extricate our country from these Mideast wars. It is the kind of debate we have not had in the 15 years since we were first deceived into invading Iraq.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com .

about:blank


Stephen J. December 21, 2018 at 1:41 pm

I believe "Syria" is a war crime planned and plotted by some western governments and their allies. They are even reportedly financing and assisting terrorists. Which is criminal and treasonous
-- -- --
"With their command and control centre based in Istanbul, Turkey, military supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were transported by Turkish intelligence to the border for rebel acquisition. CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, other reports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS – last month one ISIS commander, Abu Yusaf, said, 'Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.'" Nafeez Ahmed
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/12/how-the-west-created-the-islamic-state/
-- -- -- -- --

"Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.[i] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, December 8, 2016,Press Release.
https://gabbard.house.gov/news/press-releases/video-rep-tulsi-gabbard-introduces-legislation-stop-arming-terrorists
-- -- -- -- --
There is further abundant evidence available at links below:
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2018/12/a-christmas-report-on-crimes-of-war.html

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-diabolical-work-of-nato-and-its.html

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-war-gangs-and-war-criminals-of-nato.html

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2016/08/are-there-war-criminals-living-in.html

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2015/09/should-regime-change-criminals-be-on.html

JeffK , says: December 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm
"At the very least, America will have its first serious debate on its Mideast wars since 2003 . It is the kind of debate we have not had in the 15 years since we were first deceived into invading Iraq."

Finally Mr Buchanan and I agree on something of substance. And I cannot believe I am in agreement with Trump on this too (even though it was quite clumsy). Will wonders never cease?

I hate that Trump will probably throw the Kurds under the bus since they acted as our allies and suffered for it. And if I was Mr Fethullah Gulen I would be packing my bags for Canada.

However, well done, sir. Now let the debate begin.

Fred Bowman , says: December 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm
I think what is to be accomplished by the US staying in the Middle East? Hasn't over 17 years and $600 billion spent and over a million dead been price enough? Hopefully, Syria is the 1st step in ending American military involvement in the Middle East. America has enough to do in taking care of serious issues here at home. As for the Middle East, let Israel, Saudia Arabia, Turkey, Iran and other countries and ethnic groups who reside there solve their own damn problems.
Mark B. , says: December 21, 2018 at 2:01 pm
As a European it feels strange to feel this pro-Trump all of a sudden. Before you know it, I'll order a MAGA cap (I'm always safe with that because carnaval is coming).
Kurt Gayle , says: December 21, 2018 at 4:38 pm
This is President Trump's Finest Hour!

Hang tough, Mr. President!

Bring our troops home from Syria and Afghanistan!

Louis Messana , says: December 21, 2018 at 5:10 pm
Russia just landed a nuclear bomber in Venezuela. Russia and China are making SIGNIFICANT inroads in the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Africa.

If Israel comes under serious threat, the US will be there to assist in its defense but the time has come when the US has to admit that the parasite freeloader nations like Europe and Israel are coming at to high a cost a cost that is both distracting and obstructing the US from being where it is really needed to deal with China and Russia.

One Guy , says: December 21, 2018 at 5:11 pm
In addition to the Syria pullout, Trump promised a 10% tax cut just 2 months ago. Anyone seen a tax cut? Anyone? Bueller?
Connecticut Farmer , says: December 21, 2018 at 6:45 pm
People sit on their collective fat asses inside The Beltway within the confines of some book lined conference room and make decisions involving the lives of thousands of young men and women–other people's sons and daughters (never their own)– who may be dispatched to take a bullet in anger. And over what? Making the MidEast "free for democracy"?

I dislike Trump even though I reluctantly voted for him only to keep the Congenital Liar out of the White House. One of the few positives he exhibited was a desire to extricate the United States from that MidEast hell-hole. For once at least he has delivered. Whether he will succeed, however, remains to be seen. After all, the Beltway is swarming with chicken hawks.

john , says: December 21, 2018 at 7:18 pm
Very zero sum gain way of thinking. How can the US not spending hundreds of billions on a lost cause be a win for Russia? Sounds more like a win for the US. I think the Syrian government with Russia and Iran should be enough to demolish the physical caliphate. Destroying ISIS ? Good luck with that suppress it OK but destroy easier said then done. How have we done against, the Mafia? the IRA? drug cartels and so on and so forth. For those who want to stay is there ever a set of conditions which would be satisfied allowing you to leave? We are still in Germany, I think the Nazis are gone you can relax, if it was the Soviets you worry about also gone by about 3 decades. If we can't accept that Germany is sufficiently stable to no longer be blessed with our presence when oh when would Syria be viewed as stable?
Republicans - are not conservatives , says: December 21, 2018 at 9:48 pm
I have regretted voting for trump for many reasons. I concede that IF USA military leaves Syria, this is a very positive development. He should now do the same for Afghanistan and many other places around the world.
Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and the Syrian military have done a fine job of keeping IS on the run. Let's hope they can finish the job.
Radnor Hunt , says: December 22, 2018 at 4:21 am
In this issue at least I support Trump a hundred percent, and I think a lot of Americans agree.

He's finally doing what he promised to do during the campaign.

I have been very unhappy with him, but if he follows through on this I'll give him credit. Given the lock that the elites and establishment have on the media, it took guts. It's good to see he has some.

Rick Steven D. , says: December 22, 2018 at 6:25 am
While I didn't vote for this excrescence in The White House, I will give credit where credit is due. Hillary's neocon impulses would have been infinitely worse here.

Still, looking at this past week, I can't help thinking about that whole Flight 93 thing. But two years into The Trump presidency, it's starting to look more like that disaster movie camp-fest Airport 1975, where we have crossed-eyed stewardess Karen Black trying to land the stricken 747. In her immortal words to flight control: "Something hit us! There's no one left to fly the plane! HELP US! OH MY GOD HELP US!!!"

[Dec 22, 2018] ISIS was created by the US as a part of its divide and conquer strategy. General Flynn blew the whistle on it which is why he has been vilified. Flynn spoke the truth on ISIS and lied to the FBI! Horrors

Notable quotes:
"... Now ISIS has been "defeated" and the US Quixote can focus on other windmills. ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Dec 20, 2018 10:13:19 PM | link

ISIS was created by the US as a part of its divide and conquer strategy. General Flynn blew the whistle on it which is why he has been vilified. Flynn spoke the truth on ISIS and lied to the FBI! Horrors.

Now ISIS has been "defeated" and the US Quixote can focus on other windmills. Except now comes the Syria encore, Afghanistan. Chalk up another loss for team USA.

[Dec 19, 2018] Judge excoriates Trump ex-adviser Flynn, delays Russia probe sentencing by Jan Wolfe and Ginger Gibson

Flynn "treason" is not related to Russia probe and just confirm that Nueller in engaged in witch hunt. I believe half of Senate and House of Representative might go to jail if they were dug with the ferocity Mueller digs Flynn's past. So while Flynn behavior as Turkey lobbyist (BTW Turkey is a NATO country and not that different int his sense from the US -- and you can name a lot of UK lobbyists in high echelons of the US government, starting with McCabe and Strzok) is reprehensible, this is still a witch hunt
When American law enforcement and intelligence officials, who carry Top Secret clearances and authority to collect intelligence or pursue a criminal investigation, decide to employ lies and intimidation to silence or intimidates those who worked for Donald Trump's Presidency, we see shadow of Comrage Stalin Great Terror Trials over the USA.
Dec 19, 2018 | www.yahoo.com
Former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn passes by members of the media as he departs after his sentencing was delayed at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

By Jan Wolfe and Ginger Gibson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge fiercely criticized President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday for lying to FBI agents in a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and delayed sentencing him until Flynn has finished helping prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan told Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, that he had arguably betrayed his country. Sullivan also noted that Flynn had operated as an undeclared lobbyist for Turkey even as he worked on Trump's campaign team and prepared to be his White House national security adviser.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about his December 2016 conversations with Sergei Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador in Washington, about U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow by the administration of Trump's Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, after Trump's election victory but before he took office.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, leading the investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign team and Russia ahead of the election, had asked the judge not to sentence Flynn to prison because he had already provided "substantial" cooperation over the course of many interviews.

But Sullivan sternly told Flynn his actions were abhorrent, noting that Flynn had also lied to senior White House officials, who in turn misled the public. The judge said he had read additional facts about Flynn's behavior that have not been made public.

At one point, Sullivan asked prosecutors if Flynn could have been charged with treason, although the judge later said he had not been suggesting such a charge was warranted.

"Arguably, you sold your country out," Sullivan told Flynn. "I'm not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense."

Flynn, dressed in a suit and tie, showed little emotion throughout the hearing, and spoke calmly when he confirmed his guilty plea and answered questions from the judge.

Sullivan appeared ready to sentence Flynn to prison but then gave him the option of a delay in his sentencing so he could fully cooperate with any pending investigations and bolster his case for leniency. The judge told Flynn he could not promise that he would not eventually sentence him to serve prison time.

Flynn accepted that offer. Sullivan did not set a new date for sentencing but asked Mueller's team and Flynn's attorney to give him a status report by March 13.

Prosecutors said Flynn already had provided most of the cooperation he could, but it was possible he might be able to help investigators further. Flynn's attorney said his client is cooperating with federal prosecutors in a case against Bijan Rafiekian, his former business partner who has been charged with unregistered lobbying for Turkey.

Rafiekian pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to those charges in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 11. Flynn is expected to testify.

Prosecutors have said Rafiekian and Flynn lobbied to have Washington extradite a Muslim cleric who lives in the United States and is accused by Turkey's government of backing a 2016 coup attempt. Flynn has not been charged in that case.

'LOCK HER UP!'

Flynn was a high-profile adviser to Trump's campaign team. At the Republican Party's national convention in 2016, Flynn led Trump's supporters in cries of "Lock her up!" directed against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

A group of protesters, including some who chanted "Lock him up," gathered outside the courthouse on Tuesday, along with a large inflatable rat fashioned to look like Trump. Several Flynn supporters also were there, cheering as he entered and exited. One held a sign that read, "Michael Flynn is a hero."

Flynn became national security adviser when Trump took office in January 2017, but lasted only 24 days before being fired.

He told FBI investigators on Jan. 24, 2017, that he had not discussed the U.S. sanctions with Kislyak when in fact he had, according to his plea agreement. Trump has said he fired Flynn because he also lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the contacts with Kislyak.

Trump has said Flynn did not break the law and has voiced support for him, raising speculation the Republican president might pardon him.

"Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn. Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!" Trump wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning.

After the hearing, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters the FBI had "ambushed" Flynn in the way agents questioned him, but said his "activities" at the center of the case "don't have anything to do with the president" and disputed that Flynn had committed treason.

"We wish General Flynn well," Sanders said.

In contrast, Trump has called his former long-time personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who has pleaded guilty to separate charges, a "rat."

Mueller's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election and whether Trump has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe has cast a shadow over his presidency. Several former Trump aides have pleaded guilty in Mueller's probe, but Flynn was the first former Trump White House official to do so. Mueller also has charged a series of Russian individuals and entities.

Trump has called Mueller's investigation a "witch hunt" and has denied collusion with Moscow.

Russia has denied meddling in the election, contrary to the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that have said Moscow used hacking and propaganda to try to sow discord in the United States and boost Trump's chances against Clinton.

Lying to the FBI carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison. Flynn's plea agreement stated that he was eligible for a sentence of between zero and six months.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Ginger Gibson; Additional reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Kieran Murray and Will Dunham)

[Dec 18, 2018] FBI's Flynn Notes Show He Was Aware of Nature of First Interview

Notable quotes:
"... christophere steele admitted before a british court today that he was hired by the clintons/obama/DNC to make up the dossier as a weapon to use against trump as a backup plan in case he won the election.. this proves the DNC lied, paid for a fake dossier, and comey admitted he knew the fake dossier was false before using it to get a FISC warrant and to spy on trump, which was used as an excuse for the mueller investigation.. yahoo news and leftwing media arent covering the story.. educate yourselves ..."
Dec 18, 2018 | news.yahoo.com

[Dec 17, 2018] The Mueller group disclosed only 2 redacted documents that were already known by Robert Willmann

Notable quotes:
"... There is an article in the Daily Caller: "Powell: New Facts Indicate Mueller Destroyed Evidence..." dailycaller.com/2018/12/16/... ..."
Sic Semper Tyrannis

On Friday, 14 December 2018, the office of "special counsel" Robert Mueller filed a reply to Gen. Michael Flynn's sentencing memorandum by the court's deadline, as noted on the court clerk's docket sheet--

"12/14/2018 56 REPLY by USA as to MICHAEL T. FLYNN to Defendant's Memorandum in Aid of Sentencing (Attachments: # 1 Attachment A, # 2 Attachment B)(Van Grack, Brandon) (Entered: 12/14/2018)".

Judge Emmet Sullivan in an order on 12 December stated: "In 50 defendant's memorandum in aid of sentencing, the defendant quotes and cites a 'Memorandum dated Jan. 24, 2017.' See page 8 n. 21, 22. The defendant also quotes and cites a 'FD-302 dated Aug. 22, 2017.' See page 9 n. 23-27. The defendant is ORDERED to file on the docket FORTHWITH the cited Memorandum and FD-302. The Court further ORDERS the government to file on the docket any 302s or memoranda relevant to the circumstances discussed on pages 7-9 of the defendant's sentencing memorandum by no later than 3:00 p.m. on December 14, 2018."

In response to Judge Sullivan's order, the Mueller group attached to its reply memo two noticeably blacked out (redacted) documents, which turned out to be the same ones that were referred to in Flynn's memo raising the issue of FBI conduct surrounding his interview, and were nothing additional or new!

The government's reply and two documents that were filed are here--

The two redacted documents are the "January 24, 2017" memo and the "FD-302 dated Aug. 22, 2017", which were cited in the court's order and which Flynn's lawyers apparently already had, or knew what they were about. Judge Sullivan ordered the Mueller group to produce "any 302s or memoranda relevant to the circumstances discussed on pages 7-9 of the defendant's sentencing memorandum", not just the two that were already known [emphasis added]. The "Attachment B" is not the form 302 by an agent who interviewed Flynn on 24 January 2017, but rather is a 302 report by an unknown person of an interview of now former FBI agent Peter Strzok on 20 July 2017, in which Strzok allegedly talks about some things that happened on 24 January.

Unless the "special counsel" filed a complete set of unredacted documents with a motion (request) for leave to file them under seal, the reply is on its face a violation of the court's disclosure order.

As 'blue peacock' said in a comment to the posting on this issue of 14 December, it will be interesting to see what Judge Sullivan does about the response by the Mueller group.

Both documents are heavily blacked out. The form 302 does include the language that the agents at the Flynn interview "had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying". Since this had already been revealed in news and mass media reports, they basically had to disclose that little part, otherwise it probably would have been redacted as well.

On the bottom right corner of each page is a number, which is usually referred to as a "Bates stamp", after the name of the numbering machines that are often used to number and identify documents that are produced in a lawsuit [1]. The pages on the form 302 are numbered DOJSCO-700021201 to 05. The one-page typed paper (Attachment A) has number DOJSCO-700021215. There are nine pages between those pages, but what those might be is not disclosed.

The Justice Department, FBI, and other federal departments are capable of trying to play semantic word games with requests for information, such that if the exact name or abbreviation of the document or class of documents is not requested, they will leave them out of their response. In this instance, the judge asked for "any 302s or memoranda" relevant to the circumstances. The FBI has guidelines about the different types of records it keeps and they can have different names, such as LHM (letterhead memorandum), EC (electronic communication), original note material, the FD-302, and so forth. There are also different types of files and records systems. Thus, there may be some ducking and dodging of the court's order on the theory that the exact types of records were not in the order.

Documents and records may also be generated when any investigative activity is started or requires approval, such as an assessment, preliminary investigation, or a full investigation. Furthermore, an interesting issue is the type of authorized activity the Flynn interview was part of: an assessment, preliminary investigation, or full investigation. Although it is significantly redacted (in this instance whited out instead of blacked out), the FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide contains some useful information for trying to figure out what is going on with this issue [2].

If this problem with disclosure is not bad enough, on 11 December the Justice Department Inspector General (OIG) issued a report with the bland title, "Report of Investigation: Recovery of Text Messages from Certain FBI Mobile Devices"-- https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2018/i-2018-003523.pdf

The OIG investigation began when it was discovered that there was a "gap in text message data collection during the period December 15, 2016, through May 17, 2017, from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) mobile devices assigned to FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page relevant to a matter being investigated by the OIG's Oversight and Review Division". Those names are familiar. Thousands of the text messages were recovered.

In addition, the report states: "In view of the content of many of the text messages between Strzok and Page, the OIG also asked the Special Counsel's Office (SCO) to provide to the OIG the DOJ issued iPhones that had been assigned to Strzok and Page during their respective assignments to the SCO".

The result? After Strzok was forced to leave the special counsel's office, his iPhone was given to another FBI agent and reset, wiping out the data. The Mueller group's "records officer" told the inspector general's office that "as part of the office's records retention procedure, the officer reviewed Strzok's DOJ issued iPhone after he returned it to the SCO and determined it contained no substantive text messages". In other words, after the Strzok and Page scandal erupted because of text messages while Strzok was at the special counsel's office, the Mueller group decided itself that his other cellular phone issued to him by the Department of Justice for the special counsel's office had no "substantive" messages on it.

Strzok's paramour, Lisa Page, also had an iPhone issued to her by the Justice Department while she was at the special counsel's office. The Mueller group said it could not find her phone, but it eventually was located at the DOJ's Justice Management Division. It had been reset, wiping out the data, on 31 July 2017.

[1] http://www.batesstampmachine.com

[2] https://vault.fbi.gov/FBI%20Domestic%20Investigations%20and%20Operations%20Guide%20%28DIOG%29


Fred , 5 hours ago

"...the officer reviewed Strzok's DOJ issued iPhone after he returned it to the SCO and determined it contained no substantive text messages"..."

So what is the officer's name, what criterea was used in the review and just what relationship to the extended cast of characters does this individual have?

Tidewater , 3 hours ago
It seems to me that this is very big news. Can it be that the Straight Arrow is bent, after all? This is amazing. There is an article in the Daily Caller: "Powell: New Facts Indicate Mueller Destroyed Evidence..." dailycaller.com/2018/12/16/...
Greco , 3 hours ago
I hope Judge Sullivan gets the chance to read this letter: https://saraacarter.com/for...
As a former/retired Agent, I have combed through every piece of information regarding Mike's case, as if I was combing through evidence in the hundreds of cases I have successfully handled while in the FBI.

The publicly reported Brady material alone, in this case, outweighs any statement given by any FBI Agent (we now know at least one FD-302 was changed), Special Prosecutor investigator report, and any other party still aggressively seeking that this case remain and be sentenced as a felony. Quite simply, I cannot see justice being served by branding LtG. Michael Flynn a convicted felon, when the truth is still being revealed while policies, ethics, and laws have been violated by those pursuing this case.

We now know all FBI employees involved in Mike Flynn's case have either been fired, forced to resign or forced to retire because of their excessive lack of candor, punitive biases, leaking of information, and extensive cover-up of their deeds.

Michael Flynn has always displayed overwhelming candor and forthrightness.

akaPatience , 9 hours ago
Projection and hypocrisy on steroids: leftists accuse Republicans of "fascism" and label the POTUS as "authoritarian".

[Dec 16, 2018] FBI Docs Reveal Flynn Was Not Lying Or Did Not Think He Was Lying

The decision to indict Flynn ruins " esprit de corps " in the USA intelligence community. So Partaigenosser Mulkler trying to depose Trump oversteped the "norms" of intelligence community. And if CIA allied with FBI against DIA that's a bad sign. It looks like the US elite was split into two warring camps that will fight for power absolutely ruthlessly.
As for "In the report, the two agents describe Flynn as being very open and noted said Flynn 'clearly saw the FBI agents as allies.' " the question arise how he got the to position of the head of DIA with such astounding level of naivety. If anyone from FBI does not want your lawyer to be present you should probably have a lawyer present.
Notable quotes:
"... "The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview," the Flynn memo says. ..."
"... According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials "decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed , and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport." ..."
"... McCabe, who has since been fired for lying to the DOJ's Office of Inspector General about leaking information to the media, also asked Flynn not to have his lawyer present during the initial meeting with the FBI agents. ..."
"... On Thursday, FBI Supervisory Agent Jeff Danik told SaraACarter.com that Sullivan must also request all the communications between the two agents, as well as their supervisors around the August 2017 time-frame in order to get a complete and accurate picture of what transpired. Danik, who is an expert in FBI policy, says it is imperative that Sullivan also request "the workflow chart, which would show one-hundred percent, when the 302s were created when they were sent to a supervisor and who approved them." ..."
"... Flynn was found guilty by Mueller on one count of lying to the FBI. Supporters of Flynn have questioned Mueller's tactics in getting the retired three-star general to plead guilty to this one count of lying. ..."
"... In the report, the two agents describe Flynn as being very open and noted said Flynn "clearly saw the FBI agents as allies." Flynn is described as discussing a variety of "subjects." The report includes his openness regarding Trump's "knack for interior design," the hotels he stayed at during his campaign, as well as other issues. ..."
"... It would appear that the branch of government that may be out of control (by the Supreme Court) is the judiciary. It is the court rules and failure of the Supreme Court to act and weed its subordinate courts, that allowed much of this to happen. The FISA Court has been a rubber stamp. No judge is held accountable for failure to obtain justice in their court. ..."
"... Could Mueller's whole appointment be meant to protect the Clinton empire? ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Sara Carter via SaraCarter.com,

The Special Counsel's Office released key documents related to former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn Friday. Robert Mueller's office had until 3 p.m. to get the documents to Judge Emmet Sullivan, who demanded information Wednesday after bombshell information surfaced in a memorandum submitted by Flynn's attorney's that led to serious concerns regarding the FBI's initial questioning of the retired three-star general.

The highly redacted documents included notes from former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe regarding his conversation with Flynn about arranging the interview with the FBI. The initial interview took place at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017.

The documents also include the FBI's "302" report regarding Flynn's interview with anti-Trump former FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka when they met with him at the White House. It is not, however, the 302 document from the actual January, 2017 interview but an August, 2017 report of Strzok's recollections of the interview.

Flynn's attorney's had noted in their memorandum to the courts that the documents revealed that FBI officials made the decision not to provide Flynn with his Miranda Rights, which would've have warned him of penalties for making false statements.

"The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview," the Flynn memo says.

According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials "decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed , and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport."

McCabe, who has since been fired for lying to the DOJ's Office of Inspector General about leaking information to the media, also asked Flynn not to have his lawyer present during the initial meeting with the FBI agents.

The July 2017 report, however, was the interview with Strzok. It described his interview with Flynn but was not the original Flynn interview.

Apparent discrepancies within the 302 documents are being questioned by may former senior FBI officials, who state that there are stringent policies in place to ensure that the documents are guarded against tampering.

On Thursday, FBI Supervisory Agent Jeff Danik told SaraACarter.com that Sullivan must also request all the communications between the two agents, as well as their supervisors around the August 2017 time-frame in order to get a complete and accurate picture of what transpired. Danik, who is an expert in FBI policy, says it is imperative that Sullivan also request "the workflow chart, which would show one-hundred percent, when the 302s were created when they were sent to a supervisor and who approved them."

He stressed, "the bureau policy – the absolute FBI policy – is that the notes must be placed in the system in a 1-A file within five days of the interview." Danik said that the handwritten notes get placed into the FBI Sentinel System, which is the FBI's main record keeping system. "Anything beyond five business days is a problem, eight months is a disaster," he added.

In the redacted 302 report Strzok and Pientka said they "both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying." Information that Flynn was not lying was first published and reported by SaraACarter.com.

Flynn was found guilty by Mueller on one count of lying to the FBI. Supporters of Flynn have questioned Mueller's tactics in getting the retired three-star general to plead guilty to this one count of lying.

In the report, the two agents describe Flynn as being very open and noted said Flynn "clearly saw the FBI agents as allies." Flynn is described as discussing a variety of "subjects." The report includes his openness regarding Trump's "knack for interior design," the hotels he stayed at during his campaign, as well as other issues.

"Flynn was so talkative, and had so much time for them, that Strzok wondered if the national security adviser did not have more important things to do than have a such a relaxed, non-pertinent discussion with them," it said.

The documents turned over by Mueller also reveal that other FBI personnel "later argued about the FBI's decision to interview Flynn." Tags Law Crime


haruspicio , 3 hours ago link

Basically McCabe and others in his unit are totally discredited. He should have this quashed and the case thrown out of court. No Miranda rights, therefore no lying to FBI.

Ajax-1 , 4 hours ago link

Why didn't Flynn demand his day in court? He would have won. I am not buying the ******** argument about him being run into bankruptcy. Hell, he could have represented himself and still won the case at trial. In addition, I am not buying this ******** argument that he agreed to plead guilty because he was afraid the Mueller would go after his son. Does anyone know what Flynn's son does for a living? Why would he be afraid?

alter_ , 4 hours ago link

I've got news for you, if you don't think you are lying, its not a lie. That is a simple fact for anyone who understands English

Koba the Dread , 4 hours ago link

Flynn was found guilty by Mueller on one count of lying to the FBI.

No! Flynn was not f ound guilty by Mueller on one count of lying. The FBI is an investigative body (at best) not a judicial body. Only a jury or a judge acting in lieu of a jury can find someone guilty of anything.

Flynn plead guilty to one count of lying because to have plead innocent would have bankrupted him in legal fees. However, it's interesting that this ZH article stated that Mueller found Flynn guilty. In federal courts these days, once you're charged with a crime you will be found guilty. FBI, DEA, BATF, IRS...whoever, you do not get a fair trial. Federal judges are hard-wired to find guilt. Vicious and ambitious federal prosecutors have only one interest, to rack up successful prosecutions. Federal juries are intimidated by the brute force of the federal system and, I suspect, fear that if they don't bring in a verdict satisfactory to the prosecutor, they may be investigated themselves. "Investigation" in the federal sense means that they will be relentlessly harassed forever by the federal government

artichoke , 1 hour ago link

My small experience as a juror is that state prosecutors and judges are no different than what you describe for the federal system. We found a guy non-guilty (not a close call either) that the judge wanted convicted, and he came back and questioned us about our logic. Casually of course. I just said the guy was innocent beyond a reasonable doubt. Judge wasn't pleased.

Imxploring , 7 hours ago link

Flynn is an idiot.... why agree to talk to the FBI at all.... as Martha Stewart found out.... if they can't make the case for what they're investigating... they'll just find some statement in your "interview" that they claim was not true.... no matter if it was your intention to lie or just a recollection that was wrong... and charge you with that!

Simple answer is that if law enforcement wants to "talk" to you they're looking to get information to charge you.... simple reply.... FU... I want a lawyer!

Amy G. Dala , 8 hours ago link

Remember Petreaus and Paula Broadwell?

The compromise of classified docs was really sort of candy-assed, everybody knew it . . .

Rewind the tape, and you will find the contrite Petreaus in front of any and all microphones confessing to his affair with Broadwell, which he repeatedly stated began on some certain date . . .conveniently AFTER his confirmation as CIA director . . .

. . .certainly Petreaus was asked in his FBI background interview if he was involved in any affairs. And he certainly said no.

So, Paula, since I'm on all the networks at the moment, I know you can hear me, our affair started on X date, in case the FBI gets a notion to ask you (which they did not.)

See, the FBI takes lying seriously. But somebody must have said something along the lines of: hey, Petreaus is a good guy, I hope you can find a way to let him off easy.

Noktirnal , 9 hours ago link

How can an honest investigation be done now?

The FBI destroyed evidence and devices at the behest of subjects in the HRC investigation on the first go-round.

Aubiekong , 9 hours ago link

But when faced with financial destruction, your kids being threatened, and false evidence against you, you sometimes admit to the charges to make a deal...

PGR88 , 10 hours ago link

Flynn "clearly saw the FBI agents as allies."

Sorry dumbass, they are America's new Gestapo. Big mistake.

divingengineer , 7 hours ago link

The military is realizing they are not on the same team with FBI, CIA, DOJ.

Why do you think they have tried so hard to keep NSA under military leadership? Wink, wink...

Leguran

It would appear that the branch of government that may be out of control (by the Supreme Court) is the judiciary. It is the court rules and failure of the Supreme Court to act and weed its subordinate courts, that allowed much of this to happen. The FISA Court has been a rubber stamp. No judge is held accountable for failure to obtain justice in their court.

The Chief Justice has refused to accept that judges can employ personal poliltical beliefs in court. All courts are subordinate to the US Supreme Court and therefore the Supreme Court has a duty to ensure justice not just to decide whether cases are 'sufficiently mature' to come before the Supreme Court. In other words, the Judiciary needs to be disturbed from their lifetime appointments and made conditional appointments. The Supreme Court needs to deal with incapacity within its own ranks. All told, this shocking miscarriage of justice came about because the Judicial Branch of government allowed it to happen. The Judicial Branch has run amok.

lizzie dw

IMO, Judge Emmet Sullivan needs to demand and receive the original UNREDACTED 302 about the Strzok/Pientka interview with General Flynn. But, really, just by reading the pre-interview discussions of the FBI members involved, the whole thing sounds fishy.

Caloot

Hedge headline:

Could Mueller's whole appointment be meant to protect the Clinton empire?

Like Trump or not, there are serious cracks appearing in the Clintons foundation.

[Dec 16, 2018] Judge Emmet Sullivan in the Michael Flynn case orders the Mueller group to disclose interview material by Robert Willmann

Dec 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Two days ago, federal judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington D.C. ordered the "special counsel" Robert Mueller group to do the following by 3:00 p.m. eastern time today, as shown on the court clerk's docket sheet--

"12/12/2018 MINUTE ORDER as to MICHAEL T. FLYNN. In 50 defendant's memorandum in aid of sentencing, the defendant quotes and cites a 'Memorandum dated Jan. 24, 2017.' See page 8 n. 21, 22. The defendant also quotes and cites a 'FD-302 dated Aug. 22, 2017.' See page 9 n. 23-27. The defendant is ORDERED to file on the docket FORTHWITH the cited Memorandum and FD-302. The Court further ORDERS the government to file on the docket any 302s or memoranda relevant to the circumstances discussed on pages 7-9 of the defendant's sentencing memorandum by no later than 3:00 p.m. on December 14, 2018. Should the parties seek to file such material under seal, the parties may file motions for leave to do so. The government is also ORDERED to file its reply to the defendant's sentencing memorandum by no later than 3:00 p.m. on December 14, 2018. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/12/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 12/12/2018)"

Judge Sullivan is a Black lawyer who came up the hard way, going to Washington D.C. public schools and Howard University and its law school. Howard University has been a reputable university with a full curriculum as it provided education to Black Americans from the time of segregation. He was appointed by three different U.S. presidents to judicial positions, by Reagan, Bush sr, and Bill Clinton [1].

The actions and investigation regarding Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.) beginning when he was removed as National Security Advisor to president Trump have seemed odd and not to square with past behavior and the normal course of things. With little information available publicly it is very difficult to look at the issue and pick through information, since it has been mainly hidden behind the skirts of the Mueller "investigation", which was supposed to look at "interference" by the Russian government in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Flynn's sentencing is set for next Tuesday, 18 December. However, that is subject to change, depending on what is filed today. I will try to provide some relevant items from the court clerk's file that you can read to bring yourself up to date about the court case from what is available; some items are still filed under seal, and the probation office presentence investigation report (PSI) is kept private as a matter of federal judicial policy.

