Softpanorama

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Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Deep State
Libertarian Philosophy Elite Theory Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization US and British media are servants of security apparatus Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism
Corporatism Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Demexit: Abandonment of Democratic party by working class and lower middle class Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking Globalization of Financial Flows Anti-globalization movement Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization
Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry Neo-conservatism National Security State Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Hypocrisy of British ruling elite as the template for hypocrisy of neoliberal elite
Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump Anti-Russian hysteria DNC emails leak Anti Trump Hysteria Two Party System as Polyarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Demonization of Putin Media-Military-Industrial Complex Strzok-gate Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Neoliberal corruption Neoliberalism and Christianity
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Israel lobby IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Disaster capitalism American Exceptionalism Predator state Obama: a yet another Neocon
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Corruption of Regulators Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Syria civil war Gas Wars Color revolutions New American Militarism
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Groupthink Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Deception as an art form Mayberry Machiavellians Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers  Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie Talleyrand quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes George Carlin Propaganda Quotes
Overcomplexity of society Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism Key Myths of Neoliberalism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

FDR. speech after the election (1936)

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later. So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15


Introduction

 

Skepticism is a useful quality that some people naturally possess and other can develop, but it not a panacea.  As such any "Skeptical" or even "Slightly skeptical" paged by definition suffer from "confirmation bias". They postulate that only information that does not correlate well with official position is worth presenting.  The reality is more complex than that.  There is no grantee that such skeptical openion is correct. And in retrospect many such opinion, which look highly plausible in the heat of the day, look naive and unsubstantiated ten years after. Been there, saw that.

Also, while not so lucrative as shilling for government, adhering to anything that differ to government position is too simplistic an approach. Especially in the long run, as historical forces in action at the particular moment are often unknown and not evident to participants of the events.

Those considerations probably should be kept in mind when reading those pages. While skeptical opinion is an excellent tool for destroying propaganda stereotypes it is your own task to integrate them into your new understanding of the situation. Sometime that requires integration under some new paradigm, or rejection based on the new paradigm for particular historical situation.  The problem with history is that the real meaning of events often became clear only a centruty or so after they occure.

The  central for this set of "slightly skeptical" Softpanorama pages is the idea that we live in neoliberal society and will continue to live in it for some type despite the crisis it experiences now. Because there is no viable alternative on the horizon and resurrection of New Deal capitalism is not possible as the countervailing forces that existed to keep financial oligarchy in check dissipated, and part of them (top management of corporations) joined the former enemy. 

At the  same time  I adhere to the working hypothesis that neoliberalism is not sustainable "in the long run" as it tend to weaken, or destroy the very foundation on which the society is based, and first of all human solidarity.  That means  that we live in an unstable society prone to unleashing wars and falling in periodic financial crisis (aka Minsky moments). In this sense Financial crisis of 2008 can be called using Churchill's quote  "This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

"Neoliberalism is not only the current social system in the USA, but also in most European countries, Japan, Russia and China (with some minor variations). It is a global social system which displayed both New Deal Capitalism and Bolshevism. It is a very interesting ideology,  the second 'man made" ideology after Bolshevism, which which it has several important similarities, see Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich.) The clandestine ideology one that does not dare to speak its name ;-).

The crescendo of Triumphal march of neoliberalism which stated in 1980th was the collapse of the USSR, which happened in 1991, when Soviet elite switched  sides and  preferred to became "entrepreneurs" like their Western counterparts, privatizing  and looting their own country. Communists proved to be very corruptible folk, especially at Nomenklatura level and they like dollars more then their country.  BTW the collapse of Soviet Union was not what neoliberal propaganda teaches us. In essence Soviet elite (aka nomenklatura) simply changed sides. The collapse of Bolshevism both as an ideology and the society paralleled the collapse of New Deal capitalism in the USA. Like large part of the USA management elite, Soviet nomenklatura became turncoats. And it was the alliance of management elite and trade unions that was at the core of New Deal capitalism. As soon as it collapsed the New Deal capitalism was replaced with neoliberalism.

But neoliberalism entered the major crisis in 2008. The net result was so called Secular Stagnation. The "end of cheap oil" is another factor that guarantee the continuation of Secular Stagnation.  See Peak Cheap Energy.  

This site is slightly skeptical as for long-term viability of Neoliberalism as a social system. At the same time as bad as neoliberalism is as a social system was/is in comparison with New Deal Capitalism, that does not mean the coming successor can't be worse.  If there is a way out of this neoliberal mess that was pushed on us since late 70th, I can't see it.

Right now Neoliberalism  is seriously sick and reminds me the condition of Bolshevism after WWII and Stalin death (around 1960th). Bolshevism lasted almost 50 years after 1945, and do not see why neoliberalism can't last much longer then that, as currently there is no viable alternatives. For example, Russia which neocons try to paint as the new "Great Satan" is a yet another neoliberal state. Just with a different flavor of neoliberalism. BTW Trumps "national neoliberalism" (or neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization) is why we have trade war with China (another  neoliberal state) as well with Russia (also a neoliberal  state). So much for "neoliberal International". That's a real crumbling of classic neoliberalism, which proved to to have clay feet. 

But neoliberalism proved to be a sustainable social system which was able to survive its first crisis of 2008 and the collapse of neoliberal ideology.  So it probably can be reformed by increasing the role of the state (that's what Trump national neoliberalism is actually doing, although very inconsistently) and rejecting most elements of "market fundamentalism". Financial institutions now again should be viewed as a special kind of Mafioso structures, which untamed tend to buy the control of the government, and regulated and taxes accordingly.

At the same time neoliberal center (let's say care G7)  needs countries to loot. From 1991 to 2000 xUSSR area was such a region. And G7 prospered. but looting was cut after 2000 and due to this and Minsky moment circumstances due to financialization (which took form of creating and turning public non-profitable IT startups)  the USA experienced short dot-com" crisis in 2008. To escape consequences of this crisis FED stimulated building industry, especially home building was propelled by giving mortgages to anybody with  ward breath and that led to 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. The crisis which severely undermined the neoliberal ideology. That means that after 2008 neoliberalism entered zombie state, much like Soviet communism after WWII.   It became more bloodthirsty and several countries fall victims (Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc)

Due to neoliberalism the USA is no longer a politically stable country. Political animosity after election of Trump reminds a "soft civil war", racial hostility (which is amplified by "identify politics")  is growing, standards of living of the majority of population are either stagnant or fall, neoliberal globalization (with off shoring and outsourcing) as well as automation leave both the young and people "over 50" unemployed. Epidemic of narco addiction in the USA (which claims 70K victims a year) and suicides (which claim approx 47K in 2017) reminds epidemic of alcoholism in the USSR. Both were at least partially caused by desperation of people, who can't get a meaningful well paying job and see no future for themselves and their children.

Under neoliberalism wealth is redistributed up by  several powerful mechanisms and the level of inequality became dangerously high. The working class falls into drugs and anomie. The wars for sustaining and expanding the neoliberal empire and crushing dissenters from neoliberal dogma never end. Meanwhile infrastructure ages and falls behind that of more advanced nations. Anger grows, which was pretty evident in  2016elections -- for many voting for Trump was the way to show middle finger to the neoliberal establishment.  As the pie shrinks, someone have to get less pie. And it is not financial oligarchy, or MIC.  They are pretty well fed at the expense of others. 

Who would thought that 30 years later the winner of the Cold War will enter the phase of decline which in may respects remind many observers  the decline of the USSR ?  And that inability to predict the figure is also a powerful sign to view the pages in this collection with the grain of salt. Please do not take views expressed for granted. No matter how plausible they are now many of them with time will prove to be wrong.  Think and  analyze the situation yourself.  

I would like to repeat again that this decline of neoliberal society started  after the crisis of 2008 (the point at which neoliberal ideology collapsed and was discredited, much like communist ideology was after WWII. Trump election and Brexit were two historical events, after which we can attest that neoliberalism is most probably past its prime and entered the decline stage.  And this decline  increases the polarization of the USA society in which ruling neoliberal elite lost most of its legitimacy in the eyes of common people. This is the problem  which neoliberal elite tried to hide after 2016 Presidential elections under  the smoke screen of Russiagate (which is essence is a color revolution with the goal of deposing Trump). Resulting Neo-McCarthyism hysteria, designed to redirect anger to the external enemy (the scapegoat) and cement the cracks in the neoliberal facade,  is a very dangerous phenomena, which increases the chances of WWIII, the war which can end the human civilization as we know it.   Professor Stephen Cohen has several insightful articles that analyse this danger.

The discreditation of the neoliberal ideology is very similar to the process of discreditation on Bolshevism in the USSR: after 2007 it became clear to the majority of population that it can't secure the rising standard of living for the majority USA population. Only tiny fraction of population (less then top 10%) benefitted from neoliberalism. This is a very similar situation with bolshevism in the USSR, when in late 60th and early 70th it became clear that it can't match the standard of living  of common people in Western European countries (and even most of the East European countries), which remained under the capitalism.

Paradoxically golden days of capitalism in Western Europe and the USA (which lasted till 79th) were possible only because communist states such as USSR existed, as it served as a powerful deterrent against the restoration of the power of financial oligarchy. So it's not surprising that the New Deal Capitalism was very quickly dismantled after the USSR collapse. Moor did its duty, moor can go ;-). In other words, the mere existence of the USSR, while was not threat to the Western countries social system,  served as a powerful inhibitor of cannibalistic instincts of the elite in the USA and Western countries. It was communism that helped to secured the dominance of the New Deal capitalism till early 80th and the period of prosperity for the common people in the USA.

From this point the standard of living of poor and lower middle class in the West started to slide. First slowly from 1990 to 2000 and then at accelerated pace due to outsourcing, capabilities of which were tremendously enhanced by technological revolution, especially the revolution in communication. Also till 2000 (dot com crisis) the slide was masked by tremendous technological progress in computers and communications. Still outside top 10-20% of population, the slide of the standard of living and the income is a fact.  Outsourcing and offshoring killed many meaningful, well paying jobs. The new level of automation, possible with modern computers, killed some more. The possibility of cheap transcontinental communications also killed IT jobs and even many helpdesk type which migrated to India and other countries with cheap and qualified labor force.  So the loss of manufacturing jobs was amplified by the loss of some segments of white collar jobs as well.

While neoliberal think tanks and powerful MSM propaganda machine (in which the word neoliberalism is still a taboo) now try to contain damage, the fatal flaws of neoliberal ideology after 2008 financial collapse are apparent and can't be hidden. The key neoliberal country and the key enforcer of neoliberalism over the globe -- the USA -- entered "secular stagnation" period in economics. It is also is trying to fend off the challenge that China economic growth presents to its world dominance.

Brexit and the election of Trump mean that the protest against neoliberal globalization entered  the political mainstream in the USA in 2016: Hillary Clinton suffered her electoral fiasco because she was the proponent of neoliberal status quo, the proponent  of neoliberal globalization and the wars for expansion of neoliberal empire, the candidate who promised to kick the neoliberal can down the road. 

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

  Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children...

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

From the Chance for Peace address delivered before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953. (Regarded as one of the finest speeches of Eisenhower's presidency.)

