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Two Party System as Polyarchy and anti-Democratic mechanisms of "first past the post" elections

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA is a single party state -- it is governed by the Neoliberal party with two factions "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals" (Republican Party). Existence of  "Pepsi" and "Coca-Cola" parties in the USA is just a sophisticated variant of "divide and conquer" strategy and could have been used by the USSR leadership  instead of one party system. 

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier Donald Trump -- a former (for the duration of elections) fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Bernie Sanders The Deep State Anti Trump Hysteria Demexit
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking
Predator state Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Myth about intelligent voter Electoral College Non-Interventionism US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor 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

“The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.”

Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens  

 

Due to the side an introduction was moved to the separate page Polyarchy, Authoritarianism and Deep State

Summary

I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitled to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ?  Or  in election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means. Is the democracy possible if three letter agencies like CIA exist?  Probably not as "deep state" sooner or later (usually sooner)  makes surface state just an instrument for providing legitimacy of deep state rule.

Presedent Truman probably did not suspect that by sighing  the National Security Act of 1947  he signed a death sentence tothe form of democracy that the USA was having up to 1950th.

As part of the U.S. Cold War strategy, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense) and creating the U.S. Air Force. The act also created the CIA and the National Security Council.[135] In 1952, Truman secretly consolidated and empowered the cryptologic elements of the United States by creating the National Security Agency (NSA).

Since JFK assassination we can talk about "inverted totalitarism" (The term introduced by late Professor Sheldon Wolin)  as the form on government which  become entrenched on on federal level (the related term if the "deep state"), while remnants of democracy are delegated to state and local levels.  Growth of power of intelligence agencies inevitably makes them political players. Nowhere it was more clear then in 2016 Presendential electio, when by derailing Sanders FBI essenatially ensure Trump win and then in cooperation of other againces (and first of all CIA Brennan) lauched a color regoluation againast Trump trying to deposer him vi Special Procecutor mechnism.

Does  the "the first after the post" rule along with enforcing two party system on the population also is instrumental with establishing slightly camouflaged one party state with two "Pepsi" vs. "Coca Cola"  parties which serve as a spoilers for those to the left or the right of the center, subverting and emasculating new social movements into their (currently neoliberal) stagnant and elite oriented framework. The effect is so profound that it created the impression that "first after the post" can't be used in any country pretending to be a democracy? 

There are also addition questions:

  1. Is existence  of military-industrial complex, and, especially, such part of MIC as huge and essentially uncontrolled intelligence agencies compatible with democracy? Ever since the inception of the Central Intelligence Agency America has been battling a force that exists with a written charter to undermine and undo ever single fundamental principle of representational democracy in America and elsewhere replacing it with an ugly cold-skinned changeling covertly overseen by its CIA creators and their sponsors.
  2. Does absence of limits of the term of senators subvert democracy ?  If so what should be the maximum term. Is "gerontocracy" in the US congress  represents positive, or highly negative. Is role of money in elections forces senators to serve effectively as representatives of corporations which reside in the states, not the states themselves  ? 
  3. Is official lobbing including lobbying by organization which are clearly supported by foright  state such as AIPAC ?
  4. Is "money as a free speech" principle compatible with democracy?  Or does it mean "one dollar-one vote" regime?

The fact that parties represent interests radically different from interests of their voters is not new.  As George Washinton put it:

 "However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." President George Washington Farewell Address | Saturday, September 17, 1796

Later the same idea was later coined as the "iron law of oligarchy". So on federal level neither republic, not democracy exists. We level in empire with no participatory democracy (unless voting to the lesser  evil of two preselected by the elite candidate can be viewed as a democracy).  In latest Presidential election it was intelligence agencies who were kingmakers, derailing Sanders. But it still exists on local level below the level of state, although even there financial oligarchy managed to spoil the broth -- on municipal level it is bankers who control the politics as they are interested in loans for public projects.

In other word decomicatinc elements in the neoliberal political system are just facade for the  dictatorship of financial oligarchy. And pretty brutal one (The Saker - The Unz Review, Feb 23, 2018):

But first, full disclosure: I don’t have much faith in the so-called “democratic process”. Just look at the EU and tell me: do you really believe that the people in power represent the will and interests of the people who, supposedly, elected them? There are exceptions, of course, Switzerland is probably one of the comparatively most democratic countries out there, but mostly what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent. As for the US, for decades now every time the people voted for “A” they always got “non-A” as a result. It is almost comical.

So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power. Putting it differently, the “democratic process” is the device by which the real and hidden rulers of the world (or “worldwide behind the scenes powers“, to use the expression of Ivan Il’in), legitimize their power and prevent their overthrow. This is the same technique followed by used car dealerships when they place tens, sometimes, hundreds of US flags on their lots before a car sale: it’s just a basic trick to induce the ‘correct’, patriotic, state of mind.

This is also the reason why there are elections every 4 years in the US: the more illegitimate and despotic any putatively “democratic” regime is, the more often it will organize elections to, so to speak, “increase the dose” of patriotically-induced stupor in its people and give them the illusion that the regime is legitimate, their opinion matters and all is well.

Finally, when needed, slogans such as “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” are used to put to sleep those who might have doubts. In terms of real people power “democracies” are probably the least truly democratic regimes imaginable simply because they are by far the most capable of hiding who really runs the country and where their real centers of power are. Do I really need to add that the worst kind of “democracy” is the capitalist one? You disagree? Then why do you think that Mayer Amschel Rothschild allegedly declared “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!“? Nowhere is the concentration of capital easier to achieve than in a society which makes it possible for the real ruling class to hide its power behind a screen of electoral farces.

As Sheldon  Wolin put it, all we have under neoliberalism is inverted totalitarism and a nationally security state with modem equivalent of STASI level of total surveillance  instead of democracy.  The neoliberal elite firmly guar the levers of power and  try to eliminate any challenger before it represent a real political threat to the neoliberal social system. Even minor  threats are mercilessly squashed. Look at what  happened to Trump.

Democracy for whom?

Another important question is "democracy for whom?". There is always a large part of society (say bottom 80% or even 90%)  living under the dictatorship (for lower 50% this is even worse -- neo-slavery as  "debt slaves" or "wage slaves"), struggling to meet ends and thus excluded from the democratic process. Moreover,  most of the US population spend their life under authoritarian rule: those who are parts of the military, who work in large corporation, or government. How they can behave in a democratic way if they are conditioned and adapted to the strict authoritarian rule at work ?  

Another large question: can  a typical American understand whom he/she is voting for in the environment of pretty sophisticated propaganda and systematic betrayal of election promises (in this repect Trump is not different  from Barak Obama) as a political norm ("change we can believe in" )? 

Add to this completely brainwashed population ready to vote against their economic interests and  for indefinite and costly wars for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA. For example,  despicable warmonger, war criminal(with destruction of Libya and  Syria under  the belt), staunch neoliberal Hillary Clinton was so detached from reality that it hurts. Despite clear signs of the deep systemic crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and closely related process of de-legitimization of neoliberal elite (look what percentage of the Americans trust Congress)  all she wanted is to kick the neoliberal can down the road. And still almost half of the country voted for her.

Also there is no rules that the candidate can not betray all his election time promises. Any level of betrayal is OK, as parties in reality do not control the  behaviour of their leaders as long as they remain on neoliberal platform,  and they and stay in office. Recent example of Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump are clear demonstration of the gap between election platform and actual governance.

In case of Trump and Obama this was a complete betrayal. In a way Trump is Republican Obama -- a person with almost zero political experience  who due to the lack of personal political history during elections was able to pretend to be the politician, while he clearly is not -- he is a marionette of MIC (much like Barak was marionette of CIA; just look at "very close" and pretty unusual relations  between him and Brennan) as well as Brannan role in color revolution against  Trump

What is the level of interest  of average middle class American in real information about Washington  political machinery and neoliberal social system

Poor people are automatically excluded from politics. most of their energy needs to be  spend on task related to mere survival and desperate attempt to spread their meager paycheck to the next without falling into the laps of loan sharks.

Middle class can afford attempts to analyze the political situation and personal efforts to understand the political system in which they live. And because of that can  have informed political opinion. Theoretically. In reality there also many obstacles here.  One  fundamental obstacle is so called The iron law of oligarchy.  The second, related, is the existence of the deep state.

First of all let me ask a simple question: What is the level of interest  in governance of an average middle class American (lower class with McJobs most of the time is too preoccupied with survival to be able to particulate in political activity), if they are brainwashed 24 x 7 by neoliberal propaganda  which tries to distract them from discussing and understanding any serious issue facing the USA. 

Also  the middle class in not uniform. There is substantial caste of Americans deeply connected with the imperial state (servants of the empire so to speak) and they also represent  a political force with interests different form the average middle class American. There are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. army member (9,800) in Afghanistan. On April 5, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, declared during a Senate hearing that contractors made up 25 percent of his workforce (Foreign Policy). They have their own opinion and interest in such issues as permanent war for permanent peace.  And without draft this issue does not touch too deeply ordinary middle class American, who do not need to fight and die for the empire.

The second  factor is constant brainwashing be neoliberal MSM. Unless a person make a conscious effort to exclude them and rely of alternative media he/she can't form any informed political opinion.  You will almost never even her the  term "neoliberalism" in neoliberal MSM like NYT or WaPo or CNN or MSNBC. This is a taboo.  But you will hear a lot about "evil Russians" or "evil Chinese" which is a perfect distraction, a smoke screen, designed to hide the real problems facing the US society after 40 years of dominance of neoliberalism as a social system.

My impression is that the Communist Party of the USSR made a grave mistake by not adopting "the first after the post" election system. In reality it would just legitimize the permanent Communist Party rule, as two factions of the CPSU competing for power (let's call them "Democratic Communists" and "Republican Communists") would exclude any real challenge for the one party rule that was practiced in the USSR even more efficiently that so called "one party" system. Which, while providing the same results,  looks more undemocratic then "first after the post" system, and thus  less safe for the rule of oligarchy as it generates resentment of the population.  

The "first after the post" system "by design" provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force.  Emerging parties are cooped iether under Democratic or Republic umbrella and then emasculated.  This mechanism is no less effective the Soviet one party rule, but more subtle, requires less violence and suppression of dissidents, and more acceptable to the population. Which is all what is needed to continuation of the rule of the oligarchy.  The same is true for the parties themselves. Iron law of oligarchy was actually discovered by observing the evolution of the political party leadership.

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

The situation when the current (neoliberal) ruling elite (or in less politically correct term oligarchy) experienced difficulties with the continuation of its rule and the existing methods of suppression and indoctrination of the lower part population stop working is called  "revolutionary situation".  In 2008 the protest was squashed by electing "Trojan horse" Obama, who proved to be the king of "bait and switch" maneuver. Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what  a person who like Obama pretended  essentially to be an independent candidate slightly (at least formally) opposing the most negative effects of neoliberalism on population (anti-globalization stance, accent of creation jobs within the USA, etc) -- Donald Trump.  Who later proved to be Republican version of Obama. Not without help of "deep state" which launched unprotected and well coordinated company of leaks and 24 x 7 negative news to discredit his personality and administration. Going as far as in a very elegant really Machiavellian way  using fake accusations ("Russiagate) appointing a special prosecutor using Obama/Hillary supporters in the Judicial department (effectively coup d'état as special procedure is big burden which effectively paralyses any administration and Clinton presidency had shown). And when it did not work, they tried to accuse him of being racist (using  1 Charlottesville events) or even insane person. Looks like for Trump, even if he has some intention to implement anti-neoliberal measures -- the resistance proved to be way too strong and such intension did not last even half a year.  Bombing Syria army air field with Tomahawks was an early signal of surrender.  Removing Bannon, and adding troops to Afghan war make this turn around and betrayal of Trump voters in best Obama style virtual certainty.

It was clear that there is a widespread feeling among the majority of the US population now that the current neoliberal system of governance, installed by victorious neoliberals after 1980, is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wouldn't like to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda does not work anymore " a revolutionary situation, a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible arise. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings in 2008 and then in 2012, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society also has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".

 In such cases, the ruling elite typically decides to unleash a foreign war and use "rally around the flag" effect  to suppress dissent and to restore the control (that's the real meaning of Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"). But in this particular case the USA already is in engaged in several wars (or occupations), so the nostalgia for good time what the USSR existed proved to be irresistible. And the pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016-2017 in neoliberal MSM suggest that a large part of the US elite decided to "waive a dead chicken" (actually Hillary made Russophobia a part of her election campaign, effectively unleashing a new neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA).  As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.” --  John Kenneth Galbraith

In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Throwing  Sanders under the bus represented exactly this maneuver.  The were not stopped even by the fact that they are promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems ("We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality") The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the levels achieved by communist propagandists in during best days of the USSR.  And that happened because this time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. (at least partially) "paleoconservative" (or "bustard neoliberal" ;-) who during election campaign rejects the idea of neoliberal globalization and by extension the necessity of fighting constant wars for the expansion of the US led global neoliberal empire.   But later quickly recognized that this heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state and can be harmful for his health ;-). The hissy fit in neoliberal media and the emergence of certain figures from the intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" as the leaders of "color revolution" against Trump (so called "Purple revolution") were to be expected but  caught Trump absolutely unprepared.

There is also an interesting question what kind of democracy the competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demonstrates. And not only "democracy for whom" -- it is clear that this is the democracy for the top 1% or, at best, top 20% of population. a more interesting observation is that  as Trump election has shown, neoliberals like Bolsheviks in the past are ready to go to extreme methods including coup d'état to preserve their power, the democracy be damned.  

Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience, which  were practiced from 1980th.  They use university course in economics in the same (or more correctly slightly more subtle; using mathematics as smoke screen for indoctrination into neoliberal ideology)  way Soviet universities use the course of philosophy. In the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy were obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin; but there were problem with indoctrination as Soviet society did not correspond to Marx expectations  -- as Marx famously said he was not a Marxist.  The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentially a bridge between Marxism and national socialism.  This problem was solved by carefully pre-selecting "classics" works to only a small "legitimate" emasculated subset that was in like with Bolshevism.  Neoclassical economy in the USA plays exactly the same role and is even worse. At least with some effort Soviet  student can get all the  works of Marx and Lenin. Here, in the USA, chances to read Keynes and other "deviant" economists for university students are virtually zero. They are completely distracted from fundamental issues by high doze of mathematics (misused and abused -- called mathiness). Which  is used as smoke  screen which hide the poverty of ideas of neo-classical economy.

But deteriorating economy and stagnation does make neoliberal propaganda less effective.  Like people of the USSR were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming, thinking people in the  USA are resort of alternative sources of news or even, God forbid, visit "naked capitalism", RT, or other "disapproved" by  neoliberal propagandists sites. Even thoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion (displacing Christianity, so much about fake myth the USA is Christian nation; it is not) , started to have doubts.  Alternative sources of information in 2016-2017 started to play such and outside role that the company about "fake news" was launched to suppress them. They did not stop people from reading, say, Guardian, RT, unz.com, American conservative, Asia Times, to name a few.

But still the general level  political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is probably as low if not lower that it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marx and Lenin soviet voters with university education usually have strong doubt about soviet system ). Let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs. neoliberal platform. Or define what the term "neoliberal" means. It is difficult also because the terms "neoliberalism" and "Paleoconservatism" are expunged from MSM. Like Trotsky writings were in the USSR. Assuming that this might well be the key difference between two frontrunner in the last Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.

The myth about intelligent voters

That means the hypothesis that majority of voters under "popular democracy" regime (where all citizens have a right to vote) understand what they are voting for ("informed voters" hypothesis)  is open to review (see Myth about intelligent voter).  Otherwise identity politics would not be so successful in the USA, despite being a primitive variation of classic "divide and conquer" strategy. In any democracy, how can voters make an important decision unless they are well informed?  But what percentage of US votes can be considered well informed?  And taking into account popularity of Fox News what percentage is brainwashed or do not what to think about the issues involved and operate based on emotions and prejudices? And when serious discussion of issues that nation faces are deliberately and systematically replaced by "infotainment" voters became just pawns in the game of factions of elite, which sometimes leaks information to sway public opinion, but do it very selectively. All MSM represent the views of large corporations which own them. No exception are allowed. Important information is suppressed or swiped under the carpet to fifth page in NYT to prevent any meaningful discussion. For example, ask several of your friends if they ever heard about Damascus, AR.

In any case one amazing fact happened during this election: republican voters abandoned Republican brass and flocked to Trump, while Democratic voters abandoned Democratic neoliberals and flocked to Sanders (although DNC managed to fix primaries, and then engaged in anti-Russian hysteria to hide this criminal fact).  See Trump vs. The REAL Nuts for an informed discussion of this phenomenon.

Mr. Trump’s great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party’s leaders didn’t know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn’t happening.

The party’s leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn’t want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he’d opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn’t want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen.

The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their imperial ambitions. As in the efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieved by nomenklatura in Soviet Union outside of "Stalinism" period.  Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation with the Communist Party and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

The term "neoliberalism" is effectively prohibited from usage in major US MSM and all political discussion is forcefully turned into "infotainment" -- the clash of  personalizes. In other words discussion of key issues facing the country (politics in real sense of this word)  was replaced under neoliberal regime by "infotainment" with slick and often psychically beautiful "presstitutes" instead of political analysts.   But like was the case in the USSR neoliberal brainwashing gradually lost its effectiveness because it contradicts the reality. and neoliberalism failed to deliver promises of "rising tide lifting all board", or trickle down economy which justified tremendous enrichment of top 0.1%.

Neoliberalism divides the society in  two classes like in old, good Marxism

Politically neoliberalism. like Marxism in the past, operates with the same two classes: "entrepreneurs" (modern name for capitalists and financial oligarchy) and debt slaves (proletarians under Marxism) who work for them. Under neoliberalism only former considered first class citizens ("one dollar -- one vote"). Debt slaves are second class of citizens and are prevented from political self-organization, which by-and-large deprives them of any form of political participation. In best Roman tradition it is substituted with the participation in political shows ("Bread and circuses") See Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges.  In this sense the role of the election is not election of the candidate of people want but legitimizing the candidate the oligarchy pre-selected. . They  helps to provide legitimacy for the ruling elite. 

The two party system invented by the elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for neoliberal regimes, which practice what Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarism. The latter is the regime in which all political power belongs to the financial oligarchy which rules via the deep state mechanisms, and where traditional political institutions including POTUS are downgraded to instruments of providing political legitimacy of the ruling elite. Population is discouraged from political activity. "Go shopping" as famously recommended Bush II to US citizens after 9/11.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen. The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their pretty much imperial ambitions. The efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieve by nomenklatura in Soviet Union. Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

Corporation as the role model for government under neoliberalism excludes the possibility of democracy

Everything should be organized like corporation under neoliberalism, including government, medicine, education, even military. And everybody is not a citizen but a shareholder  (or more correctly stakeholder), so any conflict should be resolved via discussion of the main stakeholders. Naturally lower 99% are not among them.

The great propaganda mantra of neoliberal governance is "wealth maximization". Which proved to be very seductive for society as a whole in reality is applied very selectively and never to the bottom 60% or 80%, or eve 99% of population.  In essence, it means a form of welfare economics for financial oligarchy while at the same time a useful smokescreen for keeping debt-slaves obedient by removing any remnants of job security mechanisms that were instituted during the New Deal. As the great American jurist and Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis once said: “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.”

As under neoliberalism extreme wealth is the goal of the social system, there can be no democracy under neoliberalism. And this mean that pretentions of the USA elite that the USA is a bastion of democracy is plain vanilla British ruling elite style hypocrisy.  Brutal suppression of any move to challenge dominance of financial oligarchy (even such feeble as Occupy movement)  shows that all too well.

Like in case of communist regimes before, under neoliberalism we now face a regime completely opposite to democracy: we have complete, forceful atomization of public, acute suppression of any countervailing political forces (similar to the suppression of dissidents in the USSR in its effectiveness and brutality, but done in "velvet gloves" without resort to physical violence). That includes decimation of  labor unions and other forms of self-organization for the lower 80%, or even 99% of population.  Neoliberalism tries to present any individual, any citizen, as a market actor within some abstract market (everything is the market under neoliberalism). Instead of fight for political  and economic equality neoliberalism provides a slick slogan of "wealth maximization" which is in essence a "bait and switch" for redistribution of wealth up to the top 1% (which is the stated goal of neoliberalism aka "casino capitalism"). It was working in tandem with "shareholder value" mantra which is a disguise of looting of the corporations to enrich its top brass via outsize bonuses (IBM is a nice example where such an approach leads) and sending thousands of white-collar workers to the street. Previously it was mainly blue-collar workers that were affected. Times changed. 

The difference between democrats and republicans as (at least partially) the difference in the level of authoritarianism of two factions of the same "Grand neoliberal Party of the USA"

Both Democratic Party and Republican arty in the USA are neoliberal parties. So effectively we have one-party system skillfully masked as duopoly ;-). Communists could use the same trick, by having the part Socialist internationalists worker-peasants party of the USSR and Democratic internationalists peasant-worker party of the USSR, with leaders wet kissing each other behind the curtain as is the case in the USA. In the USA we have Cola/Pepsi duopoly that is sold as the shining example of democracy, although just the rule "the first after the post" prevents democracy from functioning as it eliminates minorities from governance. 

Political atmosphere at the USA since Reagan, when Republican drifted right and Democrats were bought by Wall Street really reminds me the USSR.  But still those parties reflect two different strata of the US population, which according to Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics in the level of authoritarianism (for example, as measured by F-scale.). Many Republican politicians can be classified as Double High Authoritarians.

If we assume that this is true, the large part of "verge issues" that so skillfully played in each election, and using which allow the elite to avoid addressing any fundamental issues facing the nation, such as race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems -- reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics.

Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. While the authors acknowledge that authoritarianism is not the only factor determining how people vote, it does offer a an important perspective : a large part (at least white Americans) flock to the particular party based on proximity to their own level authoritarianism and corresponding worldview of the party.  In other words  the percentage of authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality in the population allow to predict, at least in part,  voting behavior of the USA "white block" electorate.

Can the republic survive under Trump ?

Mu impression is that it too late to worry about the survival of the republic under Trump. Republic was lost long ago. According to Sheldon Wolin we live in a neoliberal empire at least since Bush II administration and even since  Reagan.  Essentially the collapse of the USSR was the death  sentence to the republic and at this point transformation of it into empire was quick and irreversible as there were no longer countervailing forces to slow down  this process.  Which is not a completely bad thing for citizens in the USA, unless it collapses like all empires. Which might happen when gas reaches $11 per gallon (in way this is petro-empire) or some other calamity. Sheldon Wolin (which book I strongly recommend to re-read) called this imperial social system that  emerged "inverted totalitarism". So Trump was elected way too late to participate in the destruction of the American republic. At best Trump put the final nail in the coffin of the American republic. Kind of parody on Julius Caesar:
During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system that had made its members rich...
But the deep state was in ascendance since Truman (who can be viewed as the father of national security state). So dismounting of the republic was a long continues process with temporary reversal after Church commission, when the power of intelligence agencies were temporary curtailed and they were put under more close control of Senate and House. But later a new "neoliberal" deep state  emerged under Reagan and those gains were reversed.  I personally view Trump as a Bush III.  But resilience of US political system might prevent  the worst outcome -- a war with Russia or China. 

I would prefer if Sanders were elected. But FBI pushed him under the bus by exonerating Hillary. I think the USA now badly need a "New New Deal", biot some crazr "chrstria capitalism that Bannon professed (see Bannonism).  But the question is: "What social forces will support it ?" I see no strong social forces able to take on entrenched "corporatism" -- a merger of  Wall Street and MIC interests and corresponding economic power.  Add to this Silicon valley and unprecedented capability of surveillance.  In the absence of alternatives, the crisis of neoliberalism became  a chronic one.

Russiagate as a sign of the crisis of neoliberal empire

In this sense the "Russiagate" campaign might be interpreted as an attempt of the neoliberal elite to rally people around the flag and hide Hillary political fiasco due to the crisis of neoliberalism. The later led to the surprise victory of Trump, because the voters rejected establishment candidate.  Also as for the level of warmongering Hillary probably is close or surpass Trump.   So in a way  the US voters were put by FBI between Scylla and Charybdis.   Of course,  Russians are not saints and they are an obstacle on the path to global US led neoliberal empire, but still I think that the whole thing is overdone.

A  good (IMHO) overview of our current political can be found in London review of books. See What We Don t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking by Jackson Lears

American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans. Many registered their disaffection in 2016. Sanders is a social democrat and Trump a demagogic mountebank, but their campaigns underscored a widespread repudiation of the Washington consensus.
Of course,  for correct framework we need to refer to classic Sheldon Wolin book. As he pointed out merge of corporate power with the ascendance of the "deep state" and technological progress proved to be an unstoppable factor that doomed the New Deal. Also defeated financial sector borrowed Bolsheviks methods and created "professional counter-revolutionaries" via think tanks, subservient press, etc. Milton Friedman Chicago school and Monte Perelin society were probably the most famous promoters of neoliberalism.  See also The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic
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[Dec 14, 2018] Hidden neoliberal inner party : US chamber of commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and The Business Roundtable

Notable quotes:
"... The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action. ..."
"... Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. ..."
"... In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. ..."
"... The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base. ..."
"... It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism. ..."
"... The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests ..."
"... Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold. ..."
"... Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. ..."
"... By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. ..."
"... Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s. ..."
"... Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together. ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:42

The American Chamber of Commerce subsequently expanded its base from around 60,000 firms in 1972 to over a quarter of a million ten years later. Jointly with the National Association of Manufacturers (which moved to Washington in 1972) it amassed an immense campaign chest to lobby Congress and engage in research. The Business Roundtable, an organization of CEOs 'committed to the aggressive pursuit of political power for the corporation', was founded in 1972 and thereafter became the centrepiece of collective pro-business action.

The corporations involved accounted for 'about one half of the GNP of the United States' during the 1970s, and they spent close to $900 million annually (a huge amount at that time) on political matters. Think-tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the Center for the Study of American Business, and the American Enterprise Institute, were formed with corporate backing both to polemicize and, when necessary, as in the case of the National Bureau of Economic Research, to construct serious technical and empirical studies and political-philosophical arguments broadly in support of neoliberal policies.

Nearly half the financing for the highly respected NBER came from the leading companies in the Fortune 500 list. Closely integrated with the academic community, the NBER was to have a very significant impact on thinking in the economics departments and business schools of the major research universities. With abundant finance furnished by wealthy individuals (such as the brewer Joseph Coors, who later became a member of Reagan's 'kitchen cabinet') and their foundations (for example Olin, Scaife, Smith Richardson, Pew Charitable Trust), a flood of tracts and books, with Nozick's Anarchy State and Utopia perhaps the most widely read and appreciated, emerged espousing neoliberal values. A TV version of Milton Friedman's Free to Choose was funded with a grant from Scaife in 1977. 'Business was', Blyth concludes, 'learning to spend as a class.

In singling out the universities for particular attention, Powell pointed up an opportunity as well as an issue, for these were indeed centers of anti-corporate and anti-state sentiment (the students at Santa Barbara had burned down the Bank of America building there and ceremonially buried a car in the sands). But many students were (and still are) affluent and privileged, or at least middle class, and in the US the values of individual freedom have long been celebrated (in music and popular culture) as primary. Neoliberal themes could here find fertile ground for propagation. Powell did not argue for extending state power. But business should 'assiduously cultivate' the state and when necessary use it 'aggressively and with determination'

In order to realize this goal, businesses needed a political class instrument and a popular base. They therefore actively sought to capture the Republican Party as their own instrument. The formation of powerful political action committees to procure, as the old adage had it, 'the best government that money could buy' was an important step. The supposedly 'progressive' campaign finance laws of 1971 in effect legalized the financial corruption of politics.

A crucial set of Supreme Court decisions began in 1976 when it was first established that the right of a corporation to make unlimited money contributions to political parties and political action committees was protected under the First Amendment guaranteeing the rights of individuals (in this instance corporations) to freedom of speech.15 Political action committees could thereafter ensure the financial domination of both political parties by corporate, moneyed, and professional association interests. Corporate PACs, which numbered eighty-nine in 1974, had burgeoned to 1,467 by 1982.

The Republican Party needed, however, a solid electoral base if it was to colonize power effectively. It was around this time that Republicans sought an alliance with the Christian right. The latter had not been politically active in the past, but the foundation of Jerry Falwell's 'moral majority' as a political movement in 1978 changed all of that. The Republican Party now had its Christian base.

It also appealed to the cultural nationalism of the white working classes and their besieged sense of moral righteousness. This political base could be mobilized through the positives of religion and cultural nationalism and negatively through coded, if not blatant, racism, homophobia, and anti feminism.

The alliance between big business and conservative Christians backed by the neoconservatives consolidated, not for the first time has a social group been persuaded to vote against its material, economic, and class interests the evangelical Christians eagerly embraced the alliance with big business and the Republican Party as a means to further promote their evangelical and moral agenda.

Themiddlegound -> Themiddlegound , 11 Jun 2013 05:23

Any political movement that holds individual freedoms to be sacrosanct is vulnerable to incorporation into the neoliberal fold.

The worldwide political upheavals of 1968, for example, were strongly inflected with the desire for greater personal freedoms. This was certainly true for students, such as those animated by the Berkeley 'free speech' movement of the 1960s or who took to the streets in Paris, Berlin, and Bangkok and were so mercilessly shot down in Mexico City shortly before the 1968 Olympic Games. They demanded freedom from parental, educational, corporate, bureaucratic, and state constraints. But the '68 movement also had social justice as a primary political objective.

Neoliberal rhetoric, with its foundational emphasis upon individual freedoms, has the power to split off libertarianism, identity politics, multiculturalism, and eventually narcissistic consumerism from the social forces ranged in pursuit of social justice through the conquest of state power. It has long proved extremely difficult within the US left, for example, to forge the collective discipline required for political action to achieve social justice without offending the the Construction of Consent desire of political actors for individual freedom and for full recognition and expression of particular identities. Neoliberalism did not create these distinctions, but it could easily exploit, if not foment, them.

In the early 1970s those seeking individual freedoms and social justice could make common cause in the face of what many saw as a common enemy. Powerful corporations in alliance with an interventionist state were seen to be running the world in individually oppressive and socially unjust ways. The Vietnam War was the most obvious catalyst for discontent, but the destructive activities of corporations and the state in relation to the environment, the push towards mindless consumerism, the failure to address social issues and respond adequately to diversity, as well as intense restrictions on individual possibilities and personal behaviors by state-mandated and 'traditional' controls were also widely resented. Civil rights were an issue, and questions of sexuality and of reproductive rights were very much in play.

For almost everyone involved in the movement of '68, the intrusive state was the enemy and it had to be reformed. And on that, the neoliberals could easily agree. But capitalist corporations, business, and the market system were also seen as primary enemies requiring redress if not revolutionary transformation: hence the threat to capitalist class power.

By capturing ideals of individual freedom and turning them against the interventionist and regulatory practices of the state, capitalist class interests could hope to protect and even restore their position. Neoliberalism was well suited to this ideological task. But it had to be backed up by a practical strategy that emphasized the liberty of consumer choice, not only with respect to particular products but also with respect to lifestyles, modes of expression, and a wide range of cultural practices. Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than a little compatible with that cultural impulse called 'postmodernism' which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s.

In the US case a confidential memo sent by Lewis Powell to the US Chamber of Commerce in August 1971. Powell, about to be elevated to the Supreme Court by Richard Nixon, argued that criticism of and opposition to the US free enterprise system had gone too far and that 'the time had come––indeed it is long overdue––for the wisdom, ingenuity and resources of American business to be marshaled against those who would destroy it'.

Powell argued that individual action was insufficient. 'Strength', he wrote, 'lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations'. The National Chamber of Commerce, he argued, should lead an assault upon the major institutions––universities, schools, the media, publishing, the courts––in order to change how individuals think 'about the corporation, the law, culture, and the individual'. US businesses did not lack resources for such an effort, particularly when they pooled their resources together.

[Dec 09, 2018] Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

MikeSw , 30 Oct 2018 22:36

Proportional representation is definitely the way to go. I am sick to death of the born-to-rule mentality of the major parties, and how they change the rules to benefit themselves and to exclude others.

Minority government? There is no such thing - there is only 'government', and it is supposed to involve all members of parliament in the decision-making process. 'Majority' governments are an anathema to good governance. Every time I hear the likes of Tony Abbott claim they have a mandate to implement ALL their policies, even though they only receive around 35% of the primary vote, I want to throw something at the TV.

Bugger them! Make them work for a living - and make them consider ALL views, not just the ones from their own party.

Bradtheunveiler -> BrianLC , 30 Oct 2018 22:36
Win the ALP will next election. By a huge majority too. Looking forward to neg gearing and CGT discount reform in particular.
Onesimus_Tim -> StuartJJ , 30 Oct 2018 22:35

Preferences are an extremely good feature of our voting system

Yes, its far better than the "first past the post" systems of the UK and the US where the number of votes split between two almost identical candidates can lead to a far different candidate winning with only a little over a third of the total vote.

Preferential voting also makes it more possible for the major party duopoly being overturned, allowing people to vote for a good independent without taking the risk of helping a despised major party candidate from winning by default.

[Dec 09, 2018] The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry

Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

Territorian -> Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:49

"The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry." You are spot on.

Nigel Scullion: Minister for Handing out buckets of money to NT Country Liberal Party supporters. Scullion just happened to be a professional fisher before entering parliament.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/indigenous-advancement-funding-redirected-to-cattlemen-and-fishing-groups

Barnaby Joyce: Minister for Agriculture while his Department was too scared to report disgusting conditions in the live sheep export trade.
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/31/agriculture-minister-promises-to-fix-live-export-regulation-after-damning-report

DukeofWoyWoy , 30 Oct 2018 23:48
What a logical and stirring argument you put forward Richard Denniss, and a large majority of the electorate would have to agree.
However there is also a large number of people in the electorate that cannot appear to rise from their nightly slumber without wearing their Blue, Red, Green or Orange tinted glasses before facing the new day.
And because of this, and preferential voting, sneaking in the background is a plethora of the wild mindless sub creatures called politicians who demand their rights to sit in the big white building on Canberra;s Capital Hill, just waiting to spoil not only the electorate's party but also known to prostitute the country's governance to their own advantage.
Richard, we desperately need a follow up stirring article on how to overcome this black menace to our country, for the sake of our country.
Hoskins50 , 30 Oct 2018 23:38
If you think the public has an appetite for more bureaucrats, more rules and regulations to micromanage people's lives and even more political wheeling and dealing in Canberra, you should get out more.

That the coalition government is on the slide is of no long term consequence. We'll get a Labor government next year and in a few years another coalition government and so on.

What is of long term significance is the loss of public trust in pretty much all of the institutions - including goverment and the various government agencies that would be more powerful under your scenario.

The problem with representative democracy is that it represents the special interest groups far more than it represents the citizenry. Perhaps the solution lies in more direct democracy.

The same sex marriage plebiscite demonstrated that we commoners can deliberate on a sensitive issue, and in doing so behave far better than our elected representatives in Parliament. And can make a sensible and progressive decision that our elected representatives could not - both coalition and Labor MPs had opposed same sex marriage when it was raised in th e Parliament.

The internet provides a platform for direct decision making by the citizenry. Perhaps we should try that instead of what you are suggesting.

diggerdigger , 30 Oct 2018 22:12
It's been clear for years that proportional representation has progressively meant death to effective government, and that it forces major parties policy development further to the political fringes to appeal to the fruit loops on the periphery of their respective demographics. Time for a return to simple preferential voting (a-la-house of Reps) in the senate, and an overhaul of what's considered a valid ballot - if you want to only rank 1, 2, 3 or all candidates it should be entirely your choice.

Hung parliaments, with diametrically opposed clumps of "independents" jointly holding the balance of power can only ever deliver legislative stasis and constant political turmoil (as we have experienced since 2010 and Europe and the US have suffered for the last decade).

Oh for the good old days when one or the other of the major parties held a working majority in both houses, and policy was targeted at the 'sensible centre" of the Australian electorate. At worst, they only had to deal with a couple of sensible Democrats, and the odd lunatic fringe-ist like Harradine.

[Dec 09, 2018] People who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes just get mopped up by two major parties who represent thatsame neooliberal sharks who want to devour the voters

Notable quotes:
"... I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long. ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

RonGlaeston , 31 Oct 2018 04:56

Yes, yes! MMP!!

Having spent many years in a New Zealand under a First Past the Post system and then Mixed Member Proportional, I am an enthusiastic supporter of proportional systems.

I find the Australian electoral system very mediocre. All those people who vote but really don't get represented. All those votes that just get mopped up by the major parties. I really can't understand why Australians have put up with such a poor system for so long.

Hettie7-> melbournesam 31 Oct 2018 00:45

Proportional representation makes the most sense. Each party gets the same percentage of seats in the parliament as it received votes in the election. That really is fair.