Continue reading "Judge Emmet Sullivan in the Michael Flynn case orders the Mueller group to disclose interview material" "

Posted at 02:20 PM in Babelfish , Current Affairs , Intelligence , Justice , Politics , Transcripts | Permalink | 13 Comments


Walrus , a day ago

The FBI failed to warn Flynn and entrapped him. Throw out the case
TTG -> Walrus , 9 hours ago
That defense would be more effective if Flynn was a bewildered youth or someone with diminished mental capacities being badgered in a police interrogation room.
MP98 -> TTG , 5 hours ago
Flynn certainly acted like a bewildered, naive person.
Did he think that the FBI was showing up to ask about his health?
Was he really the Director of DIA......or did he just stay in a Holiday Inn?
Pat Lang Mod -> MP98 , 5 hours ago
He was in way over his head at DIA. This guy had commanded MI housekeeping units and had dome CT targeting/
Greco , 10 hours ago
Thank you Robert. It's good to have someone like judge Sullivan presiding over this case. We'll have to wait and see, but a lot of what I have gathered so far suggests Gen. Flynn is a man of honorable character who has been raked over for mostly political reasons.
MP98 , a day ago
In the meantime, has anyone investigated the leak that supposedly caught Flynn talking to the Russian Amb?
That apparently did harm sources and methods.
But,noooooooooo, no investigation.
The swamp cares not a whit for national security, but yet constantly lectures us "deplorables" about their great talent and dedication - they'd all be Fortune 500 CEO's if they weren't so dedicated.
There are probably a few dedicated talented people trying to do the right thing, but the bureaucracy - including the Intel. agencies/FBI (VERY important people "risking" their lives, BTW) - has shown over and over to be populated mostly by self-enriching slugs.
TTG -> MP98 , 9 hours ago
The leak was that USI and LE were listening in on the Russian Ambassador's conversations by turning his smartphone into a hot mic by exploiting well-known SS7 vulnerabilities. This hardly reveals anything new about sources and methods. Any one who wants to keep secrets shouldn't be carrying a smartphone and any ambassador who thinks the host government doesn't keep him under surveillance is hopelessly naive.
MP98 -> TTG , 6 hours ago
So the leaker gets a pass?
TTG -> MP98 , 5 hours ago
Was it a leak or was it just an assumption of the obvious surveillance of Kislyak? Pence is the one who confirmed Flynn talked to Kislyak about lifting sanctions and lied to him about it.

[Dec 16, 2018] Former FBI SSA Exposes McCabe Mueller's Unethtical, Target Destroy Coercion Tactics, Defends Flynn

Usual can of worms. Typical for any large organization. Petty vengeance, etc.
Dec 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Former FBI SSA Exposes McCabe & Mueller's "Unethtical, Target & Destroy Coercion" Tactics, Defends Flynn

by Tyler Durden Sat, 12/15/2018 - 21:15 59 SHARES Via SaraCarter.com,

Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz has asked SaraACarter.com to post her letter to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in support of her friend and colleague retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who will be sentenced on Dec. 18. The Special Counsel's Office has requested that Flynn not serve any jail time due to his cooperation with Robert Mueller's office. Based on new information contained in a memorandum submitted to the court this week by Flynn's attorney, Sullivan has ordered Mueller's office to turn over all exculpatory evidence and government documents on Flynn's case by mid-day Friday. Sullivan is also requesting any documentation regarding the first interviews conducted by former anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka -known by the FBI as 302s- which were found to be dated more than seven months after the interviews were conducted on Jan. 24, 2017, a violation of FBI policy, say current and former FBI officials familiar with the process. According to information contained in Flynn's memorandum, the interviews were dated Aug. 22, 2017.

Read Gritz's letter below... (emphasis added)

The Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan. December 5, 2018 U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

Washington D.C. 20001

Re: Sentencing of Lt. General Michael T. Flynn (Ret.)

Dear Judge Sullivan:

I am submitting my letter directly since Mike Flynn's attorney has refused to submit it as well as letters submitted by other individuals. I feel you need to hear from someone who was an FBI Special Agent who not only worked with Mike, but also has personally witnessed and reported unethical & sometimes illegal tactics used to coerce targets of investigations externally and internally.

About Myself and FBI Career

For 16 years, I proudly served the American people as a Special Agent working diligently on significant terrorism cases which earned noteworthy results and fostered substantial interagency cooperation. Prior to serving in the FBI I was a Juvenile Probation Officer in Camden, NJ. Currently, I am a Senior Information Security Metrics and Reporting Analyst with Discover Financial Services in the Chicago Metro area. I have recently been named as a Senior Fellow to the London Center for Policy Research.

While in the FBI, I served as a Special Agent, Supervisory Special Agent, Assistant Inspector, Unit Chief, and a Senior Liaison Officer to the CIA. I served on the NSC's Hostage and Personnel Working Group and brought numerous Americans out of captivity and was part of the interagency team to codify policies outlining the whole of government approach to hostage cases.

In November 2007, I was selected over 26 other candidates to become the Supervisory Special Agent, CT Extraterritorial Squad; Washington Field Office (WFO) in Washington, DC. At WFO, I led a squad of experts in extraterritorial evidence collection, overseas investigations, operational security during terrorist attacks/events, and overseas criminal investigations. I coordinated and managed numerous high profile investigations (Blackwater, Chuckie Taylor, Robert Levinson, and other pivotal cases) comprised of teams from US and foreign intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies. I was commended for displaying comprehensive leadership performance under pressure, extensive teamwork skills, while conducting critical investigative analysis within and outside the FBI.

In December 2009, I was promoted to GS-15 Unit Chief (UC) of the Executive Strategy Unit, Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate (WMDD). While the UC, I codified the WMDD five-year strategic plan, formulated goals and objectives throughout the division, while translating the material into a directorate scorecard with cascading measurements reflecting functional and operational unit areas. This was the only time in Washington, DC when I did not work with of for McCabe.

From September to December 2010, I was selected as the FBI's top candidate to represent the FBI, and the USG in a rigorous, intellectually stimulating; 12 week course for civilian government officials, military officers, and government academics at the George C. Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany, Executive Program in Advanced Security Studies. The class was comprised of 141 participants from 43 countries.

I have received numerous recommendations and commendations for my professionalism, liaison and interpersonal ability and experience . Additionally, I have been rated Excellent or Outstanding for my entire career, to include by Andrew McCabe when I was stationed at the Washington Field Office. Further, other awards of note are: West Chester University 2005 Legacy of Leadership recipient, Honored with House of Representatives Citation for Exemplary record of Service, Leadership, and Achievements: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Awarded with a framed Horn of Africa blood chit from the Department of Defense and Office of the DASD (POW/MPA/MIA) for my work in bringing Americans Out of captivity, "Patriot, Law Enforcement Warrior, and Friend."

Length of Association with Flynn, McCabe, and Mueller

I met Michael Flynn in 2005, while working in the Counterterrorism Division (CTD) at FBI Headquarters (FBIHQ).

I met then Supervisory Special Agent Andrew McCabe, when he reported to CTD at FBIHQ, around the same time. McCabe subsequently was the Assistant Section Chief over my unit, my Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Washington Field Office, and the Assistant Director (AD) over CTD when I encountered the discrimination and McCabe spearheaded the retaliation personally (according to documentation) against me.

I have known both men for 12-13 years and worked directly with both throughout my career. They are on the opposite spectrum of each other with regard to truthfulness, temperament, and ethics, both professionally and personally.

I regularly briefed former FBI Director and Special Prosecutor Mueller on controversial and complex cases and attended Deputies meetings at the White house with then Deputy Director Pistole. I got along with both and trusted both. Watching what has been done to Mike and knowing someone on the 7th floor had to have notified Mueller of my situation (Pistole had retired), has been significantly distressing to me.

Lt.G. Michael T. Flynn:

Mike and I were counterparts on a DOJ-termed ground-breaking initiative which served as a model for future investigations, policies, legislation and FBI programs in the Terrorist Use of the Internet. For this multi-faceted and leading-edge joint operation, I was commended by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Gen. Keith Alexander (NSA Director), and LtG. Michael Flynn as well as others for leading the FBI's pivotal participation in this dynamic and innovative interagency operation. I received two The National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation (NIMUC) I for my role in this operation. The NIMUC is an award of the National Intelligence Awards Program, for contributions to the United States Intelligence Community.

Mick Flynn has consistently and candidly been honest and straightforward with me since the day I met him in 2005. He has been a mentor and someone I trust to give me frank advice when I ask for his opinion. His caring nature has shown through especially when he saw me being torn apart by the FBI and he felt compelled to write a letter in support of me. He further took the extra step to comment on my character in an NPR article and interview exposing the wrongdoings in my case and others who have stood up for truth and against discrimination/retaliation. Senator Grassley also commented on my behalf. NPR characterized this action against me as a "warning shot" to individuals who stood up to individuals such as McCabe.

The day after I resigned from the FBI, while I was crying, Mike reached out and congratulated me on my early retirement. I really needed to hear that from someone I respected so much. His support for the last 13 years has been unparalleled and extremely valuable in helping me get through the trauma of betrayal, unethical behavior, illegal activity executed against me and to rebuild my life. Additionally, his support has helped my family in dealing with their painful emotions regarding my situation. My parents wanted me to pass on to you that they are blessed that I have had a compassionate and supportive individual on my side throughout this trying time.

Mike has been a respected leader by his peers and by FBI Agents and Analysts who have interacted with him. I personally feel he is the finest leader I have ever worked with or for in my career. Our continued friendship and subsequent friendship with his family has helped all of us cope with the stress a situation like this puts on individuals and families.

It is so very painful to watch an American hero, and my friend, torn apart like this. His family has had to endure what no family should have to. I know this because of the damaging effect my case had on my parent's health, finances, and emotional well-being. Mike and I both had to sell our houses due to legal fees, endured smear campaigns (mostly by the same individual, McCabe). I ended up being deemed homeless by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, was on public assistance and endured extensive health and emotional damage due to the retaliation. Mike kept in touch and kept me motivated. He has always reached out to help me with whatever he could.

The Process is the Punishment

Thomas Fitton of Judicial Watch commented to me that the "Process is the punishment." This is the most accurate description I have heard regarding the time Mike has gone through with this process and the year and a half I was ostracized and idled before I resigned. This process is one which many FBI employees, current, retired and former, feel was brought to the FBI by Mueller and he subsequently brought this to the Special Prosecutor investigation.

It also fostered the behavior among FBI "leadership" which we find ourselves shocked at when revealed on a daily basis. Is this the proper way to seek justice? I say no. I swore to uphold the Constitution while protecting the civil rights of the American people. I believe many individuals involved in Mike's case have lost their way and could care less about protection of due process, civil and legal rights of who they are targeting. Mike has had extensive punishment throughout this process. This process has punished him harder than anyone else could.

Andrew McCabe

I believe I have a unique inside view of the mannerisms surrounding Andrew McCabe, other FBI Executive Management and Former Director Mueller, as well as the unethical and coercive tactics they use, not to seek the truth, but to coerce pleas or admissions to end the pain, as I call it. They destroy lives for their own agendas instead of seeking the truth for the American people. Candor is something that should be encouraged and used by leadership to have necessary and continued improvement. Under Mueller, it was seen as a threat and viciously opposed by those he pulled up in the chain of command.

I am explaining this because numerous Agents have expressed the need for you to know McCabe's and Mueller's pattern of "target and destroy" has been utilized on many others, without regard for policies and laws. I, myself, am a casualty of this reprehensible behavior and I have spoken to well over 150 other FBI individuals who are casualties as well.

I am the individual who filed the Hatch Act complaint against McCabe and provided significant evidentiary documents obtained via FOIA, open source, and information from current, former, and retired Special Agents. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) asked why my filing of the complaint was delayed from the actual acts. I said I personally thought I was providing additional information to what should have been an automatic referral to OSC by FBI OPR. I was notified I was the only complainant. This illustrates not only a fatal flaw in OPR AD Candice Will not making the appropriate and crucial referral, but also shows the fear of those within the FBI to report individuals like McCabe for fear of retaliation.

While serving at the CIA, detailed by the FBI in January 2012, I was responsible for overseas investigations, as opposed to Continental United States-based (CONUS) cases. Unfortunately, during my assignment at the CIA, I encountered extensive discrimination by two FBI Special Agents and subsequently, in 2012, I filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint. Instead of addressing the issues, then CTD Assistant Director Andrew McCabe chose to authorize a retaliatory Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) investigation against me, five days after my EEO contact. The OPR referral he signed was authored by the two individuals I had filed the EEO complaint against. In his signed sworn statement, McCabe admitted he knew I had filed or was going to file the EEO.

Numerous members of my department at the CIA requested to be spoken with by CTD executive management, regarding my work ethic and accomplishments. However, CTD, Inspection Division, and OPR disregarded the list of names and contact numbers I submitted. This is an example of knowing you are being targeted and the truth is not being sought.

Although my time at this position was short, I was commended by my CIA direct supervisor for: "having already contributed more than your predecessor in the short time you have been here." My predecessor had been assigned to the post for 18 months; I had been there four months.

In contrast and showing lack of candor, McCabe wrote on official documents the following statement, contradicting the actual direct supervisor I worked with daily:

"SA Gritz had to be removed from a prior position in an interagency environment, due to inappropriate communications and general performance issues"

This is one of many comments McCabe used to discredit my reputation and to ostracize me. McCabe knew me as someone who told the truth, worked hard, got results, and was always willing to be flexible when needed. He was also acutely aware of the excellent relationships I had formed in the USG interagency due to comments made by individuals from numerous agencies. Yet, he continued to make false statements on official documents. He has done this to numerous other very valuable FBI employees, destroying their careers and lives. He used similar tactics of lies against Flynn. It should be noted, McCabe was very aware of my professional association with Mike Flynn.

In July 5, 2012, I was involuntarily pulled back to CTD from the CIA. I was told McCabe made the decision. A year and a month later, I resigned from the job I absolutely loved and was good at. All because of the lack of candor of numerous individuals within the FBI.

Unethical and dishonest investigative tactics

Throughout the last year, I have kept abreast of the revelations surrounding anything related to Mike's case. I believe, from my years at the FBI and in exposing corruption and discrimination, the circumstances surrounding the targeting, investigation, leaking, and coercion of him to plea are all consistent with the unethical process I and many others have witnessed at the FBI. The charge which Mike Flynn plead to was the result of deception, intimidation, and bias/agenda. Simply, Mike is being branded a convicted felon due to an unethical and dishonest investigation by people who were malicious, vindictive, and corrupt. They wished to silence Mike, like they had once silenced me.

The American people have read the Strzok/Page text messages, the conflicting testimony and lack of candor statements of former Director Comey, the perceived overstepping of the reasonable scope of the Special Prosecutor's investigation, the extensive unethical, untruthful, and outright illegal behavior of Andrew McCabe, to include slanderous statements against Flynn, and the facts found within FOIA released documents and Congressional testimony. As a former/retired Agent, I have combed through every piece of information regarding Mike's case, as if I was combing through evidence in the hundreds of cases I have successfully handled while in the FBI.

The publicly reported Brady material alone, in this case, outweighs any statement given by any FBI Agent (we now know at least one FD-302 was changed), Special Prosecutor investigator report, and any other party still aggressively seeking that this case remain and be sentenced as a felony. Quite simply, I cannot see justice being served by branding LtG. Michael Flynn a convicted felon, when the truth is still being revealed while policies, ethics, and laws have been violated by those pursuing this case.

We now know all FBI employees involved in Mike Flynn's case have either been fired, forced to resign or forced to retire because of their excessive lack of candor, punitive biases, leaking of information, and extensive cover-up of their deeds.

Summation

Michael Flynn has always displayed overwhelming candor and forthrightness. One of the main individuals involved in his case is Andrew McCabe, who used similar tactics against me in my case, of which Mike Flynn defended me by penning a letter of character reference and is a witness. Seeing McCabe was named as a Responding Management Official in my case, he should have recused himself with anything having to do with a character witness on my behalf against him and DOJ.

I'm told by numerous people, but have been unable to confirm, that McCabe was asked why he was so viciously going after Flynn; my name was mentioned. I do know, from experience with McCabe, he is a vindictive individual and I have no doubt Mike's support of me fueled McCabe's disdain and personally vindictive aggressive unethical activities in this case . It matches his behavior in my case.

Reliable fact-finding is essential to procedural due process and to the accuracy and uniformity of sentencing. I'm unsure if the fact-finding in this case is reliable, nor do I think we currently have all the facts.

The punishment which LtG. Flynn has already endured this past year, due to the nature of the case, legal fees and reputation damage, is punishment enough. He is a true patriot, a loving husband and father, a devoted grandfather, a trusted friend, and has a close knit family made up of compassionate and honest individuals. To be branded a felon, is a major hit to a hero who protected the American people for 33 years. I do not think society would benefit from Mike Flynn going to jail nor being branded as a convicted felon. Not knowing the sentencing guidelines for this charge but if there is any chance that the case can be downgraded to a misdemeanor, this would be an act of justice that numerous Americans need to see to stay hopeful for further justice.

Respectfully yours,

Robyn L. Gritz


Never One Roach , 3 minutes ago link

This lady is seriously brave. She confirms one more reason i strongly support our Second Amendment; it's to protect us from tyrants and corrupt people like McCabe, Ohr, Comey and Mueller. Oh yes. I almost forget Rosenstein who should be hung for treason also.

Totally_Disillusioned , 35 minutes ago link

WOW...all this time I had been asking where are the whistle blowers and kept saying, certainly not all the FBI are this corrupt -and further asked are they being threatened to not come forward?"

Well, the later sure seems true when you consider Ms. Gristz statements, particularly " the fear of those within the FBI to report individuals like McCabe for fear of retaliation. "

This is the level of corruption that ought to bring this entire cabal to their knees and place them behind bars. Hopefully Judge Sullivan's intuitions will be bolstered by Ms. Gristz' letter.

runswithscissors , 19 minutes ago link

The FBI is corrupt to the core...from top to bottom. If she joined the FBI to "uphold the Constitution" or "serve the American People" or some other horseshit then that was her first mistake. The FBI is a completely corrupt & unconstitutional organization that protects only the (((globalists))) and other enemies of freedom. The Hoover Buliding should be padlocked and all of the agents of evil put on trial for treason.

Macho Latte , 6 minutes ago link


Like I said earlier today,

Flynn was an example to the rest of the Trump supporters. His guilt or innocense was/is meaningless and irrlevant to the Prog Attack Dogs. The message was/is clear:
"We are the Power. Resistance is futile. Bend your knee or we will destroy you."

It is prudent for reasonable people to believe that the Progs have spent the past couple years destroying evidence that can be used against their gods (Obama, Clinton, Soros, etc.) and their cohorts.

There is no penalty or negative consequence for the Mueller team who engaged in "unethical" activity. None of them will have to answer to anyone or disgorge the millions of dollars in "fees" they have been paid by the Sheeple.

All Progs must hang.
Christopher Wray must hang next.

[Dec 13, 2018] Brexit Endgame

Notable quotes:
"... Brexit can be considered as the rebuilding of the old nation state wall between England and the Continent. To an extent, this is a repudiation of the Globalist Movement, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Neo-Liberal Experiment. In it's essence, Trumps Wall is a repudiation of the NAFTA Consensus. The American 'deplorables' support it because they see it as a means of defending their livelihoods from those hordes of 'foreign' low wage workers. In both cases, it is a looking inwards. ..."
Dec 13, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ambrit , December 13, 2018 at 5:27 am

Hadrian also built a wall.

Brexit can be considered as the rebuilding of the old nation state wall between England and the Continent. To an extent, this is a repudiation of the Globalist Movement, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Neo-Liberal Experiment. In it's essence, Trumps Wall is a repudiation of the NAFTA Consensus. The American 'deplorables' support it because they see it as a means of defending their livelihoods from those hordes of 'foreign' low wage workers. In both cases, it is a looking inwards.

Arguably, May is one of a generation of politicos in decline. Macron, (perhaps Merkel's hope of having a posterity,) has caved. Merkel has seen the face of her political mortality recently. May has her Pyrrhic victory.

The Clintons cannot even give tickets to their road show away. In all of these examples, the replacements waiting in the wings are, to be charitable about it, underwhelming. Brexit is but the opening act of a grand, worldwide crisis of governance.

How England muddles through this will be an object lesson for us all. We had better take notes, because there will be a great testing later.

makedoanmend , December 13, 2018 at 6:26 am

Impeccable summing up, if I might be so bold.

While the UK has rightly been the focus, I can't help wondering what the deeper feelings are across Europe. It's very hard to gauge how much thought the rest of Europe is giving to Brexit at this stage. The average punter seems very uninterested at this point, while a growing number (from what I'm reading from other sources) just wish they'd get it over with so the rest of Europe could be allowed to get on with its own internal concerns. I suspect the rest of the EU economies most affected must be putting their 'crash-out' plans into over-drive after this week's continuing escapades.

(Re: Sinn Féin. I was wondering if there was the remotest possibility that they would cross their biggest line just to help a Tory government, and a particularly vile Tory government from their standpoint. When speaking to veteran Belfast Republican during negotiations on the GFA (Good Friday Agreement), their viewpoint was that nearly everything could be negotiated but one thing was impossible: entering into a foreign London parliament. Symbolically and practically, it was a step beyond the pale. I also noticed lately that a couple of older Sinn Féin Republicans, who had to be persuaded into the negotiation camp all those years ago, are again contemplating running for local government positions in the North.)

PlutoniumKun , December 13, 2018 at 6:53 am

Everything I've read indicates that the rest of Europe has simply given up on Brexit – they are unwilling to expend any more energy or political capital on it. The leaders have much bigger things on their plates than Brexit, and the general population have lost interest – I'm told it rarely features much in reporting on the major media. I think they'll grant an extension purely to facilitate another couple of months preparation for a crash out, and thats it.

As for Sinn Fein, I get the feeling that after been caught on the hop by Brexit, they now see a crash out as an opportunity. NI looks likely to suffer more than anywhere else if there is a no-deal – there is hardly a business there that won't be devastated. But they are caught between trying to show their soft face in the south and their hardliner face in the North, and I think they are having difficulty deciding how to play it.

Ignacio , December 13, 2018 at 7:25 am

The British circus attracts interest and there is coverage on the motions and so on treated as UK internal politics. May and the ultra-brexiteers get almost all the attention. The only options mentioned are no deal and May's agreement.

makedoanmend , December 13, 2018 at 7:58 am

Hiya Ignacio,

Thanks for the info. Sounds like well balanced and realistic media coverage to me.

makedoanmend , December 13, 2018 at 7:05 am

I was wondering about deeper EU reactions: here from London based European diplomats.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/11/whats-happened-to-you-eu27-diplomats-watch-uk-tie-itself-in-brexit-knots

" European diplomats in London watching the government's Brexit agony have conveyed a mixture of despair, and almost ghoulish fascination, at the state of British politics, with one saying it is as melodramatic as a telenovela, full of subplots, intrigue, tragedy and betrayal

Although privately many diplomats would love Brexit to be reversed, and believe it could mark a turning point against populism, there was also a wariness about the disruption of a second referendum. One ambassador suggested the French realised that European parliamentary election campaign of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, would be damaged by the sight of furious British leave campaigners claiming they had been cheated of their democratic rights by an arrogant elite who refused to listen: "What is happening in France is potentially momentous. The social fabric is under threat, and this anger could spread across the continent," the ambassador said, referring to the gilets jaunes protests ."

[Dec 09, 2018] The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations

Notable quotes:
"... Apologies, but Neoliberalism is far from 'dead'. But of course it should never have given 'life'. However, if it were 'dead' why did Labor vote with the Coalition to ratify the ultra-Neoliberal TPP??? The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations. Why???? Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Under these rules, foreign investors can legally challenge host state regulations outside that country's courts. A wide range of policies can be challenged. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MobyAhab , 31 Oct 2018 00:09

Apologies, but Neoliberalism is far from 'dead'. But of course it should never have given 'life'. However, if it were 'dead' why did Labor vote with the Coalition to ratify the ultra-Neoliberal TPP??? The TPP is the penultimate wet dream of all neoliberal multinational vulture corporations. Why???? Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Under these rules, foreign investors can legally challenge host state regulations outside that country's courts. A wide range of policies can be challenged.

Yeah! Philip Morris comes to mind. "The cost to taxpayers of the Australian government's six-year legal battle with the tobacco giant Philip Morris over plain packaging laws can finally be revealed, despite the government's efforts to keep the cost secret.

The commonwealth government spent nearly $40m defending its world-first plain packaging laws against Philip Morris Asia, a tobacco multinational, according to freedom of information documents.

Documents say the total figure is $38,984,942.97."

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/02/revealed-39m-cost-of-defending-australias-tobacco-plain-packaging-laws

[Dec 09, 2018] BREAKING: UK exhausted from endless stream of Brexit bollocks so here's a picture of some puppies.

Dec 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Have I Got News For You @haveigotnews

BREAKING: UK exhausted from endless stream of Brexit bollocks so here's a picture of some puppies.

Theresa May told to quit by Cabinet ministers if her Brexit deal falls and she fails to get better terms from EU Telegraph

No-deal Brexit: Disruption at Dover 'could last six months' BBC. I have trouble understanding why six months. The UK's customs IT system won't be ready and there's no reason to think it will be ready even then. I could see things getting less bad due to adaptations but "less bad" is not normal

The Great Brexit Breakdown Wall Street Journal. Some parts I quibble with, but generally good and includes useful historical detail.

British MP suggests threatening Ireland with food shortages over Brexit, Twitter outrage follows RT (kevin W)

It's crunch time for Labour. Empty posturing on Brexit will no longer do Guardian. Shreds the Corbyn op-ed we criticized yesterday.

[Dec 09, 2018] Die Weltwoche Weltwoche Online – www.weltwoche.ch Tucker Carlson Trump is not capable Die Weltwoche, Ausgabe 49-2018

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... He hasn't? ..."
"... I've come to believe that Trump's role is not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does. I don't think he's capable. I don't think he's capable of sustained focus. I don't think he understands the system. I don't think the Congress is on his side. I don't think his own agencies support him. He's not going to do that. ..."
"... I think Trump's role is to begin the conversation about what actually matters. We were not having any conversation about immigration before Trump arrived in Washington. ..."
"... Trump asked basic questions like' "Why don't our borders work?" "Why should we sign a trade agreement and let the other side cheat?" Or my favorite of all, "What's the point of NATO?" The point of NATO was to keep the Soviets from invading western Europe but they haven't existed in 27 years, so what is the point? These are obvious questions that no one could answer. ..."
"... I mean let me just be clear. I'm not against an aristocratic system. I'm not against a ruling class. I think that hierarchies are natural, people create them in every society. I just think the system that we have now the meritocracy, which is based really on our education system, on a small number of colleges has produced a ruling class that doesn't have the self-awareness that you need to be wise. ..."
"... it was only after the financial crisis of 08 that I noticed that something was really out of whack, because Washington didn't really feel the crisis. ..."
"... If you leave Washington and drive to say Pittsburgh, which is a manufacturing town about three and a half hours to the west, you drive through a series of little towns that are devastated. There are no car dealerships, there are no restaurants. There's nothing. They have not recovered. I remember driving out there one day, maybe eight or nine years ago and thinking, boy, this is a disaster. ..."
"... That's kind of strange since we're the capital city in charge of making policy for everybody else... Massive inequality does not work in a democracy... ..."
"... If you make above a certain income, or if you live in my neighborhood, you have zero physical contact with other Americans. In other words, the elite in our country is physically separated in a way that's very unhealthy for a democracy, very unhealthy. ..."
"... The Democratic Party, which for 100 years was the party of average people is now the party of the rich. ..."
"... He served the purpose of bringing the middle class into the Republican Party, which had zero interest, no interest in representing them at all. Trump is intuitive, he felt, he could smell that there was this large group of voters who had no one representing them and he brought them to the Republican side, but the realignment is still ongoing. ..."
"... In other words, the Democratic Party used to represent the middle class, it no longer does, it now hates the middle class. ..."
"... I do think, going forward the Republican Party will wake up and realize these are our voters and we're going to represent them whether we want it or not. ..."
"... I am deeply suspicious of foreign adventurism, voluntary wars, wars of self-defense are not controversial, I'm for them completely, there's an invasion repellent. The idea that you would send 100,000 troops to a country to improve its political system is grotesque to me. It would've been grotesque to them. ..."
"... The Vietnam War was horrifying to them because it was a voluntary war, waged for theoretical reasons, geostrategic reasons which they rejected, and I do too. ..."
"... We can make autonomous choices about how we respond to market forces. People get crushed beneath its wheels. ..."
"... Capitalism drives change, innovation change, the old ways give way to new ways of doing things, and in the process of change the weak get hurt always, this was true in industrialization 100 years ago and it's true in the digital revolution now. What's changed is that nobody is standing up on behalf of the people who are being crushed by the change. ..."
"... In your book, you say they've vanishing but they seem to come back again. ..."
"... Have you ever seen this amount of discontent and aggression here in your lifetime? ..."
"... How close to a revolution is your country? ..."
"... The country is getting redder and bluer. ..."
"... Do you think that Europe will get in control of the migration? ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | www.weltwoche.ch

The Swiss are very suspicious of anybody who is boastful. That's why I have a question about Trump

I hate that about him. I hate that it's not my culture. I didn't grow up like that.

In your book you speak a lot about people who attack Trump, but you actually don't say very much about Trump's record.

That's true.

Do you think he has kept his promises? Has he achieved his goals?

No. He hasn't?

No. His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund planned parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn't done any of those things. There are a lot of reasons for that, but since I finished writing the book, I've come to believe that Trump's role is not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does. I don't think he's capable. I don't think he's capable of sustained focus. I don't think he understands the system. I don't think the Congress is on his side. I don't think his own agencies support him. He's not going to do that.

I think Trump's role is to begin the conversation about what actually matters. We were not having any conversation about immigration before Trump arrived in Washington. People were bothered about it in different places in the country. It's a huge country, but that was not a staple of political debate at all. Trump asked basic questions like' "Why don't our borders work?" "Why should we sign a trade agreement and let the other side cheat?" Or my favorite of all, "What's the point of NATO?" The point of NATO was to keep the Soviets from invading western Europe but they haven't existed in 27 years, so what is the point? These are obvious questions that no one could answer.

Apart from asking these very important questions has he really achieved nothing?

Not much. Not much. Much less than he should have. I've come to believe he's not capable of it.

Why should he be not capable?

Because the legislative process in this country by design is highly complex, and it's designed to be complex as a way of diffusing power, of course, because the people who framed our Constitution, founded our country, were worried about concentrations of power. They balanced it among the three branches as you know and they made it very hard to make legislation. In order to do it you really have to understand how it works and you have to be very focused on getting it done, and he knows very little about the legislative process, hasn't learned anything, hasn't and surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn't done all the things you need to do so. It's mostly his fault that he hasn't achieved those things. I'm not in charge of Trump.

The title of your book is "Ship of Fools". You write that an irresponsible elite has taken over America. Who is the biggest fool?

I mean let me just be clear. I'm not against an aristocratic system. I'm not against a ruling class. I think that hierarchies are natural, people create them in every society. I just think the system that we have now the meritocracy, which is based really on our education system, on a small number of colleges has produced a ruling class that doesn't have the self-awareness that you need to be wise. I'm not arguing for populism, actually. I'm arguing against populism. Populism is what you get when your leaders fail. In a democracy, the population says this is terrible and they elect someone like Trump.

When did you first notice that this elite is getting out of touch with the people?

Well, just to be clear, I'm not writing this from the perspective of an outsider. I mean I've lived in this world my whole life.

Which world exactly?

The world of affluence and the high level of education and among-- I grew up in a town called La Jolla, California in the south. It was a very affluent town and then I moved as a kid to Georgetown here in Washington. I've been here my whole life. I've always lived around people who are wielding authority, around the ruling class, and it was only after the financial crisis of 08 that I noticed that something was really out of whack, because Washington didn't really feel the crisis.