Trump should probably be viewed as a new stage of this decline of American republic (which for a long time is neither democracy not a republic, but a warmongering empire, a new social system of "inverted totalitarism" as Sheldon Wolin called it ). Some trapping of previous "New Deal style" democracy remained, but most of New Deal achievement  such as using trade unions as countervailing social force to check the greed of capital owners was perverted. During elections Trump used to have anti-globalization inclinations -- anathema to neoliberals -- and that's why he was so viciously attacked after he has won; but those inclinations almost completely disappeared after the election. Trumpism which sometimes is defined as "economic nationalism" (or national neoliberalism, if you wish ;-) includes the following (partially intersecting) elements which are anathema to classic neoliberalism:

  1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization. Use of tariffs to protect domestic manufacturing.
  2. Rejection on neocon dominance in the US foreign policy. Many Americans view neocons as traitors who serves interests  of MIC and Israel at the expense of bottom 80% of the US population.  The same is true about "liberal interventionists" like Hillary, Obama. They are just another favor of neocons.
  3. Rejection of unrestricted immigration. Vigorous persecution and deportation of illegal immigrants and measures to block their entry. Enforcement of border control   (Mexican wall, etc)
  4. Fight against suppression of wages by multinationals via cheap imported labor. Rejection of the idea of global labor market and unrestricted outsourcing of labor to foreign countries. Legal measures against multinationals who tried to offload major part of workforce abroad. 
  5. Fight against the elimination of meaningful, well-paying jobs in the USA via outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing (which is the essence of neoliberal globalization). Attempts to reverse this trend.
  6. Rejection of wars for enlargement and sustaining of neoliberal empire, especially NATO role as global policemen and wars for Washington client Israel in the Middle East;
  7. Détente with Russia;
  8. More pragmatic relations with Israel and suppression of Israeli agents of influence in congress and government (AIPAC and so called dual citizens problem;
  9. Attempt to reverse the offshoring of manufacturing and labor to China and India, as well as addressing the problem of trade deficit;
  10. Rejection of total surveillance on all citizens;
  11. Rejection of rampant militarism and overblown Pentagon and intelligence agencies budgets. The cut of military expenses to one third or less of the current level and concentrating on revival on national infrastructure, education, and science.
  12. Abandonment of maintenance of the "sole superpower" status and global neoliberal empire for more practical and less costly "semi-isolationist" foreign policy concentrating on technological lead in areas where it still exists;
  13. Closing of unnecessary foreign military bases and cutting aid to the current clients.
  14. Rejection of identity politics. No to "unisex bathroom" and other perversions.  No to rampant, destructive  feminism.

Of course, the notion of "Trumpism" is fuzzy and different people might include some additional issues and disagree with some listed here, but the core probably remains. Please note that Trump was emasculated by the "deep state" and turned into neocon in foreign policy just three-four months into his presidency.  The only action which is along this lines so far was his decision to withdraw from Syria. Whether  it will be implemented remains  to be seen.  His appointments directly contradict those 14 items. People such as Bolton, Pompeo, Haley are anathema to such a program.

Still the fact remains: in 2016 financial oligarchy not only failed to put the desired puppet into White House, but was forced to unleash a color revolution against new POTUS ( Russiagate witch hunt is only the tip of the iceberg in this sense) to put him into compliance, or depose him. Neoliberals and neocons also failed with their color revolution as Brennan machinations (As Professor Stephen Cohen noted Russiagate should be renamed to Intelgate) with Steele dossier backfired that they got under fire from Trump supporters.  And both Brennan and FBI Mayberry Machiavellians suddenly from predators became a pray.  Neoliberal Democrats (Clinton wing of Democratic Party, of DemoRats) while managed to preserve political power over the party of suppress Sunders supporters, overplayed their hand with Russiagate and neo-McCarthyism campaign (which was designed to rally nation around the flag) and might face consequences during midterm elections.  Their only hope is help from the Grand Inquisitor, appointed as a part of coup d'état against Trump launched by intelligence agencies (the core of the "deep state"), Mr. Mueller.

Neocons are actually a cancer of the US society. May be even terminal cancer. In any case they are look like extremely destructive force, MIC lobbyists without any principles, or consciousness.  In other words bunch of highly paid psychopaths as people without consciousness are called.

This is not the first time the "Deep State" (read intelligence agencies+Pentagon+Department of State) in alliance with  neocons and "liberal interventionists" tried to depose elected president. JFK was probably the first, Nixon was probably the second (the key role of CIA in his removal now became apparent) and now Trump might be the third.

What is new in the current situation is the complete disappearance of anti-war forces and the total conversion under Hillary of Democratic Party into another War Party, the party of militant globalists (which can be a perfect new home for neocons).  Clinton wing of the Democratic Party doesn't want to admit she lost the election because neoliberalism became unpopular among the US electorate.  At the same time "the fifth branch of government" -- the intelligence services proved to be a formidable political force on the US political arena, able to block any attempts to stop "feeding and care" of military industrial complex (which requires having a scapegoat like Russia or China). And for this particular reason "media-military-intelligence-financial" complex block any even feeble attempts of rapprochement or cooperation with Russia.

The country now resembles military camp with war propaganda on all major TV channel and newspapers broadcasted 24 x7.  But the cost of "guns instead of butter" policies are growing: the cost of post 9/11 War project  approaches  $5.6 trillion.  those trillions were stolen from ordinary Americans under false pretences (As President Eisenhower noted "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." If even small part of those funds were invested within the country we would have high speed trains between all major cities, or at least might not be having frequent deadly crashes of Amtrak trains. Among other useful things like better roads, more fuel efficient cars, more and better bridges and airports.

Nostalgia for New Deal Capitalism

While I am openly nostalgic for the New Deal capitalism, I understand perfectly well that currently, there is no viable new alternative to neoliberalism. First of all because as in late 70th "managerial class" became yet another turncoat and allied with capital owners, against workers and middle class.  That happened not only in the USA, but in the USSR too (that's why the USSR collapsed; in this case USSR  "managerial class" (nomenklatura) allied and was partially bought by the USA capital owners)

Still the New Deal remain the most humane form of capitalism invented, and our analysis of neoliberalism has distinct "pro New Deal capitalism" bias. But we need to understand that the restoration of the New Deal capitalism looks impossible because the social base of it -- the alliance of corporate management and trade union leaders, was destroyed due to the defection of corporate managers to the side of capital owners. This realignment of political power made possible the restoration of the rule of the financial oligarchy, which happened in the USA in late 1980th.

The new coalition of anti-globalization forces that emerged during Trump election campaign is still pretty amophic political force and is unable to force changes in the society, as easy emasculation of President Trump by the Deep State proved to all of us.  But hopefully it will grow and became better organized politically whether within the Republican Party of outside of it.

Neoliberal regime as the social system under which we live

And yes, my friends, like Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme character, who was surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it, all of us are living under neoliberal regime at least since 1980, most probably without knowing it. 

Current events are much easier to analyze if you use the framework of analyzing neoliberalism as a social system proposed in those pages.  Neoliberalism as a social system replaced the notion of Political party with the collection of neoliberal think tanks, a new class of "professional revolutionaries" who are mercenary political army that fight for the victory of neoliberalism and comprise kind of global Neoliberal International. On interesting nuance is that the idea of "professional revolutionaries" was one of the key innovations  of Bolsheviks and Trotskyites. And we can view neoliberalism as some kind of "Trotskyism for rich." In this  sense this social system is almost as far from real democracy as the USSR one party system. It is something Sheldon Wolin called "inverted totalitarism". In certain aspects it is even more anti-democratic than the capitalism of the Gilded Age with which it has some uncanny similarities (enforcement of the "Law of Jungles" in labor market by suppression of trade unions and "atomization" of individuals as agent who sells themselves on some kind of marketplace, not as human being) .   As Pope Francis noted neoliberalism in anti-Christian system that despise and demonize poor blaming them as incapable to provide "value" to the marketplace, and ignoring their value as a human beings:

... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

Another interesting aspect of neoliberalism is the existence of so-called "neoliberal rationality" (compare with the "proletarian mindset" of Bolshevism ). As well as the extent of brainwashing of population into this rationality, especially at the university level (via neoclassical economics). As well as  the level and the sophistication of the use of propaganda which includes a set of neoliberal myths very similar to what were created by Bolshevism. For example, the neoliberal myths of "Free trade", "free market" (why not "fair" in both cases?) , "labor market", "human capital", etc.  In reality, the key idea behind this Potemkin Village-style ideological facade is the redistribution of wealth up toward top 1%  (or even more to the top 0.01%).  Exactly like was the case with Bolshevism, which while proclaiming the false facade of "dictatorship of proletariat" mercilessly suppressed unions and kept 90% of population at the standard of living much lower than in Western and even Eastern Europe. Although not close to starvation which is the ideal of neoliberal "plantation economy" (implemented, for example, by Wal-Mart, with its below subsistence wages), with atomized and isolated from each other "debt slaves."

In other words, there are some striking similarities between Soviet nomenklatura and neoliberal oligarchy, similarities that no objective scholar studying neoliberalism  can ignore. See also Two-Party System as Polyarchy -- "the first after the post system" proved to be ideal for neoliberal regime as it allows financial oligarchy preselect  candidates from both Parties. Effectively  turning the election into expensive staged event -- a grandiose political spectacle, if you wish. but with predicted outcome as stage directors who perform casting are members of a close circle of neoliberal elite -- mostly financial oligarchy.  It could have been adopted by Soviet nomenklatura as well, as it very effectively prevents any real challenges to the existing political regime by pre-selection of two candidates running to the given position and two parties, which are essentially a "soft" and "hard" factions of a single party of financial oligarchy. 

The level of "synchronicity" in coverage of foreign events by neoliberal MSM also reminds me the level typical for Soviet Union. With all MSM repeating the State Department talking points and in general going out their skin be politically correct stooges of the neoliberal regime.

Yet another very interesting aspect of neoliberal regime is the level of public apathy, limited  public discourse and even vocabulary (try to find the word "neoliberal" in WaPo ;-)  as well as epidemic of narco-addition (especially in Rust Belt, which is more severely hit by neoliberal globalization with its offshoring and outsourcing). Which is not that dissimilar to the epidemic of alcoholism under Bolshevism. When common people see no future for themselves and their children they tend to engage in self-destructing behaviour.   Sheldon Wolin called this approach to suppressing of dissent "inverted totalitarism."

What is really interesting is that the term "neoliberalism"  has the status of a semi-taboo in the USA, and seldom can be found in articles published by the USA MSM, due to some kind of "silence" pact ;-). the intent of this set of pages intent is to fight this trend and present a "slightly skeptical" view of this important social phenomenon.  

It is also important to understand that the level of hostility to Trump by the "deep state" is directly connected with three main (and very quickly betrayed) promises that Trump made during elections:

  1. No more neoliberal globalization with its offshoring and outsourcing of jobs and industries;
  2. No more wars for expansion of neoliberal empire;
  3. Jobs for all Americans

All three were the direct revision of neoliberal ideology postulates, as well as departure from the "neoliberal rationality".  That's why the counter-attack of both the "Deep State" and neoliberal MSM on Trump was so vicious, with well coordinated set of leaks, appointment of Special Prosecutor (on fake pretext), re-launch of McCarthyism, and campaign of demonization of Trump and his administration in media.  In the level of outrage that writers of Pravda during Stalin "Show Trials" would find  completely in line with their own writings -- they so vividly resembles the attacks on "revisionists" in the USSR during Stalinism, that you may wish to revisit books devoted to those trials  ;-).

Most people do not understand that putsch against Trump is actually tried and true "color revolution" regime change attempt -- the  first color revolution launched within the USA

What is new in putsch of intelligence services and neoliberal establishment against Trump is the strong presence of classic elements of color revolutions technology. Which were for the first time used within the USA by "neoliberal nomenklatura" (and first of all the elite which represents Clinton wing of Democratic Party)  to preserve power. Some people call it Purple revolution but the most common name is now Russiagate. The ultimate goal is to remove Trump from power, and if this is not possible to emasculate his for the next four years. Some elements of this technology were previously used probably to depose Nixon. Watergate also involved intelligence agencies (the core of the Deep State) activities directed at the removal of the sitting President. And going back JFK was probably the first President removed by intelligence services.  