[Dec 09, 2018] Unintended consequences #MeToo movement causing 'gender segregation' on Wall Street

Notable quotes:
"... "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," ..."
"... "gender segregation" ..."
"... "unknown risk," ..."
"... "If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," ..."
"... "Just try not to be an asshole," ..."
"... "It's really not that hard." ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Dec 09, 2018 | www.rt.com

Two female reporters for Bloomberg interviewed 30 Wall Street executives and found that while it's true that women might be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their careers, men are also so afraid of being falsely accused that they won't even have dinner, or even one-to-one business meetings with a female colleague. They worry that a simple comment or gesture could be misinterpreted. "It's creating a sense of walking on eggshells," one Morgan Stanley executive said.

Bloomberg dubbed the phenomenon the 'Pence Effect' after the US vice president who previously admitted that he would never dine alone with any woman other than his wife. British actor Taron Egerton recently also said he now avoided being alone with women for fear of finding himself in #MeToo's crosshairs.

I remember when a woman I was friendly/kind with perceived me as someone who wanted "more." She wrote me a message about how she was uncomfortable. I'm gay. https://t.co/7z0X7Dwzkp

-- Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) December 4, 2018

All these extreme strategies being adopted by men to avoid falling victim to an unjust #MeToo scandal are creating a kind of "gender segregation" on Wall Street, the reporters say.

Hurting women's progress?

The most ironic outcome of a movement that was supposed to be about women's empowerment is that now, even hiring a woman on Wall Street has become an "unknown risk," according to one wealth advisor, who said there is always a concern that a woman might take something said to her in the wrong way.

Also on rt.com #MeToo's Alyssa Milano accused of hypocrisy over links to 'Sharia law-supporting' Muslim activist

With men occupying the most senior positions on Wall Street, women need male mentors who can teach them the ropes and help them advance their careers, but what happens when men are afraid to play that role with their younger female colleagues? The unintended consequence of the #MeToo movement on Wall Street could be the stifling of women's progress and a sanitization of the workplace to the point of not even being able to have a private meeting with the door closed.

Another irony is that while men may think they are avoiding one type of scandal, could find themselves facing another: Discrimination complaints.

"A Wall Street rule for the #MeToo era: Avoid women at all cost." https://t.co/TCGk9UzT4R "Secular sharia" has arrived, as I predicted here: https://t.co/TTrWY6ML34 pic.twitter.com/YpEz78iamJ

-- Niall Ferguson (@nfergus) December 3, 2018

"If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint," Stephen Zweig, an employment attorney with FordHarrison told Bloomberg.

Not all men are responding to the #MeToo movement by fearfully cutting themselves off from women, however. "Just try not to be an asshole," one said, while another added: "It's really not that hard."

It might not be that simple, however. It seems there is no escape from the grip of the #MeToo movement. One of the movements most recent victims of the viral hashtag movement is not a man, but a song -- the time-honored classic 'Baby It's Cold Outside' -- which is being banished from American radio stations because it has a "rapey" vibe.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Dec 08, 2018] In office, both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama rarely fought for progressive principles -- and routinely undermined them."

Dec 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

ben , Dec 5, 2018 4:54:14 PM | link

"The last two Democratic presidencies largely involved talking progressive while serving Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. The obvious differences in personalities and behavior of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama diverted attention from their underlying political similarities. In office, both men rarely fought for progressive principles -- and routinely undermined them."

Article from Truthdig: https://www.truthdig.com/articles/what-it-means-that-hillary-clinton-might-run-for-president-in-2020/

[Dec 08, 2018] Internet as a perfect tool of inverted totalitarism: it stimulates atomizatin of individuals, creates authomatic 24x7 surveillance over population, suppresses solidarity by exceggerating non-essential differences and allow more insidious brainwashing of the population

Highly recommended!
Dec 08, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Livius Drusus , December 8, 2018 at 7:20 am

I think the Internet and the infotech revolution in general have been largely negative in their impact on the world. Ian Welsh has a blog post that largely sums up my views on the issue.

https://www.ianwelsh.net/what-the-infotechtelecom-revolution-has-actually-done/

Contrary to what many people say I think large organizations like governments and corporations have significantly more power now than before and ordinary people have less power. The Internet has made it easier to get information but you have to sift through tons of junk to get to anything decent. For every website like Naked Capitalism there are thousands pushing nonsense or trying to sell you stuff.

And even if you are more knowledgeable, so what? If you cannot put that knowledge to use what good is it? At best it makes you more well-rounded, interesting and harder to fool but in political terms knowing a lot of stuff doesn't make you more effective. In the past people didn't have access to nearly as much information but they were more willing and able to organize and fight against the powerful because it was easier to avoid detection/punishment (that is where stuff like widespread surveillance tech comes in) and because they still had a vibrant civic life and culture.

I actually think people are more atomized now than in the past and the Internet and other technologies have probably fueled this process. Despite rising populism, the Arab Spring, Occupy, the Yellow Jackets in France, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA this is all a drop in the bucket compared to just the massive social movements of the 1960s much less earlier periods. Robert Putnam argued that television, the Internet and other technologies likely helped to produce the collapse of civic life in the United States by "individualizing" people's leisure time and personally I think Putnam is right. Civic life today is very weak and I think the Internet is partially to blame.

Mark , December 8, 2018 at 12:10 pm

And even if you are more knowledgeable, so what? If you cannot put that knowledge to use what good is it?

Agreed. If anything these more knowledgeable people had a greater audience prior to the internet. Whether you were a journalist, a great economist, a great author, or a great orator you need to persist and show intellect and talent to have your message heard wide and broad.
(This is probably a little idealistic, but I think there is truth there.)

Now you need very little of this. If your most famous asset is your attractive body you can attract a greater audience than great scholars and politicians.

Rosario , December 8, 2018 at 2:56 pm

I can't speak much on authoritarianism since whatever form it takes on today is wildly different from what it was in the past. Unfortunately, it is hard to convince many people living in western societies that they are living in an authoritarian system because their metal images are goose-stepping soldiers and Fraktur print posters.

I suppose the way I can assure myself that we are living in an authoritarian society is by analyzing the endless propaganda spewed from countless, high-viewership media and entertainment outlets. It is quite simple, if the media and entertainment narratives are within a very narrow intellectual window (with lots of 600 lb. gorillas sitting in corners) than the culture and politics are being defined by powerful people with a narrow range of interests. This is not to say that forming public opinion or preferring particular political views is a new thing in Western media and entertainment, just that its application, IMO, is far more effective and subtle (and becoming more-so by the day) than it ever was in, say, NAZI Germany or the Soviet Union.

I'd put my money down that most educated Germans during NAZI rule were well aware that propaganda was being utilized to "manufacture consent" but they participated and accepted this despite the content for pragmatic/selfish reasons. Much of the NAZI propaganda played on existing German/European cultural narratives and prejudices. Leaveraging existing ideology allowed the party to necessitate their existence by framing the German as juxtaposed against the impure and unworthy. Again, ideologies that existed independent of the party not within it. Goebbels and company were just good at utilizing the technology of the time to amplify these monstrosities.

I question that being the case today. It is far more complicated. Technology is again the primary tool for manipulation, but it is possible that current technology is allowing for even greater leaps in reason and analysis. The windows for reflection and critical thought close as soon as they are opened. Seems more like the ideology is manufactured on the fly. For example, the anti-Russia narrative has some resonance with baby boomers, but how the hell is it effective with my generation (millennial) and younger? The offhand references to Putin and Russian operatives from my peers are completely from left field when considering our life experience. People in my age group had little to say about Russia three years ago. It says volumes on the subtle effectiveness of Western media machines if you can re-create the cold war within two years for an entire generation.

In addition and related to above, the West's understanding of "Freedom of Speech" is dated by about 100 years. Governments are no longer the sole source of speech suppression (more like filtering and manipulation), and the supremacy of the free-market coupled with the erroneously perceived black-and-white division between public and private have convinced the public (with nearly religious conviction) that gigantic media and entertainment organizations do not have to protect the free speech of citizens because they are not government. Public/Private is now an enormous blob. With overlapping interests mixed in with any antagonisms. It is ultimately dictated by capital and its power within both government and business. Cracking this nut will be a nightmare.

Yes, this is an authoritarian world, if measured by the distance between the populace and its governing powers, but it is an authoritarianism operating in ways that we have never seen before and using tools that are terribly effective.

[Dec 08, 2018] Presidents, prime ministers, congresspersons and parliamentarians worldwide regularly negate the democratic will of their nation's voters by refusing to support legitimate election results. Strangely, their treasonous actions continue without serious reprisal or punishment by the voter.

Dec 08, 2018 | www.unz.com

Durruti , says: December 6, 2018 at 4:00 pm GMT

"Presidents, prime ministers, congresspersons and parliamentarians worldwide regularly negate the democratic will of their nation's voters by refusing to support legitimate election results. Strangely, their treasonous actions continue without serious reprisal or punishment by the voter. This emboldens them. The reality of votes cast and "democracy" past does not does bode well for the people of the United Kingdom, their future as a nation or their hopeful return to sovereignty once called, "Brexit."

Dynamite opening paragraph by Brett Redmayne-Titley.

It defines the vital issue of -To be or not to be – for our Planet's citizens who struggle (or aught to), for functioning Democratic Republics founded upon the ideal of Liberty and Justice for All.

Titley's ending mention of the trials of the Greek nation, and others, is well placed and a tribute to his worldview, that is key to analyzing the situation in any particular corner.

"Britains should consider this arbitrary bullying of Italy and of the UK. Then they should consider the sad EU imposed current condition of Greece. Next, they might dwell on the failed outcomes of previous elections within the nearby EU nations, and how similar movements were defeated in their nation as well. Last, they must pay closest of attention to what is actually in the souls of their own politicians and what they truly support."

In America, we lost our Democratic Republic and our last Constitutional President, John F. Kennedy , in a hail of bullets in the Coup D'état of November 22, 1963.

The Citizen Yellow Vests in France , supported by their 2 leading Resistance Fighters, Dieudonné , and Alain Soral , display the next step forward in the Resistance to Tyranny.

Step 1 – Committees of Correspondence (mainstream media free – websites, & communications).

2. Step away from the TVs – & breathe the free air outside as the Citizen Militia Yellow Vests(Minutemen), regain the streets and stretch their muscles.

3. Final Step: We are Joined by free police, military, even CIA & other police agency employees, in the act of regaining their Countries, with their Sovereignty, and their Honor. We Restore Our Republics!

a. Zionist imperialist/racists to jail and awaiting Trial.

b. Cleanup & rebuilding.

c. Unbought electoral process - no $ allowed in the process (equal media access for all candidates), Debates between the candidates. Let a hundred flowers bloom (what democrat said that?)?

Something like that.

Durruti – for the Anarchist Collective

[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 03, 2018] Does any country on Earth has a democracy?

Notable quotes:
"... Have you been watching the news over the past few weeks where the clowns who supposedly represent us at Westminster were offering to take cash in brown envelopes for privileged access to the political system? ..."
"... Now we have the Prime Minister attending the Bilderberg Group meeting without any officials or Civil Servants to record what is going on. I suppose he needs to attend to get instructions from his bosses on how he must run his 'democracy'! ..."
Dec 03, 2018 | guardian.co.uk

LetsGetCynical -> Snookerboy , 8 Jun 2013 14:31

@ Snookerboy 08 June 2013 7:14pm . Get cifFix for Firefox .

Democracy = a political system in which citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows eligible citizens to participate equally -- either directly or through elected representatives -- in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. Do we have this in the UK at the moment bearing in mind recent events (brown envelopes and Bilderberg Group to name but two)?

Does any country have this? With all due respect it is just words and sentiment. In my previous comment I said that No i didnt think we had true democracy and I dont think it (if there is such a thing) is achievable, not everyone would be satisfied it would be true democracy thus its legitimacy would be called into question.

In my mind its a bit like saying the best thing would be a "benevolent, incorruptible, sensible dictator", its a fantasy.

Politicians who are found to be on the take or are fiddling the public purse should be dismissed immediately and a by election called. Would stop it happening as much as I am sure we are only seeing the 'tip of the iceberg'.

Agreed and they should always be innocent until proven guilty and if found guilty of abuse of office they should be barred from public office indefinitely in my mind, as long as they break the law, not fudge the rules or whatever, which is also part of the problem. Hazel Blears and countless others was re-elected despite being reviled in the media as an expenses cheat.

So I assume you are happy for our PM to attend a secret meeting where nothing is ever released to the media or press about what is going on or discussed?

I am neither happy nor unhappy, it is a private event that the PM is invited to by a steering committee, I imagine the idea being they can discuss candidly without official airs, graces, platitudes and politician speak for a while, it doesnt particularly concern me.

J Snookerboy -> LetsGetCynical , 8 Jun 2013 14:14
@LetsGetCynical - Democracy = a political system in which citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Democracy allows eligible citizens to participate equally -- either directly or through elected representatives -- in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. Do we have this in the UK at the moment bearing in mind recent events (brown envelopes and Bilderberg Group to name but two)?

Politicians who are found to be on the take or are fiddling the public purse should be dismissed immediately and a by election called. Would stop it happening as much as I am sure we are only seeing the 'tip of the iceberg'.

So I assume you are happy for our PM to attend a secret meeting where nothing is ever released to the media or press about what is going on or discussed?

LetsGetCynical -> Snookerboy , 8 Jun 2013 13:55
@ Snookerboy 08 June 2013 6:31pm . Get cifFix for Firefox .

No, but then again what is a "true democracy"? Agreed they are bunch of clowns but then again who are the clowns that repeatedly vote for the same party regardless of what they say or do?

where the clowns who supposedly represent us at Westminster were offering to take cash in brown envelopes

Corruption is about as old as humanity itself, no "true democracy" will ever remove the human element and all the pros and cons that entails.

Now we have the Prime Minister attending the Bilderberg Group meeting without any officials or Civil Servants to record what is going on. I suppose he needs to attend to get instructions from his bosses on how he must run his 'democracy'!

Whether or not you argee or disagree with the conference, it is by invite only, they don't have to invite civil servants or journalists if they don't want to. And it does contain very powerful people, why would the PM not attend?

attend to get instructions from his bosses

I take it the waiters are under permanent surveillance in order to ensure they don't reveal the dastardly secrets about what Eric Schmidt "tells" Cameron to do? A bit fanciful in my opinion.

Snookerboy -> LetsGetCynical , 8 Jun 2013 13:31
@LetsGetCynical - Do you really believe that we live in a true democracy? Have you been watching the news over the past few weeks where the clowns who supposedly represent us at Westminster were offering to take cash in brown envelopes for privileged access to the political system?

Now we have the Prime Minister attending the Bilderberg Group meeting without any officials or Civil Servants to record what is going on. I suppose he needs to attend to get instructions from his bosses on how he must run his 'democracy'!

[Nov 30, 2018] The Power Elite Now by Alan Wolfe

Notable quotes:
"... No longer were the chief executive officers of these companies chosen because they were of the right social background. Connections still mattered, but so did bureaucratic skill. The men who possessed those skills were rewarded well for their efforts. Larded with expense accounts and paid handsomely, they could exercise national influence not only through their companies, but through the roles that they would be called upon to serve in "the national interest." ..."
"... Given an unlimited checking account by politicians anxious to appear tough, buoyed by fantastic technological and scientific achievements, and sinking roots into America's educational institutions, the military, Mills believed, was becoming increasingly autonomous. Of all the prongs of the power elite, this "military ascendancy" possessed the most dangerous implications. "American militarism, in fully developed form, would mean the triumph in all areas of life of the military metaphysic, and hence the subordination to it of all other ways of life." ..."
"... Rather they understood that running the Central Intelligence Agency or being secretary of the Treasury gave one vast influence over the direction taken by the country. Firmly interlocked with the military and corporate sectors, the political leaders of the United States fashioned an agenda favorable to their class rather than one that might have been good for the nation as a whole ..."
"... The new breed of political figure likely to climb to the highest political positions in the land would be those who were cozy with generals and CEOs, not those who were on a first-name basis with real estate brokers and savings and loan officials. ..."
"... the emergence of the power elite had transformed the theory of balance into a romantic, Jeffersonian myth. ..."
"... neither Congress nor the political parties had much substantive work to carry out. "In the absence of policy differences of consequence between the major parties," Mills wrote, "the professional party politician must invent themes about which to talk." ..."
"... the image he conveyed of what an American had become was thoroughly unattractive: "He loses his independence, and more importantly, he loses the desire to be independent; in fact, he does not have hold of the idea of being an independent individual with his own mind and his own worked-out way of life." Mills had become so persuaded of the power of the power elite that he seemed to have lost all hope that the American people could find themselves and put a stop to the abuses he detected. ..."
Jun 01, 1999 | www.returnofkings.com
Power in America today looks far different from the picture that C. Wright Mills painted nearly half a century ago. C. Wright Mills's The Power Elite was published in 1956, a time, as Mills himself put it, when Americans were living through "a material boom, a nationalist celebration, a political vacuum." It is not hard to understand why Americans were as complacent as Mills charged.

Let's say you were a typical 35-year-old voter in 1956. When you were eight years old, the stock market crashed, and the resulting Clutch Plague began just as you started third or fourth grade. Hence your childhood was consumed with fighting off the poverty of the single greatest economic catastrophe in American history. When you were 20, the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor, ensuring that your years as a young adult, especially if you were male, would be spent fighting on the ground in Europe or from island to island in Asia. If you were lucky enough to survive that experience, you returned home at the ripe old age of 24, ready to resume some semblance of a normal life -- only then to witness the Korean War, McCarthyism, and the beginning of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Into this milieu exploded The Power Elite . C. Wright Mills was one of the first intellectuals in America to write that the complacency of the Eisenhower years left much to be desired. His indictment was uncompromising. On the one hand, he claimed, vast concentrations of power had coagulated in America, making a mockery of American democracy. On the other, he charged that his fellow intellectuals had sold out to the conservative mood in America, leaving their audience -- the American people themselves -- in a state of ignorance and apathy bearing shocking resemblance to the totalitarian regimes that America had defeated or was currently fighting.

One of the goals Mills set for himself in The Power Elite was to tell his readers -- again, assuming that they were roughly 35 years of age -- how much the organization of power in America had changed during their lifetimes. In the 1920s, when this typical reader had been born, there existed what Mills called "local society," towns and small cities throughout Am erica whose political and social life was dominated by resident businessmen. Small-town elites, usually Republican in their outlook, had a strong voice in Con gress, for most of the congressmen who represented them were either members of the dominant families themselves or had close financial ties to them.

By the time Mills wrote his book, this world of local elites had become as obsolete as the Model T Ford. Power in America had become nationalized, Mills charged, and as a result had also become interconnected. The Power Elite called attention to three prongs of power in the United States. First, business had shifted its focus from corporations that were primarily regional in their workforces and customer bases to ones that sought products in national markets and developed national interests. What had once been a propertied class, tied to the ownership of real assets, had become a managerial class, rewarded for its ability to organize the vast scope of corporate enterprise into an engine for ever-expanding profits. No longer were the chief executive officers of these companies chosen because they were of the right social background. Connections still mattered, but so did bureaucratic skill. The men who possessed those skills were rewarded well for their efforts. Larded with expense accounts and paid handsomely, they could exercise national influence not only through their companies, but through the roles that they would be called upon to serve in "the national interest."

Similar changes had taken place in the military sector of American society. World War II, Mills argued, and the subsequent start of the Cold War, led to the establishment of "a permanent war economy" in the United States. Mills wrote that the "warlords," his term for the military and its civilian allies, had once been "only uneasy, poor relations within the American elite; now they are first cousins; soon they may become elder brothers." Given an unlimited checking account by politicians anxious to appear tough, buoyed by fantastic technological and scientific achievements, and sinking roots into America's educational institutions, the military, Mills believed, was becoming increasingly autonomous. Of all the prongs of the power elite, this "military ascendancy" possessed the most dangerous implications. "American militarism, in fully developed form, would mean the triumph in all areas of life of the military metaphysic, and hence the subordination to it of all other ways of life."

In addition to the military and corporate elites, Mills analyzed the role of what he called "the political directorate." Local elites had once been strongly represented in Congress, but Congress itself, Mills pointed out, had lost power to the executive branch. And within that branch, Mills could count roughly 50 people who, in his opinion, were "now in charge of the executive decisions made in the name of the United States of America." The very top positions -- such as the secretaries of state or defense -- were occupied by men with close ties to the leading national corporations in the United States. These people were not attracted to their positions for the money; often, they made less than they would have in the private sector. Rather they understood that running the Central Intelligence Agency or being secretary of the Treasury gave one vast influence over the direction taken by the country. Firmly interlocked with the military and corporate sectors, the political leaders of the United States fashioned an agenda favorable to their class rather than one that might have been good for the nation as a whole.

Although written very much as a product of its time, The Power Elite has had remarkable staying power. The book has remained in print for 43 years in its original form, which means that the 35-year-old who read it when it first came out is now 78 years old. The names have changed since the book's appearance -- younger readers will recognize hardly any of the corporate, military, and political leaders mentioned by Mills -- but the underlying question of whether America is as democratic in practice as it is in theory continues to matter very much.

Changing Fortunes

The obvious question for any contemporary reader of The Power Elite is whether its conclusions apply to the United States today. Sorting out what is helpful in Mills's book from what has become obsolete seems a task worth undertaking.

Each year, Fortune publishes a list of the 500 leading American companies based on revenues. Roughly 30 of the 50 companies that dominated the economy when Mills wrote his book no longer do, including firms in once seemingly impregnable industries such as steel, rubber, and food. Putting it another way, the 1998 list contains the names of many corporations that would have been quite familiar to Mills: General Motors is ranked first, Ford second, and Exxon third. But the company immediately following these giants -- Wal-Mart Stores -- did not even exist at the time Mills wrote; indeed, the idea that a chain of retail stores started by a folksy Arkansas merchant would someday outrank Mobil, General Electric, or Chrysler would have startled Mills. Furthermore, just as some industries have declined, whole new industries have appeared in America since 1956; IBM was fifty-ninth when Mills wrote, hardly the computer giant -- sixth on the current Fortune 500 list -- that it is now. (Compaq and Intel, neither of which existed when Mills wrote his book, are also in the 1998 top 50.) To illustrate how closed the world of the power elite was, Mills called attention to the fact that one man, Winthrop W. Aldrich, the Am erican ambassador to Great Britain, was a director of 4 of the top 25 companies in America in 1950. In 1998, by contrast, only one of those companies, AT&T, was at the very top; of the other three, Chase Manhattan was twenty-seventh, Metropolitan Life had fallen to forty-third, and the New York Central Railroad was not to be found.

Despite these changes in the nature of corporate America, however, much of what Mills had to say about the corporate elite still applies. It is certainly still the case, for example, that those who run companies are very rich; the gap between what a CEO makes and what a worker makes is extraordinarily high. But there is one difference between the world described by Mills and the world of today that is so striking it cannot be passed over. As odd as it may sound, Mills's understanding of capitalism was not radical enough. Heavily influenced by the sociology of its time, The Power Elite portrayed corporate executives as organization men who "must 'fit in' with those already at the top." They had to be concerned with managing their impressions, as if the appearance of good results were more important than the actuality of them. Mills was disdainful of the idea that leading businessmen were especially com petent. "The fit survive," he wrote, "and fitness means, not formal competence -- there probably is no such thing for top executive positions -- but conformity with the criteria of those who have already succeeded."

It may well have been true in the 1950s that corporate leaders were not especially inventive; but if so, that was because they faced relatively few challenges. If you were the head of General Motors in 1956, you knew that American automobile companies dominated your market; the last thing on your mind was the fact that someday cars called Toyotas or Hondas would be your biggest threat. You did not like the union which organized your workers, but if you were smart, you realized that an ever-growing economy would enable you to trade off high wages for your workers in return for labor market stability. Smaller companies that supplied you with parts were dependent on you for orders. Each year you wanted to outsell Ford and Chrysler, and yet you worked with them to create an elaborate set of signals so that they would not undercut your prices and you would not undercut theirs. Whatever your market share in 1956, in other words, you could be fairly sure that it would be the same in 1957. Why rock the boat? It made perfect sense for budding executives to do what Mills argued they did do: assume that the best way to get ahead was to get along and go along.

Very little of this picture remains accurate at the end of the twentieth century. Union membership as a percentage of the total workforce has declined dramatically, and while this means that companies can pay their workers less, it also means that they cannot expect to invest much in the training of their workers on the assumption that those workers will remain with the company for most of their lives. Foreign competition, once negligible, is now the rule of thumb for most American companies, leading many of them to move parts of their companies overseas and to create their own global marketing arrangements. America's fastest-growing industries can be found in the field of high technology, something Mills did not anticipate. ("Many modern theories of industrial development," he wrote, "stress technological developments, but the number of inventors among the very rich is so small as to be unappreciable.") Often dominated by self-made men (another phenomenon about which Mills was doubtful), these firms are ruthlessly competitive, which upsets any possibility of forming gentlemen's agreements to control prices; indeed, among internet companies the idea is to provide the product with no price whatsoever -- that is, for free -- in the hopes of winning future customer loyalty.

These radical changes in the competitive dynamics of American capitalism have important implications for any effort to characterize the power elite of today. C. Wright Mills was a translator and interpreter of the German sociologist Max Weber, and he borrowed from Weber the idea that a heavily bureaucratized society would also be a stable and conservative society. Only in a society which changes relatively little is it possible for an elite to have power in the first place, for if events change radically, then it tends to be the events controlling the people rather than the people controlling the events. There can be little doubt that those who hold the highest positions in America's corporate hierarchy remain, as they did in Mills's day, the most powerful Americans. But not even they can control rapid technological transformations, intense global competition, and ever-changing consumer tastes. American capitalism is simply too dynamic to be controlled for very long by anyone.

The Warlords

One of the crucial arguments Mills made in The Power Elite was that the emergence of the Cold War completely transformed the American public's historic opposition to a permanent military establishment in the United States. In deed, he stressed that America's military elite was now linked to its economic and political elite. Personnel were constantly shifting back and forth from the corporate world to the military world. Big companies like General Motors had become dependent on military contracts. Scientific and technological innovations sponsored by the military helped fuel the growth of the economy. And while all these links between the economy and the military were being forged, the military had become an active political force. Members of Congress, once hostile to the military, now treated officers with great deference. And no president could hope to staff the Department of State, find intelligence officers, and appoint ambassadors without consulting with the military.

Mills believed that the emergence of the military as a key force in American life constituted a substantial attack on the isolationism which had once characterized public opinion. He argued that "the warlords, along with fellow travelers and spokesmen, are attempting to plant their metaphysics firmly among the population at large." Their goal was nothing less than a redefinition of reality -- one in which the American people would come to accept what Mills called "an emergency without a foreseeable end." "War or a high state of war preparedness is felt to be the normal and seemingly permanent condition of the United States," Mills wrote. In this state of constant war fever, America could no longer be considered a genuine democracy, for democracy thrives on dissent and disagreement, precisely what the military definition of reality forbids. If the changes described by Mills were indeed permanent, then The Power Elite could be read as the description of a deeply radical, and depressing, transformation of the nature of the United States.

Much as Mills wrote, it remains true today that Congress is extremely friendly to the military, at least in part because the military has become so powerful in the districts of most congressmen. Military bases are an important source of jobs for many Americans, and government spending on the military is crucial to companies, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which manufacture military equipment. American firms are the leaders in the world's global arms market, manufacturing and exporting weapons everywhere. Some weapons systems never seem to die, even if, as was the case with a "Star Wars" system designed to destroy incoming missiles, there is no demonstrable military need for them.

Yet despite these similarities with the 1950s, both the world and the role that America plays in that world have changed. For one thing, the United States has been unable to muster its forces for any sustained use in any foreign conflict since Vietnam. Worried about the possibility of a public backlash against the loss of American lives, American presidents either refrain from pursuing military adventures abroad or confine them to rapid strikes, along the lines pursued by Presidents Bush and Clinton in Iraq. Since 1989, moreover, the collapse of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe has undermined the capacity of America's elites to mobilize support for military expenditures. China, which at the time Mills wrote was con sidered a serious threat, is now viewed by American businessmen as a source of great potential investment. Domestic political support for a large and permanent military establishment in the United States, in short, can no longer be taken for granted.

The immediate consequence of these changes in the world's balance of power has been a dramatic decrease in that proportion of the American economy devoted to defense. At the time Mills wrote, defense expenditures constituted roughly 60 percent of all federal outlays and consumed nearly 10 percent of the U. S. gross domestic product. By the late 1990s, those proportions had fallen to 17 percent of federal outlays and 3.5 percent of GDP. Nearly three million Americans served in the armed forces when The Power Elite appeared, but that number had dropped by half at century's end. By almost any account, Mills's prediction that both the economy and the political systemof the United States would come to be ever more dominated by the military is not borne out by historical developments since his time.

And how could he have been right? Business firms, still the most powerful force in American life, are increasingly global in nature, more interested in protecting their profits wherever they are made than in the defense of the country in which perhaps only a minority of their employees live and work. Give most of the leaders of America's largest companies a choice between invading another country and investing in its industries and they will nearly always choose the latter over the former. Mills believed that in the 1950s, for the first time in American history, the military elite had formed a strong alliance with the economic elite. Now it would be more correct to say that America's economic elite finds more in common with economic elites in other countries than it does with the military elite of its own. The Power Elite failed to foresee a situation in which at least one of the key elements of the power elite would no longer identify its fate with the fate of the country which spawned it.

Mass Society and the Power Elite

Politicians and public officials who wield control over the executive and legislative branches of government constitute the third leg of the power elite. Mills believed that the politicians of his time were no longer required to serve a local apprenticeship before moving up the ladder to national politics. Because corporations and the military had become so interlocked with government, and because these were both national institutions, what might be called "the nationalization of politics" was bound to follow. The new breed of political figure likely to climb to the highest political positions in the land would be those who were cozy with generals and CEOs, not those who were on a first-name basis with real estate brokers and savings and loan officials.

For Mills, politics was primarily a facade. Historically speaking, American politics had been organized on the theory of balance: each branch of government would balance the other; competitive parties would ensure adequate representation; and interest groups like labor unions would serve as a counterweight to other interests like business. But the emergence of the power elite had transformed the theory of balance into a romantic, Jeffersonian myth. So anti democratic had America become under the rule of the power elite, according to Mills, that most decisions were made behind the scenes. As a result, neither Congress nor the political parties had much substantive work to carry out. "In the absence of policy differences of consequence between the major parties," Mills wrote, "the professional party politician must invent themes about which to talk."

Mills was right to emphasize the irrelevance of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century images to the actualities of twentieth-century American political power. But he was not necessarily correct that politics would therefore become something of an empty theatrical show. Mills believed that in the absence of real substance, the parties would become more like each other. Yet today the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats are severe -- as, in fact, they were in 1956. Joseph McCarthy, the conservative anticommunist senator from Wisconsin who gave his name to the period in which Mills wrote his book, appears a few times in The Power Elite , but not as a major figure. In his emphasis on politics and economics, Mills underestimated the important role that powerful symbolic and moral crusades have had in American life, including McCarthy's witch-hunt after communist influence. Had he paid more attention to McCarthyism, Mills would have been more likely to predict the role played by divisive issues such as abortion, immigration, and affirmative action in American politics today. Real substance may not be high on the American political agenda, but that does not mean that politics is unimportant. Through our political system, we make decisions about what kind of people we imagine ourselves to be, which is why it matters a great deal at the end of the twentieth century which political party is in power.

Contemporary commentators believe that Mills was an outstanding social critic but not necessarily a first-rate social scientist. Yet I believe that The Power Elite survives better as a work of social science than of social criticism.

At the time Mills was writing, academic sociology was in the process of proclaiming itself a science. The proper role of the sociologist, many of Mills's colleagues believed, was to conduct value-free research emphasizing the close em pirical testing of small-bore hypotheses. A grand science would eventually be built upon extensive empirical work which, like the best of the natural sciences, would be published in highly specialized journals emph a sizing methodological innovation and technical proficiency. Because he never agreed with these objectives, Mills was never considered a good scientist by his sociological peers.

Yet not much of the academic sociology of the 1950s has survived, while The Power Elite , in terms of longevity, is rivaled by very few books of its period. In his own way, Mills contributed much to the understanding of his era. Social scientists of the 1950s emphasized pluralism, a concept which Mills attacked in his criticisms of the theory of balance. The dominant idea of the day was that the concentration of power in America ought not be considered excessive because one group always balanced the power of others. The biggest problem facing America was not concentrated power but what sociologists began to call "the end of ideology." America, they believed, had reached a point in which grand passions over ideas were exhausted. From now on, we would require technical expertise to solve our problems, not the musings of intellectuals.

Compared to such ideas, Mills's picture of American reality, for all its exaggerations, seems closer to the mark. If the test of science is to get reality right, the very passionate convictions of C. Wright Mills drove him to develop a better empirical grasp on Am erican society than his more objective and clinical contemporaries. We can, therefore, read The Power Elite as a fairly good account of what was taking place in America at the time it was written.

As a social critic, however, Mills leaves something to be desired. In that role, Mills portrays himself as a lonely battler for the truth, insistent upon his correctness no matter how many others are seduced by the siren calls of power or wealth. This gives his book emotional power, but it comes with a certain irresponsibility. "In Am erica today," Mills wrote in a typical passage, "men of affairs are not so much dogmatic as they are mindless." Yet however one may dislike the decisions made by those in power in the 1950s, as decision makers they were responsible for the consequences of their acts. It is often easier to criticize from afar than it is to get a sense of what it actually means to make a corporate decision involving thousands of workers, to consider a possible military action that might cost lives, or to decide whether public funds should be spent on roads or welfare. In calling public officials mindless, Mills implies that he knows how they might have acted better. But if he did, he never told readers of The Power Elite ; missing from the book is a statement of what concretely could be done to make the world accord more with the values in which Mills believed.

It is, moreover, one thing to attack the power elite, yet another to extend his criticisms to other intellectuals -- and even the public at large. When he does the latter, Mills runs the risk of becoming as antidemocratic as he believed America had become. As he brings his book to an end, Mills adopts a termonce strongly identified with conservative political theorists. Appalled by the spread of democracy, conservative European writers proclaimed the twentieth century the age of "mass society." The great majority, this theory held, would never act rationally but would respond more like a crowd, hysterically caught up in frenzy at one point, apathetic and withdrawn at another. "The United States is not altogether a mass society," Mills wrote -- and then he went on to write as if it were. And when he did, the image he conveyed of what an American had become was thoroughly unattractive: "He loses his independence, and more importantly, he loses the desire to be independent; in fact, he does not have hold of the idea of being an independent individual with his own mind and his own worked-out way of life." Mills had become so persuaded of the power of the power elite that he seemed to have lost all hope that the American people could find themselves and put a stop to the abuses he detected.

One can only wonder, then, what Mills would have made of the failed attempt by Republican zealots to impeach and remove the President of the United States. At one level it makes one wish there really were a power elite, for surely such an elite would have prevented an extremist faction of an increasingly ideological political party from trying to overturn the results of two elections. And at another level, to the degree that America weathered this crisis, it did so precisely because the public did not act as if were numbed by living in a mass society, for it refused to follow the lead of opinion makers, it made up its mind early and thoughtfully, and then it held tenaciously to its opinion until the end.

Whether or not America has a power elite at the top and a mass society at the bottom, however, it remains in desperate need of the blend of social science and social criticism which The Power Elite offered. It would take another of Mills's books -- perhaps The Sociological Imagination -- to explain why that has been lost.

[Nov 30, 2018] US Warlords now and at the tome Miill's Poer Elite was published

Highly recommended!
This is from 1999 and in 2018 we see that Mills was right.
Notable quotes:
"... Personnel were constantly shifting back and forth from the corporate world to the military world. Big companies like General Motors had become dependent on military contracts. Scientific and technological innovations sponsored by the military helped fuel the growth of the economy. ..."
"... the military had become an active political force. Members of Congress, once hostile to the military, now treated officers with great deference. And no president could hope to staff the Department of State, find intelligence officers, and appoint ambassadors without consulting with the military. ..."
"... Mills believed that the emergence of the military as a key force in American life constituted a substantial attack on the isolationism which had once characterized public opinion. He argued that "the warlords, along with fellow travelers and spokesmen, are attempting to plant their metaphysics firmly among the population at large." ..."
"... In this state of constant war fever, America could no longer be considered a genuine democracy, for democracy thrives on dissent and disagreement, precisely what the military definition of reality forbids. If the changes described by Mills were indeed permanent, then The Power Elite could be read as the description of a deeply radical, and depressing, transformation of the nature of the United States. ..."
"... The immediate consequence of these changes in the world's balance of power has been a dramatic decrease in that proportion of the American economy devoted to defense. ..."
"... Mills's prediction that both the economy and the political system of the United States would come to be ever more dominated by the military ..."
"... Business firms, still the most powerful force in American life, are increasingly global in nature, more interested in protecting their profits wherever they are made than in the defense of the country in which perhaps only a minority of their employees live and work. Give most of the leaders of America's largest companies a choice between invading another country and investing in its industries and they will nearly always choose the latter over the former. ..."
"... Mills believed that in the 1950s, for the first time in American history, the military elite had formed a strong alliance with the economic elite. ..."
May-June 1 1999, | prospect.org

Originally from: The Power Elite Now

... ... ...