If you leave Washington and drive to say Pittsburgh, which is a manufacturing town about three and a half hours to the west, you drive through a series of little towns that are devastated. There are no car dealerships, there are no restaurants. There's nothing. They have not recovered. I remember driving out there one day, maybe eight or nine years ago and thinking, boy, this is a disaster. Rural America, America outside three or four cities is really falling apart. I thought if you're running the country, you should have a sense of that. I remember thinking to myself, nobody I know has any idea that this is happening an hour away. That's kind of strange since we're the capital city in charge of making policy for everybody else... Massive inequality does not work in a democracy... You become Venezuela.

You write about vanishing middle class. When you were born over 60 % of Americans ranked middle class. Why and when did it disappear?

If you make above a certain income, or if you live in my neighborhood, you have zero physical contact with other Americans. In other words, the elite in our country is physically separated in a way that's very unhealthy for a democracy, very unhealthy.

The Democratic Party is out of touch with the working class.

Well, that's the remarkable thing. For 100 years the Democratic Party represented wage earners, working people, normal people, middle class people, then somewhere around-- In precisely peg it to Clinton's second term in the tech boom in the Bay Area in Francisco and Silicon Valley, the Democratic Party reoriented and became the party of technology, of large corporations, and of the rich. You've really seen that change in the last 20 years where in the top 10 richest zip codes in the United States, 9 of them in the last election just went for Democrats. Out of the top 50, 42 went for Democrats. The Democratic Party, which for 100 years was the party of average people is now the party of the rich.

Donald Trump, who is often seen as this world-changing figure is actually a symptom of something that precedes him that I sometimes wonder if he even understands which is this realignment. He served the purpose of bringing the middle class into the Republican Party, which had zero interest, no interest in representing them at all. Trump is intuitive, he felt, he could smell that there was this large group of voters who had no one representing them and he brought them to the Republican side, but the realignment is still ongoing.

In other words, the Democratic Party used to represent the middle class, it no longer does, it now hates the middle class. The Republican Party which has never represented the middle class doesn't want to. That is the source of really all the confusion and the tension that you're seeing now. I do think, going forward the Republican Party will wake up and realize these are our voters and we're going to represent them whether we want it or not.

They have to, or they will lose.

They have to, or they will die. Yes.

You're writing in an almost nostalgic tone about the old liberals? People like Miss Raymond, your first-class teacher. You describe her wonderfully in the book. You say that they have vanished. What happened?

I find myself in deep sympathy with a lot of the aims of 1970s liberals. I believe in free speech, and I instinctively side with the individual against the group. I think that the individual matters, I am deeply suspicious of foreign adventurism, voluntary wars, wars of self-defense are not controversial, I'm for them completely, there's an invasion repellent. The idea that you would send 100,000 troops to a country to improve its political system is grotesque to me. It would've been grotesque to them.

The Vietnam War was horrifying to them because it was a voluntary war, waged for theoretical reasons, geostrategic reasons which they rejected, and I do too. They were also suspicious of market capitalism. They thought that somebody needed to push back against the forces of the market, not necessarily because capitalism was bad, capitalism is not bad, it's also not a religion. We don't have to follow it blindly. We can make autonomous choices about how we respond to market forces. People get crushed beneath its wheels.

Capitalism drives change, innovation change, the old ways give way to new ways of doing things, and in the process of change the weak get hurt always, this was true in industrialization 100 years ago and it's true in the digital revolution now. What's changed is that nobody is standing up on behalf of the people who are being crushed by the change.

Is that really so? Look at the grassroot movement on the left: Alexandra Ocasio Cortez and her socialist group. It is probably a 100 years ago when Americans last saw a socialist movement of substance emerging?

Yes. You're absolutely right. That's the future.

In your book, you say they've vanishing but they seem to come back again.

Well, you're absolutely right. You're incisive correct to say that the last time we saw this was 100 years ago, which was another pivot point in our economic and social history. Where, after 10,000 years of living in an Agrarian society, people moved to the cities to work in factories and that upended the social order completely. With that came huge political change and a massive reaction.

In the United States and in Western Europe labor unions moderated the forces of change and allowed us to preserve capitalism in the form that we see it now... You're seeing the exact same dynamic play out today, we have another, as I said, economic revolution, the digital age, which is changing how people work, how they make money, how families are structured. There is a huge reaction to that, of course, because there always is, because normal people can't handle change at this pace. People are once again crying out for some help. They feel threatened by the change. What bothers me is that there is no large group of sensible people asking, how can we buffer this change? How can we restrain it just enough, not to stop it, but to keep people from overreacting and becoming radical?

Talking about radical. Recently, a radical left-wing group have threatened to storm your Washington home. How is your wife? How is your family?

They are fine, they're pretty tough. They're rattled.

The Antifa-mob came right to the door of your home?

Yes, they did and threatened my wife.

Which must have been absolutely scary?

Yes, it was. My wife was born in the city, my four children were born here, we're not moving.

Your attackers have a goal, they're trying to silence you.

Of course. I would never, of course, that's a cornerstone of Western civilization is expression and freedom of conscience. You can tell me how to behave, you can force me not to sleep or take my clothes off in public, that's fine. Every society has the right to control behavior. But no one has the right to control what you believe. You can't control my conscience, that's mine alone. Only totalitarian movements do that, and that's what they're attempting. Of course, I would die first I'm never going to submit to that.

Have you ever seen this amount of discontent and aggression here in your lifetime?

No, I've never seen anything like this. What's so striking is that [chuckles] this is really... The radicalism is not on behalf of people who are actually suffering, fellow Americans who are suffering, on behalf of the 70,000 people who died of drug ODs last year, or on behalf of the people displaced by automation in GM, or whatever, on behalf of those dying American low class, it's really on behalf of theoretical goals.

They're saying that I [Tucker Carlson] am saying naughty things that shouldn't be allowed to be expressed in public. Basically, it's a totalitarian movement. Totally unhelpful. I would say childish. What they're really doing is defending the current order. They're the shock troops of the elites actually. Actually, what you're seeing is something amazing, you're seeing for the first time in history a revolution being waged against the working class. When does that happen?

Your way of debating is very tough. You're sitting there, hammering your guests. Sometimes we have a bit of a problem to understand that. For us it's a bit disturbing.

Of course, it is. It's disturbing for me too!

How tough do you need to be nowadays to have an audience?

Less, I think than sometimes we put into it or I put into it. I'm actually, in my normal life, I think a pretty gentle person. I've never had a yelling fight with my wife in 34 years. I mean, I've never yelled at my children. No, I don't ever.

Never?

Not one time. No, it's not how I communicate. I never want to be impolite. I have been impolite. I've lost my temper a couple times, but I don't want to. I don't like that. I believe in civility.

... ... ...

How close to a revolution is your country?

By revolution, let me be clear, I don't think that we're anywhere near an outbreak of civil war, armed violence between two sides for a bunch of different reasons... Testosterone levels are so low and marijuana use is so high that I think the population is probably too ... What you don't have, prerequisite fall revolution, violent revolution, is a large group of young people who are comfortable with violence and we don't have that. Maybe that will change. I hope it doesn't. I don't want violence for violence. I appall violence, but I just don't see that happening. What I see happening most likely is a kind of gradual separation of the states.

If you look at the polling on the subject, classically, traditionally, Americans had antique racial attitudes. If you say, "Would you be okay with your daughter marrying outside her race?" Most Americans, if they're being honest, would say, "no, I'm not okay with that. I'm not for that." Now the polling shows people are much more comfortable with a child marrying someone of a different race than they are marrying someone of a different political persuasion.

"I'd rather my daughter married someone who's Hispanic than liberal", someone might say. That is one measure. There are many measures, but that's one measure of how politically divided we are and I just think that over time, people will self-segregate. It's a continental country. It's a very large piece of land and you could see where certain states just become very, very different. Like if you're Conservative, are you really going to live in California in 10 years? Probably not.

Orange County is now purely Democrat.

That's exactly right. You're going to move and if you're very liberal, are you really going to want to live in Idaho? Probably not.

The country is getting redder and bluer.

Exactly.

This revolution you are warning about - What needs to be done to stop it from happening?

Just the only thing you can do in a democracy which is address the legitimate concerns of the population and think more critically and be more wise in your decision making. Get a handle on technology. Technology is the driver of the change, so sweep aside the politics, the fundamental fact about people is they can't metabolize change at this pace because as an evolutionary matter, they're not designed to, they're not. If you asked your average old person what's the most upsetting thing about being old? You expect them to say, "Well, my friends are dead". But that's not what they say. Or "I have to go to the bathroom six times a night". That's not what they say.

You know what they say? "Things are too different. This is not the country I grew up in. I don't recognize this." All people hate that. It doesn't mean you're a bigot, it means you're human. Unless you want things to fall apart, become so volatile that you can't have a working economy, you need to get a handle on the pace of change. You have to slow it down.

How important is migration in terms of change?

It's central because nothing changes the society more quickly or more permanently than bringing in a whole new population and that's not an attack on anybody. There are lots of populations- there are lots of immigrants who are much more impressive than I am. I have no doubt about that. I'm not attacking immigrants. I'm merely saying that the effect on the people who already live here is real and they're not bigots for feeling that way.
You come from an ancient country with a series of ancient cultures within it and if you woke up one morning and everyone was speaking Amharic and you didn't recognize any of your surroundings, that would be deeply upsetting to you.

What you saying, it's necessary to slow it down, control it?

You have to slow it down. Look at the Chinese. I abhor, I despise the Chinese government. However, I'm willing to acknowledge wise behavior when I see it. The Chinese would never accept this pace of demographic change not simply because they're racist, though of course, they are, but that's not the point. The point is because they don't want their society to fall apart because they're in charge of it.

The childlike faith that we have in America, and America is the worst at this, that all change is good and that progress is inevitable and if something is new and fresh and more expensive, it's got to be better.

It is kind of refreshing for Europeans that even Hillary Clinton tells Europeans, "You have got to stop this. You've got to get control of migration or you disintegrate."

John Kerry said the same thing, amazingly. They're telling the truth.

Do you think Europe is going to be able to get in control of that? We have 28 countries in the EU. And Switzerland is not a member?

So smart, so smart... You know why? Because they're mountain people. Love them. You know why? Because they're suspicious, that's what I like about them.
[laughter]

Do you think that Europe will get in control of the migration?

The EU has been doomed since the first day because it's inconsistent with human nature. The reason we have nation states is because people wanted them, it's organic. A nation-state is just a larger tribe and it's organized along lines that make sense. They evolved over thousands of years. To ignore it and destroy it because you think that you've got a better idea, is insane!

[And with that, our interview concludes. It has already run far past the allotted 40 minutes. I offer to take Carlson, who seems to be very passionate about Switzerland, on a ski run in our Alps soon. Perhaps a smoke in one of the outdoor saunas I tell him smell like rotten eggs. Ambassador Grenell is on the phone line patiently waiting.]

[Dec 08, 2018] It appears that Jared Kushner (JK) is in the crosshair of Micheal Flynt!

Dec 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Garreth Smith , says: December 5, 2018 at 4:41 am GMT

@ChuckOrloski

Am big for '60′s protest folk music, and linked (below) is the best song around since contemporary artists took leave of anti-war fame.

Greetings Chuck,

It appears that Jared Kushner (JK) is in the crosshair of Micheal Flynt!

[Dec 07, 2018] Brexit Theresa May Goes Greek! by Brett Redmayne

Highly recommended!
" The Fleeting Illusion of Election Night Victory." that phrase sums up the situation very succinctly
Notable quotes:
"... " A Brexit Lesson In Greek: Hopes and Votes Dashed on Parliamentary Floors," ..."
"... "Brexit means Brexit!" ..."
Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

It has become all too easy for democracy to be turned on its head and popular nationalist mandates, referenda and elections negated via instant political hypocrisy by leaders who show their true colours only after the public vote. So it has been within the two-and-a-half year unraveling of the UK Brexit referendum of 2016 that saw the subsequent negotiations now provide the Brexit voter with only three possibilities. All are a loss for Britain.

One possibility, Brexit, is the result of Prime Minister, Theresa May's negotiations- the "deal"- and currently exists in name only. Like the PM herself, the original concept of Brexit may soon lie in the dust of an upcoming UK Parliament floor vote in exactly the same manner as the failed attempt by the Greeks barely three years ago. One must remember that Greece on June 27, 2015 once voted to leave the EU as well and to renegotiate its EU existence as well in their own "Grexit" referendum. Thanks to their own set of underhanded and treasonous politicians, this did not go well for Greece. Looking at the Greek result, and understanding divisive UK Conservative Party control that exists in the hearts of PMs on both sides of the House of Commons, this new parliamentary vote is not looking good for Britain. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek! "deal" -- would thus reveal the life-long scars of their true national allegiance gnawed into their backs by the lust of their masters in Brussels. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

Ironically, like a cluster bomb of white phosphorous over a Syrian village, Cameron's Brexit vote blew up spectacularly in his face. Two decades of ongoing political submission to the EU by the Cons and "new" labour had them arrogantly misreading the minds of the UK voter.

So on that incredible night, it happened. Prime Minister David Cameron the Cons New Labour The Lib- Dems and even the UK Labour Party itself, were shocked to their core when the unthinkable nightmare that could never happen, did happen . Brexit had passed by popular vote!

David Cameron has been in hiding ever since.

After Brexit passed the same set of naïve UK voters assumed, strangely, that Brexit would be finalized in their national interest as advertised. This belief had failed to read Article 50 - the provisos for leaving the EU- since, as much as it was mentioned, it was very rarely linked or referenced by a quotation in any of the media punditry. However, an article published four days after the night Brexit passed, " A Brexit Lesson In Greek: Hopes and Votes Dashed on Parliamentary Floors," provided anyone thus reading Article 50, which is only eight pages long and double-spaced, the info to see clearly that this never before used EU by-law would be the only route to a UK exit. Further, Article 50 showed that Brussels would control the outcome of exit negotiations along with the other twenty-seven member nations and that effectively Ms May and her Tories would be playing this game using the EU's ball and rules, while going one-on-twenty-seven during the negotiations.

In the aftermath of Brexit, the real game began in earnest. The stakes: bigger than ever.

Forgotten are the hypocritical defections of political expediency that saw Boris Johnson and then Home Secretary Theresa May who were, until that very moment, both vociferously and very publicly against the intent of Brexit. Suddenly they claimed to be pro- Brexit in their quest to sleep in Cameron's now vacant bed at No. 10 Downing Street. Boris strategically dropped out to hopefully see, Ms May, fall on her sword- a bit sooner. Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

So, the plucky PM was left to convince the UK public, daily, as the negotiations moved on, that "Brexit means Brexit!" A UK media that is as pro-EU as their PM chimed in to help her sell distortions of proffered success at the negotiating table, while the rise of "old" Labour, directed by Jeremy Corbyn, exposed her "soft" Brexit negotiations for the litany of failures that ultimately equaled the "deal" that was strangely still called "Brexit."

Too few, however, examined this reality once these political Chameleons changed their colours just as soon as the very first results shockingly came in from Manchester in the wee hours of the morning on that seemingly hopeful night so long ago: June 23, 2016. For thus would begin a quiet, years-long defection of many more MPs than merely these two opportunists.

What the British people also failed to realize was that they and their Brexit victory would also be faced with additional adversaries beyond the EU members: those from within their own government. From newly appointed PM May to Boris Johnson, from the Conservative Party to the New Labour sellouts within the Labour Party and the Friends of Israel , the quiet internal political movement against Brexit began. As the House of Lords picked up their phones, too, for very quiet private chats within House of Commons, their minions in the British press began their work as well.

Brexit: Theresa May Goes Greek!, by Brett Redmayne-Titley - The Unz Review

jim jones , says: December 5, 2018 at 4:55 am GMT

Government found guilty of Contempt of Parliament:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/12/04/uk-govt-forced-to-publish-full-brexit-legal-documents-after-losing-key-vote/

Brabantian , says: December 5, 2018 at 7:17 am GMT
This article by Brett Redmayne is certainly right re the horrific sell-out by the Greek government of Tsipras the other year, that has left the Greek citizenry in enduring political despair the betrayal of Greek voters indeed a model for UK betrayal of Brexit voters

But Redmayne is likely very mistaken in the adulation of Jeremy Corbyn as the 'genuine real deal' for British people

Ample evidence points to Corbyn as Trojan horse sell-out, as covered by UK researcher Aangirfan on her blogs, the most recent of which was just vapourised by Google in their censorship insanity

Jeremy Corbyn was a childhood neighbour of the Rothschilds in Wiltshire; with Jeremy's father David Corbyn working for ultra-powerful Victor Rothschild on secret UK gov scientific projects during World War 2

Jeremy Corbyn is tied to child violation scandals & child-crime convicted individuals including Corbyn's Constituency Agent; Corbyn tragically ignoring multiple earnest complaints from child abuse victims & whistleblowers over years, whilst "child abuse rings were operating within all 12 of the borough's children's homes" in Corbyn's district not very decent of him

And of course Corbyn significantly cucked to the Israel lobby in their demands for purge of the Labour party alleged 'anti-semites'

The Trojan Horse 'fake opposition', or fake 'advocate for the people', is a very classic game of the Powers That Be, and sadly Corbyn is likely yet one more fake 'hero'

niceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 9:13 am GMT
My theory is, give "capitalism" and financial interests enough time, they will consume any democracy. Meaning: the wealth flows upwards, giving the top class opportunity to influence politics and the media, further improving their situation v.s. the rest, resulting in ever stronger position – until they hold all the power. Controlling the media and therefore the narrative, capable to destroy any and all opposition. Ministers and members of parliaments, most bought and paid for one way or the other. Thankfully, the 1% or rather the 0.1% don't always agree so the picture can be a bit blurred.

You can guess what country inspired this "theory" of mine. The second on the list is actually the U.K. If a real socialist becomes the prime minister of the U.K. I will be very surprised. But Brexit is a black swan like they say in the financial sector, and they tend to disrupt even the best of theories. Perhaps Corbin is genuine and will become prime minister! I am not holding my breath.

However, if he is a real socialist like the article claims. And he becomes prime minister of the U.K the situation will get really interesting. Not only from the EU side but more importantly from U.K. best friend – the U.S. Uncle Sam will not be happy about this development and doesn't hesitate to crush "bad ideas" he doesn't like.

Case in point – Ireland's financial crisis in 2009;

After massive expansion and spectacular housing bubble the Irish banks were in deep trouble early into the crisis. The EU, ECB and the IMF (troika?) met with the Irish government to discuss solutions. From memory – the question was how to save the Irish banks? They were close to agreement that bondholders and even lenders to the Irish banks should take a "haircut" and the debt load should be cut down to manageable levels so the banks could survive (perhaps Michael Hudson style if you will). One short phone call from the U.S Secretary of the treasury then – Timothy Geithner – to the troika-Irish meeting ended these plans. He said: there will be no haircut! That was the end of it. Ireland survived but it's reasonable to assume this "guideline" paved the road for the Greece debacle.

I believe Mr. Geithner spoke on behalf of the financial power controlling – more or less-our hemisphere. So if the good old socialist Corbin comes to power in the U.K. and intends to really change something and thereby set examples for other nations – he is taking this power head on. I think in case of "no deal" the U.K. will have it's back against the wall and it's bargaining position against the EU will depend a LOT on U.S. response. With socialist in power there will be no meaningful support from the U.S. the powers that be will to their best to destroy Corbin as soon as possible.

I hope I am wrong.

niceland , says: December 6, 2018 at 10:07 am GMT
My right wing friends can't understand the biggest issue of our times is class war. This article mentions the "Panama papers" where great many corporations and wealthy individuals (even politicians) in my country were exposed. They run their profits through offshore tax havens while using public infrastructure (paid for by taxpayers) to make their money. It's estimated that wealth amounting to 1,5 times our GDP is stored in these accounts!

There is absolutely no way to get it through my right wing friends thick skull that off-shore accounts are tax frauds. Resulting in they paying higher taxes off their wages because the big corporations and the rich don't pay anything. Nope. They simply hate taxes (even if they get plenty back in services) and therefore all taxes are bad. Ergo tax evasions by the 1% are fine – socialism or immigrants must be the root of our problems. MIGA!

Come to think of it – few of them would survive the "law of the jungle" they so much desire. And none of them would survive the "law of the jungle" if the rules are stacked against them. Still, all their political energy is aimed against the ideas and people that struggle against such reality.

I give up – I will never understand the right. No more than the pure bread communist. Hopeless ideas!

jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
" This is because the deal has a provision that would still keep the UK in the EU Customs Union (the system setting common trade rules for all EU members) indefinitely. This is an outrageous inclusion and betrayal of a real Brexit by Ms May since this one topic was the most contentious in the debate during the ongoing negotiations because the Customs Union is the tie to the EU that the original Brexit vote specifically sought to terminate. "

Here I stopped reading, maybe later more.
Nonsense.

What USA MSM told in the USA about what ordinary British people said, those who wanted to leave the EU, I do not know, one of the most often heard reasons was immigration, especially from E European countries, the EU 'free movement of people'.
"Real' Britons refusing to live in Poland.
EP member Verhofstadt so desperate that he asked on CNN help by Trump to keep this 'one of the four EU freedoms'.
This free movement of course was meant to destroy the nation states

What Boris Johnson said, many things he said were true, stupid EU interference for example with products made in Britain, for the home market, (he mentioned forty labels in one piece of clothing), no opportunity to seek trade without EU interference.
There was irritation about EU interference 'they even make rules about vacuum cleaners', and, already long ago, closure, EU rules, of village petrol pumps that had been there since the first cars appeared in Britain, too dangerous.
In France nonsensical EU rules are simply ignored, such as countryside private sewer installations.

But the idea that GB could leave, even without Brussels obstruction, the customs union, just politicians, and other nitwits in economy, could have such ideas.
Figures are just in my head, too lazy to check.
But British export to what remains of the EU, some € 60 billion, French export to GB, same order of magnitude, German export to GB, far over 100 billion.
Did anyone imagine that Merkel could afford closing down a not negligible part of Bayern car industry, at he same time Bayern being the Land most opposed to Merkel, immigration ?

This Brexit in my view is just the beginning of the end of the illusion EU falling apart.
In politics anything is connected with anything.
Britons, again in my opinion, voted to leave because of immigration, inside EU immigration.
What GB will do with Marrakech, I do not know.

Marrakech reminds me of many measures that were ready to be implemented when the reason to make these measures no longer existed.
Such as Dutch job guarantees when enterprises merged, these became law when when the merger idiocy was over.
The negative aspects of immigration now are clear to many in the countries with the imagined flesh pots, one way or another authorities will be obliged to stop immigration, but at that very moment migration rules, not legally binding, are presented.

As a Belgian political commentator said on Belgian tv 'no communication is possible between French politicians and French yellow coat demonstrators, they live in completely different worlds'.
These different worlds began, to pinpoint a year, in 2005, when the negative referenda about the EU were ignored. As Farrage reminded after the Brexit referendum, in EP, you said 'they do not know what they're doing'
But now Macron and his cronies do not know what to do, now that police sympathises with yellow coat demonstrators.

For me THE interesting question remains 'how was it possible that the Renaissance cultures manoevred themselves into the present mess ?'.

jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 11:40 am GMT
@Digital Samizdat Corbyn, in my opinion one of the many not too bright socialists, who are caught in their own ideological prison: worldwide socialism is globalisation, globalisation took power away from politicians, and gave it to multinationals and banks.
jilles dykstra , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:27 pm GMT
@niceland The expression class war is often used without realising what the issue is, same with tax evasion.
The rich of course consume more, however, there is a limit to what one can consume, it takes time to squander money.
So the end of the class war may make the rich poor, but alas the poor hardly richer.

About tax evasion, some economist, do not remember his name, did not read the article attentively, analysed wealth in the world, and concluded that eight % of this wealth had originated in evading taxes.
Over what period this evasion had taken place, do not remember this economist had reached a conclusion, but anyone understands that ending tax evasion will not make all poor rich.

There is quite another aspect of class war, evading taxes, wealth inequality, that is quite worrying: the political power money can yield.
Soros is at war with Hungary, his Open University must leave Hungary.
USA MSM furious, some basic human right, or rights, have been violated, many in Brussels furious, the 226 Soros followers among them, I suppose.
But since when is it allowed, legally and/or morally, to try to change the culture of a country, in this case by a foreigner, just by pumping money into a country ?
Soros advertises himself as a philantropist, the Hungarian majority sees him as some kind of imperialist, I suppose.

Tyrion 2 , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm GMT
@Simon in London 90% Labour party members supported remain, as did 65% of their voters and 95% of their MPs.
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: December 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm GMT
For me THE interesting question remains 'how was it possible that the Renaissance cultures manoevred themselves into the present mess ?'.

Well , I am reading " The occult renaissance church of Rome " by Michael Hoffman , Independent History and research . Coeur d`Alene , Idaho . http://www.RevisionistHistory.org
I saw about this book in this Unz web .

I used to think than the rot started with protestantism , but Hoffman says it started with catholic Renaissance in Rome itself in the XV century , the Medici , the Popes , usury

Mike P , says: December 6, 2018 at 1:20 pm GMT
This whole affair illustrates beautifully the real purpose of the sham laughingly known as "representative democracy," namely, not to "empower" the public but to deprive it of its power.

With modern means of communication, direct democracy would be technically feasible even in large countries. Nevertheless, practically all "democratic" countries continue to delegate all legislative powers to elected "representatives." These are nothing more than consenting hostages of those with the real power, who control and at the same time hide behind those "representatives." The more this becomes obvious, the lower the calibre of the people willing to be used in this manner – hence, the current crop of mental gnomes and opportunist shills in European politics.

Wizard of Oz , says: December 6, 2018 at 1:48 pm GMT
I would only shout this rambling ignoramus a beer in the pub to stop his mouth for a while. Some of his egregious errors have been noted. and Greece, anyway, is an irrelevance to the critical decisions on Brexit.

Once Article 50 was invoked the game was over. All the trump cards were on the EU side. Now we know that, even assuming Britain could muster a competent team to plan and negotiate for Brexit that all the work of proving up the case and negotiating or preparing the ground has to be done over years leading up to the triggering of Article 50. And that's assuming that recent events leave you believing that the once great Britain is fit to be a sovereign nation without adult supervision.

As it is one has to hope that Britain will not be constrained by the total humbug which says that a 51 per cent vote of those choosing to vote in that very un British thing, a referendum, is some sort of reason for not giving effect to a more up to date and better informed view.

Stebbing Heuer , says: Website December 6, 2018 at 1:57 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat Erm Varoufakis didn't knuckle under. He resigned in protest at Tsipras' knuckling under.
anon [108] Disclaimer , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:28 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat Hypothesis: The British masses would fare better without a privatized government.

"Corbyn may prove to be real .. .. old-time Labour platform [leadership, capable to].. return [political, social and financial] control back to the hands of the UK worker".. [but the privateers will use the government itself and mass media to defeat such platforms and to suppress labor with new laws and domestic armed warfare]. Why would a member of the British masses allow [the Oligarch elite and the[ir] powerful business and foreign political interests restrain democracy and waste the victims of privately owned automation revolution? .. ..

[Corbyn's Labour platform challenges ] privatized capitalist because the PCs use the British government to keep imprisoned in propaganda and suppressed in opportunity, the masses. The privateers made wealthy by their monopolies, are using their resources to maintain rule making and enforcement control (via the government) over the masses; such privateers have looted the government, and taken by privatization a vast array of economic monopolies that once belonged to the government. If the British government survives, the Privateers (monopoly thieves) will continue to use the government to replace humanity, in favor of corporate owned Robots and super capable algorithms.

Corbyn's threat to use government to represent the masses and to suppress or reduce asymmetric power and wealth, and to provide sufficient for everyone extends to, and alerts the masses in every capitalist dominated place in the world. He (Corbyn) is a very dangerous man, so too was Jesus Christ."

There is a similar call in France, but it is not yet so well led.

Michael Kenny , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:29 pm GMT
This sounds like a halfway house between hysterical panic and sour grapes. The author clearly believes that Brexit is going to fail.
T.T , says: December 6, 2018 at 2:32 pm GMT
Every working Dutch person is "owed" 50k euro from the bailout of Greece, not that Greece will ever pay this back, and not as if Greece ever really got the money as it just went straight to northern European banks to bail them out. Then we have the fiscal policy creating more money by the day to stimulate the economy, which also doesn't reach the countries or people just the banks. Then we have the flirting with East-European mobsters to pull them in the EU sphere corrupting top EU bureaucrats. Then we have all of south Europe being extremely unstable, including France, both its populations and its economy.

It's sad to see the British government doesn't see the disaster ahead, any price would be cheaper then future forced EU integration. And especially at this point, the EU is so unstable, that they can't go to war on the UK without also committing A kamikaze attack.

Brett Redmayne-Titley , says: Website December 6, 2018 at 2:36 pm GMT
@Brabantian Thank you for your comment and addition to my evaluation of Corbyn. I do agree with you that Corbyn has yet to be tested for sincerity and effectiveness as PM, but he will likely get his chance and only then will we and the Brits find out for sure. The main point I was hoping to make was that: due to the perceived threat of Labour socialist reform under Corbyn, he has been an ulterior motive in the negotiations and another reason that the EU wants PM May to get her deal passed. Yes, I too am watching Corbyn with jaundiced optimism. Thank you.

[Dec 07, 2018] An important point that you hint at is that the Brits were violently and manipulatively forced to accept mass immigration for many years.

Dec 07, 2018 | www.unz.com

Che Guava , says: December 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm GMT

I agree Jilles, and with many other of the commenters.

Read enough to see that the article has many errors of fact and perception. It is bad enough to suspect *propaganda* , but Brett is clearly not at that level.

An important point that you hint at is that the Brits were violently and manipulatively forced to accept mass immigration for many years.

Yet strangely, to say anything about it only became acceptable when some numbers of the immigrants were fellow Europeans from within the EU, and most having some compatibility with existing ethnicity and previous culture.

Even people living far away notice such forced false consciousness.

As for Corbyn, he is nothing like the old left of old Labour. He tries to convey that image, it is a lie.

He may not be Blairite-Zio New Labour, and received some influence from the more heavily Marxist old Labour figures, but he is very much a creature of the post-worst-of-1968 and dirty hippy new left, Frankfurt School and all that crap, doubt that he has actually read much of it, but he has internalised it through his formal and political education.

By the way, the best translation of the name of North Korea's ruling party is 'Labour Party'. While it is a true fact, I intend nothing from it but a small laugh.

[Dec 05, 2018] Everything Flynn had to say implicated Obama, Clapper Brennan but the corrupt cabal isn't subject to the laws of unwashed inbreds like you and I and the other 320 million Americans (including those who THINK they're part of the club because they virtue signal so well).

Notable quotes:
"... Everything Flynn had to say implicated Obama, Clapper & Brennan but the corrupt cabal isn't subject to the laws of unwashed inbreds like you and I and the other 320 million Americans (including those who THINK they're part of the club because they virtue signal so well). ..."
Dec 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

SMOOCHY SMOOCHY CARLO , 3 hours ago link

Sure thing! And in other news Mike Flynn is now chanting "LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP!" referring of course to Trumplestiltskin. I like Mike!

SummerSausage , 3 hours ago link

You realize 2 years of Flynn under Mueller's microscope yielded nothing? And the fact he's facing sentencing means he's not going to be called as a witness to anything.

Everything Flynn had to say implicated Obama, Clapper & Brennan but the corrupt cabal isn't subject to the laws of unwashed inbreds like you and I and the other 320 million Americans (including those who THINK they're part of the club because they virtue signal so well).