Initially color revolution technologies were designed  to topple "unfriendly" to neoliberalism regimes in xUSSR space and "resource nationalists" in the Middle East (as well as against China in Hong Cong). That suggests that after the election of 2016 neoliberals felt a real threat from Trump "revisionism".

Deployment of those technologies does not spell well with the social stability because delegitimization of elected government has lasting negative effects. Just look at Ukraine which was the victim of the most recent "color revolution" experiment. They have now two breakaway regions and the drop of the standard of living of population around 200% or more.  The country also now is a debt slave. In other words when the gin of color revolution is out of the bottle it is not that easy to put it back and the events can turn in the direction not anticipated by the originators of such a color revolution.

See also Neoliberalism


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It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

-- Shota Rustavelli (1172–1216)

[Jun 23, 2019] One of the things about psychopaths, is that because they have no real values, they are very good at using charm and disingenuous specious arguments to justify their agenda.

Notable quotes:
"... This is the whole thing about this psychopathic worldview, it aims to achieve its objectives by hook or crook. ..."
"... This is how psycopaths operate, they are all things to all people, even though the agenda they follow is the same. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

SteB1 -> MickGJ , 6 Mar 2012 07:37

Really? Cameron is too far to the left to even get on the Democratic ticket in America: if he proposed his healthcare reforms in the States he'd probably be assassinated.

I think you are mistaking what Cameron says, with what he does. Cameron has obviously realised that in the UK the frothing at the mouth bonkers ideology of the new right in the US wouldn't go down too well with the public, and would make the Tories toxic and unelectable. So he has chosen the strategy of speaking as though he were a woolly "wet" Conservative, whilst actually following the agenda of the new right.

One of the things about psychopaths, is that because they have no real values, they are very good at using charm and disingenuous specious arguments to justify their agenda. You appear to fail to take into account how the healthcare issue is seen very differently in the UK than the US. If Cameron had a US style healthcare policy, our current PM would probably be Gordon Brown, facing a minority Conservative opposition.

This is the whole thing about this psychopathic worldview, it aims to achieve its objectives by hook or crook. So with a more receptive public it will be more open about its objectives, whereas in a culturally different environment, it will use stealth to achieve its aims.

This is how psycopaths operate, they are all things to all people, even though the agenda they follow is the same.

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberal schools teach to the test, depriving children of a rounded and useful education

Apr 11, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

FionaMcW , 11 Apr 2019 06:36

Schools are teaching to the test. As someone who recently retrained as a secondary science teacher - after nearly 30 years as a journalist - I know this to be true.
Olympia1881 -> Centrecourt , 11 Apr 2019 05:46
Education is a prime example of where neoliberalism has had a negative effect. It worked well when labour was pumping billions into it and they invested in early intervention schemes such as sure start and nursery expansion. Unfortunately under the tories we have had those progressive policies scaled right back. Children with SEND and/or in care are commodities bought and sold by local authorities. I've been working in a PRU which is a private company and it does good things, but I can't help but think if that was in the public sector that it would be in a purpose built building rather than some scruffy office with no playground.

The facilities aren't what you would expect in this day in age. If we had a proper functioning government with a plan then what happens with vulnerable children would be properly organised rather than a reactive shit show.

DrMidnite , 10 Apr 2019 17:04
"Schools teach to the test, depriving children of a rounded and useful education."
Boy do they. I work in Business/IT training and as the years have rolled on I and every colleague I can think of have noticed more and more people coming to courses that they are unfit for. Not because they are stupid, but because they have been taught to be stupid. So used to being taught to the test that they are afraid to ask questions. Increasingly I get asked "what's the right way to do...", usually referring to situation in which there is no right way, just a right way for your business, at a specific point in time.
I had the great pleasure of watching our new MD describe his first customer-facing project, which was a disaster, but they "learned" from it. I had to point out to him that I teach the two disciplines involved - businesss analysis and project management - and if he or his team had attended any of the courses - all of which are free to them - they would have learned about the issues they would face, because (astonishingly) they are well-known.
I fear that these incurious adult children are at the bottom of Brexit, Trump and many of the other ills that afflict us. Learning how to do things is difficult and sometimes boring. Much better to wander in with zero idea of what has already been done and repeat the mistakes of the past. I see the future as a treadmill where the same mistakes are made repetitively and greeted with as much surprise as if they had never happened before. We have always been at war with Eastasia...

[Jun 23, 2019] Provoking Iran Could Start A War And Crash The Entire World Economy

Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Provoking Iran Could Start A War And Crash The Entire World Economy

by Tyler Durden Sun, 06/23/2019 - 15:25 2 SHARES Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Tensions in the Persian Gulf are reaching a point of no return . In recent weeks, six oil tankers have been subjected to Israeli sabotage disguised to look like Iranian attacks to induce the United States to take military action against the Islamic Republic. Some days ago Iran rightfully shot out of the sky a US Drone. In Yemen, the Houthis have finally started responding with cruise and ballistic missiles to the Saudis' indiscriminate attacks, causing damage to the Saudi international airport of Abha, as well as blocking, through explosive drones , Saudi oil transportation from east to west through one of the largest pipelines in the world.

As if the political and military situation at this time were not tense and complex enough, the two most important power groups in the United States, the Fed and the military-industrial complex, both face problems that threaten to diminish Washington's status as a world superpower .

The Fed could find itself defending the role of the US dollar as the world reserve currency during any conflict in the Persian Gulf that would see the cost of oil rise to $300 a barrel , threatening trillions of dollars in derivatives and toppling the global economy.

The military-industrial complex would in turn be involved in a war that it would struggle to contain and even win, destroying the United States' image of invincibility and inflicting a mortal blow on its ability to project power to the four corners of the world.

Just look at how surprised US officials were about Iran's capabilities to shot down an advanced US Drone:

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region."

The Fed and the defense of the dollar

The US dollar-based economy has a huge debt problem caused by post-2008 economic policies. All central banks have lowered interest rates to zero or even negative, thus continuing to feed otherwise dying economies.

The central bank of central banks, the Bank for International Settlements, an entity hardly known to most people, has stated in writing that "the outstanding notional amount of derivative contracts is 542 trillion dollars." The total combined GDP of all the countries of the world is around 75 trillion dollars.

With the dimensions of the problem thus understood, it is important to look at how Deutsche Bank (DB), one of the largest financial institutions in the world, is dealing with this. The German bank alone has assets worth about 40 trillion dollars in derivatives, or more than half of annual global GDP.

Their solution, not at all innovative or effective, has been to create yet another bad bank into which to pour at least 50 billion dollars of long-term assets, which are clearly toxic.

Reuters explains :

"The bad bank would house or sell assets valued at up to 50 billion euros ($56 billion) – after adjusting for risk – and comprising mainly long-dated derivatives.

The measures are part of a significant restructuring of the investment bank, a major source of revenue for Germany's largest lender, which has struggled to generate sustainable profits since the 2008 financial crisis."

Thus, not only has Deutsche Bank accumulated tens of billions of dollars in unsuccessful options and securities, it seeks to obtain a profit that has been elusive since 2008, the year of the financial crisis. Deutsche Bank is full of toxic bonds and inflated debts kept alive through the flow of quantitative easing (QE) money from the European Central Bank, the Fed and the Japanese Central Bank. Without QE, the entire Western world economy would have fallen into recession with a chain of bubbles bursting, such as in public and private debt.

If the economy was recovering, as we are told by soi-disant financial experts, the central-bank rates would rise. Instead, rates have plummeted for about a decade, to the extent of becoming negative loans.

If the Western financial trend is undoubtedly heading towards an economic abyss as a result of the monetary policies employed after 2008 to keep a dying economy alive, what is the rescue plan for the US dollar, its status as a global-reserve currency, and by extension of US hegemony? Simply put, there is no rescue plan.

There could not be one because the next financial crisis will undoubtedly wipe out the US dollar as a global reserve currency, ending US hegemony financed by unlimited spending power. All countries possessing a modicum of foresight are in the process of de-dollarizing their economies and are converting strategic reserves from US or US-dollar government bonds to primary commodities like gold.

The military-industrial complex and the harsh reality in Iran

In this economic situation that offers no escape, the immediate geopolitical effect is a surge of war threats in strategic locations like the Persian Gulf. The risk of a war of aggression against Iran by the Saudi-Israeli-US axis would have little chance of success, but it would probably succeed in permanently devastating the global economy as a result of a surge in oil prices.

The risk of war on Iran by this triad seems to be the typical ploy of the bad loser who, rather than admit defeat, would rather pull the rug out from under everyone's feet in order to bring everybody down with him. Tankers being hit and then blamed on Iran with no evidence are a prime example of how to create the plausible justification for bombing Tehran.

Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that the actions of Bolton and Pompeo seem to be aligned in prolonging the United States' unipolar moment, continuing to issue diktats to other countries and failing to recognize the multipolar reality we live in. Their policies and actions are accelerating the dispersal of power away from the US and towards other great powers like Russia and China, both of which also have enormous influence in the Persian Gulf.

The threat of causing a conflict in the Persian Gulf, and thereby making the price of oil soar to $300 a barrel, will not save US hegemony but will rather end up accelerating the inevitable end of the US dollar as a global reserve currency.

Trump is in danger of being crushed between a Fed that sees the US dollar's role as the world's reserve currency collapse, and the need for the Fed to blame someone not linked to the real causes of the collapse, that is to say, the monetary policies adopted through QE to prolong the post-crisis economic agony of 2008.

At the same time, with Trump as president, the neocon-Israeli-Saudi supporters see a unique opportunity to strike Iran, a desire that has remained unchanged for 40 years.

As foolish as it may seem, a war on Iran could be the perfect option that satisfies all power groups in the United States. The hawks would finally have their war against Tehran, the world economy would sink, and the blame would fall entirely on Trump. The Donald, as a result, would lose any chance of being re-elected so it makes sense for him to call off possible strikes as he did after the US drone was shot out of the sky.

While unable to live up to his electoral promises, Trump seems to be aware that the path laid out for him in the event of an attack on Iran would lead to his political destruction and probably to a conflict that is militarily unsustainable for the US and especially its Saudi and Israeli allies. It would also be the catalyst for the collapse of the world economy.

In trying to pressure Iran into new negotiations, Trump runs the risk of putting too much pressure on Tehran and giving too much of a free hand to the provocations of Pompeo and Bolton that could end up triggering a war in the Strait of Hormuz.

Putin and Xi Jinping prepare for the worst

Our current geopolitical environment requires the careful and considered attention of relevant heads of state. The repeated meetings between Putin and Xi Jinping indicate that Russia and China are actively preparing for any eventuality. The closer we get to economic collapse, the more tensions and chaos increase around the world thanks to the actions of Washington and her close allies.

Xi Jinping and Putin, who have inherited this chaotic situation, have met at least a dozen times over the last six months , more recently meeting at least three times over two months. The pressing need is to coordinate and prepare for what will inevitably happen, once again trying to limit and contain the damage by a United States that is completely out of control and becoming a danger to all, allies and enemies alike.

As Putin just recently said:

"The degeneration of the universalistic model of globalization and its transformation into a parody, caricature of itself, where the common international rules are replaced by administrative and judicial laws of a country or group of countries.

The fragmentation of global economic space with a policy of unbridled economic selfishness and an imposed collapse. But this is the road to infinite conflict, trade wars and perhaps not just commercial ones. Figuratively, this is the road to the final struggle of all against all.

It is necessary to draft a more stable and fair development model. These agreements should not only be written clearly, but should be observed by all participants.

However, I am convinced that talking about a world economic order such as this will remain a pious desire unless we return to the center of the discussion, that is to say, notions like sovereignty, the unconditional right of each country to its own path to development and, let me add, responsibility in the universal sustainable development, not just its own."