The Warlords

One of the crucial arguments Mills made in The Power Elite was that the emergence of the Cold War completely transformed the American public's historic opposition to a permanent military establishment in the United States. In deed, he stressed that America's military elite was now linked to its economic and political elite. Personnel were constantly shifting back and forth from the corporate world to the military world. Big companies like General Motors had become dependent on military contracts. Scientific and technological innovations sponsored by the military helped fuel the growth of the economy. And while all these links between the economy and the military were being forged, the military had become an active political force. Members of Congress, once hostile to the military, now treated officers with great deference. And no president could hope to staff the Department of State, find intelligence officers, and appoint ambassadors without consulting with the military.

Mills believed that the emergence of the military as a key force in American life constituted a substantial attack on the isolationism which had once characterized public opinion. He argued that "the warlords, along with fellow travelers and spokesmen, are attempting to plant their metaphysics firmly among the population at large." Their goal was nothing less than a redefinition of reality -- one in which the American people would come to accept what Mills called "an emergency without a foreseeable end." "

War or a high state of war preparedness is felt to be the normal and seemingly permanent condition of the United States,"

Mills wrote. In this state of constant war fever, America could no longer be considered a genuine democracy, for democracy thrives on dissent and disagreement, precisely what the military definition of reality forbids. If the changes described by Mills were indeed permanent, then The Power Elite could be read as the description of a deeply radical, and depressing, transformation of the nature of the United States.

Much as Mills wrote, it remains true today that Congress is extremely friendly to the military, at least in part because the military has become so powerful in the districts of most congressmen. Military bases are an important source of jobs for many Americans, and government spending on the military is crucial to companies, such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which manufacture military equipment. American firms are the leaders in the world's global arms market, manufacturing and exporting weapons everywhere. Some weapons systems never seem to die, even if, as was the case with a "Star Wars" system designed to destroy incoming missiles, there is no demonstrable military need for them.

Yet despite these similarities with the 1950s, both the world and the role that America plays in that world have changed. For one thing, the United States has been unable to muster its forces for any sustained use in any foreign conflict since Vietnam. Worried about the possibility of a public backlash against the loss of American lives, American presidents either refrain from pursuing military adventures abroad or confine them to rapid strikes, along the lines pursued by Presidents Bush and Clinton in Iraq. Since 1989, moreover, the collapse of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe has undermined the capacity of America's elites to mobilize support for military expenditures. China, which at the time Mills wrote was considered a serious threat, is now viewed by American businessmen as a source of great potential investment. Domestic political support for a large and permanent military establishment in the United States, in short, can no longer be taken for granted.

The immediate consequence of these changes in the world's balance of power has been a dramatic decrease in that proportion of the American economy devoted to defense. At the time Mills wrote, defense expenditures constituted roughly 60 percent of all federal outlays and consumed nearly 10 percent of the U. S. gross domestic product. By the late 1990s, those proportions had fallen to 17 percent of federal outlays and 3.5 percent of GDP. Nearly three million Americans served in the armed forces when The Power Elite appeared, but that number had dropped by half at century's end. By almost any account, Mills's prediction that both the economy and the political system of the United States would come to be ever more dominated by the military is not borne out by historical developments since his time.

And how could he have been right? Business firms, still the most powerful force in American life, are increasingly global in nature, more interested in protecting their profits wherever they are made than in the defense of the country in which perhaps only a minority of their employees live and work. Give most of the leaders of America's largest companies a choice between invading another country and investing in its industries and they will nearly always choose the latter over the former.

Mills believed that in the 1950s, for the first time in American history, the military elite had formed a strong alliance with the economic elite. Now it would be more correct to say that America's economic elite finds more in common with economic elites in other countries than it does with the military elite of its own....

[Nov 27, 2018] The political fraud of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal"

Highly recommended!
After Democratic party was co-opted by neoliberals there is no way back. And since Obama the trend of Democratic Party is toward strengthening the wing of CIA-democratic notthe wing of the party friendly to workers. Bought by Wall Street leadership is uncable of intruting any change that undermine thier current neoliberal platform. that's why they criminally derailed Sanders.
Notable quotes:
"... When you think about the issue of how exactly a clean-energy jobs program would address the elephant in the room of private accumulation and how such a program, under capitalism, would be able to pay living wages to the people put to work under it, it exposes how non threatening these Green New Deals actually are to capitalism. ..."
"... To quote Trotsky, "These people are capable of and ready for anything!" ..."
"... "Any serious measures to stop global warming, let alone assure a job and livable wage to everyone, would require a massive redistribution of wealth and the reallocation of trillions currently spent on US imperialism's neo-colonial wars abroad." ..."
"... "It includes various left-sounding rhetoric, but is entirely directed to and dependent upon the Democratic Party." ..."
"... "And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war." - New York Times tries to shame "disillusioned young voters" into supporting the Democrats ..."
"... It is an illusion that technical innovation within the capitalist system will magically fundamentally resolve the material problems produced by capitalism. But the inconvenient facts are entirely ignored by the corporate shills in the DSA and the whole lot of establishment politicians, who prefer to indulge their addiction to wealth and power with delusions of grandeur, technological utopianism, and other figments that serve the needs of their class. ..."
"... First it was Obama with his phoney "hope and change" that lured young voters to the Dumbicrats and now it's Ocacia Cortez promising a "green deal" in order to herd them back into the Democratic party--a total fraud of course--totally obvious! ..."
"... from Greenwald: The Democratic Party's deceitful game https://www.salon.com/2010/... ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Raymond Colison4 days ago

they literally ripped this out of the 2016 Green Party platform. Jill Stein spoke repeatedly about the same exact kind of Green New Deal, a full-employment, transition-to-100%-renewables program that would supposedly solve all the world's problems.

When you think about the issue of how exactly a clean-energy jobs program would address the elephant in the room of private accumulation and how such a program, under capitalism, would be able to pay living wages to the people put to work under it, it exposes how non threatening these Green New Deals actually are to capitalism.

In 2016, when the Greens made this their central economic policy proposal, the Democrats responded by calling that platform irresponsible and dangerous ("even if it's a good idea, you can't actually vote for a non-two-party candidate!"). Why would they suddenly find a green new deal appealing now except for its true purpose: left cover for the very system destroying the planet.

To quote Trotsky, "These people are capable of and ready for anything!"

Greg4 days ago
"Any serious measures to stop global warming, let alone assure a job and livable wage to everyone, would require a massive redistribution of wealth and the reallocation of trillions currently spent on US imperialism's neo-colonial wars abroad."

Their political position not only lacks seriousness, unserious is their political position.

"It includes various left-sounding rhetoric, but is entirely directed to and dependent upon the Democratic Party."

For subjective-idealists, what you want to believe, think and feel is just so much more convincing than objective reality. Especially when it covers over single-minded class interests at play.

"And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war." - New York Times tries to shame "disillusioned young voters" into supporting the Democrats

Penny Smith4 days ago
It is an illusion that technical innovation within the capitalist system will magically fundamentally resolve the material problems produced by capitalism. But the inconvenient facts are entirely ignored by the corporate shills in the DSA and the whole lot of establishment politicians, who prefer to indulge their addiction to wealth and power with delusions of grandeur, technological utopianism, and other figments that serve the needs of their class.
Jim Bergren4 days ago
First it was Obama with his phoney "hope and change" that lured young voters to the Dumbicrats and now it's Ocacia Cortez promising a "green deal" in order to herd them back into the Democratic party--a total fraud of course--totally obvious!

Only an International Socialist program led by Workers can truly lead a "green revolution" by expropriating the billionaire oil barons of their capital and redirecting that wealth into the socialist reconstruction of the entire economy.

Master Oroko4 days ago
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal" is a nice laugh. Really, it sure is funny hearing these lies given any credence at all. This showmanship belongs in a fantasy book, not in real life. The Democratic Party as a force for good social change Now that's a laugh!
Vivek Jain4 days ago
from Greenwald: The Democratic Party's deceitful game https://www.salon.com/2010/...
лидия5 days ago
"Greenwashing" of capitalism (and also of Zionist apartheid colony in Palestine) is but one of dirty tricks by Dems and their "left" backers.
Kalen5 days ago
Lies, empty promises, meaningless tautologies and morality plays, qualified and conditional declarations to be backpedalled pending appropriate political expediencies, devoid any practical content that is what AOC, card carrying member of DSA, and in fact young energetic political apparatchik of calcified political body of Dems establishment, duty engulfs. And working for socialist revolution is no one of them.

What kind of socialist would reject socialist revolution, class struggle and class emancipation and choose, as a suppose socialist path, accommodation with oligarchic ruling elite via political, not revolutionary process that would have necessarily overthrown ruling elite.

What socialist would acquiesce to legalized exploitation of people for profit, legalized greed and inequality and would negotiate away fundamental principle of egalitarianism and working people self rule?

Only National Socialist would; and that is exactly what AOC campaign turned out to be all about.

National Socialism with imperial flavor is her affiliation and what her praises for Pelosi, wife of a billionaire and dead warmonger McCain proved.

Now she is peddling magical thinking about global change and plunge herself into falacy of entrepreneurship, Market solution to the very problem that the market solutions were designed to create and aggravate namely horrific inequality that is robbing people from their own opportunities to mitigate devastating effects of global change.

The insidiousness of phony socialists expresses itself in the fact that they lie that any social problem can be fixed by current of future technical means, namely via so called technological revolution instead by socialist revolution they deem unnecessary or detrimental.

Me at home Kalen4 days ago
The technical means for achieving socialism has existed since the late 19th century, with the telegraph, the coal-powered factory, and modern fertilizer. The improvements since then have only made socialism even more streamlined and efficient, if such technologies could only be liberated from capital! The idea that "we need a new technological revolution just to achieve socialism" reflects the indoctrination in capitalism by many "socialist" theorists because it is only in capitalism where "technological growth" is essential simply to maintain the system. It is only in capitalism (especially America, the most advanced capitalist nation, and thus, the one where capitalism is actually closest towards total crisis) where the dogma of a technological savior is most entrenched because America cannot offer any other kind of palliative to the more literate and productive sections of its population. Religion will not convince most and any attempt at a sociological or economic understanding would inevitably prove the truth of socialism.

[Nov 27, 2018] Christine Blasey Ford Thanks America For $650,000 Payday, Hopes Life Will Return To Normal

Nov 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Christine Blasey Ford Thanks America For $650,000 Payday, Hopes Life "Will Return To Normal"

by Tyler Durden Tue, 11/27/2018 - 17:30 171 SHARES

Amid the sound and fury of the disgusting antics of the Brett Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination process, one of the main defenses of Christine Balsey Ford's sudden recollection of an '80s sexual assault was simply "...why would she lie... what's in it for her?"

Certainly, the forced publicity by Dianne Feinstein and public questioning guaranteed her 15 minutes of fame (and perhaps even more infamy if Kavanaugh's nomination had failed) but now, in a statement thanking everyone who had supported her, Ford is "hopeful that our lives will return to normal."

The full statement was posted to her GoFundMe page :

Words are not adequate to thank all of you who supported me since I came forward to tell the Senate that I had been sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh. Your tremendous outpouring of support and kind letters have made it possible for us to cope with the immeasurable stress, particularly the disruption to our safety and privacy. Because of your support, I feel hopeful that our lives will return to normal.

The funds you have sent through GoFundMe have been a godsend. Your donations have allowed us to take reasonable steps to protect ourselves against frightening threats, including physical protection and security for me and my family, and to enhance the security for our home. We used your generous contributions to pay for a security service, which began on September 19 and has recently begun to taper off; a home security system; housing and security costs incurred in Washington DC, and local housing for part of the time we have been displaced. Part of the time we have been able to stay with our security team in a residence generously loaned to us.

With immense gratitude, I am closing this account to further contributions. All funds unused after completion of security expenditures will be donated to organizations that support trauma survivors. I am currently researching organizations where the funds can best be used. We will use this space to let you know when that process is complete.

Although coming forward was terrifying, and caused disruption to our lives, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty. Having done so, I am in awe of the many women and men who have written me to share similar life experiences, and now have bravely shared their experience with friends and family, many for the first time. I send you my heartfelt love and support.

I wish I could thank each and every one of you individually. Thank you.
Christine

Well one thing is for sure - she has almost 650 thousand reasons why life since the accusations could be more comfortable...


non_anon , 41 minutes ago link

payday, she should be prosecuted for perjury and in prison. Won't happen.

PCShibai , 43 minutes ago link

Nice work when you an get it. Short duration, no education necessary, and all you need to do is read from a script and lie your *** off.

Dogstar59 , 1 hour ago link

Here's an interesting fact: Her immediate family (siblings and parents) wants nothing to do with her. They refused to sign a petition of support created by "close family and friends", they refused to make any supporting statements and they refused to show up to the hearings.

Very interesting...

petroglyph , 43 minutes ago link

Any links?

spiderbite , 1 hour ago link

Hopes Life "Will Return To Normal"

Mindfucking people for the CIA

chubakka , 1 hour ago link

Sorry doesn't seem like much money to me at all. Put family through all that for that amount? Risk ones families welfare and safety for that amount and a bad name? One would have to be a total idiot or crazy for that.

aardvarkk , 1 hour ago link

Wanders in, belches out a pack of lies, destroys an entire family's lives, tears a big chunk out of the social fabric of the country, collects a huge payday and hits the beach for the rest of her life, or at least the portion not dedicated to indoctrinating yound minds.

She is at least as much of a Democrat as Obama ever was.

Able Ape , 3 hours ago link

Exceedingly unremarkable people always insist on using the title Dr. as if it is a sign of high intelligence and status... They wish...

keep the bastards honest , 3 hours ago link

Disgusting female. Brett Kavanaugh and his family donated the gomfund me set up for his family, to a charity for abused women.

Ford has a second go fund me which raised more, to,pay for legals, she has made a fortune, has a 3 million plus home, and whatever she was given for this charade. And the abortion drug company interest. Plus the google renting illegally events thru the second fromt door.

Kavanaugh has an ordinary car, a simple home worth 1.3 million and a debt of 860,000. Always been an employee so never the big paycheck like Avenatti got.

volunteers for homeless. Plus the sports coaching for school, kids and lecturing...both no more.

[Nov 27, 2018] Trump betrayed the Rust Belt. As the result Trump s Rust Belt support evaporate and the king is now naked

Trump most probably will be a one time President... The American people will elect the next time another bullshit artist but this time probably from Democratic Party..
Notable quotes:
"... I'll give the congressman all of that, especially ..."
"... When the economy is bad, nobody wants a bullsh*t artist in the White House. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... "He came to our community and said, 'Don't sell your house. These jobs are coming back,' " Green said. "We've seen nothing but job losses around here." ..."
"... What you can blame Trump for is exploiting the hopes of Rust Belt people by telling them that he could bring those jobs back. ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

You heard that General Motors is idling five plants and laying off 14,000 workers, right? Excerpt:

Part of the retrenchment is a response to a slowdown in new-car sales that has prompted automakers to slim their operations and shed jobs. And earlier bets on smaller cars have had to be unwound as consumers have gravitated toward pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles in response to low gasoline prices.

In addition, automakers have paid a price for the trade battle that Mr. Trump set in motion. In June G.M. slashed its profit outlook for the year because tariffs were driving up production costs, raising prices even on domestic steel. Rising interest rates are also generating headwinds.

Ms. Barra said no single factor had prompted G.M.'s cutbacks, portraying them as a prudent trimming of sails. "We are taking these actions now while the company and the economy are strong to stay in front of a fast-changing market," she said on a conference call with analysts.

More:

But demand for small and midsize cars has plunged. Two-thirds of all new vehicles sold last year were trucks and S.U.V.s. That shift has hit G.M.'s Lordstown plant hard. Just a few years ago, the factory employed three shifts of workers to churn out Chevy Cruzes. Now it is down to one. In 2017 the plant made about 180,000 cars, down from 248,000 in 2013.

More broadly, the years long boom in car and truck sales in North America appears to be ending, said John Hoffecker, vice chairman at AlixPartners, a global consulting firm with a large automotive practice. "Sales have held up well this year, but we do see a downturn coming," he said. AlixPartners forecast that domestic auto sales will fall to about 15 million cars and light trucks in 2020, from about 17 million this year.

Watching cable news tonight at the gym, I heard an Ohio Democratic Congressman blast the president over this. He ripped Trump for having made promises to industrial workers in his state in 2016, about how he would bring jobs back. He ripped Trump over the steel tariffs that have driven up costs of production. And he ripped Trump for not taking his job seriously, for caring more about Twitter than coming up with a strategy that might save jobs.

I'll give the congressman all of that, especially on Trump being a lazy, golfing-and-tweeting buffoon who doesn't care about his job. Trump can get away with that when the economy is booming, but now it looks like things might be turning downward.

When the economy is bad, nobody wants a bullsh*t artist in the White House. From the Washington Post :

In Lordstown, workers planned to pray for a miraculous reversal of the company's decision, according to David Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112.

"It's like someone knocks the wind out of you," he said of GM's announcement. "You lose your breath for a minute."

About 40 percent of the local's members voted for Trump, Green said. Now workers want to see the president keep his promises, he said.

"He came to our community and said, 'Don't sell your house. These jobs are coming back,' " Green said. "We've seen nothing but job losses around here."

Indeed, even before Monday's announcement, Lordstown had been bleeding jobs. Since Trump took office, GM has eliminated two shifts and roughly 3,000 jobs at the plant, according to John Russo, a visiting scholar at Georgetown University's Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.

But we have to face some facts. People aren't buying what GM is making. Aside from the move away from small cars, an effect of lower gasoline prices, sedan sales have been declining across all manufacturers. This summer, I got a good deal on a 2018 Honda Accord, a car I really love, and that received rapturous praise from the automobile press when it came out. Honda struggled to sell the cars. It's not because they're lousy cars. They're actually terrific cars. It's that consumers are losing interest in sedans. What good does it do GM to manufacture cars that people will not buy?

You can't blame Trump for that.

What you can blame Trump for is exploiting the hopes of Rust Belt people by telling them that he could bring those jobs back. The Rust Belt made the crucial difference for Trump in 2016. Unless the Democrats' 2020 nominee is someone who is more or less a space alien, it's going to be hard to win those voters' support when you've improved your Twitter game and your golf score, but those plants are idle.

[Nov 25, 2018] Trump and His Loyalists are "Animal Farm's" Pigs

Notable quotes:
"... Despite the animals' increasingly desperate circumstances on the farm, Squealer's barrage of untruths ultimately convince the lowly, overworked animals that "things were getting better." ..."
"... Anymore, whether it's in the company of dictators Trump keeps or among the multi-millionaires and billionaires that our purported Capitol Hill representatives mingle with at home and abroad, it's becoming increasingly harder to tell "which is which." ..."
Nov 25, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

Trump and His Loyalists are "Animal Farm's" Pigs by Kevin McKinney They are the Pigs in Animal Farm , preaching righteousness, peddling preposterousness and hoarding all the "milk and apples" for themselves.

If the demogagic President Donald Trump and his greedy loyalist Republican abettors had their way, the American citizenry would be consigned to a life of Farm -like drudgery.

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" becomes the leader pigs' contorted "Commandment" to the rest of the farm animals by the end of Animal Farm .

... ... ...

Orwell himself, indicated that his simplistic foreboding fairtale held "a wider application" about "power-hungry people."

"I meant the moral to be that revolutions only effect a radical improvement when the masses are alert.." Orwell writes Politics magazine founder Dwight Macdonald in a 1946 letter.

"What I was trying to say was," Orwell continues, "'You can't have a revolution unless you make it for yourself; there is no such thing as a benevolent dictatorship.'"

Disillusioned Americans, who weren't so much "alert" as they were desperate, clearly were swindled by Trump's disingenous populous revolution of sorts.

Now, in the flotsam wake of the midterm election's Democratic blue wave -- demonstrating a new found citizen alertness that will flood the House in January -- the mistake of ever allowing a Trump Presidency, is coming into sharp, unsettling focus.

Oppression is oppression. Greed and abuse of power produce essentially the same result whatever the misanthropic ideology – Communism or Fascism or some other hybrid demagogic "ism" to which Trump and his loyalists aspire.

If Washington D.C's plutocratic pigs had their druthers, Americans would be so dumbed down by the con-in-chief's exhaustive lies and grating vitriol, endorsed by congressional majority party Republicans, that we would have about as much say in our Republic's affairs as Animal Farm 's befuddled barnyard animals had on the farm under the pigs.

"Napoleon is Always Right"

Trump is akin to Farm 's ruthless ruling pig, Napoleon, a Berkshire boar who, Orwell writes, has a knack for "getting his own way."

Napoleon counted on his propagandist pig, Squealer, who "could turn black into white" to brainwash the farm animals with lies about their tyrannical leader's supposed benevolence.

Even Clover the mare, who notices the changes the pigs sneakily make to Animalism's Commandments, eventually is lulled into a sense of complacency, convincing herself that she must have "remembered it wrong."

As the Farm animals work harder for less, the beloved, but dim-witted carthorse Boxer declares, "I will work harder" and routinely motivates himself by extolling the pigs' most controlling lie of all: "Napoleon is always right."

To advance his doubtless premeditated assault on truth and civility from the start of 2017, President Trump has employed his own tag team versions of Squealer – in imaginative mouthpieces Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sanders, White House press secretary, seems eternally lost in an alternate reality where if President Trump "says it, it must be true" – just as Farm's animals were programmed to parrot of Napoleon, no matter how absurd the lie.

... ... ...

And we Americans, like Farm 's flock of mindless sheep taught by Squealer to obediently bleat "Four legs good, two legs better ," are supposed to believe it all.

... ... ...

Pigs Hoarded Milk and Apples; Repubs, Tax Cuts For Rich

Just as Farm 's pigs reason early on that they need all of the farm's "milk and apples" to lead the rest of the animals, Trump and his complicit Republican chums insisted at the outset that billionaires' tax breaks are the key to economic revival for all.

Never mind that Reaganomics trickled down – and out, decades ago. Never mind that corporate profits are soaring, while workers' wages have stagnated.

And that now, in order to pay for corporate big wigs' tax cuts, Republicans contrive to carve up the people's Medicare and Medicaid, while sinisterly eyeing social security benefits.

Who is the real "enemy of the people"?

"The turning-point of the story was supposed to be when the pigs kept the milk and apples for themselves," Orwell writes in the 1946 letter to Macdonald, published in George Orwell: A Life In Letters , 2013.

"If the other animals had had the sense to put their foot down then," Orwell continues, "it would have been all right."

At the first sign of feebleness, Boxer, the farm's hardest worker -- instrumental in the farm's success from which the pigs alone capitalized -- is hauled off to the slaughterhouse.

Despite the animals' increasingly desperate circumstances on the farm, Squealer's barrage of untruths ultimately convince the lowly, overworked animals that "things were getting better."

Think of Trump's grandiose claims of new plant openings and soaring jobs numbers. When Fox News' asked him this past weekend how he would grade his job as President so far, Trump offered, "A plus."

And look no further than Trump's scripted, dictator-esque, brainwashing rallies, where gullible Reality TV "fans" pathetically worship a snake oil salesman, cheering on command and smiling idiotic smiles.

Which is Which?

In Farm' s last pages, the pigs have rewritten Animalism's "Seven Commandments" to suit them, embracing the ways of the animals' sworn enemy humans.

"Comrade Napoleon" and his fellow privileged porkers have moved into overthrown (Manor Farm) owner Mr. Jones' farm house, are dressed in his clothes and are walking upright on their two hind legs.

By then, the incoherent sheep under the absolute sway of Napoleon's propagandist pig Squealer, no longer are sounding off on command: "Four legs good, two legs bad," but rather, "Four legs good, two legs better ."

Animal Farm leaves us with the animals peering through the farm house dining room window as the pigs inside schmooze and toast mugs of beer with neighboring farmer, Mr. Pilkington and his associates.

The pigs and humans end up squabbling over a card game in which Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington each play an ace of spades.

Who is cheating?

In the novella's last line, the baffled animals at the window look from face to face, from the humans to the pigs, but: "It was impossible to say which was which."

Anymore, whether it's in the company of dictators Trump keeps or among the multi-millionaires and billionaires that our purported Capitol Hill representatives mingle with at home and abroad, it's becoming increasingly harder to tell "which is which."

... ... ...

[Nov 25, 2018] Trump vs Berlusconi

Nov 25, 2018 | www.unz.com

All that said, the subject's personality cannot help shine through anyway. One understands Berlusconi's original appeal: salesmanship on a massive scale. First as a developer and salesman in the booming 1970s Italian property market. Then by founding Italy's first private television stations, circumventing the state ban on private national channels Ride of the Valkyries . Berlusconi's success as a businessman reflects the materialism and superficiality characteristic of the postwar democratic West, his power derives from the masses' bottomless desire for things and for spectacle.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Berlusconi in effect converted his media appeal and economic clout into political capital. My Way does give a sense of the man's charm, brashness, and sordid sense of humor. Nonetheless, one can't help laughing at his jokes and enjoying his company. We see him give a pep talk to his football players. Berlusconi tells a black player that he would like to meet his wife, because she is so beautiful, adding that he needn't worry as he's already "too old." He tells a fifty-year-old man that he looks great, adding however that he still doesn't look as a good as Berlusconi himself. This is funny, but Berlusconi, who was almost eighty during the interviews, does look like an awful case of plastic surgery.

Berlusconi gives us a tour of his gorgeous villa at Arcore (20 kilometers from Milan), showing his collection of Renaissance paintings, classical Greco-Roman sculpture (some given to him by Muamar Gaddafi from Libya), and a whole room of paintings of . . . himself, apparently given to him over the years by his many admirers. Among these we are shown a heroic painting of Mussolini, with Berlusconi weakly protesting that this shouldn't be filmed, lest they give the wrong impression.

Berlusconi is a man who gets what he wants. Call it a weakness for appetite or a strength of will. In any event, Berlusconi tells Friedman that he has never ever gone to bed with his often-changing wife/girlfriend without making love to her. So much passion. After having two children with his first wife (who did not age gracefully), he moved in with and eventually married Veronica Lario. They stayed together for many years but they eventually divorced and, in keeping with the modern era of female empowerment, Berlusconi has since 2013 been required pay her $48 million per year as part of their settlement. Berlusconi's girlfriend since 2012 is 50 years his junior and, for her service, will presumably receive an even bigger payout. Let no one say that THOT-ery does not pay!

Berlusconi's penchant for girls was part of his undoing in another respect, namely in his notorious "Bunga Bunga" parties with nubile young women, culminating in the trial alleging that he had had sex with an underage Moroccan prostitute nicknamed "Ruby Rubacuore" (Ruby Heartstealer). In the interviews, Berlusconi explains that the term "Bunga Bunga" comes from a sex joke involving an African tribe . . . on which I will say nothing other than I was astonished to hear it because it was also popular in the high school I frequented.

My Way , while an hour and thirty-eight minutes long, does not tell you all that much about Berlusconi's politics. Besides his changing of Italian laws so as to escape prosecution for various misdeeds, the little that is said largely speaks in his favor. He is extremely proud of having hosted a NATO summit near Rome in 2002, at which Berlusconi, U.S. President George W. Bush, and Russian President Vladimir Putin really hit it off. Berlusconi goes so far as to claim that his summit "ended the Cold War," which is the usual hyperbolic salesman-speak, much like Trump's perennial "tremendous." Certainly, this marked a warming of relations between Moscow and Washington after the disagreements over the Kosovo War. On the substance, one can only welcome attempts to bring peace and good relations among Europe, America, and Russia, which have so often been needlessly in conflict.

Loro & My Way, by Guillaume Durocher - The Unz Review

In the interviews, Berlusconi makes the case against the Iraq War and against the Libya War. In both cases he argues, as a good realist, that you need a strong leader, in effect a dictator, to maintain order in these multiethnic countries. To bring "democracy" would mean only chaos. Berlusconi notes that Iraq is made up of three antagonistic ethno-religious groups and that Libya is made up of some 105 tribes, who had regularly declared Gaddafi "King of Kings." Since the dictators are gone, these Arab nations have known only civil war . . . an impotence which naturally great benefits Israel, has allowed the foundation of the Islamic State, and harmed Europe by sparking massive Afro-Islamic migration. The fall of Gaddafi's dictatorship also led the spread of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which captured Timbuktu in 2012, destroying some of that city's ancient shrines and mausoleums, one of the few examples of indigenous Sub-Saharan African architectural heritage.

Berlusconi expresses the basic truth: multicultural societies are not compatible with democracy or, to put it more positively, with civic politics in general. There can be no solidarity without identity. Given this fact, the multiculturalists and immigrationists are digging the grave of liberal democracy, and in their ignorance and delusion, are preparing the way for new regimes. Let us hope that these will be indeed more coherent and honest forms of government.

I do not know if Berlusconi actually privately opposed the Iraq invasion in 2003. In any event, once Bush got on his way, Italy did send troops there. On Libya, Berlusconi was outmaneuvered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whom Friedman accurately describes as fomenting a war to boost his flagging approval ratings and distract from his lackluster economic performance.

We then move to the eurozone crisis in 2011. In this instance, the Great European Ponzi Scheme of malinvestment in southern European property and debt, collapsed, threatening the whole continent's banking sector. Friedman does not give the watcher any good idea of why all this was occurring. He does explicitly show, based primarily on U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner's testimony, that Berlusconi was taken out under pressure by Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who blamed Italy's lack of "reforms" for the eurozone's ills. The European Central Bank also threatened to let Italy go bankrupt unless Rome towed the line.

Berlusconi was toppled and Mario Monti, a former EU commissioner and Goldman Sachs banker, was parachuted in, on the recommendation of George Soros , no less. I for one don't think that rule by a small, rootless, international clique tends to be very stable. Monti proved monstrously unpopular and was kicked out of office within two years. The Italians have since responded to EU diktats by electing anti-Brussels populists of various stripes.

Loro & My Way, by Guillaume Durocher - The Unz Review

Friedman interviewed a number of people in making his documentary. These include a (probably rightly) indignant Italian prosecutor, a colorless Italian journalist, a former Spanish prime minister, a former EU president, and even Putin himself. Not a whole lot of light comes out of all of this. Strikingly, Berlusconi emerges as if anything the most likable character among the whole motley crew of people interviewed, at that is saying something. Despite his more-or-less hostile narration, the interviewer Friedman is shown constantly being friendly and making ingratiating smiles with Berlusconi, only to dump him at the end of the film, saying "and I never saw him again" with a credit role showcasing Berlusconi and his associates' various convictions.

On Berlusconi the talented and opportunist politician, I can add the following which was not mentioned in the documentary. He knew how to make the difficult deals to form Italy's notoriously-unstable coalition governments, starting in 1994, with a short-lived alliance with the regionalist Lega Nord and post-fascist National Alliance (who hated each other, essentially over the Southern Question). He knew how to compaign for what the people wanted. His famous 2001 "Contract with the Italians" promised less and simpler taxes, infrastructure, more jobs, more pensions, more police, and less politicians. Of course, he rarely delivered. In 2006, constitutional reforms proposed by Berlusconi would have strengthened the prime minister and devolved more powers to Italy's regions, but this was rejected by referendum.

The Italian journalist in the documentary points out that Berlusconi never did the "reforms" necessary to save the economy, as he did not want to upset his electorate or his coalition partners. In short, for all the kvetching, Berlusconi was too much of a democrat to get much done.

Berlusconi was however decidedly anti-leftist. He wanted to reform the constitution because it had been co-drafted by the "Soviets" (as a matter of fact, communist and Marxist parties made up about 40% of the 1946 Constituent Assembly and to this day Italy's official emblem looks communist ). When facing Romano Prodi's left-wing coalition "the Union" in the mid-2000s, Berlusconi nicknamed it "the Soviet Union." Unlike in France or Germany, Italy had no taboo on the center-right, including Berlusconi, making alliances with nationalist and sometimes even neofascist parties. He was born in 1936 in what was then the Kingdom of Italy, well into the second decade of Fascist government.

At a holocaust remembrance ceremony in 2013, Berlusconi argued that Mussolini's Fascist government did many good things , all the while lamenting the alliance with the Third Reich and participation in the holocaust (specifically, the deportation of Jews, although in fact the survival rate for Italian Jews was among the highest in Europe and these deportations only began after Germany had created their own puppet government in northern Italy, nominally led by Mussolini). As a matter of fact, many figures as diverse as Ezra Pound, Charles de Gaulle, and Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi admired Italian Fascism's political stability and ability to promote communitarian values stressing individual self-sacrifice for the common good. All this may not be understood today however.

In the end, Berlusconi achieved little politically. He maintained good relations with Russia, America, Israel, and Libya, the latter being of particular value in containing the ever-rising tied of African illegal immigration. He had excellent instincts in general. But, ultimately, he was merely an end in himself, masculinity without purpose.

Salvini's party has eclipsed that of Berlusconi

With the declining influence of the mainstream media and the ability of outsiders to appeal directly to the masses through social media, we will no doubt see the rise of many more populists movements of both left and right. Happily, in Italy itself, Berlusconian populism has given way to that of Matteo Salvini , who while something an opportunist himself (like all electoral politicians, I am tempted to add), is saying and doing many of the right things on immigration and demography . . . and is getting even more popular as a result.

The opportunity here is in overthrowing an emotionally stunted and ideologically incoherent establishment, which is destroying Western civilization based on a fundamentally incorrect understanding of human nature. The risk is that we fall into mere demotism, with governments mindlessly following the fluctuations of the debased desires and prejudices of public opinion, which would certainly not be optimal either. From this, there will be more electoral demand for economically unsustainable left-wing economic policies, and for environmentally damaging right-wing policies. Neither is desirable, I do not rejoice at Trump's blowing up of America's hills for coal and gas or Bolsonaro's proposals to further cut down the rain forests.

But this is what democracy means! This is the ineluctable product of the hegemonic "anti-fascism" and rejection of all authority since 1945! To those who are upset with the careers of Berlusconi, Trump, and Bolsonaro, I am tempted to quote Gladiator : "Are you not entertained!? Is this not why you are here!?"

Loro & My Way, by Guillaume Durocher - The Unz Review

Western men and women can no longer understand the ancient notion of justice: that justice is a right hierarchy. Obviously, there can be no hierarchy or justice among "equals," for whom anyone's claim to superiority is necessarily presumptuous arrogance. Westerners today are not ready to hear or understand these truths. In the natural course of events, things must necessarily get worse before human beings realize that they are doing or thinking something wrong, and correct course. This takes time. Things certainly are not bad enough yet. We are far too comfy.

In the meantime, we will see not only more Berlusconis, but many more Trumps, Bolsonaros, Orbáns , and Salvinis in the future, as well as Corbyns and Grillos. Loro & My Way, by Guillaume Durocher - The Unz Review


Anon [305] Disclaimer , says: November 20, 2018 at 5:08 pm GMT

Hey,

you also have to live in the country you talk about, or be on close terms with someone objective who is really friendly to you and lives there, before confidently drawing judgments on politicians (or writers, or anybody).

Because interests, ego-interests and career interests, cloud reports and opinions.

In the specific, verbally and culturally assaulting Berlusconi during the time of his being influential and charismatic was the national (and European) sport for the "if Trump wins I leave the USA, no longer feeling safe" types -- from Organized Press and TV "journalists" and "film-makers" to "poets", "singers', "thinkers", and, well, every sort of "influencer".

The same mechanics at play with Trump in the USA.

He was not superficial and initially got elected with programs and projects ahead of the time for Italy, meeting the opposition (on top of the Left, as said) of his allies, who were aggrieved by his overwhelming popularity.

He was no Orban no Haider no Le Pen no Farage. The closest comparison is with Trump but he was no Trump either.
Among other things, he was always pushing to abridge the gap between Italy and those few countries ahead of it (very few, but stably ahead) -- thus drawing upon himself the ire of those countries' establishment.

He pursued independence from European élites, and the USA, in foreign politics and economic governance, as well as efonomically strategical "friendships" with Russia-Putin and Libya-Ghaddafi.
Such independence was no longer tolerated when, in the mid-00s, the Financial Times & Goldman Sachs folks gained greater than ever control on exactly foreign policy of European countries and economic policy.

"The Markets" suddenly stopped trusting Italy's trustwhortiness amd ability to honour its debts; the "International Press" went on describing financial instability and dire prospects for Italy full-time, as they do when there's an end to achieve (and to be achieved shortly).