SMOOCHY SMOOCHY CARLO , 16 minutes ago link

Says Summer Sausage who was of course not in the room. You think you know stuff? You know stuff from the koolaide you've swallowed for the past 20 years...

[Dec 05, 2018] Mueller s Flynn Memo Should Worry Kushner and Trump by Timothy L. O'Brien

The author is tried to deceive: Flynn lobbed Russians on behave of Israel.
Muller dirty trick with Flynn (entrapment during the FBI interview) will eventually backfire
Notable quotes:
"... Mueller's memo noted that federal investigators' curiosity about Flynn's role in the presidential transition seemed to have been sparked by a Washington Post account of a conversation he had with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016 ..."
"... But the meat of what should worry Team Trump is in Mueller's disclosure that Flynn has provided firsthand information about interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials -- including, as was already known, several conversations with Kislyak in December 2016. Those included a discussion about lifting economic sanctions the Obama administration had imposed on Russia and about a separate matter involving a United Nations resolution on Israel. ..."
Dec 05, 2018 | www.bloomberg.com

All of that, plus Flynn's "substantial assistance," early cooperation, and acceptance of "responsibility for his unlawful conduct," led Muller's team to ask the court to grant Flynn a lenient sentence that doesn't include prison time, according to a highly anticipated sentencing memo the special counsel's office filed Tuesday night.

And there wasn't much more than that in 13 concise and heavily redacted pages that let down anyone expecting the document to be another public narrative fleshing out lots of fresh detail about Mueller's investigation. Still, the filing, and some new details in it, should give pause to members of Trump's inner circle -- especially the president's son-in-law and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner.

Mueller's memo noted that federal investigators' curiosity about Flynn's role in the presidential transition seemed to have been sparked by a Washington Post account of a conversation he had with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016 . The filing also detailed a series of lies Flynn told about his contacts with and work for the Turkish government while serving in the Trump campaign. (Given that Trump and a pair of his advisers had been pursuing a real estate deal in Moscow during the first half of 2016, Flynn might mistakenly have seen wearing two hats as noncontroversial.)

But the meat of what should worry Team Trump is in Mueller's disclosure that Flynn has provided firsthand information about interactions between the transition team and Russian government officials -- including, as was already known, several conversations with Kislyak in December 2016. Those included a discussion about lifting economic sanctions the Obama administration had imposed on Russia and about a separate matter involving a United Nations resolution on Israel.

Flynn lied to federal agents who questioned him about those chats on Jan. 24, 2017, and that was a crime (as, possibly, were his efforts as a private citizen to meddle with a sitting government's foreign policy). The former general acknowledged lying , pleaded guilty a year ago, and then began cooperating with Mueller's probe.

The timeline around Flynn's conversations is crucial because it shows what's still in play for the president and Kushner -- and why Mueller may have been content to lock in a cooperation agreement that carried relatively light penalties, as well as why Flynn's assistance seems to have subsequently pleased the veteran prosecutor so much.

Kushner's actions are also interesting because the Federal Bureau of Investigation has examined his own communications with Kislyak -- and Kushner reportedly encouraged Trump to fire his FBI director, James Comey , in the spring of 2017, when Comey was still in the early stages of digging into the Trump-Russia connection.

Comey, and his successor, Mueller, have been focused on possible favor-trading between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. We know that Russian hackers directed by Russian intelligence operatives penetrated Democrat computer servers in 2016 and gave that information and email haul to WikiLeaks to disseminate as part of an effort to undermine Hillary Clinton's presidential bid. Trump was also pursuing that business deal in Moscow in 2016 and had other projects over the years with a Russian presence . What might the Kremlin have been expecting in return? A promise to lift U.S. economic sanctions?

Kushner also had personal financial issues weighing on his mind at the time. He had spent much of 2016 trying to bail out his family from his ill-considered and pricey purchase of a Manhattan skyscraper, 666 Fifth Avenue .

After a meeting in Trump Tower with Kislyak on Dec. 1, 2016, which Flynn and Kushner attended together , the ambassador arranged another gathering on Dec. 13 for Kushner and a senior Russian banker with Kremlin ties, Sergei Gorkov. The White House has said that meeting was innocent and part of Kushner's diplomatic duties. In a statement following his testimony before Congress in the summer of 2017, Kushner said that his interactions with Flynn and Kislyak on Dec. 1 only involved a discussion of Syria policy, not economic sanctions. He said that his discussion with Gorkov on Dec. 13 lasted less than 30 minutes and only involved an exchange of pleasantries and hopes for better U.S.-Russian relations -- and didn't include any discussion of recruiting Russians as lenders or investors in the Kushner family's real estate business .

Kislyak enjoyed continued lobbying from the White House after his meetings with Kushner. On Dec. 22, Flynn asked Kislyak to delay a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel for building settlements in Palestinian territory. Flynn later told the FBI that he didn't ask Kislyak to do that, which wasn't true. Court documents filed last year said that a "very senior member of the Presidential Transition Team" directed Flynn to make an overture to Kislyak about the sanctions vote. According to reporting from my Bloomberg Opinion colleague Eli Lake and NBC News , Kushner was that "senior member." Bloomberg News reported that former Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus also pushed Flynn to lobby Kislyak on the U.N. vote. (Kushner didn't discuss pressing Flynn to contact Kislyak in his statement last summer and instead noted how infrequent his direct interactions were.)

Kushner's role in these events isn't discussed in Mueller's sentencing memo for Flynn. The absence of greater detail might cause Kushner to worry: If Flynn offered federal authorities a different version of events than Kushner -- and Flynn's version is buttressed by documentation or federal electronic surveillance of the former general -- then the president's son-in-law may have to start scrambling (a possibility I flagged when Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017).

Other portions of the 2016 and early 2017 timelines still matter, too.

On Dec. 28, less than a week after Flynn called Kislyak about the U.N. vote, the ambassador contacted Flynn, according to court documents. The Obama administration had just imposed economic sanctions on Russia because of the Kremlin's effort to sabotage the 2016 election. Kislyak apparently told Flynn that Russia would retaliate because Flynn asked him to "moderate" Russia's response. Flynn reportedly discussed these conversations with a former Trump adviser, K.T. McFarland, on Dec. 29.

In the weeks that followed, Sally Yates, then acting U.S. attorney general, warned the Trump administration about Flynn's duplicity and said he was a national security threat. She was fired days after that for refusing to enforce Trump's executive order seeking to ban immigration from seven Islamic nations. The White House forced Flynn out in February of last year, and Trump fired Comey three months later. The president subsequently began using "witch hunt" to describe the investigation that Mueller inherited from Comey.

Since then, as the White House and Trump have surely absorbed and as Flynn's sentencing memo reinforces, Mueller's hunt has now ensnared a number of witches.

[Nov 07, 2018] We are being played by an establishment that wants to move the country to the right. MAGA! is a bi-partisan effort fueled by the challenge from China and Russia

When people who voted for Obama realized the Obama is a fraud with strong CIA connections it was too late...
When people who voted for Trump realized that Trump was a fraud with strong Israeli connections it was too late.
Notable quotes:
"... Nor does the caravan 'fix' or even illuminate decades of US abuses in Central and South America. It simply gives Trump an opportunity to grandstand and urge his voters to go to the polls. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 11:56:59 PM | link

...And it seems likely, if not certain, that the caravan is a political stunt that will end in disappointment for the caravan migrants. So I fail to see why you are so angry Debs. Our discussion doesn't ignore the realities. Nor does the caravan 'fix' or even illuminate decades of US abuses in Central and South America. It simply gives Trump an opportunity to grandstand and urge his voters to go to the polls.

We are being played by an establishment that wants to move the country to the right. MAGA! is a bi-partisan effort fueled by the challenge from China and Russia. This is clear from Democratic Party priorities and actions as well as what they don't say or do.

[Nov 03, 2018] Trump is that quintessential Amerikkkan salesman: the grifter.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump has succeeded in implementing some of his campaign ideas and not all of them are 100% evil or wrongheaded. He has shaken the long term calcification of the US foreign and trade policy, has introduced tariffs especially to combat clearly unfair Chinese trade practices while demanding European and Asian allies pay more for their defense of empire. ..."
"... As b stated recently, Trump is an astute salesman (unfortunately, that is all he is) but what is left unmentioned is that he is of the sales school that is totally unmoored for any sense of ethical, moral or legal responsibility. ..."
"... The US political system was invested with an ability to self-correct, or self-police through separation of powers within the tripartite political system. It is hardly news this system is about dead, starting not with Trump of course, but now reaching its absolute low point under his rule and the acquiescence of the spineless GOP. ..."
Nov 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Nov 3, 2018 1:48:14 PM | 13 ">link

Trump's has been the "goofy foot" presidency.

That is, he started off on the wrong foot. Campaigning as a populist who eschewed accepted mainstream "progressive" and "conservative" political positions, he completely cratered the unpopular Republican orthodoxy during the 2016 primaries by promising such heretical ideas as a non-interventionist foreign policy, protection for Medicare/Medicaid and social security, improvement on Obamacare, higher taxes on the wealthiest and a massive infrastructure program to rebuild the decaying facilities of this so-called once grate nation.

These are all ideas that gained the support of enough Obama voters and independents in just the right flyover states to lead Trump to an improbable victory while being soundly thrashed in the popular voting nationwide. A stunning, historical accomplishment as much as and as much in reaction too, the 2008 Obama victory.

Of course, to those of us who understand the modern GOP and the history of the lying-ass self promotion of the Trump entertainment spectacle its own self, we were neither duped nor surprised when the initial 2017 legislative agenda items proferred were none of the populist agenda but instead were the repeal of Obamacare, massive tax cuts for the wealthy and the reversal of all Obama executive orders, most notably in the areas of refugee resettlement and immigration.

Trump, the so-called change agent who in fact was and still is clueless regarding how to function as President simply let the craven Obama opposition leaders of the prior 8 years, McConnell and Ryan set out the typical GOP legislative agenda, which is opposed by a majority, in some cases overwhelming majority, of Amerikkkans.

Obamacare repeal failed memorably based on but one late night thumb's down taken more out of personal revenge than the ideology of a very soon to be dead Senator.

Trump's ruling style in large part has substituted for any sense of a coherent agenda in that he obviously cares only about his base (an obdurate block of 36% of the electorate consisting almost entirely of white, entitled, racist baby boomers who have devolved into anti-democratic fascists now that they no longer represent a majority of the US population and believe (falsely) they have something to protect).

Trump has succeeded in implementing some of his campaign ideas and not all of them are 100% evil or wrongheaded. He has shaken the long term calcification of the US foreign and trade policy, has introduced tariffs especially to combat clearly unfair Chinese trade practices while demanding European and Asian allies pay more for their defense of empire.

While I have my own view of whether any of Trump's policies contain great value from a long term historical perspective, I do recognize Trump's appeal to certain sectors of the internet, including most obviously certain useful idiots of the ultra left.

I do not believe his victory to be a fluke of nature but rather in keeping with the current worldwide trend borne of aging whitebread fear, cyncism and disenchantment with elitist political/economic establishments and which has been amped to a viral degree by a staggering wealth disparity, but only as it impacts the formerly entitled feeling, aging white people situated in western countries.

The natural response to any socially or cultural threat is to band together tribally and fight back. And the main threat, when it is boiled down, is the fear of overpopulation (and its accompnaying unstoppable environmental degradation) driven by what is viewed through the Trump voter political lens as non-white, primitive, illsuited people from shithole countries who are and will continue to ruin Amerikkka and Western Europe.

As perfectly illustrated by the migrant caravan heading to Tijuana.

Unfortunately, Trump through disinterest or incompetence or both hasn't followed through either with enough of the promises he made that are actually meaningful to most people, whether GOP or Democratic. He has been able to bind his tribe to him and conquer the GOP political apparatus simply because the Party platform was already so badly decayed (overcooked Reagan leftovers) and out of touch with reality pre-Trump that the Donald could bend delusional conservative tropes in any way he saw fit to his electoral advantage. As long as he infotained well, and he has indeed, he would dominate.

As b stated recently, Trump is an astute salesman (unfortunately, that is all he is) but what is left unmentioned is that he is of the sales school that is totally unmoored for any sense of ethical, moral or legal responsibility.

In other words, Trump is that quintessential Amerikkkan salesman: the grifter. This particular breed of business person is not an exception in the US but rather the rule. In fact, the US system has devolved to the point where laws and regulations now enfranchise what previously had been considered illegal activity. Amerikkkans are heavily incentivised these days by the call to a form of monopolistic, crony capitalism and institulionised rigged gambling ("Wall Street"), which in more quaint times was considered mobsterism.

Institutions have been purposefully compromised so they no longer support whatever criminal laws still exist. It is not by accident that the IRS is now chronically understaffed and has no effective way to stop income tax cheating or collection of the minimal taxes now due.

It is not by accident that Trump's main role as President is to weaken institutions such as the media, to further debase language and kill whatever generally accepted objective truth remain extant in the land. He is recognisable to all Amerikkkans as a CEO in support of this ongoing wave of legal criminality through which the 1% and their lackeys section have prospered at the expense of the 99%.

The US political system was invested with an ability to self-correct, or self-police through separation of powers within the tripartite political system. It is hardly news this system is about dead, starting not with Trump of course, but now reaching its absolute low point under his rule and the acquiescence of the spineless GOP.

And no, I don't believe the Demotardic Party to be absolved of blame in any way. Rather, the Demotards have entirely gone along to get along with this same trend because of course the Party leaders have been able to criminally enrich themselves and their cronies along the way too.

However, let's be real for minute and drop all pretense of holier than thou keyboard revolutionism. The ultimate solution of the world's disease is not going to be resolved in 2018 through a political revolution, especially one inspired by the disharmony and fraud of internet based social media and its acolytes. D'uh.

Look around. Since we have been blogging our lives away the world has only grown further away from leftism. We live in a fascist police state owned and operated by teh ultra wealthy who have dropped pretense of any humanitarian or religious concern for those less firtunated than themselves.

Donald Trump has one more chance to make himself truly into the transformational leader he believes himself to be in his degraded soul.

The first bill on the 2019 legislative needs to be a bipartisan infrastructure bill of such scope and magnitude that it will serve not only a political change of direction but also redirect the economy in such way that wealth is re-directed from the wealthy to the rest of us, particularly those able bodied non-college educated people who have suffered through the last several decades without hope or gain.

Trump must dictate to his party that Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security will not only be maintained but strengthened through improved benefits.

Am I dreaming? Yes, I admit that I am. But I'm also calling out to the criminal conman in chief: it's not too late to reclaim your own legacy.

Wake the fock up, dude...

[Nov 02, 2018] They say they're gonna give you better health insurance

Nov 02, 2018 | twitter.com

[Nov 01, 2018] Angela Merkel Migrates Into Retirement The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism. ..."
"... Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world. ..."
"... "We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold." ..."
"... The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult. ..."
"... Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question. ..."
"... In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Her refugee blunder changed the European continent in irreversible ways for decades to come. By Scott McConnellNovember 1, 2018

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Drop of Light/Shutterstock Whatever her accomplishments as pathbreaking female politician and respected leader of Europe's dominant economic power, Angela Merkel will go down in history for her outburst of naivete over the issue of migration into Europe during the summer of 2015.

Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism.

She had seen the vote share of her long dominant party shrink in one regional election after another. The rebuke given to her last weekend in Hesse, containing the Frankfurt region with its booming economy, where she had campaigned extensively, was the final straw. Her CDU's vote had declined 10 points since the previous election, their voters moving toward the further right (Alternative fur Deutschland or AfD). Meanwhile, the further left Greens have made dramatic gains at the expense of Merkel's Social Democrat coalition partners.

Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world.

One can acknowledge that while Merkel never admitted error for her multiculti summer fling (beyond wishing she had communicated her goals better), she did manage to adjust her policies. By 2016, Germany under her watch was paying a healthy ransom to Turkey to keep would-be migrants in camps and preventing them from sailing to Greece. Merkel's departure will make the battle to succeed her one of the most watched political contests in Europe. She has turned migration into a central and quite divisive issue within the CDU and Germany, and the party may decide that it has no choice but to accommodate, in one way or another, the voters who have left them for the AfD.

Related to the issue of who should reside in Europe (objectively the current answer remains anyone who can get there) is the question of how are such questions decided. In July 2015, five years after asserting in a speech that multiculturalism has "utterly failed" in Germany (without addressing what policies should be pursued in an increasingly ethnically diverse society) and several weeks after reducing a young Arab girl to tears at a televised forum by telling her that those whose asylum claims were rejected would "have to go back" and that "politics is hard," Merkel changed course.

For those interested in psychological studies of leadership and decision making, it would be hard to imagine a richer subject. Merkel's government first announced it would no longer enforce the rule (the Dublin agreement) that required asylum claimants to be processed in the first country they passed through. Then she doubled down. The migrants fleeing the Syrian civil war, along with those who pretended to be Syrian, and then basically just anyone, could come to Germany.

"We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold."

The Angela Merkel Era is Coming to an End The Subtle Return of Germany Hegemony

Her words traveled far beyond those fleeing Syria. Within 48 hours of the "no limit" remark, The New York Times reported a sudden stirring of migrants from Nigeria. Naturally Merkel boasted in a quiet way about how her decision had revealed that Germany had put its Nazi past behind it. "The world sees Germany as a land of hope and chances," she said. "That wasn't always the case." In making this decision personally, Merkel was making it for all of Europe. It was one of the ironies of a European arrangement whose institutions were developed in part to transcend nationalism and constrain future German power that 70 years after the end of the war, the privately arrived-at decision of a German chancellor could instantly transform societies all over Europe.

The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult.

Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question.

In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. Her public approval rating plunged from 75 percent in April 2015 to 47 percent the following summer. The first electoral rebuke came in September 2016, when the brand new anti-immigration party, the Alternative fur Deutschland, beat Merkel's CDU in Pomerania.

In every election since, Merkel's party has lost further ground. Challenges to her authority from within her own party have become more pointed and powerful. But the mass migration accelerated by her decision continues, albeit at a slightly lower pace.

Angela Merkel altered not only Germany but the entire European continent, in irreversible ways, for decades to come.

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars .

[Nov 01, 2018] Lame Duck Merkel Has Only Her Legacy On Her Mind

Notable quotes:
"... On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide. ..."
"... But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here). ..."
"... Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea. ..."
"... Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party she has led for nearly two decades. Yesterday's election in Hesse, normally a CDU/SPD stronghold was abysmal for them.

She had to do something to quell the revolt brewing against her.

Merkel knew going in what the polls were showing. Unlike American and British polls, it seems the German ones are mostly accurate with pre-election polls coming close to matching the final results.

So, knowing what was coming for her and in the spirit of trying to maintain power for as long as possible Merkel has been moving away from her staunch positions on unlimited immigration and being in lock-step with the U.S. on Russia.

She's having to walk a tightrope on these two issues as the turmoil in U.S. political circles is pulling her in, effectively, opposite directions.

The globalist Davos Crowd she works for wants the destruction of European culture and individual national sovereignty ground into a paste and power consolidated under the rubric of the European Union.

They also want Russia brought to heel.

On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide.

So, if she rejects that role and the chaos U.S. policy engenders, particularly Syria, she's undermining the flow of migrants into Europe.

This is why it was so significant that she and French President Emmanuel Macron joined this weekend's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

It ended with an agreement on Syria's future that lies in direct conflict with the U.S.'s goals of the past seven years.

It was an admission that Assad has prevailed in Syria and the plan to atomize it into yet another failed state has itself failed. Merkel has traded 'Assad must go' for 'no more refugees.'

To President Trump's credit he then piggy-backed on that statement announcing that the U.S. would be pulling out of Syria very soon now. And that tells me that he is still coordinating in some way with Putin and other world leaders on the direction of his foreign policy in spite of his opposition.

But the key point from the Istanbul statement was that Syria's rebuilding be prioritized to reverse the flow of migrants so Syrians can go home. While Gilbert Doctorow is unconvinced by France's position here , I think Merkel has to be focused on assisting Putin in achieving his goal of returning Syria to Syrians.

Because, this is both a political necessity for Merkel as well as her trying to burnish her crumbling political throne to maintain power.

The question is will Germans believe and/or forgive her enough for her to stay in power through her now stated 'retirement' from politics in 2021?

I don't think so and it's obvious Davos Crowd boy-toy Macron is working overtime to salvage what he can for them as Merkel continues to face up to the political realities across Europe, which is that populism is a natural reaction to these insane policies.

Merkel's job of consolidating power under the EU is unfinished. They don't have financial integration. The Grand Army of the EU is still not a popular idea. The euro-zone is a disaster waiting to happen and its internal inconsistencies are adding fuel to an already pretty hot political fire.

On this front, EU integration, she and Macron are on the same page. Because 'domestically' from an EU perspective, Brexit still has to be dealt with and the showdown with the Italians is only just beginning.

But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here).

And Macron should stop looking in the mirror long enough to see he's standing on a quicksand made of blasting powder.

This points to the next major election for Europe, that of the European Parliament in May where all of Merkel's opposition are focused on wresting control of that body and removing Jean-Claude Juncker or his hand-picked replacement (Merkel herself?) from power.

The obvious transition for Merkel is from German Chancellor to European Commission President. She steps down as Chancellor in May after the EPP wins a majority then to take Juncker's job. I'm sure that's been the plan all along. This way she can continue the work she started without having to face the political backlash at home.

But, again, how close is Germany to snap elections if there is another migrant attack and Chemnitz-like demonstrations. You can only go to the 'Nazi' well so many times, even in Germany.

There comes a point where people will have simply had enough and their anger isn't born of being intolerant but angry at having been betrayed by political leadership which doesn't speak for them and imported crime, chaos and violence to their homes.

And the puppet German media will not be able to contain the story. The EU's speech rules will not contain people who want to speak. The clamp down on hate speech, pioneered by Merkel herself is a reaction to the growing tide against her.

And guess what? She can't stop it.

The problem is that Commies like Merkel and Soros don't believe in anything. They are vampires and nihilists as I said over the weekend suffused with a toxic view of humanity.

Oh sure, they give lip service to being inclusive and nice about it while they have control over the levers of power, the State apparatus. But, the minute they lose control of those levers, the sun goes down, the fangs come out and the bloodletting begins.

These people are vampires, sucking the life out of a society for their own ends. They are evil in a way that proves John Barth's observation that "man can do no wrong." For they never see themselves as the villain.

No. They see themselves as the savior of a fallen people. Nihilists to their very core they only believe in power. And, since power is their religion, all activities are justified in pursuit of their goals.

Their messianic view of themselves is indistinguishable to the Salafist head-chopping animals people like Hillary empowered to sow chaos and death across the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.

Add to this Merkel herself who took Hillary's empowerment of these animals and gave them a home across Europe. At least now Merkel has the good sense to see that this has cost her nearly everything.

Even if she has little to no shame.

Hillary seems to think she can run for president again and win with the same schtick she failed with twice before. Frankly, I welcome it like I welcome the sun in the morning, safe in the knowledge that all is right with the world and she will go down in humiliating defeat yet again.

Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea.

Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia.

And Angela Merkel's legacy will be chaos.

* * *

Join my patreon because you hate chaos.

[Oct 27, 2018] A Class War the Right Can Win The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... , F.H. Buckley, Encounter Books, 200 pages ..."
Oct 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Republican Workers Party: How the Trump Victory Drove Everyone Crazy, and Why It Was Just What We Needed , F.H. Buckley, Encounter Books, 200 pages

Among the many untruths told about Donald Trump is the claim that his is not a movement of ideas. As a candidate in 2016, Trump may not have spoken the language of the policy wonks. But unlike those Republicans who did, his view of the world was not a stale ideological cliche. It was instead refreshingly frank: about a foreign policy that couldn't win the wars it waged, an economy that imperiled middle- and working-class America, and an immigration regime only the employers of illegal nannies could love. Trump recognized reality, and that drew to his cause independent-minded intellectuals who had also done so. The Trump movement suffers not from a dearth of ideas or thinkers, but a dearth of institutions. It has thinkers but no think tank.

F.H. Buckley, Foundation Professor at George Mason University's Scalia School of Law, is one of its thinkers. His new book, The Republican Workers Party , comes from a publisher -- Encounter -- led by another, Roger Kimball. Buckley is no relation to William F., who as writer, editor, and Firing Line host did more than anyone to make conservatism a byword for eloquence in the latter half of the 20th century. But much as the other Buckley remade the Right by founding National Review in 1955, this one aims to bring about a profound change of heart and mind among conservatives. He wants to make good on the promise of the GOP as a party for American workers.

It was a promise made right from the beginning, when in the mid-19th century the Republicans were the party of free labor against the slavocracy. But the GOP and the country lost their way. Today, in Buckley's telling, a self-perpetuating "New Class" of administrators and mandarins runs the country from perches of privilege in the academy and nonprofit sector, as well as the media, government, and much of the business world. Republicans of the Never Trump variety are as much a part of this ruling caste as Clinton-Schumer-Pelosi Democrats are. And if you might wonder whether someone in Buckley's position isn't part of the same professional stratum, his answer is that he very much aspires to be a traitor to his class, just as Donald Trump is.

Trump, writes Buckley, is "unlike anything we've seen before, for the simple reason that he's up against something that we've never seen before: a liberalism that has given up on the American Dream of a mobile and classless society." Those who today style themselves as progressives are nothing of the sort -- they are not revolutionaries but the new aristocrats: "They are Bourbons who seek to pass themselves off as Jacobins. They have bought into a radical leftism, while resisting the call to unseat a patrician class that leftists in the past would have opposed."

This is an eloquent explanation for an inversion that has puzzled many observers. Today's Left, at least the mainstream Left represented by the Democratic Party, is now establishmentarian. The Republican Right is now populist, if not downright revolutionary. "When the upper class is composed of liberals who support socialist measures to keep us immobile and preserve their privileged position," Buckley argues, "class warfare to free up our economy by tearing down an aristocracy is conservative and just, as well as popular."

Buckley came to these conclusions before the rise of Donald Trump. They are at the heart of his last two books, The Way Back and The Republic of Virtue . He recognized in Trump a force for salutary change. So in early 2016, he signed up as a speechwriter for the candidate and his family. At one point, this attracted unwanted attention: a speech delivered by Donald Trump Jr. was found to have plagiarized an article in . Except it wasn't plagiarism: Buckley was the author of both. I was editor of the magazine at the time, and Buckley is correct when he says in The Republican Workers Party that I enjoyed the non-scandal -- because it brought attention to an essay I thought deserved a brighter spotlight than it had initially received.

Trump's Working Class, Conservative, Populist Realignment How the GOP Can Hang on to the Working Class

A further disclosure or two is in order: I also published some of the material that appears in The Republican Workers Party in the journal I now edit, Modern Age , and I'm thanked in the book's acknowledgments. My warm words for Buckley's last volume are quoted on the dust jacket of this one. The review you're reading now is honest, but subjective -- I'm a part of the story. Only a small one, however: Buckley reveals many details of the Trump campaign and post-election transition that I had never heard before, including how Michael Anton came to be hired and fired.

The campaign memoir is intriguing in its own right, but it's in the service of the book's larger purpose. I've known Buckley to refer to himself as an economic determinist, and he's also said that the future will be decided by a fight between the right-wing Marxists and the left-wing Marxists. But those are exaggerations, and The Republican Workers Party isn't primarily about economics: quite the contrary, it's about solidarity, humanity, and the Christian spirit of brotherhood. The book is informed by a religious sensibility as much as it is by policy acumen. But it's a religious sensibility that addresses the soul through material conditions. Buckley is critical of attempts at a "moral rearmament crusade" that amounts to shaming the poor and blaming them for their own condition.

On this, Buckley is at odds with what movement conservatism has promoted over the last 30-odd years, which is a pure moralism alongside a theoretically pure free-market economism, each restricted to its own categorical silo. An economic conservative or libertarian might thus approach Buckley's book with the trepeditation of a holy Inquisitor fearful that a friend will be found committing heresy. But there is little in these pages that a free-market conservative can quibble with at the policy level: rather it is the spirit in which economic conservatives conduct politics that Buckley criticizes. He is even on the side of conservative orthodoxy, more or less, when it comes to tariffs. He's a free trader at heart, though not a dogmatic one.

On immigration, he favors a more Canadian-like, points-based system that would prioritize skills, with a view toward providing maximum benefit for our current citizens, especially the least well off among them. The present system "admits people who underbid native-born Americans for low-skill jobs, while refusing entry to people with greater skills who would make life better for all Americans." Canada lets in many more immigrants in proportion to its population than the United States does, but "Canadians see an immigration policy designed to benefit the native-born, so they don't think their government wants to stick it to them," even when it comes to generous admission of refugees.

Buckley speaks from experience about immigration and Canada -- he was born, brought up, and lived most of his life there before becoming a U.S. citizen in 2014. Like Alexander Hamilton, whose Caribbean origins gave him a view of America's national economy unprejudiced by sectional interests, Buckley's Canadian background gives him an independent vantage from which to consider our characteristic shibboleths unsparingly. The separation of powers, for one, is a dismal failure that "has given us two or more different Republican parties: a presidential party, which today is the Republican Workers Party, but also congressional Republican parties rooted in the issues and preference of local members. There's the Freedom Caucus composed of Tea Party members, the more moderate Main Street Partnership and whatever maverick senators were thinking this morning." Federalism too is a mixed bag. These are themes touched lightly upon here but worked out in detail in such earlier Buckley books as The Once and Future King .

That's not to say there's something alien about Buckley's ideas. He's an heir to Viscount Bolingbroke, as were many of the Founding Fathers. (He contrasts Bolingbroke's disinterested ideal of a patriot king, for example, with the identity-driven politics of the Democratic Party.) But Buckley is also an heir to George Grant and the Anglo-Canadian tradition of Red Toryism, a form of conservatism that does not bother itself with anti-government formulas that never seem to reduce the size of government one iota anyway. Buckley's heroes are "leaders such as Disraeli, Lord Randolph Churchill (Winston's father) and even Winston Churchill himself." "They were conservative" but "they supported generous social welfare policies."

The policies that Buckley is most concerned about, however, are those that generate social mobility. Education is thus high on his agenda. He is a strong supporter of vouchers and school choice and points again to Canada as a success story for private schools receiving public funds. But America is a rather different country, and as popular as vouchers are on the Right, some of us can't help but wonder whether they would lead to the same outcome in primary and secondary education that federal financial aid has produced in higher education. With the money comes regulation, and usually soaring prices, too.

But Buckley is right that the defects of our present education system go a long way toward explaining the rise of the new status class, and other countries have found answers to the questions that perplex American politics -- or some of them at least. More adventurous thinking is required if anything is to be saved of the American dream of mobility, in place of the nightmare of division into static castes of winners and losers.

Libertarian economists and blame-the-poor moralizers are not the only figures on the Right Buckley criticizes. He has no patience for the barely disguised Nietzscheanism of certain "East Coast" Straussians, who imagine themselves to be philosopher-princes, educating a class of obedient gentlemen who will in turn dominate a mass of purely appetitive worker bees and cannon fodder.

Buckley's book is an argument against right-wing heartlessness. Its title may conjure in some minds phantoms of the National Socialist German Workers Party or America's own penny-ante white nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party, on which the media has lavished a certain amount of attention in recent years. But fascists are not traditionalists, workers, or even, properly speaking, socialists -- they simply steal whatever terms happen to be popular. Buckley refuses to concede their claims and appease them.

He is eloquent in his American -- not white -- nationalism. "There isn't much room for white nationalism in American culture," he writes, "For alongside baseball and apple pie, it includes Langston Hughes and Amy Tan, Tex-Mex food and Norah Jones. You can be an American if you don't enjoy them, but you might be a wee bit more American if you do." It's populism, not nationalism, that he considers a toxic term, its genealogy tracing to figures like "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman, a Jim Crow proponent and defender of lynch mobs.