The spokesman of the Chancellery of the People's Republic of China, Hua Chun Ying, echoed this sentiment:

"The American leaders say that 'the era of the commercial surrender of their country has come to an end', but what is over is their economic intimidation of the world and their hegemony.

The United States must again respect international law, not arrogate to itself extraterritorial rights and mandates, must learn to respect its peers in safeguarding transparent and non-discriminatory diplomatic and commercial relations. China and the United States have negotiated other disputes in the past with good results and the doors of dialogue are open as long as they are based on mutual respect and benefits.

But as long as these new trade disputes persist, China informs the government of the United States of America and the whole world that it will immediately impose duties on each other, unilaterally on 128 products from the United States of America.

Also, we think we will stop buying US public debt. It's all, good night!"

I wonder if Europeans will understand all this before the impending disaster. I doubt it.

[Jun 23, 2019] Iran Goes for Maximum Counter-Pressure by Pepe Escobar

Derivatives exposure is Achilles spot of the USA in this conflict
Jun 23, 2019 | www.unz.com
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Sooner or later the US "maximum pressure" on Iran would inevitably be met by "maximum counter-pressure". Sparks are ominously bound to fly.

For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open.

As I previously reported , shutting down the Strait of Hormuz

would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world's $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.

Soleimani should also state bluntly that Iran may in fact shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the nation is prevented from exporting essential two million barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asia. Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000.

Soleimani's intervention would align with consistent signs already coming from the IRGC. The Persian Gulf is being described as an imminent "shooting gallery." Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed that Iran's ballistic missiles are capable of hitting "carriers in the sea" with pinpoint precision. The whole northern border of the Persian Gulf, on Iranian territory, is lined up with anti-ship missiles – as I confirmed with IRGC-related sources.

We'll let you know when it's closed

Then, it happened.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, went straight to the point ; "If the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces."

The facts are stark. Tehran simply won't accept all-out economic war lying down – prevented to export the oil that protects its economic survival. The Strait of Hormuz question has been officially addressed. Now it's time for the derivatives.

Presenting detailed derivatives analysis plus military analysis to global media would force the media pack, mostly Western, to go to Warren Buffett to see if it is true. And it is true. Soleimani, according to this scenario, should say as much and recommend that the media go talk to Warren Buffett.

The extent of a possible derivatives crisis is an uber-taboo theme for the Washington consensus institutions. According to one of my American banking sources, the most accurate figure – $1.2 quadrillion – comes from a Swiss banker, off the record. He should know; the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) – the central bank of central banks – is in Basle.

The key point is it doesn't matter how the Strait of Hormuz is blocked.

It could be a false flag. Or it could be because the Iranian government feels it's going to be attacked and then sinks a cargo ship or two. What matters is the final result; any blocking of the energy flow will lead the price of oil to reach $200 a barrel, $500 or even, according to some Goldman Sachs projections, $1,000.

Another US banking source explains; "The key in the analysis is what is called notional. They are so far out of the money that they are said to mean nothing. But in a crisis the notional can become real. For example, if I buy a call for a million barrels of oil at $300 a barrel, my cost will not be very great as it is thought to be inconceivable that the price will go that high. That is notional. But if the Strait is closed, that can become a stupendous figure."

BIS will only commit, officially, to indicate the total notional amount outstanding for contracts in derivatives markers is an estimated $542.4 trillion. But this is just an estimate.

The banking source adds, "Even here it is the notional that has meaning. Huge amounts are interest rate derivatives. Most are notional but if oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel, then this will affect interest rates if 45% of the world's GDP is oil. This is what is called in business a contingent liability."

Goldman Sachs has projected a feasible, possible $1,000 a barrel a few weeks after the Strait of Hormuz being shut down. This figure, times 100 million barrels of oil produced per day, leads us to 45% of the $80 trillion global GDP. It's self-evident the world economy would collapse based on just that alone.

War dogs barking mad

As much as 30% of the world's oil supply transits the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Wily Persian Gulf traders – who know better – are virtually unanimous; if Tehran was really responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident, oil prices would be going through the roof by now. They aren't.

Iran's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz amount to 12 nautical miles (22 km). Since 1959, Iran recognizes only non-military naval transit.

Since 1972, Oman's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz also amount to 12 nautical miles. At its narrowest, the width of the Strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km). That means, crucially, that half of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, and the other half in Oman's. There are no "international waters".

And that adds to Tehran now openly saying that Iran may decide to close the Strait of Hormuz publicly – and not by stealth.

Iran's indirect, asymmetric warfare response to any US adventure will be very painful. Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran once again reconfirmed, "even a limited strike will be met by a major and disproportionate response." And that means gloves off, big time; anything from really blowing up tankers to, in Marandi's words, "Saudi and UAE oil facilities in flames".

Hezbollah will launch tens of thousands of missiles against Israel. As

Hezbollah's secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has been stressing in his speeches, "war on Iran will not remain within that country's borders, rather it will mean that the entire [Middle East] region will be set ablaze. All of the American forces and interests in the region will be wiped out, and with them the conspirators, first among them Israel and the Saudi ruling family."

It's quite enlightening to pay close attention to what this Israel intel op is saying . The dogs of war though are barking mad .

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to CENTCOM in Tampa to discuss "regional security concerns and ongoing operations" with – skeptical – generals, a euphemism for "maxim pressure" eventually leading to war on Iran.

Iranian diplomacy, discreetly, has already informed the EU – and the Swiss – about their ability to crash the entire world economy. But still that was not enough to remove US sanctions.

War zone in effect

As it stands in Trumpland, former CIA Mike "We lied, We cheated, We stole" Pompeo – America's "top diplomat" – is virtually running the Pentagon. "Acting" secretary Shanahan performed self-immolation. Pompeo continues to actively sell the notion the "intelligence community is convinced" Iran is responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident. Washington is ablaze with rumors of an ominous double bill in the near future; Pompeo as head of the Pentagon and Psycho John Bolton as Secretary of State. That would spell out War.

Yet even before sparks start to fly, Iran could declare that the Persian Gulf is in a state of war; declare that the Strait of Hormuz is a war zone; and then ban all "hostile" military and civilian traffic in its half of the Strait. Without firing a single shot, no shipping company on the planet would have oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf.


Justsaying , says: June 23, 2019 at 5:23 am GMT

American government arrogance under the control of sickos has not shied away from the belief that destroying countries that do not cave in to Washington's demand of "surrender or perish" -- an ultimatum made in Israel. Indeed it regards that despicable policy as an entitlement – to protect the "international community". Iran may well be the nation that will do away with the nations of turbaned lapdogs and absolute monarchs who have been kept in power by the dozens of US military bases in the area. Maybe a serious jolt of the global economy is long overdue, to bring the Washington dogs of perpetual war to come to their senses.

Was Iran succumbing to the JCPOA provisions and abiding by them not sufficient capitulation for the insane leaders in Washington?

Realist , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@joeshittheragman

I hope we don't go into another stupid war. Bring all our troops home from all around the world. Just protect this Republic. We're not the policemen of the world.

The Deep State would never allow that to happen.

alexander , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
@joeshittheragman It astonishes me that people are still using the phrase "policemen of the world" to define US behavior.

The last time I recall The US even remotely acting as the "worlds's policeman" was in 1991, when we pushed Saddam out of Kuwait.

The Iraq 2003 "debacle", the Libya"shit show" and the Syria" fiasco" have all proven, over time, to be acts of wanton carnage and illegal aggression, . not "police work".

The United States, under Neocon tutelage , is no "policeman" .not by any stretch

It is more like a humongous version of "Bernie Madoff meets Son of Sam."

We have become a grotesque, misshapen empire .of lies fraud .,illegal war, .mass murder ..and heinous f#cking debt.

Policeman ?!? Hahaha.ha ..

RoatanBill , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm GMT
You have to hand it to the Iranians for basically announcing their intentions to destroy the US economy via the derivatives market that the US financial industry largely produced. Kill them with their own weapon.

A show down between the US and some entity is inevitable. Be it Iran, China or Russia, the US will be over extended and their very expensive weaponry will, I believe, come up wanting on all counts. The MIC has been scamming the country for decades. The military brass is just bluster. When it comes down to an actual confrontation, the US military will come up short as BS won't cut it.

Yes, they will destroy lots of stuff and kill lots of people but then their toys will run out and then what? Missiles will take out the aircraft carriers and the world will see that the emperor is naked.

Sean , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy America is backed by brute military force. That is why India has stopped buying Iranian oil, and sent ships to the Gulf to back America

http://www.aei.org/publication/iran-the-contrast-between-sovereignty-and-moral-legitimacy/

In June of 2014, as the forces of the Islamic State swept toward Baghdad, President Barack Obama began to recommit American military forces to Iraq. He also observed that "Iran can play a constructive role, if it sends the same message to the Iraqi government that we're sending, which is that Iraq only holds together if it is inclusive." In an instantly famous article by Atlantic magazine correspondent and White House amanuensis Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama indicated that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states had to learn to "share" the Middle East with Iran.

In imagining a kind of strategic partnership with Tehran, Obama is recycling a deeply held belief of late-Cold War "realists" like former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. "For U.S. strategy, Iran should be viewed as a potential natural partner in the region, as it was until 1979," when Shah Reza Pahlavi was toppled in the Khomeini revolution." "Envisioning 2030: U.S. Strategy for a Post-Western World," foresaw that "a post-Mullah dominated government shedding Shia political ideology could easily return to being a net contributor to stability by 2030

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/143606/Mearsheimer-S-Arabia-a-threat-not-Iran
"The truth is that it is the United States that is a direct threat to Iran, not the other way around. The Trump administration, with much prompting from Israel and Saudi Arabia, has its gunsights on Iran. The aim is regime change.

America does not seem to think the Iranian regieme can do anything except bluster as they are slowly smothered.

eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy I can't buy the derivatives stuff.

Famous last words -- review what Bernanke said just before subprime exploded: 2007 -- Bernanke: Subprime Mortgage Woes Won't Seriously Hurt Economy -- that said, I have no idea what will happen if Iran decides to interfere with shipping in the straits -- or how likely that is.

The biggest long-term threat to the US is the end of the petrodollar scheme -- due to its unmatched worldwide political and military hegemony, and 'safe haven' status, the dollar has largely been insulated from the consequences of what are in reality staggering, almost structural (at this point) US deficits -- but that can't and won't go on forever.

Jason Liu , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm GMT
Russia and China need to set up global deterrence against interventionism by western democracies.
eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
In 2018, U.S. net imports (imports minus exports) of petroleum from foreign countries averaged about 2.34 million barrels per day, equal to about 11% of U.S. petroleum consumption. This was the lowest percentage since 1957.

In reality, the US is today far less dependent on imported oil than most people probably imagine, and therefore far less vulnerable to any import supply issue.

DESERT FOX , says: June 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
Israel and the zio/US has interfered in Iran since the 1953 CIA/Mossad coup and at intervals ever since then and have brought this problem on by the zio/US and Israeli meddling in the affairs of Iran and an all out war via illegal sanctions which in fact are a form of war.

Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not the problem , the problem is the warmongers in the zio/US and Israel and will not end as long as the warmongers remain in power.

A good start to ending these problems would be to abolish the CIA!

Mike P , says: June 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
@MLK Yes, the sanctions on Iran are having an effect, and the recent Iranian actions acknowledge this; but that does not mean Iran is weak. Iran is telling the U.S. that it is NOT Venezuela or North Korea. Kim is all bark, but no bite; Trump was quite right to call him "little rocket man." Even he, with his singular lack of style and grace, is not doing this to the Iranian leadership.

The economic sanctions against Iran already constitute acts of war. The Iranians have just demonstrated that they can disrupt oil flow from the Middle East in retaliation, and not just in the Street of Hormuz. In addition, they have now shown that they can take down American aircraft, stealth or not, with precision. This means Iran is able and willing to strike back and escalate as it sees fit, both economically and militarily. If the U.S. don't relent, Iran WILL send the oil prices through the roof, and it will humiliate the U.S. on the world stage if they are stupid enough to go to war over it.