Interest rates that had to be paid to creditors and people who's buy state debt soared above any reasonable height, forcing the government's lapse.
Mario Monti, an economist who had served in the ranks of Goldman Sachs, and an international-élite member, was made President upon, very clearly, orders from abroad.

Suddenly The Markets and the International Press went back to finding Italy's finances and financial prospects healthy, debt rates went back to their normal.

In 2018, after some years an independent goverment is elected again (Salvini-Di Maio), and again you have the EU's economy chiefs, the Press that Matters, the Markets, the USA rating agencies, all worried about Italy's financial conditions. And again this makes debt rates on issued state bonds soar.

It happens whenever elected politicians show lack of obedience -- especially if they fail to harass Putin, has Berlusconi then, and Salvini & Di Maio now, failed and fail to.

Digital Samizdat , says: November 20, 2018 at 8:13 pm GMT
@Anon

It happens whenever elected politicians show lack of obedience -- especially if they fail to harass Putin, has Berlusconi then, and Salvini & Di Maio now, failed and fail to.

Yup. The bond-ratings agencies are nothing but a tool of the globalist debt-vultures on Wall Street. The whole ratings system is a total scam.

[Friedman] does explicitly show, based primarily on U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner's testimony, that Berlusconi was taken out under pressure by Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who blamed Italy's lack of "reforms" for the eurozone's ills. The European Central Bank also threatened to let Italy go bankrupt unless Rome towed the line.

I heard a slightly different version of the story. I heard that Berlusconi was pushed out of office when he threatened to retaliate against Berlin/Brussels by dropping the euro:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/05/19/the-plot-to-topple-berlusconi/

In any case, it's a real delight having Guillaume Durocher here at Unz.com. I had never heard of him before, but I have so far enjoyed all of his articles. It's always good to get a European droite nouvelle perspective on politics.

Guillaume Durocher , says: Website November 21, 2018 at 8:48 am GMT
@Anon Very informative. Thanks for your comment! Let's hop Di Maio/Salvini prove more resilient to international pressure.
Guillaume Durocher , says: Website November 21, 2018 at 8:58 am GMT
@Digital Samizdat Thanks for your comment! Indeed Italy is perhaps the country for which the euro is the worst fit. I can imagine business circles around Berlusconi being tempted to get out..
Oleaginous Outrager , says: November 21, 2018 at 10:21 am GMT
The story of AC Milan, mentioned only in passing here, is instructive: he doesn't know when to walk away. This can be viewed as positive (tenacity!) or negative (blatant egotism!), but the fact is his inability to let go means his hand gets forced and in the case of both Italy and Milan, everybody ends up with a completely crap deal.
Verymuchalive , says: November 21, 2018 at 4:07 pm GMT

In the meantime, we will see not only more Berlusconis, but many more Trumps, Bolsonaros, Orbáns, and Salvinis in the future, as well as Corbyns and Grillos.

Let's be absolutely clear about this. Corbyn is no populist. He has little empathy for the white working class and is in favour of large 3rd World immigration. In fact, Durocher's case for Left Wing Populism does not stand up to any form of scrutiny. To paraphrase the dramatist, the mainstream and far left want to dissolve the people and elect a new one. More and more immigration, they believe, will result in more and more people reliant on welfare. These people, when enfranchised, will vote for the parties of welfare – the Left. The Left will be in power forever, so they believe. Given their vested interest, they are inherently anti-Populist.

From this, there will be more electoral demand for economically unsustainable left-wing economic policies, and for environmentally damaging right-wing policies. Neither is desirable, I do not rejoice at Trump's blowing up of America's hills for coal and gas or Bolsonaro's proposals to further cut down the rain forests.

The population of the US and Brazil 100 years ago was a fraction of what it is now. In 1917 the US population was about 80 million. Now it is 327 million, a 4-fold increase. Environmental degradation is logical outcome of large and sudden increase in population, especially in small areas.
It is even more marked in countries like China and North Korea where there is no democracy at all.
It has little to do with "demotism" or "right-wing policies."
Large scale industrialisation is also associated with environmental degradation. Yet in Western Europe and North America, in the last 60 years, air, land and water pollution has been drastically reduced. In the early 1950s, thousands died of respiratory diseases due to urban smog – the London Pea Souper being the most notorious. These are now just a memory.
By contrast, countries like India and China have trouble even supplying the population with clean water. Many millions of Chinese have tap water with toxic levels of heavy metals and other pollutants. The resultant deaths also run into the millions.
Mr Durocher seems to have a talent for deducing the wrong inference.

Sean , says: November 23, 2018 at 9:04 pm GMT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw-qm-liCPA

Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo about Italian PM Giulio Andreotti who was actually convicted of ordering the murder of a journalist (although that was by the same prosecutors' office that convicted Amanda Knox).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giulio_Andreotti
A joke about Andreotti (originally seen in a strip by Stefano Disegni and Massimo Caviglia) had him receiving a phone call from a fellow party member, who pleaded with him to attend judge Giovanni Falcone's funeral. His friend supposedly begged, "The State must give an answer to the Mafia, and you are one of the top authorities in it!" To which a puzzled Andreotti asked, "Which one do you mean?"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giulio_Andreotti

1990 Andreotti was involved in getting all parties to agree to a binding timetable for the Maastricht Treaty. The deep Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union favoured by Italy was opposed by Britain's Margaret Thatcher, who wanted a system of competition between currencies. Germany had doubts about committing to the project without requiring economic reforms from Italy, which was seen as having various imbalances. As President of the European Council, Andreotti co-opted Germany by making admittance to the single market automatic once the criteria had been met, and committing to a rigorous overhaul of Italian public finances. Critics later questioned Andreotti's understanding of the obligation, or whether he had ever intended to fulfill it.[50][51]

Italians are taking the French banks that made bad loans to it, and Germany that backs those loans to prop up the EU single market (Mutualisation), for yet another ride. Macron was elected as the banks' mutualisation man to making French toxic loans something Germany will stand behind. Italy is the third largest economy in Europe and too big to fail and they know it. Technocrat Mario Monti was the bankers' man to reduce Italy's live now pay never lifestyle , but Italy knew it had a much stronger hand to play and so they elected a populist. The Germans are going to be squeezed till the pips squeak.

[Nov 24, 2018] Trump Sides With the Iran Hawks on Saudi Arabia by Curt Mills

Trump administration policy on Ukraine is also strictly adhere yo the neocon playbook. As if Victoria Nuland is strill working in State Departemetn and Cheney is the vice president.
Notable quotes:
"... in style and substance, there was no greater avatar for Trump's statement Tuesday than Gaffney's worldview. ..."
"... Trump explicitly namechecked the Muslim Brotherhood, a career-long hobby horse of Gaffney's, and depicted the Middle Eastern theater as straightforward. ..."
Nov 24, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

The controversial Washington think-tanker denied to me in August 2017 that he'd directly advised the administration. To the contrary, he'd actually endorsed and counseled Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump's bitter primary rival, in the late stretches of the trench warfare 2016 primary (something, like most who have come over to Trump after the primary, he has sought to minimize). But in style and substance, there was no greater avatar for Trump's statement Tuesday than Gaffney's worldview.

Trump explicitly namechecked the Muslim Brotherhood, a career-long hobby horse of Gaffney's, and depicted the Middle Eastern theater as straightforward. David Reaboi, an alumnus of Gaffney's Center for Security Policy and now with the administration-friendly Security Studies Group, fleshed the statement out Wednesday morning in an illuminating radio interview. Reaboi has commented to me in this publication before; there should be no reason to doubt his sincerity. But for Reaboi, the joint action of last week's indictments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia coupled with U.S. sanctions was sufficient, and it's time to get back to business.

... ... ...

Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest. Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills .

[Nov 23, 2018] The recent collision between a Norwegian frigate and a tanker was immediately blamed on Russia, but there are suggestions the real cause may be linked to "Gender Issues" and the intersection of George-Soros-Delusion-Syndrome with mind-numbing incompetence:

Notable quotes:
"... Well, if the objective of having many women on board is to keep all the occupants occupied full-time on a one-to-one basis instead of letting them get busy at shooting at people, then I am all for that, they should adopt it for the whole of NATO, especially the US. ..."
"... Sounds like a good Scandinavian way of addressing NATO policy deficiencies. But when through your distraction you end up crashing into oil tankers, just don't blame it on the Russians or the Chinese. ..."
Nov 23, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Nov 23, 2018 11:36:41 AM | 92 ">link

Gender Politics and the Sinking of the KNM Helge Ingstad

From the article this gem: "It is advantageous to have many women on board. It will be a natural thing and a completely different environment, which I look at as positive," Lieutenant Iselin Emilie Jakobsen Ophus said. She is a navigation officer at KNM Helge Ingstad, according to Defense Forum.

Well, if the objective of having many women on board is to keep all the occupants occupied full-time on a one-to-one basis instead of letting them get busy at shooting at people, then I am all for that, they should adopt it for the whole of NATO, especially the US.

Sounds like a good Scandinavian way of addressing NATO policy deficiencies. But when through your distraction you end up crashing into oil tankers, just don't blame it on the Russians or the Chinese.

Also in the article a very nice picture of the frigate (not the one at the top, the one a little further down the page) which makes for an excellent picture of a George-Soros-frigate. It should be renamed KNM George Soros. Anyone for an HMS George Soros Aircraft carrier?

[Nov 17, 2018] Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?

Nov 17, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Joseph A. Domino

4.0 out of 5 stars America's Last Sprint: Race to the Bottom August 4, 2015 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase It's interesting how polarizing this book is, the negative comments of people decrying the author as anti-American. It seems he is simply describing the collapse of one society and what America might learn from it. In America, this end or collapse is not near; it's in progress. The middle class is being systematically dismantled. Orlov writes, "It is not allowable to refer to America as a chronically depressed country, an increasingly lower-class and impoverished country that fails to take care of its citizens and often abuses them."

Even with rudimentary understanding of history, we know that a democracy cannot be sustained without a strong, vibrant middle class. To those who deny this is a problem, you lived through 2008. You should have learned enough that it could happen again and on a much greater scale.

Orlov provides an insightful perspective, including an insider's view as having spent time there, on Russia and the comparisons are instructive and often verge into gallows humor: boondoggles are good. Americans are actually smart in their voter apathy (an original idea I've not heard expressed before, but in a twisted way makes sense). "Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield the power?" According to Orlov, In Russia, during the Soviet era, smart people did their best to ignore the Communists, either through praise or criticism.

In the latter sections, Orlov almost cheerily outlines possible means of surviving the collapse based on skills and opportunities.

Also recommended in this genre: Morris Berman's trilogy, "The Twilight of American Culture," "Dark Ages America," and "Why America Failed."

This is all for the open-minded and not those desperately clinging to the myth of American Exceptionalism. If the Russians were resilient and adept at dealing with shortages and bureaucracy, we soft overstuffed consumers, besotted with junk food and i-pads and bottomless debt might do well to listen.

[Nov 15, 2018] Why Orwell is Superior to Huxley by Colin Liddell

Notable quotes:
"... Huxley's main insight, namely that control can be maintained more effectively through "entertainment, distraction, and superficial pleasure rather than through overt modes of policing and strict control over food supplies" is not actually absent in 1984 . ..."
"... In fact, exactly these kind of methods are used to control the Proles, on whom pornography is pushed and prostitution allowed. In fact porn is such an important means of social control that the IngSoc authorities even have a pornography section called "PornSec," which mass produces porn for the Proles. ..."
"... One of the LOL moments in Michael Radford's film version is when Mr. Charrington, the agent of the thought police who poses as a kindly pawnbroker to rent a room to Winston and Julia for their sexual trysts, informs them on their arrest that their surveillance film will be 'repurposed' as porn. ..."
"... But while 1984 includes almost everything that Brave New World contains in terms of controlling people through sex, drugs, and distractions, it also includes much, much more, especially regarding how censorship and language are used to control people and how tyranny is internalised. The chapter from which the above quote comes, shows how Winston, a formerly autonomous agent, has come to accept the power of the system so much that he no longer needs policing. ..."
"... But most brilliant of all is Orwell's prescient description of how language is changed through banning certain words and the expression of certain ideas or observations deemed "thought crime," to say nothing of the constant rewriting of history. The activities of Big Tech and their deplatforming of all who use words, phrases, and ideas not in the latest edition of their "Newspeak" dictionary, have radically changed the way that people communicate and what they talk about in a comparatively short period of time. ..."
"... Orwell's insights into how language can be manipulated into a tool of control shows his much deeper understanding of human psychology than that evident in Huxley's novel. The same can be said about Orwell's treatment of emotions, which is another aspect of his novel that rings particularly true today. ..."
"... Colin Liddell is one of the founders of the Alt-Right, which he now disavows, and currently blogs at Affirmative Right . He recently published a book "Interviews and Obituaries," available on Amazon . ..."
Nov 15, 2018 | www.unz.com

One of the frequent comparisons that comes up in the Dissident Right is who was more correct or prescient, Orwell or Huxley.

In fact, as the only truly oppressed intellectual group, the Dissident Right are the only ones in a position to offer a valid opinion on this, as no other group of intellectuals suffers deplatforming, doxxing, and dismissal from jobs as much as we do. In the present day, it is only the Dissident Right that exists in the 'tyrannical space' explored in those two dystopian classics.

But, despite this, this debate exists not only on the Dissident Right but further afield. Believe it or not, even Left-wingers and Liberals debate this question, as if they too are under the heel of the oppressor's jackboot. In fact, they feel so oppressed that some of them are even driven to discuss it in the pages of the New York Times at the despotically high rate of pay which that no doubt involves.

In both the Left and the Dissident Right, the consensus is that Huxley is far superior to Orwell, although, according to the New York Times article just alluded to, Orwell has caught up a lot since the election of Donald Trump. Have a look at this laughable, "I'm literally shaking" prose from New York Times writer Charles McGrath :

And yet [Huxley's] novel much more accurately evokes the country we live in now, especially in its depiction of a culture preoccupied with sex and mindless pop entertainment, than does Orwell's more ominous book, which seems to be imagining someplace like North Korea. Or it did until Donald Trump was inaugurated.

All of a sudden, as many commentators have pointed out, there were almost daily echoes of Orwell in the news The most obvious connection to Orwell was the new president's repeated insistence that even his most pointless and transparent lies were in fact true, and then his adviser Kellyanne Conway's explanation that these statements were not really falsehoods but, rather, "alternative facts." As any reader of "1984" knows, this is exactly Big Brother's standard of truth: The facts are whatever the leader says they are.

those endless wars in "1984," during which the enemy keeps changing -- now Eurasia, now Eastasia -- no longer seem as far-fetched as they once did, and neither do the book's organized hate rallies, in which the citizenry works itself into a frenzy against nameless foreigners.

The counter to this is that Trump is the only non-establishment candidate to get elected President since Andrew Jackson and therefore almost the exact opposite of the idea of top-down tyranny.

But to return to the notion that Huxley is superior to Orwell, both on the Left and the Dissident Right, this is based on a common view that Huxley presents a much more subtle, nuanced, and sophisticated view of soft tyranny more in keeping with the appearance of our own age. Here's McGrath summarizing this viewpoint, which could just as easily have come out of the mouth of an Alt-Righter, Alt-Liter, or Affirmative Righter:

Orwell didn't really have much feel for the future, which to his mind was just another version of the present. His imagined London is merely a drabber, more joyless version of the city, still recovering from the Blitz, where he was living in the mid-1940s, just before beginning the novel. The main technological advancement there is the two-way telescreen, essentially an electronic peephole.

Huxley, on the other hand, writing almost two decades earlier than Orwell (his former Eton pupil, as it happened), foresaw a world that included space travel; private helicopters; genetically engineered test tube babies; enhanced birth control; an immensely popular drug that appears to combine the best features of Valium and Ecstasy; hormone-laced chewing gum that seems to work the way Viagra does; a full sensory entertainment system that outdoes IMAX; and maybe even breast implants. (The book is a little unclear on this point, but in "Brave New World" the highest compliment you can pay a woman is to call her "pneumatic.")

Huxley was not entirely serious about this. He began "Brave New World" as a parody of H.G. Wells, whose writing he detested, and it remained a book that means to be as playful as it is prophetic. And yet his novel much more accurately evokes the country we live in now, especially in its depiction of a culture preoccupied with sex and mindless pop entertainment, than does Orwell's more ominous book, which seems to be imagining someplace like North Korea.

It is easy to see why some might see Huxley as more relevant to the reality around us than Orwell, because basically "Big Brother," in the guise of the Soviet Union, lost the Cold War, or so it seems.

But while initially convincing, the case for Huxley's superiority can be dismantled.

Most importantly, Huxley's main insight, namely that control can be maintained more effectively through "entertainment, distraction, and superficial pleasure rather than through overt modes of policing and strict control over food supplies" is not actually absent in 1984 .

In fact, exactly these kind of methods are used to control the Proles, on whom pornography is pushed and prostitution allowed. In fact porn is such an important means of social control that the IngSoc authorities even have a pornography section called "PornSec," which mass produces porn for the Proles.

One of the LOL moments in Michael Radford's film version is when Mr. Charrington, the agent of the thought police who poses as a kindly pawnbroker to rent a room to Winston and Julia for their sexual trysts, informs them on their arrest that their surveillance film will be 'repurposed' as porn.

In fact, Orwell's view of sex as a means of control is much more dialectical and sophisticated than Huxley's, as the latter was, as mentioned above, essentially writing a parody of the naive "free love" notions of H.G.Wells.

While sex is used as a means to weaken the Proles, 'anti-Sex' is used to strengthen the hive-mind of Party members. Indeed, we see today how the most hysterical elements of the Left -- and to a certain degree the Dissident Right -- are the most undersexed.

Also addictive substances are not absent from Orwell's dystopian vision. While Brave New World only has soma, 1984 has Victory Gin, Victory Wine, Victory Beer, Victory Coffee, and Victory Tobacco -- all highly addictive substances that affect people's moods and reconcile them to unpleasant realities. Winston himself is something of a cigarette junkie and gin fiend, as we see in this quote from the final chapter:

The Chestnut Tree was almost empty. A ray of sunlight slanting through a window fell on dusty table-tops. It was the lonely hour of fifteen. A tinny music trickled from the telescreens.

Winston sat in his usual corner, gazing into an empty glass. Now and again he glanced up at a vast face which eyed him from the opposite wall. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said. Unbidden, a waiter came and filled his glass up with Victory Gin, shaking into it a few drops from another bottle with a quill through the cork. It was saccharine flavoured with cloves, the speciality of the cafe

In these days he could never fix his mind on any one subject for more than a few moments at a time. He picked up his glass and drained it at a gulp.

But while 1984 includes almost everything that Brave New World contains in terms of controlling people through sex, drugs, and distractions, it also includes much, much more, especially regarding how censorship and language are used to control people and how tyranny is internalised. The chapter from which the above quote comes, shows how Winston, a formerly autonomous agent, has come to accept the power of the system so much that he no longer needs policing.

But most brilliant of all is Orwell's prescient description of how language is changed through banning certain words and the expression of certain ideas or observations deemed "thought crime," to say nothing of the constant rewriting of history. The activities of Big Tech and their deplatforming of all who use words, phrases, and ideas not in the latest edition of their "Newspeak" dictionary, have radically changed the way that people communicate and what they talk about in a comparatively short period of time.

Orwell's insights into how language can be manipulated into a tool of control shows his much deeper understanding of human psychology than that evident in Huxley's novel. The same can be said about Orwell's treatment of emotions, which is another aspect of his novel that rings particularly true today.

In 1984 hate figures, like Emmanuel Goldstein, and fake enemies, like Eastasia and Eurasia, are used to unite, mobilise, and control certain groups. Orwell was well aware of the group-psychological dynamics of the tribe projected to the largest scale of a totalitarian empire. The concept of "three minutes hate" has so much resonance with our own age, where triggered Twitter-borne hordes of SJWs and others slosh around the news cycle like emotional zombies, railing against Trump or George Soros.

In Huxley's book, there are different classes but this is not a source of conflict. Indeed they are so clearly defined -- in fact biologically so -- that there is no conflict between them, as each class carries out its predetermined role like harmonious orbit of Aristotlean spheres.

In short, Brave New World sees man as he likes to see himself -- a rational actor, controlling his world and taking his pleasures. It is essentially the vision of a well-heeled member of the British upper classes.

Orwell's book, by contrast, sees man as the tribal primitive, forced to live on a scale of social organisation far beyond his natural capacity, and thereby distorted into a mad and cruel creature. It is essentially the vision of a not-so-well-heeled member of the British middle classes in daily contact with the working class. But is all the richer and more profound for it.

Colin Liddell is one of the founders of the Alt-Right, which he now disavows, and currently blogs at Affirmative Right . He recently published a book "Interviews and Obituaries," available on Amazon .

[Nov 14, 2018] When 'America First' Becomes Negotiable

Notable quotes:
"... [Don't miss Barndollar discussing the forever war, the military industrial complex, and military reform at our fifth annual foreign policy conference on November 15 in Washington, D.C. Full schedule and free registration here] ..."
"... Gil Barndollar is Director of Middle East Studies at the Center for the National Interest and Military Fellow-in-Residence at the Catholic University of America's Center for the Study of Statesmanship. He served as a U.S. Marine infantry officer from 2009 to 2016. ..."
Nov 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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The most remarkable thing about Trump's foreign policy is how much it's like his predecessors'. By Gil BarndollarNovember 12, 2018

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Flickr As we near the halfway point of President Donald Trump's first term, U.S. foreign policy is being widely portrayed as off the rails. Yet when one looks past the Trumpian bluster, the predetermined media narrative, and the serial incompetence of an understaffed and often inexperienced administration, one finds a foreign policy agenda that differs far more in style than in substance from its predecessors'.

Donald Trump ran for president as a foreign policy Buchananite in all but name. Thoughhe made pro forma genuflections before the altars of primacy and American military supremacy, Trump repeatedly bemoaned America's disastrous interventions in the Greater Middle East. The South Carolina Republican presidential debate in February 2016 seemed like a watershed moment: Trump attacked George W. Bush's war leadership and proclaimed the Iraq war a disaster, a bold stance in a Republican Party that still refused to acknowledge reality more than a decade after the invasion. Despite being booed by some in the audience, Trump won the state easily and drove "Low Energy" Jeb Bush out of the race.

Candidate Trump offered a radical break with the U.S. foreign policy establishment. He said was NATO obsolete and warned of the danger of a third world war with Russia. He rightly declared the Libyan intervention to be another fiasco, and an illegal one at that. Hillary Clinton, by comparison, bragged about Muammar Gaddafi's death and compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler. Foreign policy realists and restrainers were understandably receptive to a Trump presidency, warts and all.

Much of Trump's rhetoric revolved around the undeniable fact that our allies are prospering under an American security umbrella they do not pay enough to support. He famously said that the United States should "take Iraq's oil" as payback for the American blood and treasure invested there. Trump seemed to sum up his view of America in the world when he told The Washington Post in March 2016: "We certainly can't afford to do this anymore."

Two years later, it is clear that "America First" was negotiable. U.S. troops aren't coming home, entangling alliances are expanding not contracting, and American client states are even more likely to drag us into war in the Middle East. When one pushes the media and the president's personality out of view, the most remarkable thing about Trump's foreign policy is how unremarkable it is. Beneath the rhetoric, American foreign policy these past two years has remained shackled to the traditional pillars of primacy, interventionism, and hubris.

Afghanistan: The war in Afghanistan offers the clearest evidence of business as usual in American foreign policy. The administration's brief attempt at unconventional thinking on Afghanistan was the risible Prince plan, whereby the U.S. would continue to prosecute the war but outsource it to a "modern East India Company." Erik Prince, formerly head of the Blackwater security firm and more recently a logistics provider in Africa and trainer of Chinese security services, proposed to turn Afghanistan over to a brigade of contractors and a "viceroy" with total command of the U.S. war effort. Though many of Prince's critiques of the current strategy are sound, mercenaries cannot fix a country with massive culture and governance problems. This idea was thankfully rejected. More creative thinking, like a real effort to work with Russia, China, and Pakistan to stabilize Afghanistan, or a withdrawal and a pledge to return in force if necessary, appears to have been unwelcome.

Instead, a vaunted new strategy offered little substantive change. U.S. forces in Afghanistan were increased by 4,000 troops, and the number of airstrikes shot up. But the situation there has only gotten worse. Casualties for both civilians and Afghan security forces have risen dramatically in the past year while Pakistan still shelters and abets the Taliban. The Afghan military is still not able to hold territory without U.S. assistance. In fact, independent assessors like the Long War Journal believe that nearly 60 percent of Afghanistan's districts are either under Taliban control or contested. The Department of Defense even briefly trotted out enemy body counts as a metric for progress before The New York Times rightly invoked the Vietnam War.

Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Goes Neocon Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Bait and Switch

Meanwhile, 17 years after 9/11, the Pentagon claims there are now upwards of 20 terror groups operating in Afghanistan, including what's left of ISIS, the heir to al Qaeda. For that reason, Americans are told we cannot leave.

Europe: Early in his presidency Trump briefly declined to endorse NATO's Article 5, provoking predictable hysteria on both sides of the Atlantic. A year later, he gave America's European allies a tongue-lashing in Brussels, calling them delinquent in their contributions to collective defense. Germany received special attention, with the president labeling Europe's largest economy a "captive of Russia." In Helsinki a few days later, Trump appeared to dismiss charges of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, igniting yet another firestorm of criticism. Back stateside, he concurred during an interview with Fox News's Tucker Carlson that starting a war over Montenegro, NATO's newest member, would be folly.

Yet when the dust finally settled, little had changed. The United States continues to support Ukraine in its war against Russian-backed separatists, even selling Kiev Javelin anti-tank missiles and other "lethal aid" that the more cautious President Barack Obama had refused to provide. Sanctions against Russia pile up, dampening that country's long-term economic development. European armies remain largely impotent while mindless NATO expansion continues apace. Despite what he said on Fox News, Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate had already signed off on the addition of Montenegro (and its tiny army of fewer than 2,000 soldiers) to NATO in 2017. Macedonia, another mouse that roared, is next. Poland has recently entertained the idea of a "Fort Trump" to permanently house U.S. troops on its soil -- yet another American tripwire force.

The Middle East: Iran remains the Trump administration's abiding foreign policy obsession. Here, at least, one cannot blame false advertising. The president was explicit about his plans to tear up Obama's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that limited Iran's nuclear ambitions, and make a better deal.

Once in office, the president's instincts on the regime were further fortified by the Saudis and Israelis, to whom he has clung more tightly than any previous administration. He surrounded himself with paid advocates of the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK), a cult that is hated in Iran. Trump's lawyer and national security advisor, Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton respectively, have spoken on MEK's behalf, despite it being a U.S.-designated terrorist organization until 2012. Bolton now officially abjures regime change, but in July 2017 he promised an MEK gathering in Paris that they would celebrate together in Tehran in 2019.

[Don't miss Barndollar discussing the forever war, the military industrial complex, and military reform at our fifth annual foreign policy conference on November 15 in Washington, D.C. Full schedule and free registration here]

In May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented Iran with a list of 12 demands that bring to mind Austria-Hungary and Serbia on the eve of World War I. Pompeo's conditions were not a starting point for negotiations or normalization; they were a call for surrender. The administration now believes it can crush Iran through economic sanctions and force it to the negotiating table.

Trump's Iran obsession has had baleful effects beyond the Persian Gulf. U.S. sanctions on Iran are damaging relations with a host of other nations by restricting their trade, even as the president extolled the primacy of sovereignty at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

Tethered to the increasingly reckless Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the U.S. has continued to fuel, arm, and otherwise aid the Saudi-led coalition's brutal, stalemated war in Yemen -- a policy begun by Barack Obama.

In Syria and Iraq, the U.S. can take credit for a successful campaign against the Islamic State. Yet in the wake of this victory, U.S. troops seem to be staying put in Syria, despite a promise by Trump to pull them out earlier this year. Top officials announced in September that American forces will not be leaving Syria until the Iranians do. The risk of our presence in Syria dragging us into a war with either Iran or Russia is more real than ever.

In Israel, Trump has doubled down on support of Benjamin Netanyahu and the hardline Likud party. The U.S. finally moved its embassy to Jerusalem, as promised to pro-Israel donors during the campaign, and cut off all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN's Palestinian refugee agency. These moves only cemented a growing impression that Trump never planned to be an honest broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Many now believe that the peace process is dead.

North Korea: North Korea dominated headlines and fears of during 2017 and early 2018. While the president tweeted about "fire and fury" and "Little Rocket Man" Kim Jong-un, ultra-hawks in Washington pushed for a "bloody nose" preventive attack or even full-on regime change in North Korea. Thankfully, this was one case where Trump's status quo foreign policy prevented conflict. Both sides climbed down, conducted a historic summit in Singapore, and made over-hyped and easily reversible concessions. The president's personalization of diplomacy resulted in a victory, albeit in a verbal conflict that he had done much to create. Substantively, little has changed. North Korea will keep its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, American troops will remain in South Korea, and further negotiations are promised.

This is a good thing: a preventive war with North Korea would be the ultimate expression of Bismarck's line about "committing suicide out of fear of death." It appears that North Korea wants to slowly open itself to the world, a prospect that has South Korean businessmen quietly ecstatic and China relieved. Nonetheless, this is basically business as usual: North Korea threatens, is granted concessions, and the status quo is preserved. We have seen this before. We may be on the cusp of a permanent change in relations with North Korea, but the jury is still out.

China: There is one shining exception to the Trump administration's conventional foreign policy: China. Trump, unencumbered by free trade ideology, is challenging China's economic ascent. Gone is the mindless determinism of Clinton, Bush, and Obama, the evidence-free belief that free trade would somehow gradually end Chinese totalitarianism and mercantilism. The Chinese have never competed on a level playing field and as a result we have spent 20 years ceding American industry and supply chains to China. The hour is late, but there is still time for the United States to fundamentally reorient its relationship with China.

Despite the chimera of a 355-ship navy, America will not win or lose this fight in a Gotterdammerung in the South China Sea. The contest with China may be existential, but it is primarily an economic, technological, and political battle. For all of the deep structural problems in the U.S. economy, China has more to lose from a trade war right now than America does.

It is not clear, though, if we are in the midst of a trade war or a trade bluff. If it is the latter, we are likely to get a slightly better arrangement for U.S. businesses and then proceed towards the same endpoint. If we are fighting a real trade war, however, there is an opportunity to unwind "Chimerica" and bring manufacturing, if not necessarily jobs, home. It is an open question whether the president has the stomach for the economic and political pain that this will entail, as his oft-invoked roaring stock market tanks and Americans feel the bite of tariffs in their wallets.

As with most things this administration does, competence is also an enormous question mark. A trade war with China may be necessary and prudent. Simultaneously battling the Europeans and our NAFTA partners while conducting a trade war with China is neither. If we want to fundamentally reorder our economic relationship with China, for reasons of both national security and long-term prosperity, we need to do it in concert with the other liberal democracies, especially our North American neighbors. They could benefit greatly from a reorientation of American trade. A strategy is needed, not an impulse and a series of tactical tariffs.

How did America First so quickly become business as usual, China excepted? Diehard Trumpists are inclined to defend the president's foreign policy U-turns by painting him as a prisoner of his own administration, surrounded by conventional Republicans who subvert his non-interventionist instincts. The writing was on the wall immediately, they claim, as a trio of generals -- John Kelly, James Mattis, and H. R. McMaster -- were chosen to drive national security policy. As veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, all three were unlikely to support any radical reexamination of America's place in the world. Steve Bannon, who would and did support such a change, was forced out of the White House within a year.

Personnel is policy, as the cliché goes, and the administration's foreign policy team is dominated by men who are conventional internationalists at best, unrepentant neoconservatives at worst. Rex Tillerson presided over a State Department in unprecedented disarray and often found himself focused on limiting the damage of the president's bombast. His successor has been a reliable agent of foreign policy orthodoxy, dutifully dealing with North Korea on the one hand and threatening Iran on the other.

There is undoubtedly something to the narrative of internal betrayal, as Bob Woodward's Fear and the recent anonymous New York Times editorial attest. America may not have a true Deep State, but Trump's personality and some of his policies have provoked unprecedented resistance from within government bureaucracies and even from his own political appointees. Realigning American foreign policy in the face of an obdurate establishment was always going to be a significant challenge. Succeeding in this task without a united team is likely impossible.

But this is not an entirely tenable defense. These are men the president chose, and they are doing his bidding, inasmuch as he knows and communicates what that is. The bench of realists and non-interventionists may be small, but the president has put some of the worst warmongers in Washington into positions of real power and influence.

So those who believe in foreign policy realism and restraint are left with the worst of both worlds: a presidency that espouses an America First agenda but then proceeds to sabotage support for these policies through reckless rhetoric, incompetent implementation, and a refusal to carry out anything approaching a thoughtful, non-interventionist strategy.

Perhaps the next two years will see a drastic change in American foreign policy. Hope springs eternal -- but there is scant reason for anything more than hope.

Gil Barndollar is Director of Middle East Studies at the Center for the National Interest and Military Fellow-in-Residence at the Catholic University of America's Center for the Study of Statesmanship. He served as a U.S. Marine infantry officer from 2009 to 2016.

[Nov 14, 2018] Bolton Vows to 'Squeeze' Iran, Escalating Sanctions - News From by Jason Ditz

If this is Trump policy, then Trump is 100% pure neocon. It took just three months for the Deep state to turn him.
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton shrugged off the reality that Iran is still doing business internationally, saying that he believes Iran is "under real pressure" from the sanctions, and that he's determined to see it keep getting worse. ..."
Nov 13, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

Says Europe will be forced to accept US demands

With the newly reimposed US sanctions against Iran having little to no perceivable economic impact, national security adviser John Bolton is talking up his plans to continue to escalate the sanctions track, saying he will " squeeze Iran until the pips squeak ."

Bolton shrugged off the reality that Iran is still doing business internationally, saying that he believes Iran is "under real pressure" from the sanctions, and that he's determined to see it keep getting worse.

Bolton went on to predict that the European efforts to keep trading with Iran would ultimately fail. He said the Europeans are going through the six stages of grief , and would ultimately led to European acceptance of the US demands.

Either way, Bolton's position is that the US strategy will continue to be imposing new sanctions on Iran going forward. It's not clear what the end game is, beyond just damaging Iran.

[Nov 12, 2018] The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation graveyard of social protest movements, and for good reason

Highly recommended!
The Democrats are politically responsible for the rise of Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump. ..."
"... The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man." ..."
"... This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers. ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Pelosi's deputy in the House, Steny Hoyer, sums up the right-wing policies of the Democrats, declaring: "His [Trump's] objectives are objectives that we share. If he really means that, then there is an opening for us to work together."

So much for the moral imperative of voting for the Democrats to stop Trump! As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump.

The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man."

This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers.

The same process is taking place internationally. While strikes and other expressions of working class opposition are growing and broad masses are moving to the left, the right-wing policies of supposedly "left" establishment parties are enabling far-right and neo-fascist forces to gain influence and power in countries ranging from Germany, Italy, Hungary and Poland to Brazil.

As for Gay's injunction to vote "pragmatically," this is a crude promotion of the bankrupt politics that are brought forward in every election to keep workers tied to the capitalist two-party system. "You have only two choices. That is the reality, whether you like it or not." And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war.

The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation "graveyard of social protest movements," and for good reason. From the Populist movement of the late 19th century, to the semi-insurrectional industrial union movement of the 1930s, to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, to the mass anti-war protest movements of the 1960s and the eruption of international protests against the Iraq War in the early 2000s -- every movement against the depredations of American capitalism has been aborted and strangled by being channeled behind the Democratic Party.

[Nov 12, 2018] Trump was elected by advocating a populist-nationalist agenda, he betrayed his voters almost instantly and governed as Bush III

Notable quotes:
"... For his first two years in office, he sunk nearly all his political capital into enacting huge tax cuts for the rich, wholesale Wall Street deregulation, large increases in military spending, and an extremely pro-Israel foreign policy -- exactly the sort of policies near-and-dear to the establishment conservative candidates whom he had crushed in the Republican primaries. Meanwhile, his jilted grassroots supporters have had to settle for some radical rhetoric and a regular barrage of outrageous Tweets rather than anything more substantive. ..."
"... With Republicans in full control of Congress, finding excuses for this widespread betrayal was quite difficult, but now that the Democrats have taken the House, Trump's apologists can more easily shift the blame over to them. ..."
"... Both Trump's supporters and his opponents claim that his presidency represents a drastic break from Republican business-as-usual, and surely that was the hope of many of the Americans who voted for him in 2016, but the actual reality often seems rather different. ..."
"... Although the net election results were not particularly bad for the Republicans, the implications of several state races seem extremely worrisome. The highest profile senate race was in Texas, and Trump may have narrowly dodged a bullet. ..."
Nov 12, 2018 | www.unz.com

Perhaps the loss of the House may actually prove to be a mixed blessing for Trump. Democrats will achieve control of all the investigative committees and their accusations and subpoenas will make Trump's life even more miserable than it was before, while surely removing any chance that significant elements of Trump's remaining agenda will ever be enacted.