He is right to defend the honor of nationalism, but Buckley may be mistaken in his animus toward "populism," a word that for most people is more likely to bring to mind William Jennings Bryan than the Ku Klux Klan.

Buckley's project in The Republican Workers Party parallels on the Right the task taken up by Mark Lilla on the Left in last year's The Once and Future Liberal . Like Lilla, Buckley wants to see a revival of mid-20th-century liberalism. For both, politics is ultimately class-based, not identity-based. Lilla trains his fire on the identity-parsing Left, while Buckley rebukes the Right for failing to fight the class war -- or rather, for fighting on the wrong side, that of the self-serving New Class, the aristocracy of education, connections, and right-thinking opinion.

This may seem nostalgic, but it's not: Buckley does not expect a return to JFK or Camelot, even if, like Lilla, he once borrowed a title from T.H. White. The 21st century can only give us a new and very different Kennedy or Disraeli -- an insurgent from the Right to retake the center. In Donald Trump, F.H. Buckley found such a figure, but a movement needs a program as well as a leader, and the program has to be grounded in an idea of humanity and the limits of politics. The nation defines those limits, and while not every Trump supporter will agree with Buckley's policy thought in all its specifics, the spirit of Buckley's endeavor represents what is finest in the Trump moment, and what is best in conservatism, too.

Daniel McCarthy is the editor of Modern Age: A Conservative Review.

[Oct 27, 2018] Calling Brazil's Presidential Frontrunner 'Neofascist' is Accurate

Notable quotes:
"... As to your question about who votes for Bolsonaro, I think we can break this down into three or four categories. His hard core is the sort of middle class of small business owners, plus members of the police and the armed forces. This would be, I guess, your classic fascist constituency, if you want to call it that. But you know, that's a very small proportion. ..."
"... Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who is a former academic sociologist who was exiled during the military dictatorship and was president of Brazil in the late '90s. He has yet to endorse Haddad, despite the fact that Bolsonaro previously said something about 10 years ago that Fernando Henrique Cardoso should have been killed by the military dictatorship. This is a real, in my opinion, a real failure of character, a real cowardice from the Brazilian supposedly-centrist elite to defend democracy against the very obvious threat that Bolsonaro poses. ..."
Oct 27, 2018 | therealnews.com

As to your question about who votes for Bolsonaro, I think we can break this down into three or four categories. His hard core is the sort of middle class of small business owners, plus members of the police and the armed forces. This would be, I guess, your classic fascist constituency, if you want to call it that. But you know, that's a very small proportion. And certainly in terms of his voters, in terms of his voter base, that's a small proportion. What you have, then, is the rich, amongst whom he has a very significant lead. He polls 60-65 percent amongst the rich. And these people are motivated by what is called [inaudible]machismo, which is anti-Worker's Party sentiment, which is really a sort form of barely-disguised class loathing which targets the Worker's Party, rails against corruption, but of course turns a blind eye to corruption amongst more traditional right-wing politicians.

These are the people who, at the end of the day, are quite influential, and have probably proved decisive for Bolsonaro. But that isn't to say that he doesn't have support amongst the poor, and this is the real issue. Bolsonaro would not win an election with just the support of the reactionary middle class and the rich. He needs the support amongst the broad masses, and he does have that to a significant degree, unfortunately.

What are they motivated by? They're motivated by a sense that politics has failed them, that their situation is pretty hopeless. The security situation is very grave. And Bolsonaro seems to be someone who might do something different, might change things. It's a bit of a rolling of the dice kind of situation. And you know, here the Worker's Party does bear some blame. They've lost a large section of the working class. A large section of the poor feel like they were betrayed by the Worker's Party, who didn't stay true to its promises. The Worker's Party implemented the austerity in its last government under Dilma, which led to a ballooning of unemployment. And you know, there's a sense that- well, what have you done for us? A lot of people don't want to return to the path. They want something better, and kind of roll the dice hoping that maybe Bolsonaro does something, even though all evidence points to the fact that he'll be a government for the rich, and the very rich, and for the forces of repression.

GREG WILPERT: So finally, in the little time that we have remaining, what is happening to Brazil's left? Is it supporting the Haddad campaign wholeheartedly?

ALEX HOCHULI: Yes, absolutely. It's pretty much uniform amongst the left. Certainly in terms of, you know, in terms of individuals, in terms of groups, in terms of movements. Everyone, from even the kind of far-left Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party who hate PT have told its members that they should vote for Fernando Haddad who, it should be noted, is a figure to the right of that of PT, I guess, within the party. He's a much more centrist figure. So that's kind of notable.

What hasn't happened is a broad front against fascism. That hasn't really materialized, because the Brazilian center has failed to defend its democratic institutions against the very obvious threat that Bolsonaro represents. You know, just to highlight one thing, Eduardo Bolsonaro, who is Jair Bolsonar's son and a congressman, has threatened the Supreme Court, saying that you could close down the Supreme Court. All you have to do is send one soldier and one corporal, and they'll shut down the Supreme Court. I mean, this is a pretty brave threat against Brazilian institutions. And a lot of the center has failed to really manifest itself, really failed to take a stand. Marina Silva, who was at one point polling quite high about six months ago, who is a kind of an environmentalist and an evangelical and a centrist, and who is known for always in her speeches talking about doing things democratically, even she- it took her until this week to finally endorse Haddad, lending Haddad critical support.

The center right, which should be the, you know, the Brazilian establishment, the ones upholding the institutions, have broadly failed to endorse Haddad as the democratic candidate. Which is really, really striking. I mean, just to give you one example, probably the best known figure for your viewers outside of Brazil who might not know the ins and outs and all the players involved, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who is a former academic sociologist who was exiled during the military dictatorship and was president of Brazil in the late '90s. He has yet to endorse Haddad, despite the fact that Bolsonaro previously said something about 10 years ago that Fernando Henrique Cardoso should have been killed by the military dictatorship. This is a real, in my opinion, a real failure of character, a real cowardice from the Brazilian supposedly-centrist elite to defend democracy against the very obvious threat that Bolsonaro poses.

GREG WILPERT: Wow. Amazing. We'll definitely keep our eyes peeled for what happens on Sunday. We'll probably have you back soon. I'm speaking to Alex Hochuli, researcher and communication consultant based in Sao Paulo. Thanks again, Alex, for having joined us today.

[Oct 22, 2018] There will be no Brexit in economic or political reality. It isn't even remotely possible, even in the unlikely event the EU collapses in the short term. There may be a pseudo "Brexit" for political face-saving purposes

Oct 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Oct 21, 2018 11:17:43 AM | link

Noirette @ 3

Not to worry. Brexit is rather a textbook example of the political/economic dichotomy to which I speak @ 5.

There will be no Brexit in economic or political reality. It isn't even remotely possible, even in the unlikely event the EU collapses in the short term. There may be a pseudo "Brexit" for political face-saving purposes, true, which will consist of a similar sales effort as Trump is making to hold onto his own age-depressed plebes in flyover USArya.

"Brexit is coming! Brexit is coming! Tariffs are easy! Tariffs are easy! Hold on a bit longer, we are just trying to get it right for you little people not to suffer anymore." Lol.


dh , Oct 21, 2018 10:58:45 AM | link

@6 "Sadly many left wing ppl prefer EU neoliberal anti democratic, corrupt rule over their own sovereign democratic institutions."

I see it more as a neoliberal desire to belong to some vague bigger global entity. Plus the fact that since WW2 nationalism has become equated with fascism.

Britain has never been totally part of Europe....geographically or politically.

DontBelieveEitherPropaganda , Oct 21, 2018 10:16:20 AM | link
@dh-mtl: True that. Sadly many left wing ppl prefer EU neoliberal anti democratic, corrupt rule over their own souvereign democratic institutions. It was the national state (with its additional regional democratic institutions) that brought us democracy, not the neolibs EU. But that truth hurts, and many prefer empty slogans against the evil national state over a honest analysis.

@B: Inoreader cant find new feeds for some days, something is broken!

dh-mtl , Oct 21, 2018 9:36:55 AM | link
@2 Noirette wrote: 'England prefers a return to some mythical sovereignity / nationalism'.

The alternative to sovereignty is dictatorship from abroad. And a foreign dictatorship is never good for a country or its people.

You only need to look at Greece to see the results of 'dictatorship' by the EU. And Italy is currently fighting this dictatorship (see https://gefira.org/en/2018/10/19/the-european-financial-establishment-has-just-declared-war-on-italy/), in order to arrest the continuing destruction of Italy and the impoverishment of its citizens under E.U. rule.

With Brexit, the U.K. is trying to save itself before it collapses to a state similar to Greece.

The E.U., because it is essentially a financially based dictatorship, and is fatally flawed, will break apart. And, in this sense, I agree with you that the U.K. is ahead of the curve.

laserlurk , Oct 21, 2018 9:36:46 AM | link
Abandoning nuclear treaty is just a diversion to steer away eyes off Khashoggi case, latter being even more important as it wedges in the very depth of an internal US political demise.
UK barks there on Russia to steer its own downfall into spotlight of an importance on a world stage that is close to null. UK didn't even sign anything with Russia as basically nobody else did from within NATO, so one can render that INF as outdated and stale.
Will they come up with a new one that suits all or we will just let it go and slip into unilateral single polarity downfall of West? Answers are coming along real soon.

Right now US and a few vasal allies left are getting into dirty set of strategic games opposing far more skilled opponents and it will come around at a really high price. EU has lost many contracts lately in mid east due to America First, so a lots of sticks in US wheels are coming up. It is going to be a real fun watching all that and reading b. and others on MoA..

Noirette , Oct 21, 2018 8:41:29 AM | link
The UK will most likely crash out of the EU. Of course, one can't exclude that some last minute holding action, temp. solution, or reversal can be found - but I doubt it.

Northern Ireland will break away. The analysis of the vote has been very poor, and based on an 'identity politics' and slice-n-dice views. Pensioners afraid to lose their pension, deplorables, victims of austerity, lack of young voter turnout, etc.

NI and Scotland are ruled by a tri-partite scheme: 'home rule', 'devolution' - Westminster - and the EU. The two peripheral entities prefer belonging to and participating in the larger group (see also! reasons historical and of enmity etc.) which has on the whole been good for them. England prefers a return to some mythical sovereignity / nationalism, getting rid of the super-ordinate power, a last desperate stab at Britannia (hm?) rules the waves or at least some bloody thing like traffic on the Thames, labor law, etc. The UK had no business running that referendum - by that I mean that in the UK pol. system Parliament rules supreme, which is antithetical to the referendum approach (in any case the result is only advisory) and running it was a signal of crack-up. By now, it is clear that the UK political / Gvmt. system is not fit for handling problems in the years 2000.

Why NI and not Scotland (which might split as well ..)? From a geo-political pov, because geography bats last - yes. And also because NI is the much weaker entity. EU has stated (Idk about texts etc.): if and when a EU member conquers, annexes, brings into the fold some 'other' territory, it then in turn becomes part of the EU. Ex. If Andorra chose to join Spain it would meld into Eurolandia, with time to adjust to all the rules. Perhaps Macron would no longer be a Prince!

However, Catalonia *cannot* be allowed to split from Spain (affecting Spanish integrity and the EU) and if it did it would crash out of the EU, loosing all, so that doesn't work. Scotland is not Catalonia. NI has had a special status in many ways for a long time so it is easier to tolerate and imagine alternatives. The EU will pay for NI...

The UK is losing power rapidly and indulging in its own form of 're-trenchment' (different from the Trumpian desired one) - both are nostalgic, but the British one is more suicidal.

The only alternative interpretation I can see (suggested by John Michael Greer) is that the UK is ahead of the curve: a pre-emptive collapse (rather semi-collapse) now would put it in a better position than others 20 years or so hence. That would also include a break-up into parts.

[Oct 19, 2018] Brexit Knives Out for Theresa May (Again) Over Extending Transition Period

UK as US hand grenade tossed at EU ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Another year wouldn't be enough additional time to achieve a trade agreement unless the UK capitulated to EU terms. And a big motivation for this idea seemed to be to try to kick the Irish border can down the road. ..."
"... Theresa May is facing the most perilous week of her premiership after infuriating all sections of her party by making further concessions to Brussels. Her offer to extend the transition period after Brexit -- made without cabinet approval -- enraged Remain and Leave Tory MPs alike. ..."
"... DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has rejected calls for the post-Brexit transition period to be extended, claiming it would cost the UK billions and not break the Irish border deadlock . ..."
"... Theresa May has conceded the Irish backstop cannot have an end date, risking the threat of fresh Cabinet resignations. The PM told Leo Varadkar she accepted Brussels' demands that any fallback border solution cannot be "time-limited". ..."
"... Merkel's effort at an intervention came off like a clueless CEO telling subordinates who have been handed a nearly-impossible task that they need to get more creative ..."
"... Emmanuel Macron, the French president, struck a more uncompromising tone. "It's not for the EU to make some concessions to deal with a British political issue. I can't be more clear on this," he said. "Now the key element for a final deal is on the British side, because the key element is a British political compromise." ..."
"... Article 50 – Treaty on European Union (TEU) 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. ..."
"... It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements – an Assembly in Northern Ireland , a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland – are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other. ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Another year wouldn't be enough additional time to achieve a trade agreement unless the UK capitulated to EU terms. And a big motivation for this idea seemed to be to try to kick the Irish border can down the road.

As we'll get to later in this post, the press has filed more detailed reports on the EU's reactions to May's "nothing new" speech at the European Council summit on Wednesday. The reactions seem to be more sober; recall the first takes were relief that nothing bad happened and at least everyone was trying to put their best foot forward. Merkel also pressed Ireland and the EU to be more flexible over the Irish border question but Marcon took issue with her position. However, they both then went to a outdoor cafe and had beers for two hours .

May's longer transition scheme vehemently criticized across Tory factions and by the DUP . Even pro-Remain Tories are opposed. The press had a field day. From the Telegraph :

Theresa May was on Thursday evening increasingly isolated over her plan to keep Britain tied to the EU for longer as she was savaged by both wings of her party and left in the cold by EU leaders

The move enraged Brexiteers who said it would cost billions, and angered members of the Cabinet who said they had not formally agreed the plan before she offered it up as a bargaining chip. Mrs May also faced a potential mutiny from Tory MPs north of the border, including David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, who said the proposal was "unacceptable" because it would delay the UK's exit from the hated Common Fisheries Policy.

From The Times, Revolt grows over Theresa May's handling of Brexit talks :

Theresa May is facing the most perilous week of her premiership after infuriating all sections of her party by making further concessions to Brussels. Her offer to extend the transition period after Brexit -- made without cabinet approval -- enraged Remain and Leave Tory MPs alike.

And Politics Home, DUP reject moves to extend Brexit transition period in fresh blow for Theresa May Politics Home:

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has rejected calls for the post-Brexit transition period to be extended, claiming it would cost the UK billions and not break the Irish border deadlock .

His comments came after Tory MPs on all wings of the party also rejected extending the transition period.

Former minister Nick Boles, who campaigned for Remain in the 2016 referendum, told the Today programme: "I'm afraid she's losing the confidence now of colleagues of all shades of opinion – people who've been supportive of her throughout this process – they are close to despair at the state of this negotiation."

Brexiteer MP Andrea Jenkyns tweeted: "Back in July, myself and 36 colleagues signed a letter to the Prime Minister setting out our red lines – and that was one of them. It's completely ridiculous."

Scottish Tories say they would veto an extension to the Brexit transition period in support of their fisherman.

And apparently the European Council didn't take the extension idea seriously. City AM reported that European Council president Donald Tusk said it wasn't discussed after May left .

And members of the hard-core Brexit faction are also up in arms about May conceding that an Irish border backstop can't be time limited. From The Sun :

Theresa May has conceded the Irish backstop cannot have an end date, risking the threat of fresh Cabinet resignations. The PM told Leo Varadkar she accepted Brussels' demands that any fallback border solution cannot be "time-limited".

But a fudge could cost Mrs May two eurosceptic Cabinet ministers, with Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom threatening to resign if there's not a set end date.

Merkel pushes for more Brussels-Ireland flexibility while Macron disagrees . I am at risk of seeming unduly wedded to my priors, but Merkel's effort at an intervention came off like a clueless CEO telling subordinates who have been handed a nearly-impossible task that they need to get more creative . While Merkel is correct to point out that no-deal = hard Irish border, an outcome no one wants, she does not appear to comprehend that the "sea border," which is politically fraught for the UK, is the only alternative that does not create ginormous problems for the EU. Merkel's seeming lack of comprehension may reflect the fact that EU nations don't handle trade negotiations. From the Financial Times :

At an EU summit dinner and in later public remarks, the German chancellor expressed concerns about the bloc's stand-off with the UK over the Irish "backstop", a fallback measure intended to ensure no hard border divides Ireland if other solutions fail. This has become the biggest outstanding issue in the talks.

Three diplomats said that at the Wednesday night dinner Ms Merkel indicated that the EU and the Republic of Ireland should rethink their approach on Northern Ireland to avoid a fundamental clash with London.

Ms Merkel also signaled her concerns in a press conference on Thursday, highlighting that if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal a hard border for Northern Ireland could be inevitable.

"If you don't have an agreement you don't have a satisfactory answer [to the border issue] either," she said, noting that on Northern Ireland "we all need an answer" .

Diplomats said the German chancellor was more forceful about the issue at the Brexit dinner, although some other leaders remained puzzled about the chancellor's intentions.

The Financial Times also said that the UK and Germany would meet Thursday to "discuss a way out of the Brexit impasse." Given that Barnier has offered a lot of new ideas in last month, it is hard to see how anything new could be cooked up, unless the UK hopes to sell Germany on its already-rejected techno vaporware idea.

Macron made clear he was not on the same page. Again from the Financial Times:

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, struck a more uncompromising tone. "It's not for the EU to make some concessions to deal with a British political issue. I can't be more clear on this," he said. "Now the key element for a final deal is on the British side, because the key element is a British political compromise."

Vardakar also made a statement after the dinner that reaffirmed the importance of the EU affirming the principles of the single market. From The Times :

The European Union would have "huge difficulties" in agreeing to extend the Northern Irish backstop to the rest of the UK, the taoiseach has warned. Leo Varadkar said he did not think "any country or union" would be asked to sign up to an agreement that would give the UK access to the single market while also allowing it to "undercut" the EU across a range of areas including state aid competition, labour laws and environmental standards.

"I would feel very strongly about this, as a European as well as an Irishman: you couldn't have a situation whereby the UK had access to the single market -- which is our market -- and at the same time was able to undercut us in terms of standards, whether they were environmental standards, labour laws, or state aid competition. I don't think any country or any union would be asked to accept that," Mr Varadkar said in Brussels.

Robert Peston deems odds of crash out high; sees only escape route as "customs union Brexit" . Robert Peston, who is one of the UK's best connected political reporters, described in a new piece at ITV how May has at best a narrow path to avoiding a disorderly Brexit, and that is what he calls a "customs union" Brexit. I am sure if Richard North saw that, he'd be tearing his hair, since he has been describing for months why a customs union does not solve the problem that virtually everyone who talks in up in UK thinks it solves, namely, conferring "frictionless trade".

One key point in his analysis is that the UK will also have to accept "a blind Brexit," meaning a very fuzzy statement of what the "future relationship" will be. The EU had offered that in the last month or so, presumably as a fudge to allow May to get the various wings of her coalition to agree to something. But Peston says it's too late to do anything else. From ITV :

Hello from Brussels and the EU Council that promised a Brexit breakthrough and delivered nothing.

So on the basis of conversations with well-placed sources, this is how I think the Brexit talks are placed (WARNING: if you are fearful of a no-deal Brexit, or are of a nervous disposition, stop reading now):

1) Forget about having any clue when we leave about the nature and structure of the UK's future trading relationship with the EU. The government heads of the EU27 have rejected Chequers. Wholesale. And they regard it as far too late to put in place the building blocks of that future relationship before we leave on 29 March 2019. So any Political Declaration on the future relationship will be waffly, vague and general. It will be what so many MPs detest: a blind Brexit. The PM may say that won't happen. No one here (except perhaps her own Downing St team) believes her.

Erm, that alone may be a deal killer. We quoted this section of a Politico article on October 10 :

5. Future relationship – Blind Brexit

Opposed: Brexiteers, Tory Remainers, the Labour Party, Theresa May

I'll let our astute readers give their reactions to Peston's recommendation to May:

3) There is no chance of the EU abandoning its insistence that there should be a backstop – with no expiry date – of Northern Ireland, but not Great Britain, remaining in the Customs Union and the single market. That would involve the introduction of the commercial border in the Irish Sea that May says must never be drawn.

4) All efforts therefore from the UK are aimed at putting in place other arrangements to make it impossible for that backstop to be introduced.

5) Her ruse for doing this is the creation of another backstop that would involve the whole of the UK staying in something that looks like the customs union.

6) But she feels cannot commit to keeping the UK in the customs union forever, because her Brexiter MPs won't let her. So it does not work as a backstop. And anyway the Article 50 rules say that the Withdrawal Agreement must not contain provisions for a permanent trading relationship between the whole of the UK and the EU. Which is a hideous Catch 22.

7) There is a solution. She could ignore her Brexiter critics and announce the UK wanted written into the Political Declaration – not the Withdrawal Agreement – that we would be staying permanently in the customs union. This is one bit of specificity the rest of the EU would allow into the Political Declaration. And it could be nodded at in the Withdrawal Agreement.

8) But if she announces we are staying in the Customs Union she would be crossing her reddest of red lines because she would have to abandon her ambition of negotiating free trade deals with non-EU countries. Liam Fox would be made redundant.

9) She knows, because her Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins has told her, that her best chance – probably her only chance of securing a Brexit deal – is to sign up for the customs union.

10) In its absence, no-deal Brexit is massively in play.

11) But a customs-union Brexit deal would see her Brexiter MPs become incandescent with fury.

12) Labour of course would be on the spot, since its one practical Brexit policy is to stay in the Customs Union.

13) This therefore is May's Robert Peel moment. She could agree a Customs Union Brexit and get it through Parliament with Labour support – while simultaneously cleaving her own party in two.

Finally, in an elegiac piece, Richard North contends that the UK didn't need to wind up where it is:

A reader takes me to task for making comparisons between the Brexit negotiations and the Allied invasion of Normandy

Yet it is precisely because Mrs May seems to have chosen an adversarial route rather than a consensual process that I have projected her failings in militaristic terms..

In reality, it would have been best to approach the Brexit process not so much as the end of a relationship as a redefinition, where the need to continue close cooperation continues, even if it is to be structured on a different basis

Here, though, lies the essential problem. The EU, as a treaty-based organisation, does not have the flexibility to change its own rules just to suit the needs of one member, and especially one which is seeking to leave the Union. Yet, on the other hand, the UK government has political constraints which prevent it making concessions which would allow the EU to define a new relationship

But, having put herself in a position where she is demanding something that the EU cannot give, she herself has no alternative but to adopt an adversarial stance – if for no other reason than to show her own political allies and critics that she is doing her best to resolve an impossible situation.

If there is a light at the end of this tunnel, it sure looks like the headlight of an oncoming train, the Brexit end date bearing down on the principals.


PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 6:49 am

I can't help but wonder whether the proposed time extension was proposed mischievously by EU negotiators precisely to set off divisions among the Tories. While Barniers no.1 aim is a deal, the close to no.2 aim must surely be to ensure that in the event of no deal (or a clearly clapped together bad interim deal), 100% of the blame goes to London. So far, they are doing a good job with that.

Its a little concerning that Merkel was so off-message, even though she is obviously correct that a no-deal means a hard border, which is a failure by any standard. I'm pretty sure we won't see any overt disagreements among the EU 27 as they won't want to give the UK the satisfaction of having sown dissent. However, that doesn't mean there won't be frantic background pressure from some (probably pushed by business) to do some sort of deal, even a bad one. That will inevitable mean leaning heavily on Dublin, if it is seen as the last obstacle. Any such pressure will be private, not public I'm sure.

vlade , October 19, 2018 at 7:33 am

The damage limitation is there, for sure, but it's always aimed on rest of the world (i.e. all but the UK, where the EU will be target in any outcome). TBH, I'm not sure how much that's needed now..

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:10 am

I wonder if the various negotiating teams are reminded of that nursery rhyme I learned as a child -- "and the wheels on the bus go round and round ".

As line one of section one of Article 50 explicitly states (and would therefore be given substantial weight in any reading of the Article itself):

Article 50 – Treaty on European Union (TEU)
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

The U.K. government cannot change the constitutional settlement for Northern Ireland without the agreement of the people of the six counties and the Republic and the rest of the U.K. "Nothing about us, without us" in popular parlance. And Republicans need to give their consent for any change affecting devolved matters (which is enforceable via a Petition of Concern). EU laws and directives are devolved matters. Constitutionally, no one can force anything on anyone in the province.

What the EU is asking the U.K. to do is impossible.

What the U.K. is asking the EU to do is impossible.

A hard border is also impossible, both as an outcome of treaty obligations and also as a practical matter.

Therefore a no-deal Brexit is inevitable. Therefore, so is a hard border. Which is an impossibility -- politically and operationally.

No wonder this can got kicked down the road last December. But now we have, oh, look, what's this here? Who left this can lying around?

David , October 19, 2018 at 7:27 am

I'm not sure. I had always read that sentence as meaning "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements for withdrawing from treaties in general" ie much more narrowly focused. Normally, any government has a sovereign right to withdraw from treaties, but it could be the case, for example, that in some countries parliament has to be informed, debates have to be held etc, and that's the case that's being covered here. Not to say that my interpretation (if correct) makes the situation any easier.
I posted a long comment on the French media reporting of Wednesday's talks yesterday. If I have a moment, I'll look to see if there's anything fresh today. One thing to look out for will be signs of tension between Paris and Brussels.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:41 am

I would need a lawyer well versed in international treaty interpretations to give a proper opinion and ultimately a court to rule on this.

What the wording definitely does not say (we can all read it for ourselves) is anything along the lines of " may initiate " or " may invoke its right to withdraw " or suchlike followed by the bit about constitutional adherences. Thus the requirements to act constitutionally must likely be expected to apply to Article 50 in their entirety. Apart from any lawyerly parsing, this is also common sense.

The section says a Member State may withdraw and it has to (this is so stating the obvious the treaty drafting must have had this specifically in mind to mention it) be constitutional about it. The EU cannot ask a Member State to conduct its withdrawal unconstitutionally.

disillusionized , October 19, 2018 at 9:15 am

No, that's not what it means – what it means is that as far as EU law is concerned, EU law ends there. It's wholly up to the withdrawing state to define and consider.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:50 am

Yes, and the Member State can't act unconstitutionally in respect of its own withdrawal proceedings. The EU is reserving the right not to accept any instruction in the matter of a withdrawal from the EU from the said Member State which is unconstitutional for that Member State. Nor can the EU foist unconstitutional acts onto a Member State in respect of the withdrawal. Its a basic principle of any legal system and any law and any jurisprudence that Party A cannot induce Party B to break the law as a result of an agreement between them and for that agreement to then remain valid.

As a simpler example, I draw up an agreement that says you'll pay me £100 in a week's time and you must get the money by whatever means possible. Fast forward a week and you don't have the £100. I can't use our agreement as an excuse for you to commit an unlawful act (say, go and steal someone's wallet) "because we've got an agreement you'll pay me, so that makes it okay no matter what, so long as you give me the money". Nor can you use your being party to the agreement to say "sorry, I don't have the money, but you can steal it from my Aunt Flossie, she's never gonna know you took it".

David , October 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm

I have a suspicion we are (nearly) saying the same thing. See the separate thread below. A country that signs the Lisbon Treaty accepts that any decision to withdraw will have to be taken according to its own constitutional arrangements. This is a national obligation, but I don't see how the EU could refuse to accept the notification on the basis that it had been unconstitutionally arrived at, or what standing they would have. I've never heard of anything similar happening elsewhere.
To rephrase your example. My partner and I lend you £100 and you say that we can have it back any time we want. I ask for it back, and you refuse to give it to me on the basis that, in your view, this has to be a joint request from my partner and me.

vlade , October 19, 2018 at 7:32 am

I buy this only partially, as Scotland has some freedom to set taxes, and NI has also diverged from other UK laws (the infamous abortion rights).

Of course, from that, to staying in single market is quite a jump, but one could argue that since majority of the NI voted "remain" (by some margin) they clearly DO wish to stay in the single market.

Also the "the rest of the UK" is dubious – it's really "without the say so from the Westminster Parliament". See Scottish Indy referendum – I didn't notice they run it in England as well? (if they did, I suspect Scots could have been independend by now).

That said, even the above can still be done by a single poll that NI republicans actually already called for i.e. if there's a hard-border Brexit, NI should get a reunification vote.

TBH, that's MY suggestion to the impasse. The backstop becomes a reunification referendum. Not time limited – once the transition period is done, it's done, nor really challengable. You want SM, you go European, or you stay within the UK. I'd like to see DUP to froth on that..

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 7:57 am

It's stated right at the top of the Good Friday Agreement absolutely explicitly:

It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements – an Assembly in Northern Ireland , a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland – are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of each depends on that of the other.

Treaty texts rarely get so unarguably clear.

This is why I suspect there was such a push in February to get Stormont up and running again. Without it, everything was stuck in constitutional limbo and lacking any possibility of constitutionally-authenticated approvals. Similar any possibility of a border poll. Without a vote in the Assembly, how can the U.K. government have any pretence (that would withstand a UKSC challenge) that it was responding to a democratic imperative issued by NI?

Of course, the U.K. government could do whatever the heck it likes by a reintroduced Direct Rule. At which point the Good Friday Agreement is toast (and the Republic would have to explicitly buy-in to Direct Rule being initiated). This must be one of the DUP's main game plans. They really don't care that much about borders in the Irish Sea if they can get rid of the Good Friday Agreement. The DUP would be quite happy to paint the Garvaghy Road emerald green from end to end if they could rip that up for good.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:23 am

An additional complication to this though is the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference , which explicitly gives the Irish government a say in non-devolved matters, including the Common Travel area and EU matters. So at least in theory, the British government must (if the Irish government insists on reconstituting the Council, which they haven't so far) engage with the Irish government for any change – including Brexit – to be constitutional.

Its been speculated here that Varadkar has not called for the BIIC to be held in order not to inflame matters with the DUP.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 8:28 am

Yes, I think this holds a lot of water. Especially since the Republic amended its constitution to facilitate the GFA, it shows how seriously it took the matter. While politically it may be gruesome for the U.K. to contemplate that it would not be possible to leave the EU without as a minimum consulting the Republic, I too think there is at least a possibility it was in fact legally obligated via the GFA to do exactly that.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:11 am

I read that entirely differently again – my (completely laymans) interpretation is that it means a countries request for withdrawal must be internally constitutionally based. In other words, a rogue leader can't simply say 'I'm launching A.50' in defiance of his own Parliament or courts. Or put another way – the EU can refuse to accept an A.50 application if it can be argued that it was not generated legally in the first place.