The Iranian messages are simple, clear, and consistent. Compare this to the confused cacophony that emerges from the clown troupe in Washington, and you can easily tell which side has been caught unawares by recent events.

This is a watershed moment for Trump – he will either assert himself, return to reason, and keep the peace; or he will stay aboard the sinking ship. No good options for him personally, of course; his choices are impeachment, assassination, or staying in office while presiding over the final act of the U.S. empire.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Let us never forget the "babies thrown from incubators" propaganda to help get it all started.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WkRylMGLPMU?feature=oembed

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website June 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Agent76

The US is committed to conflict not only most obviously against Iran, but also with Russia.

US, or rather a bunch of lunatics infesting Trump's Admin, might be committed, but it absolutely doesn't mean that the US has resources for that. In fact, US doesn't have resources to fight Iran, let alone Russia. By now most of it is nothing more than chest-thumping and posturing. Today Bolton's statement is a further proof of that.

denk , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT

Instead, Bush saw that situation, within the unique moment of US no longer constrained by a rival superpower, as an opportunity to exert US global dominance.

The much derided Chomsky

There were once two gangsters in town, the USA and USSR, there's relative peace cuz each was constrained by the rival's threat.
NOW that the USSR is gone, the remaining gangster
is running amok with total impunity.

Now I dunno if the USSR was a 'gangster' ,
as for uncle scam, .. needs no introduction I presume ?

anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT
@peterAUS More to this downing .

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region.– "

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Alarmist , says: June 23, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Wally It's all cashflow and OPM, on the hope of hitting the big-time when prices spike. A giant house of cards waiting to implode, and that is before one takes into account all the hugely negative externalities associated with fracking that give it any hope of profitability, which would vapourise if the costs of the externalities were charged to the operators.

https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/will-fracking-industry-debts-set-off-financial-tremors/

https://energypolicy.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/CGEPReserveBaseLendingAndTheO

anon [770] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:04 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon Fact:

According to preliminary data for 2018, oil demand surpassed 20 mmb/d for the first time since 2007 and will be just shy of the 2005 peak (20,524 mb/d versus 20,802 mb/d in 2005).

U.S. Oil Demand Recovers | CSIS | January 29, 2019
https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-oil-demand-recovers

Fact:


Source: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php

Cyrano , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm GMT
It's really tragic to see two brotherly ideologies Capitalism and Islam (both want to rule the world) go at each other throats in this manner. After all, they have fought shoulder to shoulder a holly jihad against socialism in such far flung places as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

I think that based on this latest conflict, people can see what a principled country US is. People used to think that US hates only socialist revolutions. Until Iran's Islamic revolution came along – and US was against it too. So, it's safe to say that US are against ANY revolutions – be they Socialist or Islamic. I guess we can call them contra-revolutionaries.

Simply Simon , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:38 pm GMT
At least 95% of the American people do not want war with Iran. For that matter the same percentage did not want war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or Korea. But the powers that be do not ask the American people if they want to go to war, they just do it based on the authority they assume is theirs. Meanwhile, our elected representatives who do have the authority to start or prevent wars turn a deaf ear to their constituents because the voices they hear in protest are weak or muted. Let's face it, the wars since WWII have affected only a relatively minor segment of our population. A hell of a lot more people die in traffic accidents than on the battlefield so what's to get excited about. Keeping a large standing army, navy and air force is good for the economy, the troops have to be provided the latest best of everything and as for the troops themselves for many it's not a bad way to make a living with a retirement and health care system better than many jobs in the civilian sector. So my message to the American people is if you really do not want war with Iran you had better speak up louder than you are now.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
CAN IRAN ENTER ITO NEGOTIATION WITH IRAN? IT CANT. BECAUSE ISRAEL WITH NO FOOT IN THE DOOR OF THE HELL IS WAGING THE WAR AND GETTING US PUNISHED .

UC Berkeley journalism professor Sandy Tolan, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002– [Richard] Perle, in the same 1998 article, told Forward that a coalition of pro-Israeli groups was 'at the forefront with the legislation with regard to Iran. One can only speculate what it might accomplish if it decided to focus its attention on Saddam Hussein.' Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has joined the call against Tehran, arguing in a November interview with the Times of London that the U.S. should shift its focus to Iran 'the day after' the Iraq war ends

[Hide MORE]
-- -- -
They want to foment revolution in Iran and use that to isolate and possibly attack Syria in [Lebanon's] Bekaa Valley, and force Syria out," says former Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward S. Walker, now president of the Middle East Institute. http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning
03/14/03
--

in 2003 Morris Amitay and fellow neocon Michael Ledeen founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, an advocacy group pushing for regime change in Iran . According to the website, it will be un-American,immoral and unproductive to engage with any segment of the regime .
During a may 2003 conference at the AEI on the future of Iran,Amitay sharply criticized the U.S State Department's efforts to engage the Islamic Republic ,claimed the criticism of Newt Gingrich did not go far enough . Amiaty was introduced by M Ledeen as the "Godfather" of AIPAC Amitay admitted that direct action against Iran would be difficult before 2004 election.

Nostalgia for the last shah's son, Reza Pahlavi ? has again risen," says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer who, like Ledeen and Perle, is ensconced at the AEI. "We must be prepared, however, to take the battle more directly to the mullahs," says Gerecht, adding that the United States must consider strikes at both Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and allies in Lebanon. "In fact, we have only two meaningful options: Confront clerical Iran and its proxies militarily or ring it with an oil embargo." http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning March 14,2003

"Neoconservatives in the Bush Administration have long targeted Iran. Richard Perle, former Defense Policy Board member, and David Frum, of the neo-com Weekly Standard, co-authored "An End to Evil," which calls for the overthrow of the "terrorist mullahs of Iran." Michael Ladeen of the influential American Enterprise Institute argues that "Tehran is a city just waiting for us." http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/05/26/the-oil-connection/

According to the 2016 documentary Zero Days by director Alex Gibney, Israel's incessant public threats to attack Iran coupled with intense secret demands for cyber warfare targeting Iran were the catalyst for massive new US black budget spending

NSA Director (1999-2005) and CIA Director (2006-2009) Michael Hayden claimed in Zero Days that the goal of any Israeli air attack against Iran's nuclear facilities would be to drag the United States into war.
"Our belief was that if they [Israel] went on their own, knowing the limitations No, they're a very good air force, alright? But it's small and the distances are great, and the targets dispersed and hardened, alright? If they would have attempted a raid on a military plane, we would have been assuming that they were assuming we would finish that which they started. In other words, there would be many of us in government thinking that the purpose of the raid wasn't to destroy the Iranian nuclear system, but the purpose of the raid was to put us [the United States] at war with Iran." https://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2018/11/06/israel-and-the-trillion-dollar-2005-2018-us-intelligence-budget

KA , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
Emergence of ISIS is linked to US efforts to weaken Iran

-In "The Redirection", written in 2008(!) – years before the 2011 uprising, Seymour Hersh wrote of plans to use extremists in Syria.
Excerpts:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
This time, "

Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm GMT
@Simply Simon In the old days, the orders for the US government were coming down from the Tri-Lateral Commission and the 6-7 major companies. Rockefeller took the TLC underground ground with himself. The oil companies continue asking the US government for protecting the ME/NA resources. Then Neocons replaced the TLC which their focus was twofold.
1. Destabilize the regions for protecting Israel
2. Control the resources militarily
3. Keep the Chinese out and cut their access to the resources
Guess what, Chinese have penetrated the regions constructively and quietly. America with its unjustified fucking wars is being hated even more than 1953.
Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@KA Very true! Unfortunately the presidents were misinformed or uninformed about the proxies created by the CIA. The first created to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan manned and financed by the Saudis, recruited by Mossad and intelligence was provided by the CIA. Sound really really good to the Americans since it was free of charge with no loss of life! Then during the Iraq war its neighbor Syria was getting destabilized so the CIA replicated Al-Qaeda and formed a new gang which called themselves ISIS. The function of ISIS was to overthrow Al-Bashar of Syria. The secondary mission for both groups was to bug Iran from its western and eastern front.
Manning both of these groups with Sunnis was the biggest mistake that KSA, Mossad and the CIA made. See the Sunnis are not fighters without sophisticated weapons from the West. On the other Shiites can fight with a sword and empty handed if they have to. They remind me of VC's in Vietnam. The Shiites decimated the ISIS and most of AlQaeda now the US is trying to get credit for that but they know better now. So my recommendation to the US is please don't aggravate the Shiites otherwise they will embarrass us just the VC's
Avery , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@Monty Ahwazi { All insurance companies will drop their coverage of the oil tankers immediately.}

During the Iran-Iraq war, US re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers and ran them under US flag and protection through the straight.
Same thing can be done again.

And if insurance companies drop coverage, US Treasury will provide the coverage: some US insurance company will be "convinced" by US Gov to provide the coverage and US Treasury will guarantee _any_ losses incurred by the insurance company or companies.
US can always add to the national debt ( .i.e. print more dollars).

So, no: declaration won't do.
Only destroying stuff works.

{You guys sitting here and making up these nonsensical policies}

Nobody is making policy here: we are not a government.
We are exchanging opinions.

btw: where are you sitting?
Are your personal opinions considered 'policy', because you are ..what?

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:01 pm GMT
@anon That was buried deep in the article. (Thanks for posting link.) Next lines, the NYT is skeptical of US claims. Too bad this isn't first pararaphs!)

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, the Air Force commander for the Central Command region in the Middle East, said the attack could have endangered "innocent civilians," even though officials at Central Command continued to assert that the drone was over international waters. He said that the closest that the drone got to the Iranian coast was 21 miles.

Late Thursday, the Defense Department released additional imagery in an email to support its case that the drone never entered Iranian airspace. But the department incorrectly called the flight path of the drone the location of the shooting down and offered little context for an image that appeared to be the drone exploding in midair.

It was the latest attempt by the Pentagon to try to prove that Iran has been the aggressor in a series of international incidents.

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Thank you. If the US were a real [HONEST] policeman, they would have stopped Kuwait from stealing Iraqi oil. But no, Bush was a dirty cop, on the take.
Robjil , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:09 am GMT
@dearieme Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. JFK was getting us out of Vietnam. In his time, there was not massive amounts of US troops in Vietnam, only advisors. JFK planned to get all the troops out after he was re-elected.

It was during Johnson's presidency that the Vietnam war became a huge war for the US. Johnson set up the Gulf of Tonkin false flag on August 2 1964. This started the huge draft of young men for Vietnam war that dragged on till the early 1970s.

Johnson also allowed Israel to do a false flag on the US on June 8 1967. Israel attacked the USS Liberty. 34 servicemen killed and 174 injured. Israel wanted to kill them all and blame it on Egypt, so US would nuke Egypt. Lovely nation is little Israel. The song " Love is all you need" by the Beatles was released on June 7 1967. Summer of Love, Hippies in San Francisco, all planned to get Americans into drugs and forget about what Israel is doing in the Middle East. It worked, nobody noticed what Israel did since we have a "free" 500 Zion BC press in the US in 1967 and we still do these days.