However, although Trump had reached the presidency by advocating a radical populist-nationalist agenda, he has hardly governed in those terms. For his first two years in office, he sunk nearly all his political capital into enacting huge tax cuts for the rich, wholesale Wall Street deregulation, large increases in military spending, and an extremely pro-Israel foreign policy -- exactly the sort of policies near-and-dear to the establishment conservative candidates whom he had crushed in the Republican primaries. Meanwhile, his jilted grassroots supporters have had to settle for some radical rhetoric and a regular barrage of outrageous Tweets rather than anything more substantive.

With Republicans in full control of Congress, finding excuses for this widespread betrayal was quite difficult, but now that the Democrats have taken the House, Trump's apologists can more easily shift the blame over to them.

Meanwhile, a considerably stronger Republican Senate will certainly ease the way for Trump's future court nominees, especially if another Supreme Court vacancy occurs, and there will be little chance of any difficult Kavanaugh battles. However, here once again, Trump's supposed radicalism has merely been rhetorical. Kavanaugh and nearly all of his other nominees have been very mainstream Republican choices, carefully vetted by the Federalist Society and other conservative establishment groups, and they would probably have been near the top of the list if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio were sitting in the Oval Office.

Both Trump's supporters and his opponents claim that his presidency represents a drastic break from Republican business-as-usual, and surely that was the hope of many of the Americans who voted for him in 2016, but the actual reality often seems rather different.

Although the net election results were not particularly bad for the Republicans, the implications of several state races seem extremely worrisome. The highest profile senate race was in Texas, and Trump may have narrowly dodged a bullet. Among our largest states, Texas ranks as by far the most solidly Republican, and therefore it serves as the central lynchpin of every Republican presidential campaign. The GOP has won every major statewide race for more than twenty years, but despite such seemingly huge advantages, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz faced a very difficult reelection race against a young border-area Congressman named Beto O'Rourke, who drew enormous enthusiasm and an ocean of local and national funding.

[Nov 12, 2018] Although Trump had reached the presidency by advocating a radical populist-nationalist agenda, he has hardly governed in those terms

Nov 12, 2018 | www.unz.com

Perhaps the loss of the House may actually prove to be a mixed blessing for Trump. Democrats will achieve control of all the investigative committees and their accusations and subpoenas will make Trump's life even more miserable than it was before, while surely removing any chance that significant elements of Trump's remaining agenda will ever be enacted.

However, although Trump had reached the presidency by advocating a radical populist-nationalist agenda, he has hardly governed in those terms. For his first two years in office, he sunk nearly all his political capital into enacting huge tax cuts for the rich, wholesale Wall Street deregulation, large increases in military spending, and an extremely pro-Israel foreign policy -- exactly the sort of policies near-and-dear to the establishment conservative candidates whom he had crushed in the Republican primaries. Meanwhile, his jilted grassroots supporters have had to settle for some radical rhetoric and a regular barrage of outrageous Tweets rather than anything more substantive. With Republicans in full control of Congress, finding excuses for this widespread betrayal was quite difficult, but now that the Democrats have taken the House, Trump's apologists can more easily shift the blame over to them.

Meanwhile, a considerably stronger Republican Senate will certainly ease the way for Trump's future court nominees, especially if another Supreme Court vacancy occurs, and there will be little chance of any difficult Kavanaugh battles. However, here once again, Trump's supposed radicalism has merely been rhetorical. Kavanaugh and nearly all of his other nominees have been very mainstream Republican choices, carefully vetted by the Federalist Society and other conservative establishment groups, and they would probably have been near the top of the list if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio were sitting in the Oval Office.

Both Trump's supporters and his opponents claim that his presidency represents a drastic break from Republican business-as-usual, and surely that was the hope of many of the Americans who voted for him in 2016, but the actual reality often seems rather different.

Although the net election results were not particularly bad for the Republicans, the implications of several state races seem extremely worrisome. The highest profile senate race was in Texas, and Trump may have narrowly dodged a bullet. Among our largest states, Texas ranks as by far the most solidly Republican, and therefore it serves as the central lynchpin of every Republican presidential campaign. The GOP has won every major statewide race for more than twenty years, but despite such seemingly huge advantages, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz faced a very difficult reelection race against a young border-area Congressman named Beto O'Rourke, who drew enormous enthusiasm and an ocean of local and national funding.

I was actually in Texas just a couple of days before the vote, speaking at a Ron Paul-related conference in the Houston area, and although most of the libertarian-leaning attendees thought that Cruz would probably win, they all agreed with the national media that it would probably be close. Cruz's final victory margin of less than three points confirmed this verdict.

But if things had gone differently, and O'Rourke had squeaked out a narrow win, our national politics would have been immediately transformed. Any Republican able to win California has a near-lock on the White House, and the same is true for any Democrat able to carry Texas, especially if the latter is a young and attractive Kennedyesque liberal, fluent in Spanish and probably very popular with the large Latino populations of other important states such as Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. I strongly suspect that a freshman Sen. O'Rourke (R-Texas) would have been offered the 2020 Democratic nomination almost by acclamation, and barring unexpected personal or national developments, would have been a strong favorite in that race against Trump or any other Republican. Rep. O'Rourke raised an astonishing $70 million in nationwide donations, and surely many of his contributors were dreaming of similar possibilities. A shift of just a point and a half, and in twenty-four months he probably would have been our next president. But it was not to be.

[Nov 10, 2018] CIA's 'Surveillance State' is Operating Against US

Nov 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Nov 10, 2018 5:56:10 AM | link

Whilst on the topic of ISIS, here is an article about its mother-concern, CIA:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/11/09/cia-surveillance-state-operating-against-us-all.html
CIA's 'Surveillance State' is Operating Against US All

On two declassified letters from 2014 from the Intelligence Community Inspector General (didn't know there was one, but doesn't do much good anyway, it seems, read further) to the chairpersons of the House and Senate intelligence committees notifying them that the CIA has been monitoring emails between the CIA's head of the whistleblowing and source protection and Congressional. "Most of these emails concerned pending and developing whistleblower complaints". Shows why Edward Snowdon didn't consider it appropriate to rely on internal complaints proceedures. This while under the leadership of seasoned liars and criminals Brennan and Clapper, of course.

It clearly shows a taste of what these buggers have to hide, and why they went to such extraordinary lengths as Russiagate to cover it all up and save their skins - that of course being the real reason behind Russiagate as I have said several times, nothing to do with either Trump or Russia.

guidoamm , Nov 10, 2018 1:32:52 AM | link

And there is this too of course:

Pentagon Fake Al Qaeda Propaganda

Anton Worter , Nov 10, 2018 12:39:39 AM | link
@4

OWS was a Controlled-Dissent operation, sending poor students north to fecklessly march on Wall Street when they could have shut down WADC, and sending wealthy seniors south to fecklessly line Pennsylvania Avenue, when they could have shut down Wall Street.

Both I$I$, and Hamas, and Antifa et al are all Controlled Dissent operations. The followers are duped, are used, abused and then abandoned by honey-pots put there by Central Intelligence, at least since the Spanish Civil War.

That's why MoA articles like this one make you wonder, just who is conning whom, at a time when the Internet is weaponized, when Google Assistant achieved AI awareness indistinguishable from anyone on the phone, China TV has launched a virtual AI news reporter indistinguishable from reality, and Stanford can audio-video a captured image of anyone as well as their voice intonation, then 3D model them, in real time, reading and emoting from a script, indistinguishable from reality, ...and then this.

Another Gift of Trust😂 brought to you by Scientocracy. Be sure to tithe your AI bot, or word will get back to Chairman Albertus, then you'll be called in to confess your thought crimes to the Green Cadre, itself another Controlled Dissent honeypot, in a Tithe-for-Credits Swindle.

I tell my kids, just enjoy life, live it large, and get ready for hell. It's coming for breakfast.

[Nov 10, 2018] Hacking operations by anyone, can and will be used by US propagandists to provoke Russia or whoever stands in the way of the US war machine

Nov 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Harry Law , Nov 10, 2018 9:11:40 AM | link

Hacking operations by anyone, can and will be used by US propagandists to provoke Russia or whoever stands in the way of the US war machine, take this Pompeo rant against Iran and the Iranian response......

Asking of Pompeo "have you no shame?", Zarif mocked Pompeo's praise for the Saudis for "providing millions and millions of dollars of humanitarian relief" to Yemen, saying America's "butcher clients" were spending billions of dollars bombing school buses. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif issued a statement lashing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his recent comments on the Yemen War. Discussing the US-backed Saudi invasion of Yemen, Pompeo declared Iran to be to blame for the death and destruction in the country. https://news.antiwar.com/2018/11/09/iran-fm-slams-pompeo-for-blaming-yemen-war-on-iran/

The US way of looking at things supposes that up is down, and white is black, it makes no sense, unless the US hopes these provocations will lead to a war or at the very least Russia or Iran capitulating to US aggression, which will not happen. Sanctions by the US on all and sundry must be opposed, if not the US will claim justifiably to be the worlds policeman and the arbiter of who will trade with who, a ludicrous proposition but one that most governments are afraid is now taking place, witness the new US ambassador to Germany in his first tweet telling the Germans to cease all trade with Iran immediately.

https://www.thelocal.de/20180509/us-tells-german-businesses-to-stop-trade-in-iran-immediately

[Nov 09, 2018] Publius Tacitus on Dr. Ford

Notable quotes:
"... With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect most Democrat leaders now realize that their attempt to take out Judge Brent Kavanaugh with false charges that he sexually assaulted someone in High School was a disaster. Their heavy handed, Bolshevik tactics backfired and galvanized a broad spectrum of Americans who were sickened by the spectacle of a verbal lynch mob being led by the decrepit Diane Feinstein. ..."
"... that he dated Dr. Ford for six years. He said that she never mentioned being the victim of sexual assault or misconduct. He also stated that Dr. Ford did not mention any fear of close quarters or flying, and that the two traveled together, including on a small propeller plane. also said that he witnessed Dr. Ford, drawing from her background in psychology, help prepare her roommate, Ms. Monica McLean, for a potential polygraph examination when Ms. McLean wasinterviewing for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. He stated that Dr. Ford helped Ms. McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. ..."
"... No! Let's see her tried for perjury with full discovery I will be glad to be a pro bone consultant on that trial and i have a lot of experience. ..."
"... The Dems COULD have made Kavanaugh's support for torture a principled reason for opposing him. ..."
"... The Dems could've raised all kinds of principled objections to Kavanaugh; but tellingly, they chose not to. They chose to take the low road instead. ..."
"... They are complicit. Especially Feinstein. SHe's AOK with torture and 24-7 surveillance. WHat do you expect from an ardent cannabis prohibitionist? ..."
"... Indeed. That would have been a principle worth highlighting. And the question put forward - "Should a torture supporter serve on the Supreme Court?" But..Dianne Feinstein and Chuckie Schumer were never interested in that. All they were interested in was creating a media spectacle and that's exactly what they did by holding on to Ford's letter for 2 months and unleashing it the day before the vote. ..."
"... Christine Ford, Monica McLean and the others should testify to a grand jury. Isn't perjury what they indicted & convicted Gen. Flynn & George Papadopolous for? ..."
"... Why is it that Christine Ford can get away with blatantly and repeatedly lying to Congress about a federal judge but Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were dragged through court (no doubt at great expense to them) for so-called minor lies to FBI interrogators? ..."
"... Launching 18 USC 1001 prosecutions like so many torpedoes might look expeditious in the short term but in the long term, it will be bad for both the working agent on the street and for justice in the bigger picture. ..."
"... Ford lied to the senate judiciary committee under oath. In your scheme of things people like Avenatti and his female tools can slander and libel at will in conformations even if they are interviewed by the FBI? OK, then the FBI should interview them under oath. ..."
"... If at least one Democrat is going to be removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee as a result of the midterm election realignment, I nominate 'Spartacus' as the guy. ..."
"... Kavanaugh's real crime was he went after Bill Clinton and now he paid the price for it. It's too bad in Yale they don't teach them how to watch their backs in Washington. ..."
"... Brian Merrick has been revealed as the boyfriend. He is a realtor in Malibu. His letter states: " Despite trying to maintain a long distance relationship, I ended the relationship once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful while living in Hawaii. After the breakup, I took her off the credit card we shared. But nearly 1 year later, I noticed Dr. Ford had been charging the card and charged about $600 worth of merchandise. When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card but later admitted the use after I threatened to involve fraud prevention." 'Revealed: The Man Accusing Blasey Ford of Lying About Polygraphs.' The Daily Caller, October 3, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/201... ..."
"... A woman who said that she attended UNC with Dr. Ford, identified a third woman, name blotted out, and stated that the three of them "used to purchase drugs" from a male whose name also has been blotted out. The three of them "regularly attended parties with members of his fraternity." The witness said "that she was present at --a blotted out name of an apartment--"one night in April 1987 when Dr. Ford and --someone again blotted out--"arrived to consume drugs." This witness "said that the Dr. Ford she knew had an active and robust social life in college." (Sept.25) ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

Publius Tacitus on Dr. Ford - posted by PL

With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect most Democrat leaders now realize that their attempt to take out Judge Brent Kavanaugh with false charges that he sexually assaulted someone in High School was a disaster. Their heavy handed, Bolshevik tactics backfired and galvanized a broad spectrum of Americans who were sickened by the spectacle of a verbal lynch mob being led by the decrepit Diane Feinstein. The truth about the sex-fraud, Dr. Chrissie Ford, is now exposed by the voluminous report issued by Senator Grassley's Judiciary Committee staff. Read it here . ( https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2018-11-02%20Kavanaugh%20Report.pdf ). Here are the highlights:

that he dated Dr. Ford for six years. He said that she never mentioned being the victim of sexual assault or misconduct. He also stated that Dr. Ford did not mention any fear of close quarters or flying, and that the two traveled together, including on a small propeller plane. also said that he witnessed Dr. Ford, drawing from her background in psychology, help prepare her roommate, Ms. Monica McLean, for a potential polygraph examination when Ms. McLean wasinterviewing for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. He stated that Dr. Ford helped Ms. McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. The Judiciary Committee report also details the allegations and findings from others who alleged sexual misconduct by the Judge. It was all a pack of lies. A contrived hit job intended to destroy the man's reputation and try to cow him into backing away from the nomination. That bullying tactic failed spectacularly. It ended up rallying a broad swath of the American public, especially women, who understand fairness and justice. The injustice on display by the Democrats ended up helping the Republicans nail down a bigger majority in the Senate. Look for fewer Democrat seats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Pat Lang Mod , 21 hours ago

IMO a criminal referral on Dr. Ford would be appropriate.
Kelli K -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Absolutely agree. With Nadler now openly talking about impeaching Kavanaugh, there is no alternative. The truth must be brought out. The alternative is to leave him exposed permanently and keep this whole plan viable for use against future nominees. With RBG approaching retirement this is critical.
Fred W -> Pat Lang , 19 hours ago
Getting to the actual facts would be a great good. But we know that will not happen. The administration and the senate have already shown their attitude toward professional quality investigation. That appears to be the last thing they want. If they actually believed any of what they said, they would follow your advice. We will see.

On second thought that is probably an unfair standard. Opening up discovery for a trial would have negative effects even for a very solid case.

Fred -> Fred W , 18 hours ago
"The administration and the senate have already shown their attitude toward professional quality investigation."

You mean the Mueller "Russia" investigation? That is beyond a joke at this point. Dr. Ford should be charged. She's got $1 million or more from the go bribe fund me accounts. She should lawyer up. So should Ms. Mclean.

Pat Lang Mod -> Fred W , 19 hours ago
No! Let's see her tried for perjury with full discovery I will be glad to be a pro bone consultant on that trial and i have a lot of experience.
Bill H -> Fred W , 3 hours ago
I think the lesson to be learned is that getting all the facts simply cannot be done, which is why we have a statute of limitations, and why Dr. Ford's accusation should not ever have seen the light of day 30 years after the purported event.

Most liberals seem to think the statute of limitations has to do with the purported offender "living with guilt," but the law does not acknowledge the "sensation of guilt." The statute is because after a period of time the offense cannot be fairly prosecuted because witnesses die or move away, memories fade, evidence degrades or disappears, and so forth, and this shoddy exhibition is proof of the validity of that principle.

Pat Lang Mod -> Fred W , 4 hours ago
I do not see how you can fault Grassley's efforts to get the facts. He bent over backward to accommodate the Democrats lies about Kavanaugh and the WH authorized the the additional FBI investigation.
Karl Kolchak , 19 hours ago
The Dems COULD have made Kavanaugh's support for torture a principled reason for opposing him. Then if they lost, which they were likely going to do anyway, it would have at least been considered fair politics and it would have placed the spotlight on a very ugly chapter in the country's recent history that needs to be addressed.
RaisingMac -> Karl Kolchak , 7 hours ago
The Dems could've raised all kinds of principled objections to Kavanaugh; but tellingly, they chose not to. They chose to take the low road instead.
Divadab Newton -> RaisingMac , 4 hours ago
They are complicit. Especially Feinstein. SHe's AOK with torture and 24-7 surveillance. WHat do you expect from an ardent cannabis prohibitionist?
FarNorthSolitude -> Karl Kolchak , 3 hours ago
Shaming, shunning, bullying, threats of violence, and violence are all now accepted as methods by the left. They are totally consumed in a political tribalism. Rather than raising the moral standards of the group they are using the most primitive instincts and you can see this in many of the tweets from the left that use gross sexual imagery to demean their "enemies".

The more I read on group psychology such as Freud, Le Bon, etc. the more concerned I become whether the age of reason, principles, and science will survive group psychosis given the powerful tools like social media enabling it. Social media is one of the most dangerous technologies we have developed.

"In order to make a correct judgment upon the morals of groups, one must take into consideration the fact that when individuals come together in a group all their individual inhibitions fall away and all the cruel, brutal and destructive instincts, which lie dormant in individuals as relics of a primitive epoch, are stirred up to find free gratification. But under the influence of suggestion groups are also capable of high achievements in the shape of abnegation, unselfishness, and devotion to an ideal.

While with isolated individuals personal interest is almost the only motive force, with groups it is very rarely prominent.

It is possible to speak of an individual having his moral standards raised by a group. Whereas the intellectual capacity of a group is always far below that of an individual, its ethical conduct may rise as high above his as it may sink deep below it." - Gustave Le Bon

blue peacock -> Karl Kolchak , 17 hours ago
Indeed. That would have been a principle worth highlighting. And the question put forward - "Should a torture supporter serve on the Supreme Court?" But..Dianne Feinstein and Chuckie Schumer were never interested in that. All they were interested in was creating a media spectacle and that's exactly what they did by holding on to Ford's letter for 2 months and unleashing it the day before the vote.

Christine Ford, Monica McLean and the others should testify to a grand jury. Isn't perjury what they indicted & convicted Gen. Flynn & George Papadopolous for?

william mcdonald , 5 hours ago
Wily old Senator Charles(the Fox) Grassley gave the democrats sufficient rope to hang themselves with, an act they did with gusto.
PRC90 , 10 hours ago
Another amateurish mess. One effect may be that the Democrats will be more careful in their next attempt to discredit some opponent.
DianaLC -> PRC90 , 2 hours ago
The recent accident that RBG experienced has probably caused both Democrats and Republicans some concern that there may soon be another Supreme Court seat to fill under a Trump administration.
akaPatience , 15 hours ago
Why is it that Christine Ford can get away with blatantly and repeatedly lying to Congress about a federal judge but Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were dragged through court (no doubt at great expense to them) for so-called minor lies to FBI interrogators?

Off topic: I'd love to read PT's take on the mid-term election with attention paid to the boxes of suddenly-discovered ballots in AZ that have put (wouldn't you know!) Democratic Senate candidate Sinema in the lead. And in light of the FL recount, I'd also be interested in what he has to say about the flagrant disregard for chain of custody of [the infamous] Broward Co. boxes of ballots.

Why is it that ballots discovered post-election day always seem to help Democrats? I don't recall ever reading or hearing about newly-discovered ballots that benefited Republican candidates.

Mad_Max22 -> akaPatience , 2 hours ago
In my experience lying to the FBI, 18 USC 1001, was used very, very infrequently. It was used as an add on charge in the prosecution of some of the Watergate subjects and they had been placed under oath. It was used to my knowledge to prosecute an individual who had made a false accusatory statement in the Ray Donavan investigation in the early 80's, another debacle instigated by Senate Democrats. Otherwise it was rarely used, and it shouldn't be used in my opinion unless the person has been given a separate warning and waiver, or placed under oath.

Once Big Government has opened the floodgates on prosecuting people for lying to the FBI, especially when it becomes obvious that it is being used selectively, and in isolation in order to hang a charge on somebody in pursuit of manifestly political ends, cooperation with FBI Agents trying to do their job will, and should, dry up. Who needs to take a chance on some partisan operation, such as Bob Mueller, parsing their adverbs and adjectives for signs of deceit when the option is to take advantage of your right to silence.

Launching 18 USC 1001 prosecutions like so many torpedoes might look expeditious in the short term but in the long term, it will be bad for both the working agent on the street and for justice in the bigger picture.

Pat Lang Mod -> Mad_Max22 , an hour ago
Ford lied to the senate judiciary committee under oath. In your scheme of things people like Avenatti and his female tools can slander and libel at will in conformations even if they are interviewed by the FBI? OK, then the FBI should interview them under oath.
Bill H -> akaPatience , 3 hours ago
Why isn't the Supreme Court stepping in to stop the unseemly Florida recount as it did in 2000?
Pat Lang Mod -> Bill H , an hour ago
we're not "there" yet.
Ed Lindgren , 15 hours ago
If at least one Democrat is going to be removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee as a result of the midterm election realignment, I nominate 'Spartacus' as the guy.
Greco , 17 hours ago
Now that there's a new AG in town--one who isn't either cowed, incompetent, or possibly blackmailed--Mrs.Ford may get her just deserts.

Kavanaugh's real crime was he went after Bill Clinton and now he paid the price for it. It's too bad in Yale they don't teach them how to watch their backs in Washington.

blue peacock , 17 hours ago
"The injustice on display by the Democrats ended up helping the Republicans nail down a bigger majority in the Senate. Look for fewer Democrat seats on the Senate Judiciary Committee."

While this may have held true for the Senate, it didn't in the House.

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 4 hours ago
IMO skillful Democrat candidate selection had a great deal to do with the result in the House.
DianaLC -> Pat Lang , 2 hours ago
I agree with you in the sense that many of the Democrat candidates did not take the ultra progressive (socialist?) path. Many seemed more centrist.

That was the result of state and country Democratic parties.

I think this because I definitely see a difference in the different county Republican parties in my state.

Unfortunately in my state (CO) what happens in Boulder and Denver usually carries. And as we say in CO, Boulder is about 40 square miles surrounded by reality. Denver is becoming a similar alternate reality.

Thus, I am ashamed to say, our current Governor is a person from a quite alternate reality from the one in which I live.

MP98 -> Pat Lang , 4 hours ago
And Never-Trumper RINOs who ran as Democrat-lites.
Tidewater , 18 hours ago
Brian Merrick has been revealed as the boyfriend. He is a realtor in Malibu. His letter states: " Despite trying to maintain a long distance relationship, I ended the relationship once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful while living in Hawaii. After the breakup, I took her off the credit card we shared. But nearly 1 year later, I noticed Dr. Ford had been charging the card and charged about $600 worth of merchandise. When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card but later admitted the use after I threatened to involve fraud prevention." 'Revealed: The Man Accusing Blasey Ford of Lying About Polygraphs.' The Daily Caller, October 3, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/201...

A male witness "(Sept. 26): stated that when he was a 19-year-old college student, he visited D.C. over spring break and kissed a girl he believes was Dr. Ford. He said that the kiss happened in the bedroom of a house which was about a 15-to- 20 minute walk from the Van Ness Metro, that Dr. Ford was wearing a swimsuit under her clothing, and that the kissing ended when a friend jumped on them as a joke. The witness said that the woman initiated the kissing and that he did not force himself on her. "

A woman who said that she attended UNC with Dr. Ford, identified a third woman, name blotted out, and stated that the three of them "used to purchase drugs" from a male whose name also has been blotted out. The three of them "regularly attended parties with members of his fraternity." The witness said "that she was present at --a blotted out name of an apartment--"one night in April 1987 when Dr. Ford and --someone again blotted out--"arrived to consume drugs." This witness "said that the Dr. Ford she knew had an active and robust social life in college." (Sept.25)

Keith Harbaugh , 18 hours ago
PT, thanks very much for posting this. I cannot find any mention of this Judiciary Committee report at the Washington Post web site. They had a ton of coverage of Ford's allegation before the vote, including a lengthy interview with her current husband.

It says a lot about them that they have, unless I have missed something, ignored this report. Could the reason they are ignoring it be that they don't want to publicize anything which contradicts the line that "Women tell the truth"? A line that they have used to great political effect, in particular in the sinking of the Senate candidacy of Judge Roy Moore of Alabama.

[Nov 09, 2018] Globalism Vs Nationalism in Trump's America by Joe Quinn

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... You know something is fundamentally wrong when the average high school drop-out MAGA-hat-wearing Texan or Alabaman working a blue collar job has more sense, can SEE much more clearly, than the average university-educated, ideology-soaked, East Coast liberal. ..."
"... Trump is a "nationalist". More or less every administration previous to his, going back at least 100 years, was "globalist". For much of its history, the USA has been known around the world as a very patriotic (i.e., nationalist) country. Americans in general had a reputation for spontaneous chants of "USA! USA! USA!", flying the Stars And Stripes outside their houses and being very proud of their country. Sure, from time to time, that pissed off people a little in other countries but, by and large, Americans' patriotism was seen as endearing, if a little naive, by most foreigners. ..."
"... Globalism, on the other hand, as it relates to the USA, is the ideology that saturates the Washington establishment think-tanks, career politicians and bureaucrats, who are infected with the toxic belief that America can and should dominate the world . This is presented to the public as so much American largess and magnanimity, but it is, in reality, a means to increasing the power and wealth of the Washington elite. ..."
"... Consider Obama's two terms, during which he continued the massively wasteful (of taxpayer's money) and destructive (of foreigners' lives and land) "War on Terror". Consider that he appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, who proceeded to joyfully bomb Libya back to the stone age and murder its leader. Consider that, under Obama, US-Russia relations reached an all-time low, with repeated attacks (of various sorts) on the Russian president, government and people, and the attempted trashing of Russia's international reputation in the eyes of the American people. Consider the Obama regime's hugely destructive war waged (mostly by proxy) on the Syrian people. Consider the Obama era coup in Ukraine that, in a few short months, set that country's prospects and development back several decades and further soured relations with Russia. ..."
"... The problem however, is that the Washington elite want - no, NEED - the American people to support such military adventurism, and what better way to do that than by concocting false "Russian collusion" allegations against Trump and having the media program the popular mind with exactly the opposite of the truth - that Trump was a "traitor" to the American people. ..."
"... The only thing Trump is a traitor to is the self-serving globally expansionist interests of a cabal of Washington insiders . This little maneuver amounted to a '2 for 1' for the Washington establishment. They simultaneously demonized Trump (impeding his 'nationalist' agenda) while advancing their own globalist mission - in this case aimed at pushing back Russia. ..."
"... The US 'Deep State' did this in response to the election of Trump the "nationalist" and their fears that their globalist, exceptionalist vision for the USA - a vision that is singularly focused on their own narrow interests at the expense of the American people and many others around the world - would be derailed by Trump attempting to put the interests of the American people first . ..."
Nov 08, 2018 | www.sott.net
Billed as a 'referendum on Trump's presidency', the US Midterm Elections drew an unusually high number of Americans to the polls yesterday. The minor loss, from Trump's perspective, of majority Republican control of the lower House of Representatives, suggests, if anything, the opposite of what the media and establishment want you to believe it means.

An important clue to why the American media has declared permanent open season on this man transpired during a sometimes heated post-elections press conference at the White House yesterday. First, CNN's obnoxious Jim Acosta insisted on bringing up the patently absurd allegations of 'Russia collusion' and refused to shut up and sit down. Soon after, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor joined her colleagues in asking Trump another loaded question , this time on the 'white nationalism' canard:

Alcindor : On the campaign trail you called yourself a nationalist. Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists...

Trump : I don't know why you'd say this. It's such a racist question.

Alcindor : There are some people who say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists because of your rhetoric. What do you make of that?

Trump : Why do I have among the highest poll numbers with African Americans? That's such a racist question. I love our country. You have nationalists, and you have globalists . I also love the world, and I don't mind helping the world, but we have to straighten out our country first. We have a lot of problems ...

The US media is still "not even wrong" on Trump and why he won the 2016 election. You know something is fundamentally wrong when the average high school drop-out MAGA-hat-wearing Texan or Alabaman working a blue collar job has more sense, can SEE much more clearly, than the average university-educated, ideology-soaked, East Coast liberal.

Trump is a "nationalist". More or less every administration previous to his, going back at least 100 years, was "globalist". For much of its history, the USA has been known around the world as a very patriotic (i.e., nationalist) country. Americans in general had a reputation for spontaneous chants of "USA! USA! USA!", flying the Stars And Stripes outside their houses and being very proud of their country. Sure, from time to time, that pissed off people a little in other countries but, by and large, Americans' patriotism was seen as endearing, if a little naive, by most foreigners.

Globalism, on the other hand, as it relates to the USA, is the ideology that saturates the Washington establishment think-tanks, career politicians and bureaucrats, who are infected with the toxic belief that America can and should dominate the world . This is presented to the public as so much American largess and magnanimity, but it is, in reality, a means to increasing the power and wealth of the Washington elite.

Consider Obama's two terms, during which he continued the massively wasteful (of taxpayer's money) and destructive (of foreigners' lives and land) "War on Terror". Consider that he appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, who proceeded to joyfully bomb Libya back to the stone age and murder its leader. Consider that, under Obama, US-Russia relations reached an all-time low, with repeated attacks (of various sorts) on the Russian president, government and people, and the attempted trashing of Russia's international reputation in the eyes of the American people. Consider the Obama regime's hugely destructive war waged (mostly by proxy) on the Syrian people. Consider the Obama era coup in Ukraine that, in a few short months, set that country's prospects and development back several decades and further soured relations with Russia.

These are but a few examples of the "globalism" that drives the Washington establishment. Who, in their right mind, would support it? (I won't get into what constitutes a 'right mind', but we can all agree it does not involve destroying other nations for profit). The problem however, is that the Washington elite want - no, NEED - the American people to support such military adventurism, and what better way to do that than by concocting false "Russian collusion" allegations against Trump and having the media program the popular mind with exactly the opposite of the truth - that Trump was a "traitor" to the American people.

The only thing Trump is a traitor to is the self-serving globally expansionist interests of a cabal of Washington insiders . This little maneuver amounted to a '2 for 1' for the Washington establishment. They simultaneously demonized Trump (impeding his 'nationalist' agenda) while advancing their own globalist mission - in this case aimed at pushing back Russia.

Words and their exact meanings matter . To be able to see through the lies of powerful vested interests and get to the truth, we need to know when those same powerful vested interests are exploiting our all-too-human proclivity to be coerced and manipulated by appeals to emotion.

So the words "nationalist" and "nationalism", as they relate to the USA, have never been "dirty" words until they were made that way by the "globalist" element of the Washington establishment (i.e., most of it) by associating it with fringe Nazi and "white supremacist" elements in US society that pose no risk to anyone, (except to the extent that the mainstream media can convince the general population otherwise). The US 'Deep State' did this in response to the election of Trump the "nationalist" and their fears that their globalist, exceptionalist vision for the USA - a vision that is singularly focused on their own narrow interests at the expense of the American people and many others around the world - would be derailed by Trump attempting to put the interests of the American people first .

[Nov 08, 2018] Christine Blasey Ford's Credibility Under New Attack by Senate Republicans - The New York Times

Misogonia now became a ralling cry for female sociopath
Nov 08, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Looks like here are are dealing with two pretty unpleasant people. Kavanuch might have or used to have a drinking problem and might became agreessve in intoxicated state.

She remembers one can of ber she drunk (to protect her testimony from the case of completly drunk woman assalu, whuch is still an assalt) but do not remeber who drove her to the house, location and who drove her back. That's questionable.

Dr. form used somebody else creadit card and lied about poligraph test.

Looks there three scoundrels here: Senator Feldstein (violating the trus a leaking form letter), Klobuchar (trying to expolit fradulent Swtnick testomy for political purposes), Kavanuch (unability to take punches camly, low quality of some regulations (this supplosed to be the best legal mind the county can find), possible past drinking problems, possible agressive behvious when drunk), and Dr. Ford (heavy drinking in high scool and colledge, possible promiscuity, possible stealing funds by abusing former boyfirnd credit card (he left her, not vise versa), using questional methods to rent part of her house, and even more qurestionable method to justify this, etc)

Jay Lincoln NYC 5h ago

Why does the Times always have to spin news with a ludicrously liberal slant? Ford's credibility was attacked by her ex boyfriend of 6 years, who lived with her, saw her prep her friend for polygraph tests, flew with her on small propeller plans among the islands of Hawaii, and had his credit card fraudulently charged by her.

The source is her ex-boyfriend. Yet the title implies it's Senate Republicans launching a partisan attack. Give me a break.

Also, she's hurting her own credibility by claiming to remember having EXACTLY one beer 36 years ago. When she can't even remember where she was or how she got home after supposedly being nearly raped and killed.


JDO Kensignton, MD 5h ago

The longer this Freak Show continues, more and more of Ford's bones will be pulled from the closet. Time to vote, time to move on. If Democrats want to pick judges, they need to win elections.

Bearn Atlanta, GA 3h ago

"Christine Blasey Ford's Credibility Under New Attack by Senate Republicans"

This is an interesting headline for an article that is actually about a former boyfriend who submitted a letter refuting many of Ford's claims.

I am not sure how the Senate Republicans asking Ford's counsel for corroborating evidence, that Ford herself brought up in the hearing, is equivalent to them attacking her credibility? Maybe this article was actually meant to be in the opinion section written by the editorial board?

I am no expert, but isn't it the purpose of journalism to get down to the unbiased truth? The Times should go pursue this ex-boyfriends story and try to find whether or not he is credible rather than spewing out misleading headlines.

Reply 38 Recommend
Henry Washington 4h ago

I still find Dr. Ford's testimony believable and far more consistent with what else we know about her and her attacker.

And (here comes one of those dreaded "even if" arguments): Even if Mr. Merrick's account is factual, it elides a crucial distinction. When I read the senate question, the only relevant reason I can see why Republican senators would ask it (through their proxy) is to ferret out if Dr. Ford had any experience "beating" a polygraph, which might undercut the value ascribed to her taking that test.

The old boyfriend seems to be describing something different. He writes that Dr. Ford "explained in detail what to expect, how polygraphs worked and helped McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam." This seems to describe something along the lines of reassuring a friend nervous about her interviews, including anxiety about the experience of taking a polygraph. It seems much more along the lines of something explaining to a nervous patient what to expect during an MRI scan to reduce their anxiety, not some sort of movie scene where the the evil mastermind explains how to beat the cops' interrogation.

Were I in Dr. Ford's place, I'm very sure that an episode in which I'd calmed down an anxious friend before a job interview would be unlikely to come to mind if asked if I'd "ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test," and I'd feel confident and honest answering "never".

RobinR California 5h ago

Its absurd that people are up in arms about this. It's a known fact that polygraphs are unreliable, can be cheated and can create false positives. Even the person who invented the test claimed they are faulty. Why she bothered to do one at all is a mystery, since she probably knows they're unreliable. Did Kavenaugh do one?

Ginny Virginia 4h ago

How is investigating the allegations attacking her? SHe made statements in her testimony that this letter form the ex-boyfriend has insight about. He shared what he knows. Should this not be investigated? Does the NYT expect that only information about Kavanaugh should be investigated? She has made allegations. Should not the credibility of those allegations be looked into when there is evidence that perhaps she was not truthful? How is it right to only investigate one side of the story, especially when there is no evidence and there are no witnesses to the alleged event! To simply accept that she is telling the truth and say she is being attacked when anyone questions her story is outrageous. But then this is a story in the NYT, so of course the headlines are salacious and misleading to better advance your agenda. I believe in free press and understand its place in a free society. But these kinds of stunts are yellow journalism, and not healthy for our nation, or for the TImes in the long run. You are destroying your reputation as honest journalism each and every time you do something like this.

Reply 33 Recommend
Pono Big Island 2h ago Times Pick

Why shouldn't her credibility be established?
She is making damning accusations dating back 36 years.
Regardless of the genders of the parties involved and the nature of the incident, with no corroborating witness, this still boils down to "she said , he said".
To be fair there is really not much else you can do but try to establish the relative veracity of the two people involved.
It seems that "fairness" is not the goal of extremists on either side.
It's strictly about the outcome going their way.