David , October 19, 2018 at 8:44 am

I think that's right, though most treaties like this contain some ambiguity in their wording. Interestingly, the French text gives a slightly different impression.
"Tout État membre peut décider, conformément à ses règles constitutionnelles, de se retirer de l'Union," which would be translated as "Any member state may decide, in accordance with its constitutional provisions, to leave the Union." The commas make it clear that, in French at least, the only decision that has to be taken constitutionally under the Treaty, is the decision to leave (alinea 1). Once that decision is taken the states has to inform the EU (alinea 2). Of course, there's a standing general requirement on governments to behave constitutionally, but that would be a matter for the domestic courts, not the EU. It must also be true that they should respect their constitutional rules during the negotiation process. Interestingly, Art 46 of the Vienna Convention on Treaties deals exactly with your point from the other end – what happens if a state signs a treaty without going through the proper procedures. I've seen some suggestions on specialist blogs that Art 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was inspired by the arguments about this point.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:57 am

Agreed, except it would be a matter for the CJEU if it was the EU (e.g. the Commission) which was doing the asking (or telling) of the Member State.

jabbawocky , October 19, 2018 at 8:24 am

The answer to your question has to be those that voted Leave in the referendum left the can lying around.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:06 am

Rubbish. The U.K. government had every right to hold a referendum. It was advisory of course. But Parliament had every right to invoke A50 as a result of the result.

What the U.K. government had no right whatsoever to do was to pretend that the Good Friday Agreement obligations could or should be fudged away. Nor that the EU or the Republic should tolerate this or go along with it. The fact that they did is, well, their bad. I'm still shaking my head as to why Barnier et al were dumb enough to go along with it at the time. There's probably a good reason we're not privy to.

Phillip Allen , October 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

There's probably a good reason we're not privy to.

Now there's some optimism and faith. Our erstwhile leaders have done very little to justify it, in my completely jaded and cynical option.

Clive , October 19, 2018 at 9:58 am

I was being perhaps overly generous -- there's also an awful lot of bad reasons I can think of, too.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 10:46 am

A year or so ago there was a little discussion of this in some parts of the Irish media. The thinking seemed to be that the government at the time (pre-Varadkar) had calculated that it was too divisive (in terms of the potential impact on NI politics) to be seen to be taking too aggressive a stance over Brexit (with hindsight, this was very naive, the DUP don't need outside help to be divisive).

FG was also very worried about giving any electoral help to Sinn Fein.

With hindsight, I think this was a major miscalculation on a number of levels – I don't think they anticipated that the stupidity of the London government would force them to take such a strong stance on the border issue, they thought it could be finessed by way of taking a more neutral stance.

begob , October 19, 2018 at 11:22 am

I think these are May's options:
1. Canada+++ with backstop – the DUP say NO! and she loses a vote of confidence.
2. EFTA + EEA without CU – she comes back in triumph – "No CU!" – but she loses DUP and Ultras so needs Corbyn, who will probably cry "No CU!" with contrary sentiment.
3. CU with backstop – Labour says it fails test #2 (at least), but she hopes their remainers defy the whip.

Peston is at option 3, but omits the backstop.

bold'un , October 19, 2018 at 7:22 am

Labour could help vote through a {blind brexit' with an extended Transition} in exchange for a post-deal General Election. This could suit May in that it would be risky for the Tories to change leaders in an election atmosphere. The British Public can then decide WHO best can negotiate the future Trade relationship (though sadly not the WHAT as it must be negotiated).

The Rev Kev , October 19, 2018 at 7:50 am

You wonder what is in it for May to stay in her job as Prime Minister. All indications are that she is a perfect example of the Peter Principle which is how she ended up with the job. You think too that she would be tempted to chuck the whole business and say "Here Boris – it's all yours!" with all the joy of throwing a live grenade. Maybe, in the end, it is like Milton had Satan say once – "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven".

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 8:14 am

An Irish politician once said that she was advised by an experienced colleague 'your worst day in government is better than your best day in opposition' . This is why politicians are so often incapable of turning down offers of coalition.

I don't believe it has occurred to May for one minute to resign or step aside. Power is what drives people like her (i.e. almost all politicians). Its the nature of the beast.

David , October 19, 2018 at 9:13 am

Macron's official statement after the European Council is here Interestingly, only about a third of the text was devoted to Brexit, and much of that was in turn a restatement of EU priorities – especially unity and the Single Market – and confidence in Barnier. All the technical solutions are known, said Macron, and it is for the UK to come up with some new ideas for compromises. The hope was to reach an agreement in the next few weeks, including "necessary guarantees for Ireland." The French media has essentially confined itself to reporting what Macron said.
What this shows, I think, is an increasing irritation among European leaders that Brexit, which should have been sorted out long ago, has been taking up the time that should really have been devoted to more important subjects, like migration and the deepening of economic and financial cooperation The British are regarded as a major irritant, incapable of behaving like a great power, paralysed by internal political splits and capable of doing a lot of collateral damage. The EU seems increasingly unwilling to devote any more time to Brexit until the UK comes up with some genuinely useful ideas – hence the cancellation of the November summit.

PlutoniumKun , October 19, 2018 at 10:42 am

Thats probably true, but if so, its very shortsighted. If the UK crashes out, for several months there will be nothing else on the plate of western Europe to deal with, there will be deep implications certainly from Germany to Spain. And if it causes more wobbles in the already very wobbly Italian banks, it'll be even more of a headache, to put it mildly.

David , October 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm

I agree, but I think it's at least partly the UK's doing. A modicum of common sense and political realism could have avoided this situation. The problem is that Brexit, as a subject, has the nasty twin characteristics of being at once extremely complicated and politically lunatic. I think EU leaders are focusing on the second, and in some ways May has become almost light relief. But jokes stop being funny after a while, and I think Macron is reflecting a wider belief among national leaders that only the UK can sort this out: you broke it, you fix it.

If there were issues which, whilst difficult, were potentially fixable then I think a lot more effort would have gone into the negotiations from EU leaders. But they must feel they are trapped in some Ionesco farce or (to vary the metaphor) trying to negotiate with the Keystone Cops.

Except the Keystone Cops happen to be playing with hand grenades. There's no doubt that European leaders are taking a crash-out seriously (the French have published a draft bill giving the government emergency powers to deal with such a situation) but I think there's a also widespread sense of helplessness. What can the EU actually do that it hasn't already done? All they can hope for is an outbreak of common sense in London, and I think we all know how likely that is. In the circumstances, you might as well concentrate on subjects where progress is actually possible.

MichaelSF , October 19, 2018 at 12:46 pm

A reader takes me to task for making comparisons between the Brexit negotiations and the Allied invasion of Normandy

Would Dunkirk be a better comparison?

[Oct 16, 2018] How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley

From the book How Fascism Works The Politics of Us and Them Jason Stanley Amazon.com Hardcover: 240 pages Publisher: Random House (September 4, 2018)
Fascism is always eclectic and its doctrine is composed of several sometimes contradicting each other ideas. "Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." (Ideologically speaking, [the program] was a wooly, eclectic mixture of political, social, racist, national-imperialist wishful thinking..." )
Some ideas are "sound bite only" and never are implemented and are present only to attract sheeple (looks National Socialist Program ). he program championed the right to employment , and called for the institution of profit sharing , confiscation of war profits , prosecution of usurers and profiteers, nationalization of trusts , communalization of department stores, extension of the old-age pension system, creation of a national education program of all classes, prohibition of child labor , and an end to the dominance of investment capital "
There is also "bait and switch" element in any fascism movement. Original fascism was strongly anti-capitalist, militaristic and "national greatness and purity" movement ("Make Germany great again"). It was directed against financial oligarchy and anti-semantic element in it was strong partially because it associated Jews with bankers and financial industry in general. In a way "Jews" were codeword for investment bankers.
For example " Arbeit Macht Frei " can be viewed as a neoliberal slogan. Then does not mean that neoliberalism. with its cult of productivity, is equal to fascism, but that neoliberal doctrine does encompass elements of the fascist doctrine including strong state, "law and order" mentality and relentless propaganda.
The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it lost its meaning. The Nazi Party (NSDAP) originated as a working-class political party . This is not true about Trump whom many assume of having fascist leanings. His pro white working class rhetoric was a fig leaf used for duration or elections. After that he rules as a typical Republican president favoring big business. And as a typical neocon in foreign policy.
From this point of view Trump can't be viewed even as pro-fascist leader because first of all he does not have his own political movement, ideology and political program. And the second he does not strive for implementing uniparty state and abolishing the elections which is essential for fascism political platform, as fascist despise corrupt democracy and have a cult of strong leader.
All he can be called is neo-fascist s his some of his views do encompass ideas taken from fascist ideology (including "law and order"; which also is a cornerstone element of Republican ideology) as well as idealization and mystification of the US past. But with Bannon gone he also can't even pretend that he represents some coherent political movement like "economic nationalism" -- kind of enhanced mercantilism.
Of course, that does not mean that previous fascist leaders were bound by the fascism political program, but at least they had one. Historian Karl Dietrich Bracher writes that, "To [Hitler, the program] was little more than an effective, persuasive propaganda weapon for mobilizing and manipulating the masses. Once it had brought him to power, it became pure decoration: 'unalterable', yet unrealized in its demands for nationalization and expropriation, for land reform and 'breaking the shackles of finance capital'. Yet it nonetheless fulfilled its role as backdrop and pseudo-theory, against which the future dictator could unfold his rhetorical and dramatic talents."
Notable quotes:
"... Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago. ..."
"... Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics. ..."
"... In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence. ..."
"... fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. ..."
"... The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle. ..."
Oct 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Chapter 1: The Mythic Past

It's in the name of tradition that the anti-Semites base their "point of view." It's in the name of tradition, the long, historical past and the blood ties with Pascal and Descartes, that the Jews are told, you will never belong here.

-- Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)

It is only natural to begin this book where fascist politics invariably claims to discover its genesis: in the past. Fascist politics invokes a pure mythic past tragically destroyed. Depending on how the nation is defined, the mythic past may be religiously pure, racially pure, culturally pure, or all of the above. But there is a common structure to all fascist mythologizing. In all fascist mythic pasts, an extreme version of the patriarchal family reigns supreme, even just a few generations ago.

Further back in time, the mythic past was a time of glory of the nation, with wars of conquest led by patriotic generals, its armies filled with its countrymen, able-bodied, loyal warriors whose wives were at home raising the next generation. In the present, these myths become the basis of the nation's identity under fascist politics.

In the rhetoric of extreme nationalists, such a glorious past has been lost by the humiliation brought on by globalism, liberal cosmopolitanism, and respect for "universal values" such as equality. These values are supposed to have made the nation weak in the face of real and threatening challenges to the nation's existence.

These myths are generally based on fantasies of a nonexistent past uniformity, which survives in the traditions of the small towns and countrysides that remain relatively unpolluted by the liberal decadence of the cities. This uniformity -- linguistic, religious, geographical, or ­ethnic -- ​can be perfectly ordinary in some nationalist movements, but fascist myths distinguish themselves with the creation of a glorious national history in which the members of the chosen nation ruled over others, the result of conquests and civilization-building achievements. For example, in the fascist imagination, the past invariably involves traditional, patriarchal gender roles. The fascist mythic past has a particular structure, which supports its authoritarian, hierarchical ideology. That past societies were rarely as patriarchal -- or indeed as glorious -- as fascist ideology represents them as being is beside the point. This imagined history provides proof to support the imposition of hierarchy in the present, and it dictates how contemporary society should look and behave.

In a 1922 speech at the Fascist Congress in Naples, Benito Mussolini declared:

We have created our myth. The myth is a faith, a passion. It is not necessary for it to be a reality. . . . Our myth is the nation, our myth is the greatness of the nation! And to this myth, this greatness, which we want to translate into a total reality, we subordinate everything.

The patriarchal family is one ideal that fascist politicians intend to create in society -- or return to, as they claim. The patriarchal family is always represented as a central part of the nation's traditions, diminished, even recently, by the advent of liberalism and cosmopolitanism. But why is patriarchy so strategically central to fascist politics?

In a fascist society, the leader of the nation is analogous to the father in the traditional patriarchal family. The leader is the father of his nation, and his strength and power are the source of his legal authority, just as the strength and power of the father of the family in patri­archy are supposed to be the source of his ultimate moral authority over his children and wife. The leader provides for his nation, just as in the traditional family the father is the provider. The patriarchal father's authority derives from his strength, and strength is the chief authoritarian value. By representing the nation's past as one with a patriarchal family structure, fascist politics connects nostalgia to a central organizing hierarchal authoritarian structure, one that finds its purest representation in these norms.

Gregor Strasser was the National Socialist -- Nazi -- Reich propaganda chief in the 1920s, before the post was taken over by Joseph Goebbels. According to Strasser, "for a man, military service is the most profound and valuable form of participation -- for the woman it is motherhood!" Paula Siber, the acting head of the Association of German Women, in a 1933 document meant to reflect official National Socialist state policy on women, declares that "to be a woman means to be a mother, means affirming with the whole conscious force of one's soul the value of being a mother and making it a law of life . . . ​the highest calling of the National Socialist woman is not just to bear children, but consciously and out of total devotion to her role and duty as mother to raise children for her people." Richard Grunberger, a British historian of National Socialism, sums up "the kernel of Nazi thinking on the women's question" as "a dogma of inequality between the sexes as immutable as that between the races." The historian Charu Gupta, in her 1991 article "Politics of Gender: Women in Nazi Germany," goes as far as to argue that "oppression of women in Nazi Germany in fact furnishes the most extreme case of anti-feminism in the 20th century."

Here, Mussolini makes clear that the fascist mythic past is intentionally mythical. The function of the mythic past, in fascist politics, is to harness the emotion of ­nostalgia to the central tenets of fascist ideology -- authoritarianism, hierarchy, purity, and struggle.

With the creation of a mythic past, fascist politics creates a link between nostalgia and the realization of fascist ideals. German fascists also clearly and explicitly appreciated this point about the strategic use of a mythological past. The leading Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, editor of the prominent Nazi newspaper the Völkischer Beobachter, writes in 1924, "the understanding of and the respect for our own mythological past and our own history will form the first condition for more firmly anchoring the coming generation in the soil of Europe's original homeland." The fascist mythic past exists to aid in changing the present.

Jason Stanley is the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. Before coming to Yale in 2013, he was Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rutgers University. Stanley is the author of Know How; Languages in Context; More about Jason Stanley

5.0 out of 5 stars

July 17, 2018 Format: Hardcover Vine

Highly readable

w.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R36R5FWIWTP6F0/ref=cm_cr_dp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0525511830">

By Joel E. Mitchell on September 13, 2018
Massive Partisan Bias

This could have been such a helpful, insightful book. The word "fascist" is hurled at political / ideological opponents so often that it has started to lose its meaning. I hoped that this book would provide a historical perspective on fascism by examining actual fascist governments and drawing some parallels to the more egregious / worrisome trends in US & European politics. The chapter titles in the table of contents were promising:

- The Mythic Past
- Propaganda
- Anti-Intellectual
- Unreality
- Hierarchy
- Victimhood
- Law & Order
- Sexual Anxiety
- Sodom & Gomorrah
- Arbeit Macht Frei

Ironically (given the book's subtitle) the author used his book divisively: to laud his left-wing political views and demonize virtually all distinctively right-wing views. He uses the term "liberal democracy" inconsistently throughout, disengenuously equivocating between the meaning of "representative democracy as opposed to autocratic or oligarchic government" (which most readers would agree is a good thing) and "American left-wing political views" (which he treats as equally self-evidently superior if you are a right-thinking person). Virtually all American right-wing political views are presented in straw-man form, defined in such a way that they fit his definition of fascist politics.

I was expecting there to be a pretty heavy smear-job on President Trump and his cronies (much of it richly deserved...the man's demagoguery and autocratic tendencies are frightening), but for this to turn into "let's find a way to define virtually everything the Republicans are and do as fascist politics" was massively disappointing. The absurdly biased portrayal of all things conservative and constant hymns of praise to all things and all people left-wing buried some good historical research and valid parallels under an avalanche of partisanism.

If you want a more historical, less partisan view of the rise of fascist politics, I would highly recommend Darkness Over Germany by E. Amy Buller (Review Here). It was written during World War II (based on interviews with Germans before WWII), so you will have to draw your own contemporary parallels...but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

[Oct 09, 2018] Brexit Crunch Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself Is That Even Possible

Oct 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Brexit Crunch: Is the EU Trying to Save the UK from Itself? Is That Even Possible? Posted on October 8, 2018 by Yves Smith The UK press is all over the map on the state of Brexit. That makes making sense of things even harder than usual.

At a minimum, it show that the EU's thumping of May at last month's Salzburg conference has led to an uptick in activity, as the EU27 leaders set an earlier deadline for the UK to serve up something realistic than the UK had previously thought it had (October versus November).

But it's far from clear that all the thrashing around and messaging amounts to progress. As we'll discuss, some press reports claim the EU is showing more flexibility, but the changes appear to be almost entirely cosmetic. If so, it would represent a cynical calculation that MPs are so illiterate about technical details that adept repackaging will get the dog to eat the dog food.

Another thing to keep in mind is that negotiators are always making progress until a deal is dead. The appearance of momentum can create actual momentum, or at least buy time. But here, time is running out, so the question is whether either side has made enough of a shift so as to allow for a breakthough.

One thing that may have happened, and again this is speculative, is that more key players in the EU are coming to realize that a crash out will inflict a lot of damage on the EU. A transition period is actually much more beneficial to the EU than the UK. It would not only allow the EU more time to prepare, but also enable it to better pick the UK clean of personnel and business activities that can move to the Continent in relatively short order.

By contrast (and not enough people in the UK appear to have worked this out), the UK will crash out with respect to the EU in either March 2019 or the end of December 2020. There's no way the UK will have completed a trade deal with the EU by then, unless it accedes to every EU demand. Recall that the comparatively uncomplicated Canada trade agreement took seven years to negotiate and another year to obtain provisional approval. And Richard North points out another impediment to negotiations: " .the Commission has to be re-appointed next year and, after Brexit, it will not be fully in operation until the following November." Now there are still some important advantages to securing a transition agreement, and they may be mainly political (who wants to be caught holding that bag?) but the differences may not be as significant for the EU as the UK. The UK will wind up having the dislocations somewhat spread out, first having to contend with falling out of all the trade deals with third countries that it now has through the EU in March 2019, and then losing its "single market" status with the EU at the end of 2020. But will the UK also be so preoccupied with trying to stitch up deals with the rest of the world that it loses its already not great focus on what to do with the EU?

That isn't to say there won't be meaningful benefits to the UK if it can conclude a Withdrawal Agreement with the EU and win a transition period. For instance, it has a dim hope of being able to get its border IT systems upgraded so as to handle much greater transaction volumes, a feat that seems pretty much unattainable by March 2019.

Two more cautionary note regarding these divergent news stories. The first is that we've seen this sort of thing before and generally, the optimistic reports have not panned out. However, they have generally ben from unnamed sources. While we do have a very thin BBC article with Jean-Claude Junkcer saying the odds of a deal had improved and Tusk making cautiously optimistic noises, Leo Vardarkar was more sober and the piece even admitted, "However, there is still no agreement on some issues, including how to avoid new checks on the Irish border."

Second, they appear to be mainly about claimed progress or deadlocks on the trade front. Recall that Article 50 makes only a passing reference to "the future relationship," which is only a non-binding political declaration. However, these issue seems to have assumed more importance than it should on the UK end, because it has become a forcing device for the coalition to settle on what sort of Brexit it wants .and it remains fundamentally divided, as demonstrated by last week's Conservative Party conference. By contrast, there seems to be little news on the real sticking point, the Irish border.

So to the rumors:

The EU has offered the UK a "Canada plus plus plus" deal . Even if you take the Guardian story at face value, there is less there there than the breathless reactions in the UK would lead you to believe.

First, recall that "Canada plus plus plus" has long been derided by the EU as yet another way for the UK to try to cherry pick among the possible post-Brexit arrangements. Boris Johnson nevertheless talked it up as a preferred option to May's too-soft Chequers scheme at the Tory conference . and May did not mention Chequers . Did EU pols take that to mean May had abandoned Chequers to appease the Ultras?

However, as we read things (and we need to watch our for our priors), Donald Tusk appears to be mouthing a pet UK expression to convey a different idea:

Tusk said the EU remained ready to offer the UK a "Canada-plus-plus-plus deal" – a far-reaching trade accord with extra agreements on security and foreign policy.

That reads as a Canada style free trade agreement plus additional pacts on non-trade matters. That is not what "Canada plus plus plus" signified on the UK side: it meant the UK getting a free trade deal with other (typically not specified) goodies so as to make it "special" and more important, reduce friction.

The Ultras were over the moon to have Tusk dignify Johnson's blather, even as the very next paragraph of the Guardian story revealed the outtrade over what "Canada plus plus plus" stands for:

Boris Johnson and other hard Brexit Tories seized on Tusk's remarks, arguing they showed it was time for May to immediately switch tack and abandon her Chequers proposals for remaining in a customs union for food and goods. "Tusk's Canada-plus-plus-plus offer shows there is a superb way forward that can solve the Irish border problem and deliver a free-trade-based partnership that works well for both sides of the channel," Johnson said.

If you managed to get further into the story, it sounded more cautionary notes:

Some Brexiters overlook that the EU's version of a so-called Canada deal incorporates a guarantee to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland, which would keep Northern Ireland in the EU customs union and single market. "Canada plus-plus-plus" is also a fuzzy concept that has no formal status in EU negotiating documents. Michel Barnier, the bloc's chief negotiator, mentioned the idea in an interview with the Guardian and other papers last year.

"I don't know what Canada-plus-plus-plus means, it is just a concept at this stage," Varadkar said, adding that it did not negate the need for a "legally binding backstop" – a guarantee to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland if there is no agreement on the future trading relationship.

EU to let UK super fudge on "future relationship." Another Guardian story reported that the EU might let the UK sign an even less committal version of the "future relationship" section , allowing the UK to "evolve" [gah] its position during the transition period. Frankly, this seems to be allowing for a change in government. I don't see this as that meaningful a concession, since this statement was never legally binding. However, given that Parliament must ratify the final agreement, formally registering that that section isn't set in stone probably would facilitate passage as well as any future change in direction. And if you suspect this is a big dog whistle to Labour, you be right:

An EU source said: "The message to Labour is that the UK could move up Barnier's stairs if the British government changes its position in the transition period. Voting in favour of the deal now would not be the last word on it."

May whips Labour for Chequers . You thought May gave up on Chequers? Silly you! She just had the good sense to go into her famed submarine mode while Boris was having yet another turn in the limelight. From the Telegraph :

Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal risking open warfare with the party's own MPs.

The Government's whips' office has spent recent months making contact with the MPs as a back-up option for when Theresa May's Brexit deal is put to a vote in Parliament in early December, The Daily Telegraph has been told.

News of the wooing operation has infuriated Eurosceptic Tory MPs who are now threatening to vote against elements of the Budget and other "money bills" to force Mrs May to drop her Chequers plan.

If true, this is very high stakes poker. Brexit Central says there are 34 Tory MPs who have already declared they will oppose any "deal based on Chequers". And, to change metaphors, they appear ready to go nuclear if they have to. From the Times:

Brexiteers have issued a last-ditch threat to vote down the budget and destroy the government unless Theresa May takes a tougher line with Brussels -- amid signs that she is on course to secure a deal with the European Union.

Leading members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) last night vowed to vote down government legislation after it was claimed the prime minister will use Labour MPs to push her plan through the Commons.

I turned to Richard North's site after I had pretty much finished this post, and he finds the Telegraph story as peculiar as I do :

Reporting of the key issue of our times gets more bizarre by the day. The latest contribution to the cacophony is the Telegraph, telling us that Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs "to force through Theresa May's Chequers Brexit deal".

That approaches are being made to Labour MPs is not news, but the idea that attempts to sell them the Chequers deal confounds recent indications that the prime minister is preparing to roll out "Chequers II", with enough concessions to all the Commission to conclude a withdrawal agreement.

If we are looking at such a new deal, then it cannot be the case that anyone is attempting to convince Labour MPs of the merits of the old deal. And, even if Ministers succeeded in such a task, it would be to no avail. Chequers, as such, will never come to parliament for approval because it will never form the basis of a deal that can be accepted by Brussels.

That should consign the Telegraph story to the dustbin now piled high with incoherent speculation, joining the steady flow of reports which are struggling – and failing – to bring sense to Brexit.

EU to announce "minimalist" no-deal emergency plans . Interestingly, the Financial Times has not had any articles in the last few days on the state of UK/EU negotiations. It instead depicted the EU as about to turn up the heat on the UK by publishing a set of "no deal" damage containment plans. I've never understood the line of thought, which seems to be taken seriously on both sides of the table, that acting like a responsible government and preparing for a worst-case scenario was somehow an underhanded negotiation ploy. 1 The pink paper nevertheless pushes that notion:

Brussels is planning to rattle the UK by unveiling tough contingency measures for a no-deal Brexit that could force flight cancellations and leave exporters facing massive disruption if Britain departs the EU without an exit agreement in March.

Subtext: it's the EU's fault all those bad things could happen .when it is the UK that is suing for divorce. Back to the story:

Against expectations in London, the plan is likely to encompass a limited number of initiatives over a maximum of eight months, diplomats who have seen the document told the Financial Times.

Notably, the EU is not planning special arrangements for customs or road transport and only limited provisions for financial services -- a decision that, if seen through, would cause long queues and operational difficulties at ports and airports.

The minimalist emergency plan, designed to be rolled out should there be no breakthrough in Brexit talks, would increase the pressure over already fraught negotiations between the UK and the EU ahead of a summit on 17 October. EU plans would then be firmed up by December .

The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated

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The commission has thus far resisted outlining details of its plans for a no-deal Brexit for fear it would disrupt tense negotiations. But with just six months to go before Brexit, EU member states have pressed Brussels to speed up its preparations in case no deal is agreed in time.

Brussels will outline general principles for deciding the fields requiring special measures, which must only mitigate significant disruptions in areas of "vital union interest". The measures would be applied by the EU until the end of 2019 on a unilateral basis. They could be revoked with no notice, according to diplomats.

The plans are intended to enable basic air services, allowing flights to land and fly straight back to the UK, and to extend air safety certificates and security exemptions for UK travellers in transit. Visa-free travel is envisaged for British citizens, as long as it is reciprocated.

And then we have the stories that are head-scratchers. The Sun reports that Barnier says a deal is nigh .based on:

Hopes of progress have been fuelled by expectations that Theresa May has come forward with a compromise solution to the Irish border.

The PM will propose keeping the whole of the UK in a customs union as a final fallback but allowing Northern Ireland to stick to EU regulations.

The EU has rejected having the UK collect EU customs post Brexit. Moreover, a customs union, as we've said repeatedly, does not give the UK its keenly-sounght frictionless trade. Making Northern Ireland subject to EU regulations means accepting the jurisdiction of the ECJ, since compliance is not a matter of having a dusty rule book, but of being part of the same regulatory apparatus. Aside from the fact that this solution won't be acceptable to the DUP, it would also result in a hard land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. So are we to take this as incomprehension on the part of the Sun's reporters, or that the Government's negotiators continue to be as thick as a brick? Sadly, the Guardian tells a similar tale :

Ministers expect to discuss Brexit in a week's time when some hope that officials will have clarified how the UK proposes to handle cross-border regulatory checks if no progress is made on agreeing a free trade deal with the EU.

There has been speculation that this solution could involve the whole of the UK agreeing to be part of a common customs area with the EU in order to avoid the possibility of an invisible border separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain, in the event that no long-term deal is signed.

Richard North has the best take. He points the rumors from the UK side come from people who present themselves as being on the inside but probably aren't, or not enough to have a good feel, and continues :

Yet nothing seems to be leaking from No.10, with officials saying merely that proposals would emerge "soon". Says the Guardian, these are likely to form the basis of technical negotiations with Brussels "as officials scramble to find a form of words for the withdrawal agreement that the UK proposes to sign with the EU".

Any such timing will, of necessity, rule out any formal consideration by the October European Council. Those who understand the detail will know that, before anything can be considered by the European Council, it must first be agreed by the General Affairs Council, meeting as 27.

Currently, this is scheduled for 16 October (Tuesday week) – a day before the Article 50 European Council which starts its two-day session on the 17th. On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be enough time to factor in any last-minute proposals from London, especially as details must first be circulated to Member State capitals for comment.

This does nothing, though, but confirm that which we already know – that if there is to be a final showdown, then it is going to come at the special meeting in November (if this actually happens), or even the meeting scheduled for 13-14 December.

Even the rumor mills don't give much reason to think there is a solution to the Irish border. If May really hasn't abandoned Chequers, all the fudging to come up with a content-free "future relationship" section will be to the detriment of UK citizens, since the Government will keep holding on to a Brexit plan that the EU will never accept. But the best interests of ordinary people have gotten short shrift all along.

[Oct 09, 2018] Alt-right platform

Oct 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

War for Blair Mountain says: October 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm GMT 100 Words The ALT RIGHT point of view:

1)Bring the Troops back home .

2)massive defunding of the Pentagon .

3)Friendship with Christian Russia

4)0 economic and military aid to our friend Israel!!!

5)0 nonwhite LEGAL IMMIGRANTS FOREVER!!! .

6)mass deportation of the various Nonwhite Fifth Columns in America .

7)restoration of THE HISTORIC NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN MAJORITY to a 90 percent racial majority within the borders of America .

8)make homo legal marriage illegal again ..

9)strip away the right of Corprati0ns to have the legal standing of a person in a Court of Law .

Allan , says: October 1, 2018 at 3:24 pm GMT

@War for Blair Mountain Why

strip away the right of Corprati0ns to have the legal standing of a person in a Court of Law .

when we could just abolish the institution of incorporation without remorse? This would like treating a cause of widespread disease with an ounce of inexpensive prevention.

Buh-bye limited liability parasitism. Buh-bye rootless, world-wandering capital with scant interest in the hosts' long-term wellbeing.

I suppose that there would be a shrill outcry of protest from the many little fire teams, squads, and platoons of mind rapists (e.g. A. Cockburn) who have a career interest in complaining for a living. But so what? It would be fun to watch "social justice" factions twist and squirm as a chorus of abolitionists asks why the "Resistance" never resisted "corporatocracy" with abolitionism. The rapists will "spew" much sanctimonious b.s. defensively between artful meals in nice restaurants, but the chorus will know a real reason. Lefty humanist finds incorporation very useful for cultivating the intense concentration of wealth and power which he pretends to oppose.

Eventually the chorus will get around to asking lefty internationalist about his contemporary plans to merge every firm with government without looking like an old fashioned commie expropriationist. The chorus might ask the mind rapists still more embarassing questions:

Righteous Lefty, why would you establish incorporation now if it wasn't a feature of commerce already? Because you would not then have a little handful of company shares to trade in a stock exchange? Nor be planning to exploit a stock tip from an ally who is married to a corporate go-getter with C-level knowledge of plans?

Traditional labor unions, TOO, have been involved with the racketeering of incorporation. Take the UMWA, for example. Where in the eleven points of its constitution is there any hint that labor organizers and their Blair Mountain warriors were thinking about abolishing a pernicious institution which had done so much to slant market power in favor of neverlaboring mine operators?

It's been obvious for some time that the allegedly right wing "ALT RIGHT" is another faction with little interest in getting rid of the corporation. It is sympathetic, however, to old fashioned communist schemes like "Social Security" and communist health care finance. So what, um, pecuniary interest does its leading lights have in maintaining the incorporated status quo? Explain, please.

[Oct 02, 2018] I tried really hard, but ended up giving my notice on Wednesday.

You were in an impossible situation with really shit poor management.
Notable quotes:
"... If you wish to appeal this action please don't hesitate to message the moderation team . ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.reddit.com

submitted 6 months ago by


chrisanzalone007 6 months ago * (38 children)

[deleted]
Mr_Mars 6 months ago (20 children)
Well, I don't know. My sister is an executive assistant. I thought I knew what that meant and you probably do too. But then one day I sat down with her and we actually talked about her job, and I quickly realized that not only was my understanding of her job so shallow as to be effectively meaningless, but it was so shallow that I didn't even understand how much I was missing. I'd just glanced at the title and said to myself "yep, executive assistant, assist executives, that's what she does" and at no point had it ever even occurred to me that there was anything past that. In fact, it was even worse than that, because half the stuff I imagined she might do wasn't part of her job at all (hint, if you think "executive assistant" and "secretary" are remotely similar you are just as far off track as I was).