Pft , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:12 am GMT
Iran is pretty self sufficient with minimal foreign debt. Their Central Bank is under their control and works for the people. They should just hunker down and hope Trumps crew is out of a job after the elections next year

If the US strikes they can block the straits. However, the US would probably knock out the refineries so that will hurt

They shot down the drone because it was collecting intelligence on targets the US plans to strike. Thats defensive not provocative

If the US wants to go at Iran they will manufacture something. People are so dumbed down they can made to believe anything, as events 18 years ago and since have proven

Hopefully this is just distraction to cover up some nefarious plan to loot the working class some more. Or maybe getting the straits closed is part of the plan. Who knows?

renfro , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
this might be the real story

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/06/22/why-trump-didnt-bomb-iran-449575

THE TICK TOCKS WHY TRUMP DIDN'T BOMB IRAN NYT'S PETER BAKER, MAGGIE HABERMAN and THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF:

"Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake": "He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson.
"While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran's provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president's best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.

"The 150-dead casualty estimate came not from a general but from a lawyer, according to the official. The estimate was developed by Pentagon lawyers drafting worst-case scenarios that, the official said, did not account for whether the strike was carried out during daytime, when more people might be present at the targets, or in the dark hours before sunrise, as the military planned.
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1

Iris , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:48 am GMT

Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home

.

Saddam was given the assurance by US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie, that the USA supported his retaliatory action against Kuwait. Same usual trap and deliberate provocation; all the rest is obfuscation.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@AnonFromTN The loss of two American aircraft carriers appears to be the assumption you are making to guarantee an Iranian victory.

Such a loss is by no means assured.

The idea that American willpower will collapse in the event of the loss of two capital ships is your second assumption, and it's both a fanciful and dangerous assumption.

I'm not myself terribly impressed by American military power, but comparing naval combat to counterinsurgency operations is absurd.

Your economic assumptions appear to come from the permabear school. Actual economies and governments don't work that way. A major reduction in global supplies will result in compulsory conservation, rationing, price controls, etc. This was done in recent memory in the 1970s in both North America and Western Europe, when you were still behind the Iron Curtain and perhaps not aware.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:53 am GMT
@peterAUS Do you have any actual numbers?

Does anyone?

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:57 am GMT
@alexander Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home."

Efforts by Egypt to arrive an Arab initiated solution was ignored and dismissed by USA

Initial Saudi effort to find a face saving exit by Saddam was met with resistance and then a manufactured satellite image of Saddam massing his soldiers for invasion of Saudi was widely disseminated by US.

Saddam crimes was no less or more egregious than what Israel was enjoying with US dollars and with US support and with impunity ( It was still occupying Pastien and Parts of Syria and Lebanon )

It was Levy the Israeli FM who threatened that his country would attack Iraq if US did not.

War against Saddam was orchestrated by Jewish members of Thatcher and by Democrats of USA ) Solarz – NY Senator was one of the guys and the AIPAC whose president Mr. Dine confessed the crimes )

neprof , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
@Robjil

Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass.

Should be required reading by all Americans.

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:08 am GMT
@alexander UN has been abused by USA taking the advantage of the collapse of Soviet . (This is what Wolf0owitz told Wesley Clarke in 1992 in Feb : This was the time we can and we should take care of these countries Iran Iraq Syria Libya and Yemen while Russia is still weakened and unable to help its erstwhile vassals states) .

USA had no right to ask Saddam to leave . Subsequent behaviors of USA has proved it.
Israel also in addition has no right to exist .

If correction had to come from Iran Hezbollah and Syria- then so be it. That news would be best thing that would happen to humanity within last 200 yrs .

KA , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:11 am GMT
@Robjil Wolfowitz has been trying to kill Saddam and dismember Iraq from 1979.

The rat got his hand the Cookie jar after Soviet collapsed.

( Ref- Sunshine Warrior NYT )

John Noughty , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:14 am GMT
@Jim Christian I hope you're right.
RobinG , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:16 am GMT
@alexander You're begging for a big "So What?"

There are UN resolutions about all kinds of things. Israel comes first to mind, of course. UN resolutions do not obligate military action.

anon [400] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:20 am GMT
@Iris but -- but -- but (sputters Alexander the otherwise sage commenter), The UN -- that's the U-nited Nations!! fer pete's ache, Agreed!! ( Agreed is Diplomatese for: "Please stop twisting my arm; Please stop bankrupting my country; Please stop threatening to tell my wife -- ).

in other words, the UN is a toy and a ploy for someone like G H W Bush salivating at the once in a lifetime opportunity to exert world dominance -- 'scuse me: "Create a New World Order" -- in the context of a power vacuum / dissolution of the Soviet Empire, previously the only counterbalance to US superpower status.

No doubt the UN was got on board. It acted like the paid-for- judge and show-trial in a case the prosecutor had already rigged.
imho, what is more significant, and what it takes years to unearth, is the decision making and back-room dealing that came BEFORE the UN was induced to stamp its imprimatur.

Tony Blair endorsed Bush the Lesser's war on Iraq. Does that grant it legitimacy, or in any way explain why US waged that war?

peterAUS , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:23 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Do you have any actual numbers?

I don't care about numbers.
50 (proper) sea mines backed up by 20 air/land-sea missiles do the job. Block the Hormuz.
I am sure the regime in Tehran has that number.

Does anyone?

Don't think so.
Mines in particular.
While missiles could be tricky to produce even smart sea mines are not.
A lot of explosive-check.
A couple of sensors (acoustic/magnetic)-check.
A couple of hardened micro controller boards-check.
That's it.

In this very game there are, really, only two elements that interest me:
Tactical nukes.
Selective draft.

What hehe really interests me is the escalation from "tactical" to "strategic".

AnonFromTN , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Let me make this clear: there won't be Iranian victory. Iran will pay a hefty price. There will be the defeat of the Empire, though, a major climb down. The worst (for the Empire) part would be that the whole world would see that the king has no clothes. Then the backlash against the Empire (hated by 6/7th of the Earth population) starts, and that would be extremely painful for everyone in the US, guilty and innocent alike (myself included).

Compulsory rationing and price controls were possible when the governments actually governed. When the whole governments and legislatures are full of corporations' marionettes, as is the case now in the US and EU, these measures are impossible. Profiteers will have their day. They will crush Western economies and therefore themselves, but never underestimate the blinding force of greed. The same greedy bastards are supplying the US military with airplanes that have trouble flying and with ships costing untold billions that break down in the Panama canal, of all places. The same greedy scum destroyed the US industry and moved all production to China, in effect spelling the doom of the only country that could have protected their loot from other thieves. That's the problem with greed: it makes people incredibly shortsighted.

Sergey Krieger , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:39 am GMT
@joeshittheragman You are parasites on the world neck. That's why your troops are all over the place.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@alexander Is it true . possibly but so what ?

So what? That nice lessons are being imparted slowly to the Israeli slave USA.

USA does what other countries are accused of before invading . USA throws out any qualms any morality any legality . It uses UN . Right now it is illegally supplying arms to Saudi to Israel and to the rebels in Syria. These are the reasons US have gone to wars against other countries for. Now some countries are standing up and saying – those days are gone , you can't attack any country anymore just because someone has been raped or someone has been distributing Viagra.

alexander , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@RobinG I think you are right.

And so did George Bush Senior.

As a matter of fact, the whole world began to ask, you are willing to launch your military to eject Saddam from Kuwait Bravo! ..Now what are willing to do about Israels illegal seizure of Palestinian territory in the West bank .It is more or less the exact same crime, Isn't it?

George Bush Senior was the last US President in American History to withhold all loans to Israel, until it ceased and desisted from illegal settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.

Many believe it was his willingness to hold Israel to the same standard as everyone else, which cost him his second term.

What do you think , Robin?

By-tor , says: June 24, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Iran shot down a US Navy RQ-4A intel drone that cost $250: A model that is marketed as being hard to shoot down since it has an 11 mile high altitude ceiling and a long operational range. That a coastal AA missile battery knocked it down with one shot answers several questions.

[Jun 23, 2019] I have no idea how Rand became the poster child for the libertarian movement

Notable quotes:
"... I can only assume that, as with so many of their other ideas, the internet / radio hosts promoting her ideas as the solution to the worlds problems have never actually read anything she said, or did, or possibly if they had, they have not understood it. ..."
"... Usually, with philosophers, you can see how it is not their words, but that someone has interpreted them for their own ends (Nietzsche etc), but in the case of Rand, no mis-interpretation is required, unless you are trying to portray her views as anything other than deeply misanthropic. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Rhiaden , 6 Mar 2012 09:24

I always view Ayn Rand as someone who most right wing dictators would place themselves somewhere to the left of.

I have no idea how she became the poster child for the libertarian movement, I can only assume that, as with so many of their other ideas, the internet / radio hosts promoting her ideas as the solution to the worlds problems have never actually read anything she said, or did, or possibly if they had, they have not understood it.

Usually, with philosophers, you can see how it is not their words, but that someone has interpreted them for their own ends (Nietzsche etc), but in the case of Rand, no mis-interpretation is required, unless you are trying to portray her views as anything other than deeply misanthropic.

[Jun 23, 2019] It's erroneous to think state capitalism = soviet russia style dictatorships.

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

UnknownGunman -> johncj , 6 Mar 2012 05:42

The degree of statism in a country's political system, is the degree to which it breaks up the country into rival gangs and sets men against one another. When individual rights are abrogated, there is no way to determine who is entitled to what; there is no way to determine the justice of anyone's claims, desires, or interests. The criterion, therefore, reverts to the tribal concept of: one's wishes are limited only by the power of one's gang.

Such a black and white view of reality. This is the entire problem with Rand's worldview, reality is far too complex. Here, you talk about the level of "statism" - there are many different methods of using the state to achieve goals which help improve your life and those in the society around you.

For example, in Scandanavian countries, and other northern European ones, the state is used to make up for distribution deficiencies in the market system - that is, to reign in those at either end of the socio-economic scale to make the distribution more equal, which has been scientifically shown to reduce all manner of social ills caused by a large amount of economic inequality.

They do this whilst minimising the impact on economic freedom.

So it's erroneous to think statism = soviet russia style dictatorships.

As for individual rights - well, these are clearly important, but certainly not as a blanket ideology behind society. Negative sides to individual rights are things like:

• Educational freedom - 2 + 2 can equal 5!
• Parenting - society has to deal with bad parenting as the child reaches adulthood, so society deserves an equal say: I don't have to vaccinate my kids! (recent MMR jab a prime example)
• I'm free to pollute the environment, make excessive noise because the government has no place stopping me.

As a society, a balance needs to be maintained. A balance between a person's individual liberty and the impact on the society around them. This is the main area where Rand's philosophy fails - she simply does not acknowledge the very complex relationship humans have with each other, with society as a whole, and the world around them.

[Jun 23, 2019] The basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a self-owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body and property. But without the means to protect, defend and preserve these things that one "owns", provided by the state, it amounts to very little.

Notable quotes:
"... This is the reduction ad absurdum that libertarianism is always reduced to. A subscription police force is an an idiocy, a bit like a subscription fire service. ..."
"... Even by the 18th Century, people had figured out that made no sense. How on earth could it work? A private police force would be beholden to its paymasters and no one else. ..."
"... As I have said many times, a pure libertarian society would be a warlord society, with the feeble or non-existent state unable to restrain the richest and most powerful people in that society. Truly a hell on earth. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

HarryTheHorse , 6 Mar 2012 10:41

The basic axiom of libertarian political theory holds that every man is a self-owner, having absolute jurisdiction over his own body. In effect, this means that no one else may justly invade, or aggress against, another's person. It follows then that each person justly owns whatever previously unowned resources he appropriates or 'mixes his labor with'. From these twin axioms -- self-ownership and 'homesteading' -- stem the justification for the entire system of property rights titles in a free market society."

That's all very well, but without the means to protect, defend and preserve these things that one "owns", it amounts to very little. And that is where collectivisation comes in. For what is the law but a series of codes that we collectively as a society agree to abide by. Without the rule of law to protect me, whatever I own will soon be taken by someone stronger and more aggressive that me. Individuals cannot assert their rights as individuals, for they are not strong enough to do so. The irony, which is lost on libertarians, is that for individual rights to be preserved we must sacrifice a little of our individualism to collectively band together to defend those rights.