Jessica Evanston, IL 5h ago

@Psst Ms. Mitchell was right to ask about the test, based on Dr. Ford's expertise as a psychologist. When I hearing that she took and passed a polygraph, I thought, "She's a psychologist, doesn't she know how those work?"

Ralphie CT 4h ago

I'm sorry, but those who "believe" Ford need to understand that polygraphs are not valid and they are not reliable. The psych literature is full of research papers on this. Here is a quick summary from the American Psych Association.

https://www.apa.org/research/action/polygraph.aspx

Polygraph tests are widely used in psych classes as examples of modern day pseudoscience, akin to phrenology.

People who believe their story, who have been trained, who don't care or who are psychopaths can easily pass a polygraph even when lying.

Dr. Ford, as a psychologist knows this. So her story about taking the polygraph and finding it distressing are ridiculous. She took it as a stunt knowing she could easily pass because polygraph's don't detect lies. The whole charade further undermines her story, as much her professed fear of flying or her statement that she didn't tell anyone about this except husband and therapist until she came forward -- which later morphed to, she discussed it with her beach friends.

I don't know what Ford's game is, she may believe her tale, or she may have deliberately come forward with a false accusation to stop a conservative from ascending to the highest court in the land. She is a committed dem activist.

Polygraphs are bogus -- they only work through intimidating naive individuals.

Brookhawk Maryland 3h ago

I never told boys or men I was dating about my experiences with sexual abuse. Why would I? Dating someone does not require you to open your soul. I never told my parents about two of the three episodes I was victim to. I was too stunned, shocked and ashamed. I'm a woman. That's what I was taught to be. I was taught it was my fault if I was abused. I was taught that by the whole society we live in. Why in heaven's name would I ever mention my history to someone I was simply dating?

JB Chicago 5h ago

Finally we get some information about Kavanaugh's main accuser. For a while it seemed as if she had just sprung into existence and had no history beyond her claims of sexual assault.

Robin Cambridge 2h ago

"Still, Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona sex crimes prosecutor who questioned Dr. Blasey at last week's hearing, seemed to know to ask her about whether she had ever advised anyone about taking a polygraph test."

So it's very likely the Republicans knew in advance of Mr Merrick's statement but chose to withhold it. Given their criticism of Democrats' conduct about Dr Ford's statement they seem a little hypocritical. Sen. Grassley's charging a "lack of candor" is risible.

Even if Dr Ford had 20 years ago coached someone in techniques to pass a polygraph test and exaggerated her claustrophobia - both of which I doubt - big deal. "Central to the credibility of her testimony " pace Sen Grassley, it is not. It is on the periphery.

One can only surmise what Mr Merrick's motivation is but it seems overwhelmingly likely he's providing this to support the Republican cause or for money or (contrary to what he says) because he's ill disposed to Dr Ford (or a mixture of the three).

Why else would he interfere? She's not the one applying for the job (if she had been, any intelligent committee would have seen she's far better qualified, temperamentally and intellectually).

freddy 16 harrisburg 4h ago

I did not vote for Trump but it is obvious that the New York Times is out to destroy him and his programs.
Remember Clinton's statements about the economy, " It is the economy, stupid. " You have to give Trump credit for a very strong economy, low unemployment, and a vibrant stock market. Voters will get it, the New York Times may not.
P.S. I believe that the media is responsible for the anger in our country. Would be much better if the media sought to build a consensus, trust, achievement, not division.

GWPDA Arizona 4h ago

This is an obscenity. That the nomination of a marginally qualified apparatchik to the Supreme Court would result in the corruption of the institution and the rule of law as the foundation of the United States is obscene. Any further move other than the nomination's withdrawal will be catastrophic. Any further political involvement in this nomination will be deliberately destructive.

India midwest 4h ago

So it's okay to "smear" Judge Kavanaugh by publicizing allegations from former college "friends" etc, but it is deeply unfair to even mention that Dr Ford might just not be Joan of Arc. I seem to see a bit of a double standard here.

Mark Greenwich 4h ago

People who use others credit cards are liars. Selective honesty is not possible. She is dishonest. Doesn't mean Kavanaugh is honest but she is a pawn and loves the attention.

KBronson Louisiana 4h ago

Every psychologist knows that polygraphs are unreliable and can be faked. It is even an official position of the American Psychological Association. Why would any psychologist have a polygraph test other than to scam someone? If any of this is true, a lot of people have just been duped by a great actress, which the best deceivers always are. But like cultists, having emotionally committed themselves few will have the courage to admit it.

Melissa Massachusetts 3h ago

@Charlie No, that's not clear at all.

Fear of flying and claustrophobia start in adulthood. Ford and this man started dating when she was just out of college, whereas fear of flying's average age of onset, according to online sources is 27 and it worsens with age -- especially after marriage and kids as people emotionally have more to lose.

I had an employee years ago who was fine flying for work in his mid-20s, but as he approached 30 he started to experience terrible anxiety about flying. He also became quite claustrophobic and couldn't get in the elevator if it was crowded. We had to adjust his job around it.

Ford also stated under oath that the attack she alleges was not the only cause of her anxiety/claustrophobia. She alluded to other predispositions. Go back and listen to the testimony.

Harvey NC 3h ago

From this article "The former boyfriend told the Judiciary Committee that he witnessed Dr. Blasey helping a friend prepare for a possible polygraph examination, contradicting her testimony under oath. Dr. Blasey, a psychology professor from California who also goes by her married name Ford, was asked during the hearing whether she had "ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test." She answered, "Never."
Someone correct me here as I thought the question was had she ever been given tips or advice by someone on how to take a polygraph test.
Quite a different meaning than asking if she had ever coached someone on how to take a polygraph test.

Rosie James New York, N.Y. 4h ago

Oh, I was under the impression that only The Media could attack (Kavanaugh, that is.) Almost everything I have read in the news (other than the Wall Street Journal) is based on speculation, written by Left Wing Activists (see article from yesterday's NY Times).

Dr. Ford (or probably her attorneys) have mislead and lied directly to the american people about Dr. Ford's "Fear of Flying" when she flies all over the place. When the Senate Committee offered to interview her privately in her California home or anywhere private she wanted she knew nothing about it.

Either she is lying or her attorneys are lying to her or keeping information that doesn't advance their narrative. Either way this whole thing stinks!

roane1 Los Angeles, Ca 3h ago

You accept flat-out what this ex-boyfriend says without question, and thus paint Dr. Blasey Ford as a "liar"? What about Kavanaugh's "selective honesty"? And how you get to being a pawn and loving attention from her extreme reticence is a total mystery. It appears you accept whatever the Senate Committee majority puts out without critical examination or waiting to see if there is any rebuttal.

Wine Country Dude Napa Valley 2h ago

Read: women should not be challenged when they lob career-ending accusations at men. They should be taken at their word and not subjected to any type of opposition. Because, heck, doing so would re-victimize the victim (even though her status as victim is very far from established).

We heard the same thing with Tawana Brawley, Sarah Ylen, Jackie Coakley at UVA and Crystal Gayle Mangum--to subject their stories to any critical analysis was revictimization. When they were shown to be frauds, the argument became that one may not criticize proven liars and frauds because that may "revictimize" other, unnamed, hypothetical victims of sexual assault.

What women propose is an end run around fundamental principles of fairness, to say nothing of the judicial principles that have governed us for centuries. And to say nothing of the proposition that they are adults themselves, have willingly entered the big bad government and financial worlds and proclaimed that they can handle themselves ferociously, just like men, thank you very much.

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zb Miami 3h ago

The evidence clearly corroborates that Kavanagh was a drunken abusive lout in high school and college. His testimony in Congress proves he still is. At this point it really doesn't matter what Miss Ford said or did not say; what matters is what Cavanaugh has said and done.

Soxared, '04, '07, '13 Boston 3h ago

Charles Grassley knew about this lie and fed it to Rachel Mitchell to entrap Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Who can't see through the blatant partisan desperation?

Lee California 4h ago

Isn't it glaring to anyone that not her parents nor her brothers have come out to speak for her? I don't believe they attended the hearing.

Something just isn't right here. I know I would upfront and personal with anyone who would doubt my daughter.

Son of Liberty Fly Over Country 3h ago

I've seen and heard so many of my friends on the left say with great conviction: "I believe her!" But if you're willing to analyze with a fair mind all the accusations flying around, you'll agree there isn't a shred of corroboration.

This credulous yet firmly-held faith in Dr. Ford is just that "Faith" - belief without objective evidence.

In fact, there's more reason to believe in Santa Claus than in Dr. Ford. At least with Santa, the cookies and milk we left for him before bed were gone in the morning and were replaced by presents. Now that's real corroboration - at least in the mind of a credulous child.

gary e. davis Berkeley, CA 3h ago

"Civic duty" doesn't entail going public. It involves providing further information to relevant decision makers, i.e., Judicial Committee members. But going public does serve poitical interests. It does not serve interest in truth.

Dr. Ford was outed as the author of a letter to Senator Feinstein because the outing party wanted to see action shown, in light of the letter, that had not been publically shown.

But evidently the letter wasn't considered actionable by Senator Feinstein. Dr. Ford indicated that she had discussed her letter with persons she knows. Likely, then, someone she knows outed her. Civic duty calls for follow up, which could protect Dr. Ford's evident desire for privacy by remaining confidential communication with the Judiciary Committee.

But she chose otherwise. Armed with two attorneys, she chose to politicize her experience, evidently exploiting the #MeToo atmosphere for the sake of embarrassing Republicans.

That looks like duplicity that gels with the implausible character of her accounts.

XLER West Palm 2h ago

So there you have it. She lied under oath at least twice. And now we know that her "second door" was added in 2009, not 2012 as she claimed, based on oermitnhistory and used as an entrance to a rental unit they built. She also lied about credit card fraud until her ex threatened to prosecute her. Add that to the multiple memory lapses" and no evidence to back up her story this woman is simply not credible. I was also bothered that she stated her friend Leland didn't remember the party because she currently had health issues. Why would that make any difference?

Jonathan Northwest 2h ago

The ex-boyfriend dated Dr. Ford from 1992-1998 and that corresponds to when McClean was hired by the FBI. Conversely what does the ex-boyfriend get out of this -- grief from the press for daring to question Dr. Ford? Dr. Ford's claims are so full of inconsistencies it is absurd. The polygraph issue is just one aspect of the ex-boyfriend's letter -- there are other deliberate lies that Dr. Ford is being accused of presenting in her testimony. Time for the press to examine where Dr. Ford lived when the ex-boyfriend asserts she was living in a 500 square foot apartment with ONE door.

Holly Los Angeles 3h ago

@Ora Pro Nobis I disagree that it was unfair. Rather, in the testimony, Kavanaugh revealed his extreme partisanship, lack of respect, lack of decorum, lack of honesty, lack of ability to handle pressure, unwillingness to answer questions and his immaturity -- all of these extremely important to consider in weighing his fitness for a seat on the Supreme Court. Dr. Ford did the nation a tremendous service in presenting an opportunity for Kavanaugh to let us know what he's made of.

Kristen B Columbus, Ohio 2h ago

Until this week, I often wondered whether the Me Too movement had gone too far- publicly shaming men, rather than going through official HR or legal channels. I thought perhaps some of us women could benefit from pulling out our high school copies of "The Scarlet Letter." But frankly... now I'm fed up.

Just 30 minutes ago, my pleasant afternoon walk was interrupted by some nasty, lascivious cat-calling--directed at me from some men painting a neighbor's house.

Still feeling hurt, objectified and dirty, I sat down to catch up on today's news. Well, that was a mistake. I believe Dr. Ford, 100%. But at the beginning of this whole Kavanaugh controversy, I could still understand why some men might feel uncomfortable with the idea that a tweet, a news story, or even a rumor could turn into a full blown scandal within minutes. But no more!

Kavanaugh is not on trial! He's an applicant for a job! Anyone who has ever had to work at finding a job knows that it is UP TO THE APPLICANT to show (yes, to prove) that they are the BEST person for that job! And you better be double sure that you're squeaky clean before you aim for even a moderately high profile job, let alone a Supreme Court Justice.

So I'm not wondering anymore... I'm fed up with comments like, "I guess now it's guilty until proven innocent" or how men should be "scared" in this Me Too era. Too bad we can't just magic the GOP all into a woman's body for a day, and send them on a walk down a busy city street.

Ora Pro Nobis A Better Place 3h ago

I guess I need to revise a comment I made earlier. I called Dr. Ford's allegations baseless. That was incorrect. They were worse and weaker than baseless. Her allegations were refuted under oath by numerous people and now further undermined by the latter released by her ex-boyfriend. This is what you get when you allow hearsay and uncorroborated allegations into the process.

J c Ma 1h ago

A whole lot of peopleare jumping to coclusions on both side. The point of Dr Ford's testimony was not that Kavanaugh is definitely a bad guy, we probably cannot know that for sure, barring further investigstion.

The problem is not that, though. It's that Kavanaugh behaved so badly for so long that this kind of accusation was even possible. He is unfit based on his already admitted undiciplined, unmoored, and irresponsible behavior in drinking and, more disturbingly, in money. This guy could be blackmailed, easy.

Chris CT 2h ago

Don't participate in victim-shaming, New York Times, by publishing victim-shaming letters. From wikipedia:
"In efforts to discredit alleged sexual assault victims in court, a defense attorney may delve into an accuser's personal history, a common practice that also has the purposeful effect of making the victim so uncomfortable they choose not to proceed." Of note, past sexual history, such as cheating, is often raised to discredit the victim. Sound familiar??

rick chicago 3h ago

I don't see why McClean or Ford's supporters are complaining about the ex-boyfriend's allegation. Allegation is the new standard of proof, right? Allegations don't require any support at all. In fact, as we have learned here in NYT, an allegation that is refuted by everyone alleged to be present is still to be believed if it goes along with an earnestly told story. It's earnest denials that no longer count. I thought Ford's description of the assault was quite plausible. However, it's implausible that she didn't know Grassley had offered to interview her at home, that fear of flying was the cause of her delays, that she doesn't know who drove her home-but is sure she drank exactly one beer, and that she needed to study her invoices to figure out that her legal services and polygraph are free.

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kona ma 2h ago

I no longer care about whether Kavanaugh or Ford are telling the truth. What I do care about is the blatant partisanship, half truths and revenge evidenced in Kavanaugh's testifimony. 'WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND". If America thinks this behavior and thinly veiled threat is an acceptable mindset for a supreme court justice, I need to start investing in real estate in Canada.

kfm US Virgin Islands 3h ago

Kavanaugh's quote is "We're loud obnoxious drunks, with prolific pukers among us." You know, that sensitive stomach that reacts to spicy foods, that he swore under oath was the reason for his well-documented vomiting.

Also, "[A]ny girls we can beg to stay there are welcome with open..." What exactly is it you mean here, church-going, studious St Brett?

Randall Bachmann port st lucie 1h ago

My predictions were that Ford would not deliver the therapist's notes. She claimed, as did many here, that hey were the evidence that proved the story. Then she insisted that they were 'private' after the discrepancies were noted in her stories from the letter to Feinstein to the WaPo story.
Now we've learned that the second door was actually for the addition to the house, along with a bathroom and kitchenette. A room that was rented out. Not another WAY out.
In the notes, I'm sure that there is no mention of the need for another door due to the 'fear' Ford claimed. Especially since the permit for that addition with a door was pulled in 2008. Not in 2012. The therapist notes also are almost certainly from the 'counselor' who rented the apartment/office initially, who they also bought the house from and is now refusing to discuss it further.
I was clear in my earlier posts that as a psychologist, especially a teaching psychologist, Ford would have to know about polygraphs and how they work. https://www.apa.org/research/action/polygraph.aspx
And how to evade them: https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/09/25/nsa-whi...
Of course the person she helped is going to deny it. First, she would be in trouble with the FBI (she can count on an inquiry) and second, to admit it would prove that her friend whom she supported is a liar and perjurer.

Kayle Simon Seattle WA 1h ago

When Mitchell asked Ford whether she had ever helped anyone prepare for a polygraph, my first thought was, they have something. Then it took them a week to use it. I wonder when he contacted them, or how many of her ex boyfriends they called.

Allen Ny 2h ago

@Steve
He said she never showed any sign of claustrophobia living in a 500 square foot apartment. We now know the second door to her home was not another exit but an entrance for tenants installed years before she claims to have mentioned her trauma in therapy. He said she showed no fear of flying, ever, not even in smaller prop planes. We know that despite her statement about being afraid of flying she flew frequently and went long distances. These facts corroborate his statements and there is a growing list of lies and half-truths she has been identified uttering. She is not credible.

Rolf Grebbestad 2h ago

That woman appears to be deeply troubled. She has zero credibility.

Chico New Hampshire 2h ago

It's strange that "Bart" Kavanaugh was shown to lie, be confrontational, bullying and evasive, yet the Senate Republican's do not seem to have a problem with it.

When you have the FBI being restrained from talking to witnesses and following leads is outrageous, not interviewing Dr. Ford and "Bart" Kavanaugh makes this a joke investigation and will taint this Supreme Court pick forever.

Scrumper Savannah 2h ago

This Merrick goes on to say "During our time dating, Dr. Ford never brought up anything regarding her experience as a victim of sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct," he wrote. "Dr. Ford never mentioned Brett Kavanaugh."

My ex wife had been the victim of an attempted rape in her teens yet in ten years of knowing her she never mentioned it once. My Grandfather fought in WWII and witnessed horrific stressful things yet never spoke about them either. So we can discount the assertion in Merrick's letter.

Murphmurph Murphmurph 2h ago

Polygraph tests are inaccurate - statistically, they're slightly better than just guessing. They're not lie detectors; we'd be better off calling them anxiety detectors. If you're evaluating Ford's testimony, feel free to just throw the whole polygraph out, if that makes you more confident about your opinion.

If you believe what Mr. Merrick says is true, understand that an M.A. in psychology is going to tell you what any good friend would tell you before taking a polygraph test: Relax, be calm, tell the truth. You're a good person, you have no reason to be worried.

If you asked me if I *ever* gave advice on a polygraph test, and it turns out me and my roommate talked about it once twenty-five years ago, please don't hold it against me that I responded "no."

Jon Boston 4h ago

He also alleges she committed credit card fraud in grad school. But nobody should have their character judged by something that happened so long ago, right?

James Kirk California 4h ago

@D. Goldblatt
I am an engineer and have actually developed advanced signal processing and machine learning algorithms for this kind of bio-sensory application. New methods very immune to artificial manipulation and someone saying they heard her give advice for 1990 strip chart technology is nuts. But it is not surprising for someone to think this is old technology.
Pretty weak counter-attack. Time to bring in testing of Kavanaugh.

Rob Campbell Western Mass. 3h ago

If it is shown that Ford and/or any of the other accusers have lied and brought forward false accusations, should they be criminally charged?

Charlie Messing Burlington, VT 4h ago

@Jay Lincoln You say the Times had a slant? What would the story sound like standing straight up? Different? Her ex-boyfriend may not be a reliable source - he saw her tell someone what a polygraph test was like - not how to beat one. PS - if you only drink one beer when you drink, remembering that would not be hard to accept. (Did she have many beers at other times? You know anything about it?) Please - take the break you say you need.

Prof Emeritus NYC NYC 37m ago

The NY Times and other Democratic organizations are beginning to panic.

Ford's story is ... falling apart.

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Anthony Carinhas Austin, Texas 38m ago

I'm so glad I'm a centrist because this bickering has become foolish. Yes the country deserves honorable justices on our courts, there's so much dishonesty coming from both sides that it seems everyone should be cut off in exchange for another nominee. The country's divisions are getting careless and childish that anyone will say anything to get their way. Put someone else on the table already folks.

Regards, LC princeton, new jersey 3h ago

As many observers have noted, the WH has perhaps dozens of qualified candidates to replace Kavanaugh without a stigma of sexual assault hovering over them and who reflect views consistent with those of the Republicans.
Why then continue with a nomination that has ripped the country apart?
The answer is Mr. Trump's inability to acknowledge a mistake and to adopt the posture of Roy Cohen: never backdown; always punish your enemy more painfully than he/she punished you; never show weakness.
So it's another incident in which we have to suffer, often needlessly,
to satisfy Mr. Trump's narcissistic, egomaniacal needs.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@al Ford is not the one accused of running rape gangs despite having an impeccable much commended judicial service record for 23+ years. He is understandably upset.

Also "innocent holes"? There is no such thing in law. Either you are lying or you are not.

Mor California 2h ago

Polygraph is junk science anyway. At best, it can determine whether the person believes she is telling the truth, not what the truth is. I think Dr. Ford believes her own words. But the more I learn about the circumstances of her testimony, the less inclined I am to believe that the alleged assault happened the way she described it. I suspect it is a classic case of false memory or confabulation. The FBI should interrogate her therapist with regard to the kind of therapy Dr. Ford received. And what about Dr. Ford's husband? Can't he tell us when, exactly, his wife remembered the name of her attacker? And how is the ex-boyfriend who apparently was with Dr. Ford for six years (in another country he would be called a common-law husband) did inot know about the assault that had supposedly blighted Dr. Ford's life? These questions need to be answered. Otherwise the entire thing is just a charade. And for the record, I was bitterly opposed to Kavanuagh nomination because of his position on Roe. Now I wish him confirmed just to end this circus. Trump's other nominee won't be any better on abortion anyway.

javierg Miami, Florida 3h ago

The ex boyfriend commentary brings new meaning to the saying "hell has no fury like a man scorned" (I substituted man for woman). This is what appears to have happen. Never in my lifetime would I have thought that I would witness such division and the airing out of our dirty laundry for the world to see. This makes the famous novel entitled The Beans of Egypt, Maine, by Carolyn Chute, look like a Disney story.

Jacqueline Colorado 2h ago

Seems to me that it's all a bunch of hearsay. At this point I think Kavanaugh is too divisive and shouldn't be confirmed because this process has horribly divided us along partisan lines, however, there can really be no truth known.

It's just all a bunch of hearsay. She said, he said, with no evidence. I dont believe either of them quite frankly. There are always three sides to the story. One sides story, the other sides story, and the actual truth. The actual truth is known through empirical evidence, and I dont think there is anything real. Sworn statements and polygraph tests are not evidence. DNA or a video are evidence, and there is none of that. As such, the FBI cannot get to the truth and never will.

I disagree with this political hit job. The Democrafs are the ones stoking the fires of division in this battle. However, they have succeeded and at this point Kavanaugh is so divisive that I believe it would hurt American institutions if he was nominated.

Gerwick New York 2h ago

@CPR Ford's claims are uncorroborated, even refuted by her own best friend. Where was the defense for Kavanaugh then? Not so much male privilege or power when he is not even given the basic courtesy of being held innocent until proven guilty.

nom de guerre Kirkwood, MO 3h ago

"He also wrote that they broke up "once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful" and that she continued to use a credit card they shared nearly a year before he took her off the account. "When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card, but later admitted to the use after I threatened to involve fraud protection," he said."

Small points, but:
They weren't married or engaged and perhaps the relationship had played itself out. I'd venture to say the majority of failing relationships end with the involvement of a third person. If he's trying to assassinate her character, this is a weak attempt. Heck, look at the guy who's in the WH.

They shared a credit card that she "continued to use a year before he took her off the account". This doesn't constitute fraud, her name was on the account at the time she used it. He had no basis for a fraud case.

He claimed she lived a 500sf place with only one door- ok, but it was in California, where space is at a premium. She was obviously on a budget, which dictates what one can afford.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@Rickske "Klobuchar apologize to Kavanaugh?! Like telling a black person to apologize for taking a bus seat before a white person."

What? This makes no sense whatsoever. Klobuchar went after Kavanaugh over the Avenatti rape gangs claims which are now laughing stock of the whole nation. That's why she must apologize. Especially to his family and daughters.

sandy Chicago 3h ago

@Phyliss Dalmatian Too many holes in the story.
Have you read about the supposed "2nd door" Ford claims to have installed for protection? Well, seems it was really to "host" i.e., rent out the area of her master bedroom to Google interns (prior to that, it was used as a business). Ford also owns a 2nd home. She does not have two doors on that home. She lied about her fear of flying, about never having discussions about polygraphs in the past and she doesn't remember if she took the polygraph the day of her grandmothers funeral or the day after. Seriously? Those are just the lies that stick out to me. The omissions are too many to recall here. Try, please try, to take your loathing of Trump from the equation and realize that this woman lied! I believe her too. But I do not anymore. She's lying. It's frightening. What's more frightening is that the media isn't being honest about their reporting. This is ruining a man's life and that of his family. This isn't fair.

bored critic usa 3h ago

feinstein was holding onto dr. ford as her "ace in the hole". she wasn't going to use it if she didn't have to and she was holding out until the last minute. which also gives rise to the longest delay possible for the confirmation vote. simple dirty politics.

Mike CT 4h ago

@Andy
I graduated college in 1981, a fews years before Judge K but the same era. Drinking was common, altercations happened. No news here.

Do teenaged boys make awkward sexual references? Im not surprised.

It doesn't mean judge K is a predator as he is being portrayed by the Dems.

bored critic usa 4h ago

sounds like muldar from x-files, "I want to believe". so I will believe, regardless of any additional information which should perhaps cast a shred of doubt.

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bored critic usa 3h ago

but can you explain her lack of memory and the inconsistencies in her story?

Phil NJ 1h ago

There is a simple, effective way to handle all allegations, now or future ones.

First, the timetable is arbitrary.
That gives FBI full authority to impartially investigate all allegations.
To prevent adding allegations, give a time limit to all allegations.
Then conduct the investigation for a reasonable amount of time. No constraints, no limits if material to the accusations that is up to the FBI to decide.
You can still complete this investigation before elections if that is a priority.
Finally if investigations reveal anything against him that would have impacted his support for the court, impeach him if he is on it.

Just by what has transpired, his sneaky lies, partisan attack and blatant threat he is unfit for any court. If he values his family, he would spare them the worst by withdrawing now.

Elections have consequences. In a zero sum game your vote determines the outcome. As a matter of principle Election commission's goal ought to be 100% participation with a mandatory improvement in every election, period.

Ralphie CT 1h ago

@Henry Slofstra The fact is psychologists (Ford is one) know polygraphs are pseudoscience and can easily be beaten if you know how they work.

Gerwick New York 4h ago

@4merNYer What about the senate's conduct? Why was the allegations hidden until after the hearing until the last moment? Instead of a confidential investigation as is due process, and if confirmed charges then disqualification of the man's nomination, again as is due process, he and his family dragged into a media circus. Its only fair he got a little upset at the way it was handled.

His answers were concrete, he categorically and emphatically denied all allegations. There was nothing more to be said.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@Mercutio

1. You accuse a man of impeccable record and public service to America for 23 years - of running rape gangs. Crucify him in public, drag his family and daughters into this chaos - and then expect him to be unemotional? How's that fair?

2. He's clearly demonstrated what now? where? You're reaching too much.

bored critic usa 4h ago

how is this a desperate smear? and what went on against Kavanaugh was not? who cares if he drank during hs and college. back then most kids did. and he couldn't have been drunk all the time and be as successful in his grades as he was. so focused on all the wrong things.

MB MD 57m ago

I remember a poly I took 40 years ago to work at a convenience store. The tight cuff immediately said "heart rate". So I intermittently calmed down and sped my heart to play a game with the examiner. I passed and remain convinced it's all voodoo.

Mary Edgerton Houston 58m ago

So it is one thing to tell someone that during a lie detector test your vital signs will be monitored as you are asked questions, starting with control questions that have established true or false answers. My Mother told me so at least, and I would not say that she advised me how to take a polygraph examination. There is on the other hand a technique in which people who are to submit to a polygraph examination learn how to raise their blood pressure or breathing rate while being asked control questions that they answer to truthfully. This adjusts your baseline vital signs to a level that would be too close to your vital signs while lying such that the changes in vital signs from truth to lie state are not statistically significant. I would say that training someone to do that is teaching someone how to take (and pass) a polygraph examination. Her boyfriend did not describe this being the case, so I think he and the Republican Senators are making a mountain out of a molehill. Also, I was molested as a child in a movie theater. I did not talk about it until forty years later, not to my serious boyfriends along the way, nor to my first husband. I only spoke about it to my second husband when we began taking our own little girls to the movies and I realized how terrified I was that they would be molested. I could hardly watch the movie, and wanted my husband to bracket them with me. He never understood that, but then he supports Trump (and we are divorced).

mike atlanta 1h ago

@Joan In California
"manly individuals who think this issue will go away after the dust settles better hope their behavior has always been above reproach."

and how many women have lives that are "beyond reproach"? Notice the goal post moving. Now its not only men who have sexually assaulted women who are the enemy its all men if the don't adhere to every single accusation made by any and every woman on the planet. How can any sane person think a gender war is the answer?

and will you only carry female babies to full term? because if one day your son doesn't believe just one woman on the planet (or think that she is mistaken) will you stand in line to scorch his earth too and betray your own motherhood?

DZ Banned from NYT 3h ago

@Brookhawk

They were in a relationship for 6 years and lived together. That doesn't make the boyfriend's account true, but it does explain how selectively the NYT chooses to inform its readers these days. The death of the media is a suicide.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@rosa Stalin's Russia also sent and punished without any regard for evidence or proof which is the exactly what the left is doing to Kavanaugh right now. Ford's claim has no corroboration, is convieniently dropped 2 days before senate vote, Fienstein recommended lawyers, now exposed lies about fear of flying, polygraph etc...yet Kavanaugh can not demand the basic courtesy of being treated "innocent until proven guilty" from the public and the media? Stalin would be proud right now of this pitch fork mob culture we got going I tell you that much.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@Henry She lied about fear of flying, lied about polygraph, no corroboration, she was with merrick for 5+ years yet never mentioned this "assault", allegations 2 days before senate vote?

How can anyone not be atleast suspicious?

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Gaspipe Casso Brooklyn 3h ago

@JenD My mother, my wife, my sister and my daughter's rage boiled over last week too...but at the thought that their father, brother, son and husband could face an uncorroborated charge and have his life ruined without due process.

[Nov 08, 2018] Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

Gold age of the USA (say 40 years from 1946 to approximately 1986 ) were an in some way an aberration caused by WWII. As soon as Germany and Japan rebuilt themselves this era was over. And the collapse of the USSR in 1991 (or more correct Soviet nomenklatura switching sides and adopting neoliberalism) only make the decline more gradual but did not reversed it. After 200 it was clear that neoliberalism is in trouble and in 2008 it was clear that ideology of neoliberalism is dead, much like Bolshevism after 1945.
As the US ruling neoliberal elite adopted this ideology ad its flag, the USA faces the situation somewhat similar the USSR faced in 70th. It needs its "Perestroika" but with weak leader at the helm like Gorbachov it can lead to the dissolution of the state. Dismantling neoliberalism is not less dangerous then dismantling of Bolshevism. The level of brainwashing of both population and the elite (and it looks like the USA elite is brainwashed to an amazing level, probably far exceed the level of brainwashing of Soviet nomenklatura) prevents any constructive moves.
In a way, Neoliberalism probably acts as a mousetrap for the country, similar to the role of Bolshevism in the USSR. Ideology of neoliberalism is dead, so what' next. Another war to patch the internal divisions ? That's probably why Trump is so adamant about attacking Iran. Iran does not have nuclear weapons so this is in a way an ideal target. Unlike, say, Russia. And such a war can serve the same political purpose. That's why many emigrants from the USSR view the current level of divisions with the USA is a direct analog of divisions within the USSR in late 70th and 80th. Similarities are clearly visible with naked eye.
Notable quotes:
"... t is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all. ..."
"... "Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls. ..."
"... A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.' ..."
"... The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people. ..."
"... please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back ..."
"... America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work ..."
"... It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem. ..."
"... And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? ..."
"... The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class... ..."
Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

by Tyler Durden Wed, 11/07/2018 - 23:25 13 SHARES Authored by Raja Murthy via The Asia Times,

"The only wealth you keep is wealth you have given away," said Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), last of the great Roman emperors. US President Donald Trump might know of another Italian, Mario Puzo's Don Vito Corleone, and his memorable mumble : "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Forgetting such Aurelian and godfather codes is propelling the decline and fall of the American empire.

Trump is making offers the world can refuse – by reshaping trade deals, dispensing with American sops and forcing powerful corporations to return home, the US is regaining economic wealth but relinquishing global power.

As the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika (restructuring) led to the breakup of its vast territory(22 million square kilometers). Gorbachev's failed policies led to the dissolution of the USSR into Russia and independent countries, and the end of a superpower.

Ironically, the success of Trump's policies will hasten the demise of the American empire: the US regaining economic health but losing its insidious hold over the world.

This diminishing influence was highlighted when India and seven other countries geared up to defy Washington's re-imposition of its unilateral, illegal sanctions against Iran, starting Monday.

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station.

The law of cause and effect unavoidably delivers. The Roman Empire fell after wars of greed and orgies of consumption. A similar nemesis, the genie of Gorbachev, stalks Pennsylvania Avenue, with Trump unwittingly writing the last chapter of World War II: the epilogue of the two rival superpowers that emerged from humanity's most terrible conflict.

The maverick 45th president of the United States may succeed at being an economic messiah to his country, which has racked up a $21.6 trillion debt, but the fallout is the death of American hegemony. These are the declining days of the last empire standing.

Emperors and mafia godfathers knew that wielding great influence means making payoffs. Trump, however, is doing away with the sops, the glue that holds the American empire together, and is making offers that he considers "fair" but instead is alienating the international community– from badgering NATO and other countries to pay more for hosting the US legions (800 military bases in 80 countries) to reducing US aid.

US aid to countries fell from $50 billion in fiscal year 2016, $37 billion in 2017 to $7.7 billion so far in 2018. A world less tied to American largesse and generous trade tarrifs can more easily reject the "you are with us or against us" bullying doctrine of US presidents. In the carrot and stick approach that largely passes as American foreign policy, the stick loses power as the carrot vanishes.

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather. Big payoffs needed for big influence. A presidential lesson for Don Trump

More self-respecting leaders will have less tolerance for American hypocrisy, such as sanctioning other countries for nuclear weapons while having the biggest nuclear arsenal on the planet.

They will sneer more openly at the hysteria surrounding alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, pointing to Washington's violent record of global meddling. They will cite examples of American hypocrisy such as its sponsorship of coups against elected leaders in Latin America, the US Army's Project Camelot in 1964 targeting 22 countries for intervention (including Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia), its support for bloodthirsty dictators, and its destabilization of the Middle East with the destruction of Iraq and Libya.

Immigrant cannon fodder

Trump's focus on the economy reduces the likelihood of him starting wars. By ending the flood of illegal immigrants to save jobs for US citizens, he is also inadvertently reducing the manpower for illegal wars. Non-citizen immigrants comprise about 5% of the US Army. For its Iraq and Afghanistan wars, US army recruiters offered citizenship to lure illegal immigrants, mostly Latinos.

Among the first US soldiers to die in the Iraq War was 22-year old illegal immigrant Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez, an orphan from the streets of Guatemala City. He sneaked across the Mexican border into the US six years before enlisting in exchange for American citizenship.

On March 21, 2003, Gutierrez was killed by friendly fire near Umm Qasr, southern Iraq. The coffin of this illegal immigrant was draped in the US flag, and he received American citizenship – posthumously.

Trump policies targeting illegal immigration simultaneously reduces the availability of cannon fodder for the illegal wars needed to maintain American hegemony.

Everything comes to an end, and so too will the last empire of our era.

The imperial American eagle flying into the sunset will see the dawn of an economically healthier US that minds its own business, and increase hopes for a more equal, happier world – thanks to the unintentional Gorbachev-2 in the White House.


PeaceForWorld , 3 minutes ago link

I am sure that many of us are OK with ending American Empire. Both US citizens and other countries don't want to fight un-necessary and un-ending wars. If Trump can do that, then he is blessed.

Condor_0000 , 23 minutes ago link

Imperialism and the State: Why McDonald's Needs McDonnell Douglas

By Paul D'Amato

http://www.isreview.org/issues/17/state_and_imperialism.shtml

Excerpt:

The modern nation-state was necessary as a means of creating a single, unified market that could facilitate commerce. But the state was also crucial in providing necessary infrastructure, and sometimes the pooling of capital resources, necessary for national capitalists to operate and compete effectively.

But the state as a bureaucratic institution had another, more fundamental function. Lenin, citing Engels, defined the essence of the state as "bodies of armed men, prisons, etc.," in short, an instrument for the maintenance of the rule of the exploiting minority over the exploited majority.

As capitalism burst the bounds of the nation-state, the coercive military function of the state took on a new dimension--that of protecting (and projecting) the interests of the capitalists of one country over those of another. As capitalism developed, the role of the state increased, the size of the state bureaucracy increased, and the size of its coercive apparatus increased.