I still don't understand what she does but at least now I know how little I know. If she came to me for career advice there's no chance I'd be able to offer her anything other than meaningless platitudes, because I don't even know enough right now to know if her current job is a good one or a bad one. If she'd asked me before I realized how much I don't know I'd be in the same boat, only probably rolling my eyes that she would get so worked up over x, y, or z when her job was so simple and straightforward that there's no possible way it could be that stressful.

Yeah.

All of this is to say that unless your friends are on a career path similar to yours they probably not only fail to understand your job, but they probably fail so bad that they don't even know how far off they are. That's not because your friends are stupid or because IT is so impenetrably complex that only the chosen few can grasp it; its just that most of us don't have a lot of expertise in careers outside of our own. Lacking context, we turn to pop culture for reference. Picture the stereotypical Hollywood "computer guy" (or, if you must, "hacker"). That's probably what your friends think your job is like. Now imagine that guy coming to you complaining about how hard and stressful his job is. How hard could it be anyway? I have a computer at home and don't have to do much to keep it running. These things all basically run themselves, don't they?

So, point is his friends aren't necessarily assholes or in denial. They probably just don't know enough to understand how little they know, as is true for all of us, and are trying to give well-intentioned advice; OP asked, after all, and they want to help their friend. But you can't give good advice if you don't have all the facts, and especially not if you don't even know how much you're missing.

Geminii27 6 months ago (13 children)
Out of curiosity, what kinds of things did she have to cover as an EA?
dmmagic 6 months ago (10 children)
The executive assistants I know (to VPs, presidents, CEOs) practically run the company. Not entirely, but a good chunk of it.

As to what they do, on the surface, it does look like secretary work. Schedule appointments. Schedule venues for meetings/conferences. Book travel. Make sure the exec is prepared for the appointments (knows what they need to know; has met with the right people in advance to get briefed; leaves on time to get to the appointment). Answer emails and phone calls.

But the level of knowledge they need to perform those tasks for an executive is much higher.

upward_bound 6 months ago (1 child)
There is a reason that executive assistants can make north of 100k a year. I know for a fact that the one at my last job made well north of it.
banksnld 6 months ago (1 child)
As someone who splits his time between working at home and commuting 142 miles round-trip for work, I'll take working from home anytime.
changee_of_ways 6 months ago (0 children)
Well, sure, that's an unfortunate commute. You're basically saying "I would take getting paid for X for y hours of work over getting paid (x - costs of transportation ) for y + 4.5 or more hours of work.
Left_of_Center2011 6 months ago (4 children)
Very interesting - reminds me of a chief of staff role in politics, a role that exercises a huge amount of power and responsibility.
fernibble 6 months ago (2 children)
Or perhaps the executive officer to the captain on a ship.
donjulioanejo 6 months ago (0 children)
Well, the XO on a ship is more like the COO.
roo-ster 6 months ago (0 children)
True, but with less blame if the ship collides with a freighter.
TheChance 6 months ago (0 children)
It's a decent jumping-off point for a middle management role of your own, if one opens up at the same company. You're playing a huge role in running your exec's department already, so you've got the lay of the land and you're clearly a competent wrangler of humans.
donjulioanejo 6 months ago (0 children)
So basically Donna from Suits.

Who promoted herself from Harvey's legal secretary to the COO in a span of two episodes, didn't skip a beat, and kept doing exactly what she was doing before.

Mr_Mars 6 months ago (0 children)
Well, seeing as my last post was a big long thing about how I don't fully understand what they do this is a limited view, but a short pithy summary would be that she handles all the stuff her boss should be doing but doesn't have time to actually do. That's everything from negotiating phone plans and insurance rates to making sure all the certifications and permits they need to function are taken care of to planning and booking meetings and seminars. It's very wide ranging and is a ton of responsibility. As noted elsewhere a good EA practically runs the company.
WinOSXBuntu 6 months ago (0 children)

EA

User experience. 😂

Polar_Ted 6 months ago (2 children)
I work from home 2 days a week. My wife thought I was nuts when I brought home a gaming headset and 2nd monitor for the PC I use at home.
She thought I was sitting at home playing minecraft all day.

The reality is I need lots of screen space to doy job and I have conference call meetings several times a day. I can actually hear and be heard with the headset.

I agree the downside is getting tagged for late day or after hours emergency work because I can respond quickly.

Mr_Mars 6 months ago (1 child)
I ended up buying an egpu so I could hook up a third monitor to my laptop. Currently trying to figure out how to arrange stuff on my desk to fit a fourth; may have to start mounting them on swivel arms. I want as much screen space as I can get when I doy job.

I also have an hdmi switch to change the monitors to my gaming machine when it's Minecraft time. Tax deductible 4k 27 " monitors are good for that too.

TheChance 6 months ago (0 children)

may have to start mounting them on swivel arms.

Got a stud above/behind your desk? The fourth one on the wall angled down can work pretty well, throw your notifications bar up there, calendar, anything you rarely glance at but should be able to see without moving another program or window.

br4n1m1r 6 months ago (1 child)
All of these makes sense, but I am just going to add the following: - Your friends should recognize if you are yourself or if you are frustrated, close to being burned out. That is a clear indicator if you are at right job or not. - Your friends should also be able to help you figure out if you are appreciated and in a company with good culture

Good companies/management do everything they can to empower employees, provide adequate training, and set realistic expectations. All of that increases employees' morale and confidence. Without those two, company is bound to fail sooner or later.

harimau22 6 months ago (0 children)
  • Your friends should recognize if you are yourself or if you are frustrated, close to being burned out. That is a clear indicator if you are at right job or not.
  • Your friends should also be able to help you figure out if you are appreciated and in a company with good culture

And, as your friend, you might want to listen to us if we point out these things more than a few times. There are one off vent sessions over a beer then there are long-term, consistent complaints.

Yes, sometimes you just want to vent, but if someone is pointing out the same thing constantly, they may have a point and it's up to you to start on a path to changing the situation.

VirtNinja 6 months ago (6 children)
This. Many resources out there clearly state that your friends either support your success or place negative labels on your success.

Go check out 7 habits of highly effective peeps. Will give you a completely new perspective. Not just about friends but yourself and how you interact with others.

Fen-Jai 6 months ago (5 children)
Have you got a link ?
rrrrea 6 months ago (0 children)
It's quite a famous book. https://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-Effective-People-Powerful/dp/0743269519
VA_Network_Nerd 6 months ago (2 children)
Sorry, it seems this comment or thread has violated a sub-reddit rule and has been removed by a moderator.

Community Members Shall Conduct Themselves With Professionalism.


If you wish to appeal this action please don't hesitate to message the moderation team .

Ginfly 6 months ago (1 child)
I wasn't really trying to troll but I can see it. Thanks for keeping the sub clean.
VA_Network_Nerd 6 months ago (0 children)
No permanent damage.
All is well.

Party On.

toomuchtodotoday 6 months ago (3 children)
This. OP needs new friends.
mjcov 6 months ago (2 children)
No, he just needs to understand that people give generic advice that they think sounds good but they really don't understand your job or have never been in your situation. And he does.

Being able to empathize with your friends concerns, to understand their feelings without understanding exactly what they're going through, is a talent that not everybody has. Neither is being self-aware enough to recognize when you lack such a talent and instead say "wow, that sounds tough, I don't have any advice, but good luck." But these are not the only attributes that make someone friend-worthy.

On the other hand, not everybody can tolerate having friends that lack empathy and understanding. So for some the answer "they need new friends" may be true, I just don't think OP necessarily does. In fact, I think it's the same kind of generic, bad advice that I'm talking about to say that he does.

slick8086 6 months ago (1 child)

Neither is being self-aware enough to recognize when you lack such a talent and instead say "wow, that sounds tough, I don't have any advice, but good luck."

When I'm in situations like this (I can't advise because I lack context or experience) I advise flipping a coin. Quit after finding a new job or stay and keep trying to change the place, heads or tails. After you've flipped the coin and seen the result, examine your feeling... disappointed or relieved? There's your answer regardless of the coin toss you know how you really feel, and should trust your gut.

WordBoxLLC 6 months ago (0 children)
And remember not to put that coin in your pocket where it will get mixed in and just become another coin.

E: Which it is.

dublea 6 months ago (0 children)
This! When my friend(s) complain about their current workplace/position/etc I always recommend they get their feelers out and start looking. It may take a while but you'll eventually find something.

It took me almost a year to find something comparable or better but didn't land the final interview this past year. But, my old job lost our largest client and I am now working for said client. Couldn't be happier!

JonnyLay 6 months ago (0 children)
Or they're in a worse paying job wishing ends would meet better...
darksim905 6 months ago (0 children)
You don't know what someone deals with & those people may want to bend over backward to help this person if they could. Don't automatically label them shitty friends. You don't even know them.
chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (0 children)
No. I trust them and usually come to them when I'm emotionally invested/upset and yelling about a situation at work. Making decisions in this mindset is always a bad idea. I was talked off a ledge long enough to make a smart, calculated decision.
djuniore29 6 months ago (0 children)
Shitty friends indeed. Or they're working for the company too.
Karyo_Ten 6 months ago (0 children)
Or maybe they don't work in IT and have poor job prospects.
lusid1 6 months ago (3 children)
You probably figured this out already, but the whole "go hire someone" thing was a ploy to keep you around a little longer. They gave you permission to recruit, not authority to hire. They were never going to green light the position.

You also facilitated management's bad behavior by putting too much effort into doing the right thing. You weren't valued or appreciated, you were just taken advantage of.

You made the right call in the end.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (0 children)
Spot on. I was given the illusion of great authority, but in the end - not on the things that matter. I borderline want to say the word 'budget' doesn't exist here.

Gun slingers!

scfd524 6 months ago (0 children)
This. Why would they hire someone when you're doing it all. IT employees have a much better stress level, work life balance, and career when they learn how to say no or "that's not my role". Unless you're trying to get into that area, never volunteer you do work that should be done by another area. It'll start becoming the norm and will never stop. Good luck on your next gig though!
mega_trex 6 months ago (0 children)
Yeah. I learned at my old job that the "what can we do to keep you?" question is bullshit. It's a way for them to determine what they can lie to your face about to string you along as far as possible. I asked for a team change, and they managed to string me along saying I was approved for almost 9 months, until suddenly I'm not approved anymore and there's not even a spot open for me.

Never again will I attempt to be honest with my manager. You can know that I'm thinking about leaving when I give you my 2 weeks notice.

CatherinCawood 6 months ago (15 children)
Thanks for the story, and the perspective. I'm the sole SA at a smallish entertainment-based development studio, didn't understand half the tech you reference and I do have a senior network architect I can (remotely) fall back on, but many days I'm totally overwhelmed. We had a major product success last year and we've been ramping up like crazy. More office rollout, more servers, more users, more developers (so like users but worse), more backup needs, more bandwidth, more "and can you get better teleconference speakers for the meeting rooms", more baroque software licensing to figure out, also do I have batteries? Mouse pads? Highlighters? Why are you asking me for highlighters? No I can't fix your chair. Etc etc. And I'm waiting for that one crucial system to break that I won't know how to fix.

I guess I'm just saying your post gave me some much-needed perspective. Cheers.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago * (6 children)
The chair! Omg I burst out laughing. Yes. Desk assembly goes on IT. You just wait until the 'standing desks' are ordered.

I...kid...you...not. Literally yesterday this happened

"My desk is beeping at me and has an ALB error on the controller, what do I do?"

It's a motorized standing/sitting desk. I can't make this shit up.

Hang in there. Someone once told me. The best time to look for a job is when you don't need a job.

Geminii27 6 months ago (0 children)
Chairs, coffee machines, ancient VCRs, doors ... I was asked to fix someone's Tamagotchi once.
4br4c4d4br4 6 months ago (0 children)

The best time to look for a job is when you don't need a job

Hell yeah! I quit about 6 months ago and don't even look. I get sporadic emails from LinkedIn and other avenues and if things look good, I'll apply, otherwise the hell with it. I've had a few interviews but sadly most places look like they have issues with understaffing, overworked, etc.

Ah well, in the next few years I'm sure something good comes up.

Szeraax 6 months ago (0 children)
Had my jr get assigned 2 more standing desks this week (about 8 installed in the last 2 months and I guess we literally can't trust someone to unplug their 3 cables from the little NUC...). I wrote him an email discussing the core parts of his job and how no one cares about how many standing desks are or are not installed at any given time. Focus on doing your job well, please talk to me or CIO if you are getting stressed by any workload (we all know that sometimes it feels like the tickets just stream in and you make no headway no matter what you do). We'll do whatever is needed to either take care of em.
ericrobert 6 months ago (0 children)

ALB error on the controller,

Lower the desk all the way to the bottom. I had this happen a week ago and had to google it.

DamnDirtyHippie 6 months ago (0 children)
I have also done some stand up desk troubleshooting and installation, if it has a wire in it or on it, or even holds something with a sufficient number of wires people can claim it is confusing, it's your problem. 15 years of working in the IT/SA field and I'm unboxing a desk because 'my computer has all the wires and I'll probably just mess it up if I try to move everything myself'. Fortunately our users are very reasonable in general.
krislol22 6 months ago (3 children)
I had a request for a toaster oven come in today.
ITOUTLAW 6 months ago (0 children)
Microwave door release button broke in the break room last week. Guess who got to take apart the microwave to get someone's food out?
jfoughe 6 months ago (1 child)
How about one of those tiny space heaters? A user asked me if I could figure out why it wasn't working, and all I did was flip a big red switch marked "ON."
TwistedViking 6 months ago (0 children)
Everywhere I've ever been has us refer those space heaters to Facilities, who will immediately confiscate them.
madplayshd 6 months ago (0 children)
Start to say no. Do the hours in your contract and go home. When stuff doesn't get done tell them you need more people. Either they get more people or you search for a new job. But if they don't get more people you would search for a new job anyway. Just burned out.

Seems to me like a lot of horror stories here are because people either care too much or are deeply afraid of looking for a new job. These conditions exist because you let them.

banksnld 6 months ago (0 children)
When I worked help desk at a bank, I had a teller contact me about a dead squirrel in the pneumatic tubes.
Steve_78_OH 6 months ago (0 children)
Years ago a manager from a different department (non IT obviously) walked over to us to let us know a toilet was clogged. We all just looked at him and laughed. I was also yelled at once for not helping someone move a file cabinet during an office move, while we still had tons of PC's left to setup.

IT has always been the "well, we don't have above whose responsibility it is to take care of this, so IT can do it" field.

GraphiteBlue 6 months ago (0 children)

more developers (so like users but worse)

It's sad because it's true. :(

qnull 6 months ago (13 children)
I'm going through a similar situation to you OP but for a different reason.

I left a good MSP job (busy and at times frustrating) for a larger employer and the job I was expecting to have is not at all like the one I applied for it's very boring and quite slow with too much idle time sometimes which is weird since it's an operations roles for a billion dollar business but probably half of the "work" I'm doing now is "hey sorry to wake you but we got this alarm and we've raised an incicent can you take a look" when I used to design and manage environments end to end.

My job for some people would be the jackpot but for me it's awful and I'm considering leaving to go back to my way more stressful MSP job.

My problem is I have too many resources to call on (multiple teams to escalate to) and I'm just left watching the screens because of it.

quiterascible 6 months ago (0 children)
This is what I'm afraid of as well but I need more friggin money. The screen watchers actually make more because they exist in big companies with lots of money.
Szeraax 6 months ago (5 children)
Cue the daleks: Automate! Automate! Automate! :)
qnull 6 months ago (1 child)
We definantely do some automation but maybe not enough.

The alarms are mostly validation checks (is it actually p1? Is that event due to a change?) and anything that can be automated is and we don't get alerts for it.

Our alarm dashboard is an aggregator of a ton of systems that all send their alarms to it.

Unfortunately once the infrastructure and databases become self healing we're all out of a job.

Szeraax 6 months ago (0 children)
Same boat here. "is this really going to happen again before this system is decommed?" Should I spend a few hours making a good test that will determine if its really this problem again and fixing it + reporting the result of the fix? Or should I spend the 6 minutes it takes to fix this and move on with my life.

Re: Self healing - out of a job. Oh PLEASE! We're not out of a job when stuff is self healing; we're into a new one. I'm just a regular sys admin and even I am starting to think about how I can use machine learning to solve issues I face or to improve our business. It'll be QUITE some time before I actually start doing anthing with ML, let alone something useful. I'd LOVE to have more time to play with new stuff.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (2 children)
We use ansible for automation. I do love it but it's fairly time consuming to setup (half the stuff is in a txt doc waiting for a playbook to be built)
Szeraax 6 months ago (0 children)
Yes it is! Holy crap it is.
DeeBee1968 5 months ago (0 children)
What ?? You mean the Buggers didn't leave an easier way to do it ?
toomuchtodotoday 6 months ago (3 children)
Have you considered looking for another role in management with higher pay and more responsibility?
qnull 6 months ago (1 child)
Management jobs usually require some management experience and I have a little bit of team leading experience but not the sort of "manage this budget and this department" management experience I'm also torn between making that jump to management and getting "off the tools" or doing a deep dive into a specific set of technical tools.
TheBros35 6 months ago (0 children)
My dad was an engineer for various semiconductor factories for years. He hit that same point in his role - but there was a much bigger push to go to management, which he did. after about 5 years of that he quit - he was way to burnt out and hasn't returned to corporate life since. The money was good but the job wasn't worth it.

Hell, the only job he's had in years was as a general contractor putting in sinks and stuff making what I do as a help desk monkey.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (0 children)
I'm sort of going into a remote management position. Working for a MSP as problem escalation for 8 techs. Finding 'teachable moments' (probably all of them!) to train on troubleshooting process. In my spare time I'll be getting amazon aws certs and I'll eventually move into a different role. Sounds challenging enough not to be bored :)
SS324 6 months ago (1 child)
Spend your time learning or learning how to do the jobs of those you escalate to.
qnull 6 months ago * (0 children)
Oh I can do their jobs they're like "tier 3" while we're "tier 2" and we can do actual work (permissions allowing) our team holds the same level of certs they do (MCSA, MCSE etc) were just in at a different layer of the business which is changing.

I don't just watch for alarms and escalate it's just a small part of the role really but it's the most prominent part when you're on the graveyards which always makes me a bit resentful of my own choice to come here.

Dr_Legacy 6 months ago (0 children)
"I need more help, I have too many jobs."

"OK, here's another one: hire yourself some staff."

Totally disfunctional company. Obvs does not have an HR dept. worth a shit.

gabrielpereiraalves 6 months ago (1 child)

I talk to friends. Smart people I look up to and trust. The answer?

-the problem is you. Your expectations are too high

-no job is perfect. Be happy you have one and can support your family.

They clearly have NO IDEA what such a job really is.

-IoI- 6 months ago (0 children)
Seriously, the lack of gratification from these jobs can be crushing.
robertito42 6 months ago (0 children)
I got anxious just reading that

Glad you got out

tron_funkin_blow 6 months ago (0 children)
No, he said he had to sweep snow off a satellite dish because it's heater was broke. He said nothing about being on the roof. Sweeping dishes after a heavy snowfall is not uncommon. I had to do the same thing this morning while on-call.

I work in a small environment incredibly similar to OP's, Calix, Metaswitch, etc. We have a SME for each area; one for voice, one for IP/IT systems (me), one for video, and two outside plant guys. We cover/triage each others duties during on-call rotation. It works well enough for us, but sounds like OP is doing it all. It would be one thing if he had to only deal with the non-IT stuff on occasion, but if all those responsibilities are solely his, thats untenable.

DamnDirtyHippie 6 months ago (0 children)
If it's a small company everyone needs to chip in beyond their official responsibility to make things work, but they also need to be compensated at the rate of their top skills and not driven into the ground. IMO
Steev182 6 months ago (3 children)
So how did you find this remote role?
NotFakingRussian 6 months ago (0 children)
Asking the real questions, lol.
chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (1 child)
Indeed.com !

The KEY was expanding the distance of jobs. I live 200+ miles away from the office.

freythman 6 months ago (0 children)
There are tons of remote jobs out there. Just gotta find them.
Red5point1 6 months ago (2 children)
The problem here is that you kept the ship running, even though you told management you needed help, things were still getting done.
Management will not do anything about thing until they break, so while you bust your ass keeping things going they don't care how you did it. All they know is things are still running.
You either have to show them things breaking or put your foot down negotiate a commitment to hire a hand.
Just out of interest what was their reaction when you handed in your notice? Did they counter or they simply decided to hire a replacement. They must have been in a world of hurt if it was the latter and you were the only one doing that role.
chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (1 child)
I think the email went like this 'we want to keep you, would salary make a difference? Give us a number and I'll see what I can do'

I think my reply went something like 'I appreciate the offer but it's too late'

chalbersma 6 months ago (0 children)
Wait, put in Quadruple the number. If they match it bring in 2 contractors to do your job.

I've always wanted to see if this works.

xaijin 6 months ago (2 children)
$500 is a joke. I make that working 1 day a weekend. A lot of companies referral bonus range from $2000-7000.
Merakel 6 months ago (0 children)
It's not even a joke. It's an insult.
IAMA_Cucumber_AMA 6 months ago (0 children)
Yup plus it will get heavily taxed and end up being ~$300 when it hits your wallet
donjulioanejo 6 months ago (0 children)
Yep, a recruiter bringing someone in will cost 15-25k. Giving someone an internal referral for 7k is comparative peanuts, AND you get two happy employees because of that.
DemandsBattletoads 6 months ago (0 children)
At my company it's 2k.
dwerb 6 months ago (5 children)
Heya, I don't know how far into your career you are, but I'm 45, pretty senior level (I've been a c-level exec) and wanted to tell you:

Don't ever compromise. Ever.

I am in a similar situation at an MSP (I'm in a leadership role) and have the same kinds of conversations about resources and losing valuable workers because there's no help. The management above me isn't listening and we are going to lose a very fine employee (like yourself -- someone with skill who is trying to make it better but is not being heard -- and it's because management don't know how to run an ITIL-based shop and hire to that kind of skill set. I put toghether a framework to measure qualifications of our employees and they all measure up to Tier 1 analysts/engineers (in both experience and quals) and some of them are considered Tier 3 employees and they can't do something as simple as read and interpret a Wireshark packet capture. And I keep being told either "we have to make do with what we have" or "you're not seeing what good they can do". So clearly in my case there's a division in vision for leadership and I'm giving up and probably moving on. In your case, you tried, gave your input, and, if they're not gonna listen to you, move on. Your expectations are NOT too high. Their expectations aren't high enough. Move on to somewhere there's a fit. You can only help someone from burning their hand on the stove so many times before you give up and go watch TV.

Good luck in your career.

chalbersma 6 months ago (3 children)

"you're not seeing what good they can do". So clearly in my case there's a division in vision for leadership

Are you?

dwerb 6 months ago (0 children)
Yes. They all are 6 months to 1 year out of technical school. They are able to accomplish SOME tasks. They are unskilled at anything above Tier 1 despite someone saying "you know about X. Here, go do it."

For instance, a windows admin should be able to implement GPO and know what it's about. Maybe have an MS cert. but our main windows admin is working towards his CCNA and has been out of school for 6 months. Not exactly a right fit for that job.

dwerb 6 months ago (1 child)
Also, the "good they do" is things like change light bulbs and take out the trash.

Not exactly what they SHOULD be doing.

chalbersma 6 months ago (0 children)
So you have tier 3 employees who only change lightbulbs and take out trash? This seems unlikely.
Red5point1 6 months ago (0 children)
I've been in a similar situation, the problem is not necessarily an issue with vision. More than likely upper management have been given the mandate to keep costs down or at least same.
So they will come up with any excuse not to hire more people or if someone of good quality leaves they will only hire someone lower quality i.e. lower pay.
That is the problem with corporate culture everyone is there looking only after number one, as long as the job is getting done they don't care how much those doing it care about the company or that they are doing their jobs efficiently, cost effective or to a high standard.
All they care about is that the job is getting done.
jimothyjones 6 months ago (0 children)
Stories like this is why I gave up trying. Used to, I would change my plans to do a last minute cutover on the weekend because you changed the date 3 different times. These days, my response is always, "I have an opening 3 weeks from now".....because I don't let it fuck up my life anymore. Frankly, nothing has happened since I started giving those answers. What are they going to do anyways? Hire someone else? pffft.
4br4c4d4br4 6 months ago (0 children)
Christ, I felt bad for myself when I quit MY job but goddamn, you were in a shithole! Glad you found something better.

I still hear from people at my old job that nothing has changed. They hire someone else but never fix the problems. Overworked, understaffed, complaints are listened too with great concern and then ignored.

gilias 6 months ago (0 children)
It does sound very much like they're, perhaps unwittingly, taking advantage of you and you're right to want to leave a job that's damaging your life so terribly.

I mean, works sucks most of the time, but it doesn't have to suck ALL the time and there should be at least enough people to have the work ease off from time to time or you just go manic from the stress.

Everybody expects different things from their job and not all jobs are right for all people. IMO, life is too short to spend it doing a job you hate or working in a toxic environment. I applaud your efforts to try and improve things but ultimately you've got to draw a line where enough is enough and just move on. Do what's right by you, because your company is working every day to do what's right by them and not necessarily what's good for you.

moofishies 6 months ago (0 children)
You told them what you needed to stay, brought them the perfect candidate for it, and they didn't do it. Should have started looking right then.

Congrats on the new job though, hope you found somewhere more relaxed :)

djgizmo 6 months ago (2 children)
Something sounds off. You talked to the ceo about what they can do, and they have their own headend, but won't outsource the printers? That's always the first thing that needs to be sourced out because it's petty shit like toner or pain in ass like the fuser.

Sounds like they needed someone to streamline the processes, and have 2-3 more people on board. A senior network guy and two more minions eager to learn and take those 'patch cable broken' or port security tickets.

chrisanzalone007 6 months ago (1 child)
Let's just say things were done correctly when they got a large grant from the government 6 years ago.
djgizmo 6 months ago (0 children)
Weren't?
salgat 6 months ago (0 children)
You were used hard and long and have been fed bad advice. You should have left that place long ago and hopefully this lesson will stick with you forever.
nirach 6 months ago (0 children)
That sounds like a shitty environment, and some less than stellar friends.
12thetechguy 6 months ago (0 children)

Multicast not working in one segment of our network? Good luck! No one knows how it works.

truer words have never been spoken

kellyzdude 6 months ago (0 children)
The same two questions, every time, before you go looking. And then the third, when you have an offer on the table (sometimes it's one you went looking for, sometimes it's one that just appeared in your inbox).
  1. Are you happy? If not, why not?
  2. Will a different job make you happier?
  3. Will this opportunity make you happier?

Sometimes the problem is at home, and changing your work life might help (if it brings more money or a shorter commute), and sometimes it won't. Sometimes the problem is at work, and you can influence change either within the organization or within yourself (changing your expectations, adjusting your work schedule to be earlier or later, discussing with your management group about changes to your role, etc) in order to improve the situation. Or you improve your work situation by leaving it behind, if there is no way to improve it or the people who can help improve it are unwilling (or themselves unable) to do so.

Yes, sometimes the easy opportunities for change just aren't there, and you need to make harder decisions about the change your life needs. In those moments one should be grateful for what they have, but it doesn't necessarily mean they should accept that this is their lot in life. Maybe you need to move. Maybe you're looking for a remote position. Maybe you take the plunge and live off savings for a few months -- though unless you're on the verge of a breakdown, this can cause complications later; it's generally true that it is easier to find a job if you have a job. Not universally, but generally. Maybe you give up IT and become a Birthday Clown, because you enjoy making children happy more than you enjoy clicking buttons anymore.

Best of luck to you in your new place, hopefully it works out!

d00ber 6 months ago * (0 children)
Are your friends in IT in any way? I find that most people have no idea what IT means, or the individual fields. They expect the same person who helps them with spreadsheets also makes/updates the websites, sets up the phone system, maintains the network.. and may even think they plug in their power bar. Most people can't discern the difference between facilities, an electrician and someone in one of the many fields of IT in my experience.

Heck, at my company the executives have no idea what I do. They ask me to do things from investigate and roll out MDM.. to go to one of our communities and setup one of the resident's televisions. I've even been asked to install generator power outlets.. I've just learned to say "no" and explain to them who's responsibility it is. If they are unwilling to hire someone or even just bring the proper person from within the organization, the problem can stay a problem.

Your friends may not be crappy, they might just be clueless.

SideburnsOfDoom 6 months ago (0 children)

The CEO found out and we sat down ... He puts that responsibility on me.

I've seen my own managers do the same, and still am thinking through if, when and how it's a mistake. Managers are there to support and enable important things happening. If it's a small thing then all they need to do is give you permission to do it. But if it's a big thing then they need to mange it, e.g track it, ask how it's going, ask what you need, get other people involved, set priorities etc. Not just give a pep talk, say "it's on you now" and wash hands of it. That basically means, "cheer up, but I don't care". If I wanted someone to listen carefully and then do nothing about it I'd go to therapy, thanks.

r0ck0 6 months ago * (0 children)
Being that IT is generally a self-taught field, where we can play around with and test things before doing them in production...

I recommend sticking to jobs where you're doing commonly reproducible/testable software stuff. i.e. standard Windows/Linux servers + standard software. Basically things that can be completely learned and tested in virtual machines, without needing any special hardware at all.

I reckon all the proprietary "black box" / vendor specific devices etc you mentioned make working in "IT" much much more stressful. You basically have to learn a whole heap of different systems where what you learn is only applicable to one device. And you can't easily play around with them like you can with pure software and virtual machines etc. So you're often learning & testing in production, and even then, only once something has already failed. And you're likely not going to have spare parts, or even be able to get them easily. The same goes for network engineers dealing with lots of cisco routers etc to a certain degree. Basically anything that involves hardware except for standard PCs and servers running Windows or Linux.

I worked for a post-production company for a while, and yeah it was similar. I was busy as fuck with the regular standard everyday IT shit, yet still had the responsibly to figure out all there proprietary devices etc that I'd never even heard of before. And because they're not commonplace IT stuff, there's fuckall information on the internet to learn about them and troubleshoot etc. And of course learning about that shit doesn't translate into useful skills you can take elsewhere in other IT jobs.

So yeah these days, I'm 100% software. I actually do IT consulting part time, and even when my clients want to buy hardware, I just give them some recommendations and get them to order it directly from Dell or whoever. I don't want to be responsible for hardware failures, of which I have zero control over.

jsmith1300 6 months ago (0 children)
OP I'm in the same boat. COO found out that my medial issues I may jump ship. Had a chat and he said he would do everything to get people hired. My boss has had approval for hiring for weeks now and not one person has been interviewed. I have also been thinking about getting medicated because I'm in denial with work. I'm going to jump ship soon take time off and see what happens.
br4n1m1r 6 months ago (0 children)
That is what MSP is. MSP is the environment where self-driven, stoic people survive and other people crumble. MSP is especially tough in the role like yours as you have no one to rely on anymore, but everyone else is coming to you to fix a problem they can't figure out. I am there, been there for awhile. People think you are smarter than them, but all you are is more persistent and willing to sacrifice your sanity and your free time to figure out a problem by going to 10th page of google and performing advanced search queries on reddit.