HarryTheHorse -> johncj , 6 Mar 2012 10:33

Then don't pay if you don't want to, that's my point. If you want police pay a subscription. I suppose this is floating away from objectivism and more into libertarianism. The principle is the same how ever.

This is the reduction ad absurdum that libertarianism is always reduced to. A subscription police force is an an idiocy, a bit like a subscription fire service.

Even by the 18th Century, people had figured out that made no sense. How on earth could it work? A private police force would be beholden to its paymasters and no one else.

Presumably there would be multiple such police forces - for free-market competition, of course. These police forces would become de facto private armies. And from where would they derive their authority? From he who pays them the most?

As I have said many times, a pure libertarian society would be a warlord society, with the feeble or non-existent state unable to restrain the richest and most powerful people in that society. Truly a hell on earth.

[Jun 23, 2019] Many Anarchists have a libertarian mindset, and seek cooperation (rather than a competition in who can break the most windows), but reject the dominance and structures of the elite, which are usually completely undemocratic.

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

totemic , 6 Mar 2012 14:16

While there is certainly an element of Paul supporters, in my experience here in the Bay/Central Coast is that it is predominantly Dems, liberals, progressives, socialists and a surprising number of anarchists (many of which are not the typical window-breaking stereotype).

I would guess its all of us who are suspicious of hierarchical state capitalism - whether of the left or the right. Many Anarchists have a libertarian mindset, and seek cooperation (rather than a competition in who can break the most windows), but reject the dominance and structures of the elite, which are usually completely undemocratic.

[Jun 23, 2019] No, that is not anarchy. That is a load of selfish bastards claiming to be anarchists and using this as a justification for their being selfish bastards.

Apr 11, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BeenThereDunThat -> apacheman , 11 Apr 2019 05:16

People think of anarchy as equating with lawless selfishness because that's how it works in real life.

No, that is not anarchy. That is a load of selfish bastards claiming to be anarchists and using this as a justification for their being selfish bastards. I remember only too well the cry of no small number of the trendy fashion-punk-anarchists of the 1980's to justify their hedonism and lack of responsibility " I'm an Anarchist, me: I can do anything! ".And my response to them? " Are you fuck!!! ".

Sadly, however, many like yourself choose to take the definition of anarchy which is a total misrepresentation of it equating to chaos and disorder, and which as I noted in my earlier comment, has been deliberately promulgated and used by the State and its supportive media. And in doing so, you do the philosophy a disservice, as you only help spread this representation, which eventually becomes the accepted understanding. And this is what the State and the oligarchs desire most, as it keeps people away from those most dangerous of thoughts, about actually trying to control their own lives.

[Jun 23, 2019] A modern example is the oligarchs who carved up the commons in a collapsing and disintegrating Soviet Union

Notable quotes:
"... It's not entrepreneurial; it's base rent-seeking and it was a violent act of forced approbriation by denying natural rights to others. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 06:27

@johncj

So easy to say when you so blithely ignore the historical injustices, the inequality of opportunity and the theft - the first person to claim a parcel of land as their own exclusive property was committing an act of theft.

It's not entrepreneurial; it's base rent-seeking and it was a violent act of forced approbriation by denying natural rights to others.

The subsequent claims to title are enforced by the threat of violence through the emergence of a pervasive state.

A modern example is the oligarchs who carved up the commons in a collapsing and disintegrating Soviet Union. Their's was an act of theft committed against society and the common good. Your definition of freedom is predicated on theft and is a denial of natural freedoms,

[Jun 23, 2019] The idiots in DC are literally talking about nuclear war with Russia right now in a defense spending/policy hearing on CSPAN. Sickening

Notable quotes:
"... So are we at that point in Idiocracy, where we believe our propaganda has some effect on our enemy? Is it 1950? FFS ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

sejomoje , Jun 12, 2019 5:10:09 PM | 36

The idiots in DC are literally talking about nuclear war with Russia right now in a defense spending/policy hearing on CSPAN. Sickening. I'm not sure why I even turned on the TV.

The "premise" is that Russia launches a "tactical" low yield weapon, and the consensus is that we would not "measure" it and respond in kind, but start an all out nuclear war.

Everyone knows that actual discussions regarding policy are done in closed door meetings (and several reps have referred to this happening at a later time).

So are we at that point in Idiocracy, where we believe our propaganda has some effect on our enemy? Is it 1950? FFS

[Jun 23, 2019] Are Starvation Sanctions Worse Than Overt Warfare

Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Starvation sanctions kill people.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have reportedly already died as a result of this administration's relentless assault on their economy; those human beings are no less dead than they would have been if the US had killed them by dropping cluster bombs on Caracas. Yet these deaths have received virtually no mainstream media coverage, and Americans, while they strongly oppose attacking Iran militarily , have had very little to say about Trump's attacks on the nation's economy. The economy which people use to feed their children, to care for their elderly and their sick.

I'm titling this essay "Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare", and I mean it. I am not saying that starvation sanctions are more destructive or deadly than overt military force in and of themselves; what I am saying is that the overall effect is worse, because there's no public accountability for them and because they deliberately target civilians.

If the US were to launch a barrage of Tomahawk missiles into an Iranian suburb with the goal of killing civilians, there'd be international outrage and the cohesion of the US-centralized power alliance would take a major hit. Virtually everyone would recognize this as an unforgivable war crime. Yet America will be able to kill the same number of civilians with the same deliberate intention of inflicting deadly force, and it would suffer essentially no consequences at all. There's no public or international pressure holding that form of violence at bay, because it's invisible and poorly understood.

It reminds me of the way financial abuse gets overlooked and under-appreciated in our society. Financial abuse can be more painful and imprisoning than physical or psychological abuse (and I speak from experience), especially if you have children, yet you don't generally see movies and TV shows getting made about it. In a society where people have been made to depend on money for survival, limiting or cutting off their access to it is the same as any other violent attack upon their personal sovereignty, and can easily be just as destructive. But as a society we haven't yet learned to see and understand this violence, so it doesn't attract interest and attention. That lack of interest and attention enables the empire to launch deadly campaigns targeting civilian populations unnoticed, without any public accountability. It's great that more people are starting to understand the cost of war, to the extent that we're even seeing US presidential candidates make opposing it central to their platforms, but this is happening at a time when overt warfare is becoming more obsolete and replaced with something subtler and more sinister. We must as a society evolve our understanding of what starvation sanctions are and what they do, and stop seeing them as in any way superior or preferable to overt warfare.

The fact that people generally oppose senseless military violence but are unable to see and comprehend a slow, boa constrictor-like act of slaughter via economic strangulation is why these siege warfare tactics have become the weapon of choice for the US-centralized empire. It is a more gradual way of murdering people than overt warfare, but when you control all the resources and have an underlying power structure which maintains itself amid the comings and goings of your officially elected government, you're in no hurry. The absence of any public accountability makes the need for patience a very worthwhile trade-off.

So you see this siege warfare strategy employed everywhere by the US-centralized empire:

The US-centralized power alliance is so powerful in its ability to hurt nations with financial influence that in 1990 when Yemen voted against a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing the attack against Iran, a senior US diplomat was caught on a hot mic telling the Yemeni ambassador, "That will be the most expensive 'no' vote you ever cast." According to German author Thomas Pogge , "The US stopped $70 million in aid to Yemen; other Western countries, the IMF, and World Bank followed suit. Saudi Arabia expelled some 800,000 Yemeni workers, many of whom had lived there for years and were sending urgently needed money to their families."

That's real power. Not the ability to destroy a nation with bombs and missiles, but the ability to destroy it without firing a shot.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RM0uvgHKZe8

It's no wonder, then, that the drivers of this empire work so hard to continue growing and expanding it. The oligarchs and their allies in opaque government agencies no doubt envision a world where all noncompliant nations like Iran, Russia and China have been absorbed into the blob of empire and war becomes obsolete, not because anyone has become any less violent, but because their economic control will be so complete that they can obliterate entire populations just by cutting them off from the world economy whenever any of them become disobedient.

This is the only reason Iran is being targeted right now. That's why you'll never hear a factually and logically sound argument defending Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal; there is none. There was no problem with the JCPOA other than the fact that it barred America from inflicting economic warfare upon Iran, which it needed for the purpose of toppling the nation's government so that it can be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

And all the innocent human beings who die of starvation and disease? They don't matter. Imperial violence only matters if there are consequences for it. The price of shoring up the total hegemony of the empire will have been worth it .

[Jun 23, 2019] Relative performance of Democratic vs Republican presidents

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

consumerx, 10 Apr 2019 18:10

Listen, in the computer age, I can find FACTS in seconds.
Here are some FACTS !
------------------------------------------
Trump says he will create 25 million jobs,--REALLY ???
-5 GOP presidents have NOT created 25 million jobs in 57 YEARS !
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clinton created almost as many jobs as 5 GOP presidents.
Let's cut to the chase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the net increases in private-sector employment under each president, chronologically by party since 1961--
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Republicans---

Richard Nixon: Increase of 7.1 million jobs
Gerald Ford: Increase of 1.3 million jobs
Ronald Reagan: Increase of 14.7 million jobs
George H.W. Bush: Increase of 1.5 million jobs
George W. Bush: Decline of 646,000 jobs
---Total:-------------- Increase of 23.9 million jobs under Republican presidents

-Democrats---

John F. Kennedy: Increase of 2.7 million jobs
Lyndon B. Johnson: Increase of 9.5 million jobs
Jimmy Carter: Increase of 9.0 million jobs
Bill Clinton: Increase of 20.8 million jobs
Barack Obama: Increase of 14,332,000 jobs

---
Total: Increase of 56.3 million jobs.
--

------------------------------------------------------
It is a fact of history that nine of the ten economic recessions since 1953, when Dwight D. Eisenhower became President, have come under Republican Presidents as follows:

----

The longest recessions were under W Bush and Obama; Reagan; and Nixon/Ford, with the unemployment rate reaching 10 percent, 10.8 percent, and 9 percent respectively in those recessions. The shortest recession was under Jimmy Carter, six months in 1980, but the only Democrat to have a recession begin while in office, and suffered at the polls partially on that fact, that it was in an election year!

Eisenhower had three recession periods, while Nixon had two, and W. Bush had two.
-----------
http://www.theprogressiveprofessor.com/?p=26206
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

When conservatives/neoliberals/GOP are in charge the economy and jobs GO TO SHIT -- !!!

[Jun 23, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Demands Reparations For Gay And Lesbian Couples

I think she went off rails here... As much as this is blatant identity politics, with such moves she probably has little or no chances.
Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
reparations for slavery - soundly dismissed by numerous African American speakers - Senator Elizabeth Warren has tried to outdo her opponents by seeking reparations for another group of repressed and long-suffering individuals.

Warren reintroduced the Refund Equality Act, a bill that would allow same-sex couples to amend past tax returns and receive refunds from the IRS.

"The federal government forced legally married same-sex couples in Massachusetts to file as individuals and pay more in taxes for almost a decade," Warren said in a statement.

"We need to call out that discrimination and to make it right - Congress should pass the Refund Equality Act immediately."

[Jun 23, 2019] Debt: The first 5000 years

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 06:18

@Sonofrex
For starters, try reading David Graeber's 'Debt: The first 5000 years' for a comprehensive account on concepts of money, property, debt and obligation from an anthropological perspective which soundly buries your cherished assumptions and beliefs about the primacy of private property and it's conflation with freedom. Perhaps one of the most compelling book I've read in recent times.

For a review:

http://thenewinquiry.com/blogs/zunguzungu/david-graebers-debt-my-first-5000-words/

[Jun 23, 2019] Is Democratic system theoretically sustainable?