Lenin was soon to refine this conception in light of the world's descent into the mass slaughter of the First World War. He argued that capitalism had reached a new stage--imperialism--the struggle between the world's "great powers" for world dominance. The central feature of imperialism was the rivarly between the great powers--whose economic competition gave way to military conflict.

Another Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, put it this way:

The forces of production which capitalism has evolved have outgrown the limits of nation and state. The national state, the present political form, is too narrow for the exploitation of these productive forces. The natural tendency of our economic system, therefore, is to seek to break through the state boundaries. The whole globe, the land and the sea, the surface as well as the interior, has become one economic workshop, the different parts of which are inseparably connected with each other. This work was accomplished by capitalism. But in accomplishing it the capitalist states were led to struggle for the subjection of the world-embracing economic system to the profit interests of the bourgeoisie of each country...

But the way the governments propose to solve this problem of imperialism is not through the intelligent, organized cooperation of all of humanity's producers, but through the exploitation of the world's economic system by the capitalist class of the victorious country; which country is by this War to be transformed from a great power into a world power.5

Golden Showers , 32 minutes ago link

See a pattern here? Raja Murthy, you sound like a pro-American Empire shill. 1964 Project Camelot has nothing to do with the current administration. Raja, you forgot to wear your satirical pants.

The idea and catchy hook of 2016 was Make America Great Again, not wasting lives and resources on the American Empire. You point out the good things. Who might have a problem with the end of the American Empire are Globalists. What is wrong with relinquishing global power and not wasting lives and money?

"The only lives you keep is lives you've given away" That does not ring true. The only lies you keep are the lies you've given away. What? You're not making any sense, dude. How much American Empire are you vested in? Does it bother you if the Empire shrinks its death grip on Asia or the rest of the world? Why don't you just say it: This is good! Hopefully Trump's policies will prevent you from getting writers' cramp and being confusing--along with the canon fodder. Or maybe you're worried about job security.

America is a super power, just like Russia. Just like England. However, whom the US carries water for might change. Hope that's ok.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 33 minutes ago link

Trump is saving the US by destroying the empire. Both the US and the world will be happier for that.

Condor_0000 , 29 minutes ago link

No he's not.

Trump is an empirial president, just like every other US president. In fact, that's what the article is describing. MAGA depends upon imperialist domination. Trump and all of US capitalism know that even if the brain-dead MAGA chumps don't.

Capitalism can't help but seek to rule the world. It is the result of pursuing capitalism's all-important growth. If it's not US capitalism, it will be Chinese capitalism, or Russian capitalism, or European capitalism that will rule the world.

The battle over global markets doesn't stop just because the US might decide not to play anymore. Capitalism means that you're either the global power who is ******* the royal **** out of everyone else, or you're the victim of being fucked up the *** by an imperialist power.

FBaggins , 25 minutes ago link

The only thing which makes the US different from the rest of the world is its super concentration of power, which in effect is a super concentration of corruption.

ebworthen , 33 minutes ago link

Quite entertaining to be living in the modern Rome.

Condor_0000 , 28 minutes ago link

It's a cross between ancient Rome and Nazi Germany. And you're right. It's fascinating.

Condor_0000 , 34 minutes ago link

Another day and another ZeroHedge indictment of American capitalism.

And how refreshing that the article compares US capitalism to gangsterism. It's a most appropriate comparison.

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

Al Capone on Capitalism

It is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all.

In 1930, Cockburn, then a correspondent in America for the Times newspaper, interviewed Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, when Capone was at the height of his power. He recalls that except for 'the sub-machine gun...poking through the transom of a door behind the desk, Capone's own room was nearly indistinguishable from that of, say, a "newly arrived" Texan oil millionaire. Apart from the jowly young murderer on the far side of the desk, what took the eye were a number of large, flattish, solid silver bowls upon the desk, each filled with roses. They were nice to look at, and they had another purpose too, for Capone when agitated stood up and dipped the tips of his fingers in the water in which floated the roses.

I had been a little embarrassed as to how the interview was to be launched. Naturally the nub of all such interviews is somehow to get round to the question "What makes you tick?" but in the case of this millionaire killer the approach to this central question seemed mined with dangerous impediments. However, on the way down to the Lexington Hotel I had had the good fortune to see, I think in the Chicago Daily News , some statistics offered by an insurance company which dealt with the average expectation of life of gangsters in Chicago. I forget exactly what the average was, and also what the exact age of Capone at that time - I think he was in his early thirties. The point was, however, that in any case he was four years older than the upper limit considered by the insurance company to be the proper average expectation of life for a Chicago gangster. This seemed to offer a more or less neutral and academic line of approach, and after the ordinary greetings I asked Capone whether he had read this piece of statistics in the paper. He said that he had. I asked him whether he considered the estimate reasonably accurate. He said that he thought that the insurance companies and the newspaper boys probably knew their stuff. "In that case", I asked him, "how does it feel to be, say, four years over the age?"

He took the question quite seriously and spoke of the matter with neither more nor less excitement or agitation than a man would who, let us say, had been asked whether he, as the rear machine-gunner of a bomber, was aware of the average incidence of casualties in that occupation. He apparently assumed that sooner or later he would be shot despite the elaborate precautions which he regularly took. The idea that - as afterwards turned out to be the case - he would be arrested by the Federal authorities for income-tax evasion had not, I think, at that time so much as crossed his mind. And, after all, he said with a little bit of corn-and-ham somewhere at the back of his throat, supposing he had not gone into this racket? What would be have been doing? He would, he said, "have been selling newspapers barefoot on the street in Brooklyn".

He stood as he spoke, cooling his finger-tips in the rose bowl in front of him. He sat down again, brooding and sighing. Despite the ham-and-corn, what he said was probably true and I said so, sympathetically. A little bit too sympathetically, as immediately emerged, for as I spoke I saw him looking at me suspiciously, not to say censoriously. My remarks about the harsh way the world treats barefoot boys in Brooklyn were interrupted by an urgent angry waggle of his podgy hand.

"Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls.

"This American system of ours," he shouted, "call it Americanism, call it Capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it." He held out his hand towards me, the fingers dripping a little, and stared at me sternly for a few seconds before reseating himself.

A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.'

LetThemEatRand , 52 minutes ago link

This article was obviously written by someone who wants to maintain the status quo.

America would be much stronger if it were not trying to be an empire. The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people.

hardmedicine , 41 minutes ago link

exactly, please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back and screw the rest of the world, America First

LetThemEatRand , 39 minutes ago link

I truly believe that "America First" is not selfish. America before it went full ****** was the beacon of freedom and success that other countries tried to emulate and that changed the world for the better.

America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work.

HopefulCynical , 26 minutes ago link

Empire is a contrivance, a vehicle for psychopathic powerlust. America was founded by people who stood adamantly opposed to this. Here's hoping Trump holds their true spirit in his heart.

If he doesn't, there's hundreds of millions of us who still do. We don't all live in America...

Posa , 15 minutes ago link

It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem.

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs [sic], not to protect or favor the American people.

And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? Oligarchs...you're FULL of ****. Who exactly pools all (((their))) money, makes sure the [s]elected officials know (((who))) to not question and, instead, just bow down to them, who makes sure these (((officials))) sign pledges for absolute commitment towards Israel--or in no uncertain terms-- and know who will either sponsor them/or opposes them next time around?

JSBach1 called you a 'coward', for being EXACTLY LIKE THESE TRAITOROUS SPINELESS VERMIN who simply just step outside just 'enough' the comfort zone to APPEAR 'real'. IMHO, I concur with JSBach1 ...your're a coward indeed, when you should know better ..... shame you you indeed!

pitz , 55 minutes ago link

There is little evidence, Trump's propaganda aside (that he previously called Obama dishonest for) that the US economy is improving. If anything, the exploding budget and trade deficits indicate that the economy continues to weaken.

Posa , 12 minutes ago link

Correct. The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class...

the US can't even raise an army... even if enough young (men) were dumb enough to volunteer there just aren't enough fit, healthy and mentally acute recruits out there.

[Nov 08, 2018] And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy?

Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs [sic], not to protect or favor the American people.

And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? Oligarchs...you're FULL of ****. Who exactly pools all (((their))) money, makes sure the [s]elected officials know (((who))) to not question and, instead, just bow down to them, who makes sure these (((officials))) sign pledges for absolute commitment towards Israel--or in no uncertain terms-- and know who will either sponsor them/or opposes them next time around?

... ... ...

[Nov 07, 2018] America's Vote of No Confidence in Trump

The typical scheme of politic life in US under neoliberalism is as following:: candidate for President promises something reasonable, like to end foreign wars and improve the sliding standard of living of the middle class and/or cut outsourcing and offshoring. Gullible voters elect him. He governs as worst of his predecessors and start cutting benefits for the middle class and workers. . In two years voters start realizing that they were deceived and elect House or Senate or both from another party, not realizing that the difference is minimal, if exists at all.
This cycle can continue indefinitely.
Notable quotes:
"... "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party." ..."
"... The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. ..."
"... Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
won control of the House again, ending an eight-year stint in the minority:

The US Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections, dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump.

While the GOP is poised to add to its Senate majority, yesterday's election was the best midterm result for the Democrats since 2006. They flipped dozens of Republican-held seats, including some that they were not expected to win (e.g., IL-06, OK-05), and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party. It is normal for the president's party to lose seats in the first midterm following a presidential election, and Democratic gains were in line with pre-election predictions. The striking thing about this year's result is that the president's party has lost so much ground despite relatively good economic conditions. Republicans had an extremely favorable Senate map, and despite that they barely managed to eke out a win in Texas of all places. It was not as thorough of a repudiation as the GOP deserved, but it was a significant rejection all the same.

The president's poor approval ratings and his unimpressive record to date have further dragged down a Republican Party that wasn't very popular to begin with. Americans seem to lose patience with unified government fairly quickly. Yesterday voters gave the Democratic Party an opportunity to put the president in check and hold him accountable for his overreaching and illegal wars. Trump and his officials should expect to face much more rigorous oversight and scrutiny from relevant Congressional committees, and Trump's haphazard and incompetent conduct of foreign policy should run into much stronger resistance from the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. Trump won't be able to count on the leadership in the House to roll over for him over the next two years, and he and his Cabinet members are likely to be facing one investigation after another.

Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon.


Two More Years November 7, 2018 at 9:15 am

I voted for him in 2016, but I lost confidence in him as he started doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of doing the job we hired him for, the job he promised to do during the campaign: deport the illegals, stop immigration and foreign work visas, get us out of the Middle East, rebuild US infrastructure, i.e. "America First".

Yesterday I voted against the only national GOP politician I could get my hands on. He lost, and I'm glad, especially because he was a Tea Party Republican who betrayed our Tea Party principles by voting for Trump's out of control deficit spending and for more stupid Mideast wars.

We've got a lady Democrat now, but she looks fairly sane. We'll see. The problem with Democrat politicians is that a lot of them only pretend to be normal until they get to Washington.

bkh , says: November 7, 2018 at 9:23 am
I am no Trump fan, but what is going to change? It will still be a do nothing Congress. The wars will still go on and the health-care dilemma will still be ever-present. It is sad that the past 2 years have been wasted. Even if the Republican Congress could not do something about health-care due to the size of the problem, they could have at least done something about infrastructure, immigration, and these dumb wars. The failure is just as much Paul Ryan's fault as it is Trump's. I watched last night with far more interest than 2016 and am amazed that so many old Boomers were elected given the supposed youth movement. It never occurred to me that there are alot of Septuagenarian war-mongers who should have retired a decade ago still receiving votes. The Democrats took the House, but what is left of this nation is toast regardless.
EliteCommInc. , says: November 7, 2018 at 9:32 am
"Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon."

How much of this was national in nature is unclear. Many of the republicans that lost were "Never Trump" advocates or very "lukewarm" at best. I think this reflects more failure on the local level to turn or translate the positives into something beneficial locally.

I am just surprised the Republicans managed to lose the house given the economic numbers (though I remain deeply distrustful of them – given exports) and what has been repeated stumbles by democrats.

Texas, is a perfect example. While Sen Cruz was not a never Trumper, he was mild fair in the president's corner. His election was about him, not the president. And I think the vote reflected less confidence in his leadership. Neither Texas nor Sen Cruze are as conservative as believed or at least not as they once were considered. Unfortunately, what carried him over the top was ethnicity, not his leadership.

It's probably too early to tell, just how big a factor the president was in the election or how much change will result. Thus far, the establishment that existed previously remains despite the presidential election that was intended to reshape or at least curb its self serving appetite --

Given the the money at play -- it is doubtful that that things are going to change much. Now that I put at the admin door step. Because his folded a lot against the reasons he was elected, during the last two years.

SteveM , says: November 7, 2018 at 9:33 am
Re: "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party."

And with what promises did the Democrats win those votes? Why with the bogus "Medicare for All" and the equally bogus "Free College Education for All".

The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. Too bad the MSM in love with Nitwit Newbie Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is too stupid to connect the dots.

And higher ed is unaffordable simply because it's also over priced. Using government subsidies to sustain a bankrupt higher ed model amounts to re-arranging even more deck chairs on the Titanic.

The Democrats are the Party of Free Lunch and Free War. While the Republicans are the Party of Free War and Free Lunch.

Pick one

rayray , says: November 7, 2018 at 10:44 am
@SteveM
The fact is that any "solution" to health care that has any integrity to it is a single payer solution. That's also probably the only solution that reduces, as you accurately state, the pathological per capita health care cost.

And to be clear, in terms of fiscal viability, the party of reducing taxes and raising budgets is currently and has been historically the GOP. The current administration has picked up that baton as well.

One final thing, I wouldn't count out Ocasio-Cortes as a nitwit. I've been reading her white papers and following her evolution and she makes 95% of the current GOP crop seem like toddlers. Yes, her idealism will backfire hard as it always does. But what's the other option? Endless corrupt cynicism? She's impressive. I'm pulling for her to stay focused and do well.

Sid Finster , says: November 7, 2018 at 10:46 am
Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya.
Oblomov , says: November 7, 2018 at 11:06 am
The alternative to Ocasio-Cortez style state worship is the simple wisdom that governments are neither efficient nor effective at delivering what she proposes.

[Nov 07, 2018] There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard. The Rich, the Corporate Profiteers and the Military-Political Establishment have pulled away in their fur and jewel-encrusted life boats. It's one minute after midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the hands have fallen off the Debt Clock, the skies are burning and seas are rising (they say), and we are in WW3 in 8 nations. Or is it 9? ..."
"... So the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It's one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems "centrist". By any objective or historical standard they're a right-wing party.) ..."
"... I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I've long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they'll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense. ..."
"... If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here's the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. ..."
"... They claim there's a difference between the two parties? ..."
"... But I predict this House won't lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it'll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it'll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general. ..."
"... Nothing I've talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Debsisdead | Nov 7, 2018 6:19:36 AM | 9

It's not even decent theatre. Drama is much lacking, character development zilch. The outcome that dems take congress,& rethugs improve in senate is exactly as was predicted months ago.

The dems reveal once again exactly how mendacious and uncaring of the population they are. Nothing matters other than screwing more cash outta anyone who wants anything done so that the DC trough stays full with the usual crew of 4th & 5th generation wannabe dem pols guzzling hard at the corporate funded 'dem aligned' think tanks which generate much hot air yet never deliver. Hardly suprising given that actually doing something to show they give a sh1t about the citizenry would annoy the donor who would give em all the boot, making all these no-hopers have to take up a gig actually practising law.

These are people whose presence at the best law schools in the country prevented many who wanted to be y'know lawyers from entering Harvard, Cornell etc law school. "one doesn't go to law school to become a lawyer It too hard to even pull down a mil a year as a brief, nah, I studied the law to learn how to make laws that actually do the opposite of what they seem to. That is where the real dough is."

Those who think that is being too hard on the dem slugs, should remember that the rethugs they have been indoctrinated to detest act pretty much as printed on the side of the can. They advertise a service of licking rich arseholes and that is exactly what they do. As venal and sociopathic as they are, at least they don't pretend to be something else; so while there is no way one could vote for anyone spouting republican nonsense at least they don't hide their greed & corruption under a veneer of pseudo-humanist nonsense. Dems cry for the plight of the poverty stricken then they slash welfare.

Or dems sob about the hard row african americans must hoe, then go off to the house of reps to pass laws to keep impoverished african americans slotted up in an over crowded prison for the rest of his/her life.

Not only deceitful and vicious, 100% pointless since any Joe/Jo that votes on the basis of wanting to see more blackfellas incarcerated is always gonna tick the rethug box anyhow.

Yeah- yeah we know all this so what?

This is what - the dems broke their arses getting tens of millions of young first time voters out to "exercise their democratic prerogative" for the first time. Dems did this knowing full well that there would be no effective opposition to rethug demands for more domestic oppression, that in fact it is practically guaranteed that should the trump and the rethug senate require it, in order to ensure something particularly nasty gets passed, that sufficient dem congress people will 'cross the floor' to make certain the bill does get up.

Of course the dems in question will allude to 'folks back home demanding' that the dem slug does vote with the nasties, but that is the excuse, the reality is far too many dem pols are as bigoted greedy and elitist as the worst rethugs.

Anyway the upshot of persuading so many kids to get out and vote, so the kids do but the dems are content to just do more of the same, will be another entire generation lost to elections forever.

If the DNC had been less greedy and more strategic they would have kept their powder dry and hung off press-ganging the kids until getting such a turnout could have resulted in genuine change, prez 2020' or whenever, would be actual success for pols and voters.

But they didn't and wouldn't ever, since for a dem pol, hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens living on the street isn't nearly as problematic for them, as the dem wannabe pol paying off the mortgage on his/her DC townhouse by 2020, something that would have been impossible if they hadn't taken congress as all the 'patrons' would have jerked back their cash figuring there is no gain giving dosh to losers who couldn't win a bar raffle.

As for that Sharice Davids - a total miss she needed to be either a midget or missing an arm or leg to qualify as the classic ID dem pol. Being a native american lezzo just doesn't tick enough boxes. I predict a not in the least illustrious career since she cannot even qualify as the punchline in a circa 1980's joke.

Anton Worter , Nov 7, 2018 11:13:25 AM | link

@9

As you said, nothing will get out of the House, Pelosi can't lead. They can easily swing 3 Democrats, then Mike Pence puts the hammer down. If anything manages to crawl through, it won't even be brought to a vote in the Republican Senate. Trump can still us his bully pulpit to circle the White wagons, fly in even more than his current 1,125,000 H-visa aliens, and No Taxes for the Rich is now engraved in stone for the Pharoahs.

The imminent $1,500B Omnibus Deficit Bill Three will be lauded as a 'bipartisan solution' by both houses, and 2020 looks to be a $27,000B illegal, onerous, odious National Debt open Civil War.

There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard. The Rich, the Corporate Profiteers and the Military-Political Establishment have pulled away in their fur and jewel-encrusted life boats. It's one minute after midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the hands have fallen off the Debt Clock, the skies are burning and seas are rising (they say), and we are in WW3 in 8 nations. Or is it 9?

Smart money is moving toward the exits. This shyte is gonna blow. Let's move to Australia, before it becomes part of Xi's PRC String of Girls.

ken | Nov 7, 2018 12:44:13 PM | 69

Reading most of the comments explaining how the D's won/lost,,, the R's won/lost,,, Trump and company won/lost,,, but couldn't find one post about how America is losing due to the two suffocating party's and a greedy, disunited, selfish, electorate that wants it all free.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the Majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury,,,,,,, After that the Majority always votes for the candidate 'promising the most' ,,,,,,,
Alex Fraser.

The US, and West in general, is proof positive.

Russ | Nov 7, 2018 7:48:10 AM | 17

So the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It's one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems "centrist". By any objective or historical standard they're a right-wing party.)

It's no big surprise. Last two years it's been the normally self-assured Republicans who, because of their ambivalence about Trump, have uncharacteristically taken on the usual Democrat role of existential confusion and doubt. Meanwhile the Democrats, in a berserk batsh$t-insane way, have been more motivated and focused.

So what are these Democrats going to do with this control now that they have it?

I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I've long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they'll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense.

If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here's the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. And as for things which are technically only in the power of the Senate such as confirming appointments, here's the chance for the House to put public moral pressure on Democrats in the Senate. And there's plenty of back-door ways an activist House can influence Senate business. Only morbid pedantry, so typical of liberal Dembots, babbles about what the technical powers of this or that body are. The real world doesn't work that way. To the extent I pay attention at all to Senate affairs it'll be to see what the House is doing about it.

They claim there's a difference between the two parties? And they claim Trump is an incipient fascist dictator? In that case there's a lot at stake, and extreme action is called for. Let's see what kind of action we get from their "different" party in control of the House.

But I predict this House won't lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it'll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it'll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general.

Nor will any of these new-fangled fake "socialist" types take any action to change things one iota. Within the House Democrats, they could take action, form any and every kind of coalition, to obstruct the corporate-Pelosi leadership faction. They will not do so. This "new" progressive bloc will be just as fake as the old one.

Nothing I've talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake.

[Nov 07, 2018] Don't be Flattered, Fooled and Flummoxed in Todays's Election by Ralph Nader

This is somewhat naive, but still useful stance of US elections.
Notable quotes:
"... In 2004 Tom Frank, a Kansas author, wrote: "The poorest county in America isn't in Appalachia or the Deep South. It is on the Great Plains, a region of struggling ranchers and dying farm towns, and in the election of 2000, George W. Bush carried it by a majority of greater than 75 percent." Inattentive voters are vulnerable to voting against their own interests. They are vulnerable to voting for politicians who support big business and ignore their interests as farmers, workers, consumers, patients, and small taxpayers. Big Business will not spur change in a political system that gives the fatcats every advantage. ..."
"... President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are masters at flattering voters and lying about their positions on issues ranging from health care to the minimum wage. Before you vote, rid yourself of all preconceived, hereditary, ideological, and political straitjackets. Use two general yardsticks for candidates for elective office: Are they playing fair and are they doing right? ..."
"... Ask candidates to speak of Solutions to the major problems confronting our country. Politicians often avoid defining solutions that upset their commercial campaign contributors. ..."
"... Ask about a range of issues, such as energy efficiency, livable wages, lower drug prices, massive government contractor fraud, corporate crimes against consumers, workers and investors, reducing sprawl, safer food, and clean elections. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Let's face it. Most politicians use the mass media to obfuscate. Voters who don't do their homework, who don't study records of the politicians, and who can't separate the words from the deeds will easily fall into traps laid by wily politicians.

In 2002, Connecticut Governor John Rowland was running for re-election against his Democratic opponent, William Curry. Again and again, the outspent Curry informed the media and the voters about the corruption inside and around the governor's office. At the time, the governor's close associates and ex-associates were under investigation by the U.S. attorney. But to the public, Rowland was all smiles, flooding the television stations with self-serving, manipulative images and slogans. He won handily in November. Within weeks, the U.S. attorney's investigation intensified as they probed the charges Curry had raised about Rowland. Rowland's approval rating dropped to record lows, and impeachment initiatives and demands for his resignation grew. He was prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. Unfortunately, enough voters were flattered, fooled, and flummoxed to cost Bill Curry the race.

In 2004 Tom Frank, a Kansas author, wrote: "The poorest county in America isn't in Appalachia or the Deep South. It is on the Great Plains, a region of struggling ranchers and dying farm towns, and in the election of 2000, George W. Bush carried it by a majority of greater than 75 percent." Inattentive voters are vulnerable to voting against their own interests. They are vulnerable to voting for politicians who support big business and ignore their interests as farmers, workers, consumers, patients, and small taxpayers. Big Business will not spur change in a political system that gives the fatcats every advantage. Change must come from the voters, and here's how:

President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are masters at flattering voters and lying about their positions on issues ranging from health care to the minimum wage. Before you vote, rid yourself of all preconceived, hereditary, ideological, and political straitjackets. Use two general yardsticks for candidates for elective office: Are they playing fair and are they doing right?

Stay open-minded. Avoid jumping to conclusions about candidates based solely on their stance on your one or two top issues. Pay attention to where these politicians are on the many other issues that profoundly affect you and your family. If you judge them broadly rather than narrowly, you will increase your influence by increasing your demands and expectation levels for public officials. There are numerous evaluations of their votes, easily available on the Internet.

Know where you stand. A handy way to contrast your views with those of the incumbents and challengers is to make your own checklist of twenty issues, explain where you stand and then compare your positions, the candidates' votes and declarations. Seeing how their positions or their actual record matches up to your own positions makes it harder for politicians to play you. Compare candidates with their votes or declarations.

Ask the tough questions. These are many issues that politicians like to avoid. They include questions about whether candidates are willing to debate their opponents and how often, why they avoid talking about and doing something about corporate power and its expanding controls over people's lives, or how they plan specifically to shift power from these global corporate supremacists to the people. After all, the Constitution starts with "We the People" not "We the Corporations." The words "corporations" and "company" are never mentioned in our Constitution!!

Ask candidates to speak of Solutions to the major problems confronting our country. Politicians often avoid defining solutions that upset their commercial campaign contributors.

Ask about a range of issues, such as energy efficiency, livable wages, lower drug prices, massive government contractor fraud, corporate crimes against consumers, workers and investors, reducing sprawl, safer food, and clean elections.

Ask members of Congress to explain why they keep giving themselves salary increases and generous benefits, and yet turn cold at doing the same for the people's frozen minimum wage, health insurance, or pension protections.

All in all, it takes a little work and some time to become a super-voter, impervious to manipulation by politicians who intend to flatter, fool,and flummox. But this education can also be fun, and the pursuit of justice can offer great benefits to your pursuit of happiness.

Such civic engagement will help Americans today become better ancestors for tomorrow's descendants.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

[Nov 07, 2018] We won't know how The People voted until we return to paper ballots, counted under the scrutiny of many suspicious and beady-eyed indivuals in public

Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Nov 7, 2018 1:20:20 PM | 71 ">link

The Republicans extended their majority in the Senate while the Democrats took the House of Representatives.

That's what the Corporate Media reported, and their "news" reflects the readings on the easily hackable voting machines. So your "hunch" may or may not be right in the Real World, but in our world it was an error.

As a blogger at Naked Capitalism endlessly says, we won't know how The People voted until we return to paper ballots, counted under the scrutiny of many suspicious and beady-eyed indivuals in public .

Too many good comments to reply to any, but in general I liked the cynical tone I see here. I have no friends in Washington or Indianapolis. The Democrats have had plenty of opportunities to do good things for me, and they've passed on all of those chances. Recall how it was said that Only Nixon Could Go To China. Well, only Democrats can kill Social Security. IMO we owe Monica Lewinsky a statue someday, for the ba$tard Bill Clinton was going to put a knife in the SS system.

Still an opinion, but the new House situation will allow the Rich People to either control Trump or replace him. Impeachment is pointless because he can't possibly be convicted, but given Trump's business history he can easily be turned into a much, much poorer man. I think that'll be the lever used -if necessary - to 'handle' him, for relative poverty would be both unthinkable and unbearable to him.

[Nov 07, 2018] America's Vote of No Confidence in Trump by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
The typical scheme of politic life in US under neoliberalism is as following:: candidate for President promises something reasonable, like to end foreign wars and improve the sliding standard of living of the middle class and/or cut outsourcing and offshoring. Gullible voters elect him. He governs as worst of his predecessors and start cutting benefits for the middle class and workers. . In two years voters start realizing that they were deceived and elect House or Senate or both from another party, not realizing that the difference is minimal, if exists at all.
This cycle of election fraud can continue indefinitely.
Notable quotes:
"... "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party." ..."
"... The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. ..."
"... Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
won control of the House again, ending an eight-year stint in the minority:

The US Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections, dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump.

While the GOP is poised to add to its Senate majority, yesterday's election was the best midterm result for the Democrats since 2006. They flipped dozens of Republican-held seats, including some that they were not expected to win (e.g., IL-06, OK-05), and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party. It is normal for the president's party to lose seats in the first midterm following a presidential election, and Democratic gains were in line with pre-election predictions. The striking thing about this year's result is that the president's party has lost so much ground despite relatively good economic conditions. Republicans had an extremely favorable Senate map, and despite that they barely managed to eke out a win in Texas of all places. It was not as thorough of a repudiation as the GOP deserved, but it was a significant rejection all the same.

The president's poor approval ratings and his unimpressive record to date have further dragged down a Republican Party that wasn't very popular to begin with. Americans seem to lose patience with unified government fairly quickly. Yesterday voters gave the Democratic Party an opportunity to put the president in check and hold him accountable for his overreaching and illegal wars. Trump and his officials should expect to face much more rigorous oversight and scrutiny from relevant Congressional committees, and Trump's haphazard and incompetent conduct of foreign policy should run into much stronger resistance from the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. Trump won't be able to count on the leadership in the House to roll over for him over the next two years, and he and his Cabinet members are likely to be facing one investigation after another.

Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon.



Two More Years November 7, 2018 at 9:15 am

I voted for him in 2016, but I lost confidence in him as he started doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of doing the job we hired him for, the job he promised to do during the campaign: deport the illegals, stop immigration and foreign work visas, get us out of the Middle East, rebuild US infrastructure, i.e. "America First".

Yesterday I voted against the only national GOP politician I could get my hands on. He lost, and I'm glad, especially because he was a Tea Party Republican who betrayed our Tea Party principles by voting for Trump's out of control deficit spending and for more stupid Mideast wars.

We've got a lady Democrat now, but she looks fairly sane. We'll see. The problem with Democrat politicians is that a lot of them only pretend to be normal until they get to Washington.

bkh , , November 7, 2018 at 9:23 am
I am no Trump fan, but what is going to change? It will still be a do nothing Congress. The wars will still go on and the health-care dilemma will still be ever-present. It is sad that the past 2 years have been wasted. Even if the Republican Congress could not do something about health-care due to the size of the problem, they could have at least done something about infrastructure, immigration, and these dumb wars. The failure is just as much Paul Ryan's fault as it is Trump's. I watched last night with far more interest than 2016 and am amazed that so many old Boomers were elected given the supposed youth movement. It never occurred to me that there are alot of Septuagenarian war-mongers who should have retired a decade ago still receiving votes. The Democrats took the House, but what is left of this nation is toast regardless.
EliteCommInc. , , November 7, 2018 at 9:32 am
"Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon."

How much of this was national in nature is unclear. Many of the republicans that lost were "Never Trump" advocates or very "lukewarm" at best. I think this reflects more failure on the local level to turn or translate the positives into something beneficial locally.

I am just surprised the Republicans managed to lose the house given the economic numbers (though I remain deeply distrustful of them -- given exports) and what has been repeated stumbles by democrats.

Texas, is a perfect example. While Sen Cruz was not a never Trumper, he was mild fair in the president's corner. His election was about him, not the president. And I think the vote reflected less confidence in his leadership. Neither Texas nor Sen Cruze are as conservative as believed or at least not as they once were considered. Unfortunately, what carried him over the top was ethnicity, not his leadership.

It's probably too early to tell, just how big a factor the president was in the election or how much change will result. Thus far, the establishment that existed previously remains despite the presidential election that was intended to reshape or at least curb its self serving appetite --

Given the the money at play -- it is doubtful that that things are going to change much. Now that I put at the admin door step. Because his folded a lot against the reasons he was elected, during the last two years.

SteveM , , November 7, 2018 at 9:33 am
Re: "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party."

And with what promises did the Democrats win those votes? Why with the bogus "Medicare for All" and the equally bogus "Free College Education for All".

The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. Too bad the MSM in love with Nitwit Newbie Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is too stupid to connect the dots.

And higher ed is unaffordable simply because it's also over priced. Using government subsidies to sustain a bankrupt higher ed model amounts to re-arranging even more deck chairs on the Titanic.

The Democrats are the Party of Free Lunch and Free War. While the Republicans are the Party of Free War and Free Lunch.

Pick one

rayray , , November 7, 2018 at 10:44 am
@SteveM
The fact is that any "solution" to health care that has any integrity to it is a single payer solution. That's also probably the only solution that reduces, as you accurately state, the pathological per capita health care cost.

And to be clear, in terms of fiscal viability, the party of reducing taxes and raising budgets is currently and has been historically the GOP. The current administration has picked up that baton as well.

One final thing, I wouldn't count out Ocasio-Cortes as a nitwit. I've been reading her white papers and following her evolution and she makes 95% of the current GOP crop seem like toddlers. Yes, her idealism will backfire hard as it always does. But what's the other option? Endless corrupt cynicism? She's impressive. I'm pulling for her to stay focused and do well.

Sid Finster , , November 7, 2018 at 10:46 am
Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya.
Oblomov , , November 7, 2018 at 11:06 am
The alternative to Ocasio-Cortez style state worship is the simple wisdom that governments are neither efficient nor effective at delivering what she proposes.

[Nov 07, 2018] The Populist Moment A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America by Lawrence Goodwyn

Nov 07, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Gary Moreau, Author TOP 500 REVIEWER 5.0 out of 5 stars Why the poor still lose March 13, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Populism. The word is used a lot today by political journalists in reference to both President Trump supporters and the Brexit movement. And, historically speaking, it is generally used inaccurately, a fact that I, too, was unaware of until I read another reader's review of a separate title. That reviewer recommended this book, written by Duke professor of history, Lawrence Goodwyn, and published in 1979.

While the title refers to the book as 'short', it is a very thorough review of the populist political movement that rose out of the National Farmers Alliance, which went under a series of different names and platforms that ultimately had everything to do with the coinage of silver and relatively little to do with the original populist reforms.

What is most fascinating to me is not the acquisition of historical accuracy regarding the populist label as it is the revelation of the degree to which the 1896 presidential election, between Republican William McKinley and Democrat (and presumed populist) William Jennings Bryant, ultimately cast the shape of American economics and politics that survives yet today. While that election appeared to turn on gold (McKinley) versus silver (Bryant), the outcome would ultimately define no less than what it means to be an American in the 21st Century.

It all began with the American Civil War, not surprisingly. And, more specifically, who was going to pay the enormous debt incurred to fight it. And that, ultimately, came down to the question of currency. The creation of a hard currency, which is ultimately the position that won out, protected the bankers and other owners of corporate capital, but at the expense of laborers and farmers.

The hard currency ultimately exaggerated the worst abuses of the crop lien system then prevalent in the South, forcing farmers (land-owners and tenants alike) into a cycle of increasing debt and falling commodity prices that they could not escape. It is, in many ways, the same inescapable cycle that entraps the urban and rural poor today.

But that's where the populist analogy ends, as the populist agrarian movement pursued a political agenda that would be the antithesis of Trump's MAGA agenda of today. It was, in fact, the antitheses of both the modern conservative and progressive agendas, both of which only appear to offer a real distinction and choice.

Both agendas presume the economic supremacy of capital and the political supremacy of the corporate and banking classes that control it. Among other things, it is the supremacy of capital that has fueled the rapid and unbridled consolidation of both industry and agriculture in the US, permanently planting the corporation at the top of the political food chain. (In 1870, the average US factory had only 8 workers.)

Before the Civil War, about 80% of all free white men owned property. By 1890, however, the richest 9% of all Americans (still white men) owned three-fourths of all wealth and within a decade one in eight Americans were living in abject poverty. With the exception of a historically brief period following World War II, in which unions managed to give laborers a political voice, now lost, it is a trend that continues to this day.

What was most amazing to me, in reading this book, was how little things have really changed. Our political parties are built on regional alliances far more than differences of ideological substance. Both accept the supremacy of corporate consolidation and the benefit of economies of scale, even though there is little actual evidence to support the premise. Consolidation has done nothing quite so effectively as it has promoted political, social, and financial inequality. (Republicans and Democrats both blamed the farmers themselves for their economic plight in the 1890s, much as politicians frequently blame the poor themselves for their plight today.)

The solutions proposed by the populists of the National Agrarian Federation were decidedly collective in nature and built from the success of the cooperative movement that had provided some relief from corporate anarchy. It called for the abolition of private banks, a new dynamic currency, the nationalization of the railroads, and the formation of government cooperatives to handle crop financing, insurance, and post-harvest handling and storage. It was, in other words, quite the ideological opposite of Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-regulatory, pro-corporate agenda.

The author makes two other important contributions to the current political dialogue. The first is to refute the illusion promoted by both political parties that American history is a timeline of uninterrupted progress and advancement. It is, more than we care to admit, a history of exploitation and the dominance of minority interests under the guise of personal and economic freedom that, for most, does not exist.

And because it is a myth that is almost universally accepted, the author notes, real political reform in the US is virtually impossible to achieve, in short because we refuse to see the world the way it really is. We have, as a result, neither the confidence nor the persistence to force the owners of capital, which control the political agenda, to give up the advantages they have enshrined into American politics and business.

In short, this is a fascinating book that everyone should have the courage to read. You may not agree with the author's conclusions, and there will surely be other historians who will take exception with his interpretation. Each of us, however, should have a commitment to defend that which we believe in the face of inconvenient facts, including those presented in this book.