I think MSP life after age of 35 is impossible to do unless you are crazy. :)

ryanknapper 6 months ago (0 children)
The good news is that after doing all that you should be a star employee somewhere else, able to handle catastrophes with calm grace and skill.
Ailbe 6 months ago (0 children)
You were in an impossible situation with really shit poor management. Don't waste a second thought. They'll either figure out why they can't keep people or they'll fail in spectacular fashion. The bottom line is you have to protect yourself and your interests, you owe that company nothing. The only time you owe a company that isn't your own is if the company makes significant investment in your and your career, which your former company clearly didn't. Good for you on recognizing that you had options. In many ways in that former situation you were the one with the power and its great that you exercised it.

Good luck with your new job!

liquidose 6 months ago (1 child)
I went through practically the same thing. Found a nice job down the street from my house I could just walk to. They had a full web team to handle all their websites and web problems, but their skills were about 20 years old. At first I didn't notice because I would handle IT / network problems all day.

Then eventually I started getting web site issues pushed to me, then web design issues. Eventually I was building all their web sites and running their entire web platform while everyone else on that team just sat around all day making emails. All this extra work never came with any pay increase and everyone would always say "You do everything here, if you leave we're screwed".

A day came when there was a landslide of issues combined with an HR nightmare and nobody seemed to wanted to handle anything. By the end of the day I realized I had wanted to leave the job for over a year and I was only staying to keep things together until I got everything to a stable point. Unfortunately this place could never reach a stable point because their management was an absolute shit show and never wanted to step up to face any big problems.

This seems really common after reading some stories here. A good amount of IT people probably feel obligated to keep things running even when they hate their job.

I also found a remote job with a ridiculous salary increase after going through so many interviews to the point of utter mental exhaustion. The grass definitely can be greener sometimes its just much harder to find than you would ever think.

[Oct 02, 2018] Trump is light fare compared to where the Neoliberal Democrats will go and has been, regarding women, sex, and all things crass

Oct 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

Iberiano says: September 29, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT 300 Words Looking at that photo of the former primary contenders, reminded me of all the holier-than-though talk we got from the right-of-center, about how Trump was too gruff, and crass, about everything, including sexual topics, interactions with women, etc.

What these hearings demonstrated, that we already knew, was that the Puritan-Jew alliance is obsessed with all things sexual, perverted, distasteful theirs is a world of, as you point out, "preppy white boy" fantasies, where the bad guys look like the blond jock in Karate Kid, and drive around in their Dad's 1982 Buick Regal or their own '79 Camero, looking to "score" with virginal know-nothing, Red Riding Hoods, that happen to find themselves at 'gang rape parties' (?), out of nowhere. Who go on to have Leftist careers only to resurrect repressed memories 35 years later–projected in front of the world

It's a silly framework from which they obsess, but it's similar to Kinsey, Mead and others of the Left. Sex. Projection, doubling-down, and an absence of due process to punish people for the very things that actually occupy their minds. Even in her advanced age, you could tell, Feinstein was enjoying the open air discussions regarding sexual topics.

Let the Right / Never-Trumpers be on notice–Trump is light fare compared to where the Left will go and has been, regarding women, sex, and all things crass.

[Sep 23, 2018] European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed Theresa May appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

Sep 23, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 22, 2018 at 11:49 am

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/22/euro-s22.html

From the Super Schadenfreude Press:

"UK Prime Minister Theresa May suffered political humiliation in Salzburg, when European Union (EU) leaders rebuffed her appeal to give at least conditional support to her Chequers proposal for a "soft Brexit."

May was given only 10 minutes to address EU heads of state Wednesday, after dinner at the informal summit, during which she appealed to her audience, "You are participants in our debate, not just observers."

She said she had counted on at least supportive noises for her "serious and workable" plan, given that she was seeking to head off a potential challenge from the "hard-Brexit"/Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party. She warned that the UK could be torn apart -- with respect to Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as by social tensions; that if her government fell, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party could win a general election; and cited the potential damage to the EU itself of lost trade, investment and military support from the UK.

Instead, her address was met with silence and her implied threats were stonewalled, as the main players within the EU combined the next day to declare her proposals to be "unworkable.

No matter how these conflicts play out, Britain and the whole of Europe face a worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU apart. The growth of both inter-imperialist and social antagonisms found dramatic form in Brexit, which the dominant sections of the City of London, big business, all the major parties and Britain's allies in the US and Europe all opposed. Yet two years later, May is fighting a desperate struggle against her anti-EU "hard-Brexit" faction, the US is led by a president who has declared his support for the breakup of the EU, and numerous far-right governments have taken power in part by exploiting popular hostility to EU-dictated austerity."

"worsening crisis that threatens to tear the EU-(and hence NATO)- apart. " .

:O)

[Sep 22, 2018] A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington

Sep 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al September 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm

Euractiv with AFP: Belgian inquest implicates UK in phone spying
https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/belgian-inquest-implicates-uk-in-phone-spying/

A confidential report by Belgian investigators confirms that British intelligence services hacked state-owned Belgian telecom giant Belgacom on behalf of Washington, it was revealed on Thursday (20 September).

The report, which summarises a five-year judicial inquiry, is almost complete and was submitted to the office of Justice Minister Koen Geens, a source close to the case told AFP, confirming Belgian press reports

The matter will now be discussed within Belgium's National Security Council, which includes the Belgian Prime Minister with top security ministers and officials.

Contacted by AFP, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office and the cabinet of Minister Geens refused to comment .
####

NO. Shit. Sherlock.

So the real question is that if this has known since 2013, why now? BREXIT?

[Sep 21, 2018] On Brexit, UK Negotiators Have Adopted a Hard Bargaining Strategy

Notable quotes:
"... The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success. ..."
"... The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). ..."
"... You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf ..."
"... The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor. ..."
"... I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium. ..."
"... The NATO establishment is about "making war," ..."
"... All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers. ..."
"... In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way ..."
"... The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. ..."
"... I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... in the real world ..."
"... Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum. ..."
"... Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something. ..."
"... Ons should be very aware that EU directives comes mainly from the member states and that especially bad things that would never fly past an election could – and often is – spun by local government as "Big Bad Bruxelles is forcing poor little us to do this terrible thing to you poor people". Ala the British on trade deal with India and immigration of east-european workers. ..."
"... The EU does not have that much in the way of enforcement powers, that part is down-sourced to the individual member states. When a member state doesn't give a toss, it takes forever for some measure of sanctioning to spin up and usually it daily fines unto a misbehaving government, at the taxpayers expense (which of course those politicians who don't give a toss, are fine with since most of their cronies are not great taxpayers anyway). ..."
"... The solution is, patently, Tories out of power. Which I think will happen, certainly between now and 31 March 2019. Now would be better. Anyone thinking strategically in other parties in the UK (an oxymoron of a formulation, to be sure) would call for a no confidence vote the instant May's feet are on British soil. ..."
"... I doubt that this is personal, but what do I know. May is a nincompoop. The other heads of state patently, and quite rightly, don't respect her. Her presence has been useful to them only insofar as she could deliver a deal. ..."
"... I'd agree with your analysis of what happened – just glancing through the news today it seems that Macron in particular just lost patience, and the other leaders were happy to help him put the boot in. The EU has been trying to shore May up for a long time – the December agreement was little more than an attempt to protect her from an internal heave. This is a common dynamic in the EU – however much the leaders may dislike each other, they will usually prefer the person at the seat than the potential newcomer. ..."
"... But I think the EU has collectively decided that May is simply incapable of delivering any type of agreement, so there is no point in mincing words. They simply don't care any more if the Tory government collapses, or if they put Rees Mogg or Johnson in power. It makes absolutely zero difference to them. In fact, it might make it easier for the EU if the UK goes politically insane as they can then wash their hands of the problem. ..."
"... A colleague told me today he knows of several Northern Irish Republicans who voted leave, precisely because they thought this would create constitutional havoc and lead to a united Ireland. It seems at least some people were thinking strategically . ..."
"... British politicians apparently were supposed to negotiate Brexit among themselves. And once they had reached a (tentative) consensus the foreigners (the EU) were apparently supposed to bow down and accept the British proposal. ..."
"... Which means I never understood why the British media was treating the Chequers proposal as a serious proposal? And spending lots of time and articles discussing on how to convince the EU / the member states. ..."
"... As a Scot can I point out that it is English politicians who are responsible for this mess? ..."
Sep 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 20, 2018 by Yves Smith Yves here. While the specific observations in this post will be very familiar to readers (you've said the same things in comments!), I beg to differ with calling the Government's Brexit negotiating stance a strategy. It's bad habit plus lack of preparation and analysis.

And the UK's lack of calculation and self-awareness about how it is operating means it will be unable to change course.

By Benjamin Martill, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dahrendorf Forum where he focuses on Europe after Brexit. He is based at LSE IDEAS, the London School of Economics's foreign policy think tank. The Dahrendorf Forum is a joint research venture between LSE and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Originally published at openDemocracy

But is this the best strategy for advancing British interests? Here is the argument based on the findings of a recent Dahrendorf Forum working paper .

All eyes in British politics are on the negotiations between the UK and the EU over the terms of the forthcoming British withdrawal from the Union, or Brexit. Surprisingly, questions of bargaining strategy – once the preserve of diplomats and niche academic journals – have become some of the most defining issues in contemporary British politics.

The New Politics of Bargaining

Cabinet disagreements over the conduct of the negotiations led to the resignation of David Davis and Boris Johnson in early July 2018 and the issue continues to divide the ruling Conservative party. Theresa May's most recent statements have all addressed the question of how hard she has pushed Brussels in the talks.

But is the hard bargaining strategy appropriate, or will it ultimately harm the UK? The salience of this question should occasion deeper analysis of the fundamentals of international bargaining, given the extent to which the course of British politics will be determined by the government's performance (or perceived performance) in the Brexit talks.

Driving a Hard Bargain

A hard-bargaining strategy isn't necessarily a poor one. To the extent it is workable, it may even represent the sensible option for the UK.

Hard bargaining is characterised by negative representations of negotiating partners, unwillingness to make concessions, issuance of unrealistic demands, threats to damage the partner or exit the negotiations, representations of the talks in zero-sum terms, failure to provide argumentation and evidence, and withholding of information. From diplomats' portrayal of the EU as an uncooperative and bullying negotiating partner to a set of demands recognised as unrealistic in Brussels and Britain alike, the UK's approach to the Brexit negotiations scores highly on each of these measures.

The consensus in the academic literature is generally that hard bargaining works only where a given party has a relative advantage . Powerful states have an incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since by doing so they will be able to extract greater concessions from weaker partners and maximise the chance of achieving an agreement on beneficial terms.

But weaker actors have less incentive to engage in hard bargaining, since they stand to lose more materially if talks break down and reputationally if they're seen as not being backed by sufficient power,

So which is Britain?

Power Distribution

The success of hard bargaining depends on the balance of power. But even a cursory examination would seem to confirm that the UK does not hold the upper hand in the negotiations. Consider three standard measures of bargaining power: a country's economic and military capabilities, the available alternatives to making a deal, and the degree of constraint emanating from the public.

When it comes to capabilities, the UK is a powerful state with considerable economic clout and greater military resources than its size would typically warrant. It is the second-largest economy in the EU (behind Germany) and its GDP is equal to that of the smallest 19 member states. And yet in relative terms, the combined economic and military power of the EU27 dwarves that of the UK: the EU economy is five times the size of the UK's.

Next, consider the alternatives. A 'no deal' scenario would be damaging for both the UK and the EU, but the impact would be more diffuse for the EU member states. They would each lose one trading partner, whereas the UK would lose all of its regional trading partners. Moreover, the other powers and regional blocs often cited as alternative trading partners (the US, China, the Commonwealth, ASEAN) are not as open as the EU economy to participation by external parties, nor are they geographically proximate (the greatest determinant of trade flows), nor will any deal be able to replicate the common regulatory structure in place in the EU. This asymmetric interdependence strongly suggests that the UK is in greater need of a deal than the EU.

Finally, consider the extent of domestic constraints. Constraint enhances power by credibly preventing a leader from offering too generous a deal to the other side. On the EU side the constraints are clear: Barnier receives his mandate from the European Council (i.e. the member states) to whom he reports frequently. When asked to go off-piste in the negotiations, he has replied that he does not have the mandate to do so. On the UK side, by contrast, there is no such mandate. British negotiators continually cite Eurosceptic opposition to the EU's proposals in the cabinet, the Conservative party, and the public, but they are unable to guarantee any agreement will receive legislative assent, and cannot cite any unified position.

Perceptions of Power

But the real power distribution is not the only thing that matters. While the EU is the more powerful actor on objective criteria, a number of key assumptions and claims made by the Brexiteers have served to reinforce the perception that Britain has the upper hand.

First, on the question of capabilities, the discourse of British greatness (often based on past notions of power and prestige) belies the UK's status as a middle power (at best) and raises unrealistic expectations of what Britain's economic and military resources amount to. Second, on the question of alternatives, the oft-repeated emphasis on 'global Britain' and the UK's stated aim to build bridges with its friends and allies around the globe understates the UK's reliance on Europe, the (low) demand for relations with an independent Britain abroad, and the value of free trade agreements or other such arrangements with third countries for the UK. Third, on the question of domestic constraint, the post-referendum discourse of an indivisible people whose wishes will be fulfilled only through the implementation of the Brexit mandate belies the lack of consensus in British politics and the absence of a stable majority for either of the potential Brexit options, including the 'no deal', 'hard', or 'soft' variants of Brexit. Invoking 'the people' as a constraint on international action, in such circumstances, is simply not credible.

Conclusion

Assumptions about Britain's status as a global power, the myriad alternatives in the wider world, and the unity of the public mandate for Brexit, have contributed to the overstatement of the UK's bargaining power and the (false) belief that hard bargaining will prove a winning strategy.

Britain desperately needs to have an honest conversation about the limits of the UK's bargaining power. This is not 'treasonous', as ardent Brexiteers have labelled similar nods to reality, but is rather the only way to ensure that strategies designed to protect the national interest actually serve this purpose. Power is a finite resource that cannot be talked into existence. Like a deflating puffer fish, the UK's weakness will eventually become plain to see. The risk is that before this occurs, all bridges will be burned, all avenues exhausted, and all feathers ruffled.

The arguments in this blog are based on the findings of a Dahrendorf Forum working paper by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger titled ' Cultures of Negotiation: Explaining Britain's Hard Bargaining in the Brexit Negotiations '.

The opinions expressed in this blog contribution are entirely those of the author and do not represent the positions of the Dahrendorf Forum or its hosts Hertie School of Governance and London School of Economics and Political Science or its funder Stiftung Mercator.


larry , September 20, 2018 at 10:30 am

I tend to agree that there is no real strategy on the UK's part. May resembles a broken record, where she says much the same thing over and over again, seemingly expecting a different response each time. Although Einstein said that he probably never made the claim about what insanity consists of, it is often attributed to him -- doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is the very definition of insanity. How the government expects that this sort of behavior will bring desirable results is beyond me.

Schofield , September 20, 2018 at 10:35 am

Both UK and EU politicians are talking past each other. Neither side understands there are two key issues. Firstly, not understanding the economic effects stemming from the failure to understand how money is created and how it can be manipulated for global trading advantage. Secondly, that the UK is high up the list for "cultural tightness" and the reasons for this.

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/6df109_a5da34d6a9ae4114be82ccf4b024a2b2.pdf

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 10:37 am

The other element of course of a negotiation is getting potential allies to roll up behind you. At the start of this the UK had a series of potential 'friends' it could call on – eurosceptics governments in Eastern Europe, close historic friends and political like minded governments in Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland. And of course non-EU countries like India or the US with historic links.

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those though its heavy handed negotiations or laughable lack of political empathy.

It must be emphasised that the current Irish government is ideologically and instinctively very pro-London. And yet, today RTE is reporting about the latest meeting between May and Varadkar:

The source said there was "an open exchange of views" between both sides, with the Irish delegation emphasising that the time was short and "we need to get to the stage where we can consider a legal text" on the backstop.

The source described British proposals so far as "only an outline, and we haven't seen specific proposals from the British side."

This can only be translated as 'what the hell are they playing at?'

The Indians of course were amusedly baffled by the British assumption that they would welcome open trade (without lots of new visas for Indian immigrants). Trump just smelt the blood of a wounded animal. The Russians are well

Jim A. , September 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

"an open exchange of views" Which is a diplomat's way of saying that there was a shouting match and no agreement.

PlutoniumKun , September 20, 2018 at 3:31 pm

I imagine it as being a little like this (not work safe if you have audio on).

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:27 pm

Mercy! I will save and share this. Thank you, Pu-kun.

Fazal Majid , September 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

The British cited the EU's inability to conclude a free-trade agreement with India as one example of the EU's failings a revitalized Global Britain would no longer be shackled by. That's quite rich considering the FTA was torpedoed when the British Home Secretary vetoed increased visas for the Indians. Her name was Theresa May.

HotFlash , September 20, 2018 at 8:34 pm

True? Comedy gold!

fajensen , September 21, 2018 at 5:20 am

They somehow managed to anger or frustrate nearly all of those

Somehow?

The brits basically said: We are special people, much, much better, richer and stronger than you sorry lot of Peons to Brussels(tm), so now you shall see sense and give us what we want this week; you can call it your tribute if you like (because we don't care what you like :)

Half the Danes are fed up with the whole thing and the other half would be egging on a hard Brexit if only they could – knowing it will likely take out at least some of the worst and most overleveraged (and gorged with tax-paid subsidies) Anti-Environmentalist Danish industrial farmers, their bankers too. And diminish the power of their lobbyists: "Landbrug & Fødevarer"!

The good part is that: the British and the Danish governments have managed to make "being ruled by faceless bureaucrats in Brussels" look like a pretty much OK & decent deal, considering the alternative options: Being ruled by our local crazies, straight-up nutters and odious nincompoops (a word i like), half of whom, to top it up, are probably mere soulless proxies for those ghouls that are running Washington DC.

Tom Stone , September 20, 2018 at 11:11 am

Always bet on stupid.
Because human stupidity is infinite.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 11:30 am

Though it often fits neatly into one of four categories, described here:

"The basic laws of human stupidity,"

http://harmful.cat-v.org/people/basic-laws-of-human-stupidity/

Seems we humans are pretty good at inventing negative-sum games that we belieeeve are zero-sum

Watt4Bob , September 20, 2018 at 12:27 pm

It seems more and more to me, that never ending class warfare, and its current emphasis on austerity, leaves us unable to envision alternate routes to economic health.

The neo-liberal consensus mandates that our ruling class never questions its own tactics, ie dog-whistle racism to distract and divide the lower classes to enable all the looting.

So on both sides of the Atlantic, the rulers of English speakers stir up resentment amongst those at the bottom in order to secure votes, and maintain power, while never intending to follow through on promises to provide tangible material benefits to their constituents.

The looting goes on, the trail of broken promises grows longer, and the misery deepens.

The issue being ignored is that the folks at the bottom have reached the limit of their ability to maintain life and limb in the face of downward economic pressure.

We've finally reached the end game, we in America have been driven to Trumpism, and in Britain they've been driven to Brexit by the clueless efforts of pols to maintain power in the face of electorates who have decided they have had enough, and will absolutely not take the SOS anymore.

So we have the nonsensical situation of pols on both sides of the Atlantic flirting with economic collapse, and even civil war rather than moderate their irrational fixation on making the insanely rich even richer.

In both cases we have a cast of alternating villains robbing and beating us while waving flags and loudly complaining that we aren't showing the proper level of enthusiasm.

Which leaves me with one question for those villains;

Where you gonna hide.

Hayek's Heelbiter , September 21, 2018 at 8:09 pm

Yup.

Why no one, especially the punditocracy seems to realize this, is astonishing.

I also cannot believe the Old Gray Lady killing millions of trees in its shrill efforts to prove the Russians cost Hilary the election and nary a word about how totally fed up and voiceless (with the exception of a single presidential vote) are those in the Great Flyover.

Also find it amazing that the Beeb with rudimentary linguistic forensic analysis identified Mike Pence as almost certainly the author of the scathing anti-Trump memo the NYT published anonymously, without a single mention of this now widely-known fact.

disillusionized , September 20, 2018 at 12:28 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
That's what determines UK negotiating strategy, the ones who don't want to play hardball can't see the point in leaving, and the ones who wan't to leave, can't see the point of negotiating.
for all intents and purposes this is a accession negotiation in reverse, "then Sir Con O'Neill, the chief negotiator at official level in 1970-2, who commented that the only possible British approach to existing Community body of rules was 'Swallow the lot, and swallow it now'."

On a related note, while this was about the tactics of leaving, there has been some movement on the end state front, though not by the UK. Rather it seems that the EU has made up it's mind, and in my mind definitively scrapped the EEA option.
Several EU leaders (Pms of Malta and the Czech republic) have clearly stated that they wish to see a new referendum, and Macron said the following:
"Brexit is the choice of the British people pushed by those who predicted easy solutions. Those people are liars. They left the next day so they didn't have to manage it," Macron said on Thursday, vowing to "never" accept any Brexit deal, which would put the EU's integrity at risk.

I think the bridges have been burned, now it's surrender or revocation that's left to the UK, or stepping off the cliff edge.

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:49 pm

The problem is that brexiteers, almost to a man, thinks that the EU and the UK are equals.
from a very great distance this does seem to be the case

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm

It is astonishing to see that the UK still does not accept that the EU doesn't want it to go on principle more than for practical reasons. May and the others cling to the notion that without Great Britain, the EU will collapse or something. This is the same nation that has been foot-dragging on everything about Europe and slagging off the continent at every turn while pretending they are a Great Power and the BFF of the US. Trump does not care about Great Britain unless he needs some sort of zoning permission for his gold course, in which case he will cut a deal on trade or arms with May.

The Irish Border, assuming it remains open, is a massive concession and likely to lead to future problems as other EU nations try to have open borders or trade with their pet countries.

Brits on the Continent are worried about many things ranging from driver's licenses to residency visas! Not every Brit wants to live on that damp little island! Some like the sun and Continental cuisine.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Is the EU a Great Idea to be Protected and Advanced, one that will inexorably result in ever greater benefits for the common people of the fainting nations that have been cat-herded into submitting to the "political union" that many very personally interested parties are always working toward? Like NATO is a Great Idea, not just a mechanism for global mischief and chaos? NATO gives "warfighters" a place to sit and play their games. Brussels gives "rules," at least some of which are sort of for public benefit, until the regulatory capturers work their magic. Profit and impunity, always for the few.

What is the organizing principle in all this? Likely can't be stated. Just a lot of interested parties squabbling over gobbets from the carcass torn from the planet

Maybe the 14th Century was not so very horrible after all? If one looks in "A Distant Mirror" at it, given where humanity seems to be, on the increasingly fleshed-out timeline of collapse?

OF course, one can always summon up the demoness TINA, to trump any efforts to take different paths

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 1:09 pm

NATO was created to make war. The EU was created to make peace and prosperity. Comparing one to the other is unjust.

The EU is not some sacrosanct construct that must be worshiped, but it has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful). It has also promoted trade and prosperity. Europe has been even farther ahead of economic and regulatory integration than the US (phones and credit cards come to mind). Free movement of labor and travel have dropped costs for businesses and individuals immensely.

Now, whether or not human foibles enter into it is really another discussion. Is Brussels at times a giant Interest Machine and Bureaucratic Nightmare? Yes, but that is the negative face we see portrayed by anti-Europeans like the Brexiteers. The EU does a terrible job of self-promotion; citizens rarely know just how much the EU contributes to their lives. Perhaps the EU is afraid of drawing attention to itself. But the people making up the EU are not extraterrestrials; they are Europeans who make the same mistakes and commit the same fraud on a national level.

Many Americans criticize Europe while vaunting their own Federation. Why should California and Alabama share a currency, a passport and a Congress? There are more differences between those states than between France and Belgium or Italy and Spain.

The EU is not perfect and has costs, but measured against what it has achieved, it is a great success.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 6:54 pm

The EU has brought peace to Europe for the longest period since Pax Romana (and that was not entirely peaceful).

You're funny. The EU makes war by other means. The burden of disease in Greece, health loss, risk factors, and health financing, 2000–16: an analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpub/PIIS2468-2667(18)30130-0.pdf

The mortality rate for Greece is up approximately 50,000. All so Merkel in Germany, and Sarkozy and Hollande didn't have to go before their electorates and admit they were bailing out French and German banks through the backdoor.

TheScream , September 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

If you want to start accounting for economic death by economic war, we can look at the US as recently as the financial crisis, though I doubt there are studies on the Homeland of this sort. Or US embargoes of vital medication and food in Iraq which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. And so on.

My point is not that the EU is perfect, but there has not been a war in Western Europe since 1945. You are welcome to spin and fiddle and search for anything you like (Gosh, all that free travel led to increases in traffic deaths! Ban the EU!). Of course, we would also need to examine what the EU has done for Europe and how many lives have been saved by improved infrastructure and exchange of information.

I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it. Let's see how Great Britain does and then we can discuss this in a few years.

JTMcPhee , September 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm

I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia and Bosnia and such, are not wars -- but then those are layable at the feet of NATO (that collection, as I recall it, of what, now, 29 member countries including all the Great Powers of the West) and the US imperium.

The NATO establishment is about "making war," largely now displaced to other Woggish and Hajji places where the huge number of refugees that are moving into Eurospace are coming from (as a result of the largely economically driven (oil and other extraction interests) and Israeli and Saudi-enhanced large scale destabilizing war prosecution.

All of which is linked in significant ways to the economic "health" of the EU, from which lots of weapons flow in exchange for favors and money from the Destabilizers.

Yes, the EU notion of reducing the conflict generators of the past seems to be a good one. But surprise! In practice, you got your German hegemon and your French strutters and now of course the British bomb throwers pointing out, along with the renascent nationalism triggered in part by the hegemon's bleeding of other nations via Brussels and EU institutions, like Greece and Spain and Italy and so forth.

And of course the warring that the seamless economies of the EU (that includes their particpation in NATO) foster and participate in that drives the exodus of mopes from the Mideast and Africa. And how about the fun and games, with possible nuclear war consequences, that are playing out with EU and NATO and of course US Imperial Interests activity in Ukraine? And I see that the Krupp Werks has delivered a bunch of warships to various places (hasn't that happened a couple of times in the past? Thinking how particularly of Dolphin-class submarines paid for by Uncle Sucker, as in the US, and delivered to the Israel -ites who have equipped them with many nuclear-warhead cruise missiles? And thanks to the French, of course, and other Great Nations, the Israelis have nuclear weapons in the first place.

It's nice that the science parts of the EU structure are sort of working to keep US-made toxins and genetically modified crap and other bad stuff out of the Holy EU Empire. But hey, how many VW diesel vehicles on the road (thanks to some combination of corruption and incompetence on the part of the EU?) equals how much glyphosate and stacked-GM organisms barred by EU regulations? Lots of argument possible around the margins and into the core of the political economy/ies that make up the EU/NATO, and the Dead Empire across the Channel, and of course the wonderful inputs from the empire I was born into.

I guess the best bet would be to program some AI device to create a value structure (to be democratically studied and voted on, somehow?) and measure all the goods and bads of the EU, according to some kind of standard of Goodness to Mope-kind? Naw, power trumps all that of course, and "interests" now very largely denominated and dominated by supranational corporations that piss on the EU when not using its institutions as a means to legitimize their looting behaviors that sure look to me like an expression of a death wish from the human species.

There are always winners and losers in any human game, because at anything larger than the smallest scale, we do not appear wired to work from comity and commensalism. You sound from the little one can see of you from your comment as a person among the winners. Which is fine, all well and good, because of that "winners and losers" thing. Until either the mass vectors of human behavior strip the livability out of the biosphere, or some provocation or mischance leads to a more compendious and quicker, maybe nuclear, endpoint. Or maybe, despite the activities of the Panopticon and the various powers with forces in the polity to tamp it down, maybe there will be a Versailles moment, and "Aux Armes, Citoyens" will eventuate.

In the meantime, the various stages are set, the players in the game of statism and nationalism and authoritarianism and neoliberalism are on their marks, the house lights are going out, and the long slow rise of the curtain is under way

tegnost , September 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm

a worthy parlimentarian rant if I ever heard one

vlade , September 21, 2018 at 4:07 am

I suggest you read up on your recent European history. Czechoslovakia split entirely peacefully and it had exactly zero to do with either NATO or USA.

Yugoslavia had its problems ever since it was Yugoslavia in early 20th century – all Tito managed was to postpone it, and once he was gone, it was just a question of when, and how violent it would be. Serbian apologistas like to blame NATO, conveniently ignoring any pre-existing tensions between Croats and Serbs (not to mention ex-Yugoslavian muslims). Did NATO help? No. But saying it was the cause of the Serbo-Croat war and all the Yugoslavian fallout is ignorance.

What gets my goat is when someone blames everything on CIA, USA, NATO (or Russia and China for the matter), denying the small peoples any agency. Especially when that someone tends to have about zilch understanding of the regions in question, except from a selective reading.

Yep, CIA and NATO and the Illuminati (and Putin, to put it on both sides) are the all-powerful, all seeing, all-capable forces. Everyone else is a puppet. Right.

Lambert Strether , September 21, 2018 at 4:37 am

> I guess all those little Balkan unpleasantnesses, the former Czechoslovakia

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:34 am

The period from the end of WWII to the Balkan Wars is still the longest period of peace since the Romans. I doubt you have ever lived through a war so I can't expect you to appreciate the difference between the Horrors of the Brussels Bureaucracy and the Horrors of Shelling and Bombing. From your lofty armchair, they might be the same but then again, perhaps you blame the socialists when your caramel latte is cold.

JTMcPhee , September 21, 2018 at 10:19 am

Lofty armchair? I actually volunteered and got the opportunity to go be a soldier in an actual war, the Vietnam one. So I have a darn good idea what War is in actuality and from unpleasant personal experience. And I don't have either the taste or the wealth for lattes. And forgive my aging failure of typing Czech instead of Yugo -- my point, too, is that the nations and sets of "peoples" living and involved in United Europe do in fact have "agency," and that is part of the fractiousness that the proponents of a federated Europe (seemingly under mostly German lead) are working steadily at suppressing. Not as effectively as a Federalist might want, of course.

Mark Pontin , September 20, 2018 at 10:03 pm

TheScream wrote: I am not defending poor governance per se for the sake of defending the EU. But it is facile and fun to criticize it because one can make up all kinds of counter fantasies about how wonderful life would be without it.

Wake up. I'm talking about what the European elite in the real world deliberately chose to do.

They chose to do a backdoor bailout of German and French banks specifically so Merkel, Sarkozy and Hollande and the governments they led didn't have to go to their electorates and tell them the truth. Thereby, they maintained themselves in power, and German and French wealth structures -- the frickin', frackin banks -- as they were. And they did this in the real world knowing that innocent people in Greece would die in substantial numbers consequently.

This is not a counterfactual. This happened.

There's a technical term for people who plan and execute policies where many thousands of people die so they themselves can benefit. That term is 'scum.'

Ultimately, it's that simple. Merkel, Sarkozy, Hollande, and whoever else among the EU elites who chose to be complicit in killing substantial numbers of people so they could maintain themselves in power are scum. They are scum. They are scum.

Don't get me started on people who defend such scum with threadbare waffle about 'I am not defending poor governance per blah blah it is facile and fun to criticize blah blah.' Nor interested in whataboutery about US elites, who as the main instigators of this 21st century model of finance as warfare are also scum.

TheScream , September 21, 2018 at 6:30 am

Fine, our elected leaders are all scum, but why does this mean that the EU is evil specifically. Why single it out? Why not advocate the overthrow of all centralized or unifying government? Move out to Montana to a cult and buy lots of guns or something.

My point is not that EU leaders are charming people working exclusively for the good of the people. My point is that the EU is not as bad as most of you believe and no worse than most other governments. It is simply an easy target because it is extra or supra-