Notable quotes:
"... "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

bonefisher -> Livemike , 6 Mar 2012 06:52

Great post

The problem is that as De Toqueville realises (his quote below) most of the people commenting here are simply living a parasitic existence benefiting from state largesse - sucking the teat of a bloated and overburdened state caring not whether their sustenance is remotely sustainable and just voting for ever more

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy" - Alexis de Toqueville

[Jun 23, 2019] The 'Extradition Protest' appears to have a startling resemblance to the 'Umbrella Protests' backed by the CIA/NED

Notable quotes:
"... Keep a close watch on whether the organizers are shown to have studied in the US and if the most vociferous media are known to have had connections to the CIA/NED. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

chet380 , Jun 12, 2019 3:04:15 PM | 19

The 'Extradition Protest', with its thousands of protesters seemingly instantly mobilized, appears to have a startling resemblance to the 'Umbrella Protests' that were backed by the CIA/NED.

Keep a close watch on whether the organizers are shown to have studied in the US and if the most vociferous media are known to have had connections to the CIA/NED.

[Jun 23, 2019] Rands followers are selfish greedy, most likely insane, jackles who have destroyed and plundered the American and world economy for thier own ends.

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

sct2112 , 5 Mar 2012 23:22

Imagine being stuck in a fall out shelter or an underground bunker during some apocalypse with a devoted Ayn Rand follower or followers. Gurantee they would be killed and eaten with in the first few hours.

Rand followers remind me of my little neices and nephews when they fight over candy and toys. You tell them they have to share and they say no mine mine it's all mine. Now imagine a grown man or woman doing the same exact thing except they run a major corporation or worse are an elected official. They have tried to make money off of every crisis in the past thirty years.

Rands followers are selfish greedy, most likely insane, jackles who have destroyed and plundered the American and world economy for thier own ends. Usually so they can have the most toys like cars, houses, hot tubs, private jets, viagra and wild sex parties Mind you they most likely have to pay people to have sex with them. I have nothing against capitalism but they need to reeled in at some point. Sadly goverment does not do it's job by looking after the public but after their own wallets. The people who view her has a sage and goddess are seriously out of touch with reality.

Honestly her idea's are failures, the west is in debt up to it's eyeballs, Asia is rising and Latin America is telling America and Europe to collectively go and screw ourselves. I am not happy about this but apart of me is a bit amused by it.

[Jun 23, 2019] The intellectual antecedents of the new right go back to Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Rozina -> tom1832 , 5 Mar 2012 22:15

The intellectual antecedents of the new right go back to Leo Strauss and the University of Chicago among others. Canadian academic Shadia Drury wrote two books critical of Straussian philosophy: "Leo Strauss and the American Right" (1999) and "The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss" (first published 1988, revised 2005). Counterpunch.org carries a number of articles by Gary Leupp, Francis Boyle and others also castigating the influence of Leo Strauss and his followers on US foreign policy. Seymour Hersch also took a blowtorch to Strauss in an article for The New Yorker many years ago when George W Bush was US President (link: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/05/12/030512fa_fact?currentPage=4#ixzz1437Z8MNs).
truebluetah -> Callaig , 5 Mar 2012 17:57
SEP provides a decent summary of Rand's reasoning.

[Jun 23, 2019] Tea Party as billionaires doormats

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

saagua , 6 Mar 2012 01:25

"But such is the degree of misinformation which saturates this movement and so prevalent in the US is Willy Loman syndrome (the gulf between reality and expectations) that millions blithely volunteer themselves as billionaires' doormats. I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security. She had railed furiously against both programmes, as they represented everything she despised about the intrusive state. Her belief system was no match for the realities of age and ill health."

Marvelous. Most Tea Party members are not super rich, but they mouth and support policies that benefit the super rich at their expense. That is precisely how very ignorant, indeed stupid, they are. Polls have been done in the USA showing that a large number of people who depend on Social Security and Medicare and other government programs think they do not use any government program. Other people whom they despise are the ones who depend on the government, not they.

[Jun 23, 2019] Tea Party Placards, reading: (paraphrase) 'government get your hands off my Medicare'!

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

PSmd , 6 Mar 2012 09:43

NotWithoutMyMonkey

Indeed! I attended a public lecture by Thomas Frank (former young conservative-now left wing) at the LSE, and he was even describing Tea Party Placards, reading: (paraphrase) 'government get your hands off my Medicare'!

[Jun 23, 2019] Koch brothers are successfully getting Tea Party turkeys to vote for Xmas!

Notable quotes:
"... After all, the Kochs owe their family wealth to the Stalinist USSR... ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

murielbelcher , 6 Mar 2012 09:41

Over the years, the Koch brothers have spent millions of dollars trying to undo both social security and medicare!

AKA the founders of the egregious getting turkeys to vote for Xmas Tea Party!

PSmd , 6 Mar 2012 09:27
It's not just Rand, seemingly, who was a hypocrite. After all, the Kochs owe their family wealth to the Stalinist USSR...

[Jun 23, 2019] Libertarian ideology and the threat of unemployment

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

NotWithoutMyMonkey , 6 Mar 2012 09:34

@Fissile
I've seen that before. Although hardly an anarcho-capitalist, my uncle in Australia; a music teacher in a private school would alway rail against unions and so-called union-power at every opportunity. The moment his job came under threat, he'd signed up for membership forthwith.

[Jun 23, 2019] Theory and practice of neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare. ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

murielbelcher , 6 Mar 2012 09:40

Friedrich von Hayek, one of the creed's most revered economic gurus, spent his productive years railing against government old age pension and medical insurance schemes. When he became old and infirm, he signed on for both social security and medicare.

Love it. When push comes to shove all those ideologies and beliefs crumble into the dust of practical needs. Another individual who cloaked the self-interest of the rich and powerful into some kind of spurious ideology.

George wrote a rather good article about Von Hayek a few years ago I seem to remember.

[Jun 23, 2019] As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

1Byron , 5 Mar 2012 17:44

It's no wonder the US is so screwed up these days. Somehow the NeoCons, before and after stealing the 2,000 election for Bush, with the help of abundance of Liars 4 Hire think tanks like CATO, CEI, AEI, Heritage Foundation blah, blah, blah, bankrolled by the likes of the Koch Bros, The Scaifes, Exxon, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont the Nuke Industry etc. were, and are still able to convince low intelligence people that wrong is right, bad is good, meanness is "compassion" and abuse is "tough love".

But it only works if those being duped are already predisposed to hateful philosophy, and that they got in spades with careful conditioning (brainwashing) from bastards like Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch, people with no moral scruples whatsoever.

Thus the right today (actually for a long while now) is no more than a collection of racists and bigots, pathological liars and scammers, charlatans and greedmeisters.

It's why they care nothing for the poor, nothing for protection the environment, nothing for anyone or anything but themselves. They are the cult of mean.

As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/8/how_to_rig_an_election_convicted

[Jun 23, 2019] Marx excessive belief about revolutionary role of proletariat

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

earweego -> GeorgeMonbiot , 6 Mar 2012 13:23

"Marx/dialectical materialism...reduces humanity's complex social and political relations to a simple conflict between the "bourgeoisie" and the "proletariat"; ie the owners of property and the workers, by which Marx and Engels meant, basically, factory workers. Any class which didn't tick one of these boxes was either, like the peasants, shopkeepers, artisans and aristocrats, destined to "decay and finally disappear...

I don't read Marx quite like that:

"The lower strata of the middle class -- the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants -- all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production.

Thus, the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population." (Communist Manifesto)

"Marx... entirely trusted to the intellectual development of the working class, which was sure to result from combined action and mutual discussion." (Engel footnote)

[Jun 23, 2019] Capital can be read as despairing dissection of an economic juggernaut indifferent to everything other than satisfying its own accumulative drive, one that leads inevitably to the polarity of vast wealth on the one hand and unemployment and immiseration on the other.

Notable quotes:
"... Classic Marxist dualism of proletariat-bourgeois broke down once the ownership and control of capital started to diverge with the employment of a vast managerial class. It s quite possible today even for 'proletariat' to own more of their company though stock than the middle manager above them. On top of that we now produce consumerism in the west and ideas over what you might call industry. Lots of stuff we produce is just aesthetic, surface, ephemeral, and useless. :) ..."
Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

pbrennan -> GeorgeMonbiot , 6 Mar 2012 07:21

"Any class which didn't tick one of these boxes was either, like the peasants, shopkeepers, artisans and aristocrats, destined to "decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry", or, like the unemployed, was "social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of old society", with no legitimate existence in a post-revolutionary world."


You are describing here Marx's predictions about the consequences of the processes of capital, not necessarily what he would have wanted to happen. As Fredric Jameson suggests in his recent Representing Capital, Capital can be read as despairing dissection of an economic juggernaut indifferent to everything other than satisfying its own accumulative drive, one that leads inevitably to the polarity of vast wealth on the one hand and unemployment and immiseration on the other. If anything has ever been prescient, that was.

It's also abundantly clear from Capital that Marx believed just as much that capitalism deprived life and work of satisfaction, meaning and pleasure as he welcomed the progress of modern industrial technological civilisation.

Also, if you think Marx lacked humanity you should take a look at the 'Working Day' chapter of Capital, Volume One and the final Book, 'On So-Called Primitive Accumulation.'

It's a mistake to believe that Marx thought that socialism would inevitably follow capitalism and that history was working to a neat plan.

Marx entertained many (sometimes contradictory) possibilities about alternatives to capitalism, including ones involving other classes that the proletariat. See his letter to Vera Zasulich of 1881:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1881/03/zasulich1.htm

Bobbydazzler123 -> Kyza06 , 6 Mar 2012 07:18

Some might do, but the main Marxist critique of social democracy is that, by providing a safety net for the poorest in society and potentially creating limited meritocracy it creates the conditions for continued false consciousness and doesn't allow for class consciousness to form, which is one of the main pre-conditions (along with a fully developed capitalist industrial economy) for revolution to begin. The most successful examples of this can be seen in countries like Germany where many will angrily insist that their countries exist in a state of post-class politics thanks to their social-democrat systems.

Classic Marxist dualism of proletariat-bourgeois broke down once the ownership and control of capital started to diverge with the employment of a vast managerial class. It s quite possible today even for 'proletariat' to own more of their company though stock than the middle manager above them. On top of that we now produce consumerism in the west and ideas over what you might call industry. Lots of stuff we produce is just aesthetic, surface, ephemeral, and useless. :)

But I do agree the social democratic model is essentially conservative and protects an elite though, but anyway that system is changing now as we have identity politics, activism, globalisation etc, the nation state is withering and has been for years, it's attacked from without and within.

Underflow -> GeorgeMonbiot , 6 Mar 2012 07:00

... the Manifesto contains in theoretical form many of the horrors later visited upon the people of the Soviet Union and some other communist nations. Dialectical materialism reduces humanity's complex social and political relations to a simple conflict between the "bourgeoisie" and the "proletariat"; ie the owners of property and the workers, by which Marx and Engels meant, basically, factory workers.

I think the first thing Marx would have said, in fact almost by definition, the first thing he wanted to say, was that every consciousness is a product of its surroundings. And likewise, Marx's criticism of capitalism was in every way a product of his understanding of the economic realities in the middle of the nineteenth century. In other words, if your going to talk about 'dialectical materialism' you shouldn't neglect the second word.

Given that Das Capital was always a critcism of capitalism, and given also that since the end of the Cold War, capitalism has been claimed the victor, (and has led to another economic recession as a result)isn't Marx as relevent to day as he ever was?

[Jun 23, 2019] Marxism is a humane and noble system in theory, which turns out to be savage barbarism when put into practice.

Mar 06, 2012 | discussion.theguardian.com

colacho -> AllyF ,