Martin S. Harris Jr. 5.0 out of 5 stars required reading for understanding of today's "Populism" October 4, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Most likely (amateur historian opinion) the single best account of the Populist phenomenon I have ever read. If I have to find fault somewhere, It would be the absence of much coverage of earlier Populist themes in American politics, particularly as seen in the Jeffersonian sovereign-yeoman theme and in the Jacksonian anti-big-banking theme.

SK Figler 5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Big Banks and Corporations---the beginning in America April 28, 2012 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Usually histories of economics put me to sleep. But Lawrence Goodwyn's "The Populist Movement" is an enthralling gem that will give you numerous "Aha!" moments as it shows how and why populist movements, particularly that of the post-Civil War era (with its inception in Texas), began, grew, and failed in competing with big banks and business. There are many surprises to someone like me, who is not an economist but has been led (or pushed) to care about it from what has happened in and to America these past 30 years. Goodwyn shows clearly why the small farmers of southern and Plains America were driven to do something about the crushing control of big banks, growing commercial interests, and Wall Street. Ultimately, they failed because all power and control was in the hands of men like Gould and Morgan and the other Robber Barons. There is, however, a lesson to be taken from "The Populist Movement," that knowing and anticipating what massive blockages stand in the way of economic and political change can help people work around them. No one who reads Goodwyn's book can claim, "Well, I just didn't know."

[Nov 07, 2018] Now this much maligned and misused word democracy denotes a political system in which the public, the many - exercise actual sovereignty: an extremely rare event. So that's not about to happen in the current situation

Notable quotes:
"... But the roots of the word populist we can find in the word popular: and the other day I encountered a list of the actual top concerns of Americans, and as I recall the state of the ocean and rivers and lakes, and water quality, and political corruption, and health care figured highly - were 'popular' concerns, and destroying other countries, not so much. ..."
"... 'Real thing' Populism would be inevitably be flawed, given the human condition, but still offer 'real' improvement. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Robert Snefjella , Nov 7, 2018 5:55:38 PM | link

@92 What might a 'real thing' Populist offer: Well, we have the schooling on the Populist Movement in the United States, late in the 19th century, memorialized in the book by Lawrence Goodwyn - The Populist Moment - and Goodwyn immediately links Populism to Democracy.

Now this much maligned and misused word democracy denotes a political system in which the public, the many - exercise actual sovereignty: an extremely rare event. So that's not about to happen in the current situation.

But the roots of the word populist we can find in the word popular: and the other day I encountered a list of the actual top concerns of Americans, and as I recall the state of the ocean and rivers and lakes, and water quality, and political corruption, and health care figured highly - were 'popular' concerns, and destroying other countries, not so much.

So Piotr, we might extend a kindred list greatly, and we don't have to end up with a list trivial desires or maniacal religions, like demonizing carbon dioxide. ;/

'Real thing' Populism would be inevitably be flawed, given the human condition, but still offer 'real' improvement.

[Nov 06, 2018] Trump is a fake populist; a great charlatan snowing the masses.

Notable quotes:
"... Even the brightest and most humanistic Americans are horribly twisted to appalling evil by unquestionable faith in their own exceptionalism. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Circe , Nov 6, 2018 2:43:04 PM | link

@167

Trump is not fixing or weaning. He's acting for the 1%ers. He's a fake populist; a great charlatan snowing the masses.

William Gruff , Nov 6, 2018 2:25:31 PM | link

Unfortunately, Debsisdead is correct. The United States cannot be fixed. It could be that Trump knows what's needed and is deliberately trying to set the US on a course towards sanity using shock treatment, and is deliberately trying to wean America from the petrodollar in such a manner that Americans have no other country to blame/bomb, thus saving civilization from America's inevitable spasm of ultraviolence when the BRICS succeed in taking the petrodollar down. This seems unlikely, though.

The sad reality is that the delusion Americans suffer from (result of their universal cradle-to-grave brainwashing that I mentioned earlier) is too deeply rooted as a core component of their identities.

That mass-based delusion must be overcome before America's psychotic behavior on the world stage can be addressed, but I see no forces within the US making any progress in that direction at all.

Even the brightest and most humanistic Americans are horribly twisted to appalling evil by unquestionable faith in their own exceptionalism. As a consequence it could be that the only hope for humanity lies in a radical USA-ectomy with the resulting stump being cauterized.

I certainly wish there were some other way, but I don't see one.

[Nov 06, 2018] The election fraud is sophisticated forms is neoliberal status quo: The 1% control the world now, and they make sure that their freedom to use their money to dominate democracy is unrestricted

It would be better to return to paper ballots to exclude the possibilities of "electronic" voting frauds.
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

a , Nov 6, 2018 1:33:39 AM | link

While this and the previous post on the US elections may well be right that the republicans and trump will retain their majorities, the posts omit major factors playing a determining role in these ev
While this and the previous post on the US elections may well be right that the republicans and trump will retain their majorities, the posts omit major factors playing a determining role in these events..

1. Gerrymandering.. supposedly creates about a 5% advantage to the republicans. 5% in a 2-party system is almost a landslide. even this article downplaying the role of gerrymandering includes this line,

"All that said, it's still the case that analysts estimate that Democrats will have to win the overall House vote by some 5 to 10 percentage points in order to win a House majority. "
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-07-23/gerrymandering-effects-are-probably-overrated

2. Voter-suppression. indications are that this may create and even bigger bias than gerrymandering. it includes numerous tactics, in florida the felon-dienfranchisement tactic alone suppresses 1.4 million majority black voters. it may be difficult for naive people like me to imagine the mindset of the vote-suppressors, this excellent short article by meghan tinsley, sketches the historical origins of these tactics, e.g.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/meghan-tinsley/civil-rights-and-voter-suppression-in-us
" The end of federal support for Reconstruction in 1877 ushered in the Jim Crow era, wherein southern states waged a relentless campaign of racial terror against empowered black citizens. From the outset, disenfranchising black citizens was a priority: the Black Codes enforced severe penalties for minor 'crimes', such as vagrancy, and permanently barred convicted felons from the vote. As these tactics spread, those who imposed them became increasingly brazen about their purpose: in 1884, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld felon disenfranchisement as an effective means to "preserve the purity of the ballot box".

With the entrenchment of segregation in the late nineteenth century, felon disenfranchisement, combined with poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses, effectively disenfranchised virtually all African-Americans in Southern states...

In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, hailed as the single most important legislative achievement of the Civil Rights Movement...
The effects were immediate and wide-reaching: whereas only seven percent of eligible African-Americans in Mississippi were registered to vote in 1964, the number had jumped to sixty-seven percent by 1969. Ostensibly colourblind policies, including laws that would require citizens to present state-issued photo identification before voting, were blocked because they would disproportionately prevent African-Americans from voting."


3. The sheer tidal force of money. The 1% control the world now, and they make sure that their freedom to use their money to dominate democracy is unrestricted cf. 'citizens united' etc. Thomas Fergusons work indicates that the number of votes follows the amount of money spent linearly... e.g.
https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/big-money-not-political-tribalism-drives-us-elections

and other work suggests US policy reflects the interests of the 1% and not that of the people at large, when they differ,
https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

4. Electronic vote flipping. this has the least hard evidence, but there are anecdotes, even in this election, of voters in texas ticking straight democratic slate options but finding that the machine had entered their senate vote for ted cruz. There are also anecdotes in earlier elections of vote tallies flipping suddenly, of electronic data not being recorded or being erased before it could be checked and analysed etc. For those inclined to pooh-pooh such reports, here is a troubling article on the 2012 mexican elections,

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-how-to-hack-an-election/

[Nov 06, 2018] What Causes a Normal Election to Spiral into Tribal Warfare Zero Hedge

Nov 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

What Causes a Normal Election to Spiral into Tribal Warfare?

by TDB Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:13 23 SHARES by Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

In 1966, Gao Jianhua (who later changed his name to Gao Yuan) was 14 years old.

At the Yizhen Middle School near Beijing, China, he witnessed and participated in the birth of China's "Cultural Revolution." He later recorded his personal account in a book called Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution .

The leader of Communist China, Chairman Mao, warned the country that revisionists were threatening to erase all the progress made since the Communist Revolution which brought Mao to power.

It had been almost 20 years since the bloody revolution, and Mao wanted to reinvigorate the rebel spirit in the youth. He instructed students to root out any teachers who wove subtle anti-communist sentiments in their lessons.

Mao encouraged students to rebel against any mindless respect for entrenched authority, remnants, he said, of centuries of capitalist influence.

Students at Yizhen Middle School, like many others, quickly took up the task. They "exposed" capitalist intellectual teachers and paraded them around in dunce caps with insulting signs hung around their necks.

Teachers were beaten and harassed until they confessed to their crimes most of which were, of course, false confessions to avoid further torture.

It only escalated from there.

What ensued puts Lord of the Flies to shame.

One teacher killed himself after being taken captive by students. Most teachers fled.

Soon the students were left entirely in charge of their school. Two factions quickly emerged, one calling themselves the East is Red Corps, and the other the Red Rebels.

One student was kidnapped by the East is Red Corps, and suffocated to death on a sock stuffed in his mouth.

A girl was found to be an East is Red spy among the Red Rebels. She was later cornered with other East is Red students in a building. She shouted from a window that she would rather die than surrender. Praising Chairman Mao, she jumped to her death.

Some Red Rebels died from an accidental explosion while making bombs.

Many were tortured, and another student died from his injuries at the hands of the East is Red Corps.

A female teacher refused to sign an affidavit lying about the cause of death. She was beaten and gang-raped by a group of students.

Robert Greene explains these events, in his new book, The Laws of Human Nature . (Emphasis added.)

Although it might be tempting to see what happened at YMS as mostly relevant to group adolescent behavior what happened at the school occurred throughout China in government offices, factories, within the army, and among Chinese of all ages in an eerily similar way

The students' repressed resentment at having to be so obedient now boiled over into anger and the desire to be the ones doing the punishing and oppressing

In the power vacuum that Mao had now created, another timeless group dynamic emerged. Those who were naturally more assertive, aggressive, and even sadistic pushed their way forward and assumed power , while those who were more passive quietly receded into the background becoming followers

Once all forms of authority were removed and the students ran the school, there was nothing to stop the next and most dangerous development in group dynamics. The split into tribal factions

People may think they are joining because of the different ideas or goals of this tribe or the other, but what they want more than anything is a sense of belonging and a clear tribal identity.

Look at the actual differences between the East is Red Corps and the Red Rebels. As the battle between them intensified it was hard to say what they were fighting for, except to assume power over the other group.

One strong or vicious act of one side called for a reprisal from the other, and any type of violence seemed totally justified. There could be no middle ground, nor any questioning of the rightness of their cause.

The tribe is always right. And to say otherwise is to betray it.

I write this on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections.

And like Mao handing down his orders to dispose of capitalist sympathizers, such have the leaders of each major US political party rallied their supporters.

This is the most important election of our lifetime, they say.

No middle ground. Violence is justified to get our way. Betray the tribe, and be considered an enemy.

Just like Mao, they have manufactured a crisis that did not previously exist.

The students had no violent factions before Mao's encouragement. They had no serious problems with their teachers.

Is there any natural crisis occurring right now? Or has the political establishment whipped us into an artificial frenzy?

This isn't just another boring election, they say. This is a battle for our future.

The students battled over who were the purest revolutionaries.

The voters now battle over who has the purest intentions for America.

Do the factions even know what they are fighting for anymore?

They are simply fighting for their tribe's control over the government.

The battle of the factions at schools across China were "resolved" when Mao came to support one side or the other. In that sense, it very much did matter which side the students were on

The government came down hard against the losing faction.

They had chosen wrong and found themselves aligned against the powerful Communist Party.

It won't be a dictator that hands control to one faction or another in this election. It will be a simple majority. And those in the minority will suffer.

The winners will feel that it is their time to wield power, just as the students were happy to finally have the upper hand on their teachers.

If Mao didn't have so much power, he could have never initiated such a violent crisis.

And if our government didn't have so much power, it would hardly matter who wins the election.

Yet here we are, fighting for control of the government because each faction threatens to violently repress the other if they gain power.

It is a manufactured crisis. A crisis that only exists because political elites in the government and media have said so.

They decided that this election will spark the USA's "Cultural Revolution."

And anyone with sympathies from a bygone era will be punished.


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Totally_Disillusioned , 8 hours ago link

Tribal warfare? You clearly don't understand what's happening here. The Globalist cartel has created division between two parties to incite chaos and violence. The "warfare" you reference will be nothing but protesting ->rioting ->anarchy ->police restraint of the Democrat incited sheeple.

There's no tribalism associated with upholding and preserving the Constitution.

Semi-employed White Guy , 6 hours ago link

I think the globalists will try to cool it off before things spin out of (((their))) control. Either that or move to the next phase...world war... so they can just slaughter us and not have to bother trying to herd the increasingly "woke" goyim live stock.

MoralsAreEssential , 11 hours ago link

I have NOT heard about a SINGLE CREDIBLE violent incident where people got hurt FROM THE RIGHT. All the incidents of "White Fascist Violence" look like FALSE FLAGS and contrived incidents. The foregoing CAN NOT be said of the Leftist Antifa types including racist La Raza supporters, racist Blacks who want something for nothing, immigrants from any country who want to be fully supported because they BREATHE and the Top Group (pun intended) Whites who do not believe in boundaries, standards or quality of life UNLESS it's their lives. NOT all Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants are in the Left; but most Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants are on the Left and havn't a clue they are responsible for their own prisons because they cannot REASON and virtue signaling is more important so they are part of the GROUP. Misplaced EMPHASIS on what is important in creating a CIVILIZED and SAFE society.

[Nov 06, 2018] 'Somebody' made fradulent promises and put people in danger to acheive some political goal. Sounds like Clintons or Soros.

Notable quotes:
"... "a group called CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project" a group that has received funding from Soros, to Pueblo Sin Fronteras through a person named 'Alex Mensing' who works both for CARA and as "an on-the ground coordinator in Mexico for the Pueblo Sin Fronteras". ..."
"... ..A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation's wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.... ..."
"... US based groups or cutouts are the organizers of the caravan. ..."
"... The list of Democratic Party-connected organizations that might have originated the idea of a caravan from Central America is small. I surmise Clinton Global Initiative because they would have the requisite connections and blaming Soros seems to easy and convenient. But Soros is also rumored to be behind support for European migrants so it's certainly possible. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 2:28:56 PM | link

How did this group of thousands come together to walk to US were Trump has vowed to keep illegals out. People like this would naturally come together if they were catching a ship, or at some sort of aid post refugee camp ect.

After a search on caravan starting point, I found this at the Guardian.

"Who organized the caravan?
In interviews, Honduran members of the group said that they learned about the caravan from Facebook posts, and a report on the local HCH television station, which erroneously suggested that a former congressman and radio host would cover the costs of the journey.
After that, rumours spread quickly, including the mistaken promise that any member would be given asylum in the US. Darwin Ramos, 30, said he was desperate to flee threats from a local drug gang, and when news of the caravan reached his neighbourhood, he seized on it as his best chance to escape."
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/24/caravan-migrants-what-is-it-where-from-guatemala-honduras-immigrants-mexico


Uh huh. 'Somebody' made mistaken promises.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 4:06:27 PM | link

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pueblo_Sin_Fronteras
"Pueblo Sin Fronteras (en: People without Borders) is an immigration rights group known for organizing several high profile migrant caravans in Mexico and Central America. The organization's efforts to facilitate immigration and calls for open borders attracted considerable amounts of coverage in the Mexican and American media."

Pueblo Sin Fronteras website. Zero information there other than the have bases or offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tijuana in Mexico.
https://www.pueblosinfronteras.org/commitees.html
No information on who they are or who funds them. Very much a political organization.
On two caravans like this have occurred, both organized by this shadowy group.
Slow moving lots of press coverage that can last for weeks so long as the peasant suckers stay suckers and don't pull out. Very much an anti Trump political show put on by whoever funds and controls this Pueblo Sin Fronteras organisation.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 4:34:48 PM | link
Centro Sin Fronteras is the parent group to Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/centro-sin-fronteras/
"Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, former fugitive from U.S. immigration authorities, and activist for illegal immigrants in the U.S., formed the activist group La Familia Latina Unida ("The United Latin Family") as an expansion of the Centro Sin Fronteras. [7] La Familia Latina Unida runs Pueblo Sin Fronteras ("People Without Borders"), a group that organizes "migrant caravans" from Mexico and Latin America to cross the U.S. border illegally"

CSF website here https://fluenglish.wordpress.com/about/
Again nothing on who finances them.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 4:41:49 PM | link
The majority of people in the caravan may be leaving their own countries due to violence poverty ect, but the caravan itself is a manufactured political event. left to their own devices, some may have moved towards the US in small groups, others would have been deterred due to Trumps immigration policy, but they have joined this so called caravan on false promises made by the organisers. Nothing better than kids, women and oldies doing it tough or better yet dying for political media coverage.
dh-mtl , Nov 5, 2018 5:26:11 PM | link
Peter AU 1 | Nov 5, 2018 4:34:48 PM | 73 says:

"Again nothing on who finances them. (Pueblo Sin Fronteras)"


This article, published the last time that Pueblo Sin Fronteras was in the headlines, ( https://joeforamerica.com/2018/04/whos-really-behind-the-illegal-immigrants-the-migrant-caravan-and-pueblo-sin-fronteras/) links "a group called CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project" a group that has received funding from Soros, to Pueblo Sin Fronteras through a person named 'Alex Mensing' who works both for CARA and as "an on-the ground coordinator in Mexico for the Pueblo Sin Fronteras".

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 5:41:08 PM | link
Sleepy "If they request asylum, their entry is legal"

If they get into the US, immediately present themselves to authorities and request asylum, then their entry is deemed legal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_Relating_to_the_Status_of_Refugees
US has signed up to the 1967 protocol but not the 1951 convention.

As for the politically organized caravan, the peasants have officially been offered a home in Mexico, but the organizers prefer them to go on to the US. As they have been offered a place in mexico, they are now economic migrants wanting greener pastures in the US rather than refugees.

The peasants themselves, I think are mostly genuine though organizers are mixed through the group. The peasants are no more than consumables in a political action.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 6:16:23 PM | link
The money.

. ..A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation's wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally....
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/15/us/obama-immigration-policy-changes.html

Pft , Nov 5, 2018 6:36:34 PM | link
How can people not see this caravan march as the obvious false flag it is to influence the election. The actors are being paid and busses have been mobilized and paid for to move them forward. The right says Soros money might be behind it and they may be right. Surprised the left has not blamed Putin. Which proves my point that the left is actively conspiring with the right the keep them in power. Why wouldnt they care?. As Caitlin Johnstone says, after I said it, they get paid the same no matter what. As part of a 2 party monopoly,with 2 parties the minimum to serve the illusion of a representative Democracy,the oiligarchs will continue to throw money to the loser.

This has been scripted well in advance. Republicans need to maintain both houses for the 2nd stage of Trumps destruction of America (credibility and finance), especially its government and middle class as the elite will be protected from the damage. Democrats are standing on the sidelines rambling about Russia Gate or Khashoggi Gate or mobilizing their forces to support gay marriages and transgender access to bathrooms. And to boot they bring out Hillary and Obama at the last moment to bash Trump to galvanize the rights voters even more. No other purpose for doing so.

To be sure, a Democratic win means nothing except perhaps as a poor proxy for a lack of support for Trump. 40% of their candidates come from the military or intelligence services. They are owned by the oligarchs as much as tbe Republicans. The only difference in the parties is the costumes they wear and the rhetoric the speak

Or perhaps its as simple as not wanting to share responsibility for what is to come as their best shot to win in 2020

Frankly the best outcome would be the decimation of the Democrat Party and its subsequent dissolution. Lets end the farce of a Democracy. One party for all. Hail Trump or whomever he appoints as his successor, or just let the elites vote and announce who they voted for every 4 years. Thats pretty much what the constitution meant for us to be doing anyways. The idea of a Direct vote by all citizens for President and Senate would have horrified them. Seeing the results of elections these past 40 years I have concluded they are right.


Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 6:42:21 PM | link
b, RJPJR, Jay, Yeah Right, et al

Invaders or Dupes? Have the caravan migrants been misled?

While it's true that anyone can request asylum, the caravan migrants appear to be under the impression that they have a legitimate claim to asylum in USA because they are fleeing gang violence in their home country. That is very likely to be untrue.

Such a claim MIGHT be valid in countries that have signed the Cartagena Declaration and ratified it into law - but the US has not. The Declaration expands the definition of refugees to include:

"persons who have fled their country because their lives, security or freedom have been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order".

The Brazil Declaration is an effort to expand the Cartegena Declaration . The USA is also not involved in this effort either, though I believe that they have "observer" status.

FYI
The 1951 UN Convention as amended defines a refugee as someone with a "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion" . The caravan stories I have heard are unlikely to qualify under this definition.

Some countries that have loads of asylum seekers have set up camps to hold them. Some, like Australia, even have camps in foreign countries. Trump's talk of setting up tents implies that USA will also establish such camps. Life in these camps is likely to be uncomfortable and unproductive. Only those will genuine asylum claims would tough it out.

Grieved , Nov 5, 2018 7:40:05 PM | link
How telling it is that when we disagree on the nature of the Caravan, we fall into an either-or choice between 2 absolutes. Either it is a complete hoax from the ground up, or it's a completely authentic grass-roots happening.

But we have seen enough color revolutions to understand that there is always an authentic component to each one. I have commented several times on how delicately the CIA and other organizers of color revolutions symbiotically fuse with good and authentic people who have a noble cause. How these bad people can merge with such good people is a wonder to me.

But this itself is the fact that must demolish the partisan thinking of "one side or the other". It's clear that the people who run things and their henchmen who arrange things are marvelously nuanced when it comes to good and evil. They'll be good when it suits them and evil for the same reason, and treat people well and badly, all depending on the exigencies of the mission.

In simple words, there undoubtedly is a core heart to the population of the caravan that is good, hopeful, enterprising and industrious, and that hopes to receive just one little break from the world, and a sliver of social justice. This radiating core of goodness and humanity, which would break open the hearts of ordinary people like you and me, to the organizers and their fixers is simply the perfect place to hide, concealed by superb protective coloration.

Take a look at the Maidan in Ukraine, and see how many good people thought they were fighting to create a wonderful new world, until the snipers fired on both sides and brought off the color revolution with superb skill and complete amoral ruthlessness - all as a result of long planning and preparation, not to mention the cash to hire mercenaries and provide the best logistics.

So I personally will stand by my thought that we will see what this is when the shooters begin to provoke the violence. And if that happens, then sadly, it will be the innocents who again, as always, are massacred.

But if the US handles it well, and permits controlled entry under the supervision of the border authorities, and there are no shooters and no provocations coming either from the Caravan people - or from some other force off to the side that doesn't seem to belong to anyone, but which seems to be the cause of death to both sides - then this will all fizzle out as another political skirmish of short duration, and the Democrats and Republicans will move on to their next diversions.

RJPJR , Nov 5, 2018 7:47:23 PM | link
Posted by: Grieved | Nov 5, 2018 7:40:05 PM | 97

You wrote: "Either it is a complete hoax from the ground up, or it's a completely authentic grass-roots happening."

I am inclined to believe that it is both, to wit an authentic grass-roots happening that has been hijacked (like so many others) by interested parties for their own ends.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 5, 2018 6:59:25 PM | 95

Thanks for the link!

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 7:53:13 PM | link
Grieved 97
That's the way I'm seeing it. "But we have seen enough color revolutions to understand that there is always an authentic component to each one. I have commented several times on how delicately the CIA and other organizers of color revolutions symbiotically fuse with good and authentic people who have a noble cause. How these bad people can merge with such good people is a wonder to me."

Well put, not only the above paragragh but the whole comment. Not much most of us can do to help the naive perhaps desperate people sucked in to the US political caravan but we should at least be exposing those who are exploiting and furthingf their misery for political purposes.

Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 8:27:50 PM | link
RJPJR:
I am inclined to believe that it is both, to wit an authentic grass-roots happening that has been hijacked ...

I think it is fake as per info @93.

The caravan people are real and hopeful of a better life but they have been duped into believing that they could get asylum.

Pft , Nov 5, 2018 8:40:05 PM | link
Nemesiscalling@94

Requirement for any President or political leader is to be a good actor. I believe they simply follow a script prepared by the real rulers operating in the shadows. Maybe I am wrong. Its like fake wrestling as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. You have to be a good actor and pretend to care while actually making sure you qlose if the script calls for it

Jackrabbit@100

Its true they have been duped but the point is that desparate and poor people rarely work together spontaneously in an organized fashion and a caravan such as this must be organized and paid for. Someone is feeding them. The timing is too good to be true. Obviously they have been promised something, asylum, money or whatever and assured of their safety. To determine who is behind it you simply need to look at who benefits.

Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 9:35:42 PM | link
Pft

@91 you wrote: The actors are being paid ...

When discussing this caravan "false flag", many people will dismiss "conspiracy theories" that involve paid actors.

RJPJR @98 thought the caravan an an "authentic grass-roots happening that has been hi-jacked" . But that theory is also unsatisfying. As you point out (Pft), it is strange that ordinary people organize themselves to make a march like the caravan.

The best explanation is that people were organized to make the march by local groups [connected to Clinton Global Initiative?] which got PAID to do so. These trusted local groups then told the marchers that: 1) they would get support along the way, and 2) that they have a good/great chance of actually getting asylum.

Organizers would not want a member of the caravan to tell a reporter that the march was fake, or that they are paid. But it has been reported that "well wishers" have given the marchers food and money. And the press has not questioned that support. And the marchers seem to have a genuine belief that they qualify for asylum. Such a belief would be easy to instill in poor, uneducated people who can be easily duped into believing that an international treaty like the Cartegena Declaration applies to all countries.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 9:55:29 PM | link
Jackrabbit, in my post @67 I linked the Pueblo Sin Fronteras website. When I found out about this group I looked for their website which I was able to access, and although information was sparse on this shadowy group, they proudly advertised their work on this caravan.
Since posting a link here I am now censored from that website - security exceptions blah blah.
Not local globalist groups but US based groups or cutouts are the organizers of the caravan.
Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 10:24:10 PM | link
Peter AU1

Good detective work!

But my hunch is that the trail ends with a one or more local groups that are known to people in the area. These poor people basically had to be sold a 'bill of goods'. That's difficult unless you are known/trusted (have a "brand" like Coca-Cola).

There would be several intermediary groups. Maybe a large in-country charity with US connections? And one or more groups outside the country (US, Mexico, even EU) that are connected to / get funding and direction from a major US group.

Let's face it, whoever was behind this would not want the caravan to be connected to back to group with US political connections. And it's probably unlikely that we will find any 'smoking gun' that does that.

The list of Democratic Party-connected organizations that might have originated the idea of a caravan from Central America is small. I surmise Clinton Global Initiative because they would have the requisite connections and blaming Soros seems to easy and convenient. But Soros is also rumored to be behind support for European migrants so it's certainly possible.

It really the same reasoning that led b to suspect that it was CIA/MI6 that foiled assassination plot in Denmark, not Mossad.

[Nov 05, 2018] Bolsonaro a monster engineered by our media by Jonathan Cook

Notable quotes:
"... Bolsonaro, like Trump, is not a disruption of the current neoliberal order; he is an intensification or escalation of its worst impulses. He is its logical conclusion. ..."
"... Despite their professed concern, the plutocrats and their media spokespeople much prefer a far-right populist like Trump or Bolsonaro to a populist leader of the genuine left. They prefer the social divisions fuelled by neo-fascists like Bolsonaro, divisions that protect their wealth and privilege, over the unifying message of a socialist who wants to curtail class privilege, the real basis of the elite's power. ..."
"... The true left – whether in Brazil, Venezuela, Britain or the US – does not control the police or military, the financial sector, the oil industries, the arms manufacturers, or the corporate media. It was these very industries and institutions that smoothed the path to power for Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Trump in the US. ..."
"... Former socialist leaders like Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela were bound to fail not so much because of their flaws as individuals but because powerful interests rejected their right to rule. These socialists never had control over the key levers of power, the key resources. Their efforts were sabotaged – from within and without – from the moment of their election. ..."
"... The media, the financial elites, the armed forces were never servants of the socialist governments that have been struggling to reform Latin America. The corporate world has no interest either in building proper housing in place of slums or in dragging the masses out of the kind of poverty that fuels the drug gangs that Bolsonaro claims he will crush through more violence. ..."
"... As in Pinochet's Chile, Bolsonaro can rest assured that his kind of neo-fascism will live in easy harmony with neoliberalism. ..."
"... Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net . ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

With Jair Bolsonaro's victory in Brazil's presidential election at the weekend, the doom-mongers among western elites are out in force once again. His success, like Donald Trump's, has confirmed a long-held prejudice: that the people cannot be trusted; that, when empowered, they behave like a mob driven by primitive urges; that the unwashed masses now threaten to bring down the carefully constructed walls of civilisation.

The guardians of the status quo refused to learn the lesson of Trump's election, and so it will be with Bolsonaro. Rather than engaging the intellectual faculties they claim as their exclusive preserve, western "analysts" and "experts" are again averting their gaze from anything that might help them understand what has driven our supposed democracies into the dark places inhabited by the new demagogues. Instead, as ever, the blame is being laid squarely at the door of social media.

Social media and fake news are apparently the reasons Bolsonaro won at the ballot box. Without the gatekeepers in place to limit access to the "free press" – itself the plaything of billionaires and global corporations, with brands and a bottom line to protect – the rabble has supposedly been freed to give expression to their innate bigotry.

Here is Simon Jenkins, a veteran British gatekeeper – a former editor of the Times of London who now writes a column in the Guardian – pontificating on Bolsonaro:

"The lesson for champions of open democracy is glaring. Its values cannot be taken for granted. When debate is no longer through regulated media, courts and institutions, politics will default to the mob. Social media – once hailed as an agent of global concord – has become the purveyor of falsity, anger and hatred. Its algorithms polarise opinion. Its pseudo-information drives argument to the extremes."

This is now the default consensus of the corporate media, whether in its rightwing incarnations or of the variety posing on the liberal-left end of the spectrum like the Guardian. The people are stupid, and we need to be protected from their base instincts. Social media, it is claimed, has unleashed humanity's id.

Selling plutocracy

There is a kind of truth in Jenkins' argument, even if it is not the one he intended. Social media did indeed liberate ordinary people. For the first time in modern history, they were not simply the recipients of official, sanctioned information. They were not only spoken down to by their betters, they could answer back – and not always as deferentially as the media class expected.

Clinging to their old privileges, Jenkins and his ilk are rightly unnerved. They have much to lose.

But that also means they are far from dispassionate observers of the current political scene. They are deeply invested in the status quo, in the existing power structures that have kept them well-paid courtiers of the corporations that dominate the planet.

Bolsonaro, like Trump, is not a disruption of the current neoliberal order; he is an intensification or escalation of its worst impulses. He is its logical conclusion.

The plutocrats who run our societies need figureheads, behind whom they can conceal their unaccountable power. Until now they preferred the slickest salespeople, ones who could sell wars as humanitarian intervention rather than profit-driven exercises in death and destruction; the unsustainable plunder of natural resources as economic growth; the massive accumulation of wealth, stashed in offshore tax havens, as the fair outcome of a free market; the bailouts funded by ordinary taxpayers to stem economic crises they had engineered as necessary austerity; and so on.

A smooth-tongued Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton were the favoured salespeople, especially in an age when the elites had persuaded us of a self-serving argument: that ghetto-like identities based on colour or gender mattered far more than class. It was divide-and-rule dressed up as empowerment. The polarisation now bewailed by Jenkins was in truth stoked and rationalised by the very corporate media he so faithfully serves.

Fear of the domino effect

Despite their professed concern, the plutocrats and their media spokespeople much prefer a far-right populist like Trump or Bolsonaro to a populist leader of the genuine left. They prefer the social divisions fuelled by neo-fascists like Bolsonaro, divisions that protect their wealth and privilege, over the unifying message of a socialist who wants to curtail class privilege, the real basis of the elite's power.

The true left – whether in Brazil, Venezuela, Britain or the US – does not control the police or military, the financial sector, the oil industries, the arms manufacturers, or the corporate media. It was these very industries and institutions that smoothed the path to power for Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Trump in the US.

Former socialist leaders like Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela were bound to fail not so much because of their flaws as individuals but because powerful interests rejected their right to rule. These socialists never had control over the key levers of power, the key resources. Their efforts were sabotaged – from within and without – from the moment of their election.

Local elites in Latin America are tied umbilically to US elites, who in turn are determined to make sure any socialist experiment in their backyard fails – as a way to prevent a much-feared domino effect, one that might seed socialism closer to home.

The media, the financial elites, the armed forces were never servants of the socialist governments that have been struggling to reform Latin America. The corporate world has no interest either in building proper housing in place of slums or in dragging the masses out of the kind of poverty that fuels the drug gangs that Bolsonaro claims he will crush through more violence.

Bolsonaro will not face any of the institutional obstacles Lula da Silva or Chavez needed to overcome. No one in power will stand in his way as he institutes his "reforms". No one will stop him creaming off Brazil's wealth for his corporate friends. As in Pinochet's Chile, Bolsonaro can rest assured that his kind of neo-fascism will live in easy harmony with neoliberalism.

Immune system

If you want to understand the depth of the self-deception of Jenkins and other media gatekeepers, contrast Bolsonaro's political ascent to that of Jeremy Corbyn, the modest social democratic leader of Britain's Labour party. Those like Jenkins who lament the role of social media – they mean you, the public – in promoting leaders like Bolsonaro are also the media chorus who have been wounding Corbyn day after day, blow by blow, for three years – since he accidentally slipped past safeguards intended by party bureacrats to keep someone like him from power.

The supposedly liberal Guardian has been leading that assault. Like the rightwing media, it has shown its absolute determination to stop Corbyn at all costs, using any pretext.

Within days of Corbyn's election to the Labour leadership, the Times newspaper – the voice of the British establishment – published an article quoting a general, whom it refused to name, warning that the British army's commanders had agreed they would sabotage a Corbyn government. The general strongly hinted that there would be a military coup first.

We are not supposed to reach the point where such threats – tearing away the façade of western democracy – ever need to be implemented. Our pretend democracies were created with immune systems whose defences are marshalled to eliminate a threat like Corbyn much earlier.

Once he moved closer to power, however, the rightwing corporate media was forced to deploy the standard tropes used against a left leader: that he was incompetent, unpatriotic, even treasonous.

But just as the human body has different immune cells to increase its chances of success, the corporate media has faux-liberal-left agents like the Guardian to complement the right's defences. The Guardian sought to wound Corbyn through identity politics, the modern left's Achille's heel. An endless stream of confected crises about anti-semitism were intended to erode the hard-earned credit Corbyn had accumulated over decades for his anti-racism work.

Slash-and-burn politics

Why is Corbyn so dangerous? Because he supports the right of workers to a dignified life, because he refuses to accept the might of the corporations, because he implies that a different way of organising our societies is possible. It is a modest, even timid programme he articulates, but even so it is far too radical either for the plutocratic class that rules over us or for the corporate media that serves as its propaganda arm.

The truth ignored by Jenkins and these corporate stenographers is that if you keep sabotaging the programmes of a Chavez, a Lula da Silva, a Corbyn or a Bernie Sanders, then you get a Bolsonaro, a Trump, an Orban.

It is not that the masses are a menace to democracy. It is rather that a growing proportion of voters understand that a global corporate elite has rigged the system to accrue for itself ever greater riches. It is not social media that is polarising our societies. It is rather that the determination of the elites to pillage the planet until it has no more assets to strip has fuelled resentment and destroyed hope. It is not fake news that is unleashing the baser instincts of the lower orders. Rather, it is the frustration of those who feel that change is impossible, that no one in power is listening or cares.

Social media has empowered ordinary people. It has shown them that they cannot trust their leaders, that power trumps justice, that the elite's enrichment requires their poverty. They have concluded that, if the rich can engage in slash-and-burn politics against the planet, our only refuge, they can engage in slash-and-burn politics against the global elite.

Are they choosing wisely in electing a Trump or Bolsonaro? No. But the liberal guardians of the status quo are in no position to judge them. For decades, all parts of the corporate media have helped to undermine a genuine left that could have offered real solutions, that could have taken on and beaten the right, that could have offered a moral compass to a confused, desperate and disillusioned public.

Jenkins wants to lecture the masses about their depraved choices while he and his paper steer them away from any politician who cares about their welfare, who fights for a fairer society, who prioritises mending what is broken.

The western elites will decry Bolsonaro in the forlorn and cynical hope of shoring up their credentials as guardians of the existing, supposedly moral order. But they engineered him. Bolsonaro is their monster.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net .

[Nov 05, 2018] Scum vs. Scum by Chris Hedge

Hell is empty and all the devils are here. ~William Shakespeare
Notable quotes:
"... Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don't bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother? ..."
"... One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in thi